Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Research Project #435561

Research Project: Animal Studies in BSL-3 Containment at Pat Roberts Hall for Comparative Zoonotic Arbovirus Studies

Location: Foreign Arthropod Borne Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 3022-32000-024-014-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2019
End Date: Apr 30, 2024

The purpose of this agreement is to facilitate research to enhance the understanding of arbovirus transmission, pathogenesis and virulence. The overall goals of this research project will be two-fold: 1) completion of animal studies (RVFV and JEV infection of livestock and wildlife and vector transmission mechanisms relative to all arboviruses), and 2) complete the necessary analytical laboratory work in support of these studies. The long-term goal is to develop better countermeasures (detection and mitigation tools and strategies) to increase the efficiency of livestock production, and in the case of zoonotic diseases, prevent the potential transmission to human hosts. Specifically, the objectives include maintaining and further developing the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit (ABADRU) and Foreign Animal Diseases Research Unit (FADRU) Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) research through animal studies and subsequent laboratory investigation. The general objectives would be to characterize the susceptibility, pathogenesis, immunogenicity and virus-vector-host interactions of RVFV, JEV and VSV in mammalian and invertebrate cell cultures and hosts.

RVFV, JEV and VSV are pathogens affecting livestock that require an integrated investigative approach involving serology, epidemiology, molecular biology, entomology and veterinary science. ARS-ABADRU, FADRU and Kansas State University scientists will collaboratively investigate development of diagnostic tests of exotic and endemic strains of both viruses in high containment facilities. Staff will maintain collections, generate virus preparations by in vitro growth in cell culture, and purify RNA from the virus preparations. Animal infection studies will be conducted with RVFV and JEV. The role of arthropod vectors in the establishment of infection, replication and persistence will be evaluated. The pathogenesis of infection, immune responses to infection, clinical evaluations of infection and transmission to arthropod vectors will be evaluated. Individual study designs will be established with by the lead scientists on these research projects with the BRI staff.