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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Cold case: The disappearance of Egypt bee virus, a fourth distinct master strain of deformed wing virus linked to honeybee mortality in 1970's Egypt

de Miranda, Joachim R.; Brettell, Laura E.; Chejanovsky, Nor; Childers, Anna K.; Dalmon, Anne; Deboutte, Ward; de Graaf, Dirk C.; Doublet, Vincent; Gebremedhn, Haftom; Genersch, Elke; Gisder, Sebastian; Granberg, Fredrik; Haddad, Nizar J.; Kaden, Rene; Manley, Robyn; Matthijnssens, Jelle; Meeus, Ivan; Migdadi, Hussein; Milbrath, Meghan O.; Mondet, Fanny;
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In 1977, a sample of diseased adult honeybees (Apis mellifera) from Egypt was found to contain large amounts of a previously unknown virus, Egypt bee virus, which was subsequently shown to be serologically related to deformed wing virus (DWV). By sequencing the original isolate, we demonstrate that Egypt bee virus is in fact a fourth unique, major variant of DWV (DWV-D): more closely related to DWV-C than to either DWV-A or DWV-B. DWV-A and DWV-B are the most common DWV variants worldwide due to their close relationship and transmission by Varroa destructor. However, we could not find any trace of DWV-D in several hundred RNA sequencing libraries from a worldwide selection of honeybee, varroa and bumblebee samples. This means that DWV-D has either become extinct, been replaced by other DWV variants better adapted to varroa-mediated transmission, or persists only in a narrow geographic or host range, isolated from common bee and beekeeping trade routes.


Egypt bee virus; Deformed wing virus; Master strain; Varroa destructor; Honeybee; Apis mellifera; Western blot; RNA sequencing; Bioinformatic screening

Published in

Virology Journal
2022, Volume: 19, number: 1, article number: 12
Publisher: BMC