Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Vaccines 2020, 8, 59; doi:10.3390/vaccines8010059


2020 by the authors.


Epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV) is an arthropod-transmitted RNA virus and the causative agent of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in wild and domestic ruminants. In North America, white-tailed deer (WTD) experience the highest EHD-related morbidity and mortality, although clinical disease is reported in cattle during severe epizootics. No commercially licensed EHDV vaccine is available in North America. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a subunit vaccine candidate to control EHD in WTD. Recombinant VP2 (rVP2) outer capsid proteins of EHDV serotypes 2 (EHDV-2) and 6 (EHDV-6) were produced in a baculovirus-expression system. Mice and cattle vaccinated with EHDV-2 or EHDV-6 rVP2 produced homologous virus-neutralizing antibodies. In an immunogenicity/efficacy study, captive-bred WTD received 2 doses of EHDV-2 rVP2 or sham vaccine, then were challenged with wild-type EHDV-2 at 30 d post vaccination. None of the rVP2-vaccinated deer developed clinical disease, no viral RNA was detected in their blood or tissues (liver, lung, spleen, kidney), and no EHDV-induced lesions were observed. Sham-vaccinated deer developed clinical disease with viremia and typical EHD vascular lesions. Here, we demonstrate a rVP2 subunit vaccine that can provide protective immunity from EHDV infection and which may serve as an effective tool in preventing clinical EHD and reducing virus transmission.