Vet Microbiol. 2021 Jan 13;254:108985. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.108985. Online ahead of print.


The genome of influenza A virus is negative-sense and segmented RNA, which is transcribed and replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) during the virus life cycle. The viral RdRp is thought to be an important host range and virulence determinant factor, and the 627 site of PB2 subunit is a highly acceptable key site of RdRp function. Besides, the function of RdRp is modulated by several host factors. Identification of the host factors interacting with RdRp is of great interest. Here, we tried to explore an effective method to study virus-host interaction by rescuing replication-competent recombinant influenza viruses carrying Strep tagged PB2. Subsequently, we tested several biological characteristics of recombinant viruses in cells and pathogenicity in mice. Then, we purified of protein complex of Strep tagged PB2 and host factors of interest from 293 T cells infected with recombinant viruses. After purification, we performed mass spectrometry to identify these proteins that interacting with PB2. We identified 57 host factors in total. Through Gene Ontology (GO) and Protein-Protein interaction (PPI) network analysis, we revealed the function and network of these proteins. In summary, we generated replication-competent recombinant influenza viruses by inserting a Strep-Tag into PB2 and purified host factors interacting with viral RdRp bearing a 627 K or 627E PB2. These proteins might function as host range and virulence determinants of influenza virus.

PMID:33550110 | DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2021.108985

Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020 Dec;9(1):2622-2631. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1850180.


Influenza viruses have an error-prone polymerase complex that facilitates a mutagenic environment. Antigenic mutants swiftly arise from this environment with the capacity to persist in both humans and economically important livestock even in the face of vaccination. Furthermore, influenza viruses can adjust the antigenicity of the haemagglutinin (HA) protein, the primary influenza immunogen, using one of four molecular mechanisms. Two prominent mechanisms are: (1) enhancing binding avidity of HA toward cellular receptors to outcompete antibody binding and (2) amino acid substitutions that introduce an N-linked glycan on HA that sterically block antibody binding. In this study we investigate the impact that adsorptive mutation and N-linked glycosylation have on receptor-binding, viral fitness, and antigenicity. We utilize the H9N2 A/chicken/Pakistan/SKP-827/16 virus which naturally contains HA residue T180 that we have previously shown to be an adsorptive mutant relative to virus with T180A. We find that the addition of N-linked glycans can be beneficial or deleterious to virus replication depending on the background receptor binding avidity. We also find that in some cases, an N-linked glycan can trump the effect of an avidity enhancing substitution with respect to antigenicity. Taken together these data shed light on a potential route to the generation of a virus which is "fit" and able to overcome vaccine pressure.

PMID:33179567 | PMC:PMC7738305 | DOI:10.1080/22221751.2020.1850180

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2020 Oct 30. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13903. Online ahead of print.


A retrospective investigation of pig tissue samples from different classical swine fever virus (CSFV) outbreaks was undertaken employing RT-PCR for possible coinfection with other swine viruses. Four samples from three different outbreaks were found to be coinfected with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). Phylogenetic analysis was done based on complete E gene sequenced from all four coinfected samples. This revealed a new introduction of a divergent subgroup of JEV genotype I in India. This is the first report of detection of coinfection of JEV and CSFV in pigs and the first incidence of JEV genotype I in pigs in India.

PMID:33124192 | DOI:10.1111/tbed.13903

Vet World. 2020 Aug;13(8):1524-1527. doi: 10.14202/vetworld.2020.1524-1527. Epub 2020 Aug 8.


BACKGROUND AND AIM: Anaplasma infection is a worldwide prevalent condition that causes significant economic losses in affected flocks. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence and clinical signs associated with ovine anaplasmosis as well as the hematological and biochemical changes associated with the disease in natural infection in North Iraq.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 420 sheep were appropriately examined, and the clinical signs were documented accordingly. Blood samples were collected and subjected to parasitological, hematological, and biochemical analyses.

RESULTS: Anaplasma-infected sheep displayed the following clinical signs: Paleness of the mucous membrane, bloody diarrhea, emaciation, pyrexia, jaundice, nasal discharge, coughing, loss of wool, nervous signs, hemoglobinuria, and lacrimation. The prevalence of Anaplasma infection was 66.19%, and female sheep were significantly (p<0.05) more infected than male sheep. The hematological and biochemical parameters were significantly different between Anaplasma-positive and Anaplasma-negative sheep.

CONCLUSION: Anaplasma infection among sheep is a significant concern in North Iraq considering its prevalence, clinical signs, and hematological and biochemical findings, which entirely causes significant debilitating effects on sheep productivity. It is important to pay more attention toward managing tick infestation among sheep to reduce the occurrence of this rickettsial disease for a more robust livestock sector of the Iraqi economy.

PMID:33061222 | PMC:PMC7522931 | DOI:10.14202/vetworld.2020.1524-1527

Front Public Health. 2020 Jul 10;8:344. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00344. eCollection 2020.


In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries around the world varied in the strength and timeliness of their responses. In Romania, specific challenges were faced with regards to managing the spread and limiting the impact of the disease, ranging from healthcare infrastructure to demographic and sociocultural aspects. As the country has a sizeable diaspora, major difficulties were faced when large numbers of individuals from highly affected areas returned to Romania. However, the fast implementation of control measures successfully averted a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. This delayed the overburdening of an already challenged healthcare system during the initial phases of the epidemic. Furthermore, early control was facilitated by the exploitation of communication channels that penetrated all layers of society, from ordinary citizens to governmental authorities and high-ranking religious figures. The management of the COVID-19 crisis in Romania illustrates the importance of a fast initial response which takes into account the role played by sociocultural aspects in the context of an epidemic. As the challenges faced by Romania are not unique, these results could inform future public health strategies worldwide.

PMID:32766201 | PMC:PMC7381272 | DOI:10.3389/fpubh.2020.00344

Cell Host Microbe. 2020 Oct 7;28(4):614-627.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.07.006. Epub 2020 Jul 27.


Swine influenza A viruses (swIAVs) can play a crucial role in the generation of new human pandemic viruses. In this study, in-depth passive surveillance comprising nearly 2,500 European swine holdings and more than 18,000 individual samples identified a year-round presence of up to four major swIAV lineages on more than 50% of farms surveilled. Phylogenetic analyses show that intensive reassortment with human pandemic A(H1N1)/2009 (H1pdm) virus produced an expanding and novel repertoire of at least 31 distinct swIAV genotypes and 12 distinct hemagglutinin/neuraminidase combinations with largely unknown consequences for virulence and host tropism. Several viral isolates were resistant to the human antiviral MxA protein, a prerequisite for zoonotic transmission and stable introduction into human populations. A pronounced antigenic variation was noted in swIAV, and several H1pdm lineages antigenically distinct from current seasonal human H1pdm co-circulate in swine. Thus, European swine populations represent reservoirs for emerging IAV strains with zoonotic and, possibly, pre-pandemic potential.

PMID:32721380 | DOI:10.1016/j.chom.2020.07.006

Front Vet Sci. 2020 Jul 3;7:361. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2020.00361. eCollection 2020.


The chicken industry of Pakistan is a major livestock sub-sector, playing a pivotal role in economic growth and rural development. This study aimed to characterize and map the structure of broiler and layer production systems, associated value chains, and chicken disease management in Pakistan. Qualitative data were collected in 23 key informant interviews and one focus group discussion on the types of production systems, inputs, outputs, value addition, market dynamics, and disease management. Quantitative data on proportions of commodity flows were also obtained. Value chain maps were generated to illustrate stakeholder groups and their linkages, as well as flows of birds and products. Thematic analysis was conducted to explain the functionality of the processes, governance, and disease management. Major chicken production systems were: (1) Environmentally controlled production (97-98%) and (2) Open-sided house production (2-3%). Broiler management systems were classified as (I) Independent broiler production; (II) Partially integrated broiler production; and (III) Fully integrated broiler production, accounting for 65-75, 15-20, and 10-15% of commercial broiler meat supply, respectively. The management systems for layers were classified as (I) Partially integrated layer production and (II) Independent layer production, accounting for 10 and 80-85% in the egg production, respectively. The share of backyard birds for meat and eggs was 10-15%. Independent, and integrated systems for chicken production could be categorized in terms of value chain management, dominance of actors, type of finished product and target customers involved. Integrated systems predominantly targeted high-income customers and used formal infrastructure. Numerous informal chains were identified in independent and some partially integrated systems, with middlemen playing a key role in the distribution of finished birds and eggs. Structural deficiencies in terms of poor farm management, lack of regulations for ensuring good farming practices and price fixing of products were key themes identified. Both private and public stakeholders were found to have essential roles in passive disease surveillance, strategy development and provision of health consultancies. This study provides a foundation for policy-makers and stakeholders to investigate disease transmission, its impact and control and the structural deficiencies identified could inform interventions to improve performance of the poultry sector in Pakistan.

PMID:32714948 | PMC:PMC7351015 | DOI:10.3389/fvets.2020.00361

Sci Rep. 2020 Jul 22;10(1):12522. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-69599-3.


An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.

PMID:32694528 | PMC:PMC7374755 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-69599-3

Pathogens. 2020 Jun 28;9(7):519. doi: 10.3390/pathogens9070519.


The technology-driven world of the 21st century is currently confronted with a major threat to humankind, represented by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of now, COVID-19 has affected more than 6 million confirmed cases and took 0.39 million human lives. SARS-CoV-2 spreads much faster than its two ancestors, SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV (MERS-CoV), but has low fatality rates. Our analyses speculate that the efficient replication and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 might be due to the high-density basic amino acid residues, preferably positioned in close proximity at both the furin-like cleavage sites (S1/S2 and S2') within the spike protein. Given the high genomic similarities of SARS-CoV-2 to bat SARS-like CoVs, it is likely that bats serve as a reservoir host for its progenitor. Women and children are less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, while the elderly and people with comorbidities are more prone to serious clinical outcomes, which may be associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cytokine storm. The cohesive approach amongst researchers across the globe has delivered high-end viral diagnostics. However, home-based point-of-care diagnostics are still under development, which may prove transformative in current COVID-19 pandemic containment. Similarly, vaccines and therapeutics against COVID-19 are currently in the pipeline for clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the noteworthy advancements, focusing on the etiological viral agent, comparative genomic analysis, population susceptibility, disease epidemiology and diagnosis, animal reservoirs, laboratory animal models, disease transmission, therapeutics, vaccine challenges, and disease mitigation measures.

PMID:32605194 | PMC:PMC7400054 | DOI:10.3390/pathogens9070519

Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 8;10(1):9217. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-66140-4.


Noroviruses (NoVs) are one of the major causative agents of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in humans worldwide. NoVs, belonging to Caliciviridae, are classified into ten genogroups (G) and eight P-groups based on major capsid protein (VP1) and of the RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp), respectively. In swine, the main genogroup and P-group identified are GII and GII.P; which can infect humans too. To date, only one case of GIIP.11 have been identified in swine in Italy while the circulation of other P-types is currently unknown. In the present study, 225 swine faecal samples were collected from 74 swine herds in Veneto region through on-farm monitoring. NoV circulation was particularly high in older pigs. The phylogenetic analysis showed the co-circulation of NoVs belonging to two different P-types: GII.P11 and GII.P18, here described for the first time in Italy, presenting an extensive genetic diversity, never described before worldwide. Distinct NoV genetic subgroups and unique amino acid mutations were identified for each P-type for the first time. This study demonstrated the co-circulation of diverse swine NoVs subgroups in Italy, raising questions on the origin of such diversity and suggesting that continuous monitoring of swine NoVs is needed to track the emergence of potentially zoonotic viruses by recombination events.

PMID:32513947 | PMC:PMC7280493 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-020-66140-4