Livestocks play an important role in our lives. Animal products such as milk, meat, and eggs supply the proteins we need to stay healthy and build strong bodies. Safe, high quality animal products are produced from healthy livestocks. Animals also contribute to the advancement of biotechnology and life sciences. The preservation of animal health through the implementation of preventive measures to contain various diseases is an important goal. The National Institute of Animal Health (NIAH) covers basic research to diagnosis and contributes to support animal health.


Development of a simple pre-processing method for the detection of virus-derived genetic materials in blood samples

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Takara Bio Co., Ltd. have jointly developed a new simple pre-processing method of blood samples for viral gene detection by real-time PCR. This makes it possible to quickly extract nucleic acids from viruses in blood with only a short heat treatment and centrifugation, and to easily remove components that inhibit PCR reactions. By applying this method to the "Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV)/African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV) Differential Test Method" used at prefectural animal hygiene centers and the "CSFV Field Strain/Vaccine Strain Differential Test Method" for wild boars, it is expected to largely contribute to prompt implementation of counter measures against these devastating animal diseases through rapid and reliable detection of both causative viruses in various specimens such as blood, sera, and tissue homogenates. Read more

Development of a new molecular testing method that allows the differentiation of field and vaccine strains of classical swine fever virus (CSFV)

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Takara Bio Inc. have jointly developed a brand-new real-time PCR method to distinguish between field and vaccine strains of classical swine fever virus (CSFV). This method allows quick determination of whether a wild boar tested to be "CSFV positive" during surveillance was infected by a virulent field strain or orally immunized with a bait-type vaccine strain. In areas where CSF is prevalent and bait-type vaccination is applied, this method will also be useful for monitoring the status of virus circulation and evaluating the effectiveness of bait vaccination of wild boars. Read more

Genetic characterization of high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses in the 2022 season

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has conducted genetic analysis on 60 cases of high pathogenicity avian influenza virus (HPAIV) identified in domestic poultry facilities from October 28, 2022 to January 17, 2023. From the analysis result it was revealed that in 2022 season, there were three groups classified by the characteristics of the hemagglutinin (HA) gene invaded Japan at the same period and in a wide range from the earliest time so far. Two of these groups are closely related to groups detected in Japan last season, and one newly detected group is closely related to viruses isolated in West Siberia and Central China in 2021. Since this season has the highest number of outbreaks ever it is necessary to continue to monitor the trend of the HPAIV epidemic and be vigilant against the invasion of the virus into Japan and farms. Read more

Development of the world's first method to design bacterial vaccines from genomic information in a short time

National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has developed the world's first method for rationally designing live vaccines in a short period of time. Using Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae as a model, we estimated the genes involved in pathogenicity from the genomic information, and by deleting the genes, the bacteria was rationally attenuated. It is expected that this method can save labor in the development of live bacterial vaccines, which has been very costly and time-consuming. Read more

Genetic characterization of H5N1 HPAIV detected from a peregrine falcon in Kanagawa Prefecture in September 2022

On September 25, 2022, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) was detected in a peregrine falcon that died after weakening in Isehara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has conducted whole-genome sequencing of this virus. From this analysis, it was revealed that this virus is closely related to the H5N1 HPAIV that caused outbreaks in Japan in the 2021/2022 season (autumn 2021 to spring 2022). HPAIV infection cases were confirmed in wild birds in Japan at the earliest time of the season since 2004, and HPAI outbreaks were also reported in domestic poultry in late October this year. Therefore, an increased alert is required to prevent the introduction of virus to poultry farms. Read more

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