ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0712.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Foot-and-mouth disease virus; serotype Asia-1; BHK suspension cells; mutagenesis; particle stability; neutralizing antibody response; recombinant virus; vaccine production
Online: 31 August 2020 (06:16:50 CEST)
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, which is characterized by the appearance of vesicles in and around the mouth and feet of cloven-hoofed animals. BHK21 cells are the cell line of choice for the propagation of FMDV for vaccine production world-wide but vary in their susceptibility for different FMDV strains. Previous studies showed that the FMDV resistance of a certain BHK cell line can be overcome by using a closely related but permissive cell line for the pre-adaptation of the virus, but the adapted strains were found to harbor several capsid mutations. In this study, these adaptive mutations were introduced into the original Asia-1 Shamir isolate individually or in combination to create a panel of 17 Asia-1 mutants by reverse genetics and examine the effects of the mutations on receptor usage, viral growth, immunogenicity and stability. A single amino acid exchange from glutamic acid to lysine at position 202 in VP1 turned out to be of major importance for productive infection of the suspension cell line BHK-2P. In consequence, two traditionally passage-derived strains and two recombinant viruses with a minimum set of mutations were tested in vivo. While the passaged-derived viruses showed a reduced particle stability, the genetically modified viruses were more stable but did not confer a protective immune response against the original virus isolate.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201911.0353.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: inactivated vaccine; vaccine matching; composition; deep sequencing; degraded RNA; FMDV; whole genome
Online: 28 November 2019 (04:03:46 CET)
Appropriate vaccine selection is crucial in the control of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Vaccination can prevent clinical disease and reduces viral shedding, but there is a lack of cross-protection between the seven serotypes and their sublineages, making the selection of an adequately protective vaccine difficult. Since the exact composition of their vaccines is not consistently disclosed by all manufacturers, incompatibility of the strains used for vaccination with regionally circulating strains can cause vaccination campaigns to fail. Here, we present a deep sequencing approach for polyvalent inactivated FMD vaccines that can identify all component strains by their genome sequences. The genomes of all strains of a commercial pentavalent FMD vaccine were de-novo assembled and the vaccine composition determined semi-quantitatively. The genome assembly required high stringency parameters to prevent misassemblies caused by conserved regions of the genome shared by related strains. In contrast, reference-guided assembly is only recommended in cases where the number of strains is previously known and appropriate reference sequences are available. The presented approach can be applied not only to any inactivated whole-virus FMD vaccine, but also to vaccine quality testing in general and allows for better decision-making for vaccines with unknown composition.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0358.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Foot-and-mouth disease virus; safe sample transport; single-stranded positive-sense RNA; TRIzol extraction; naked RNA; infectivity; RNA transfection; lipofectamine; self-transfection; BHK cells
Online: 25 July 2022 (08:14:51 CEST)
Safe sample transport is of great importance for infectious diseases diagnostics. Various treatments and buffers are used to inactivate pathogens in diagnostic samples. At the same time, adequate sample preservation, particularly of nucleic acids, is essential to allow an accurate laboratory diagnosis. For viruses with single-stranded RNA genomes of positive polarity, such as foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), however, naked full-length viral RNA can itself be infectious. In order to assess the risk of infection from inactivated FMDV samples, two animal experiments were performed. In the first trial, six cattle were injected with FMDV RNA (isolate A22/IRQ/24/64) into the tongue epithelium. All animals developed clinical disease within two days and FMDV was reisolated from serum and saliva samples. In the second trial, another group of six cattle was exposed to FMDV RNA by instilling it on the tongue and spraying it into the nose. The animals were observed for 10 days after exposure. All animals remained clinically unremarkable and virus isolation as well as FMDV genome detection in serum and saliva were negative. No transfection reagent was used for any of the animal inoculations. In conclusion, cattle can be infected by injection with naked FMDV RNA, but not by non-invasive exposure to the RNA. Inactivated FMDV samples that contain full-length viral RNA carry only a negligible risk of infecting animals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0395.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: African swine fever; pathogenesis; biomarkers; serum; saliva; virus inactivation; detergent treatment; heat treatment; impact of treatment on biomarkers
Online: 30 May 2022 (11:22:19 CEST)
African swine fever (ASF) is a notifiable viral disease of domestic and wild suids. Despite intensive re-search efforts, the pathogenesis of the disease is still far from being understood. Analysis of biomarkers in different body fluids may supplement traditional pathogenesis studies. As reliable protocols are often es-tablished in laboratories with lower biosafety, reliable inactivation of samples is crucial. The objective of this study was to find a procedure that inactivates the virus while preserving the biomarkers for down-stream analyses. To this means, three different inactivation protocols were employed, namely Tergitol-type NP-40 (NP-40) and polyoxyethylene-p-t-octylphenol (Triton X-100), respectively, and one with 95 °C heating. It could be demonstrated that all samples treated with 0.5% (v/v) concentration of both deter-gents showed absence of virus infectivity. The same was true for heated samples. However, heated serum was not suitable for analyses. Next, the treatment impact on biomarker readouts was assessed. While all protocols had an impact on the detection of biomarkers, correlation was retained. Especially NP-40 could be the desired detergent for more accurate measurements while achieving efficient virus inactivation. Based on these studies, samples can be reliably inactivated for most biomarker analyses and thus broader interdisciplinary cooperation is possible.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202112.0320.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: African swine fever virus; laboratory diagnosis; commercial real-time PCR; performance; sensitivity; specificity
Online: 21 December 2021 (09:24:26 CET)
African swine fever (ASF) is one of the major threats to pig production, and real-time PCR (qPCR) protocols are integral part of ASF laboratory diagnosis. With the pandemic spread of ASF, commercial kits have risen on the market. In Germany, the kits have to go through an approval process and thus, general validation can be assumed. However, they were never compared to each other. In this study, 12 commercial PCR kits were compared to an OIE recommended method. Samples representing different matrices, genome loads, and genotypes were included in a panel that was tested under diagnostic conditions. The comparison included user-friendliness, internal controls, and the time required. All qPCRs were able to detect ASFV genome in different matrices across all genotypes and disease courses. With one exception, there were no significant differences when comparing the overall mean. The overall specificity was 100 % [95 % CI 87.66 - 100], and the sensitivity was between 95 % and 100 % [95 % CI 91.11 - 100]. As can be expected, variability concerned samples with low genome load. Concluding, all tests were fit for purpose. The test system can therefore be chosen based on compatibility and prioritization of the internal control system.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: African swine fever virus; stability; soil; disinfection; risk mitigation
Online: 29 October 2020 (09:17:20 CET)
Understanding African swine fever virus (ASFV) transmission is essential for strategies to minimize virus spread during an outbreak. ASFV can survive for extended time periods in animal products, carcasses, and the environment. While ASFV genome was found in the environment around infected farms, data on the virus survival in soil are scarce. We investigated different soil matrices spiked with ASFV-positive blood from infected wild boar to see if ASFV can remain infectious in the soil beneath infected carcasses. As expected, ASFV genome detection was possible over the entire sampling period. Soil pH, structure, and ambient temperature played a role for the stability of infectious ASFV. Infectious ASFV was demonstrated in specimens originating from sterile sand for at least three weeks, from beach sand for up to two weeks, from yard soil for one week, and from swamp soil for three days. Virus was not recovered from two acidic forest soils. All risk mitigation experiments with citric acid or calcium hydroxide resulted in complete inactivation. In conclusion, stability of infectious ASFV is very low in acidic forest soils but rather high in sandy soils. However, given the high variability, treatment of carcass collection points with disinfectants should be considered.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0051.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: African swine fever; vaccination; efficacy; domestic pigs; wild boar; oral vaccine; intramuscular vaccine
Online: 2 August 2022 (08:36:03 CEST)
African swine fever (ASF) is a pandemic threat to the global pig industry and wild suids. A safe and efficacious vaccine could monumentally assist in disease eradication. In the past years, promising live attenuated vaccine candidates emerged in proof-of-concept experiments, among them, “ASFV-G-∆MGF”. In our study, we tested the vaccine candidate in three animal experiments intramuscularly in domestic pigs one orally in wild boar. Further, a macrophage-grown vaccine virus and a virus grown on permanent cells could be employed. Irrespective of the production system of vaccine virus, a two-dose intramuscular immunization could induce close to sterile immunity with full clinical protection against challenge infection. After oral immunization, 50% of the vaccinees seroconverted and all responders were completely protected against subsequent challenge. All non-responders developed ASF upon challenge with two acute lethal infections and two mild and transient courses. The latter results show a lower efficiency after oral administration that would have to be taken into consideration when designing vaccination-based control measures. Our findings suggest that “ASFV-G-∆MGF” could help to contain the disease under an appropriate vaccination campaign. Further research is needed to characterize safety aspects and define possible improvements of oral efficiency.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints201807.0200.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: clade 126.96.36.199b; fatal infection; avian flu; HPAIV H5N8; neurological symptoms; bird of prey; raptor
Online: 11 July 2018 (12:30:00 CEST)
In contrast to previous incursions of highly pathogenic H5 viruses, H5N8 clade 188.8.131.52b caused numerous lethal infections in white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla) in Germany during the winter 2016/2017. Until April 2017, 17 HPAIV H5N8-positive white-tailed sea eagles had been detected (three alive and 14 dead). Mainly young eagles died (before reaching the adult plumage at 5 years), often with severe neurological symptoms, where histopathology revealed mild to moderate, oligo- to multifocal necrotizing polioencephalitis. Lethal lead (Pb) concentrations, proven as main mortality factor of the sea eagles could be ruled out since values measured in liver or kidney tissue were all within background levels (< 1 ppm). Since the fall of 2016, the epizootic of HPAIV H5 clade 184.108.40.206b reportedly induced, for the first time, fatal disease in European white-tailed see eagles. The virus strain may become a new threat to a highly protected species across its distribution range in Eurasia. Positive cloacal swaps have proven that the eagles can spread the virus with their faeces.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0024.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses; H5N8; H5N5; Clade 220.127.116.11; phylogenetic network analyses; next-generation sequencing; MinION; epidemiology
Online: 1 August 2022 (14:57:42 CEST)
During autumn/winter in 2016 – 2017 and 2020 – 2021, highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) caused severe outbreaks in Germany and Europe. Multiple clade 18.104.22.168b H5 HPAI subtypes were responsible for increased mortality in wild birds and high mortality and massive losses in the poultry sector. To clarify putative entry sources and delineate interconnections between outbreaks in poultry holdings and wild birds, we applied whole-genome sequencing and phylodynamic analyses combined with the results of epidemiological outbreak investigations. Varying outbreak dynamics of the distinct reassortants allowed for the identification of individual, putatively wild bird-mediated entries into backyard holdings, several clusters comprising poultry holdings, local virus circulation for several weeks, direct farm-to-farm transmission and potential reassortment within a turkey holding with subsequent spill-over of the novel reassorted virus into the wild bird population. Whole-genome sequencing allowed for allowed for a unique high-resolution molecular epidemiology analysis of HPAIV H5Nx outbreaks, recommended to be used as a standard tool. The presented detailed account of the genetic, temporal and geographical characteristics of the recent German HPAI H5Nx situation emphasizes the role of poultry holdings as an important source of novel genetic variants and reassortants.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202211.0413.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: African swine fever virus; early virus detection; artificial insemination; pathogenesis; transmission; boar semen; vertical transmission
Online: 22 November 2022 (09:13:27 CET)
Rapid spread of African swine fever virus (ASFV), causing severe disease with often high fatality rates in Eurasian suids, prevails as a threat for pig populations and dependent industries world-wide. Although advancing scientific progress continually enhances our understanding of ASFV pathogenesis, alternative transmission routes for ASFV have yet to be assessed. Here, we demonstrate that ASFV can efficiently be transferred from infected boars to naïve recipient gilts through artificial insemination (AI). In modern pig production, semen from boar studs often supplies many sow herds. Thus, the infection of a boar stud presents the risk of rapidly and widely distributing ASFV within or between countries. Daily blood and semen collection from four boars after intramuscular inoculation with ASFV strain ‘Estonia 2014’ resulted in detection of ASFV genomes in the semen as early as 2 dpi, in blood at 1 dpi while semen quality remained largely unaffected. Ultimately, after insemination with extended semen, 7 of 14 gilts were ASFV positive by 7 days post insemination, and all gilts were ASFV positive by 35 days post insemi-nation. Twelve out of 13 gilts aborted at the onset of fever. A proportion of fetuses originating from the remaining gilt showed both abnormalities and replication of ASFV in fetal tissues. Thus, we present evidence for the efficient transmission of ASFV to gilts via AI and also to im-planted embryos. These results underline the critical role that boar semen could play in ASFV transmission.
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Biochemistry And Molecular Biology Keywords: African swine fever virus, Belgium, virulence, clinical course, domestic pigs
Online: 2 August 2021 (13:05:54 CEST)
African swine fever (ASF) is one of the most important and devastating viral diseases in wild boar and domestic pigs worldwide. In the absence of vaccines or treatment options, early clinical detection is key and requires sound knowledge of disease characteristics. To provide practitioners and state veterinarians with detailed information, the objective of the present study was to characterize the ASF virus (ASFV) isolate “Belgium 2018/1” in subadult and weaning domestic pigs. To this end, two animal trials were performed. Trial A included eight subadult domestic pigs and trial B five weaner pigs. In general, clinical signs and pathological lesions were in line with previous studies utilizing highly virulent ASF genotype II viruses. However, in trial A, four subadult domestic pigs survived and recovered pointing to an age dependent outcome. The long-term fate of those survivors remains under discussion and would need further investigations.