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Orthohantavirus cross-reactive antibodies: identification, action mechanisms and protective efficacy

This project is part of the overarching project 'ACZI - Innovative antibody-based strategies to combat future emergence of zoonotic viral infections'.


September 2019 – September 2023

Group and collaboration

Dr. Barry Rockx, Dr. Bart Haagmans, Prof. Marion Koopmans – Dept. Viroscience, Erasmus MC
Dr. Berend-Jan Bosch, Dr. Xander de Haan, Prof. Frank van Kuppeveld – Dept. Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
PhD student: Danny Noack

Project description

Despite the possibly devastating consequences, the world is not well prepared for newly emerging zoonotic viruses with epidemic/pandemic potential. New viruses are detected with ever increasing speed, but the follow-up research needed to assess etiological relevance lags far behind. The market incentive for development of medical countermeasures is lacking, and as a result there is a slow rate of generation and approval of human vaccines or therapeutic antibodies. To increase our pandemic preparedness, we urgently need to explore novel approaches from detection to rapid development of intervention strategies that broadly target multiple members of different virus families which are capable of causing zoonotic infection in humans, such as orthohantaviruses. These are rodent-borne emerging zoonotic viruses that can cause haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS). There are currently at least 3 orthohantaviruses known to circulate in rodent populations in the Netherlands including Seoul, Puumala and Tula orthohantavirus. Seoul virus is associated with HFRS, while Puumala virus causes a milder form of HFRS known as nephropathia epidemica. Tula virus has only been described in a few clinical cases, mostly as a comorbidity. During my project, I predominantly focus on development of novel in vitro and in vivo models in which the action mechanisms and protective efficacy of cross-reactive antibodies can be tested, such as for orthohantaviruses.

Disease Intervention Strategies is the overarching theme for more than 10 PhD tracks in NCOH projects to create new interdisciplinary, inter-thematic, and inter-institutional research collaborations.

PhD student interview

Interview: ‘I already knew I wanted to be a virologist when I was fifteen years old’

Scientists study viruses and ways to combat them in petri dishes containing a flat layer of cells. Danny Noack builds ‘tiny human tissues’ to study viruses in a more natural environment.