The goals of this project are to investigate and develop reagents and methods which will improve the diagnosis of swine vesicular disease (SVD). In particular, the "singleton reactor" phenomenon will be specifically addressed.
We will also investigate those aspects of viral pathogenesis which affect the effectiveness of control programs for the disease, such as the persistence of SVD virus in pigs and the cells involved in early infection. SVD is a disease of increased prevalence and economic significance in EU member states The disease is highly contagious, and is rapidly spread by direct contact with infected pigs and by contamination of the environment. Its eradication within the EU is a priority objective of the member states. Current diagnosis of SVD, based on conventional serological methods, does not allow enough confidence in screeneing of animals and needs to be improved. SVD is among OIE Category list A diseases. The proposed study directly complies with a priority objective of the Agricultural and Fisheries workprogramme (4. 4 Animal and Plant Health, Animal Welfare), as one of the research tasks of this programme is the development of improved diagnostic tests, including application of biotechnology, and systems for zoonoses and diseases of economic significance (4.4.2). The specific objectives are: To improve virus detection. Accurate and versatile ELISA and PCR techniques for the detection of small traces of SVD virus in nasal swabs, faeces and tissues will be developed.
Insitu hybridisation and in-situ PCR will be optimised to detect virus in post mortem organs. SVD virus isolates will be characterised to identify the origin of new outbreaks, patterns of spread and viral evolution.
To improve serology. Novel and simple ELISA based on recombinant and synthetic antigens will be developed and validated. We will also develop novel techniques to detect SVD virusspecific cellular immune response and serological methods including isotype (IgG/IgM) analysis of the sera to study the evolution of the disease.
To study viral pathogenesis. The application of the above techniques will be applied to study the duration of SVDV infection as well as the identification of cells and organs involved in viral persistence.
The use of biotechnology to develop more specific, sensitive and cost-effective diagnostics will result in quicker diagnosis of SVD infections and hopefully the resolution of the singleton reactor phenomenon. Rapid and accurate diagnosis of SVD will limit the potential spread of disease to other animals, thus maintaining animal well-being. In addition, the use of recombinant or synthetic antigens will eliminate the need for mass production of susceptible cell cultures for production and purification of SVD antigens A range of different established technological expertise necessary for completion of the project is spread throughout the network of participating partners. In addition, excellent training opportunities for scientists in these new disciplines will be provided.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
8200 AB Lelystad
GU24 0NF Woking
BT4 3SD Belfast