Sequence Analysis of Egyptian Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Field and Vaccine Strains: Intertypic Recombination and Evidence for Accidental Release of Virulent Virus

Abd El Rahman, Sahar; Hoffmann, Bernd GND; Karam, Reham; El-Beskawy, Mohamed; Hamed, Mohammed F.; Forth, Leonie GND; Höper, Dirk GND; Eschbaumer, Michael GND

In spite of annual mass vaccination programs with polyvalent inactivated vaccines, the incidence and economic impact of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Egypt is high. Viruses of the A, O and SAT 2 serotypes are endemic and repeated incursions of new lineages from other countries lead to an unstable situation that makes the selection of appropriate vaccine antigens very difficult. In this study, whole genome sequencing of a 2016 serotype A isolate from Egypt revealed a recombination event with an African serotype O virus. Based on available vaccine matching data, none of the vaccines currently used in Egypt are expected to sufficiently protect against this virus or other viruses of this lineage (A/AFRICA/G-IV) circulating there since 2012. In addition to the risk of vaccine failure caused by strain mismatch, the production of inactivated FMD vaccines is dangerous if adequate biosafety cannot be maintained. Using a high-throughput sequencing protocol optimized for short nucleic acid fragments, the composition of a local inactivated vaccine was analyzed in depth. The serotype O strain identified in the vaccine was genetically identical to viruses found in recent FMD outbreaks in Egypt.

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Abd El Rahman, Sahar / Hoffmann, Bernd / Karam, Reham / et al: Sequence Analysis of Egyptian Foot-and-Mouth Disease Virus Field and Vaccine Strains: Intertypic Recombination and Evidence for Accidental Release of Virulent Virus. 2020.

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