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Development of the first experimental model of Ilheus Virus (ILHV) infection in mice and design of therapeutic strategies

Grant number: 18/02993-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology
Principal Investigator:Rafael Elias Marques Pereira Silva
Grantee:Ana Carolina de Carvalho
Home Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Arboviruses ("arthropod-borne viruses") are a global health issue. Public health agencies and populations in tropical regions have been alarmed by the emergence of arboviruses such as Chikungunya and Zika, which were associated with epidemics and significant human suffering in recent years. Ilhéus Virus (ILHV, genus Flavivirus) is a neglected arbovirus first isolated in the state of Bahia, Brazil, in 1944. Since, ILHV infection has been associated with the occurrence of severe neurological disease, such as encephalitis, similar to flaviviruses such as Saint Louis Encephalitis Virus (SLEV) and Rocio Virus (ROCV). However, ILHV biology, epidemiology and disease pathogenesis are poorly understood. There is no treatment or vaccine available against ILHV infection. Previous studies from our group indicates that ILHV may cause severe neurological disease. Such situation is alarming as ILHV may emerge and lead to outbreaks, posing a significant risk to the Brazilian population. Here, we propose to develop a mouse model of ILHV infection. An in vivo model of ILHV infection will allow further understanding of disease pathogenesis and the development of vaccines and treatments. Through characterization of viral replication in vivo, the immune response to infection and tissue damage, we expect to identify mechanisms that may be targeted in the development of treatments. Moreover, we will test galanin, a protective neuropeptide, over the course of ILHV infection in vivo. (AU)