European honey bees (Apis mellifera) are critically important to global food production by virtue of their pollination services but are severely threatened by deformed wing virus (DWV) especially in the presence of the external parasite Varroa destructor. DWV exists as many viral strains with the two major variants (DWV-A and DWV-B) varying in virulence. A single plasmid standard was constructed containing three sections for the specific determination of DWV-A (VP2 capsid region), DWV-B (IRES) and a conserved region suitable for total DWV (helicase region). The assays were confirmed as specific and discriminatory with limits of detections of 25, 25 and 50 genome equivalents for DWV-A, DWV-B and total-DWV, respectively. The methods were successfully tested on Apis mellifera and V. destructor samples with varying DWV profiles. The new method determined a more accurate total DWV titre in samples with substantial DWV-B than the method currently described in the COLOSS Beebook. The proposed assays could be utilized for the screening of large quantities of bee material for both a total DWV load overview along with more detailed investigations into DWV-A and DWV-B profiles.
Bradford, E. L., Christie, C. R., Campbell, E. M., & Bowman, A. S. (2017). A real-time PCR method for quantification of the total and major variant strains of the Deformed wing virus. PloS ONE, 12(12), 1-19. [e0190017]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0190017