New breakthrough in fight against lethal CCHF virus

May 17, 2010

Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus is a rare but serious human infection that causes internal bleeding, organ failure and ultimately death. Scientists writing in the Journal of General Virology have developed a new model to study CCHF which should enhance the development of vaccines and antivirals against this deadly disease.

CCHF is a tick-borne pathogen that infects (but does not cause disease in) wild and domestic animals in many countries in Africa, Europe and Asia. Humans may become infected from a tick bite or through direct contact with blood or other infected tissues from livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats. CCHF infections in humans lead to serious disease and have a fatality rate of approximately 30%. New vaccines and treatments are urgently needed to combat the CCHF virus, but their development is being hindered by a lack of suitable animal models for testing.

Scientists from the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Solna, Sweden have now found that immune-deficient mice can be used as a model to study how CCHF virus behaves in humans. The group discovered that mice unresponsive to key antiviral molecules produced by their developed classic symptoms of CCHF viral infection that were fatal.

Dr Ali Mirazimi who led the study, believes the groups' work will contribute enormously to vaccine and antiviral development studies. "To date there is no safe or effective vaccine available for human use or a specific antiviral for CCHF virus," he said. "A reliable animal model is the only way that the safety and effectiveness of a potential vaccine or antiviral treatment can be properly evaluated," he explained.

New strategies to control the spread of the CCHF virus could also have huge economic impact for farmers in developing countries. "As the virus can be transmitted to humans via infected animal tissues, farmers who breed food-producing animals can lose huge amounts of money if their stocks have to be culled," explained Dr Mirazimi.

Explore further: Oral contraceptive equal to antibiotics for acne care

Provided by Society for General Microbiology

4 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets

Oct 20, 2008

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and ma ...

Smallpox vaccine alternative identified

Jan 07, 2008

University of California, Irvine infectious disease researchers have shown the effectiveness of a potential alternative to the existing smallpox vaccine that can replace the current biodefense stockpile for this lethal virus.

The way to a virus' 'heart' is through its enzymes

Jul 09, 2008

The arrival of bluetongue virus (BTV) in the UK last year posed a major threat to the economy and the increasing temperatures of our changing climate mean it is here to stay. If we are to fight this disease, which has had ...

Recommended for you

Oral contraceptive equal to antibiotics for acne care

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—At six months, oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) are comparable to systemic antibiotics for acne management, according to a review published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Ac ...

Photodynamic therapy vs. cryotherapy for actinic keratoses

6 hours ago

Photodynamic therapy (PDT, which uses topical agents and light to kill tissue) appears to better clear actinic keratoses (AKs, a common skin lesion caused by sun damage) at three months after treatment than cryotherapy (which ...

US official warns Ebola outbreak will get worse

8 hours ago

A third top doctor has died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, a government official said Wednesday, as a leading American health official warned that the outbreak sweeping West Africa would get worse before it ...

UN releases $1.5mn to help DR Congo fight Ebola

10 hours ago

The United Nations on Wednesday allocated $1.5 million (1.1 million euros) to help the Democratic Republic of Congo fight Ebola, just days after the country confirmed its first cases this year.

User comments : 0