Navigation Links
LLNL scientists make new discoveries in the transmission of viruses between animals and humans

LIVERMORE, Calif. Outbreaks such as the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) have afflicted people around the world, yet many people think these trends are on the decline.

Quite the opposite is true.

The efforts to combat this epidemic are being spearheaded by a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists. Led by Monica Borucki, a principal investigator (PI) in LLNL's Biosciences and Biotechnology Division in the Physical and Life Sciences Directorate (PLS), the Lab researchers has recently made promising new discoveries that provide insight into the emergence of inter-species transmittable viruses.

They discovered that the genetic diversity of a viral population within a host animal could allow a virus to adapt to certain conditions which could help it reach a human host. This discovery advances the scientific understanding of how new viruses produced from animal reservoirs can infect people. An animal reservoir is an animal species that harbors an infectious agent, which then goes on to potentially infect humans or other species. Borucki's team is investigating viruses related to SARS and MERS, but not the actual viruses themselves.

"The team's findings are the first steps in developing methods for predicting which viral species are most likely to jump from animals to humans and potentially cause outbreaks of diseases," said Borucki, who is the research project's PI.

Borucki's LLNL multidisciplinary research team includes Jonathan Allen, Tom Slezak, Clinton Torres and Adam Zemla from the Computation Directorate; Haiyin Chen from the Engineering Directorate; and Pam Hullinger, Gilda Vanier and Shalini Mabery from PLS.

Coronaviruses are one of the groups of viruses that most commonly jump to new host species as evidenced by the SARS and MERS, according to Borucki. These viruses appear to have jumped from animals to humans and are capable of causing severe diseases in humans.

"Our discoveries indicate that next generation of genetic sequencing technology, combined with advance computational analysis, can be used to characterize the dynamics of certain viral populations," she said.

The team's work on coronaviruses received funding from LLNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) program and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Defense.

In June, a research paper published in the Journal of General Virology by other scientists cited the Borucki team's findings as pioneering, and it recommended their methodology for studying viral evolution.

Borucki said her team's research findings could eventually be used to influence how vaccines and antivirals are designed and tested.

"Deep Illumina sequencing (a type of genetic sequencing that involves sequencing reads in parallel) is already being used extensively to understand HIV and hepatitis C resistance to antivirals," she said. "We plan to follow up our findings by examining how animal host traits such as nutritional status (being malnourished or obese) influence how viruses evolve."

This latest discovery is part of a string of achievements for Borucki's team.


Contact: Ken Ma
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Scientists develop method that ensures safe research on deadly flu viruses
2. Neuroscientists identify protein linked to Alzheimers-like afflictions
3. Illinois scientists put cancer-fighting power back into frozen broccoli
4. Scientists learn how soy foods protect against colon cancer
5. Wistar scientists decipher structure of NatA, an enzyme complex that modifies most human proteins
6. Scientists uncover secrets of starfishs bizarre feeding mechanism
7. Geoscientists unearth mineral-making secrets potentially useful for new technologies
8. Scientists discover a molecular switch in cancers of the testis and ovary
9. Scientists at Mainz University decode mechanisms of cell orientation in the brain
10. Scientists from Mainz and Antananarivo describe Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur as new primate species
11. Neuroscience symposium bringing top scientists to Louisville, Aug. 1-2
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/26/2016)... and LONDON , ... Finacle, part of EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary ... Onegini today announced a partnership to integrate the ...      (Logo: ) ... provide their customers enhanced security to access and ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... April 14, 2016 BioCatch ... Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a ... of the deployment of its platform at several of ... technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 A ... collected from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The ... genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition that asks ... systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams at the ... York City . The teams, chosen ... MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong summit. Keynote ... of architecture and design, and Suzanne Lee , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Durham, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Odense University Hospital in Denmark detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being ... (fat) tissue. The results could change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, ... 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to ... down 0.17%. has initiated coverage on the following equities: ... (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BIND ). Learn more about these stocks by accessing their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: