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Publications

The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 2026 results for your search.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to assess the vaccine-matching and antigenic properties of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) isolates collected from Ethiopia between 2011 and 2014. Samples (n = 51) were collected from cattle and pigs with clinical signs consistent with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) on farms in Debre-Berhan, Debre-Zeit/Bishoftu, Sidamo, Mekelle, and Addis Ababa. Infectious FMDV was isolated using BHK-21 cell cultures from 38 of the 51 field samples (74.5%). All of these FMDV-positive samples were characterized as serotype O, belonging to two East Africa topotypes (EA-3 and EA-4), and their VP1-encoding sequences demonstrated amino acid sequence variability encompassing 27 positions in comparison to the vaccine strain (O/ETH/38/2005) currently provided by the National Veterinary Institute of Ethiopia. One-dimensional virus neutralization test (1 dm VNT) results showed that O/ETH/38/2005 was antigenically matched to 10 of the 16 serotype O viruses. These findings indicate that the O/ETH/38/2005 vaccine strain can provide protection against outbreaks caused by the O/EA-3 topotype, although poorer vaccine-matching results for the O/EA-4 topotype reinforce the importance of using a good-quality vaccine with high coverage in the susceptible herds with supporting post-vaccination serosurveillance to ensure that sufficient antibody titers are generated in the vaccinated animals.

Abstract

Following short immunization protocols, naturally attenuated African swine fever virus (ASFV) isolate OURT88/3 and deletion mutant BeninΔMGF have previously been shown to induce high percentage of protection in domestic pigs against challenge with virulent virus. Results obtained in the present study showed that a single intramuscular immunization of domestic pigs with OURT88/3 or BeninΔMGF followed by a challenge with virulent Benin 97/1 isolate at day 130 post-immunisation did not trigger the necessary mechanisms to generate immunological memory able to induce long-term protection against disease. All pigs developed acute forms of ASF. IFNgamma producing cells peaked at day 24 post-immunisation, declining thereafter. Surprisingly, levels of T regulatory cells (Tregs) and IL-10 were elevated at the end of the experiment suggesting that regulatory components of the immune system may inhibit effective protection.Importance. Duration of immunity for any vaccine candidate is crucial. In the case of African swine fever virus vaccine candidates, this issue has received little attention. Attenuated viruses have been proven protective following short immunization protocols in which pigs were challenged a few weeks after the first immunization. Here, duration of immunity and immune responses induced over a duration of 130 days were studied during pre-challenge and after challenge of pigs immunised with the naturally attenuated isolate OURT88/3 and an attenuated gene-deleted isolate BeninΔMGF. After a single intramuscular immunization of domestic pigs with the OURT88/3 isolate o BeninΔMGF virus, animals were not protected against challenge with virulent Benin 97/1 ASFV genotype I isolate at day 130 post-immunization. Levels of T regulatory cells and IL-10 were elevated at the end of the experiment, suggesting that regulatory components of the immune system may inhibit effective protection.

Riffault S, Hagglund S, Guzman E, Naslund K, Jouneau L, Dubuquoy C, Pietralunga V, Laubreton D, Boulesteix O, Gauthier D, Remot A, Boukaridi A, Falk A, Shevchenko G, Lind S B, Vargmar K, Zhang B, Kwong P D, Rodriguez M J, Duran M G, Schwartz-Cornil I, Eleouet J F, Taylor G, Valarcher J F (2020)

A single shot pre-fusion-stabilized bovine RSV F vaccine is safe and effective in newborn calves with maternally derived antibodies

Vaccines 8 (2), 231

Abstract

Achieving safe and protective vaccination against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants and in calves has proven a challenging task. The design of recombinant antigens with a conformation close to their native form in virus particles is a major breakthrough. We compared two subunit vaccines, the bovine RSV (BRSV) pre-fusion F (preF) alone or with nanorings formed by the RSV nucleoprotein (preF+N). PreF and N proteins are potent antigenic targets for neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses, respectively. To tackle the challenges of neonatal immunization, three groups of six one-month-old calves with maternally derived serum antibodies (MDA) to BRSV received a single intramuscular injection of PreF, preF+N with MontanideTM  ISA61 VG (ISA61) as adjuvant or only ISA61 (control). One month later, all calves were challenged with BRSV and monitored for virus replication in the upper respiratory tract and for clinical signs of disease over one week, and then post-mortem examinations of their lungs were performed. Both preF and preF+N vaccines afforded safe, clinical, and virological protection against BRSV, with little difference between the two subunit vaccines. Analysis of immune parameters pointed to neutralizing antibodies and antibodies to preF as being significant correlates of protection. Thus, a single shot vaccination with preF appears sufficient to reduce the burden of BRSV disease in calves with MDA.

Parry R, Naccache F, Ndiaye E H, Fall G, Castelli I, Luhken R, Medlock J, Cull B, Hesson J C, Montarsi F, Failloux A B, Kohl A, Schnettler E, Diallo M, Asgari S, Dietrich I, Becker S C (2020)

Identification and RNAi profile of a novel iflavirus infecting Senegalese Aedes vexans arabiensis mosquitoes

Viruses 12 (4), 440
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040440

Abstract

The inland floodwater mosquito Aedes vexans (Meigen, 1830) is a competent vector of numerous arthropod-borne viruses such as Rift Valley fever virus (Phenuiviridae) and Zika virus (Flaviviridae). Aedes vexans spp. have widespread Afrotropical distribution and are common European cosmopolitan mosquitoes. We examined the virome of Ae. vexans arabiensis samples from Barkedji village, Senegal, with small RNA sequencing, bioinformatic analysis, and RT-PCR screening. We identified a novel 9494 nt iflavirus (Picornaviridae) designated here as Aedes vexans iflavirus (AvIFV). Annotation of the AvIFV genome reveals a 2782 amino acid polyprotein with iflavirus protein domain architecture and typical iflavirus 5' internal ribosomal entry site and 3' poly-A tail. Aedes vexans iflavirus is most closely related to a partial virus sequence from Venturia canescens (a parasitoid wasp) with 56.77% pairwise amino acid identity. Analysis of AvIFV-derived small RNAs suggests that AvIFV is targeted by the exogenous RNA interference pathway but not the PIWI-interacting RNA response, as ~60% of AvIFV reads corresponded to 21 nt Dicer-2 virus-derived small RNAs and the 24-29 nt AvIFV read population did not exhibit a "ping-pong" signature. The RT-PCR screens of archival and current (circa 2011-2020) Ae. vexans arabiensis laboratory samples and wild-caught mosquitoes from Barkedji suggest that AvIFV is ubiquitous in these mosquitoes. Further, we screened wild-caught European Ae. vexans samples from Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Sweden, all of which tested negative for AvIFV RNA. This report provides insight into the diversity of commensal Aedes viruses and the host RNAi response towards iflaviruses.

Abstract

Equine-origin H3N8 and avian-origin H3N2 canine influenza viruses (CIVs) prevalent in dogs are thought to pose a public health threat arising from intimate contact between dogs and humans. However, our understanding of CIV virulence is still limited. Influenza A virus PA-X is a fusion protein encoded in part by a +1 frameshifted open reading frame (X-ORF) in segment 3. The X-ORF can be translated in full-length (61 amino acids) or truncated (41 amino acids) form. Genetic analysis indicated that the X-ORFs of equine H3N8 and avian H3N2 influenza viruses encoded 61 amino acids but were truncated after introduction into dogs. To determine the effect of PA-X truncation on the biological characteristics of CIVs, we constructed four recombinant viruses on H3N8 and H3N2 CIV backgrounds bearing truncated or full-length PA-Xs. We observed that truncation of PA-X increased growth of both H3N8 and H3N2 CIVs in MDCK cells and suppressed expression from co-transfected plasmids in MDCK cells. Furthermore, truncation of PA-X enhanced viral pathogenicity in dogs as shown by aggravated clinical symptoms and histopathological changes, increased viral replication in the respiratory system, and prolonged virus shedding. Additionally, CIVs with truncated PA-Xs were transmitted more efficiently in dogs. Global gene expression profiling of the lungs of infected dogs revealed that differentially expressed genes were mainly associated with inflammatory responses, which might contribute to the pathogenicity of PA-X-truncated CIVs. Our findings revealed that truncation of PA-X might be important for the adaptation of influenza viruses to dogs. IMPORTANCE Epidemics of equine-origin H3N8 and avian-origin H3N2 influenza viruses in canine populations are examples of successful cross-species transmission of influenza A viruses. Genetic analysis showed that the PA-X genes of equine H3N8 or avian H3N2 influenza viruses were full-length, with X-ORFs encoding 61 amino acids; however, those of equine-origin H3N8 or avian-origin H3N2 CIVs were truncated, suggesting PA-X truncation occurred after transmission to dogs. Here, we extended the PA-X genes of H3N8 and H3N2 CIVs and compared the biological characteristics of CIVs bearing different lengths of PA-X. We demonstrated that for both H3N8 and H3N2 viruses, truncation of PA-X increased virus yields in MDCK cells and enhanced viral replication, pathogenicity and transmission in dogs. These results might reflect enhanced suppression of host gene expression and up-regulation of genes related to inflammatory responses. Collectively, our data partially explain the conservation of truncated PA-X in CIVs.

Abstract

Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is an emerging disease of cattle that causes substantial economic loss to affected regions. However, factors favouring transmission under field conditions and farm-level impacts are poorly quantified. This was a retrospective case-control study of cattle farms in Nakuru, Kenya to determine risk factors associated with lumpy skin disease and the farm-level economic impacts of an outbreak. Data were collected using questionnaires administered through personal interview. Collected data included herd sizes, age, and sex structures, breeds, sources of replacement stock, grazing systems, and costs (direct and indirect) incurred when LSD outbreaks occurred. Farm-level risk factors were examined through univariable and multivariable logistic regression and a final model built using backward stepwise regression and likelihood ratio tests. The factors associated with LSD outbreaks on univariable analysis included breed (exotic vs. indigenous, OR = 15.01, P = 0.007), source of replacement stock (outside the herd vs. within the herd, OR = 8.38, P < 0.001) and herd size (large [>10 cattle] vs. small [1–3 cattle], OR = 3.51, P = 0.029). In the multivariable logistic regression model, only breed (exotic vs. indigenous, OR = 14.87, 95% CI 1.94–113.97, P = 0.009) and source of replacement stock (outside the herd vs. within the herd OR = 8.7, 95% CI 2.80–27.0, P < 0.001) were associated with outbreaks. The economic impact was compared between farms keeping purely indigenous (n = 10) or exotic (n = 29) breeds of cattle which indicated mean farm-level losses of 12,431 KSH/123 USD and 76,297 KSH/755 USD, respectively. The mean farm-level losses from reduction in milk yield and mortality were estimated at 4,725 KSH/97 USD and 3,103 KSH/31USD for farms keeping indigenous breeds whilst for farms keeping exotic breeds the equivalent losses were 26,886 KSH/266 USD and 43,557 KSH/431 USD, respectively. The indirect losses from treatments and vaccinations were proportionately much higher on farms with indigenous breeds at 4,603 KSH/46 USD making up ~37% of the total costs compared to ~8% (5,855 KSH/58 USD per farm) of the total costs for farms with exotic breeds. These findings indicate that LSD caused significant economic losses at the farm level in Nakuru County. This justifies implementation of disease control measures including quarantine of cattle post-purchase and the need for effective vaccinations of susceptible cattle herds.

Abstract

Introduction: Fowl adenovirus can cause important diseases in chickens such as inclusion body hepatitis, hepatitis hydropericardium syndrome, and gizzard erosion and ulceration. Inclusion body hepatitis has been regularly reported from many countries. This is the first case report from Turkey, describing an outbreak of inclusion body hepatitis in broiler farms due to fowl adenovirus-8b (FAdV-8b). Material and Methods: Broiler flocks with mortality about 10% were visited in Turkey, and necropsy was performed on dead birds. Samples were subjected to PCR assay to detect FAdV and other viral pathogens. After sequencing, phylogenetic analysis was performed and the nucleotide sequences of hexon genes were compared with the FAdV sequences data available in GenBank. Results: Clinical signs such as anorexia, depression, ruffled feathers, huddling, and greenish diarrhoea were observed. Mortality started at the 8th day of age and ranged from 10% to 14%. Necropsy showed severe hepatitis, jaundice, and pancreatitis. The main necropsy findings included a pale, enlarged, haemorrhagic, and friable liver along with swollen and haemorrhagic kidneys and spleen. PCR and sequence analysis revealed the presence of fowl adenovirus serotype 8b (FAdV-E). Conclusion: This is the first report on characterisation and the pathological lesions associated with FAdV in broilers in Turkey. Our findings suggest that FAdV strains could be an emerging pathogen in Turkish broilers and could actively contribute to hepatitis and immunosuppression.

Abstract

Viruses must hijack cellular translation machinery to express viral genes. In many cases, this is impeded by cellular stress responses. These stress responses result in the global inhibition of translation and the storage of stalled mRNAs, into RNA-protein aggregates called stress granules. This results in the translational silencing of the majority of mRNAs excluding those beneficial for the cell to resolve the specific stress. For example, the expression of antiviral factors is maintained during viral infection. Here we investigated stress granule regulation by Gammacoronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), which causes the economically important poultry disease, infectious bronchitis. Interestingly, we found that IBV is able to inhibit multiple cellular stress granule signaling pathways, whilst at the same time, IBV replication also results in the induction of seemingly canonical stress granules in a proportion of infected cells. Moreover, IBV infection uncouples translational repression and stress granule formation and both processes are independent of eIF2α phosphorylation. These results provide novel insights into how IBV modulates cellular translation and antiviral stress signaling.

Abstract

Pooled milk is used for the surveillance of several diseases of livestock. Previous studies demonstrated the detection of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) in the milk of infected animals at high dilutions, and consequently, the collection of pooledmilk samples could be used to enhance FMD surveillance. This study evaluated pooled milk for FMDV surveillance on a large-scale dairy farm that experienced two FMD outbreaks caused by the A/ASIA/G-VII and O/ME-SA/Ind-2001d lineages, despite regular vaccination and strict biosecurity practices. FMDV RNA was detected in 42 (5.7%) of the 732 pooled milk samples, and typing information was concordant with diagnostic reports of clinical disease. The FMDV positive milk samples were temporally clustered around reports of new clinical cases, but with a wider distribution. For further investigation, a model was established to predict real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) CT values using individual cattle movement data, clinical disease records and virus excretion data from previous experimental studies. The model explained some of the instances where there were positive results by rRT-PCR, but no new clinical cases and suggested that subclinical infection occurred during the study period. Further studies are required to investigate the effect of vaccination on FMDV excretion in milk, and to evaluate more representative sampling methods. However, the results from this pilot study indicate that testing pooled milk by rRT-PCR may be valuable for FMD surveillance and has provided evidence of subclinical virus infection in vaccinated herds that could be important in the epidemiology of FMD in endemic countries where vaccination is used.

Pascall D J, Nomikou K, Breard E, Zientara S, Filipe A D S, Hoffmann B, Jacquot M, Singer J B, De Clercq K, Botner A, Sailleau C, Viarouge C, Batten C, Puggioni G, Ligios C, Savini G, van Rijn P A, Mertens P P C, Biek R, Palmarini M (2020)

Frozen evolution of an RNA virus suggests accidental release as a potential cause of arbovirus re-emergence

PLoS Biology 18 (4), e3000673

Abstract

The mechanisms underlying virus emergence are rarely well understood, making the appearance of outbreaks largely unpredictable. Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8), an arthropod-borne virus of ruminants, emerged in livestock in northern Europe in 2006, spreading to most European countries by 2009 and causing losses of billions of euros. Although the outbreak was successfully controlled through vaccination by early 2010, puzzlingly, a closely related BTV-8 strain re-emerged in France in 2015, triggering a second outbreak that is still ongoing. The origin of this virus and the mechanisms underlying its re-emergence are unknown. Here, we performed phylogenetic analyses of 164 whole BTV-8 genomes sampled throughout the two outbreaks. We demonstrate consistent clock-like virus evolution during both epizootics but found negligible evolutionary change between them. We estimate that the ancestor of the second outbreak dates from the height of the first outbreak in 2008. This implies that the virus had not been replicating for multiple years prior to its re-emergence in 2015. Given the absence of any known natural mechanism that could explain BTV-8 persistence over this long period without replication, we hypothesise that the second outbreak could have been initiated by accidental exposure of livestock to frozen material contaminated with virus from approximately 2008. Our work highlights new targets for pathogen surveillance programmes in livestock and illustrates the power of genomic epidemiology to identify pathways of infectious disease emergence.

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