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Antigenic differences between several strains of rabies virus, namely CVS, SAD and Flury (LEP) strains, were studied in cross-challenge experiments or cross-neutralization tests performed on sera of mice immunized with vaccines containing each strain. A typical wild fox virus strain was also included as challenge virus. The strain differences affected the relative potencies of the three vaccines in the European Pharmacopoeia mouse protection test for veterinary rabies vaccines, in that higher antigenic values were obtained when the vaccine strain was homologous to the challenge virus.
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The effect that the relatedness of the viral seed strain used to produce rabies vaccines has to the strain of challenge virus used to measure rabies virus neutralizing antibodies after vaccination was evaluated. Serum samples from 173 subjects vaccinated with either purified Vero cell rabies vaccine (PVRV), produced from the Pittman Moore (PM) seed strain of rabies virus, or purified chick embryo cell rabies vaccine (PCECV), produced from the Flury low egg passage (Flury-LEP) seed strain of rabies virus, were tested in parallel assays by RFFIT using a homologous and a heterologous testing system. In the homologous system, CVS-11 was used as the challenge virus in the assay to evaluate the humoral immune response in subjects vaccinated with PVRV and Flury-LEP was used for subjects vaccinated with PCECV.

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Protection experiments were performed in mice with different inactivated vaccines prepared with the fixed rabies virus strains: PM (Pitman-Moore), PV4 (Pasteur virus) and LEP (Flury LEP) against an intracerebral challenge with a European bat virus (Duvenhage, strain Hamburg, DUV3). All vaccines protected mice against challenge with CVS (Challenge virus standard). Vaccines prepared with PV4 protected mice against a DUV3 challenge.

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The aim of the study was to compare the antigen properties of a vaccine strain with street strains isolated from various animal hosts throughout the country. Investigation was carried out using monoclonal antibodies against NC protein. Also, two tests were carried out: the modified NIH test for potency and the neutralization test using the sera of people vaccinated against rabies (PM vaccine strain).

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Immunization experiments with vaccines prepared from the PM and ERA strains of rabies virus demonstrated that in mice, only ERA vaccine primes for an anamnestic response to the rabies-related strain Duvenhage (DUV6); in rabbits, both ERA and PM vaccines induced immunologic memory to DUV6 virus. In mice, ERA vaccine, but not an equal concentration of PM vaccine, conferred protection against a lethal challenge infection with DUV6 virus. This result indicated that the protective activity correlated with the vaccine's ability to induce immunologic memory.

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