College of Veterinary Medicine
Reoviruses continue to be involved in arthritis of chickens and turkeys. The cases of turkey lameness caused by turkey arthritis reovirus (TARV) have increased even with the use of autogenous vaccines because of virus variation. Newer vaccines are needed that can protect against virus variants, and are cost effective and easy to administer.
The objective of this project is to study the genetic evolution of newly re-emerging TARVs to develop highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays and effective vaccines. It is important, therefore, to sequence the complete genomes of a representative number of TARVs, to develop diagnostic assays, to determine space-time distribution of variant viruses, determine genetic changes associated with tissue tropism of these viruses, and identify specific virus strains that are necessary for the development of safe and effective vaccines with a wide spectrum immunity. The selected TARVs will be used to generate recombinant Pichinde virus-based vaccines that express sigma C and both sigma B and sigma C proteins of TARV. The information generated from this study will be delivered to the field veterinarians, the scientific community and poultry producers (commercial and non-commercial). This study will help determine variants of TARVs circulating in Minnesota turkeys. Based on this information, researchers will develop diagnostic assays, and prepare and validate cost-effective and easy to use vaccines against TARVs.