Belák S, Karlsson OE, Blomström AL, Berg M, Granberg F.
In our world, which is faced today with exceptional environmental changes and dramatically intensifying globalisation, we are encountering challenges due to many new factors, including the emergence or re-emergence of novel, so far “unknown” infectious diseases. Although a broad arsenal of diagnostic methods is at our disposal, the majority of the conventional diagnostic tests is highly virus-specific or is targeted entirely towards a limited group of infectious agents. This specificity complicates or even hinders the detection of new or unexpected pathogens, such as new, emerging or re-emerging viruses or novel viral variants. The recently developed approaches of viral metagenomics provide an effective novel way to screen samples and detect viruses without previous knowledge of the infectious agent, thereby enabling a better diagnosis and disease control, in line with the “One World, One Health” principles (www.oneworldonehealth.org). Using metagenomic approaches, we have recently identified a broad variety of new viruses, such as novel bocaviruses, Torque Teno viruses, astroviruses, rotaviruses and kobuviruses in porcine disease syndromes, new virus variants in honeybee populations, as well as a range of other infectious agents in further host species. These findings indicate that the metagenomic detection of viral pathogens is becoming now a powerful, cultivation-independent, and useful novel diagnostic tool in veterinary diagnostic virology.