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Antigenicity, pathogenicity and immunosuppressive effect caused by a South American isolate of infectious bursal disease virus belonging to the “distinct” genetic lineage

Tomás, Gonzalo, Marandino, Ana, Courtillon, Céline, Amelot, Michel, Keita, Alassane, Pikula, Anna, Hernández, Martín, Hernández, Diego, Vagnozzi, Ariel, Panzera, Yanina, Domańska-Blicharz, Katarzyna, Eterradossi, Nicolas, Pérez, Ruben, Soubies, Sébastien Mathieu
Avian pathology 2019 v.48 no.3 pp. 245-254
Infectious bursal disease virus, Newcastle disease, atrophy, chickens, control methods, genetic analysis, genome, immune system, immunosuppression, monoclonal antibodies, pathogenicity, phenotype, poultry industry, virulent strains, Europe, South America
Infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) is the causative agent of a highly contagious immunosuppressive disease affecting young chickens. The recently described “distinct IBDV” (dIBDV) genetic lineage encompasses a group of worldwide distributed strains that share conserved genetic characteristics in both genome segments making them unique within IBDV strains. Phenotypic characterization of these strains is scarce and limited to Asiatic and European strains collected more than 15 years ago. The present study aimed to assess the complete and comprehensive phenotypic characterization of a recently collected South American dIBDV strain (1/chicken/URY/1302/16). Genetic analyses of both partial genome segments confirmed that this strain belongs to the dIBDV genetic lineage and that it is not a reassortant. Antigenic analysis with monoclonal antibodies indicated that this strain has a particular antigenic profile, similar to that obtained in a dIBDV strain from Europe (80/GA), which differs from those previously found in the traditional classic, variant and very virulent strains. Chickens infected with the South American dIBDV strain showed subclinical infections but had a marked bursal atrophy. Further analysis using Newcastle disease virus-immunized chickens, previously infected with the South American and European dIBDV strains, demonstrated their severe immunosuppressive effect. These results indicate that dIBDV strains currently circulating in South America can severely impair the immune system of chickens, consequently affecting the local poultry industry. Our study provides new insights into the characteristics and variability of this global genetic lineage and is valuable to determine whether specific control measures are required for the dIBDV lineage. Research Highlights A South American strain of the dIBDV lineage was phenotypically characterized. The strain produced subclinical infections with a marked bursal atrophy. Infected chickens were severely immunosuppressed. The dIBDV strains are antigenically divergent from other IBDV lineages.