Evaluation of a subunit vaccine candidate (Biotech Vac Cox) against Eimeria spp. in broiler chickens.
This study evaluated growth performance and cross-protection against Eimeria spp. using a subunit coccidia vaccine in 2 independent challenge experiments. In both trials, chickens were challenged with E. acervulina, E. maxima, and E. tenella oocysts. In Exp 1, 1000-day-old chickens were allocated in one of 2 treatments (1) Control group; (2) Biotech Vac Cox group. The vaccine was orally gavaged on d 2 and 16 of life and coccidia challenge was on d 21. Performance parameters were evaluated on d 21, 35, and 42. On d 34, coccidia lesions were scored. Oocysts per gram of feces (OPG) were evaluated on d 28, 35, and 42. In Exp 2, 900-day-old chickens were assigned in one of 2 treatments (1) Control group; (2) Biotech Vac Cox group. The vaccine was orally gavaged on d 2 and 16 of life and coccidia challenge was on d 21. Performance parameters were evaluated on d 21, 27, 35, and 42, and lesion scores and OPG at d 27. In Exp 1, chickens vaccinated had significantly lower feed intake (FI) at d 21 and feed conversion ratio (FCR) at d 35 compared to control chickens (P < 0.05). Vaccinated chickens showed a significant reduction (P ≤ 0.05) in OPG for E. maxima to nondetectable levels and for all coccidian species at d 42 compared to control chickens. In Exp 2, the chickens vaccinated showed a significant increase in BW, BW gain (BWG) and reduction in FCR on d 27, 35, and 42 (P ≤ 0.05). Vaccinated chickens had significantly lower (P ≤ 0.05) lesion scores for all 3 Eimeria species. Moreover, vaccinated chickens had a reduction in total OPG of 35.50% (P = 0.0739). Studies to evaluate the serological and mucosal immune response are currently being evaluated. This inactivated, orally delivered subunit vaccine offers significant cross-protection to Eimeria spp. and eliminates the needs to treat broilers with live oocysts, enhanced ease of use, and greater biosecurity to producers.