Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of



Document Type


Date of this Version



Viruses 2020, 12, 1245; doi:10.3390/v12111245


2020 by the authors.


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus that is known to infect only pigs. The virus emerged in the late 1980s and became endemic in most swine producing countries, causing substantial economic losses to the swine industry. The first reverse genetics system for PRRSV was reported in 1998. Since then, several infectious cDNA clones for PRRSV have been constructed. The availability of these infectious cDNA clones has facilitated the genetic modifications of the viral genome at precise locations. Common approaches to manipulate the viral genome include site-directed mutagenesis, deletion of viral genes or gene fragments, insertion of foreign genes, and swapping genes between PRRSV strains or between PRRSV and other members of the Arteriviridae family. In this review, we describe the approaches to construct an infectious cDNA for PRRSV and the ten major applications of these infectious clones to study virus biology and virus–host interaction, and to design a new generation of vaccines with improved levels of safety and efficacy.