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Bats: epidemiological surveillance, high-resolution phylodynamics, search and design of peptides of biotechnological interest in emergent and reemerging viruses

Abstract

RNA viruses are important agents involved in emerging and reemerging zoonoses, representing an important public health concern. This scenario has been constantly monitored through the discovery of new pathogens, in which it comes into line and international interest to identify new agents in order to respond to new diseases before they reach the human population. In this context, bats, with a viroma still to be intensively explored, are increasingly receiving notorious attention for harbor several viral pathogens of medical importance (eg Nipah, Ebola, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and now SARS- CoV-2 [COVID-19] pandemic). On the other hand, arboviruses, also detected in bats, stand out. Namely, Chikungunya (CHIKV), Dengue 1-4 (DENVs), Mayaro (MAYV), Oropouche (OROV), Yellow Fever (YFV) and Zika (ZIKV), are responsible for more than 95% of infection cases in the whole Brazilian territory. Noteworthy, researches shows that commercially available diagnostic kits for the detection of CHIKV, DENV and ZIKV have serious limitations and the issue is aggravated when it comes to reemerging agents: MAYV, OROV and YFV. The present proposal will focus on investigating the presence of RNA viruses in bats and on approaches involving metagenomics and New Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies aiming to identify new virus of zoonotic importance as well as new arboviral agents. In parallel, a pioneering approach will be implemented through the State-of-the-art phylodynamics using High Performance Computing (HPC), thus providing strategies for the development of platforms and workflows for the mapping and validation of target-specific peptides for diagnostic and therapeutics purposes. (AU)