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      Development and Characterization of Probe-Based Real Time Quantitative RT-PCR Assays for Detection and Serotyping of Foot-And-Mouth Disease Viruses Circulating in West Eurasia

      1 , 2 , *

      PLoS ONE

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          Rapid and accurate diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and virus serotyping are of paramount importance for control of this disease in endemic areas where vaccination is practiced. Ideally this virus characterization should be achieved without the need for virus amplification in cell culture. Due to the heterogeneity of FMD viruses (FMDVs) in different parts of the world, region specific diagnostic tests are required. In this study, hydrolysable probe-based real time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assays were developed for specific detection and serotyping of the FMDVs currently circulating in West Eurasia. These assays were evaluated, in parallel with pan-FMDV diagnostic assays and earlier serotype-specific assays, using field samples originating from Pakistan and Afghanistan containing FMD viruses belonging to different sublineages of O-PanAsia, A-Iran05 and Asia-1 (Group-II and Group-VII (Sindh-08)). In addition, field samples from Iran and Bulgaria, containing FMDVs belonging to the O-PanAsia ANT-10 sublineage were also tested. Each of the three primer/probe sets was designed to be specific for just one of the serotypes O, A and Asia-1 of FMDV and detected the RNA from the target viruses with cycle threshold (C T) values comparable with those obtained with the serotype-independent pan-FMDV diagnostic assays. No cross-reactivity was observed in these assays between the heterotypic viruses circulating in the region. The assays reported here have higher diagnostic sensitivity (100% each for serotypes O and Asia-1, and 92% [95% CI = 81.4–100%] for serotype A positive samples) and specificity (100% each for serotypes O, A and Asia-1 positive samples) for the viruses currently circulating in West Eurasia compared to the serotyping assays reported earlier. Comparisons of the sequences of the primers and probes used in these assays and the corresponding regions of the circulating viruses provided explanations for the poor recognition of some of the viruses by the earlier assays. These new assays should help in the early detection and typing of serotype O, A and Asia-1 FMDVs circulating in West Eurasia to enable improved disease control.

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          Most cited references 34

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          MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 6.0.

          We announce the release of an advanced version of the Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis (MEGA) software, which currently contains facilities for building sequence alignments, inferring phylogenetic histories, and conducting molecular evolutionary analysis. In version 6.0, MEGA now enables the inference of timetrees, as it implements the RelTime method for estimating divergence times for all branching points in a phylogeny. A new Timetree Wizard in MEGA6 facilitates this timetree inference by providing a graphical user interface (GUI) to specify the phylogeny and calibration constraints step-by-step. This version also contains enhanced algorithms to search for the optimal trees under evolutionary criteria and implements a more advanced memory management that can double the size of sequence data sets to which MEGA can be applied. Both GUI and command-line versions of MEGA6 can be downloaded from free of charge.
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            The economic impacts of foot and mouth disease – What are they, how big are they and where do they occur?

            Although a disease of low mortality, the global impact of foot and mouth disease (FMD) is colossal due to the huge numbers of animals affected. This impact can be separated into two components: (1) direct losses due to reduced production and changes in herd structure; and (2) indirect losses caused by costs of FMD control, poor access to markets and limited use of improved production technologies. This paper estimates that annual impact of FMD in terms of visible production losses and vaccination in endemic regions alone amount to between US$6.5 and 21 billion. In addition, outbreaks in FMD free countries and zones cause losses of >US$1.5 billion a year. FMD impacts are not the same throughout the world: 1. FMD production losses have a big impact on the world's poorest where more people are directly dependent on livestock. FMD reduces herd fertility leading to less efficient herd structures and discourages the use of FMD susceptible, high productivity breeds. Overall the direct losses limit livestock productivity affecting food security. 2. In countries with ongoing control programmes, FMD control and management creates large costs. These control programmes are often difficult to discontinue due to risks of new FMD incursion. 3. The presence, or even threat, of FMD prevents access to lucrative international markets. 4. In FMD free countries outbreaks occur periodically and the costs involved in regaining free status have been enormous. FMD is highly contagious and the actions of one farmer affect the risk of FMD occurring on other holdings; thus sizeable externalities are generated. Control therefore requires coordination within and between countries. These externalities imply that FMD control produces a significant amount of public goods, justifying the need for national and international public investment. Equipping poor countries with the tools needed to control FMD will involve the long term development of state veterinary services that in turn will deliver wider benefits to a nation including the control of other livestock diseases.
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              Foot-and-mouth disease type O viruses exhibit genetically and geographically distinct evolutionary lineages (topotypes).

              Serotype O is the most prevalent of the seven serotypes of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus and occurs in many parts of the world. The UPGMA method was used to construct a phylogenetic tree based on nucleotide sequences at the 3' end of the VP1 gene from 105 FMD type O viruses obtained from samples submitted to the OIE/FAO World Reference Laboratory for FMD. This analysis identified eight major genotypes when a value of 15% nucleotide difference was used as a cut-off. The validity of these groupings was tested on the complete VP1 gene sequences of 23 of these viruses by bootstrap resampling and construction of a neighbour-joining tree. These eight genetic lineages fell within geographical boundaries and we have used the term topotype to describe them. Using a large sequence database, the distribution of viruses belonging to each of the eight topotypes has been determined. These phylogenetically based epidemiological studies have also been used to identify viruses that have transgressed their normal ecological niches. Despite the high rate of mutation during replication of the FMD virus genome, the topotypes appear to represent evolutionary cul-de-sacs.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                13 August 2015
                : 10
                : 8
                [1 ]Department of Biotechnology, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Dir (L), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
                [2 ]National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Lindholm, Kalvehave, Denmark
                Ella Foundation, INDIA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: SMJ GJB. Performed the experiments: SMJ. Analyzed the data: SMJ GJB. Wrote the paper: SMJ GJB.


                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited

                Figures: 6, Tables: 2, Pages: 16
                The work was funded internally within the DTU (Technical University of Denmark) National Veterinary Institute ( and in part by the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-mouth disease (EuFMD)( The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
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