News and Events Highlights
CEEZAD is a public source for the latest information on developments related to high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats.
April 3, 2019
CEEZAD research is focus of article in March issue of Vaccines
A recent vaccine study conducted by researchers at the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) was highlighted on the cover in the March issue of "Vaccines", an international peer-reviewed journal focusing on laboratory and clinical research.
The article’s co-authors are Sun-Young Sunwoo, Daniel Perez-Nunez, Igor Morozov, Elena Sanchez, Natasha Gaudreault, Jessie Trujillo, Lina Mur, Marissa Nogal, Daniel Madden, Kinga Urbanek, In Joong Kim, Wenjun Ma, Yolanda Revilla and Juergen Richt. All are either CEEZAD researchers or collaborators from CBMSO in Madrid, Spain.
The study focuses on CEEZAD efforts to develop a vaccine for African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), a mostly fatal disease of swine for which there is no commercially available vaccine. Recent outbreaks of the virus in Trans-Caucasus countries, Russia, Eastern Europe, Belgium, Vietnam and China highlight the urgent need to develop efficacious vaccines against ASFV.
In the article’s abstract, the authors note that they have previously evaluated the immunogenicity of a vaccination strategy designed to test various combinations of ASFV antigens encoded by DNA plasmids and recombinant proteins with the aim to activate both humoral and cellular immunity. Based on those results, this most recent study was designed to test the efficacy of a combined DNA-protein vaccine strategy using a cocktail of the most immunogenic antigens against virulent ASFV challenge.
The results point to a putative immune enhancement mechanism involved in ASFV pathogenesis that warrants further investigation. The authors said the pilot study provides insights for the selection of appropriate combinations of ASFV antigens for the development of a rationally-designed, safe, and efficacious vaccine for ASF.
March 28, 2019
Dr. Juergen A. Richt, director of CEEZAD, explains recent findings of a research study developing a vaccine for Rift Valley Fever Virus vaccine during FRONTIERS, a University of Kansas-sponsored day committed to highlighting research on recent regional laboratory discoveries in the field of medical science. Dr. Richt explained the major findings of the CEEZAD research program (including Rift Valley Fever, Avian Flu and African Swine Fever) during the event, held during the last week of March in Kansas City.
March 7, 2019
CEEZAD’s director delivers keynote address at Gordon Research Conference
The director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases delivered the keynote address at this week’s Chemical and Biological Terrorism Gordon Research Conference held in Ventura, Calif.
Dr. Juergen Richt addressed conferees Sunday on the topic, “Rift Valley Fever: Development of Mitigation Strategies in Target Animals.” In his address, he discussed research efforts underway at the Richt Lab to develop target animal models for Rift Valley Fever and safe and efficacious vaccines. One focus of his presentation was familiarization of participants with ongoing research efforts at the Kansas State University-based Biosecurity Research Institute.
Rift Valley Fever is a vector-borne disease in ruminants, also capable of affecting humans. It is most commonly found in eastern and southern Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
During a Monday session, Dr. Richt also led a discussion on agro-terrorism, which are terrorist acts intended to disrupt or damage a country's agricultural system, especially the use of a biological agent against crops or livestock.
The conference, which has attracted biosecurity researchers from around the world, has been held every other year since 1998. Its purpose is to focus on the application of cutting edge research and apply that research to the development of new anti-terrorism tools. Major conference topics include novel imaging techniques that follow host response to chemical and biological insults, novel approaches to countering antimicrobial resistance, new detection technologies and the integration of understanding the problems and advances in agriculture bioterrorism.
March 3, 2019
Chronic Wasting Disease Spreading in Kansas
Salina radio station KSAL is reporting that the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has collected and tested samples from 360 deer, 37 of which were confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease.
The 37 confirmed positives came from deer taken in Cheyenne, Rawlins, Decatur, Norton, Phillips, Smith, Thomas, Sheridan, Gove, Rooks, Osborne, Scott, Lane, Hamilton, Haskell, Hodgeman, Ford, Edwards, Stafford, Reno, and Pratt counties. While most positives are still coming from northwest Kansas, the disease has also been found in counties to the south and east.
CWD infects members of the deer family, including whitetail and mule deer, elk and moose.
Although research about the disease is ongoing, currently there is no cure, vaccine or other biological method of preventing CWD. And while recent news has reported a potential vaccine based on research that indicated the disease may be caused by spiroplasma bacteria, attempts to duplicate that research have been unsuccessful. Currently, the only tool to prevent the spread of CWD is to restrict the transport of deer and deer carcasses.
While CWD is always fatal to infected deer and elk, humans have never been known to contract the disease.
CWD is a progressive, fatal disease that results in small holes developing in the brain, giving it a sponge-like appearance under the microscope. While deer may carry the disease for up to 2 years without showing any outward signs, in latter stages, a deer may exhibit decreased brain function and display a droopy head, staggering, loss of appetite, and a lack of response to people. It is advised that hunters who take deer from areas where CWD has been found have their deer tested whether or not they exhibited any signs.
February 16, 2019
Director of CEEZAD recognized as 2018 AAAS Fellow at ceremony in Washington D.C.
On February 16, Dr. Juergen Richt was pinned by the American Association for the Advancement of Science at their annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
A Regents distinguished professor and the director of Kansas State University's Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD), Dr. Richt was selected for his distinguished research and advisory contributions to the field of zoonotic diseases - particularly for his pioneering role in the development of the One Health paradigm.
Dr. Richt is a veterinary microbiologist who has worked with multiple agents of zoonotic potential, including bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, animal influenza viruses, Rift Valley Fever virus, Borna virus and other emerging pathogens. He has been published extensively, with authorship or co-authorship of over 200 per-reviewed articles.
Election as a fellow is an honor bestowed upon association members by their peers. The association's fellowship program recognizes individuals whose efforts toward advancing science applications are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.
Out of the 416 fellows elected this year, seven were faculty at veterinary colleges in the U.S. (including Dr. Richt). There was also an additional fellow from Kansas State University – Dr. Jame Guikema, a late professor of biology and University administrator.
Read more about the 2018 veterinary fellows here: