Antigenic variation of foot-and-mouth disease virus serotype A

The current measures to control foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) include vaccination, movement control and slaughter of infected or susceptible animals. One of the difficulties in controlling FMD by vaccination arises due to the substantial diversity found among the seven serotypes of FMD virus (FMDV) and the strains within these serotypes. Therefore, vaccination using a single vaccine strain may not fully cross-protect against all strains within that serotype, and therefore selection of appropriate vaccines requires serological comparison of the field virus and potential vaccine viruses using relationship coefficients (r1 values). Limitations of this approach are that antigenic relationships among field viruses are not addressed, as comparisons are only with potential vaccine virus. Furthermore, inherent variation among vaccine sera may impair reproducibility of one-way relationship scores. Here, we used antigenic cartography to quantify and visualize the antigenic relationships among FMD serotype A viruses, aiming to improve the understanding of FMDV antigenic evolution and the scope and reliability of vaccine matching. Our results suggest that predicting antigenic difference using genetic sequence alone or by geographical location is not currently reliable. We found co-circulating lineages in one region that were genetically similar but antigenically distinct. Nevertheless, by comparing antigenic distances measured from the antigenic maps with the full capsid (P1) sequence, we identified a specific amino acid substitution associated with an antigenic mismatch among field viruses and a commonly used prototype vaccine strain, A22/IRQ/24/64.

Trim content

® The Pirbright Institute 2022 | A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 559784. The Institute is also a registered charity.