11/3/11 - Development and application of improved virus discovery systems and assessment of the potential of pen-side detection methods for emerging, endemic or exotic viral infections of farm animals.

Departmental project code11/3/11
Provider project code44726
Project date01 June 2011
Project duration
2 Years
Project statusCompleted

Detection of a range of novel viruses in Northern Ireland Livestock
Objective of the project:

  • to implement a range of new assays and technologies for the detection of novel viruses in livestock
  • to apply these to samples from Northern Ireland animals
  • to strengthen the capabilities of AFBI to respond to an emergency outbreak situation

A range of new diagnostic assays have been introduced to AFBI Virology Branch through this project.  These were designed to look for novel or emerging viruses circulating in Northern Ireland livestock.  These assays were applied to a range of samples, mainly from pigs but also from cattle and sheep.  A diverse range of novel viruses were detected including novel parvoviruses, enteroviruses, torque teno viruses, caliciviruses, hepatitis E, rotaviruses and coronaviruses.  Many of the novel viruses e.g. astroviruses or kobuviruses have possible association with disease. The impacts of these three viruses on livestock and production are poorly understood. However, considering the detection of them in this study, possible association with pathologies, their known disease association in other species and the possibility of emerging strains mutating to more virulent forms, continued surveillance is important.

Project activities have strengthened AFBIs emergency response capabilities through the introduction of new techniques, implementation of additional assays, strengthening of our knowledge base and training of more staff in diagnostic methods.

More project information

Principal investigator/researcher:

Michael Welsh, John McKillen 

Email: John.McKillen@afbini.gov.uk 


  • AFBI – Veterinary Sciences Division (VSD) 
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