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Open Access Detection and differentiation of Newcastle disease virus (avian paramyxovirus type 1)

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Substantial variation in the virulence of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) isolates means that the detection of NDV or evidence of infection is insufficient for an adequate diagnosis, as control measures for avirulent viruses are very different to those for virulent viruses. Diagnosis therefore requires further characterization, at least as to whether an isolate is virulent or avirulent. Conventional detection and differentiation of ND viruses is perceived as slow, laborious and requiring an undesirable use of in vivo techniques. In addition, further characterization is needed to give greater information on origin and spread. This review concentrates on the application of monoclonal antibody and molecular biological approaches. Panels of monoclonal antibodies were a major advance for the characterization of NDV isolates, although confirmation of virulence for poultry still required in vivo testing. As molecular-based techniques become easier and more reliable, they are likely to supersede the use of monoclonal antibodies, especially for characterizing viruses for epidemiological purposes. The attraction of molecular-based techniques is that they may be able to cover all three aspects of Newcastle disease diagnosis (detection of virus, characterization, including inference of virulence, and epidemiology) quickly, accurately and definitively in a single test. A number of approaches based on the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction have been developed, with subsequent analysis of the product by restriction enzyme analysis, probe hybridization and nucleotide sequencing. Although extensive variation among NDVs still poses technical problems, the real and potential advantages of a molecular biological approach to Newcastle disease diagnosis appear to be overwhelming.

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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Avian Virology, VLA Weybridge, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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