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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

CEEZAD

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

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

Archive Home 2023

 

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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. 

December 22, 2023

Board of Regents extends Dr. Richt’s designation as Regents Distinguished Professor

The Kansas Board of Regents has unanimously approved a request by Kansas State University (KSU) to extend recognition of Dr. Juergen A. Richt as the Regents Distinguished Professor at KSU. Such extensions are confirmed every five years. The action took place at a recent meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents. This was reported recently by the Manhattan Mercury on Page A1 | e-Edition | themercury.com.

Dr. Richt is 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/), both located at KSU. He is regarded as a pioneer in the field of veterinary science.

In confirming the decision, The Manhattan Mercury cited the Board of Regents Vice Chair Mr. Carl Ice quoting a committee member as saying, “he seems like the very type of professor we would want to get this distinction.”

Dr. Richt expressed gratitude for the confidence expressed by the Kansas Board of Regents in unanimously determining to continue his designation as the Regents Distinguished Professor at KSU: “I am humbled by the Kansas Board of Regents support for my work. I will wholeheartedly continue to pursue advances in the field of veterinary research with unwavering vigor,” he said.

 

Nov. 16, 2023

Recently published article advances understanding of replication strategy of Rift Valley Fever Phlebovirus

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) advances the understanding of how the Rift Valley Fever Virus replicates in human cells.

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 September by bioRxiv, the preprint server for biological studies, and in November by Viruses (Balaraman et al., 2023. Viruses15, 2251; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15112251).Other co-authors include Velmurugan Balaraman, Natasha Gaudreault, Sabarish Indran, Yonghai Li, David Meekins, Laxmi Jakkula, Heidi Liu, Michael Hays, , Jayme Souza-Neto and Philip Hardwidge, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD, and Dr. William Wilson of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility.

Rift Valley Fever phlebovirus (RVFV) is a zoonotic pathogen that causes Rift Valley fever (RVF) in livestock and humans. Currently, there is no licensed human vaccine or antiviral drug to control RVF. Although multiple species of animals and humans are vulnerable to RVFV infection, host factors affecting host susceptibility are not well understood.

To identify the host factors or genes essential for RVFV replication, researchers conducted a CRISPR-Cas9 knock-out screen in A549 cells, a human lung cell line. They then validated identified critical genes using siRNA-mediated knock-downs and CRISPR-Cas9-mediated knock-out experiments, respectively. The role of a candidate gene in the RVF virus replication cycle was assessed by measuring intracellular viral RNA accumulation, and the virus titers by plaque assay or TCID50 assay in treated and non-treated cells.

The study identified approximately 900 genes with potential involvement in RVFV infection and replication. Further evaluation of the effect of six genes on viral replication using siRNA-mediated knock-down found that silencing two genes (WDR7 and LRP1) significantly impaired RVFV replication. For further analysis, the researchers focused on the WD repeat domain 7 (WDR7) gene since the role of LRP1 in RVFV replication was previously described in detail.

Genome wide knock-out (GeCKO) A549 cell lines were generated and used to dissect the effect of WRD7 on RVFV and another bunyavirus, La Crosse encephalitis virus (LACV). The scientists observed significant effects on RVFV replication in WDR7 knock-out cells on both intracellular RVFV RNA levels and viral titers. At the intracellular RNA level, WRD7 affected RVFV replication at a later phase of its replication cycle (24 h post infection) whereas LACV replication was affected an earlier replication phase (12h post infection).

The findings identify WDR7 as an essential host factor for the replication cycle of two relevant bunyaviruses, RVFV and LACV. Future studies will investigate the mechanistic role by which WDR7 facilitates Phlebovirus replication.

Nov. 16, 2023

Newly published study examined ability of cattle to replicate and transmit SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (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 variants of concern (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 November edition of Emerging Microbes and Infections.

Other co-authors included Konner Cool, Natasha Gaudreault, Jessie Trujillo, Igor Morozov, Chester McDowell, Dashzeveg Bold, Taeyong Kwon, Velmurugan Balaraman, Patricia Assato, Daniel Madden, Emily Mantlo, Jayme Souza-Neto, Franco Matias-Ferreya, Roman Podranichniy and Jaime Retallick, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD, and Dr. William Wilson of the USDA National Bio and Agro-defense Facility.

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.

In order to further investigate the susceptibility and transmission of the Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 VOCs in cattle, 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 SARS-CoV-2 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 variant was detected in clinical samples or tissues. Similar to previous experimental infection studies in cattle, researchers observed only limited sero-conversion and no clear evidence of transmission to sentinel calves.

Together, the findings suggest that cattle are more permissive to infection with SARS-CoV-2 Delta than Omicron BA.2, but in the absence of efficient horizontal transmission, are not likely to be reservoir hosts for currently circulating SARS-CoV-2.

Sept. 28, 2023

 

CEEZAD Director lectures at ASF conference in Beijing

Dr. Juergen Richt

The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic

 Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) delivered a presentation in Beijing at a September meeting of researchers committed to stunting the spread of Africa Swine Fever.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, spoke at a meeting of ASF researchers during the group’s Sept. 17-20 conference. His topic was “African Swine Fever Vaccine Approaches: Recombinant/DNA and Vector-Based Subunit Vaccines.”

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a widespread viral disease of swine that has caused billions of dollars in damage to food animal populations in nations affected by it. That encompasses much of eastern Europe and Asia. The problem is especially severe in China, which has the world’s largest swine population.

Dr. Richt noted that at present there is no safe, efficacious vaccine commercially available in the Western world. He talked about research presently underway at the Richt Lab based at Kansas State University that is designed to improve the prospects of developing  commercially available subunit ASF vaccines. That work includes testing the immunogenicity and efficacy cDNAs and proteins expressing various ASF virus  (ASFV) genes/proteins or expression of a multitude of ASFV proteins in virus vectors such as vesicular stomatitis virus or Orf poxvirus. The use of virus-vectored vaccine candidates achieved partial protection against virulent ASFV challenge.

Dr. Richt  also emphasized the importance of maintaining strict biosecurity standards in countries not presently impacted by African Swine Fever virus. Those countries include the United States. That includes restricting the movement of vehicles, supplies, equipment and visitors at entry zones, implementing quarantine measures where appropriate, and educating farm workers to the importance of hygiene and awareness of the threat posed by ASF.

Sept. 7, 2023

 

CEEZAD/CEZID Director Dr. Richt wins prestigious academic award in South Africa

The Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) is one of three researchers at the University of Pretoria in South Africa who have won National Research Foundation awards. Those are South Africa’s most prestigious academic awards.

Dr. Juergen A. Richt. the Regents and University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, is also an Extraordinary Professor/Lecturer in the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria. He is a veterinary microbiologist specializing in infectious agents with emerging and zoonotic potential. His research group has developed a number of models, vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostic tools for domestic and wild animals.

Dr. Richt  received an NRF A-rating for his work in Veterinary Tropical Diseases at an Aug. 31 event held in Ballito, South Africa. He is the first faculty member of the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Pretoria to receive this rating in its 100+ year history. “I am very honored that the South African National Research Foundation acknowledged the work we have done the past 20+ years with such a prestigious award,” Dr. Richt said in acknowledging receipt of the honor.

April 28, 2023

CEEZAD paper explores stability of SARS-CoV-2

in Biological Fluids of Animals

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) reports on new findings into the stability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in animal fluids.

The article was co-authored by Dr. Juergen A. Richt, and published in the March 16 edition of the journal, Viruses. Other co-authors were Taeyong Kwon Natasha N GaudreaultKonner Cool Chester D McDowell , and Igor Morozov, all of CEEZAD and the Richt Lab. 

Since its emergence in 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has continued to evolve genetically, jump species barriers, and expand its host range. There is growing evidence of interspecies transmission including infection of domestic animals and widespread circulation in wildlife.

However, knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 stability in animal biological fluids and their role in transmission is still limited as previous studies focused on human biological fluids. This study aimed to determine the SARS-CoV-2 stability in biological fluids from three animal species, cats, sheep and white-tailed deer (WTD).

Saliva, feces, 10% fecal suspensions, and urine of cats, sheep, and WTD were mixed with a known concentration of SARS-CoV-2 and incubated under indoor and three different climatic conditions. The results show that the virus was stable for up to 1 day in the saliva of cats, sheep, and WTD regardless of the environmental conditions. The virus remained infectious for up to 6 days in feces and 15 days in fecal suspension of WTD, whereas the virus was rather unstable in feces and fecal suspensions of sheep and cats.

Researchers found the longest survival of SARS-CoV-2 in the urine of cats, sheep, and WTD. They also found that side-by-side comparison with different SARS-CoV-2 strains showed that the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variants of concern were less stable than the ancestral Wuhan-like strain in WTD fecal suspension.

The results of the study provide valuable information for assessing the potential role of various animal biological fluids in SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

To view the full article, follow this link: https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/15/3/761

 

March 27, 2023

Call for Pilot Project Applications Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID), an NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence at Kansas State University

 

Applications due: April 20, 2023

Anticipated Decision Date: April 28, 2023

Anticipated Start Date: May 1, 2023

 

The KSU NIH CEZID COBRE: (www.ksu.edu/cezid) will provide investigators with support for research activities, mentoring, and access to Core Lab Services. Up to two pilot projects at up to $50,000 total direct costs starting on May 1, 2023, are anticipated. Each pilot project is for one year of initial funding and is potentially renewable for a second year, pending scientific progress and available funds. The CEZID pilot grant program is intended to enable junior and senior investigators to generate preliminary data for submission of competitive grant applications, develop new technologies, and/or achieve other goals that will better position the applicant and institution to conduct biomedical research. Applications must describe a pilot research project that fits well with the scientific theme of CEZID and must incorporate substantial use of one or more associated core labs at KSU (see: www.ksu.edu/cezid). The competition is open to all full-time faculty at any State of Kansas Regents University. Tenure-track is not required. K99/R00 holders are not eligible to lead a Pilot Project. A Pilot Project recipient cannot hold any IDeA award concurrently with a CEZID Pilot Project. Applications must be prepared in general accord with the NIH PHS 398 application guidelines (see Application process). Criteria for evaluation of Pilot Project applications are as follows:

  1. The basic criteria for NIH grant review are found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/peer/peer.htm.
  2. Additional CEZID pilot grant-specific review criteria include:
  • Strength of the science, and the quality and clarity of its presentation
  • Likelihood of the project becoming competitive for independent R01 funding
  • Likelihood of getting a publishable result within the one-year time frame
  • Relevance to the CEZID theme of emerging and/or zoonotic infectious diseases
  • Clear, detailed plan for utilization of one or more CEZID Core Labs
  • Background, experience, and career status of the applicant
  • Track record of past research, research grant applications, and research funding

Questions about eligibility, program details, or the appropriate inclusion within the CEZID scientific theme should be directed to Juergen Richt (jricht@vet.k-state.edu). Submit applications via email to chuncov@vet.k-state.edu no later than 5pm CDT, April 20, 2023. Applications received after this time will not be opened or reviewed. Contact Christine Huncovsky (chuncov@vet.k-state.edu) if you have questions about the submission process.

CEZID Core Facilities and Director Information

Animal Model/Pathology (AMP) Core Facility

Director: Dr. Igor Morozov (imorozov@vet.k-state.edu)

Project support is provided for animal experimental designs, training and technical support, coordination of animal experiments, gross pathology and histology of tissue samples, and development of specific reagents such as hybridomas and hyperimmune sera. A laser capture microscope is also available.

Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Core Facility

Director: Dr. Juergen Richt (jricht@vet.k-state.edu)

Associate Director:  Dr. Waithaka Mwangi (wmwanti@vet.k-state.edu)

The goal of the MCB Core is to assist CEZID researchers in obtaining significant research results, allowing them to effectively compete for extramural funding. Cutting edge technological support is available for flow cytometry, cell sorting, microscopy, DNA sequencing, and CRISPR applications.

General Terms and Conditions of CEZID Pilot Project Awards

  1. Projects must make significant use of at least one Core Lab. Prospective applicants should consult with the appropriate Core Lab Director(s)/Associate Director before applying. A letter of support from the Core Director/Associate Director reflecting the feasibility of the proposed project is recommended.
  2. Funds may be used for consumable supplies, services, or small laboratory hardware, but not for equipment (i.e., items costing > $5,000). Personnel costs are allowed, with preference given to applications that name specific individuals who are eligible to work and ready to begin no later than May 1, 2023. Summer salary is limited to a maximum of one person-month. Personnel costs may not be used to support first-year graduate students. Travel costs are limited to essential research-related travel and must be pre-approved by the CEZID PI Dr. Juergen A. Richt. Tuition costs are allowable as per standard institutional policies.
  3. Investigators who receive CEZID pilot project support are REQUIRED to participate as fully as possible in the research meetings of the CEZID Center, as well as in seminars, workshops, and other special activities organized or sponsored by the Center.
  4. A standard NIH progress report is required from each CEZID Pilot Project Leader by February 1, 2024 for inclusion in the COBRE annual report to the NIH.
  5. Junior faculty recipients must have a CEZID-approved senior faculty Mentor.
    • While the term Junior Faculty is not specifically defined in the RFA, the intent is that Junior Faculty member would meet the NIH Early Stage Investigator (ESI) criteria. An ESI is an individual who has not served as PD/PI for a substantial NIH independent research award, such as an R01 or U01, and has completed their terminal research degree or end of post-graduate clinical training within the past 10 years. See here for the ESI definition: https://grants.nih.gov/policy/early-investigators/index.htm
  6. The CEZID Director may make term and budget adjustments in accordance with the intent of CEZID’s Pilot grant program and NIH policies concerning scientific overlap of projects.
  7. By accepting CEZID funds, awardees agree to comply with any and all requirements not already mentioned that may be imposed on CEZID by NIH or other institutional authorities.

Application process

Applications must be prepared in general accord with the NIH PHS 398 application guidelines.

Applications that do not comply with these review guidelines will not be reviewed.

You are encouraged to obtain assistance from the appropriate Grant Services agency at your

University (required if a KSU participant). Suggested contacts are listed below:

􀀀 KSU Office of Research and Sponsored Projects 785-532-6195 research@k-state.eduor your assigned Grant Specialist

􀀀 KU Higuchi Biosciences Center Proposal Preparation Office 785-864-4244 or 785-864-8015 hbcgrant@ku.edu

KUMC Sponsored Programs Administration 913-588-1251 spa@kumc.edu

WSU Office of Research and Technology Transfer 316-978-3285 proposals@wichita.edu

Include the following sections, in exactly this order, compiled into a single PDF:

  1. Face page
  2. Project Summary
  3. Project Narrative
  4. Detailed budget (Budget dates are May 1, 2023- April 30, 2024)
  5. Budget justification (use continuation page)
  6. NIH Biosketch of applicant
  7. NIH Biosketch of mentor (if applicable)
  8. Other support (for applicant only)
  9. Specific Aims (1 page) – maximum of 2 aims
  10. Research Strategy (6 pages) – include reference to rigor of prior research and rigor and reproducibility
  11. Vertebrate Animals – include reference to sex as a biological variable
  12. Bibliography – limited to 1 page; use complete citations with PMIDs in NIH style
  13. Letters of support (if applicable)

Do NOT discuss a second year of funding in your application. Additional budget information will be requested at a later date if the project is considered for funding extension.

Use 11-point Arial font with one half-inch (1/2") margins on all four sides.

Figure legends in the research strategy may use 8-point Arial font.

Letters of support from Directors of Core Labs that you will use are encouraged, but not required.

Junior Investigators must include a letter of support from their Mentor.

Submit applications as a single PDF document labeled as “PI LAST NAME” and “INSTITUTION” (e.g. RUFUS.PURINAINSTITUTE.pdf).

Submit applications no later than 5 pm CDT, April 20, 2023.

If selected for funding, applicants must provide copies of all relevant compliance approvals (IACUC, IBC, IRB) prior to the release of award funds. DO NOT submit these items at this time, but DO submit them to the compliance offices ahead of time to avoid delays in funding.

Eligible CEZID Pilot Project applications will be reviewed administratively by April 21, 2023, according to the NIH criteria and the COBRE-specific criteria described above


February 24, 2023

CEEZAD researchers assess the stability of SARS-CoV-2 variants in human biological fluids

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) assesses the ability of variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to survive in human biological fluids and pose threats to 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 February 14 edition of Microbiology Spectrum.

Other co-authors included Taeyong Kwon, Natasha Gaudreault, Konner Cool, David Meekins and Chester McDowell, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD.

SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic virus first identified in 2019, and has quickly spread worldwide. The virus is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets from infected persons; however, the virus-laden excretions can contaminate surfaces which can serve as a potential source of infection.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 has continued to evolve and accumulate mutations throughout its genome leading to the emergence of variants of concern (VOCs) which exhibit increased fitness, transmissibility, and/or virulence. However, the stability of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs in biological fluids has not been thoroughly investigated.

The aim of this study was to determine and compare the stability of different SARS-CoV-2 strains in human biological fluids. Researchers demonstrate that the ancestral strain of the Wuhan-like lineage A was more stable than the Alpha VOC, and the Beta VOC in human nasal mucus and sputum. In contrast, there was no difference in stability among the three strains in dried biological fluids.

 The researchers also show that the Omicron VOC was less stable than the ancestral Wuhan-like strain in nasal mucus. These studies provide insight into the effect of the molecular evolution of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental virus stability, which is important information for the development of countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2. 

The findings highlight the potential risk of contaminated human biological fluids in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and contribute to the development of countermeasures against SARS-CoV-2.

The full article can be viewed by pasting this link into your browser: Ancestral Lineage of SARS-CoV-2 Is More Stable in Human Biological Fluids than Alpha, Beta, and Omicron Variants of Concern - PubMed (nih.gov)


February 24, 2023

CEEZAD Director co-authors article on a new cell line derived from Culex mosquitoes

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) reports on the establishment of a new research cell line derived from Culex mosquitoes and its permissiveness to arbovirus infection.

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 12 edition of the Journal of Medical Entomology.

Other co-authors included Erin Schirtzinger of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathology at Kansas State University, William Wilson and Dana Mitzel, both of the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, KS., and Dane Jasperson, Dustin Swanson and Barbara Drolet, of the Arthropod-borne Animal Disease Research Unit, Manhattan, KS.

The article reports on establishment of a cell line from Culex tarsalis Coquillett embryonated eggs, designated as CxTr. The cell line is heterogeneous, composed predominantly of small, round cells, and spindle-shaped cells with a doubling time of approximately 52-60 h. The identity of the cell line was verified as Cx. tarsalis by sequencing of cytochrome oxidase I. The cells were found to be free of bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma.

The permissiveness of CxTr cells to arbovirus infection was investigated with attenuated and wildtype arboviruses from four viral families: Flaviviridae (Japanese encephalitis virus), Phenuiviridae (Rift Valley fever phlebovirus), Rhabdoviridae (vesicular stomatitis virus), and Togaviridae (Mayaro virus). All viruses were able to infect and replicate within the newly established CxTr cells.

The full article can be viewed by pasting this link in your browser: Establishment of a Culex tarsalis (Diptera: Culicidae) Cell Line and its Permissiveness to Arbovirus Infection - PubMed (nih.gov)


January 4, 2023

CEEZAD researchers advance understanding of spread of African Swine Fever Virus in Mongolia

An article co-authored by the Director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (www.ceezad.org) and the Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (CEZID; https://www.k-state.edu/cezid/) sheds new light on the African Swine Fever virus which spread in domestic pigs in Mongolia.

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 2022 edition of Viruses.

Other co-authors included Natasha Gaudreault, Konner Cool, Jessie Trujillo, Igor Morozov, David Meekins, Chester McDowell, Dashzeveg Bold, Velmurugan Balaraman, Taeyong Kwon, Daniel Madden, Bianca L. Artiaga, Cassidy Keating, Jamie Retallick and Jayme A. Souza-Neto, all of the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathology at Kansas State University and CEEZAD.

African swine fever (ASF) is an infectious viral disease caused by African swine fever virus (ASFV), that causes high mortality in domestic swine and wild boar (Sus scrofa). Currently, outbreaks are mitigated through strict quarantine measures and the culling of affected herds, resulting in massive economic losses to the global pork industry.

In 2019, an ASFV outbreak was reported in Mongolia, describing a rapidly progressing clinical disease and gross lesions consistent with the acute form of ASF.

Due to the limited information on clinical disease and viral dynamics in swine available from field observations of the Mongolian isolates, CEEZAD researchers conducted the present study to further evaluate the progression of clinical disease, virulence, and pathology of an ASFV Mongolia/2019 field isolate (ASFV-MNG19), by experimental infection of domestic pigs. Intramuscular inoculation of domestic pigs with ASFV-MNG19 resulted in clinical signs and viremia at 3 days post challenge (DPC).

Clinical disease rapidly progressed, resulting in the humane euthanasia of all pigs by 7 DPC. ASFV-MNG19 infected pigs had viremic titers of 108 TCID50/mL by 5 DPC and shed virus in oral secretions late in disease, as determined from oropharyngeal swabs.

Whole-genome sequencing confirmed that the ASFV-MNG19 strain used in this study was a genotype II ASFV strain highly similar to other regional strains.

The results demonstrate that ASFV-MNG19 is a virulent genotype II ASFV strain that causes acute ASF in domestic swine. The full article can be viewed by following this link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36560702/#:~:text=Viruses,doi%3A%2010.3390/v14122698