Molecular characterization of field isolates of infectious bursal disease virus from three decades, 1987-2018, reveals a distinct genotypic subgroup in Vietnam.


Immunology Department, Institute of Biotechnology (IBT), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), 18. Hoang Quoc Viet Rd., Cau Giay, Hanoi, Vietnam. [Email]


The complete nucleotide sequence of the viral protein 2 (VP2) ORF was determined for 26 Vietnamese infectious bursal disease isolates collected from clinical outbreaks in vaccinated flocks from 1987 to 2018 and two commercial vaccine specimens. These sequences were compared for molecular classification with 42 reference strains representing all four main classes of serotype 1, including very virulent (vvIBDV), classical (cvIBDV), antigenic variant (avIBDV) and attenuated (atIBDV) strains, and serotype 2 strains. Amino acids at nine key positions in the VP2-HVR in 20 Vietnamese isolates, A222, I242, Q253, I256, D279, A284, I294, S299, A329, which are typical of the vvIBDV class, were found to be identical in all of the isolates. Eighteen of these isolates had a unique change at residue 212 (D212N) located in the PAB loop. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a distinct lineage/subclade with strong nodal support (96%) that included recent Chinese IBDV strains that were distinct from typical vvIBDVs. Six isolates contained the amino acid substitutions P222, V242, Q253, V256, D279, A284, I294, N299, A329, which are present in two vaccine strains derived from strain 2512 and these isolates were also closely related to the classical virulent STC strain. Data from this study show that there is considerable genetic diversity among vvIBDVs, which vary according to geographic region. Antigenic drift and differences in genetic characteristics between virulent strains and IBDV vaccine strains may be the cause of vaccine failure. Better antigenic matching of vaccines to the strains circulating in Vietnam is therefore required.