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Hantavirus infections in Europe: Molecular virology, epidemiology and ways of control

Objective

- To understand the molecular mechanisms of hantavirus replication and to define potential targets for antiviral therapy.
- To determine the extent of genetic variation of known hantaviruses in rodents and humans and to define the distribution of hantavirus infections and diseases in Europe and to isolate novel European hantaviruses.
- To elucidate mechanisms underlying the development of disease. Biological factors for transmission of infection from rodent to man and the possible control of such factors will be investigated.
- To develop reagents for antiviral therapy and immune intervention and to further develop a candidate vaccine now shown to be efficient in an animal model.
Brief descristion:
Hantaviruses are important European pathogens, transmitted to humans from chronically infected rodents. Hantaviruses cause hernorrhagic fevers with renal syndrome and hantavirus-associated pulmonary syndrome and are prime examples of emerging and re-emerging viruses. We wish to understand the molecular mechanisms of hantavirus replication using reverse genetics and studies on hantavirus protein-RNA and protein-protein interactions. This work also aims to define potential targets for antiviral therapy. We plan to to determine the extent of genetic variation of known hantaviruses in rodents and humans and to define the distribution of hantavirus infections and diseases in Europe. We will also continue efforts to isolate novel European hantaviruses. We elucidate mechanisms underlying the development of disease, including definition of the primary site of infection and the nature of the inflammatory host response. We develop reagents for antiviral therapy and immune intervention (synthetic peptides, recombinant gene products) and to further develop a candidate vaccine now shown to be efficient in an animal model. The present project proposal represents a collaborative effort of five units in Finland, Sweden and UK, experienced in hantavirus research. We represent pioneering work (discovery of several hantaviruses) and expertise in molecular genetics and epidemiology peptide technology, immune response, monoclonal antibodies and animal experiments, diagnostics and pathophysiology, and rodent ecology. The units have ongoing collaborations. Rodent and human samples will be/have been obtained also from BosniaHerzegovina, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland and UK.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts
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Coordinator

University of Helsinki
Address
3,Haartmaninkatu 3
00014 Helsinki
Finland

Participants (4)

Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
Sweden
Address
2,Lundagatan 2
105 21 Stockholm
The Finnish Forest Research Institute
Finland
Address
1,
01301 Vantaa
Umeä Universitet
Sweden
Address
Umeaa University
901 85 Umeaa
University of Glasgow
United Kingdom
Address
Church Street
G11 5JR Glasgow