Fellowship to Further Study of Harmless Herpes Virus as Vehicle for Babesiosis Vaccine- and Possibly Useful in Human HIV and Malaria Prevention
Alex Beck, a second year veterinary student from Washington State University, co-wrote with Dr. Don Knowles, ARS Animal Diseases Research Unit at Pullman, WA, a successful competitive fellowship to work at the Instituto Nacional De Tecnologia Agropecuaria (INTA) during the summer of 2014. Mr. Beck travelled to Argentina to work with Dr. Ignacio Echaide of INTA, Argentina to test the hypothesis that natural infection with bovine herpesvirus-4 (BHV-4) is not related to disease in cattle under natural production conditions. Promising results have emerged from the use of infectious organisms that don’t appear to harm their host but can be used as a live platform to vaccinate against disease causing organisms. One such organism is BHV-4, but research to ensure its safety as a vaccine platform is needed. Vaccines are lacking for a number of infectious diseases that threaten US and global livestock. These diseases such as babesiosis and theileriosis in cattle are caused by pathogens with complex life cycles. Examples in human health include HIV and malaria. This work is critical to ARS’ global research leadership in vaccine development for East Coast Fever (a cooperative Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and USAID-Feed the Future supported effort) and other pathogens such as Babesia bovis which threaten wider impact on global food security.