Navigation Links
LLNL scientists make new discoveries in the transmission of viruses between animals and humans
Date:8/12/2013

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
ma28@llnl.gov
925-423-7602
DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/3/2016)... Lithuania , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, ... released the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System ... of large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process ... accuracy using any combination of fingerprint, face or ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... First quarter 2016:   , Revenues amounted ... quarter of 2015 The gross margin was 49% (27) ... the operating margin was 40% (-13) Earnings per share ... operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) , Outlook   ... M. The operating margin for 2016 is estimated to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... PBI-Gordon Corporation is pleased ... Sales. , Doug began his career at PBI-Gordon in February 1988, after finishing ... wide variety of roles, ranging from customer service to national product manager, to helping ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016 The ... Discovery, Gene Expression) Lab-on-a-chip (IVD & POC, ... Diagnostics Centers), Fabrication Technology (Microarrays, Microfluidics) - ... market is expected to reach USD 17.75 ... in 2015, growing at a CAGR of ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston Business Journal, ... companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The list examined companies ... revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award comes on the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... CO (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... , announced the addition of Dr. Nancy Gillett to its Board of Directors. ... position, she served as Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. A ...
Breaking Biology Technology: