Objective: To evaluate and implement rapid molecular diagnostic techniques for the detection of foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) suitable for use in Australia.
Design: Two PCR TaqMan assays targeted to the FMDV internal ribosome entry site or the 3D polymerase coding region for the rapid detection of FMDV were evaluated using non-infectious materials to determine the test most appropriate for implementation as part of Australia's national preparedness for the rapid detection and diagnosis of FMD outbreaks.
Results: Two published tests (PCR TaqMan assays targeted to the FMDV IRES region or the FMDV 3D polymerase coding region) were evaluated for their ability to detect FMDV genetic material in non-infectious FMDV ELISA antigen stocks held at Australian Animal Health Laboratory. Both tests were able to detect FMDV genetic material from strains O1 Manisa, O-3039, A22, A24, A Malaysia, C, Asia 1 and SAT 1, 2 and 3. With the exception of Asia 1, the TaqMan assay targeted to the FMD 3D polymerase coding region had Ct values equal to or lower than for the TaqMan assay targeted to the IRES region suggesting that this test may provide broader serotype detection and sensitivity. However, the TaqMan assay directed to the FMDV IRES is the only one to date to have undergone substantial evaluation using clinical samples collected during an outbreak. The greatest differences observed were for O-3039, SAT 1, and 3.
Conclusion: Given the ease of setting up both tests, AAHL currently runs both tests on highly suspect FMD investigations to provide independent confirmation of the absence of FMDV because the tests are focused on two independent regions of the FMDV genome. These tests add substantially to Australia's preparedness for FMD diagnosis complementing the already well-established virus isolation and antigen capture ELISA tests for index case diagnosis of FMD in Australia.