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A New Molecular Detection System for Canine Distemper Virus Based on a Double-Check Strategy

Due to changing distemper issues worldwide and to inadequate results of an inter-laboratory study in Germany, it seems sensible to adapt and optimize the diagnostic methods for the detection of the canine distemper virus (CDV) to the new genetic diversity of virus strains. The goal of the project was the development, establishment and validation of two independent one-step reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) methods for the safe detection of CDV in domestic and wild animals. For this purpose, an existing CDV-RT-qPCR was decisively adapted and, in addition, a completely new system was developed. Both CDV-RT-qPCR systems are characterized by a very high, comparable analytical and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity and can be mutually combined with inhibition or extraction controls. The reduction in the master mix used allows for the parallel implementation of both CDV-RT-qPCR systems without significant cost increases. For validation of the new CDV-RT-qPCR duplex assays, a panel comprising 378 samples derived from Germany, several European countries and one African country were tested. A sensitivity of 98.9% and a specificity of 100% were computed for the new assays, thus being a reliable molecular diagnostic tool for the detection of CDV in domestic and wild animals.

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