The Chelonid fibropapilloma-associated herpesvirus (CFPHV) is hypothesized to be the causative agent of fibropapillomatosis, a neoplastic disease in sea turtles, given its consistent detection by PCR in fibropapilloma tumours. CFPHV has also been detected recently by PCR in tissue samples from clinically healthy (non exhibiting fibropapilloma tumours) turtles, thus representing presumably latent infections of the pathogen. Given that template copy numbers of viruses in latent infections can be very low, extremely sensitive PCR assays are needed to optimize detection efficiency. In this study, efficiency of several PCR assays designed for CFPHV detection is explored and compared to a method published previously. The results show that adoption of a triplet set of singleplex PCR assays outperforms other methods, with an approximately 3-fold increase in detection success in comparison to the standard assay. Thus, a new assay for the detection of CFPHV DNA markers is presented, and adoption of its methodology is recommended in future CFPHV screens among sea turtles.
Journal of Virological Methods, 2014, Vol 206, p. 38-41