Research roundup: Assessing the state of hemorrhagic fever-causing viruses
Hemorrhagic fevers are caused by viruses, such as Ebola virus, yellow fever virus, and Lassa virus, which are transmitted from rodents or insects to humans. They can cause severe bleeding disorders. Except for yellow fever virus, there are currently no existing FDA-approved drugs or vaccines against these deadly human pathogens. While outbreaks of these infections are usually specific to Africa, South America, and Asia, modern means of traveling have been known to transport these viruses as far as the United States and Europe, raising a major cause for concern about potentially larger global outbreaks. Hinh Ly, MA, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, and his graduate student have recently published two comprehensive review articles to highlight the important interactions between Lassa virus and the human and rodent hosts that are responsible for disease development and transmission. The articles also synthesize current knowledge about the evolution and ecology of these hemorrhagic fever-causing viruses and the recent development of preventative and therapeutic approaches against them.
Lassa virus illustration by Hinh Ly, MA, PhD.