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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

BSL-3 trainingJordan field studies

CEEZAD

1800 Denison Ave
Mosier Hall, Room P200
Manhattan, KS  66506

785-532-2793   
785-532-3373 fax
CEEZAD@ksu.edu

 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.

 News/Events Highlights

 

BSL-3 Banner

June 9 – June 20, 2024

Now Accepting Applications!

 

The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) BSL-3 Training Program for Research Support Personnel is designed to provide introductory BSL-3/BSL-3 Ag training to research personnel, either current federal staff; research fellows; recent graduates from U.S. universities (BS, MS) and current enrolled college students (BS, MS and PhD) with career interests in USDA Agricultural Research Service who want to attain additional training and knowledge in the area of high-containment research as potential career choice.

The CEEZAD training program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) -Agricultural Research Service and is directed at highly motivated BS/MS level research support personnel interested in research and careers in the field of high consequence, transboundary and zoonotic diseases of animals. The two-week program consists of one week of hands-on and classroom training at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI; https://www.bri.k-state.edu/) at Kansas State University and the second week with in-person and virtual presentations from area industry partners and seminars/lectures from national and international subject matter experts in high containment research and transboundary animal diseases.

The BRI, located adjacent to the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) contains an Education and Training area which includes a training laboratory with equipment that simulates BSL-3 research practices. Both, the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Disease Center (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.

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship or Green card holders (eligible for ORISE fellowships)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher on a 4.0 scale (for the respective BS and/or MS degrees)

Program Goals

  • Demonstrating an understanding of pathogen risk group classifications and biosafety levels
  • Identifying potential risks associated with executing standard laboratory practices
  • Engage in laboratory practices that reduce the potential for aerosol exposures
  • Identifying areas of potential vulnerabilities in the laboratory ecosystem/network to include how technology introduction may impact laboratory operations (cybersecurity), safety, security, and overall laboratory capability
  • Demonstrating essential biocontainment practices for use in BSL3, ABSL3 and BSL3 Ag settings.

Successful applicants will receive a travel stipend (up to $2,500; depending on home base) 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/participant has attended the program and is familiar with basic knowledge of working in BSL-3 environments. (Note: This is not a certification program.)

Please note that this program is in-person following CDC/KSU COVID-19 rules and recommendations. Masks are optional for all individuals on KSU and CDC guidelines.

All applications must be submitted by: Monday, March 4, 2024

For More Information, Please Contact:

Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD)
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-2793

E-mail: ceezad@ksu.edu; kcortes@vet.k-state.edu

 

APPLY HERE:

https://www.vet.k-state.edu/asp/ceezad_form/ceezad.aspx

 

Program Overview

Week 1: Classroom and hands-on BSL-3 training at the BRI

The first week will address topics, techniques and essential practices to safely and successfully conduct research in a Biosafety Level-3 setting.  By the end of the training the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of risk group classifications and biosafety levels;
  • Identify potential risks associated with executing standard laboratory practices;
  • Engage in laboratory practices that reduce the potential for aerosol exposures;
  • Identify, select, and defend high containment practices required when manipulating agents and toxins;
  • Identify areas of potential vulnerabilities in the laboratory ecosystem/network to include how technology introduction may impact laboratory operations (cybersecurity), safety, security, and overall laboratory capability;
  • Demonstrate essential biocontainment practices for use in BSL-3, ABSL-3 and BSL-3Ag settings.

Week 2: Industry overview and Speaker series

The second week will include presentations by industry experts on R&D projects and industry perspectives for veterinary products as well as lectures by academic and government experts in the fields of high biocontainment research and transboundary animal diseases. Topics covered may include:

  • Careers in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry
  • Careers in high-containment research and development
  • Necropsy in high-containment research
  • Rift Valley Fever virus
  • Japanese Encephalitis virus
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Foot and Mouth Disease virus
  • African Swine Fever virus
  • SARS-CoV-2 mitigation strategies
  • Arboviral diseases of livestock
  • Research in a BSL-4 environment (Ebola, CCHV, Nipah, or similar)
  • Research at Plum Island Animal Disease Center
  • Future projects at NBAF

All participants will be required to submit a final written report at the end of the program. 

March 1, 2024

Article by CEEZAD researchers compares field-deployable techniques for diagnosing Rift Valley Fever virus

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) explores new discoveries concerning the techniques for diagnosing Rift Valley Fever in animals.

The article was co-authored by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and director of CEEZAD and CEZID. It was published in the Feb. 2 edition of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

Other co-authors include Igor Morozov and Jessie D Trujillo, both of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD, as well as Bill Wilson, of the Foreign Arthropod-borne Animal Diseases Research Unit at the National Bio-and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) based in Manhattan, Ks.

Rift Valley Fever phlebovirus (RVFV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen that causes major agricultural and public health problems in parts of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. It is considered a potential agro-bioterrorism agent for which only limited countermeasures are available.

In the article, researchers describe a rapid and sensitive molecular method immediately employable at sites of suspected outbreaks in animals that commonly precede outbreaks in humans. The strategy involves the concurrent detection of two of the three RVFV genome segments (large and medium) using reverse transcription insulated isothermal PCR (RT-iiPCR) performed on a portable, touch screen nucleic acid analyzer, POCKITTM.

The analytical sensitivity for both the RT-iiPCR and a laboratory-based L and M multiplex reverse transcription real-time RT-PCR assay was estimated at approximately 0.1-3 copies/reaction using synthetic RNA or viral RNA. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of detection of RVFV on the POCKITTM, determined using sera from sheep and cattle (n = 181) experimentally infected with two strains of RVFV (SA01 and Ken06), were 93.8% and 100% (kappa = 0.93), respectively.

 Testing of ruminant field sera (n = 193) in two locations in Africa demonstrated 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. Researchers concluded that the POCKITTM dual-gene RVFV detection strategy can provide reliable, sensitive, and specific point-of-need RVFV RNA detection. Moreover, the field detection of RVFV in vectors or susceptible animal species can aid in the surveillance and epidemiological studies to better understand and control RVFV outbreaks.

The study demonstrates that field-deployable detection devices can provide reliable, sensitive, and specific point-of-need RVFV  RNA detection that could be used for diagnostic investigations and epidemiological studies.

The full article can be read by following this link. https://doi.org/10.1128/jcm.00430-23

February 3, 2024

Article examines SARS CoV-2 host factors in animals

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) assesses the distribution and abundance of the two most important host factors, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRRS2), in the respiratory tract of various animal species and humans..

The article was co-authored by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and director of CEEZAD and CEZID. It was published in the January edition of Microbiology Spectrum.

Other co-authors include Igor MorozovNatasha N Gaudreault, and Jessie D Trujillo, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD as well as …M. Carossino,  U. B. …. from Louisiana State University and …Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, etc   … from Icahn School of Medicine.

SARS-CoV-2 infects - besides humans - a wide array of domestic and wild animals, raising concerns regarding its evolutionary dynamics in animals and potential for spillback transmission of emerging variants to humans. Hence, SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals has significant public health relevance.

Host factors determining animal susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 are vastly unknown, and their characterization is critical to further understand susceptibility and viral dynamics in animal populations and determine the risk of potential spillback transmission to humans.

In this study, researchers quantitatively assess the distribution and abundance of the two most important SASS-CoV-2 host factors, ACE2 and TMPRRS2 , in the respiratory tract of various animal species and humans, some highly susceptible, other rather resistant to infection. The results demonstrate that while specific regions of the respiratory tract are enriched in these two host factors, they seem to be only partial determinants of susceptibility since quantity of expression did not correlate with SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility. Detailed analysis of additional host factors for SARS-CoV-2 is critical for the understanding of the underlying mechanisms governing viral susceptibility and reservoir hosts.

The full article can be read by following this link:

Microbiol Spectr. 2024 Jan 17:e0327023. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.03270-23.

February 2, 2024

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) investigates the susceptibility and transmission of the Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant of concerns (VOCs) in cattle.

The article was co-authored by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and director of CEEZAD and CEZID. It was published in the December 13 edition of Emerging Microbes and Infections.

Other co-authors include Igor MorozovNatasha N GaudreaultJessie D Trujillo, Konner CoolTaeyong Kwon, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Patricia Assato, Emily Mantlo, Jayme Souza-Neto, Franco Matias Ferreyra, Jaime Retallick, Roman Pogranichniy, David A MeekinsVelmurugan BalaramanBianca Libanori ArtiagaDaniel W Madden and Chester McDowell, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD.

Since emerging in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has repeatedly crossed the species barrier with natural infections reported in various domestic and wild animal species. The emergence and global spread of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs has expanded the range of susceptible host species.

Previous experimental infection studies in cattle using Wuhan-like SARS-CoV-2 isolates suggested that cattle were not likely amplifying hosts for SARS-CoV-2. However, SARS-CoV-2 sero- and RNA-positive cattle have since been identified in Europe, India, and Africa.

Eight Holstein calves were -infected orally and intranasally with a mixed inoculum of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs Delta and Omicron BA.2. Twenty-four hours post-challenge, two sentinel calves were introduced to evaluate virus transmission. The co-infection resulted in a high proportion of calves shedding SARS-CoV-2 RNA at 1- and 2-days post-challenge (DPC).

Extensive tissue distribution of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was observed at 3 and 7 DPC and infectious virus was recovered from two calves at 3 DPC. Next-generation sequencing revealed that only the SARS-CoV-2 Delta and not the Omicron VOC  was detected in clinical samples and tissues.

Similar to previous experimental infection studies in cattle, the authors  observed only limited seroconversion and no clear evidence of transmission to sentinel calves. Together, these  findings suggest that cattle are more permissive to infection with SARS-CoV-2 Delta than Omicron BA.2 and Wuhan-like isolates but, in the absence of horizontal transmission, are not likely to be reservoir hosts for currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants.

The complete article can be read by following this link:

Emerg Microbes Infect. 2024 Dec;13(1):2281356. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2023.2281356. Epub 2023 Dec 30.

 

January 11, 2024

Preliminary Study on the Efficacy of a Recombinant, Subunit SARS-CoV-2 Animal Vaccine against Virulent SARS-CoV-2 Challenge in Cats

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD, www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) evaluates the safety and efficacy of a SARS-CoV-2 animal vaccine in cats.

The article was co-authored by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and director of CEEZAD and CEZID. It was published in December by Vaccines. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38140233/#:~:text=Vaccines%20(Basel),doi%3A%2010.3390/vaccines11121831)

Other co-authors include Igor MorozovNatasha N GaudreaultJessie D TrujilloSabarish V IndranKonner CoolTaeyong KwonDavid A MeekinsVelmurugan BalaramanBianca Libanori ArtiagaDaniel W Madden and Chester McDowell, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD. Zoetis collaborators were also involved.

The study was designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a recombinant, subunit SARS-CoV-2 animal vaccine in cats developed by Zoetis against virulent SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Two groups of cats were immunized with two doses of a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein vaccine or a placebo, administered three weeks apart.

Seven weeks after the second vaccination, both groups of cats were challenged with SARS-CoV-2 via the intranasal and oral routes simultaneously. Animals were monitored for 14 days post-infection for clinical signs and viral shedding before being humanely euthanized and evaluated for macroscopic and microscopic lesions.

The recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein subunit vaccine induced strong antibody responses post-vaccination and significantly increased neutralizing antibody responses post-challenge. A significant difference in nasal and oral viral shedding, with significantly reduced virus load (detected using RT-qPCR) was observed in vaccinates compared to mock-vaccinated controls. Duration of nasal, oral, and rectal viral shedding was also significantly reduced in vaccinates compared to controls. No differences in histopathological lesion scores were noted between the two groups.

The study’s findings support the safety and efficacy of the recombinant spike protein-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which induced high levels of neutralizing antibodies and reduced nasal, oral, and rectal viral shedding, indicating that this vaccine will be efficacious as a COVID-19 vaccine for domestic cats.