The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University was established in 2010 to help protect the nation’s agricultural and public health sectors against a high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. CEEZAD has four principal missions:
- Development of novel, safe, efficacious, and DIVA-compatible vaccines for prevention and control of high-impact emerging and zoonotic diseases that can be manufactured in the U.S.
- Development and expansion of technologies and platforms for laboratory and point-of-need pathogen detection.
- Development of models to predict high-consequence disease behavior in the U.S. to aid prevention or outbreak control.
- Development of education and training programs for students, veterinarians, first responders, and researchers in high-impact animal diseases and animal emergencies.
April 26, 2021
CEEZAD article on a theory for SARS-CoV-2 published by leading biology journal
An important study conducted by researchers at the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) has been published by Cell, one of the world’s leading journals on biology with a ranking of #1 out of 298 journals on biochemistry and molecular biology.
The study looks at the possible use of a topoisomerase 1 inhibitor to suppress inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 in the respiratory tract.
In the Cell article, CEEZAD researchers report on research demonstrating that topoisomerase 1 (TOP1) inhibition does down-regulate inflammation induced by SARS-CoV-2 and improves the clinical signs associated with SARS-CoV-2.
The study’s co-authors include Dr. Juergen A. Richt, the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and director of two national Centers of Excellence, CEEZAD (www.ceezad.org) and CEZID (www.ksu.edu/cezid). Other co-authors include Natasha Gaudreault, David Meekins, Sabarish Indran, Igor Morozov and Jessie Trujillo, all of KSU.
The ongoing pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently affecting millions of lives worldwide. Large retrospective studies indicate that an elevated level of inflammatory cytokines and pro-inflammatory factors are associated with both increased disease severity and mortality. Using multidimensional epigenetic, transcriptional, in vitro, and in vivo analyses, the researchers found that therapeutic treatment with two doses of topotecan (TPT), an FDA-approved TOP1 inhibitor, down-regulates infection-induced inflammation in hamsters. TPT treatment as late as 4 days post-infection reduces morbidity and rescues mortality in a transgenic mouse model.
These results support the potential of TOP1 inhibition as an effective host-directed therapy against severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.
TPT and its derivatives are inexpensive clinical-grade inhibitors available in most countries. Clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy of repurposing TOP1 inhibitors for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans.
The full article can be read by following this by clicking here.
March 29, 2021
CEEZAD/CEZID Director quoted in an article on the emergence
of a new strain of avian influenza
The Director of the Center of Excellence For Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD; http://www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid) is one of several experts on zoonotic diseases quoted in a recent article on the emergence of a variation of avian influenza that has spread to humans.
Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and Director of CEEZAD and CEZID, is among experts cited in an article published by Verywellhealth. The article, which can be read by following the link below, discusses concerns over the emergence of the H5N8 variant of avian influenza in Russia. The article was written by Korin Miller.
The H5N8 influenza strain emerged in a group of workers who were exposed to infected bird flocks. The workers did not develop influenza-like symptoms and there was no evidence that they passed the virus on to other people. While outbreaks of the H5N8 strain have been detected in various countries in the past few months, this is the first time the H5N8 strain was transmitted from infected birds to humans. In the article, Dr. Richt notes that it is not yet clear the extent to which the new strain poses a serious threat to humans. At a minimum, however, it appears to be “rather concerning” to poultry due to its potential lethality.
March 26, 2021
CEEZAD Director discusses research into Rift Valley Fever virus and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus
The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) told participants at the recent spring virtual conference of the International Society for Bioprocess Technology about CEEZAD’s research into the Rift Valley Fever Virus and Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus.
Dr. Juergen A. Richt, who is also Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, discussed CEEZAD’s work on Rift Valley Fever during the organization’s 10th annual spring conference.
Dr. Richt’s presentation, which can be viewed by following the link below, focused on the development of sub-unit vaccines for RVF and EHD.
March 26, 2021
CEEZAD research into reinfection of cats with SARS CoV-2 is published
Research by scientists from the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) into the protection of previously exposed cats from re-infection by the SARS CoV-2 virus has recently been published.
The article is titled “Experimental re-infected cats do no transmit SARS CoV-2.” It was published in the Journal “Emerging Microbes and Infections” this month.
Co-authors include Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Dr. Igor Morozov, Natasha Gaudreault, David Meekins, Jessie Trujillo, Daniel W. Madden, Konner Cool, Bianca Libanori Artiaga, Chester McDowell, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Jamie Henningson, and Wenjun Ma, all affiliated with KSU and CEEZAD.
In the article, the authors note they and others have previously demonstrated that cats are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and can efficiently transmit the virus to naïve cats.
In this study, the CEEZAD scientists address whether cats previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2 can be re-infected with SARS-CoV-2. In two independent studies, SARS-CoV-2-infected cats were re-challenged with SARS-CoV-2 at 21 days post-primary challenge (DPC) and necropsies performed at 4, 7, and 14 days post-secondary challenge (DP2C).
Sentinels were comingled with the re-challenged cats at 1 DP2C. Clinical signs were recorded, and nasal, oropharyngeal, and rectal swabs, blood, and serum were collected and tissues examined for histologic lesions. Viral RNA was transiently shed via the nasal, oropharyngeal, and rectal cavities of the re-challenged cats. Viral RNA was detected in various tissues of re-challenged cats mainly in the upper respiratory tract and lymphoid tissues, but less frequently and at lower levels in the lower respiratory tract when compared to primary SARS-CoV-2 challenged cats. Histologic lesions that characterized primary SARS-CoV-2 infected cats at 4 DPC were absent in the rechallenged cats.
The results showed that naïve sentinels co-housed with the re-challenged cats did not shed virus or seroconvert. Together, the results indicate that cats previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 can be experimentally re-infected with SARS-CoV-2; however, the levels of virus shed were insufficient for transmission to co-housed naïve sentinels.
The researchers concluded that SARS-CoV-2 infection in cats induces immune responses that provide partial, non-sterilizing immune protection against re-infection.
The full article can be read by following this link:
March 26, 2021
John Deere article features CEEZAD Director’s work
The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases is featured in an article contained in the most recent edition of “The Furrow,” the monthly magazine of John Deere Inc.
The article, titled “Pandemic Fighters,” discusses efforts by prominent agricultural scientists to combat a variety of diseases that threaten the nation’s food supply. The work of Dr. Juergen A. Richt, CEEZAD Director and Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, is extensively discussed.
Written by Steve Werblow, the article focuses on Dr. Richt’s work combatting Rift Valley Fever. Prevalent in parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, Rift Valley Fever is a mosquito-transmitted disease that affects sheep, cattle, goats, and camels, and also is transmissible to humans.
The human case fatality rate is about 10 percent. “If Rift Valley Fever virus somehow comes onto our shores, it will find very fertile ground to establish itself,” he is quoted in the article as saying.
You can read the full text of the article by following the link below.
March 25, 2021
CEEZAD research into Ebola virus vaccine is published
Research by scientists from the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) into the safety of a human vaccine for use in combatting the Ebola virus has recently been published.
The research did not involve work with the Ebola virus.
The article is titled “High dose of vesicular stomatitis virus-vectored Ebola virus vaccine causes vesicular disease in swine without horizontal transmission.” It was published in the Journal “Emerging Microbes and Infections” this month.
Co-authors include Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Dr. Igor Morozov, David Meekins, Jessie Trujillo, Sun-Young Sunwoo, Kinga Urbaniak, In Joong Kim, Sanjeev Narayanan, Sabarish Indran, and Wenjun Ma, all affiliated with KSU and CEEZAD.
In the article, the authors note that the recent impact of Ebola virus disease (EVD) on public health in Africa demonstrates the need for a safe and efficacious vaccine to control outbreaks and mitigate its threat to global health. The research focuses on the potential of a vaccine called ERVEBO®, which is an effective recombinant Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV)-vectored Ebola virus vaccine (VSV-EBOV) that was approved by the FDA and EMA in late 2019 for use in the prevention of EVD.
Since the parental virus VSV, which was used to construct ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV, is pathogenic for livestock and the virus may be shed at low levels by vaccinated humans, widespread deployment of the vaccine required investigation into its infectivity and transmissibility in VSV-susceptible livestock species.
The researchers performed a comprehensive clinical analysis of the ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV vaccine virus in swine to determine its infectivity and potential for transmission. A high dose of ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV resulted in VSV-like clinical signs in swine, with a proportion of pigs developing ulcerative vesicular lesions at the nasal injection site and a distant site, the feet.
Uninoculated contact control pigs co-mingled with ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV -inoculated pigs did not become infected or display any clinical signs of disease, indicating the vaccine is not readily transmissible to naïve pigs during prolonged close contact. In contrast, virulent wild-type VSV had a shorter incubation period and was transmitted to contact control pigs.
These results indicate that the ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV vaccine causes vesicular illness in swine when administered at a high dose. Moreover, the study demonstrates the ERVEBO®/VSV-EBOV vaccine is not readily transmitted to uninfected pigs, encouraging its safe use as an effective human vaccine.
The full article may be read by following this link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/22221751.2021.1903343?src=
March 10, 2021
South African University Recognizes CEEZAD’s Director
for receiving research award
An internationally renowned veterinary college recently recognized the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) for his receipt of a prestigious award for veterinary research.
The University of Pretoria in South Africa honored Dr. Juergen A. Richt, CEEZAD’s Director, for his receipt of the 2021 Excellence in Research Award by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. In addition to being the Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, Dr. Richt holds the position of Extraordinary Lecturer as Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
The award designates the outstanding veterinary medical researcher of the year, as selected by a committee of peers. It recognizes an individual who, over the course of his or her career, has demonstrated excellence in original research, leadership in the scientific community, and mentoring of trainees and colleagues in any discipline of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Richt investigates zoonotic, emerging and transboundary diseases of livestock, focusing mainly on viral diseases. His work has led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate pathogens with significant impact on veterinary medicine, human health and food security. His recent work focuses on the establishment of preclinical animal models for SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.
The University of Pretoria citation may be seen at this link: https://www.up.ac.za/veterinary-tropical-diseases/article/2954867/dr-juergen-a-richt
February 10, 2021
CEEZAD Director’s research featured in MIT article
Research by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases is featured in a recently published article in the MIT Technology Review.
The research, by CEEZAD Director Dr. Juergen A. Richt, focuses on methods of improving the resistance of pigs to influenza. The article, titled “Lessons From the Pig Epidemic,” was written by Antonio Regalado, and published on Dec. 12.
In the article, Regalado reports on Dr. Richt’s work in collaboration with Genus, a British company specializing in animal genetics. The focus of the research is an effort to make pigs more resistant to swine flu by modifying the pigs’ genetic makeup.
Specifically, he is testing the feasibility of removing various genes, called proteases, which the flu and other pathogens require in order to enter cells. If these key proteases can be removed, then it may improve pigs’ resistance to the flu.
“What we want is to make (pigs) resistant to all influenzas, from all walks of life,” Richt said.
The work is challenging because proteases are necessary to life. The challenge lies in finding the extent to which they can be removed or modified without harming the pig. But Richt noted that finding the right combination can lead to “less virus replication, les virus re-assortment,” and eventually to a reduced evolution of the virus.
The full article can be read at this link.
January 25, 2021
NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
June 21 - 30, 2021
The CEEZAD BSL-3 Training/Transboundary Animal Diseases Summer Program is designed to introduce graduate, DVM and upper-level undergraduate students to high-containment training and to provide current practical and scientific information on select high consequence transboundary and zoonotic diseases. In addition, this program also provides insight into challenges associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic and into methodologies, tools and partnerships that could help us better respond to future pandemics.
The program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and is directed at highly motivated students with a demonstrated career interest in transboundary and zoonotic diseases of animals. The two-week program consists of one week of intensive, hands-on and classroom training at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI; website) at Kansas State University and with virtual presentations from area industry partners and seminars/lectures from national and international subject matter experts in high containment research and transboundary animal diseases during the second week.
The BRI, located adjacent to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, or NBAF, contains an Education and Training area which includes a training laboratory with equipment that simulates BSL-3 research practices. Both, CEEZAD and the BRI are committed to training a specialized workforce to protect the nation's agriculture and public health sectors against high consequence transboundary, emerging and zoonotic diseases.
- U.S. citizenship
- Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale
- Current enrollment as a full-time undergraduate (junior or senior), graduate student, or DVM student
- To provide training on essential practices to safely conduct research in a BSL-3 and BSL-3Ag environment
- To provide current practical and scientific information on select high-consequence transboundary animal diseases including activities to be conducted at the future National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)
- To introduce students to the role of industry in infectious disease research and translation to commercial products
- To provide networking opportunities with peers and subject matter experts in the field of high-containment research and transboundary diseases of animals
Successful applicants will receive a travel stipend up to $2,000 to cover transportation (to and from Manhattan, Kansas), lodging and per diem expenses. Applicants residing in or near the Manhattan, Kansas area may not be eligible to receive a travel stipend. An on-campus housing option is available.
A certificate of completion for the program will be provided to signify the student has attended the program and is familiar with basic knowledge of working in BSL-3 environments.
Please note due to the impact of COVID-19, this program will be a combination of in-person and virtual presentations. Social distancing guidelines to maintain a distance of 6 feet apart will be followed by all individuals involved in the program. Masks will be mandatory based on the CDC guidelines.
More information: Click here!
January 15, 2021
Dr. Juergen Richt receives research award from the University of Kansas The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID) at Kansas State University has received a prestigious award presented by the University of Kansas. Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at KSU and director of CEEZAD and CEZID, has been selected as a 2021 recipient of the Dolph C. Simons Sr. Award in the biomedical sciences. The Research Achievement Award, established by Prof. Takeru Higuchi and Mrs. Higuchi, includes $10,000. Richt said it is a “tremendous honor” to receive such a prestigious award from the University of Kansas. He expressed gratitude for the confidence the award showed in the focus of his research, which is zoonotic and emerging pathogens. “Since more than half of all human diseases and the vast majority of emerging diseases are zoonotic in nature, we believe this is an area of tremendous importance to the future of biomedical research and to society at large,” he said.
January 6, 2021
Dr. Richt to discuss Covid-19 research in January 27 lecture at the Mossberg Honors Symposium
The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID) at Kansas State University will lecture at the University of Kansas in January on recently conducted research.
Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, will deliver the keynote address at KU’s Mossberg Honors Symposium Jan. 27. His address, titled, “Ventures into Covid-19 Research: About Pigs, Cats and Hamsters,” will take place at 9 a.m.
The symposium is presented by the School of Pharmacy at KU. It will be conducted via Zoom.
The unprecedented current pandemic caused by SARS CoV-2 has accelerated research on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of the virus. Since humans do not have pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, there has been an urgent need to develop and test therapeutic agents and vaccines. Both the U.S. and the World Health Organization have launched campaigns to develop and test therapeutic agents and vaccines. That testing has necessarily involved animal models that provide measurable readouts for potential countermeasures.
In his lecture, Dr. Richt will discuss some of the Covid-19-related research conducted in his laboratory at KSU. The focus will be on describing preclinical animal models for Covid-19 and their use to inform public and animal heath as well as determining the efficacy of therapeutic agents.
January 3, 2021
"Investing in basic science": K-State research on virus mutations in animals could benefit human fight against COVID-19