Biologicals : journal of the International Association of Biological Standardization

The serological evidence in humans supports a negligible risk of zoonotic infection from porcine circovirus type 2.

PMID 24120888


There are two porcine circovirus (PCV) genotypes, PCV-1 and PCV-2. In pigs, PCV-1 infection is asymptomatic but PCV-2 infection can cause severe respiratory disease and other pathology. Although humans ingest PCV-contaminated foods and are exposed to PCV through other sources, the potential of PCV-2 as a zoonotic agent in humans and other species has not been fully explored. Here, four recombinant proteins derived from the PCV-2 capsid gene were examined as antigens using the Luciferase Immunoprecipitation System (LIPS) assay for serological analysis of PCV-2 infection. PCV-2-CAP-Δ1 was the optimum recombinant protein in the LIPS assay with a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 100% using porcine samples. Testing of healthy human blood donors, equine and bovine serum samples failed to demonstrate the presence of anti-PCV-2 antibodies. Additionally, analysis of two high-risk human groups, cystic fibrosis patients taking porcine derived oral supplements and type I diabetes patients who had undergone porcine islet cell transplantation, showed no evidence of anti-PCV-2 antibodies. These results extend the extensively demonstrated use of LIPS as a robust approach for identifying humoral responses and provide evidence that PCV-2 is likely not infectious in humans.