Archives of Virology

, Volume 162, Issue 11, pp 3363–3370 | Cite as

Protective immune response of oral rabies vaccine in stray dogs, corsacs and steppe wolves after a single immunization

  • K. Zhugunissov
  • Ye. Bulatov
  • D. Taranov
  • Z. Yershebulov
  • Zh. Koshemetov
  • Ye. Abduraimov
  • Zh. Kondibayeva
  • A. Samoltyrova
  • Zh. Amanova
  • B. Khairullin
  • A. Sansyzbay
Original Article


In this study the safety and protective immunity of an oral rabies vaccine, based on the live, modified rabies virus strain VRC-RZ2, was examined in stray dogs (Canis Sp.), corsacs (Vulpes corsac) and steppe wolves (Canis lupus campestris). In the safety group (dogs, n=6; corsacs, n=3; wolves, n=3) which was vaccinated with a 10-times field dose/animal, no animals showed any signs of disease or changes in behavior or appetite during the period of clinical observation, similar to the animals in the negative control group. Saliva samples taken from animals prior and post (5th and 10th days) vaccination failed to demonstrate rabies virus antigen. Observations of immunogenicity in vaccinated carnivores (dogs, corsacs and wolves) during a 180 day period showed the titers of virus neutralizing antibodies (VNA) in the blood sera of vaccinated dogs to be within 0.59-1.37 IU/mL. On 14 days post vaccination (dpv), all the wild carnivores had detectable levels of neutralizing antibodies, with mean titers ranging from 0.50 ± 0.07 IU/mL (for wolves) to 0.59 ± 0.10 IU/mL (for corsacs). Weeks after vaccination, all the vaccinated wolves and corsacs had higher levels of neutralizing antibodies: 0.70 ± 0.10 – 0.71 ± 0.08 IU/mL at 30 dpv, 1.06 ± 0.08 – 1.28 ± 0.21 IU/mL at 60 dpv and 0.41 ± 0.09 – 047 ± 0.06 at 180 dpv. The highest level of VNA (˃1.0 IU/ml) was detected at 60 dpv, in all vaccinated animals. After challenge all vaccinated dogs remained healthy for 180 days. Control animals (unvaccinated dogs) developed symptoms of rabies on day 6 post administration of a virulent virus and died of rabies on days 11-13. Of note, the VNA titers in all the wild carnivores (corsacs and wolves) immunized with VRC-RZ2 were higher than 0.5 IU/ml (0.59 ± 0.11 IU/ml), even as early as 14 days post vaccination. These, presumably protective, titers of antibodies to rabies virus were present in the dogs and wild carnivores examined in this study for at least 180 days.



The authors express their deep gratitude to the Deputy Director of the Almaty Zoo Azhibayev A. for implementation of the research; to the head of the laboratory at RIBSP, the Candidate of Biological Sciences, Dr. Koshemetov Zh.K., for performance of the serological study; to the Senior Researcher Strochkov V.M. for implementation of the molecular and genetic research; to the Candidate of Veterinary Sciences, Dr. Zhilin Ye.S. for advising; to Junior Researcher Dalbayev N.K., and to senior laboratory technicians Sametova Zh & Alimbayev Ye for implementation of the research. The work was carried out under the project 0114RK00100 “Development of complex preventive measures against wildlife animal diseases” as part of the research program O.0649 “Wildlife Monitoring for and Study of Dangerous Pathogens in the Regions of Current Epidemiological Interest and Development of Complex Preventive Measures for Providing Biological Safety in the Republic of Kazakhstan” for 2013–2015 funded by the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Authors do not have any financial conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Zhugunissov
    • 1
  • Ye. Bulatov
    • 1
  • D. Taranov
    • 1
  • Z. Yershebulov
    • 1
  • Zh. Koshemetov
    • 1
  • Ye. Abduraimov
    • 1
  • Zh. Kondibayeva
    • 1
  • A. Samoltyrova
    • 1
  • Zh. Amanova
    • 1
  • B. Khairullin
    • 1
  • A. Sansyzbay
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Biological Safety ProblemsGuardeiskiyKazakhstan

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