New Findings from 2004 and 2005


1. Bourhy, H. et al. “Phylogenetic relationships among rhabdoviruses inferred using the L polymerase gene.” Journal of General Virology . 86 (2005), 2849-2858. =Abstract&list_uids=16186241&query_hl=1

The largest molecular phylogenetic analysis to date was performed on 56 rhabdoviruses, twenty of which are unassigned or designated as tentative species of the Rhabdoviridae family. A maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analysis of an L polymerase amino acid sequence was used to produce an evolutionary tree that provided important insight into the genera of Rhabdoviridae and identified four additional monophyletic groups of unclassified Rhabdoviruses. Phylogenetic relationships also explained how the evolutionary history of Rhabdoviruses was influenced by mode of transmission, host species and vector.



2. Mead, Daniel G. et al. “Black fly involvement in the epidemic transmission of vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus”. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases . Vol 4, Number 4, 2004.;jsessionid=nE Sho_IXBagdhpOPwE

The transmission routes of vesicular stomatitis New Jersey Virus (VSNJV), a causative agent of vesicular stomatitis, have been unknown for decades. This study tested previously proposed transmission routes of vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus with field observations. Epidemiological and entomological studies of the sporadic epidemics in the Western United States of vesicular stomatitis were also studied. Results provided strong evidence that VSNJV can be transmitted by multiple routes and hematophagous insects acquire VSNJV through unconventional routes. Specifically, hematophagous insects acquire VSNJV while feeding on the blood of livestock, the clinical course of the VSNJV infection in livestock is associated with the site of the insect bite, and animal-to-animal contact following infection of livestock via insect bites is plausible.

3. Kapadia, Sagar U. et al. “ Long-term protection from SARS coronavirus infection conferred by a single immunization with an attenuated VSV-based vaccine”. Virology . Vol 340, Issue 2, 30 Sept 2005 .

The use of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) in the development of a vaccine candidate for SARS-CoV was explored. An attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus recombinant (VSV-S) was developed that expressed the SARS-CoV spike (S) protein. Mice that were vaccinated with VSV-S developed SARS-neutralizing antibody that were equal to or better than antibody levels following primary infection with SARS-CoV. The VSV-S vaccine provided the mice with long-term protection against SARS-CoV, which offers promise for the development of an effective human vaccine for SARS-CoV.


4. Bock, J. O. et al. “Identification and partial characterization of Taastrup virus: a newly identified member species of the Mononegavirales.” Virology . Volume 319, Issue 1, 5 Feb 2004, pp. 49-59.

This study identified an 8904 nucleotide central part of the genome of a new virus named Taastrup virus (TV). The natural host of TV is the leafhopper, P. alienus . The N and the L proteins of the TV were found to be similar enough to the species in the Rhabdoviridae family for TV to be characterized as a rhabdovirus. TV was also found to be similar to the Mononegavirales based on the function of its open reading frames and filo-like morphology. However, a taxonomic subclassification of TV within the Mononegavirales was complicated because phylogenetic analyses are only possible using the L protein; circular logic would be used to include TV in the Mononegavirales order. The authors suggested that the Tasstrup virus is labeled as a tentative family within the Mononegavirales order.

6. Hanlon, Cathleen, A. et al. “Efficacy of rabies biologics against new lyssaviruses from Eurasia .” Virus Research . Vol 111, Issue 1, July 2005, pp. 44-54.

Four additional lyssaviruses were recently discovered among bats in Eurasia : Aravan, Khujand, Irkut, and West Caucasian bat virus. Because of the genetic differences of the Eurasian lyssaviruses, concern was raised about whether currently available vaccines and immunoglobulin would be effective against the new lyssaviruses. The effectiveness of pre-exposure and post-exposure rabies vaccination and rabies immunoglobulin in Syrian hamsters and ferrets were investigated. Protection was inversely related to the genetic distance between the newly isolated lyssaviruses and the traditional rabies virus. Results indicated that cross-protection may be possible, but multiple vaccinations that yield high rabies titers may have to be used against the more distantly related viruses.