With the emergence of the novel influenza virus (Type A/H1N1) causing human illness, many people depend on the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Iowa State University for answers. The laboratory performs a vital role in diagnosing swine influenza, tracking seasonal trends in disease prevalence, and monitoring which strains or subtypes of SIV are most prevalent.

The information helps veterinarians and producers understand the health status of their animals and what vaccine or other control measures are appropriate.

K.J. Yoon, veterinarian and virologist, and his team of molecular diagnosticians are determining if the human Type A/H1N1 strain is present in the Iowa swine population. Thus far, this novel H1N1 virus has not been found in the domestic pig population. “Each day we are learning more about this novel influenza virus,” says Yoon. “We are particularly learning more about its genetic makeup.” 

Diagnostic testing for the novel virus at the VDL is currently performed by gene sequence analysis which can take up to seven days. Researchers at Iowa State are quickly developing a high through-put polymerase chain reaction diagnostic test that will allow veterinary diagnosticians to quickly differentiate human, swine and avian-linage viruses, usually within 24 hours.

“We have an excellent team of applied veterinary diagnosticians and researchers working diligently to serve the emerging needs of our stakeholders helping safeguard both animal and human health,” said Rodger Main, Director of Iowa State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Operations.

Source: Iowa State University