Submitted to: Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 8, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: For the past 30 years, the poultry industry has relied on a series of avirulent or attenuated live virus vaccines to provide protection to young chickens against natural challenge with field strains of Marek's disease (MD). This strategy has been unusually effective and vaccination for the control of MD in the field has been one of the great successes in veterinary medicine. However, the universal presence of virulent field strains and continued evolution of the virus towards greater virulence warrant continued vigilance and concern. The succession of MD vaccines paralleled, and indeed was prompted by, the continued evolution of field strains of serotype 1 MDV to greater virulence. It appears that MDV has the ability to mutate in response to the selection pressure created by intensive vaccination. If so, this does not bode well for the future of MD control. Herein lies the dilemma and challenge that make the study of MD vaccines so intriguing and important--can the cycle of mutation around vaccinal immunity be broken and, if so, how?