ISSN 2398-2993      

Bovine immunodeficiency virus: the virus


Veronica Fowler

Richard Booth

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Synonym(s): bovine visna-like virus




  • Family: retroviridae.
  • Sub-family: orthoretrovirinae.
  • Genus: lentivirus.
  • Species: bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV).

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Clinical Effects



  • Limited data is available but BIV transmission is believed to be via contact with body fluids, such as milk and semen.

Pathological effects

  • BIV infection cycle begins when the free virus attaches to cell surface receptors. The viral RNA is released into the cytoplasm where the viral reverse transcriptase (RT) transcribes the genome into double-stranded DNA. This DNA forms a provirus which is transported to the nucleus and incorporated into the host genome. This provirus remains silent unless stress factors reactivate it via cellular signals.
  • When reactivated the DNA is converted into infectious RNA before infectious particles are assembled near the plasma membrane.

Other Host Effects

  • BIV infection can cause immunosuppression in some animals, making them more susceptible to other infections.


Control via animal

  • As BIV is believed to be transmitted through contact with infected body fluids any animals displaying clinical signs should be quarantined.
  • Other animals within the herd should be tested.


  • None available.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Bhatia S, Patil S S & Sood R (2013) Bovine immunodeficiency virus: a lentiviral infection. Indian Journal of Virology 24 (3), 332-341 PubMed.
  • Meas S, Ohashi K, Tum S, Chhin M, Te K, Miura K, Sugimoto C & Onuma M (2000) Seroprevalence of bovine immunodeficiency virus and bovine leukemia virus in draught animals in Cambodia. J Vet Med Sci 62 (7), 779-81 PubMed.
  • Snider T G, Hoyt P G, Jenny B F, Coats K S, Luther D G, Storts R W, Battles J K & Gonda M A (1997) Natural and experimental bovine immunodeficiency virus infection in cattle. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 13 (1), 151-76 PubMed.
  • Zhang S, Wood C, Xue W, Krukenberg S M, Chen Q & Minocha H C (1997) Immune suppression in calves with bovine immunodeficiency virus. Clin Diag Lab Immunol 4 (2), 232-235 PubMed.
  • Belloc C, Polack B, Schwartz-Cornil I, Brownlie J & Lévy D (1996) Bovine immunodeficiency virus: facts and questions. Vet Res 27 (4-5), 395-402 PubMed.
  • Archambault D, Nadin-Davis S, Lutze-Wallace C & Bouillant A M (1993) [The bovine immunodeficiency virus: 1990-1992 update]. Vet Res 24 (2), 179-87 PubMed.
  • Lancaster M U, Robinson W F & Carnegie P R (1992) Tests to combat lentiviruses in domestic animals. Biotechnology Research Group. Australas Biotechnol 2 (6), 345-9 PubMed.
  • Bouillant A M & Archambault D (1990) [Bovine immunodeficiency virus: short review]. Ann Rech Vet 21 (4), 239-50 PubMed.

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