Re: Hoof and mouth disease: bio-warfare?

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Wed Mar 21 2001 - 09:53:59 MST

On Wed, 21 Mar 2001 wrote:

> The official story is plausible. Hoof and mouth is an RNA virus, has a
> high mutation rate, and tends to generate new epidemics rather like
> influenza.

I looked this up in Field's Virology (cool people always have
this double volume book on nasty parasites nearby...) and
Foot-and-Mouth Disease virus is a Aphthovirus with 7 serotypes.
It looks like the most closely related viruses are Rhinoviruses
(causing colds) and Enterovirues (that inhabit the alimentary tract).
The Enteroviruses include polioviruses. The Genome appears to be ~8.5
kilobases with ~9 genes. The genome reproduction strategy the virus
uses is essentially the same as poliovirus (they have an almost
identical gene pattern).

As its a single-strand genome, it should not be compared with influenza
which is a multi-strand genome. Influenza gets its variance through
recombination. FMDV must get its variance through sloppy replication.

I'd agree that the solution would appear to be vaccination.
Modern PCR based methods should be able to rapidly amplify
and detect the virus so the determination of an infection should
be simple. Old anti-body based detection methods should give way
to direct detection of the genetic material. I think Europe's
policies are outdated.


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