RNA viruses are characterized by high mutation and recombination rates, which allow a rapid adaptation to new environments. Most of the emerging diseases and host jumps are therefore sustained by these viruses. Rapid evolution may also hinder the understanding of molecular epidemiology, affect the sensitivity of diagnostic assays, limit the vaccine efficacy and favor episodes of immune escape, thus significantly complicating the control of even well-known pathogens. The history of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) fits well with the above-mentioned scenario. Despite being known since the 1930s, it still represents one of the main causes of disease and economic losses for the poultry industry. A plethora of strategies have been developed and applied over time, with variable success, to limit its impact. However, they have rarely been evaluated objectively and on an adequate scale. Therefore, the actual advantages and disadvantages of IBV detection and control strategies, as well as their implementation, still largely depend on individual sensibility. The present manuscript aims to review the main features of IBV biology and evolution, focusing on their relevance and potential applications in terms of diagnosis and control.
Keywords: control; coronavirus; diagnosis; infectious bronchitis virus; vaccination; viral evolution.