Rescue of foot-and-mouth disease viruses that are pathogenic for cattle from preserved viral RNA samples

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BACKGROUND: Foot and mouth disease is an economically important disease of cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep and pigs. It is caused by a picornavirus, foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), which has a positive sense RNA genome which, when introduced into cells, can initiate virus replication.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A system has been developed to rescue infectious FMDV from RNA preparations generated from clinical samples obtained under experimental conditions and then applied to samples collected in the "field". Clinical samples from suspect cases of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) were obtained from within Pakistan and Afghanistan. The samples were treated to preserve the RNA and then transported to National Veterinary Institute, Lindholm, Denmark. Following RNA extraction, FMDV RNA was quantified by real-time RT-PCR and samples containing significant levels of FMDV RNA were introduced into susceptible cells using electroporation. Progeny viruses were amplified in primary bovine thyroid cells and characterized using antigen ELISA and also by RT-PCR plus sequencing. FMD viruses of three different serotypes and multiple lineages have been successfully rescued from the RNA samples. Two of the rescued viruses (of serotype O and Asia 1) were inoculated into bull calves under high containment conditions. Acute clinical disease was observed in each case which spread rapidly from the inoculated calves to in-contact animals. Thus the rescued viruses were highly pathogenic. The availability of the rescued viruses enabled serotyping by antigen ELISA and facilitated genome sequencing.

CONCLUSIONS: The procedure described here should improve the characterization of FMDVs circulating in countries where the disease is endemic and thus enhance disease control globally.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e14621
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2011

    Research areas

  • Afghanistan, Animals, Cattle, Cattle Diseases/diagnosis, Foot-and-Mouth Disease/diagnosis, Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus/genetics, Pakistan, Preservation, Biological, RNA, Viral/genetics, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Serotyping

ID: 257917829