Nearly 75% of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) affecting humans are of zoonotic origin. Of these, many are caused by single-strand RNA bat-borne viruses, such as Ebola virus (EBOV), Marburg virus (MARV) and Nipah virus (NiV).
There are often many differences in the symptoms between the natural, transmission and human hosts. For instance, NiV can reach a fatality rate of up to 92% in humans; however bats can support high levels of virus replication in the absence of disease. The mechanisms responsible for such differences are yet to be determined.
The projects in this junior research group focus on deepening the understanding of the mechanisms that renders some species and not others susceptible to the infection of emerging viruses such as NiV, EBOV and MARV.
A second focus consists of exploring the bat virome and providing a bridge between ecology, virus discovery and pathogenesis.
Altogether, our research aims to provide vital intelligence to predict and reduce the risk of future emergence of zoonotic viral diseases and characterize the potential risk for public health of viruses discovered in field studies.