1887

Abstract

Maedi-visna (MV) is a lentiviral disease of sheep responsible for severe production losses in affected flocks. There are no vaccination or treatment options with control reliant on test and cull strategies. The most common diagnostic methods used at present are combination ELISAs for Gag and Env proteins with virus variability making PCR diagnostics still largely an experimental tool. To assess variability in viral loads and diagnostic tests results, serology, DNA and RNA viral loads were measured in the blood of 12 naturally infected rams repeatedly blood sampled over 16 months. Six animals tested negative in one or more tests at one or more time points and would have been missed on screening programmes reliant on one test method or a single time point. In addition the one animal homozygous for the ‘K’ allele of the E35K SNP maintained very low viral loads in all assays and apparently cleared infection to below detectable limits at the final time point it was sampled. This adds crucial data to the strong epidemiological evidence that this locus represents a genuine resistance marker for MV infection and is a strong candidate for selective breeding of sheep for resistance to disease.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Award 6120028011)
    • Principle Award Recipient: RachaelTarlinton
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2022-02-10
2022-07-06
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