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Title: Investigating novel approaches to the detection of virus neutralising antibodies to rabies and Rift Valley fever virus
Author: Goldstein, Emily Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 6888
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2016
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Serosurveillance is a powerful tool fundamental to understanding infectious disease dynamics. The presence of virus neutralising antibody (VNAb) in sera is considered the best evidence of infection, or indeed vaccination, and the gold standard serological assay for their detection is the virus neutralisation test (VNT). However, VNTs are labour intensive, costly and time consuming. In addition, VNTs for the detection of antibodies to highly pathogenic viruses require the use of high containment facilities, restricting the application of these assays to the few laboratories with adequate facilities. As a result, robust serological data on such viruses are limited. In this thesis I develop novel VNTs for the detection of VNAb to two important, highly pathogenic, zoonotic viruses; rabies and Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV). The pseudotype-based neutralisation test developed in this study allows for the detection of rabies VNAb without the requirement for high containment facilities. This assay was utilised to investigate the presence of rabies VNAb in animals from a variety of ecological settings. In this thesis I present evidence of natural rabies infection in both domestic dogs and lions from rabies endemic settings. The assay was further used to investigate the kinetics of VNAb response to rabies vaccination in a cohort of free-roaming dogs. The RVFV neutralisation assay developed herein utilises a recombinant luciferase expressing RVFV, which allows for rapid, high-throughput serosurveillance of this important neglected pathogen. In this thesis I present evidence of RVFV infection in a variety of domestic and wildlife species from Northern Tanzania, in addition to the detection of low-level transmission of RVFV during interepidemic periods. Additionally, the investigation of a longitudinal cohort of domestic livestock also provided evidence of rapid waning of RVF VNAb following natural infection. Collectively, the serological data presented in this thesis are consistent with existing data in the literature generated using the gold standard VNTs. Increasing the availability of serological assays will allow the generation of robust serological data, which are imperative to enhancing our understanding of the complex, multi-host ecology of these two viruses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QR355 Virology