Valley fever is a mosquito-borne zoonotic disease (ruminants and
humans) endemic to Africa. Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is a segmented
negative-stranded RNA virus, which belongs to the genus Phlebovirus of the family Bunyaviridae.
RVFV is classified as a Category A Priority Pathogen by NIH/NIAID, and
an overlap select agent by CDC and USDA. Vaccination is an efficient
strategy to prevent RVFV spread. Our laboratory undertakes a basic
research to understand the safety and efficacy of the live-attenuated
MP-12 vaccine and the recombinant variants. Using reverse genetics, we
identified attenuation mutations for the MP-12 vaccine. We also
characterized the efficacy of recombinant MP-12 lacking NSs gene for
DIVA (differentiation of infectious from vaccinated animals) purpose.
More recently, we identified temperature-sensitive mutations for the
MP-12 vaccine, and characterized the genetic stability of key mutations
for the MP-12 vaccine. As a part of vaccine development project, we also
analyze the basic aspect of reassortant and recombination between RVFV
and other bunyaviruses. Using high containment facilities at UTMB, we
generated several pathogenic RVFV strains by reverse genetics. We plan
to study vaccine efficacy, viral pathogenesis, and host-virus
interaction with established resource and environment.
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