A collaboration between the Laboratoire Service International (LSI) and the Institute for Animal Health (IAH) has resulted in the TaqVet BTV European Typing Kit, which can detect seven of the European BTV types.
The collaboration, which focused on the development and commercialisation of novel real-time RT-PCR-based molecular assays for the identification and typing of bluetongue viruses. This resulted in the TaqVet typing kit, which allows detection of BTV 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 16, fulfilling a growing demand for fast and reliable laboratory tests to identify and differentiate BTV types, helping to monitor and contain existing and future outbreaks.
There are now 25 known serotypes of the bluetongue virus, and each currently requires separate vaccination to achieve protection. The emergence of multiple strains of the virus in Europe belonging to nine different BTV types means that it is now very important to be able to identify as rapidly as possible which type is causing a disease outbreak.
The Taqvet BTV RT-PCR kit was developed from research conducted by the Arbovirology Molecular Research Group at the Pirbright Laboratory of the IAH, which is an institute of the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Peter Mertens, head of the arbovirus research group at IAH, said: “This is the first time that a single molecular assay kit has been available that will positively identify and distinguish seven of the European BTV types. The real-time technology used can be used on blood samples making it much faster and more reliable than conventional serological typing methods, generating results in a matter of hours rather than weeks. Personally I regard this form of molecular assay as the current ‘standard’ for initial typing of the bluetongue virus in either blood or tissue culture samples.”