Geneviève Libeau & Ashley Banyard

Institute for Animal Health & Centre de coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement

'Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV): Application of molecular technologies to understanding and controlling the disease'

Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) occurred last year in Morocco, closer than ever to southern Europe. This has led the organising committee of the3rd EPIZONE annual meeting to invite two internationally recognised experts on this disease. Ashley Banyard, is working on lyssaviruses at VLA Weybridge but was formerly involved on reverse genetics of morbilliviruses at IAH Pirbrigth, in the Tom Barret's group. He presented the state of the art regarding the use of molecular technologies for the development of DIVA vaccines against PPR and also for the closely related cattle disease, rinderpest. By reverse genetics, he was able to produce tagged viruses or chimeric PPR/RP viruses, all of them having potential for DIVA vaccines. His former group is now assembling a full length genome of PPRV with a positive tag (addition of an irrelevant B epitope) and a negative tag (suppression of an epitope used in the current ELISA assays).

The second talk on PPR was given by Geneviève Libeau, an OIE/FAO expert on PPR and RP who is responsible of international research and reference activities on PPR. She is the head of the morbillivirus group in the animal virology section at CIRAD, France. She first presented a worldwide overview of the epidemiological situation of PPR. She pointed out the new threat for Europe resulting from the introduction of the disease in Morocco. A ring trial for PPR diagnosis was organised by her group for EPIZONE laboratories. The good results obtained by the participants demonstrate the preparedness of European Laboratories in case of PPR introduction. She ended her talk by showing that the Moroccan strain belongs to the lineage IV, a lineage that originated from Asia but was never reported in Africa before. It emphasizes how can be facilitated the PPR spreading by long distance trades of live animals.