Emergence of antigenic variants within serotype A FMDV in the Middle East with antigenically critical amino acid substitutions

A new immunologically distinct strain (A-Iran-05) of foot-and-mouth disease virus serotype A emerged in the Middle East in 2003 that replaced the previously circulating strains (A-Iran-96 and A-Iran-99) in the region. This resulted in introduction of a new vaccine of this strain (A/TUR/2006) in 2006. Though this vaccine strain has been predominantly used to control FMD in the region, recent viruses isolated in 2012 and 2013 have shown antigenic drift and a poor match with it. In this study, we report the antigenic matching results and capsid sequence data of currently circulating viruses belonging to the SIS-10 and SIS-12 sub-lineages of A-Iran-05 (isolated in 2012 and 2013), highlighting the inadequacy of the currently used serotype A vaccines. Implications of these results in the context of FMD control in the Middle East are discussed.

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