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Schmallenberg Understanding to Benefit from Midge Breakthrough

18 March 2013

UK - Researchers are a step closer to discovering how Schmallenberg virus (SBV) is transmitted following new research findings at the Pirbright Institute.

With the help of Defra, EU and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) funding a model midge species has been identified which scientist say enables transmission studies, aiding further research into the Schmallenberg virus.

As part of the project, Dr Eva Veronesi demonstrated that a colony line of midges maintained at The Pirbright Institute can be successfully infected using a strain of Schmallenberg virus originally isolated in Germany.

The impacts of the study could improve understanding of SBV vectors work across Europe, according Dr Veronsei.

"Understanding how Schmallenberg virus replicates in our colony midges is hugely important in standardising techniques to identify vectors in Europe," said Dr Veronesi.

"Not only that, but it also allows us to examine rates of Schmallenberg virus replication at different temperatures, which impacts on speed of spread and also whether the virus can be passed from adult midges to their offspring. All these studies would be impossible to perform with midges collected from the field."

Dr Simon Carpenter, Head of Entomology at The Pirbright Institute emphasised the importance of the report and said that without this discovery scientists would depend on field populations for studies. 

He stressed the problems of field populations as they depend on weather conditions. 

Further Reading

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