[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A viruses are characterized by their ability to evade host immunity, even in vaccinated individuals. To determine how prior immunity shapes viral diversity in vivo we studied the intra- and inter-host evolution of equine influenza virus in vaccinated horses. Although the level and structure of genetic diversity was similar to that in naïve horses, intra-host bottlenecks may be more stringent in vaccinated animals, and mutations shared among horses often fall close to putative antigenic sites.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza viruses are characterized by an ability to cross species boundaries and evade host immunity, sometimes with devastating consequences. The 2009 pandemic of H1N1 influenza A virus highlights the importance of pigs in influenza emergence, particularly as intermediate hosts by which avian viruses adapt to mammals before emerging in humans. Although segment reassortment has commonly been associated with influenza emergence, an expanded host-range is also likely to be associated with the accumulation of specific beneficial point mutations. To better understand the mechanisms that shape the genetic diversity of avian-like viruses in pigs, we studied the evolutionary dynamics of an Eurasian Avian-like swine influenza virus (EA-SIV) in naïve and vaccinated pigs linked by natural transmission. We analyzed multiple clones of the hemagglutinin 1 (HA1) gene derived from consecutive daily viral populations. Strikingly, we observed both transient and fixed changes in the consensus sequence along the transmission chain. Hence, the mutational spectrum of intra-host EA-SIV populations is highly dynamic and allele fixation can occur with extreme rapidity. In addition, mutations that could potentially alter host-range and antigenicity were transmitted between animals and mixed infections were commonplace, even in vaccinated pigs. Finally, we repeatedly detected distinct stop codons in virus samples from co-housed pigs, suggesting that they persisted within hosts and were transmitted among them. This implies that mutations that reduce viral fitness in one host, but which could lead to fitness benefits in a novel host, can circulate at low frequencies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Equine influenza virus is a major respiratory pathogen in horses, and outbreaks of disease often lead to substantial disruption to and economic losses for equestrian industries. The hemagglutinin (HA) protein is of key importance in the control of equine influenza because HA is the primary target of the protective immune response and the main component of currently licensed influenza vaccines. However, the influenza virus HA protein changes over time, a process called antigenic drift, and vaccine strains must be updated to remain effective. Antigenic drift is assessed primarily by the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. We have generated HI assay data for equine influenza A (H3N8) viruses isolated between 1968 and 2007 and have used antigenic cartography to quantify antigenic differences among the isolates. The antigenic evolution of equine influenza viruses during this period was clustered: from 1968 to 1988, all isolates formed a single antigenic cluster, which then split into two cocirculating clusters in 1989, and then a third cocirculating cluster appeared in 2003. Viruses from all three clusters were isolated in 2007. In one of the three clusters, we show evidence of antigenic drift away from the vaccine strain over time. We determined that a single amino acid substitution was likely responsible for the antigenic differences among clusters.
Journal of Virology 09/2011; 85(23):12742-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infection of pigs with swine influenza has been studied experimentally and in the field; however, little information is available on the natural transmission of this virus in pigs. Two studies in an experimental transmission model are presented here, one in immunologically naïve and one in a combination of vaccinated and naïve pigs.
To investigate the transmission of a recent 'avian-like' swine H1N1 influenza virus in naive piglets, to assess the antibody response to a commercially available vaccine and to determine the efficiency of transmission in pigs after vaccination.
Transmission chains were initiated by intranasal challenge of two immunologically naïve pigs. Animals were monitored daily for clinical signs and virus shedding. Pairs of pigs were sequentially co-housed, and once virus was detected in recipients, prior donors were removed. In the vaccination study, piglets were vaccinated and circulating antibody levels were monitored by haemagglutination inhibition assay. To study transmission in vaccinates, a pair of infected immunologically naïve animals was co-housed with vaccinated recipient pigs and further pairs of vaccinates were added sequentially as above. The chain was completed by the addition of naive pigs.
Transmission of the H1N1 virus was achieved through a chain of six pairs of naïve piglets and through four pairs of vaccinated animals. Transmission occurred with minimal clinical signs and, in vaccinates, at antibody levels higher than previously reported to protect against infection.
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 03/2011; 5(5):357-64. · 1.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Like other influenza A viruses, equine influenza virus undergoes antigenic drift. It is therefore essential that surveillance is carried out to ensure that recommended strains for inclusion in vaccines are kept up to date. Here we report antigenic and genetic characterisation carried out on equine influenza virus strains isolated in North America and Europe over a 2-year period from 2008 to 2009. Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken from equines showing acute clinical signs and submitted to diagnostic laboratories for testing and virus isolation in eggs. The sequence of the HA1 portion of the viral haemagglutinin was determined for each strain. Where possible, sequence was determined directly from swab material as well as from virus isolated in eggs. In Europe, 20 viruses were isolated from 15 sporadic outbreaks and 5 viruses were isolated from North America. All of the European and North American viruses were characterised as members of the Florida sublineage, with similarity to A/eq/Lincolnshire/1/07 (clade 1) or A/eq/Richmond/1/07 (clade 2). Antigenic characterisation by haemagglutination inhibition assay indicated that the two clades could be readily distinguished and there were also at least seven amino acid differences between them. The selection of vaccine strains for 2010 by the expert surveillance panel have taken these differences into account and it is now recommended that representatives of both Florida clade 1 and clade 2 are included in vaccines.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Determining the evolutionary basis of cross-species transmission and immune evasion is key to understanding the mechanisms that control the emergence of either new viruses or novel antigenic variants with pandemic potential. The hemagglutinin glycoprotein of influenza A viruses is a critical host range determinant and a major target of neutralizing antibodies. Equine influenza virus (EIV) is a significant pathogen of the horse that causes periodical outbreaks of disease even in populations with high vaccination coverage. EIV has also jumped the species barrier and emerged as a novel respiratory pathogen in dogs, canine influenza virus. We studied the dynamics of equine influenza virus evolution in horses at the intrahost level and how this evolutionary process is affected by interhost transmission in a natural setting. To this end, we performed clonal sequencing of the hemagglutinin 1 gene derived from individual animals at different times postinfection. Our results show that despite the population consensus sequence remaining invariant, genetically distinct subpopulations persist during the course of infection and are also transmitted, with some variants likely to change antigenicity. We also detected a natural case of mixed infection in an animal infected during an outbreak of equine influenza, raising the possibility of reassortment between different strains of virus. In sum, our data suggest that transmission bottlenecks may not be as narrow as originally perceived and that the genetic diversity required to adapt to new host species may be partially present in the donor host and potentially transmitted to the recipient host.
Journal of Virology 07/2010; 84(14):6943-54. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Six ponies were experimentally infected with an isolate of Equid Herpesvirus type 1 (EHV-I) recovered from an aborted foetus. Clinical, virological and serological observations confirmed that infection was established in all ponies. EHV-I specific cellular immune responses as measured by T cell proliferation developed in parallel with specific antibody. In contrast to this, non-specific lymphocyte function was shown to be compromised after infection in that polyclonal T cell activation was depressed for at least 40 days. The dissociation of specific and non-specific cellular immune responses suggests that an immunological defect may develop in horses after EHV-I infection. The mechanism for this immunosuppression is not understood but it is unlikely to reflect a reduction in responding lymphocyte numbers in vivo because the observed immunosuppression continued well beyond the period of transient leucopaenia commonly seen with EHV-1.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A key question in pandemic influenza is the relative roles of innate immunity and target cell depletion in limiting primary infection and modulating pathology. Here, we model these interactions using detailed data from equine influenza virus infection, combining viral and immune (type I interferon) kinetics with estimates of cell depletion. The resulting dynamics indicate a powerful role for innate immunity in controlling the rapid peak in virus shedding. As a corollary, cells are much less depleted than suggested by a model of human influenza based only on virus-shedding data. We then explore how differences in the influence of viral proteins on interferon kinetics can account for the observed spectrum of virus shedding, immune response, and influenza pathology. In particular, induction of high levels of interferon ("cytokine storms"), coupled with evasion of its effects, could lead to severe pathology, as hypothesized for some fatal cases of influenza.
Journal of Virology 04/2010; 84(8):3974-83. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a metapopulation model of the spread of equine influenza among thoroughbred horses parametrized with data from a 2003 outbreak in Newmarket, UK. The number of horses initially susceptible is derived from a threshold theorem and a published statistical model. Two simulated likelihood-based methods are used to find the within- and between-yard transmissions using both exponential and empirical latent and infectious periods. We demonstrate that the 2003 outbreak was largely locally driven and use the parametrized model to address important questions of control. The chance of a large epidemic is shown to be largely dependent on the size of the index yard. The impact of poor responders to vaccination is estimated under different scenarios. A small proportion of poor responders strongly influences the efficiency of vaccine policies, which increases risk further when the vaccine and infecting strains differ following antigenic drift. Finally, the use of vaccinating in the face of an outbreak is evaluated at a global and individual management group level. The benefits for an individual horse trainer are found to be substantial, although this is influenced by the behaviour of other trainers.
Journal of The Royal Society Interface 05/2009; 7(42):67-79. · 4.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amongst the infectious diseases that threaten equine health, herpesviral infections remain a world wide cause of serious morbidity and mortality. Equine herpesvirus-1 infection is the most important pathogen, causing an array of disorders including epidemic respiratory disease abortion, neonatal foal death, myeloencephalopathy and chorioretinopathy. Despite intense scientific investigation, extensive use of vaccination, and established codes of practice for control of disease outbreaks, infection and disease remain common. While equine herpesvirus-1 infection remains a daunting challenge for immunoprophylaxis, many critical advances in equine immunology have resulted in studies of this virus, particularly related to MHC-restricted cytotoxicity in the horse.A workshop was convened in San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy in June 2004, to bring together clinical and basic researchers in the field of equine herpesvirus-1 study to discuss the latest advances and future prospects for improving our understanding of these diseases, and equine immunity to herpesviral infection. This report highlights the new information that was the focus of this workshop, and is intended to summarize this material and identify the critical questions in the field.
Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 06/2006; · 1.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Equid herpesvirus 1 (EHV-1) can cause a wide spectrum of diseases ranging from inapparent respiratory infection to the induction of abortion and, in extreme cases, neurological disease resulting in paralysis and ultimately death. It has been suggested that distinct strains of EHV-1 that differ in pathogenic capacity circulate in the field. In order to investigate this hypothesis, it was necessary to identify genetic markers that allow subgroups of related strains to be identified. We have determined all of the genetic differences between a neuropathogenic strain (Ab4) and a nonneuropathogenic strain (V592) of EHV-1 and developed PCR/sequencing procedures enabling differentiation of EHV-1 strains circulating in the field. The results indicate the occurrence of several major genetic subgroups of EHV-1 among isolates recovered from outbreaks over the course of 30 years, consistent with the proposal that distinct strains of EHV-1 circulate in the field. Moreover, there is evidence that certain strain groups are geographically restricted, being recovered predominantly from outbreaks occurring in either North America or Europe. Significantly, variation of a single amino acid of the DNA polymerase is strongly associated with neurological versus nonneurological disease outbreaks. Strikingly, this variant amino acid occurs at a highly conserved position for herpesvirus DNA polymerases, suggesting an important functional role.
Journal of Virology 05/2006; 80(8):4047-60. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Between March and May 2003, equine influenza virus infection was confirmed as the cause of clinical respiratory disease among both vaccinated and unvaccinated horses of different breeds and types in at least 12 locations in the UK. In the largest outbreak, 21 thoroughbred training yards in Newmarket, with more than 1300 racehorses, were affected, with the horses showing signs of coughing and nasal discharge during a period of nine weeks. Many of the infected horses had been vaccinated during the previous three months with a vaccine that contained representatives from both the European (A/eq/Newmarket/2/93) and American (A/eq/Newmarket/1/93) H3NN8 influenza virus lineages. Antigenic and genetic characterisation of the viruses from Newmarket and elsewhere indicated that they were all closely related to representatives of a sublineage of American viruses, for example, Kentucky/5/02, the first time that this sublineage had been isolated in the uk. In the recently vaccinated racehorses in Newmarket the single radial haemolysis antibody levels in acute sera appeared to be adequate, and there did not appear to be significant antigenic differences between the infecting virus and A/eq/Newmarket/1/93, the representative of the American lineage virus present in the most widely used vaccine, to explain the vaccine failure. However, there was evidence for significantly fewer infections among two-year-old horses than older animals, despite their having similar high levels of antibody, consistent with a qualitative rather than a quantitative difference in the immunity conveyed by the vaccination.
The Veterinary record 03/2006; 158(6):185-92. · 1.80 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory disease is important in young Thoroughbred racehorses, but the variation in the rates of occurrence between different ages and training groups has not been characterised.
To determine the rates of respiratory disease, particularly inflammatory airway disease (IAD), as well as evidence of infection, and their variation between age and group.
Horses were examined monthly in 7 British flat training yards over a 3 year period. IAD was defined as increased mucus in the trachea with increased proportions of neutrophils in tracheal wash samples. Frequencies of disease outcomes were estimated from the data.
The prevalence of IAD was 13.8% and the incidence was 8.9 cases/100 horses/month. Rates varied with training and age groups, decreasing in older animals. The prevalence of nasal discharge (ND) was 4.1%. Rates of bacterial isolation were more common than viral infections. The incidence and prevalence of several bacterial species decreased with age.
IAD and ND were common in young racehorses, varying significantly between training groups and decreasing with age, consistent with infection playing a role in aetiology.
The high prevalence of IAD in 2-year-old horses in Britain suggests that routine endoscopic examination may be helpful in providing early diagnosis and appropriate therapy. The transmission of bacteria and viruses within and between groups of young animals and the role of infection, stable environment and factors inherent to each horse, including their genetic make-up, in the multifactorial aetiology of the disease all merit further study.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiratory disease is important in horses, particularly in young Thoroughbred racehorses, and inflammation that is detected in the trachea and bronchi (termed inflammatory airway disease [IAD]) is more significant in this population in terms of impact and frequency than other presentations of respiratory disease. IAD, which is characterized by neutrophilic inflammation, mild clinical signs, and accumulation of mucus in the trachea, may be multifactorial, possibly involving infections and environmental and immunological factors, and its etiology remains unclear. This 3-year longitudinal study of young Thoroughbred racehorses was undertaken to characterize the associations of IAD and nasal discharge with viral and bacterial infections. IAD was statistically associated with tracheal infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae (capsule type 3), Streptococcus zooepidemicus, Actinobacillus spp., and Mycoplasma equirhinis and equine herpesvirus 1 and 4 infections, after adjustment for variation between training yards, seasons, and age groups. The association with S. pneumoniae and S. zooepidemicus was independent of prior viral infection and, critically, was dependent on the numbers of organisms isolated. S. pneumoniae was significant only in horses that were 2 years old or younger. The prevalence and incidence of IAD, S. zooepidemicus, and S. pneumoniae decreased in parallel with age, consistent with increased disease resistance, perhaps by the acquisition of immunity. The study provided evidence for S. zooepidemicus and S. pneumoniae playing an important etiological role in the pathogenesis of IAD in young horses.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 02/2005; 43(1):120-6. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several laboratories worldwide have recently experienced problems related to serum cytotoxicity with the equine arteritis virus (EAV) neutralisation test (VN) when using Office International des Epizooties (OIE) reference laboratory prescribed rabbit kidney (RK-13) indicator cells. Cytotoxicity can be mistaken for viral cytopathic effect and has led to increasing difficulties in test interpretation, consequently causing disruption to both equine breeding and disease surveillance. Results from experimental and field-derived data suggest that this serum cytotoxicity is associated with use of a tissue-culture-derived equine herpesvirus vaccine, probably manifested through a vaccine-induced anti-cellular antibody response directed against RK-13 cells. Two alternative EAV VN methods were shown to significantly reduce the effects of cytotoxicity (from 73 to <5% prevalence) among vaccinated horses but did not completely eliminate the problem. Use of ELISA-based tests, which are not affected by serum cytotoxicity but which are not currently recognised as international standards, should be evaluated as a useful backup in screening equine sera for EAV VN antibodies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two lineages of antigenically distinct equine influenza A H3N8 subtype viruses, American and European, co-circulate. Experiments were conducted in ponies to investigate the protection induced by vaccines containing virus from one lineage against challenge infection with homologous or heterologous virus. Regression analysis showed that vaccinated ponies with average pre-challenge single radial haemolysis (SRH) antibody levels (i.e. 45-190mm2) had a higher probability of becoming infected if they were vaccinated with virus heterologous to the challenge strain than if they were vaccinated with homologous virus. Field studies in Thoroughbred racehorses also showed that SRH antibody levels of >/= 150mm2 induced by vaccines containing a European lineage strain are protective against infection with a virus from the same lineage, but that the same or higher antibody levels may not be protective against an American lineage virus. In conclusion, vaccines should contain virus strains representative of both H3N8 subtype lineages to maximise protection against infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assess the effects of strain heterology (strains that are immunologically similar but not identical) on equine influenza in a vaccinated population. Using data relating to individual animals, for both homologous and heterologous vaccinees, we estimate distributions for the latent and infectious periods, quantify the risk of becoming infected in terms of the quantity of cross-reactive antibodies to a key surface protein of the virus (haemagglutinin) and estimate the probability of excreting virus (i.e. becoming infectious) given that infection has occurred. The data suggest that the infectious period, the risk of becoming infected (for a given vaccine-induced level of cross-reactive antibodies) and the probability of excreting virus are increased for heterologously vaccinated animals when compared with homologously vaccinated animals. The data are used to parameterize a modified susceptible, exposed, infectious and recovered/resistant (SEIR) model, which shows that these relatively small differences combine to have a large effect at the population level, where populations of heterologous vaccinees face a significantly increased risk of an epidemic occurring.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 09/2004; 271(1548):1547-55. · 5.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Influenza A viruses of the H3N8 subtype are a major cause of respiratory disease in horses. Subclinical infection with virus shedding can occur in vaccinated horses, particularly where there is a mismatch between the vaccine strains and the virus strains circulating in the field. Such infections contribute to the spread of the disease. Rapid diagnostic techniques are available for detection of virus antigen and can be used as an aid in control programmes. Improvements have been made to methods of standardising inactivated virus vaccines, and a direct relationship between vaccine potency measured by single radial diffusion and vaccine-induced antibody measured by single radial haemolysis has been demonstrated. Improved adjuvants and antigenic presentation systems extend the duration of immunity induced by inactivated virus vaccines, but high levels of antibody are required for protection against field infection. In addition to circulating antibody, infection with influenza virus stimulates mucosal and cellular immunity; unlike immunity to inactivated virus vaccines, infection-induced immunity is not dependent on the presence of circulating antibody to HA. Live attenuated or vectored equine influenza vaccines, which may better mimic the immunity generated by influenza infection than inactivated virus vaccines, are now available. Mathematical modelling based upon experimental and field data has been applied to examine issues relating to vaccine efficacy at the population level. A vaccine strain selection system has been implemented and a more global approach to the surveillance of equine influenza is being developed.
Veterinary Research 01/2004; 35(4):411-23. · 3.43 Impact Factor