Strain of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) for use in drug and vaccine development.
- Exhibits increased mucin expression and early epithelial damage in mouse models.
- Provides a platform for animal models focused on early airway histopathology.
RSV is the most common cause of severe respiratory illness in infants and young children worldwide, resulting in approximately 160,000 deaths each year. Nearly all children within the US have been infected with RSV before the age of two, which has led to hospitalization of between 75,000-125,000 children annually. In addition, RSV related illness among the elderly is steadily increasing. Today there remains a lack of drugs approved for the treatment or prevention of RSV, exposing a significant need for research tools to aid in drug discovery.
Although the majority of individuals with RSV experience only mild symptoms that are nearly indistinguishable from the common cold, some individuals experience far more significant symptoms which can develop into serious conditions such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The significant variation in the incidence and disease severity is believed to stem from different strains of the virus. Emory researchers have identified a particular strain of RSV that exhibits enhanced pathogenesis in murine models of the disease. The 2-20 strain isolated at Emory contributes to severe lung dysfunction, including increased mucin expression and early epithelial damage. Alternative strains within the same RSV subgroup do not display similar disease severity suggesting that minute sequence variations may play a central role in virulence. This strain could allow for further studies to focus on the role of early-stage airway pathology in RSV as previous studies have targeted only the ensuing immune responses.
Differential pathogenicity was demonstrated by RSV 2-20 compared to other similar clinical isolates in a mouse model and has been used extensively in laboratory research programs.
Publication: Stokes K et al. (2011). J. Virol. 85:5782-5793.