Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Discovery of novel virus in swine could prevent history from repeating

A discovery of a new circovirus in swine has been made by Benjamin Hause and Rachel Palinski at the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and collaborators at Kansas State University, Iowa State University, and Smithfield Hog Production.  

Originally, samples from sows led researchers at Kansas State to think there was porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection, but the samples tested negative for PCV2. To give a little background of PCV2, PCV2 was discovered in the mid 1990s, causing young pigs to fail to thrive and lose body condition. PCV2 has been controlled successfully, but after massive epidemics in the early 2000s in Asia, Europe, and North America occurred, killing millions of pigs. PCV2 continues to be one of the most significant viruses of swine.

After further testing of the samples, the Kansas State researchers identified a new species of circovirus, which could possibly lead to the beginning of a new epidemic of circovirus infections. This virus is not found to be a variant of PCV2, but an entirely novel virus. Further research needs to be done on this virus, given the potential for high economic impact of millions of dollars.

Emily Nguyen

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