Consortium set up to address new virus problem

The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam, Dr Bui Ba Bong, announced the formation of an IRRI-China-Vietnam consortium to address concerns of the potential threat the new virus disease carried by the white back planthopper (WBPH) can pose to rice production in Vietnam and China.

Scientists involved in the consortium will be from the Plant Protection Department (PPD) and Plant Protection Research Institute (PPRI) of Vietnam, Zhejiang University (ZU) and Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ZAAS) of China and IRRI scientists, Drs I.R Choi and K.L. Heong.

A set of action plans that will include research, workshops and training in pest and disease monitoring, disease diagnosis, virus-insect-plant relationships and management options will be developed and implemented.


A rice plant affected by virus. Photo credit: Dr Ngo Vinh Vien.

In August 2009 a report on the spread of a new virus transmitted by the white back planthopper (WBPH) in the southern provinces of China was posted by Professor Z. Lu. (see At the same time, many fields in the Red River Delta of Northern Vietnam were found to be attacked by virus and samples examined by Vietnamese and Chinese scientists confirmed the presence of similar virus found in China. Virologists has labeled this virus Southern Rice Black Streak Dwarf virus (SRBSDV) carried by the white back planthopper (WBPH).

In November, 2009 Chinese, Vietnamese and IRRI scientists visited Hanoi and found maize plants with virus symptoms.  The SRBSDV can also affect maize and several other grasses. Since these grasses are alternative hosts of WBPH their abundances can increase the potential of further virus spread.

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