Linking Viral Discovery with Causality
Patricia Pesavento
DVM, PhD, DIP ACVP. Professor of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis
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Outline:

The majority of emerging diseases are infections with viruses that jump species barriers from wildlife or domestic animals to humans. The advent of molecular methods like high-throughput sequencing dramatically scaled viral discovery in humans and animals. Efficient and (nearly) unbiased discovery has expanded our understanding of the complexity of viral families, can inform individualized medicine, can quickly identify emerging disease, and even potentially can anticipate emergence. Many of these novel viruses are innocuous, so along with powerful discovery tools comes a responsibility in the medical research community to uncover viral pathogenesis and to clearly define associations, if present, with disease.

Our laboratory has discovered novel viruses in multiple animal species, and utilizes a combination of tools, including RNAscope® in situ hybridization, to disentangle the complex host-pathogen interactions. In this presentation, we will consider the evidence for disease causality using novel persistent (papillomavirus), oncogenic (polyomavirus, circovirus), and acute cytolytic (astrovirus) viruses as examples. These studies have expanded our understanding of how and when viruses potentially cause disease, and demonstrate the impact and relevance of natural disease. Expanded consideration of the health of all animals is a balanced approach to world health.

Publications to be discussed:

Divergent astrovirus associated with neurologic disease in cattle. Li L., et al. (2013). Emerg. Infect. Dis.;19(9):1385-92.

Interview with Dr Patricia Pesavento

Neurotropic astrovirus in cattle with nonsuppurative encephalitis in Europe.  Bouzalas I.G., et al. (2014). J. Clin. Microbiol.;52(9):3318-24. 

Astrovirus VA1/HMO-C: an increasingly recognized neurotropic pathogen in immunocompromised patients. Brown J.R. et al. (2015). Clin Infect Dis.;60(6):881-8. 

Diagnosis of neuroinvasive astrovirus infection in an immunocompromised adult with encephalitis by unbiased next-generation sequencing. Naccache S.N., et al. (2015). Clin. Infect. Dis.;60(6):919-23.
   
Merkel cell carcinoma: a virus-induced human cancer. Chang Y. & Moore P.S. (2012).  Annu. Rev. Pathol.;7:123-44.  
 
Novel polyomavirus associated with brain tumors in free-ranging raccoons, western United States. Dela Cruz F.N,.et al. (2013). Emerg. Infect. Dis.;19(1):77-84.

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