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Published On: Sat, May 18th, 2013

USDA develops new cell line for detection of foot-and-mouth disease

USDA scientists at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center  have developed a new cell line that rapidly and accurately detects foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), according to a USDA news release May 16.

Photo credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Photo credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

The research is published online in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

According to the release, the approach used to make the new cell line consisted of cloning the FMD receptor genes from bovine (cattle) tissue and incorporating them into a cell line previously established at Plum Island, and then comparing them to other cells currently used in diagnosing and studying FMD.

The new cell line proved to be faster and more reliable than all current diagnostic cell lines in detecting virus in FMD-infected cattle and pig tissue samples from numerous countries.

“This important breakthrough is an example of how ARS scientists are working to improve agricultural productivity in the face of increasing demand for food,” said ARS Administrator Edward B. Knipling. “This new cell line will help in the global effort to control a disease that can cause significant economic losses.”

“The new cells detect the FMD virus in field samples that come directly from naturally infected animals faster than existing cell lines currently used for diagnostics,” said Luis Rodriguez, research leader at Plum Island’s Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit (FADRU). “The new cells are the first permanent cell line capable of identifying all seven serotypes of FMD virus.”

Although the United States has not had an FMD outbreak in more than 80 years, it is still a serious threat and is considered to be the most economically devastating livestock disease worldwide.

Case in point, just this week, at least two FMD outbreaks were reported in Asia and Africa.

Xinhua reported that China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) on Wednesday said that more than 100 foot-and-mouth disease infections have been confirmed in cattle in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

This prompted the government to cull more than 300 cattle. The National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory on Wednesday confirmed the cases as type-A foot-and-mouth disease.

In Africa, Botswana officials chose to kill some 30,000 small stock, mostly sheep and goats, because of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), according to a Africa Review report Thursday.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today.

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