Molecular characterization of infectious bursal disease viruses from Pakistan

Since the first report of infectious bursal disease in Pakistan in 1987, outbreaks have been common even in vaccinated flocks. Despite appropriate administration of vaccines, concerns arise if the circulating strains are different from the ones used in the vaccine. Here, we sequenced the hypervariable region (HVR) of the VP2 gene of circulating strains of infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) originating from outbreaks (n = 4) in broiler flocks in Pakistan. Nucleotide sequencing followed by phylogeny and deduced amino acid sequence analysis showed the circulating strains to be very virulent (vv) and identified characteristic residues at position 222 (A), 242 (I), 256 (I), 294 (I) and 299 (S). In addition, a substitution at positions 221 (Q?H) was found to be exclusive to Pakistani strains in our analysis, although a larger dataset is required to confirm this finding. Compared to vaccine strains that are commonly used in Pakistan, substitution mutations were found at key amino acid positions in VP2 that may be responsible for potential changes in neutralization epitopes and vaccine failure.

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