Recombinant Newcastle disease viruses with targets for PCR diagnostics for rinderpest and peste des petits ruminants

van Rijn, P.A.; Boonstra, J.; van Gennip, H.G.P.


Since February 1st 2011, rinderpest (RP) has been officially declared eradicated worldwide. National authorities have been requested to destroy all their RP related materials. Nonetheless, their national reference laboratories performing real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assays (PCR diagnostics) need RP positive control samples, since some countries still prefer to maintain diagnostic capability for RP for several reasons. In the future, a similar situation will arise for peste des petits ruminants (PPR) as the ambition has been expressed to eradicate PPR. Anticipating on this, we intended to perform qualified PCR diagnostics without use of infectious RPV or PPRV. Therefore, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) with small RNA inserts based on RPV or PPRV sequences were generated and used as positive control material. Recombinant NDVs (recNDVs) were differentially detected by previously established PCR diagnostics for RPV or PPRV. Both recNDVs contain a second PCR target showing that additional targets in NDV are feasible and would increase the diagnostic sensitivity by use of two PCR assays. RecNDV with small PCR targets is not classified as RPV or PPRV containing material, and can be used to mimic RPV or PPRV. Using these recNDVs as virus positive material contributes to the ambition of worldwide eradication, while qualified PCR diagnostics for these OIE-listed diseases remains operational.