Differentiation of Capripox Viruses by Nanopore Sequencing
The genus capripoxvirus (CaPV), family Poxviridae, includes three virus species: goatpox virus (GPV), sheeppox virus (SPV) and lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV). CaPV causes disease outbreaks with consequent economic losses in Africa and the Middle East. LSDV has recently spread to Southeast Europe. As CaPVs share 96–97% genetic similarity along the length of the entire genome and are difficult to distinguish using serological assays, simple, reliable and fast methods for diagnosis and species differentiation are crucial in cases of disease outbreak. The present study aimed to develop a field-applicable CaPV differentiation method. Nanopore technology was used for whole genome sequencing. A local database of complete CaPV genomes and partial sequences of three genes (RPO30, P32 and GPCR) was established for offline Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST). Specificities of 98.04% in whole genome and 97.86% in RPO30 gene runs were obtained among the three virus species, while other databases were less specific. The total run time was shortened to approximately 2 h. Functionality of the developed procedure was proved by samples with high host background sequences. Reliable differentiation options for the quality and capacity of hardware, and sample quality of suspected cases, were derived from these findings. The whole workflow can be performed rapidly with a mobile suitcase laboratory and mini-computer, allowing application at the point-of-need with limited resource settings.