Thermo Fisher Scientific introduced Aug. 15 the Applied Biosystems VetMAX PEDV/TGEV/SDCoV Kit, the first polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test designed to simultaneously screen for three swine coronaviruses in environmental and feed samples.
Biosecurity is key in controlling swine coronaviruses as they spread indirectly through air, dust, feed, transport and people. Environmental testing with molecular tools helps audit the success of biosecurity measures, such as disinfecting transport trailers and barn facilities, and it enables producers to quickly get information about the actual situation on the farm.
The VetMAX PEDV/TGEV/SDCoV Kit is a multiplex real-time PCR kit designed to detect three swine coronaviruses simultaneously using feed or environmental samples:
* Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV);
* Transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), and
* Swine delta corona virus (SDCoV).
All three coronaviruses cause similar clinical symptoms early in the disease, making it impossible to identify without testing which specific virus is at the root of the infection on the farm.
“When an outbreak of swine coronavirus occurs, it is a result of fecal and oral contamination,” said Dr. Joe Connor, president and founder of Carthage Veterinary Service in Carthage, Ill. “Implementing intensive sanitation and complete disinfection of rooms, hallways, work areas and transport trailers are critical components to the control and elimination of swine coronavirus.
“Studies we have been involved in indicate that if a PEDV-contaminated load of hogs arrived at a harvest facility and the next transport of hogs was uncontaminated, there is a 70% chance that the uncontaminated truck would leave the plant contaminated,” Connor said. “This occurs just in the normal cross-traffic while unloading pigs at a harvest facility and is very difficult to avoid, which is why ensuring trucks are disinfected before re-entering the farm is critical.”
The VetMAX PEDV/TGEV/SDCoV Kit allows herd health monitoring for the three viruses even with “dirty” environmental samples. Taking environmental swabs is a quick, easy and animal-friendly method to determine biosecurity on the farm and during transport. Samples can be taken from walls or floors of barns, trucks or harvest facilities using swabs or Swiffer dry sweep cloths or from feed samples, feces scraped from the floor or air or dust.
Thermo Fisher has conducted extensive testing to validate the VetMAX PEDV/TGEV/SDCoV Kit on “dirty” environmental samples that contain higher levels of PCR inhibitors. During these tests, the kit has demonstrated greater than 97% sensitivity and 100% specificity for all three targets.
The kit requires little preparation time because all reagents are ready-to-use and the three target pathogens and one positive control are run in one well, eliminating the need to run several PCRs per virus.
“Swine coronavirus pathogens tests are highly requested by laboratories as more and more swine operations are tightening their biosecurity standards to closely monitor for these economically devastating diseases,” said Martin Guillet, global head and general manager of AgriBusiness at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “With this kit, we provide laboratories with an efficient tool to help strengthen biosecurity levels on farms.”