Improved KHV diagnostic method developed

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A new study has been published on the use of new real-time Taqman PCR molecular technique for the diagnosis of Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) infections in carp.

The disease, which is causing massive headaches for the carp and ornamental fish industry, is hard to detect using existing methods and a fast and reliable means of diagnosing the condition in asymptomatic carriers is desperately needed.

Oren Gilad, Susan Yun, Francisco Zagmutt-Vergara, Christian Leutenegger, Herve Bercovier and Ronald Hedrick infected carp with KHV and monitored the levels of the virus in their tissues using TaqMan PCR - a polymerase chain reaction-based molecular technique, and have just reported their findings in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.

The infected carp were held at 13, 18, 23 and 28C and then analysed for the presence of the virus. As expected, based on previous studies, the virus was found in fish held at all temperatures, but mortalities only occured when the fish were held between 18-28C.

The new PCR assay was sensitive enough to allow the enumeration of the KHV genome copies in 101 to 107 molecules present in cell lines or fish tissues. Furthermore, it is specific to KHV and didn't pick up any of the other three herpes-like viruses in the samples, including CyHV-1, CyHV-2 or IcHV-1, or the KF-1 cell line used for growing the viruses.

For more details see the paper: Oren Gilad, Susan Yun, Francisco Zagmutt-Vergara, Christian Leutenegger, Herve Bercovier and Ronald Hedrick (2004) - Concentrations of a Koi herpesvirus (KHV) in tissues of experimentally-infected Cyprinus carpio koi as assessed by real-time TaqMan PCR. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 60:179-187 (2004).