Utpal Tatu : “India’s Lumpy Skin Cattle Virus Tracked by Multi-Institutional Team”

By | April 3, 2024

By Trend News Line 2024-04-03 10:11:14.

The Lumpy Skin Cattle Disease Outbreak: Unveiling the Origins

In a groundbreaking revelation, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has shed light on the evolution and origins of the virus strains responsible for the devastating lumpy skin cattle disease outbreak. The outbreak, which began in May 2022, has claimed the lives of over 1,00,000 cows across India, sparking a national emergency.

Unravelling the Mystery

Led by Professor Utpal Tatu from the Department of Biochemistry at IISc, the multi-institutional team embarked on a mission to investigate the cause of the outbreak. Their findings, published in ‘BMC Genomics’, have provided crucial insights into the nature of the viral infection known as Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), which is caused by the LSD Virus (LSDV) and is transmitted by insects like flies and mosquitoes.

A Global Perspective

The LSDV was first discovered in Zambia in 1931 and remained confined to the Sub-African region until 1989. Since then, it has spread to the Middle East, Russia, and other parts of Southeast Europe before reaching South Asia. India has witnessed two major outbreaks of the disease, with the 2022 outbreak infecting more than two million cows nationwide.

The Research Process

To investigate the current outbreak, the research team collected samples from infected cattle in states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Karnataka. Through advanced whole-genome sequencing, they identified two distinct LSDV variants circulating in India. One variant showed a low number of genetic variations, while the other exhibited a high number of genetic variations, similar to strains from previous outbreaks in other countries.

Genomic Discoveries

The genomic analysis revealed over 1,800 genetic variations in the LSDV strains, including deletions, insertions, and single-letter changes in DNA. Of particular significance were the genetic variations in viral genes responsible for binding to host cells, evading immune response, and replicating efficiently, which could explain the severity of the disease in affected cattle.

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Implications for the Future

The research findings have significant implications for the development of diagnostics, vaccines, and interventions to combat emerging infectious diseases that pose a threat to livestock and livelihoods. By understanding the genetic landscape of LSDV, researchers can target molecular hotspots and genetic variations to enhance vaccine development.

A Collaborative Effort

The study exemplifies the ‘One Health’ approach, bringing together experts from various disciplines to address pressing issues of national importance. Collaboration between molecular biologists, computational experts, and veterinary doctors was crucial in tracing the variants of LSDV across the country, highlighting the importance of multidisciplinary teamwork in tackling complex challenges.

In conclusion, the research conducted by the team at IISc represents a significant step towards understanding and combating the lumpy skin cattle disease outbreak in India. By unraveling the origins and genetic variations of the virus strains, the researchers have opened up new possibilities for effective control and prevention measures to safeguard the livestock industry and ensure the well-being of cattle across the country..

– Multi-institutional team tracks virus behind India’s lumpy skin cattle
– Multi-institutional team tracks virus behind India’s cattle with lumpy skin.

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