Open Access Research article

Two initial vaccinations with the Bm86-based Gavacplus vaccine against Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus induce similar reproductive suppression to three initial vaccinations under production conditions

Milagros Vargas1, Carlos Montero1, Dunia Sánchez1, Danny Pérez1, Mario Valdés2, Aymé Alfonso2, Marisdania Joglar3, Héctor Machado1, Elsa Rodríguez3, Luis Méndez2, Ricardo Lleonart3, Marisela Suárez1, Erlinda Fernández3, Mario P Estrada4, Alina Rodríguez-Mallón3 and Omar Farnós3*

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Trials Department, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, 31th Avenue and 190, Havana, 10600, Cuba

2 Parasitology Department, National Center for Parasitology, Avenue San Antonio-Rincón, Km 1 1/2, Havana, Cuba

3 Animal Health Department, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, 31th Avenue and 190, Havana, 10600, Cuba

4 Animal Biotechnology Division, Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, 31th Avenue and 190, Havana, 10600, Cuba

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:43  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-43

Published: 16 September 2010



The cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, affects livestock production in many regions of the world. Up to now, the widespread use of chemical acaricides has led to the selection of acaricide-resistant ticks and to environmental contamination. Gavacplus is a subunit vaccine based on the recombinant Bm86 tick antigen expressed in yeast, capable to control infestations of R. microplus under controlled and production conditions. The vaccine constitutes the core element of broad control programs against this ectoparasite, in which acquired immunity in cattle to Bm86 is combined with a rational use of acaricides. At present, the conventional vaccine scheme consists of three doses that should be administered at weeks 0, 4 and 7, followed by a booster every six months.


In this study we assayed a reduction in the number of the initial doses of Gavacplus, evaluated the time course and the level of bovine anti-Bm86 antibodies elicited, and analyzed the vaccine effect on ticks engorging on immunized cattle under production conditions. Following three different immunization schemes, the bovines developed a strong and specific immune response characterized by elevated anti-Bm86 IgG titers. A reduction in the weight of engorging female ticks, in the weight of the eggs laid and also in R. microplus viable eggs percentage was obtained by using only two doses of Gavacplus administered at weeks 0 and 4, followed by a booster six months later. This reduction did not differ from the results obtained on ticks engorging on cattle immunized at weeks 0, 4 and 7. It was also demonstrated that anti-Bm86 antibody titers over 1:640, measured in bovines immunized at weeks 0 and 4, were sufficient to affect weight and reproductive potential of female ticks as compared with ticks engorging on unvaccinated animals. In addition, no statistically significant differences were detected in the average weight of eggs laid by ticks engorged on immunized cattle that showed anti-Bm86 specific titers in the range of 1:640 to 1:81920.


The administration of two initial doses of Gavacplus containing 100 μg of Bm86 antigen to non-immunized cattle under production conditions is sufficient to affect the weight and the reproductive capacity of R. microplus engorging females. According to these results, cattle herds' manipulation and vaccine costs could be potentially reduced with a positive impact on the implementation of integrated control programs against R. microplus.