Publications

The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 2026 results for your search.
Lignereux L, Chaber A L, Saegerman C, Heath L, Knowles N J, Wadsworth J, Mioulet V, King D P (2020)

Foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in captive scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah)

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases Early view
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13502

Abstract

This paper describes three episodes of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that were detected during 2013-15 in scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah) (SHO), a large Sahelo-Saharan antelope extinct in the wild housed in a wild ungulate breeding facility located 50 km east of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. While no mortality attributable to FMD was noted in the population of nearly 4000 SHO during two of the three outbreaks, the morbidity varied according to the circulating strains and seroconversion reached a plateau of 78.0% within two weeks and remained at this level for at least nine months. Partial or complete sequencing of the VP1 encoding region demonstrated that the three outbreaks were caused by three different FMDV lineages (O/ME-SA/PanAsia-2, A/ASIA/Iran-05 and O/ME-SA/Ind-2001), consistent with FMD viruses that are circulating elsewhere in the region. These findings demonstrate that SHO are susceptible to FMD and highlight the risks of virus incursion into zoos and captive facilities in the Arabian Peninsula.

Gavier-Widén D, Ståhl K, Dixon L (2020)

No hasty solutions for African swine fever

Science 367 (6478), 622-624

Abstract

African swine fever vaccines could pose risk of causing disease and spreading the virus further.

Abstract

Lumpy skin disease (LSD), sheeppox (SP), and goatpox (GP) are contagious viral infections, affecting cattle (LSD), sheep and goats (SP and GP) with highly characteristic clinical signs affecting multiple body systems. All three diseases are widely reported to reduce meat, milk, wool and cashmere production although few studies have formally evaluated their economic impact on affected farms. This study aimed to estimate the economic impact and epidemiological parameters of LSD, SP, and GP among backyard and transhumance farmers in northeast Nigeria. A retrospective study was conducted on herds and flocks affected between August 2017 and January 2018 in Bauchi, Nigeria. Herds and flocks were diagnosed based on clinical signs and information was collected once the outbreak concluded using a standardized questionnaire. Data were collected from 99 farmers (87 backyard and 12 transhumance). The median incidence risk and fatality rate were 33 and 0% in cattle, 53 and 34 % in sheep; 50 and 33% in goats, respectively, with young stock having higher incidence risk and fatality rates than adults. Almost all farmers (94%) treated affected animals with antibiotics, spending a median of US$1.96 (min US$0.19–max US$27.5) per herd per day. Slaughtering or selling affected animals at low prices were common coping strategies. Farmers sold live cattle for 47% less than would have been sold if the animal was healthy, while sheep and goats were sold for 58 and 57% less, respectively. Milk production dropped 65% when cows were clinically affected and 35% after they recovered. Cattle lost a median of 10% of their live weight and sheep and goats lost 15%. Overall economic losses at farm level range from US$9.6 to US$6,340 depending on species affected and production system. Most of the farmers (72%) had not replaced all affected animals at the time of the study. Livestock markets were the most common place to sell affected animals and buy replacements, suggesting these are likely hubs for spreading infections. This study confirms the immediate and long-lasting impact of these diseases on subsistence farmers' livelihoods in North-East Nigeria and suggests potential mechanisms for targeted control.

Wise E L, Márquez S, Mellors J, Paz V, Atkinson B, Gutierrez B, Zapata S, Coloma J, Pybus O G, Jackson S K, Trueba G, Fejer G, Logue C H, Pullan S T (2020)

Oropouche virus cases identified in Ecuador using an optimised qRT-PCR informed by metagenomic sequencing

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 14 (1), e0007897

Abstract

Oropouche virus (OROV) causes outbreaks of febrile illness in areas of South and Central America and we recently identified it in Ecuador for the first time, using metagenomic sequencing. The genome sequence data revealed that the Ecuadorian strain of the virus was not detected using a published qRT-PCR, as it differed genetically at the binding site of the reverse primer. To address this, we developed a modified qRT-PCR that showed increased sensitivity for the Ecuadorian strain. This test detected OROV infection in 6 out of 196 febrile patients from Esmeraldas, Ecuador in 2016. OROV was isolated from positive patient samples, viral genome sequences were compared to publicly available OROV sequences. This revealed that the Ecuadorian cases are genetically distinct, suggesting that local transmission of the virus should not be ruled out. This work highlights the need for a better understanding of OROV dynamics in Ecuador and surrounding areas, the importance of considering OROV as a cause of fever in Ecuadorian patients and the possibility of selectively using metagenomic sequencing in parallel to traditional molecular techniques in patient testing.

Ulziibat G, Maygmarsuren O, Khishgee B, Basan G, Sandag B, Ruuragc S, Limon G, Wilsden G, Browning C, King D P, Ludi A B, Lyons N A (2020)

Immunogenicity of imported foot-and-mouth vaccines in different species in Mongolia

Vaccine Early view

Abstract

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a high impact viral disease of livestock for which vaccines are extensively used in control. Mongolia has regular incursions of FMD virus that are typically limited to the eastern region although large epidemics are occasionally reported in the normally disease-free western areas. Vaccines are imported and form an important component of the control strategy. In 2015, post-vaccination monitoring guidelines were published by the FAO-OIE recommending approaches for assessing the appropriateness of imported vaccines including small-scale immunogenicity studies. This study used these recommended approaches to guide the use of vaccine adjuvant type and the need for a one or two dose primary course in the national control programme considering cattle, sheep and Bactrian camels and also whether these vaccines were appropriate for the FMD virus lineages considered high risk to Mongolia (A/ASIA/Sea-97; O/SEA/Mya-98; O/ME-SA/PanAsia; O/ME-SA/Ind-2001). The results of these immunogenicity studies indicated that in cattle and sheep, oil-adjuvanted vaccines led to higher and more persistent neutralisation titres that were satisfactory against the target lineages if a two-dose primary course was utilised. In contrast, aqueous-adjuvanted vaccines were associated with lower titres that likely required a booster after 3 months. Levels of antibodies in Bactrian camels were significantly lower although it is unknown how these may correlate with protection under experimental or field exposure conditions. The results of this study have implications for vaccine policy in Mongolia and suggest further studies on the role of Bactrian camels in the epidemiology of FMD are necessary to indicate if further research on FMD vaccines are needed in this species.

Rajko-Nenow P, Christodoulou V, Thurston W, Ropiak H M, Savva S, Brown H, Qureshi M, Alvanitopoulos K, Gubbins S, Flannery J, Batten C (2020)

Origin of bluetongue virus serotype 8 outbreak in Cyprus, September 2016

Viruses 12 (1), 96
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010096

Abstract

In September 2016, clinical signs, indicative of bluetongue, were observed in sheep in Cyprus. Bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) was detected in sheep, indicating the first incursion of this serotype into Cyprus. Following virus propagation, Nextera XT DNA libraries were sequenced on the MiSeq instrument. Full-genome sequences were obtained for five isolates CYP2016/01-05 and the percent of nucleotide sequence (% nt) identity between them ranged from 99.92% to 99.95%, which corresponded to a few (2–5) amino acid changes. Based on the complete coding sequence, the Israeli ISR2008/13 (98.42–98.45%) was recognised as the closest relative to CYP2016/01-05. However, the phylogenetic reconstruction of CYP2016/01-05 revealed that the possibility of reassortment in several segments: 4, 7, 9 and 10. Based on the available sequencing data, the incursion BTV-8 into Cyprus most likely occurred from the neighbouring countries (e.g., Israel, Lebanon, Syria, or Jordan), where multiple BTV serotypes were co-circulating rather than from Europe (e.g., France) where a single BTV-8 serotype was dominant. Supporting this hypothesis, atmospheric dispersion modelling identified wind-transport events during July–September that could have allowed the introduction of BTV-8 infected midges from Lebanon, Syria or Israel coastlines into the Larnaca region of Cyprus. 

Abstract

We present a comprehensive overview of the dependency of several Old World alphaviruses for the host protein G3BP. Based on their replication ability in G3BP-deleted cells, Old World alphaviruses can be categorized into two groups, being either resistant or sensitive to G3BP deletion. We observed that all sensitive viruses have an Arg residue at the P4 position of the cleavage site between nsP1 and nsP2 regions of the replicase precursor polyprotein (1/2 site), while a different residue is found at this site in viruses resistant to G3BP deletion. Swapping this residue between resistant and sensitive viruses also switches the G3BP deletion sensitivity. In the absence of G3BP, CHIKV replication is at the limit of detection. Substitution of P4 Arg-to-His partially rescues this defect. The P4 residue of the 1/2 site is known to play a regulatory role during processing at this site and we found that if processing is blocked, the influence of the P4 residue on the sensitivity to G3BP deletion is abolished. Immunofluorescence experiments with CHIKV replicase with manipulated processing indicate that synthesis of double-stranded RNA is defective in the absence of G3BP and suggest a role of G3BP during negative-strand RNA synthesis. This study provides a functional link between the host protein G3BP and the P4 residue of the 1/2 site for viral RNA replication of Old World alphaviruses. While this suggests a link between G3BP proteins and viral replicase polyprotein processing, we propose that G3BP proteins do not have a regulatory role during polyprotein processing.

IMPORTANCE Old World alphaviruses comprise several medically relevant viruses, including chikungunya virus and Ross River virus. Recurrent outbreaks and the lack of antivirals and vaccines demands ongoing research to fight the emergence of these infectious diseases. In this context, thorough investigation of virus-host interactions is critical. Here we highlight the importance of the host protein G3BP for several Old World alphaviruses. Our data strongly suggest that G3BP plays a crucial role for the activity of the viral replicase and thus, the amplification of the viral RNA genome. To our knowledge, the present work is the first to provide a functional link between the regulation of viral polyprotein processing and RNA replication and a host factor for alphaviruses. Moreover, the results of this study raise several questions about the fundamental regulatory mechanisms that dictate the activity of the viral replicase, thereby paving the way for future studies.

Abstract

Since 2015, outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the Middle East have been caused by a new emerging viral lineage, A/ASIA/G-VII. Invitro vaccine matching data indicated that this virus poorly matched (low r1-value) with vaccines that were being used in the region as well as most other commercially available vaccines. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of two candidate vaccines against challenge with a representative field virus from the A/ASIA/G-VII lineage. The results from an initial full dose protection study provided encouraging data for the A/MAY/97 vaccine, while the A22/IRQ/64 vaccine only protected 2/7 vaccinated animals. In view of these promising results, this vaccine was tested in a potency test (PD50) experiment in which 5 cattle were vaccinated with a full dose, 5 cattle with a 1/3 dose and 5 cattle with a 1/9 dose of vaccine. At 21 days post vaccination these vaccinated cattle and 3 control cattle were challenged intradermolingually with a field isolate from the A/ASIA/G-VII lineage. The intra-serotype heterologous potency test resulted in an intra-serotype heterologous potency of 6.5 PD50/dose. These data support previous studies showing that a high potency emergency vaccine can protect against clinical disease when challenged with a heterologous strain of the same serotype, indicating that not only the r1-value of the vaccine, but also the homologous potency of a vaccine should be taken into account when advising vaccines to control an outbreak.

Armson B, Di Nardo A, Nyaguthii D M, Sanz-Bernardo B, Kitala P M, Chepkwony E, Mioulet V, King D P, Lyons N A (2020)

Utilising milk from pooling facilities as a novel approach for foot-and-mouth disease surveillance

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases Early view
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.13487

Abstract

This study investigated the potential of pooled milk as an alternative sample type for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) surveillance. Real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) results of pooled milk samples collected weekly from five pooling facilities in Nakuru County, Kenya, were compared with half-month reports of household-level incidence of FMD. These periodic cross-sectional surveys of smallholder farmers were powered to detect a threshold household-level FMD incidence of 2.5%, and collected information on trends in milk production and sales. FMDV RNA was detected in 9/219 milk samples, and using a type-specific rRT-PCR, serotype SAT 1 was identified in 3/9 of these positive samples, concurrent with confirmed outbreaks in the study area. Four milk samples were FMDV RNA positive during the half-months when at least one farmer reported FMD, i.e. the household-level clinical incidence was above a threshold of 2.5%. Additionally, some milk samples were FMDV RNA positive when there were no reports of FMD by farmers. These results indicate that the pooled milk surveillance system can detect FMD household-level incidence at a 2.5% threshold when up to 26% of farmers contributed milk to pooling facilities, but perhaps even at lower levels of infection (i.e. below 2.5%), or when conventional disease reporting systems fail. Further studies are required to establish a more precise correlation with estimates of household-level clinical incidence, to fully evaluate the reliability of this approach. However, this pilot study highlights the potential use of this non-invasive, routinely-collected, cost-effective surveillance tool, to address some of the existing limitations of traditional surveillance methods.

Abstract

The risk of emergence and/or re-emergence of arthropod-borne viral (arboviral) infections is rapidly growing worldwide, particularly in Africa. The burden of arboviral infections and diseases is not well scrutinized because of the inefficient surveillance systems in endemic countries. Furthermore, the health systems are fully occupied by the burden of other co-existing febrile illnesses, especially malaria. In this review we summarize the epidemiology and risk factors associated with the major human arboviral diseases and highlight the gap in knowledge, research, and control in Sudan. Published data in English up to March 2019 were reviewed and are discussed to identify the risks and challenges for the control of arboviruses in the country. In addition, the lack of suitable diagnostic tools such as viral genome sequencing, and the urgent need for establishing a genomic database of the circulating viruses and potential sources of entry are discussed. Moreover, the research and healthcare gaps and global health threats are analyzed, and suggestions for developing strategic health policy for the prevention and control of arboviruses with focus on building the local diagnostic and research capacity and establishing an early warning surveillance system for the early detection and containment of arboviral epidemics are offered.

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