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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Ruminant Diseases and Immunology Research

Title: Lack of evidence for the presence of emerging HoBi-like viruses in North American fetal bovine serum lots.

item Bauermann, Fernando
item Flores, Eduardo
item Falkenberg, Shollie
item Ridpath, Julia

Submitted to: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2013
Publication Date: 1/1/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Bauermann, F.V., Flores, E.F., Falkenberg, S.M., Ridpath, J.F. 2014. Lack of evidence for the presence of emerging HoBi-like viruses in North American fetal bovine serum lots.. Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 26(1):10-17. DOI: 10.1177/1040638713518208.

Interpretive Summary: A new type of virus that infects cattle, called HoBi-like viruses, has been isolated from cattle living in South America, Europe and Southeast Asia. So far it has not been found in cattle from the U.S. However, it has been reported that a cattle derived product, fetal bovine serum, that originated from U.S. cattle was contaminated with a HoBi-like virus. This paper details the testing of fetal bovine serum that originated from U.S. cattle and was packaged in the U.S. and fetal bovine serum that originated from U.S. cattle but was processed and packaged in Europe. No HoBi-like viruses were detected in the U.S. origin/U.S. packaged fetal bovine serum. However, HoBi-like viruses were detected in two lots of fetal bovine serum that originated in the U.S. but were packaged in Europe. This finding is significant for two reasons. The first is that it demonstrates no evidence for the presence of HoBi like viruses in the U.S. This is valuable information for diagnosticians and those in charge of regulating the trade of animals and animal products. The second reason is that it suggests that for the purposes of regulating the spread of pathogens, it is just as important to know the country in which an animal product was processed as it is to know the country in which the animal originated.

Technical Abstract: The detection of HoBi-like virus in fetal bovine serum (FBS) labeled as United States of America (USA) origin, but packaged in Europe, raised concerns that HoBi-like virus may have entered the USA. In this study, 90 lots of FBS originating in North America (NA) were screened for pestivirus antigen and antibodies. Lots in group-1 and group-2 (G1-samples #1 to #72 and G2-samples #73 to #81) originated in NA and were packaged the USA. Group 3 (G3) was composed of nine lots (“A” to “I”) collected in NA and processed in Europe. Lots in G1 were tested negative for bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), while lots in G2 and G3 were tested positive by the commercial processor. All lots in G1 and G2 tested negative by RT-PCR using HoBi-like specific primers. G1 lots (#24 and #48) tested positive by BVDV RT-PCR. Lot #48 was also positive for virus isolation (VI). All G2 lots were positive by BVDV RT-PCR. In addition G2 lots #76; #77; #78 and #80 were VI positive while lot #73 was ACE positive. G3 lots “C” and “I” were positive HoBi-like specific RT-PCR tests. All lots were negative for HoBi_D32/00 neutralizing antibodies. Seven lots (G1-#41; G1-#42; G1-#50; G1-#51; G2-#80; G3-“F” and G3-“H”) had antibodies against BVDV by VNT and/or Ab-ELISA. While there is no evidence of HoBi-like viruses in the NA based on tested samples, further studies are required to validate HoBi-like virus free status and develop means to prevent HoBi-like virus spread into NA.

Last Modified: 06/21/2017
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