1. CEEZAD Home

Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

BSL-3 trainingJordan field studies

 

CEEZAD

1800 Denison Ave
Mosier Hall, Room P200
Manhattan, KS  66506

785-532-2793   
785-532-3373 fax
CEEZAD@ksu.edu

 The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University was established in 2010 to help protect the nation’s agricultural and public health sectors against a high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. CEEZAD has four principal missions:

  • Development of novel, safe, efficacious, and DIVA-compatible vaccines for prevention and control of high-impact emerging and zoonotic diseases that can be manufactured in the U.S.
  • Development and expansion of technologies and platforms for laboratory and point-of-need pathogen detection.
  • Development of models to predict high-consequence disease behavior in the U.S. to aid prevention or outbreak control.
  • Development of education and training programs for students, veterinarians, first responders, and researchers in high-impact animal diseases and animal emergencies.

 News/Events Highlights

 

May 26, 2022

KSU honors CEEZAD director, two staffers, for patent work

The director of the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) was among Kansas State University faculty members honored May 9 for patents on discoveries made during 2021.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at K-State, was one of three CEEZAD researchers honored during the university’s Inventors and breeders Ceremony. The event recognized faculty members who were issued patents and plant variety protection certificates in 2021.

Also honored from CEEZAD were Dr. Igor Morozov, science project manager, and Sun Young Sunwoo, who at the time was a researcher affiliated with CEEZAD and the Richt Lab.

All three were honored for their work leading to a patent regarding the development of a vaccine to prevent Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. That is a disease of white-tailed deer and cattle transmitted by midges.

May 13, 2022

CEEZAD receives NIHr01 grant to study infectious diseases

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has awarded a more than $3.7 million grant to the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) for research related to the study of influenza in humans.

NIH r01 grants provide support for health-related research and development. The award is made in conjunction with researchers at the University of Missouri. The two teams of researchers will be working cooperatively.

The research will focus on the ability of genetically modified pigs to model NKT cell immunity to infection with influenza viruses.

Pulmonary T cell-mediated immunity is critical for host protection from influenza virus infections. While current understanding of influenza immunity is focused on conventional MHC-restricted T cells that recognize peptide antigens, unconventional innate-like T cell subsets such as CD1d-restricted invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells, are emerging as integral effector components of the respiratory immune system, where they can play both a protective and immuno-pathological role in respiratory infections.

Although NKT cells are thought to make important contributions to influenza immunity, relatively little is known about their impact on human influenza infections due to a lack of suitable animal models.

The current proposal seeks to address this critical knowledge gap using swine, which offer an excellent model to determine the role of NKT cells for human influenza infections, including anti-influenza host defenses and influenza vaccine responses.

The award was made through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

 

April 29, 2022

New paper examines transmission patterns of mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants

The Director of the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD; www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (www.k-state.erdu/cezid) is co- author of a recently published paper examining transmission patterns of various mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The paper, by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD and CEZID is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, and other CEEZAD-affiliated researchers, was published in the March edition of Cell Host and Microbe, an offshoot of Cell Press.  

SARS-CoV-2 has diverged into different variants termed "variants of concern" (VOCs). In the paper, researchers examined emerging SARS-CoV-2 spike polymorphisms in vitro and in vivo to understand their impact on transmissibility, virus pathogenicity and fitness. They found that the substitution Spike655Y, represented in the gamma and omicron VOCs, enhances viral replication and spike protein cleavage.

The Spike655Y substitution was transmitted more efficiently than its ancestor Spike655H in the hamster infection model and was able to outcompete Spike655H in the hamster model and in a human primary airway system.

They also analyzed a set of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) to investigate how different sets of mutations may impact spike processing. All VOCs tested exhibited increased spike cleavage and fusogenic capacity.

Taken together, the study demonstrates that the spike mutations present in VOCs that become epidemiologically prevalent in humans are linked to an increase in spike processing capabilities and virus transmission.

Co-authors, in addition to Dr. Richt, from CEEZAD and Richt Lab, included: David Meekins, Velmurugan Balaraman, and Chester McDowell.

The full study can be read by following this link: Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern link to increased spike cleavage and virus transmission - PubMed (nih.gov)

 

5. K-State animal disease expert anticipates rise of avian flu cases through spring

By AJ Dome 

The Manhattan Mercury

March 23, 2022 

A Kansas State University animal disease expert says cases of avian influenza will rise through the spring months as the Kansas Department of Agriculture confirms more affected flocks.

Juergen Richt, distinguished professor and director of K-State’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), said 20 states and 7 million birds have already been affected by this year’s strain of H5N1 avian flu. He said this virus is genetically different from the avian flu strain detected in 2015 that led to the death of about 50 million chickens and turkeys in the United States, and an economic loss of about $4 billion.

“This time, this incursion is again in wild birds coming in from the East Coast,” Richt said, “coming in somehow from Europe to the eastern parts of Canada, then going down the coast across the Atlantic flyway, before swapping over to the Mississippi flyway, which we’re in.”

Full text: https://tinyurl.com/dtccncue

 

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June 5 – June 17, 2022

Now Accepting Applications!

The USDA BSL-3 Training Program for Research Support Personnel is designed to provide introductory BSL-3/BSL-3 Ag training to research personnel, either current federal staff; research fellows; recent graduates from U.S. universities (BS, MS) and current enrolled college students (BS, MS and PhD) with career interests in USDA Agricultural Research Service who want to attain additional training and knowledge in the area of high-containment research and as potential career choice.

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service and is directed at highly motivated BS/MS level research support personnel interested in research and careers in the field of high consequence, transboundary and zoonotic diseases of animals. The two-week program consists of one week of intensive, hands-on and classroom training at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI; https://www.bri.k-state.edu/) at Kansas State University and the second week with in-person and/or virtual presentations (hybrid system) from area industry partners and seminars/lectures from national and international subject matter experts in high containment research and transboundary animal diseases.

The BRI, located adjacent to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, contains an Education and Training area which includes a training laboratory with equipment that simulates BSL-3 research practices. Both, CEEZAD and the BRI are committed to training a specialized workforce to protect the nation's agriculture and public health sectors against high consequence transboundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases.

For more information and to apply: https://ceezad.org/education/workforce_development/summer-program-veterinary.html

 Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship or Green card holders (eligible for ORISE fellowships)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale (for the respective BS and/or MS degrees)

Program Goals

  • Demonstrating an understanding of pathogen risk group classifications and biosafety levels
  • Identifying potential risks associated with executing standard laboratory practices
  • Engage in laboratory practices that reduce the potential for aerosol exposures
  • Identifying areas of potential vulnerabilities in the laboratory ecosystem/network to include how technology introduction may impact laboratory operations (cybersecurity), safety, security, and overall laboratory capability
  • Demonstrating essential biocontainment practices for use in BSL3, ABSL3 and BSL3 Ag settings.

Successful applicants will receive a travel stipend (up to $2,000) to cover transportation (to and from Manhattan, Kansas), lodging and per diem expenses. Applicants residing in or near the Manhattan, Kansas, area may not be eligible to receive a travel stipend. An on-campus housing option is available.

A certificate of completion for the program will be provided to signify the student/participant has attended the program and is familiar with basic knowledge of working in BSL-3 environments. (Note: This is not a certification program)

Please note that although the program is in-person following CDC/KSU COVID-19 rules and recommendations, due to the impact of COVID-19, the presentations by subject matter experts will be a combination of in-person and virtually. Social distancing guidelines to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart will be followed by all individuals involved in the program. Masks will be mandatory based on KSU and CDC guidelines.

All applications must be submitted to ceezad@ksu.edu by: Tuesday, March 8, 2022

For More Information, Please Contact:

Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS 66506

Phone: 785-532-2793

E-mail: ceezad@ksu.edu; kcortes@vet.k-state.edu

APPLY HERE: https://www.vet.k-state.edu/asp/ceezad_form/ceezad.aspx

Program Overview

Week 1: Classroom and hands-on BSL-3 training at the BRI

One week of training will address topics, techniques and essential practices to safely and successfully conduct research in a Biosafety Level-3 setting. By the end of the training the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of risk group classifications and biosafety levels;
  • Identify potential risks associated with executing standard laboratory practices;
  • Engage in laboratory practices that reduce the potential for aerosol exposures;
  • Identify, select, and defend high containment practices required when manipulating agents and toxins;
  • Identify areas of potential vulnerabilities in the laboratory ecosystem/network to include how technology introduction may impact laboratory operations (cybersecurity), safety, security, and overall laboratory capability;
  • Demonstrate essential biocontainment practices for use in BSL-3, ABSL-3 and BSL-3Ag settings.

Week 2: Industry overview and Speaker series

The final week will also include presentations by industry experts and lectures by academic and government experts in the fields of high biocontainment research and transboundary animal diseases. Topics covered may include:

  • Careers in high-containment research
  • Necropsy in high-containment research
  • Rift Valley Fever virus
  • African Swine Fever virus
  • SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies Arboviral diseases of livestock
  • Research in a BSL-4 environment (Ebola, CCHV or similar)
  • Research at Plum Island Animal Disease Center
  • Future projects at NBAF

All participants will be required to submit a final written report at the end of the program

March 12, 2022

CEEZAD Director receives KSU Biosecurity

Research Institute endowed professorship

The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD; www.ceezad.org) has been named recipient of Kansas State University's first Biosecurity Research Institute endowed professorship.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, is one of two recipients of the award, which was announced on March 11.

The professorships were established through a gift by Marty Vanier and her late husband Bob Krause for faculty members who are or will be performing a significant portion of their scholarly work at the Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI. Nominees must also have demonstrated global research impact in their fields.

Barbara Valent, a KSU professor of plant pathology, was also named recipient of the award.

"The BRI endowed professorships allow us to both leverage and extend our unique assets and scientific leadership in biosecurity and biodefense research," said David Rosowsky, K-State vice president for research. "Drs. Valent and Richt are spectacular examples of our human assets, both eminent scholars and both internationally renowned in their respective fields. We are proud to recognize them with these inaugural BRI endowed professorships and are grateful to Marty and Bob for their vision and generosity."

Richt investigates zoonotic, emerging and transboundary diseases of livestock, focusing mainly on viral diseases. His work has led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate pathogens with significant impact on veterinary medicine, human health and food security. His recent work focuses on the establishment of preclinical animal models for SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.

"We are delighted for Dr. Jürgen Richt to be selected as one of the two inaugural BRI professors," said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "He is a leader in containment research, directing two major emerging infectious disease centers at K-State. In 2020, Dr. Richt redirected his work to strengthen our understanding of the pathophysiology and disease transmission of COVID-19. The BRI professorship will further enable Dr. Richt to perform the advanced, high-containment research that is essential for protecting and enhancing human and animal health on a global scale."

"Being selected among the first recipients of this award is deeply meaningful because of the reputation of the BRI and its staff within the scientific community," Richt said. "Existence of the BRI first and foremost demonstrates Kansas State University's tangible commitment to the food animal health science in particular, to the sciences in general and most broadly to the concept of critical-needs research."

The Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall on the K-State Manhattan campus is a unique biocontainment research and education facility that has helped K-State become a national leader in biodefense research. The BRI is the home of comprehensive infectious disease research to address threats to plant, animal and human health, including food-borne pathogens.

 

 

Paper examines susceptibility of sheep to co-infection with parental SARS-CoV-2 and its alpha variant

The Director of the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD; www.ceezad.org) is the senior author of a recently published paper researching the infection and transmission capabilities of the ancestral lineage of SARS-CoV-2 virus and its alpha variant in sheep.

The paper, by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, and other CEEZAD-affiliated researchers, was published in Emerging Microbes Infections.  

A wide range of animal species have been shown to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 by experimental and/or natural infections. Sheep are a commonly farmed domestic ruminant that have not been thoroughly investigated for their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. That is why CEEZAD researchers performed in vitro and in vivo studies to investigate their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2.

Results established that sheep-derived cells support SARS-CoV-2 replication, and that after experimental infection, limited amounts of  viral RNA was shed in nasal and oral swabs of principal infected animals. , Infectious virus was present early after infection in the respiratory tract of principal infected animals, and viral RNA was detected in the respiratory tract and lymphoid tissues in both, principal infected and sentinel animals.

 Seropositivity  was observed in some of the principal infected sheep but not in the contact sentinels, indicating that transmission to co-mingled naïve sheep was not highly efficient.

 The results indicate that sheep show low susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and that the alpha variant of concern outcompeted the ancestral  strain.

Co-authors with Dr. Richt included the following CEEZAD/Kansas State University researchers: Konner Cool, Natasha Gaudreault, Jessie Trujillo, Igor Morozov, David Meekins, Chester McDowell, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Daniel Madden, Bianca Libanori Artiage, Roman Pogranichniy, and Gleyder Roman-Sosa.

Other co-authors included Marian Carossino and Udeni Balasuriya of Louisiana State University, William Wilson and Dana Mitzel of the National Big and Agro-defense Laboratory, and Adolfo Garcia Sastre of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

The full study can be read by following this link; Susceptibility of sheep to experimental co-infection with the ancestral lineage of SARS-CoV-2 and its alpha variant (tandfonline.com)

 

CEEZAD director interviewed regarding avian influenza threat

CEEZAD director Dr. Juergen A. Richt was interviewed recently by the Manhattan Mercury regarding the spread of avian influenza, including in Kansas. You can read the article by following the link below.

K-State animal disease expert anticipates rise of avian flu cases through spring | News | themercury.com

 

Finding of link between CoV-2 virus in deer and humans

is getting international attention

Research on the zoonotic transmission of the CoV-2 virus by a scientific team from Canada is getting international attention.

The March edition of National Geographic contains an article reporting on research raising the likelihood of the direct spread of the virus from  Canadian white-tailed deer to a human. Dr. Juergen A. Richt, director of Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD; www.ceezad.org) and the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was asked to comment on the article.

The article (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.02.22.481551v1.full) published in the non-peer reviewed journal BioRxiv reports  the first known instance of a COVID-19 spillover from a white-tailed deer—a common species throughout North America—into another species, in this case a human.

The National Geographic article, written by Dina Fine Marden, noted that a team of 32 government and academic researchers concluded in the article that in late 2021, more than a dozen white-tailed deer in Ontario, Canada had been infected with a SARS-CoV-2 virus that had a constellation of “mutations that had not been previously observed among SARS-CoV-2 lineages.” Further analysis revealed that a person who had close contact with the white-tailed deer in Ontario was infected with the same variant of coronavirus.

In the scientific manuscript  on which the National Geographic article was based, the researchers hold out the possibility that the virus was transmitted first through another host species, such as a mink. They add, however, that the genomic analysis suggests direct transmission from deer to human is “the most likely scenario.”

Here is a link to the full article in National Geographic.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/first-potential-case-of-deer-to-human-covid-transmission-found

 

Pathogenicity of Avian Influenza explored in new paper co-authored by CEEZAD Director

The Director of the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org)  is co-author of a newly published paper researching the emergence, evolution and pathogenicity of the Influenza A(H7N4) virus in shorebirds in China..

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was among the co-authors of the paper, which was published in the February edition of the Journal of Virology

The paper is the result of a 2-year surveillance study of influenza A viruses in migratory birds designed to understand the subsequent risk during the migratory seasons in Dandong Yalu River Estuary Coastal Wetland National Nature Reserve, Liaoning Province, China. That area is a major stopover site on the East Asian-Australasian flyway.

Researchers isolated 27 influenza A viruses with multiple subtypes, including H3N8 (n = 2), H4N6 (n = 2), H4N7 (n = 2), H7N4 (n = 9), H7N7 (n = 1), H10N7 (n = 7), and H13N6 (n = 4). Particularly, a novel reassortant influenza A(H7N4) virus was first identified in a woman and her backyard poultry flock in Jiangsu Province, China; this virus could pose a serious threat to public health.

In the article, the researchers describe the genetic characterization and pathogenicity of the nine influenza A(H7N4) isolates in more detail. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that complex viral gene flow occurred among influenza viruses from Asian countries. They also demonstrated a similar evolutionary trajectory of the surface genes of the A(H7N4) isolates and Jiangsu human-related A(H7N4) viruses.

The A(H7N4) isolates exhibited differing degrees of virulence in mice, suggesting a potential risk to other mammalian species, including humans. They also revealed multiple mutations that might affect viral virulence in mice.

The report highlights the importance and need for the long-term surveillance of avian influenza viruses in migratory birds combined with domestic poultry surveillance along migratory routes and flyways and, thereby, the development of measures to manage potential animal and public health threats.

Particularly, the researchers found that the H7 subtype avian influenza viruses, which are capable of infecting humans, and the H7 subtype low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses are capable of mutating into highly pathogenic avian influenza; therefore, they pose a serious threat to public health.

The full study can be read by following this link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34787451/

 

CEEZAD researchers publish article exploring gains in Rift Valley Fever virus research

Scientists at the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) are among co-authors of a new paper highlighting recent research into the Rift Valley Fever virus...

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was among the co-authors of the paper, which was published in the February edition of the Journal of Virology. CEEZAD researcher Velmurugan Balaraman also contributed to the work.

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an arbovirus that was first reported in the Rift Valley of Kenya. It causes significant disease in humans and livestock.

RVFV is a tri-segmented, negative-sense RNA virus consisting of a L, M, and S segments with the M segment encoding the glycoproteins Gn and Gc. Host factors that interact with Gn are largely unknown.

To this end, two viruses containing an epitope tag (V5) on the Gn protein in position 105 or 229 (V5Gn105 and V5Gn229) were generated using the RVFV MP-12 vaccine strain as a backbone. The V5-tag insertion minimally impacted Gn functionality as measured by replication kinetics, Gn localization, and antibody neutralization assays.

A proteomics-based approach was used to identify novel Gn-binding host proteins, including the E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase, UBR4. Depletion of UBR4 resulted in a significant decrease in RVFV titers and a reduction in viral RNA production.

The full study can be read by following this link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35032865/

K-State research helping protect zoo animals from SARS-CoV-2 spread

Friday, Feb. 11, 2022

Juergen Richt

Jürgen A. Richt, director of K-State’s Center for Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases and the Regents distinguished professor in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently tested an animal vaccine for safety and efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. | Download this photo.

MANHATTAN —

Testing done by Kansas State University's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases is helping protect more than 100 mammalian species of animals in zoos around the world from SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Zoo animals are receiving the experimental vaccine developed by leading animal health company Zoetis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture authorized use of the experimental vaccine on a case-by-case basis to help protect mammals living in zoos. Zoetis has donated the vaccine to the zoos, which have been using it since summer 2021.

A team at K-State's Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, or CEEZAD, led by Jürgen A. Richt, tested the vaccine for safety and efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Richt is director of CEEZAD and the Regents distinguished professor in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"This developmental work on a COVID-19 vaccine for animals is an important step to protect susceptible animal species against SARS CoV-2 because research has shown that SARS-CoV-2 can be a threat to segments of the pet, wildlife and zoo animal populations," Richt said. "We know that domestic and large cats and many zoo animals are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, probably acquiring the virus from their handlers."

Zoetis initially began its work on a COVID vaccine for animals in February 2020 when the first dog was confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Hong Kong. Global animal health authorities have thus far determined there is no need for a COVID vaccine for household pets.

Richt said doing these studies was both a great opportunity and a serious responsibility.

"These types of vaccines can be of significant assistance in combatting the disease and the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 among susceptible animal populations, including endangered animal species," Richt said. "Members of my laboratory were delighted to be given the opportunity to play such an important role in the evaluation of this vaccine and contribute to saving endangered animals worldwide."

Vaccine testing at K-State took place at the university's Biosecurity Research Institute, a biocontainment research and education facility.

January 21

 

New paper explores advances and gaps in SARS-CoV-2 research

The Director of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org)  is co-author of a newly published paper identifying recent advances and remaining gaps in SARS-CoV-2 infection models.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who in addition to his duties at CEEZAD is also the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was among more than a dozen worldwide co-authors of the paper, which was published in PLOS Pathogens

The article notes that the global response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is

 now facing new challenges such as vaccine inequity and the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). Preclinical models of disease, in particular animal models, are essential to investigate VOC pathogenesis, vaccine correlates of protection and post-exposure therapies.

 In the article, Dr. Richt and his fellow researchers provide an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 modeling expert group (WHO-COM) assembled by WHO, regarding advances in preclinical models. They discuss how animal model research is playing a key role to evaluate VOC virulence, transmission and immune escape, and how animal models are being refined to recapitulate COVID-19 demographic variables such as co-morbidities and age.

The full study can be read by following this link: https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1010161

 

CEEZAD team researches effect of feed mill batch sequencing on ASFV prevalence and distribution

A team of researchers from the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org)  recently published a paper assessing the effect of mixing and feed batch sequencing on the prevalence of the African Swine Fever virus in swine feed. .

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, director of CEEZAD and the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was senior author of the paper, which was published in January in Transboundary Emerging Diseases.

Other authors from CEEZAD included Dr. Igor Morozov, Jessie Trujillo, Taeyong Kwon, Konner R. Cool, Natasha Gaudreault and Jordan Gebhardt. Researchers from the Department of Grain Science and Industry and Animal Sciences and Industry also participated.

The article notes the importance of having methods that can detect and mitigate the risk of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in potentially contaminated feed or ingredients bound for the United States. The article was designed to evaluate feed batch sequencing as a mitigation technique for ASFV contamination in a feed mill, and to determine whether a feed sampling method could identify ASFV following experimental inoculation.

Batches of feed were manufactured in a BSL-3Ag room at Kansas State University's Biosafety Research Institute in Manhattan, Kansas. First, the pilot feed manufacturing system mixed, conveyed, and discharged an ASFV-free diet. Next, a diet was manufactured using the same equipment, but contained feed inoculated with ASFV. Then, four subsequent ASFV-free batches of feed were manufactured.

After discharging each batch into a collection container, 10 samples were collected in a double 'X' pattern. Samples were analyzed using a qPCR assay for the ASFV p72 gene then the cycle threshold (Ct) and Log10 genomic copy number (CN)/g of feed were determined. Both the qPCR Ct values (p < .0001) and the Log10 genomic copy number (CN)/g (p < .0001) content of feed samples were impacted based on the batch of feed. Feed samples obtained directly after manufacturing the ASFV-contaminated diet contained the greatest amounts of ASFV DNA across all criteria (p < 0.05).

The research found that the quantity of ASFV DNA decreased sequentially as additional batches of feed were manufactured, but was still detectable after batch sequence 4.

In summary, sequencing batches of feed decreases concentration of ASFV contamination in feed, but does not eliminate it. Bulk ingredients can be accurately evaluated for ASFV contamination by collecting 10 subsamples using the sampling method described herein. Future research is needed to evaluate whether different mitigation techniques can reduce ASFV feed contamination.

The full study can be read by following this link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34076951/