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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2005 Mar;17(2):165-70.

Simultaneous detection of North American and European porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus using real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR.

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  • 1Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is 1 of the most economically important diseases of swine. Detection of the etiologic agent, PRRS virus (PRRSV), represents a diagnostic challenge due to the heterogeneity of field isolates as well as the propensity for swine to develop persistent infection in which virus is difficult to detect. Recently European (EU) lineage PRRSV isolates, which are genetically divergent from North American (NA) isolates, have been introduced into NA swine further complicating efforts to diagnose this disease. In this study, real-time (TaqMan) reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR assays were developed for multiplex detection, differentiation, and quantification of NA and EU PRRSV field isolates. Oligonucleotide primers and dual-labeled probes were selected from conserved regions of open-reading frame 7 and the 3'-untranslated region. The real-time RT-PCR assays described for the NA or EU genotype of PRRSV detected viral RNA from 83/83 strains (74 NA; 9 EU) previously isolated by cell culture between 1992 and 2003. The analytical sensitivity of both assays was consistently found to be less than a single TCID50, which corresponded to 5-10 RNA molecules, and was not significantly reduced when the reactions were performed in a multiplex format. When performing multiplex reactions, sensitive detection was possible even when 1 viral RNA concentration was up to 5,000-fold higher than the second. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the multiplex reaction was found to be at a minimum equivalent to that of both nested RT-PCR and virus isolation.

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