One Virology

Emerging and re-emerging viruses

Emerging virus diseases are a major threat to human and veterinary public health. In the last few years, there’s been an undeniable increase in major outbreaks caused by emerging and re-emerging viruses, with alarming examples including Ebola and Zika in people, and bluetongue and Schmallenberg in livestock – not to mention the Covid-19 pandemic!

Many factors contribute to this trend in increased emergence, including globalisation. Changes to local ecosystems that disturb the balance between a pathogen and its principal host species, for example as a result of human encroachment into virgin forest, are major drivers. Climate change may also be contributing to the increasing range of vector species, such as mosquitoes.

Many emerging viruses have an RNA genome. This makes them capable of rapid mutation and selection of new variants adapt to a new host.

Our emerging and re-emerging viruses theme overlaps with our research on mechanisms of resistance to infection, giving us a deeper understanding of how viruses transmit between species and become established in new ecological niches.

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Research that’s making an impact

Using pseudotyped viruses to study emerging viruses

Pseudotyping produces viruses or viral vectors with the viral envelope proteins from a virus of interest. It’s a process that’s helping us shine new light on the evolution of viruses like Lassa.


Applying next-generation phage display to identify viral epitopes

We’re using next-generation phage display, with its advanced sequencing processes, to make major advances in identifying immunogenic peptides, so we can improve vaccines and diagnostic tests.

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One Virology

University of Nottingham