Dr. Christopher C. Broder, USU professor of microbiology and immunology and director of the university’s interdisciplinary program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, is the principal investigator of the grant from NIAID. The grant was awarded to further develop the vaccines and therapeutics for Nipah and Hendra that his group has been working on for the past several years.
The award will support a continued collaboration with investigators Lin-Fa Wang, Ph.D. and Deborah Middleton M.V.Sc, Ph.D. of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Livestock Industries, Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Center (AB-CRC) in Geelong, Victoria, where there is a high-level biosafety and security facility for testing the vaccines and therapeutics against these deadly viruses in appropriate models.
Hendra virus and Nipah virus are recently emerged paramyxoviruses that are highly pathogenic and can cause lethal infections in several animals and in humans. Since their initial discovery in Australia and Malaysia, sporadic Hendra outbreaks have been reported from 1995 to 2007, while Nipah has caused at least 9 outbreaks between 1998 and 2008. The majority of these episodes have occurred on a regular basis in Bangladesh and India, with human case fatality rates approaching 75% along with evidence of human-to-human transmission. The most recent appearance of Nipah in 2008 claimed the lives of several children. Studies have demonstrated that the natural reservoirs for Hendra and Nipah viruses are bats, primarily several different species of large fruit bats commonly referred to as flying foxes.
The first steps in countering infections caused by these viruses were to develop a vaccine that was both safe and effective, and also to find antibodies that could neutralize them. In earlier work, also supported by NIAID through the Middle-Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (MARCE), a subunit vaccine for Nipah and Hendra, composed of a piece of the virus known as the G glycoprotein, was developed by Dr. Katharine Bossart, a former graduate student of Broder’s laboratory. Recent experiments by Dr. Bossart and colleagues have shown the vaccine to be very effective in preventing Nipah virus disease.
Antibodies on the other hand are proteins that are found in blood or other bodily fluids of animals and humans that are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign molecules, including bacteria and viruses.
The neutralization of an invading virus is the process by which an antibody can specifically bind and block its infection, and in other recent MARCE-supported studies carried out by Broder’s group in collaboration with Dimiter S. Dimitrov, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute’s, Center for Cancer Research in Frederick, Md., and Zhongyu Zhu, Ph.D., of Dimitrov's group, a very potent Nipah and Hendra virus neutralizing human monoclonal antibody (m102.4) was developed as a potential therapeutic that could be administered to people infected by these viruses.
“We now have the critical resources needed to evaluate the therapeutic potential of both vaccines and perhaps more importantly a potent human antibody against both Nipah virus and Hendra virus, that could help control outbreaks in geographical regions susceptible to these emerging viruses, and result in a real benefit to those people at risk of infection and disease caused by these deadly agents," said Broder. “Our success in obtaining these new critical funds is also evidence of the success of NIAID’s Regional Center of Excellence program,” Broder added.
This NIH award will also support and bring together the expertise to structurally characterize the interaction between the Nipah and Hendra virus and the receptor proteins on cells that serve the gateway for virus infection, led by Dimitar B. Nikolov, Ph.D., and Kai Xu of Nikolov’s team at the Structural Biology Program of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York. Information from these additional studies may lead to the discovery of new therapeutics targeting the virus-host cell infection process.
NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. It also supports research on basic immunology, transplantation and immune-related disorders, including autoimmune diseases, asthma and allergies.
Located on the grounds of Bethesda’s National Naval Medical Center and across from the National Institutes of Health, USU is the nation’s federal school of medicine and graduate school of nursing, and also offers several graduate programs in the biomedical sciences and public health. The university educates health care professionals dedicated to career service in the Department of Defense and the U.S. Public Health Service. Medical students are active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service, who are being educated to deal with wartime casualties, natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies. Of the university’s more than 4,000 physician alumni, the vast majority serve on active duty and are supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, offering their leadership and expertise.
Office of External Affairs | newswise
Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy