Unit of Biology of Emerging Viral Infections

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Fields of research

Activities of UBIVE are mainly focused on arenavirus pathogenesis and immune responses. In vitro human models are used to compare closely related viruses that present different pathogenicity, Lassa (LASV) and Mopeia viruses (MOPV). We have identified host responses involved in these discrepancies. As there is no rodent model of Lassa fever (LF) that reproduces the disease observed in human, we have studied LF in non-human primates (Macaca fascicularis) and observed different immune responses associated with recovery or fatal disease. We are now focusing on the characterization of the role of viral factors in the pathogenesis. For that, we recently developed a reverse genetic system for LASV and generated attenuated LASV that induce strong immune responses. Moreover, we are also trying to identify the cell partners of viral proteins to better understand the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of Lassa fever.

In parallel to fundamental research activities, UBIVE hosts the National Reference Center (NRC) for Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHF) and the NRC for Hantavirus. NRC make the link between fundamental research and field/clinical investigations by providing new strains or agents and clinical specimens. NRC realize applied research and surveillance activities, such as development of diagnosis tools or exploration of viral diversity in wildlife. The NRC for Hantavirus surveys the dynamics of Hantavirus circulation in French population and in bank voles. This integrative and complementary approach including fundamental research and reference activities gives results that range from basic knowledge to field work and public health.

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