A Novel Effective and Safe Vaccine for Prevention of Marek's Disease Caused by Infection with a Very Virulent Plus (vv+) Marek's Disease Virus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Marek's disease virus (MDV) is a highly contagious alphaherpesvirus that causes rapid onset lymphoma in chickens. Marek's disease (MD) is effectively controlled using vaccination; however, MDV continues to break through vaccinal immunity, due to the emergence of highly virulent field strains. Earlier studies revealed that deletion of the meq gene from MDV resulted in an attenuated virus that protects against MD in chickens challenged with highly virulent field strains. However, the meq deleted virus retains the ability to induce significant lymphoid organ atrophy. In a different study, we found that the deletion of the vIL8 gene resulted in the loss of lymphoid organ atrophy in inoculated chickens. Here, we describe the generation of a recombinant MDV from which both meq and vIL8 genes were deleted. In vitro studies revealed that the meq and vIL8 double deletion virus replicated at levels similar to the parental very virulent plus (vv+) virus. In addition, in vivo studies showed that the double deletion mutant virus (686BAC-ΔMeqΔvIL8) conferred protection comparable to CVI988, a commercial vaccine strain, when challenged with a vv+ MDV virus, and significantly reduced lymphoid organ atrophy, when compared to meq null virus, in chickens. In conclusion, our study describes the development of a safe and effective vaccine candidate for prevention of MD in chickens.

published proceedings

  • Vaccines (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Liao, Y., Reddy, S. M., Khan, O. A., Sun, A., & Lupiani, B.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Liao, Yifei||Reddy, Sanjay M||Khan, Owais A||Sun, Aijun||Lupiani, Blanca

publication date

  • February 2021