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Naguib, M. M., D. Höper, M. F. Elkady, M. A. Afifi, A. Erfan, H. H. Abozeid, W. M. Hasan, A. - S. Arafa, M. Shahein, M. Beer, et al., "Comparison of genomic and antigenic properties of Newcastle Disease virus genotypes II, XXI and VII from Egypt do not point to antigenic drift as selection marker", Transboundary and Emerging DiseasesTransboundary and Emerging Diseases, vol. n/a, issue n/a: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2021. AbstractWebsite

Abstract Newcastle disease (ND), caused by avian orthoavulavirus type-1 (NDV), is endemic in poultry in many regions of the world and causes continuing outbreaks in poultry populations. In the Middle East, genotype XXI, used to be present in poultry in Egypt but has been replaced by genotype VII. We investigated whether virus evolution contributed to superseding and focussed on the antigenic sites within the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) spike protein. Full-length sequences of an NDV genotype VII isolate currently circulating in Egypt was compared to a genotype XXI isolate that was present as co-infection with vaccine-type viruses (II) in a historical virus isolated in 2011. Amino acid differences in the HN glycoprotein for both XXI and VII viruses amounted to 11.7% and 11.9%, respectively, compared to the La Sota vaccine type. However, mutations within the globular head (aa 126?570), bearing relevant antigenic sites, were underrepresented (a divergence of 8.8% and 8.1% compared to 22.4% and 25.6% within the protein domains encompassing cytoplasmic tail, transmembrane part and stalk regions (aa 1?125) for genotypes XXI and VII, respectively). Nevertheless, reaction patterns of HN-specific monoclonal antibodies inhibiting receptor binding revealed differences between vaccine-type viruses and genotype XXI and VII viruses for epitopes located in the head domain. Accordingly, compared to Egyptian vaccine-type isolates and the La Sota vaccine reference strain, single aa substitutions in 6 of 10 described neutralizing epitopes of HN were found. However, the same alterations in neutralization sensitive epitopes were present in old genotype XXI as well as in newly emerged genotype VII isolates. In addition, isolates were indistinguishable by polyclonal chicken sera raised against different genotypes including vaccine viruses. These findings suggest that factors other than antigenic differences within the HN protein account for facilitating the spread of genotype VII versus genotype XXI viruses in Egypt.

Hassan, K. E., N. Saad, H. H. Abozeid, S. Shany, M. F. El-Kady, A. S. Arafa, A. A. A. EL-Sawah, F. Pfaff, H. M. Hafez, M. Beer, et al., Genotyping and reassortment analysis of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses H5N8 and H5N2 from Egypt reveals successive annual replacement of genotypes, , vol. 84, pp. 104375, 2020. AbstractWebsite

Highly pathogenic (HP) H5N1, clade 2.2.1, and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 viruses, G1-B lineage, are endemic in poultry in Egypt and have co-circulated for almost a decade. Surprisingly, no inter-subtypic reassortment events have been reported from the field during that time. After the introduction of HPAIV H5N8, clade, in Egyptian poultry in 2016, suddenly HP H5N2 reassortants with H9N2 viruses emerged. The current analyses focussed on studying 32 duck flocks, 4 broiler chicken flocks, and 1 turkey flock, suffering from respiratory manifestations with moderate to high mortality reared in two Egyptian governorates during 2019. Real-time RT-PCR substantiated the presence of HP H5N8 in 21 of the 37 investigated flocks with mixed infection of H9N2 in two of them. HP H5N1 was not detected. Full hemagglutinin (HA) sequencing of 10 samples with full-genome sequencing of three of them revealed presence of a single genotype. Very few substituting mutations in the HA protein were detected versus previous Egyptian HA sequences of that clade. Interestingly, amino acid substitutions in the Matrix (M2) and the Neuraminidase (NA) proteins associated with conferring both Amantadine and Oseltamivir resistance were present. Systematic reassortment analysis of all publicly available Egyptian whole genome sequences of HP H5N8 (n = 23), reassortant HP H5N2 (n = 2) and LP H9N2 (n = 53) viruses revealed presence of at least seven different genotypes of HPAI H5Nx viruses of clade in Egypt since 2016. For H9N2 viruses, at least three genotypes were distinguishable. Heat mapping and tanglegram analyses suggested that several internal gene segments in both HP H5Nx and H9N2 viruses originated from avian influenza viruses circulating in wild bird species in Egypt. Based on the limited set of whole genome sequences available, annual replacement patterns of HP H5Nx genotypes emerged and suggested selective advantages of certain genotypes since 2016.

Abozeid, H. H., and M. M. Naguib, "Infectious Bronchitis Virus in Egypt: Genetic Diversity and Vaccination Strategies.", Veterinary sciences, vol. 7, issue 4, 2020. Abstract

Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is a highly evolving avian pathogen that has increasingly imposed a negative impact on poultry industry worldwide. In the last 20 years, IBV has been continuously circulating among chicken flocks in Egypt causing huge economic losses to poultry production. Multiple IBV genotypes, namely, GI-1, GI-13, GI-16, and GI-23 have been reported in Egypt possessing different genetic and pathogenic features. Different vaccine programs are being used to control the spread of the disease in Egypt. However, the virus continues to spread and evolve where multiple IBV variants and several recombination evidence have been described. In this review, we highlight the current knowledge concerning IBV circulation, genesis, and vaccination strategies in Egypt. In addition, we analyze representative Egyptian IBV strains from an evolutionary perspective based on available data of their S1 gene. We also provide insight into the importance of surveillance programs and share our perspectives for better control of IBV circulating in Egypt.

Hassan, K. E., J. King, M. El-Kady, M. Afifi, H. H. Abozeid, A. Pohlmann, M. Beer, and T. Harder, "Novel Reassortant Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N2) Virus in Broiler Chickens, Egypt.", Emerging infectious diseases, vol. 26, issue 1, pp. 129-133, 2020. Abstract

We detected a novel reassortant highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N2) virus in 3 poultry farms in Egypt. The virus carried genome segments of a pigeon H9N2 influenza virus detected in 2014, a nucleoprotein segment of contemporary chicken H9N2 viruses from Egypt, and hemagglutinin derived from the H5N8 virus clade.

Abozeid, H. H., A. Paldurai, B. P. Varghese, S. K. Khattar, M. A. Afifi, S. Zouelfakkar, A. H. El-Deeb, M. F. El-Kady, and S. K. Samal, Development of a recombinant Newcastle disease virus-vectored vaccine for infectious bronchitis virus variant strains circulating in Egypt, , vol. 50, issue 1, pp. 12, 2019. AbstractWebsite

Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) causes a major disease problem for the poultry industry worldwide. The currently used live-attenuated vaccines have the tendency to mutate and/or recombine with circulating field strains resulting in the emergence of vaccine-derived variant viruses. In order to circumvent these issues, and to develop a vaccine that is more relevant to Egypt and its neighboring countries, a recombinant avirulent Newcastle disease virus (rNDV) strain LaSota was constructed to express the codon-optimized S glycoprotein of the Egyptian IBV variant strain IBV/Ck/EG/CU/4/2014 belonging to GI-23 lineage, that is prevalent in Egypt and in the Middle East. A wild type and two modified versions of the IBV S protein were expressed individually by rNDV. A high level of S protein expression was detected in vitro by Western blot and immunofluorescence analyses. All rNDV-vectored IBV vaccine candidates were genetically stable, slightly attenuated and showed growth patterns comparable to that of parental rLaSota virus. Single-dose vaccination of 1-day-old SPF White Leghorn chicks with the rNDVs expressing IBV S protein provided significant protection against clinical disease after IBV challenge but did not show reduction in tracheal viral shedding. Single-dose vaccination also provided complete protection against virulent NDV challenge. However, prime-boost vaccination using rNDV expressing the wild type IBV S protein provided better protection, after IBV challenge, against clinical signs and significantly reduced tracheal viral shedding. These results indicate that the NDV-vectored IBV vaccines are promising bivalent vaccine candidates to control both infectious bronchitis and Newcastle disease in Egypt.

Abozeid, H. H., A. Paldurai, S. K. Khattar, M. A. Afifi, M. F. El-Kady, A. H. El-Deeb, and S. K. Samal, Complete genome sequences of two avian infectious bronchitis viruses isolated in Egypt: Evidence for genetic drift and genetic recombination in the circulating viruses, , vol. 53, pp. 7 - 14, 2017. AbstractWebsite

Avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is highly prevalent in chicken populations and is responsible for severe economic losses to poultry industry worldwide. In this study, we report the complete genome sequences of two IBV field strains, CU/1/2014 and CU/4/2014, isolated from vaccinated chickens in Egypt in 2014. The genome lengths of the strains CU/1/2014 and CU/4/2014 were 27,615 and 27,637 nucleotides, respectively. Both strains have a common genome organization in the order of 5′-UTR-1a-1b-S-3a-3b-E-M-4b-4c-5a-5b-N-6b-UTR-poly(A) tail-3′. Interestingly, strain CU/1/2014 showed a novel 15-nt deletion in the 4b-4c gene junction region. Phylogenetic analysis of the full S1 genes showed that the strains CU/1/2014 and CU/4/2014 belonged to IBV genotypes GI-1 lineage and GI-23 lineage, respectively. The genome of strain CU/1/2014 is closely related to vaccine strain H120 but showed genome-wide point mutations that lead to 27, 14, 11, 1, 1, 2, 2, and 2 amino acid differences between the two strains in 1a, 1b, S, 3a, M, 4b, 4c, and N proteins, respectively, suggesting that strain CU/1/2014 is probably a revertant of the vaccine strain H120 and evolved by accumulation of point mutations. Recombination analysis of strain CU/4/2014 showed evidence for recombination from at least three different IBV strains, namely, the Italian strain 90254/2005 (QX-like strain), 4/91, and H120. These results indicate the continuing evolution of IBV field strains by genetic drift and by genetic recombination leading to outbreaks in the vaccinated chicken populations in Egypt.

Afifi, M. A., M. M. Zaki, S. A. Zoelfokkar, and H. H. Abo-Zeid, "Evaluation of Spectrum of protection provided against two infectious bronchitis isolates using classical live vaccine", Life Science Journal, vol. 12, issue 2, pp. 91-98, 2015. Abstract013_27017life120215_91_98_1.pdf