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A Duplex Real-Time PCR Assay for the Simultaneous Detection of Porcine Circovirus 2 and Circovirus 3

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Virologica Sinica


Porcine circoviruses (PCV) include PCV1, PCV2, and the new-emerging PCV3. PCV2 is pathogenic to pigs, but the pathogenicity of PCV3 in pigs is debatable. Recently, there have been frequent reports of PCV2 and PCV3 co-infections in clinical samples. Thus, it would be practical to develop a duplex PCR method to detect PCV2 and PCV3 simultaneously. In this study, specific primers and probes were designed to target PCV2 cap and PCV3 rep genes. A duplex real-time PCR method was then developed to detect the two viruses. The assay was found to be highly specific, sensitive, and reproducible for PCV2/3 without cross-reactions with other swine pathogens. The sensitivity of this assay was 2.9 copies for the PCV2 plasmid and 22.5 copies for the PCV3 plasmid. The established assay was then used to detect PCV2/3 infection in 340 clinical samples collected in the first half of 2017. The results showed that the co-infection rate of PCV2/3 in the samples was 27.6%. Our study provides an important tool that can be used to perform urgently needed surveys for the two porcine circoviruses to evaluate their impact on the swine industry.

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This work was supported by Grants from the National Key Research and Development Program (2016YFD0500703), Major Science and Technology Projects in Henan Province (171100110200), and Luoyang HeLuo Talent Plan (Dr. Kegong Tian).

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MS and KGT designed the study. XDL and MMQ performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ming Sun or Kegong Tian.

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The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

All animal trials were performed in strict accordance with the regulations in the guide for the care and use of laboratory animals of the National Research Center for Veterinary Medicine.

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Li, X., Qiao, M., Sun, M. et al. A Duplex Real-Time PCR Assay for the Simultaneous Detection of Porcine Circovirus 2 and Circovirus 3. Virol. Sin. 33, 181–186 (2018).

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