Simultaneous detection of bluetongue virus serotypes using xMAP technology

Bluetongue is an economically important disease of ruminants caused by the bluetongue virus (BTV). BTV is serologically diverse, which complicates vaccination strategies. Rapid identification of the causative BTV serotypes is critical, however, real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) can be costly and time consuming to perform when the circulating serotypes are unknown. The Luminex xMAP technology is a high-throughput platform that uses fluorescent beads to detect multiple targets simultaneously. We utilized existing BTV serotyping RT-qPCR assays for BTV-1 to BTV-24 and adapted them for use with the xMAP platform. The xMAP assay specifically detected all 24 BTV serotypes when testing reference strains. In all BTV-positive samples, the sensitivity of the BTV xMAP was 87.55% whereas the sensitivity of the serotype-specific RT-qPCR was 79.85%. The BTV xMAP assay allowed for the specific detection of BTV serotypes 1–24 at a lower cost than current RT-qPCR assays. Overall, the assay provides a useful novel diagnostic tool, particularly when analyzing large sample sets. The use of the BTV xMAP assay will allow for the rapid assessment of BTV epidemiology and may inform decision-making related to control and prevention measures.

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