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Comparison of three different PCR protocols for the detection of ferlaviruses

Kolesnik, E., Hyndman, T.H., Müller, E., Pees, M. and Marschang, R.E. (2019) Comparison of three different PCR protocols for the detection of ferlaviruses. BMC Veterinary Research, 15 (1). Article number: 281.

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Ferlaviruses are important pathogens in snakes often associated with respiratory and neurological disease. The detection of ferlaviral RNA by PCR is considered to be the most reliable method for the diagnosis of infection. The PCRs that have been used most commonly for this purpose have not been properly assessed to determine their sensitivity, specificity and ability to detect the known genetic diversity of this group of viruses. The aim of this study was to compare three published PCR protocols so that a single method could be recommended to laboratories that perform this testing.

Comparisons were carried out using cell culture isolates and tissues from snakes infected with specific virus genotypes. A single round PCR targeting a short segment of the viral polymerase (L) gene provided the highest sensitivity and specificity, and detected isolated ferlaviruses from all four described genogroups, as well as from tissues of infected snakes.

A broadly-reactive PCR for the detection of all known ferlaviruses was found to provide a good combination of detection limit, specificity and speed. Based on these criteria, this method is recommended for the diagnosis of ferlavirus infections.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: BioMed Central
Copyright: © The Author(s). 2019
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