Publications by authors named "Mehdi Elharrak"

10 Publications

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Draft Genome Sequence of the Capripoxvirus Vaccine Strain KSGP 0240, Reisolated from Cattle.

Microbiol Resour Announc 2021 Jul 29;10(30):e0044021. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Research and Development Department, Multi-Chemical Industry, Mohammedia, Morocco.

Control of lumpy skin disease in cattle is based on vaccination with live attenuated vaccines. The Kenyan strain KSGP 0240 is commonly used to vaccinate ruminants against capripox infections, but the conferred protection is still controversial. In this study, we report the draft genome sequence of the vaccine strain KSGP 0240, reisolated from cattle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MRA.00440-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8320456PMC
July 2021

Investigation of Post Vaccination Reactions of Two Live Attenuated Vaccines against Lumpy Skin Disease of Cattle.

Vaccines (Basel) 2021 Jun 8;9(6). Epub 2021 Jun 8.

MCI Santé Animale, Mohammedia 28810, Morocco.

Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV) causes an economically important disease in cattle. The only method for successful control is early diagnosis and efficient vaccination. Adverse effects of vaccination such as local inflammation at the injection site and localized or generalized skin lesions in some vaccinated animals have been reported with live vaccines. The aim of this work was to compare the safety of two lumpy skin disease (LSD) vaccine strains, Kenyan (Kn) Sheep and Goat Pox (KSGP O-240) and LSDV Neethling (Nt) strain, and to determine the etiology of the post-vaccination (pv) reactions observed in cattle. Experimental cattle were vaccinated under controlled conditions with Nt- and KSGP O-240-based vaccines, using two different doses, and animals were observed for 3 months for any adverse reactions. Three out of 45 cattle vaccinated with LSDV Nt strain (6.7%) and three out of 24 cattle vaccinated with Kn strain (12.5%) presented LSD-like skin nodules, providing evidence that the post-vaccination lesions may not be strain-dependent. Lesions appeared 1-3 weeks after vaccination and were localized in the neck or covering the whole body. Animals recovered after 3 weeks. There is a positive correlation between the vaccine dose and the appearance of skin lesions in vaccinated animals; at the 105 dose, 12% of the animals reacted versus 3.7% at the 104 dose. Both strains induced solid immunity when protection was measured by neutralizing antibody seroconversion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/vaccines9060621DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8226854PMC
June 2021

Comparative sensitivity study of primary cells, vero, OA3.Ts and ESH-L cell lines to lumpy skin disease, sheeppox, and goatpox viruses detection and growth.

J Virol Methods 2021 07 14;293:114164. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Laboratory of Research and Development virology, MCI Animal Health, Lot. 157, Zone Industrielle Sud-Ouest (ERAC) B.P: 278, 28810 Mohammedia, Morocco.

Lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), sheeppox virus (SPPV) and goatpox (GTPV) virus have been usually grown on primary cells for diagnosis, production and titration purposes. The use of primary cells present several inconvenient, heavy preparation, heterogeneous cell population, non-reproducible viral titration and presence of potential endogenous contaminants. Therefore investigating sensitivity of candidate continuous cell lines is needed. In this study, we compared the above Capripox viruses (CaPVs) sensitivity of primary cells of four origin (heart, skin, testis and kidney), with three cell lines (Vero, OA3.Ts and ESH-L). We tested sensitivity for virus isolation, replication cycle and titration, revealed by cytopathic effect (CPE), immunoenzymatic staining and immunofluorescence. Our results show that ESH-L cells and primary fetal heart cells present the highest sensitivity for CaPVs growth and detection. Vero cells can replicate those viruses but without showing any CPE while the titer obtained on OA3.Ts is lower than primary and ESH-L cells. ESH-L cells are an effective alternative to primary cells use for growing Capripoxviruses and their diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2021.114164DOI Listing
July 2021

Production of small ruminant morbillivirus, rift valley fever virus and lumpy skin disease virus in CelCradle™ -500A bioreactors.

BMC Vet Res 2021 Feb 27;17(1):93. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Laboratory of Research and Development virology, MCI Animal Health, Lot. 157, Zone Industrielle Sud-Ouest (ERAC) B.P: 278, 28810, Mohammedia, Morocco.

Background: Animal vaccination is an important way to stop the spread of diseases causing immense damage to livestock and economic losses and the potential transmission to humans. Therefore effective method for vaccine production using simple and inexpensive bioprocessing solutions is very essential. Conventional culture systems currently in use, tend to be uneconomic in terms of labor and time involved. Besides, they offer a limited surface area for growth of cells. In this study, the CelCradle™-500A was evaluated as an alternative to replace conventional culture systems in use such as Cell factories for the production of viral vaccines against small ruminant morbillivirus (PPR), rift valley fever virus (RVF) and lumpy skin disease virus (LSD).

Results: Two types of cells Vero and primary Lamb Testis cells were used to produce these viruses. The study was done in 2 phases as a) optimization of cell growth and b) virus cultivation. Vero cells could be grown to significantly higher cell densities of 3.04 × 10 using the CelCradle™-500A with a shorter doubling time as compared to 9.45 × 10 cells in Cell factories. This represents a 19 fold increase in cell numbers as compared to seeding vs only 3.7 fold in Cell factories. LT cells achieved modestly higher cell densities of 6.7 × 10 as compared to 6.3 × 10 in Cell factories. The fold change in densities for these cells was 3 fold in the CelCradle™-500A vs 2.5 fold in Cell factories. The titers in the conventional system and the bioreactor were not significantly different. However, the Cell-specific virus yield for rift valley fever virus and lumpy skin disease virus are higher (25 virions/cell for rift valley fever virus, and 21.9 virions/cell for lumpy skin disease virus versus 19.9 virions/cell for rift valley fever virus and 10 virions/cell for lumpy skin disease virus).

Conclusions: This work represents a novel study for primary lamb testis cell culture in CellCradle™-500A bioreactors. In addition, on account of the high cell densities obtained and the linear scalability the titers could be further optimized using other culture process such us perfusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12917-021-02801-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7913422PMC
February 2021

Experimental infection of dromedary camels with virulent virus of Peste des Petits Ruminants.

Vet Microbiol 2019 Aug 8;235:195-198. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

Research and Development, MCI Santé Animale, Lot. 157, Z. I., Sud-Ouest (ERAC) B.P: 278, Mohammedia, 28810, Morocco. Electronic address:

Peste des Petits Ruminants Virus (PPRV) causes a severe contagious disease of sheep and goats and has spread extensively in last years through Asia and Africa. PPRV, known to infect exclusively small ruminants, has been recently reported in camels in Iran and Sudan. Reported clinical symptoms are similar to those observed in small ruminants, fatality rate still unknown. However most of the authors reported seropositive camels without clinical signs. Camel sensitivity to PPRV is still controversial and more investigation need to be performed. In this study, we tested camel susceptibility by an experimental infection using a virulent PPRV strain belonging to lineage IV. Young dromedary camels were infected intravenously and observed one month for clinical symptoms. Viraemia and virus secretion charge in swabs were evaluated by PCR. Seroconversion was assessed by ELISA and virus neutralisation test. Infected animals did not manifest any clinical symptoms of the disease and no virus was detected in secretions. Seroconversion was observed from day 14 post infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2019.07.004DOI Listing
August 2019

Susceptibility of Moroccan sheep and goat breeds to peste des petits ruminants virus.

Acta Vet Scand 2017 Sep 7;59(1):56. Epub 2017 Sep 7.

Research and Development, MCI Santé Animale, Lot. 157, Z I, Sud-Ouest (ERAC), B.P. 278, 28810, Mohammedia, Morocco.

Background: Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is a highly contagious viral disease of small ruminants in Asia and Africa. In 2008, a PPR outbreak was reported for the first time in Morocco and a mass vaccination campaign allowed control of the disease. In this study, the susceptibility of four Moroccan local breeds of small ruminants to PPR virus was investigated by experimental infections. The objective was to make recommendations for improved epidemiological surveillance in Morocco by evaluating the susceptibility of the dominant Moroccan small ruminant breeds. Three parameters were studied: hyperthermia, clinical scoring and virus excretion. The outcome was compared to Alpine goats, which are considered one of the most sensitive breeds.

Results: The study showed that the local goat breed was the most sensitive breed with a susceptibility rate of 67%, followed by Timahdit, Beni Guil and Sardi sheep with 48, 29 and 26%, respectively. Serological testing including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and viral neutralization showed that the Timahdit breed developed a stronger antibody response compared to the other breeds. Although the clinical signs observed in the sheep were mild, evidence of viral excretion was detected by means of a polymerase chain reaction assay.

Conclusions: It is recommended that effective surveillance should focus on susceptible breeds complemented with serological surveillance of the sheep population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13028-017-0323-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5590148PMC
September 2017

Multiple alignment comparison of the non-structural genes of three strains of equine influenza viruses (H3N8) isolated in Morocco.

BMC Res Notes 2015 Sep 24;8:471. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

Laboratory of Virology, Microbiology and Quality/ETB, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Mohammedia, University Hassan II Mohammedia-Casablanca, PO BOX 146, Quartier Yasmina, Mohammedia, 20650, Morocco.

Background: Three equine influenza viruses, A/equine/Nador/1/1997(H3N8), A/equine/Essaouira/2/2004(H3N8), and A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004(H3N8), were isolated from different Equidae during local respiratory disease outbreaks in Morocco in 1997 and 2004. Their non-structural (NS) genes were amplified and sequenced.

Results: The results show high homology of NS nucleotide sequences of A/equine/Nador/1/1997 with European strains (i.e., A/equine/newmarket/2/93 and A/equine/Grobois/1/1998) and clustered into the European lineage. However, NS gene of A/equine/Essaouira/2/2004(H3N8) and A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004(H3N8) strains indicated high homology with equine influenza strains that had circulated before 1990 (A/equine/Fontainbleu/1/1979(H3N8), which belonged to a pre-divergent phase Amino acid sequence comparison of the NS1 protein with reference strain A/equine/Miami/1963(H3N8) shows that the A/equine/Nador/1/1997(H3N8) strain has 12 substitutions at the residues D/24/N, R/44/K, S/48/I, R/67/Q, A/86/V, E/139/K, A/112/T, E/186/K, L/185/F, A/223/E, S/213/T and S/228/P. In both A/equine/Essaouira/2/2004(H3N8) and A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004(H3N8) strains, the NS1 sequences present one common mutation at the residue: S/228/P.

Conclusion: It seems that all of these substitutions are not produced at the key residues of the RNA-binding domain (RBD) and the effector domain (ED). Consequently, we can suppose that they will not affect the potency of inhibition of cellular defences, and the virulence of the Moroccan equine strains will be maintained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13104-015-1441-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4581100PMC
September 2015

Cleavage site and Ectodomain of HA2 sub-unit sequence of three equine influenza virus isolated in Morocco.

BMC Res Notes 2014 Jul 12;7:448. Epub 2014 Jul 12.

University Hassan II, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques, Mohammedia-Casablanca, Laboratory of Virology, Microbiology and Quality/ETB, Mohammedia BP 146, (20650), Morocco.

Background: The equine influenza (EI) is an infectious and contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract of horses. Two outbreaks were notified in Morocco during 1997 and 2004 respectively in Nador and Essaouira. The aims of the present study concern the amino acids sequences comparison with reference strain A/equine/Miami/1963(H3N8) of the HA2 subunit including the cleavage site of three equine influenza viruses (H3N8) isolated in Morocco: A/equine/Nador/1/1997(H3N8), A/equine/Essaouira/2/2004 (H3N8) and A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004 (H3N8).

Results: The obtained results demonstrated that the substitutions were located at Ectodomain (ED) and transmembrane domain (TD), and they have only one arginine in cleavage site (HA1-PEKQI-R329-GI-HA2). In the Ectodomain, the mutation N/1542/T deleted the NGT glycosylation site at position 154 for both strains A/equine/Essaouira/2/2004(H3N8) and A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004(H3N8). Except for mutation D/1602/Y of the A/equine/Nador/1/1997(H3N8) strain, the other mutations were involved in non conserved sites. While the transmembrane domain (TM) of the strain A/equine/Essaouira/3/2004(H3N8) exhibits a substitution at residue C/1992/F. For the A/equine/Nador/1/1997(H3N8) strain the HA2 shows a mutation at residue M/2072/L. Three Moroccan strains reveals a common substitution at the residue E/2112/Q located between transmembrane domain TM and the cytoplasmic domain (CD).

Conclusion: The given nature virulence of three Moroccan strains, the identified and reported mutations certainly played a permissive role of infection viral process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118787PMC
July 2014

Phylodynamics and human-mediated dispersal of a zoonotic virus.

PLoS Pathog 2010 Oct 28;6(10):e1001166. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Institut Pasteur, Unit Lyssavirus Dynamics and Host Adaptation, WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Rabies, Paris, France.

Understanding the role of humans in the dispersal of predominantly animal pathogens is essential for their control. We used newly developed Bayesian phylogeographic methods to unravel the dynamics and determinants of the spread of dog rabies virus (RABV) in North Africa. Each of the countries studied exhibited largely disconnected spatial dynamics with major geopolitical boundaries acting as barriers to gene flow. Road distances proved to be better predictors of the movement of dog RABV than accessibility or raw geographical distance, with occasional long distance and rapid spread within each of these countries. Using simulations that bridge phylodynamics and spatial epidemiology, we demonstrate that the contemporary viral distribution extends beyond that expected for RABV transmission in African dog populations. These results are strongly supportive of human-mediated dispersal, and demonstrate how an integrated phylogeographic approach will turn viral genetic data into a powerful asset for characterizing, predicting, and potentially controlling the spatial spread of pathogens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1001166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2965766PMC
October 2010
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