Efficacy of inactivated whole-virus and subunit vaccines in preventing infection and disease caused by equine infectious anemia virus

C. J. Issel, D. W. Horohov, D. F. Lea, W. V. Adams, S. D. Hagius, J. M. McManus, A. C. Allison, R. C. Montelaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


We report here on a series of vaccine trials to evaluate the effectiveness of an inactivated equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV) whole-virus vaccine and of a subunit vaccine enriched in EIAV envelope glycoproteins. The inactivated vaccine protected 14 of 15 immunized ponies from infection after challenge with at least 105 50% tissue culture-infective doses of the homologous prototype strain of ELAV. In contrast, it failed to prevent infection in any of 15 immunized ponies that were challenged with the heterologous PV strain. Levels of PV virus replication and the development of disease, however, were significantly reduced in 12 of the 15 ponies so challenged. The subunit vaccine prevented infection from homologous challenge in four of four ponies tested but failed to prevent infection in all four challenged with the PV strain. Two of the four subunit vaccinates had more severe symptoms of equine infectious anemia than nonimmunized ponies infected in parallel. Both vaccines stimulated EIAV-specific cell-mediated immunity. The in vitro lymphoproliferative response was shown to be mediated by T lymphocytes and appeared to be indistinguishable from that induced by EIAV infection. Significant differences were observed in the in vivo lymphocyte responses following challenge with the two virus strains. While peripheral blood mononuclear cells from the inactivated virus vaccinates were equally stimulated by both the prototype and PV strains, the subunit vaccinates challenged with PV exhibited lower levels of spontaneous proliferation and serine esterase activity. This diminished cellular response to PV was correlated with more severe clinical disease in the same ponies. These studies demonstrate for the first time that both an EIAV inactivated whole-virus vaccine and a viral envelope glycoprotein-based subunit vaccine can provide protection against rigorous challenge levels of homologous virus but are unable to protect against similar challenge levels of a heterologous virus. Moreover, the data demonstrate that protection can be achieved in the absence of detectable levels of virus-specific neutralizing antibody in the vaccine recipients at the time of virus challenge. While vaccine-induced virus-specific cell-mediated immune responses were detected, their role in conferring protection was not obvious. Nevertheless, protection from disease appeared to be correlated with the induction of high levels of serine esterase activity following challenge. A significant observation is that while the whole-virus vaccine was usually capable of preventing or markedly moderating disease in the PV-infected ponies, the subunit vaccine appeared to have a high potential to enhance the disease induced by PV infection. The implications of these observations for the development of vaccines for EIAV, and for human immunodeficiency virus, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3398-3408
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Efficacy of inactivated whole-virus and subunit vaccines in preventing infection and disease caused by equine infectious anemia virus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this