Pathogen transmission from vaccinated hosts can cause dose-dependent reduction in virulence

Richard Bailey, Hans H Cheng, Margo Chase-Topping, Jody Mays, Osvaldo Anacleto, John R Dunn, Andrea Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Many livestock and human vaccines are leaky as they block symptoms but do not
prevent infection or onward transmission. This leakiness is concerning as it increasesvaccination coverage required to prevent disease spread, and can promote evolution of increased pathogen virulence. Despite leakiness, vaccination may reduce pathogen load,affecting disease transmission dynamics. However, the impacts on post-transmissiondisease development and infectiousness in contact individuals are unknown. Here, we use transmission experiments involving Marek’s disease virus in chickens to show that vaccination with a leaky vaccine substantially reduces viral load in both vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated contact individuals they infect. Consequently, contact birds are less likely to develop disease symptoms or die, show less severe symptoms, and shed less infectious virus themselves, when infected by vaccinated birds. These results highlight that even partial vaccination with a leaky vaccine can have unforeseen positive consequences in controlling the spread and symptoms of disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3000619
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2020


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