Global research team unlocks structure of bluetongue virus

Bluetongue virus (BTV) has killed 2 million cattle in Europe over the last 20 years, leading researchers around the world on a desperate quest to figure out how the bug can be stopped. A major milestone in that effort has been reached by scientists at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles, who are reporting that they've discovered the atomic structure of BTV. The team used a technology called cryo-electron microscopy to figure out how the individual components of the BTV virus particle function at different levels of acidity, they reported in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. They believe the knowledge they gained will lead to better, more efficient vaccines to fight BTV, and that it will also boost the understanding of similar human and animal viruses, including rotaviruses. Release