Development and evaluation of a novel real-time RT-PCR to detect foot-and-mouth disease viruses from the emerging A/ASIA/G-VII lineage

A new lineage of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), called A/ASIA/G-VII, emerged from the Indian subcontinent in 2015 and continues to spread in Western Asia. Currently, the distribution of viruses belonging to this lineage is defined using sequencing approaches, but other cheaper faster diagnostic methods are urgently needed. Thus, this study describes the development and validation of a novel A/ASIA/G-VII lineage-specific real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR). Diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were evaluated using representative field specimens and isolates from the A/ASIA/G-VII lineage, as well as samples comprising other FMDV lineages that co-circulate in Asia (n=54). This lineage-specific assay accurately detected all A/ASIA/G-VII samples tested (n=29), and no detection was observed for samples belonging to other FMDV lineages (n=25), namely A/ASIA/Sea-97, A/ASIA/Iran-05SIS-10, A/ASIA/Iran-05FAR-11, Asia1/ASIA/Sindh-08, O/CATHAY, O/ME-SA/PanAsia-2ANT-10, O/ME-SA/Ind-2001d, O/SEA/Mya-98. Additionally, the limit of detection was found to be at least equivalent to a pan-serotypic rRT-PCR assay. Therefore, these data indicate that this newly developed rRT-PCR assay can be applied to characterise field isolates in countries where the A/ASIA/G-VII lineage is endemic, as well as to monitor new incursions and outbreaks due to this lineage.

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