Porcine circoviruses: current status, knowledge gaps and challenges

Tanja Opriessnig, Anbu K Karuppannan, Alessandra Castro, Xiao Chao-Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Circoviruses (CV) include some of the smallest viruses known. They were named after their circularly arranged single-stranded DNA genome with a gene encoding a conserved replicase protein on the sense strand. Circoviruses are widely distributed in mammals, fish, avian species and even insects. In pigs, four different CVs have been identified and named with consecutive numbers based on the order of their discovery: Porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1), Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV3) and most recently Porcine circovirus 4 (PCV4). PCVs are ubiquitous in global pig populations and uninfected herds are rarely found. It is generally accepted that PCV1 is non-pathogenic. In contrast, PCV2 is considered an important, economically challenging pathogen on a global scale with comprehensive vaccination schemes in place. The role of PCV3 is still controversial several years after its discovery. Propagation of PCV3 appears to be challenging and only one successful experimental infection model has been published to date. Similarly to PCV2, PCV3 is widespread and found in many pigs regardless of their health history, including high health herds. PCV4 has only recently been discovered and further information on this virus is required to understand its potential impact. This review summarizes current knowledge on CVs in pigs and aims to contrast and compare known facts on PCVs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVirus Research
Early online date2 Jun 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2020


  • Porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1)
  • Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2)
  • Porcine circovirus 3 (PCV3)
  • Porcine circovirus 4 (PCV4)
  • Review
  • Pigs

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