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Evaluating ferrets as a novel small animal model of aerosol exposure to encephalitic alphaviruses

Teredesai, Shreya Vinit (2024) Evaluating ferrets as a novel small animal model of aerosol exposure to encephalitic alphaviruses. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV) and eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) are positive-stranded RNA viruses belonging to the genus of Alphaviruses in the family of Togoviridae. These are arthropod-borne viruses, and natural disease outbreaks are typically associated with amplification in equine species. In humans, they cause severe viral encephalitis; while VEEV is rarely fatal, EEEV has a high mortality rate of >30%, and survivors have long-term neurological sequelae. There remains a considerable concern that these viruses could be used as biological weapons; hence, they are classified as Select Agents. Currently, no licensed medical countermeasures are available, and our knowledge of the disease caused by inhalation of these viruses is limited as aerosols are not the natural route of transmission. Therefore, for the licensure of vaccines and therapeutics, pivotal efficacy studies are required to be done in animals according to the FDA’s Animal Rule. We are investigating whether ferrets might serve as an alternative to the current mouse and non-human primate model for VEEV and EEEV, as their respiratory tract anatomy is similar to humans, and they are susceptible to other human viruses such as influenza, filoviruses etc. Moreover, the differences in human and rodent pharmacology underscores the need for an alternative small animal model.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Teredesai, Shreya Vinitsvt7@pitt.edusvt7@pitt.edu0009-0007-3581-5276
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairReed, Dr. Douglas Sdsreed@pitt.edudsreed0000-0003-0076-9023
Committee MemberMattila, Dr. Joshua Tjmattila@pitt.edujmattila
Committee MemberMcMillen, Dr. Cynthia Mcmm287@pitt.educmm2870000-0001-9211-7908
Date: 14 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 17 April 2024
Approval Date: 14 May 2024
Submission Date: 26 April 2024
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 86
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: encepahlitic alphaviruses, domestic ferret , arthropod-borne viruses, VEEV, EEEV , aerosols
Date Deposited: 14 May 2024 18:46
Last Modified: 17 May 2024 16:41


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