Posters and Guidelines
Thank you for considering to present your work as a poster at Emerging Viruses 2023. Please submit your poster abstract online within the advertised deadlines.
- Page size: Prepare your poster as you would normally do for printing. You can prepare your poster in sizes A1 or A0, but the page size of your poster is not important for digitally presented posters. However, if you are attending in-person and would like to bring along a physical poster, prepare your poster in A1 portrait format (59cm wide x 84cm long). Do not laminate your poster, or use heavy printing material.
- Naming your poster files: Name your poster files as follows: <your surname>-EVOX23-Poster.pdf. For example, for David Jones, name your file as ‘Jones-EVOX23-Poster.pdf’. DO NOT name your poster files as, e.g., Oxford-poster, poster2023, etc. Such files will be automatically rejected.
- Poster submission: All poster presenters, whether attending virtually or in-person, are required to submit a digital version of their poster. Submit your final poster as PDF (<5MB) and via the link below no later than 30th August 2023. Late posters may not be included in the symposium programme. Please DO NOT send your poster (or abstract) files by email. Please ensure you send us the very final version of your poster (as well as your poster abstract), as once published, it cannot be replaced.
- The poster PDF files, whether the presenter is attending virtually or in-person, are required for presentation, and will be made available via the secure ‘EVOX23 Documents’ page to the conference participants before the meeting. The participants will be able to ask questions via the Zoom chatbox during the conference. There is no specific time for presenting digital posters.
- Hardcopy posters: If attending in-person, you may bring along a printed copy of your poster (maximum A1 size) to be displayed during the conference.
- Any further information about the poster presentations will be available in the future.
Before uploading your poster, you must make sure that you follow ALL of the instructions above!
(Presenters in Bold)
Accepted poster abstracts (Unedited) will be published below. If your abstract has been accepted for presentation but it does not appear in the list below, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing VirusesOxford@gmail.com.
Comprehensive genetic analysis of Lloviu virus (Cueavavirus lloviuense) genomes
Ágota Ábrahám, Gábor E. Tóth, Gábor Kemenesi
National Laboratory of Virology, University of Pécs, Hungary
Lloviu virus (LLOV) is a bat associated filovirus and was described in Spain in 2011, in association with a die-off event amongst Schreibers’s bent-winged bats (Miniopterus schreibersii) in 2002. Since its first discovery, the virus was identified in Hungary on multiple occasions in Schreibers’s bats. Based on the initial findings the research area for LLOV has been widened to other countries. As a result, so far the virus was detected in Italy, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia and Romania in the same bat species. With LLOV specific amplicon based next generation sequencing we have successfully generated novel genomic data on LLOV, enabling the examination of evolutionary and genomic attributes with a dataset of 32 genomes. Lloviu virus has a negtive-strand, nonsegmented RNA genome with 7 genes (NP, VP35, VP40, GP, VP30, VP24, L), which were the main part of the analysis. Genome comparison was based on similarity across the whole coding genome using both nucleotide and amino-acid sequences. Previous studies show that out of the seven genes found on the LLOV genome the glycoprotein (GP) gene accumulates the most mutations and has the highest dN/dS ratio. With the data and analysis presented here this characteristic gains further support, and with the similarity analysis we have elucidated the picture on the diversity of LLOV. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted creating a maximum likelihood tree showing that the virus has multiple divergent strains in Europe. The main objective of this study was to perform the first comprehensive phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis of Lloviu virus. Our findings contribute to the general understanding of the evolution of this virus.
Development of a WHO International Standard for anti-Marburg Virus Antibodies
Nassim Alami-Rahmouni1, Catherine Cherry1, Emma Bentley1, Thomas Rudge2, Katie Albanese2, Chris Cirimotich2, Julius Lutwama3, Wendy Boone4, Joseph Sgherza4, Michael Selorm Avumegah5, William Dowling5, Neil Gibson2, Larry Wolfraim6, Giada Mattiuzzo1 and Yann Le Duff1*
1South Mimms Laboratories, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), Potters Bar, UK
2Battelle, West Jefferson, USA
3Department of Arbovirology, Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, Uganda Virus Research Institute, Entebbe, Uganda
4Integrum Scientific, LLC, Greensboro, USA
5Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Oslo, Norway
6U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Rockville, USA
Marburg virus (MARV) is a member of the Filoviridae family and the causative agent of Marburg virus disease (MVD), a severe illness with a case fatality rate of up to 88%. There is currently no licensed vaccine against MARV, but several candidates have entered early phase clinical development. To support the evaluation of MARV vaccine candidates, a number of immunological assays have been developed. In order to increase comparability of results generated by these assays, an International Standard (IS) is required. The IS is the highest order of reference reagent for biological substances and established by the WHO Expert Committee on Biological Standardization (ECBS). The quantification of sample potency using assays calibrated against the IS is reported in a common unitage, therefore facilitating comparison between studies and protocols. We have initiated a project to develop the first WHO IS for anti-MARV antibodies. Sera from eight healthy survivors of the 2012 MARV outbreak in Western Uganda were sourced and treated with solvent and detergent to reduce biological risk. Samples were tested for binding and neutralisation activity using anti-MARV glycoprotein (GP) ELISA and VSV based pseudotyped virus neutralisation assays, respectively. The neutralisation activity was assessed against the GP of two MARV isolates (Ci67 and Musoke) and a Ravn virus isolate (Kitum Cave). Testing was performed in parallel at the MHRA and Battelle to increase confidence in sample characterisation. Individual sera showed anti-GP IgG binding activity of various levels, from undetectable to 7582 ELU/mL. Neutralisation activity was low for all samples, ranging from undetectable to 75 ND50, and varied depending on the strain used to pseudotype VSV particles. A candidate IS has been prepared by pooling the sera presenting the highest binding activities and lyophilised. The candidate IS will be evaluated during a multi-centre collaborative study launching in September 2023.
The use of microRNA inhibition to produce influenza A virus high growth reassortants for use as candidate vaccine viruses
Lethia Charles1,2, Jason S Long1
1Influenza Resource Centre, Virology, MHRA, UK
2London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Influenza viruses cause a significant disease burden, including thousands of deaths globally each year. Due to the virus’s ability to rapidly mutate and the potential for viruses of pandemic potential to emerge that evade existing immunity, candidate vaccine viruses (CVVs) must be updated each flu season to match the current circulating influenza strains or in response to a pandemic. CVVs must grow sufficiently well to support influenza vaccine manufacture. High growth reassortant (HGR) viruses are generated by co-infecting wild-type viruses with the vaccine strain A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8), resulting in reassortment of the virus gene segments and HGRs with the haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) from the WT circulating strain and internal genes from PR8. This classic method has remained mostly unchanged, can be inefficient and involves the use of antibodies to neutralise viruses possessing the unwanted HA and NA of the PR8 donor. The advantage of classical reassortment over reverse genetics is that the fittest gene constellation will be selected during reassortment.This project seeks to test in principle whether microRNA (miRNA) targeting of the donor PR8 virus would allow species-specific attenuation of the PR8 HA and NA genes during coinfection in embryonated hens’ eggs with a wildtype influenza H3N2 virus (A/Darwin/22/21), whilst the remaining internal gene segments would be free to reassort. PR8 viruses containing miR-199b-3p targets were generated by reverse genetics and grew similar to the PR8 wildtype and scrambled miRNA viruses. Mixed infections of A/Darwin/22/21 with PR8 donor viruses containing the miR-199b-3p target showed little advantage in generating HGR viruses. Thus, it appears that miR-199b-3p targeting of the HA and NA genes in eggs is not occurring or is insufficient. Further efforts to generate viruses that are better targeted in eggs could help to refine the HGR method and help us better respond to influenza pandemic threats.
Nipah virus therapeutics: in vitro studies identify novel candidates
Tara P Hurst1, Ilsa L Haeusler1, M Zakiul Hassan1, Junko Takata1, Shanghavie Loganathan1,
Bennett J K Choy1, Eli Harriss2, Jake W Dunning1, Miles Carroll1, Peter W Horby1, Piero L Olliaro1, Xin Hui S Chan1
1Pandemic Sciences Institute, University of Oxford, Old Road Campus, Oxford OX3 7DQ, UK
2Bodleian Health Care Libraries University of Oxford, Cairns Library, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DU
Henipaviruses are negative sense, non-segmented enveloped viruses with three species, Nipah (NiV), Hendra (HeV) and Langya (LayV), known to cause zoonotic infections in humans. First identified in 1998 in Malaysia and Singapore, NiV has since emerged as a seasonal threat in Bangladesh with the 2023 outbreak involving 14 cases and 10 deaths. The NiV case fatality rate (CFR) is 40-75% and debilitating long-term neurological complications are common in survivors. NiV is spread through contact with contaminated bodily fluids or by consuming contaminated food or drink. The high CFR and lack of specific therapeutics make NiV a WHO priority pathogen. In vitro studies are therefore important to screen candidates for in vivo evaluation. We conducted a systematic review to identify therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and small molecules available for henipaviruses and assessed the evidence for the safety and efficacy to support candidate prioritisation for compassionate use and clinical trials. We identified 56 eligible studies: 12 on mAbs and 25 on small molecules with in vivo data, and 19 small molecules with in vitro data only. Studying NiV is challenging due to the need for BSL4 facilities although surrogate or pseudovirus approaches exist that allow work in BSL2/3. In vitro studies were conducted typically in Vero or Hela cells to assess the blocking of cytopathic effect (CPE) or reduction in virus titres following treatment with a range of doses of the therapeutics. Remdesivir, ODBG-P-RVn (orally bioavailable remdesivir), favipiravir and rintatolimod showed efficacy while ribavirin and chloroquine were found to be ineffective alone or in combination, with inhibition of viral replication observed only with high doses (100 µg/ml ribavirin) compared to more effective therapeutics such as rintatolimod (6.25 µg/ml). There is a rationale for further studies of these small molecules, whether alone or in combination with mAbs, for the treatment of NiV.
Technology Transfer of a SARS-CoV-2 Pseudovirus Neutralisation assay to UKHSA Porton
Meleri Jones1, Susan Paton1, Philipa Levesque-Damphouse2, Emily Aston1, Ross Fothergill1, Steven—Phay Tran2, Kelly Thomas1, Luc Gagnon2, Sue Charlton12
1UKHSA, Porton Down, Salisbury, SP4 0JG, UK
2Q2 Solutions, 525 Cartier West Blvd. Laval, QC, H7V 3S8, Canada
The SARS-CoV-2 Pseudovirus Neutralisation Assay (PNA) has been extensively used to quantify the level of neutralising antibodies (nAbs) in human serum samples and UKHSA Porton are currently transferring the technology from Q2 solutions, Laval. The pseudotyped virus particles are made from a modified Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSVΔG) backbone incorporating the surface glycoprotein spike of SARS-CoV-2, currently a HG3 (hazard group) pathogen and a luciferase reporter. The use of replication-restricted pseudoviruses represents a safe and useful method that has been widely used to study viral entry and detection/quantification of nAbs in serum samples at containment level 2. The technology transfer of the validated assay from Q2 Solutions, incorporating gap analysis, comparing expertise, environmental conditions, qualified analysts, critical equipment and reagents, procedures, and documents of both laboratories. UKHSA laboratories have completed method comparison assessment and assay performance evaluation, demonstrating that the assay works in our hands. Concordance testing of samples covering the PNA range is underway to evaluate the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the assay. To ensure the quality of the assay has not been impacted by the transfer, a complement of validation will be completed to evaluate the precision (repeatability and reproducibility), dilutional linearity and relative accuracy and lower and upper limits of quantification of the assay. This method allows for a rapid and cheaper way to measure nAbs and is a useful addition to the portfolio of regulatory assays that UKHSA can use to evaluate vaccine candidates and contribute to the pandemic effort.
Antiviral activity of glykopeptide antibiotics derivatives against Zika virus
Zoltán Kopasz1,3, Henrietta Papp1, Ilona Bakai-Bereczki2, Eszter Lőrincz2, Leiner Krisztina1,3, Szabó Eszter1, Anett Kuczmog1,3, Anikó Borbás2, Ferenc Jakab1,3
1National Laboratory of Virology, Szentágothai Research Centre, Ifjúság útja 20, H-7624 Pécs, Hungary
2Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Debrecen, Egyetem tér 1, H-4032 Debrecen, Hungary
3Institute of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Pécs, Ifjúság útja 6, H-7624 Pécs, Hungary;
The Zika virus (ZIKV) has caused major outbreaks and it is still present in several regions of the world. The virus belongs to the Flaviviridae family, such as Yellow Fever virus, West Nile fever virus and the Dengue virus. Humans are most commonly infected by mosquitoes (Aedes spp.). In most cases, the disease is asymptomatic, but less commonly flu-like symptoms are present. In a few instances, it also attacks the nervous system, causing meningitis, encephalitis and it is associated whit the development of Guillain-Barre syndrome. The most significant risk of infection is to the unborn fetus, as infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly or other brain abnormalities in babies. Although the virus has been known for a long time, numerous efforts have been made to develop drugs and vaccines against ZIKV, but only symptomatic treatment is available to patients. Derivatives of clinically used drugs, can be repurposed such as glycopeptide antibiotic derivatives, which can gain antiviral activities. Our in vitro screen focused on newly synthesised teicoplanin-based drugs. To test their effect ZIKV MR766 (Uganda) strain was used. We optimized the MTT assay and used to test the antiviral activity of these compounds against ZIKV. Twenty-five glycopeptide antibiotics and their derivatives were screened by microscopic observation, MTT assay and RT-qPCR. From the results obtained, moderate inhibition was observed in case of 4 compounds and strong inhibition for 6. Our future plans include further investigation of the antiviral activity of the compounds, with the hope that our results will contribute to the development of glycopeptide derivatives that we have tested into effective anti-ZIKV drugs.
Production and optimisation of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus pseudotyped virus and its application in neutralisation assays
Federica Marchesin1,2, Emma M Bentley1, Sarah Kempster1, Stuart D Dowall3, Neil Almond1, Edward Wright4, Nicola J Rose1, Yasuhiro Takeuchi1,2, Giada Mattiuzzo1
1Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, South Mimms, UK
2University College London, UK
3UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Porton Down, UK 4School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, UK
Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) was first described in 1944 and the virus identified 25 years later. CCHF virus (CCHFV) is responsible for several outbreaks with a fatality rate between 10-40%. The virus is endemic in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Asia, but has the potential to expand outside the current geographical area. There are no licenced vaccines and therapeutics for human administration. Most of the assays used to assess vaccines and drugs’ efficacy require infectious CCHFV, which is classified as a biohazard level 4 pathogen. A safer alternative is the use of CCHFV pseudotyped virus (PV). The codon optimised sequence of CCHFV glycoproteins GnGc (strain IbAr10200) was synthesised and cloned into an expression plasmid and two different PV production systems were compared using a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) core. Only the VSV vector led to the successful production of CCHFV PV with a yield of 4.72 x 104 TCID50/mL, whereas the use of a HIV vector did not produce a usable titre of CCHFV PV. Adjusting the amount of CCHF GnGc gene expression plasmid and transfection reagents failed to significantly alter the yield of infectious pseudotyped virus. The CCHFV-VSV PV was then applied for the development of a neutralisation test. A known neutralising monoclonal antibody anti CCHFV-Gc, 11E7, and a panel of seven convalescent sera, were all able to neutralise CCHFV PV in a dose response manner. More samples are being sourced to qualify the assay and the next steps will be to compare the results with those from a traditional neutralisation test to establish whether the use of CCHFV PV is a feasible alternative to the authentic virus.
Hamster model of seasonal influenza in comparison to the ferret model
Anthony C Marriott, Jemma Paterson, Kathryn A Ryan, Daniel Morley, Nicola J Jones, Paul Yeates, Catherine J Whittaker, F Javier Salguero, Yper Hall
UKHSA, Porton, Wiltshire SP4 0JG, UK
Animal models of influenza are important in preclinical research for the study of influenza infection and the assessment of vaccines, drugs and therapeutics. The ferret (Mustela putorius furo) has long been considered the ‘gold standard’ preclinical model due to its susceptibility to seasonal influenza without requiring prior adaptation, and the clinical course of infection resembling human influenza. Here we show that Golden Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) inoculated via the intranasal route with high dose of influenza A virus display comparable disease kinetics and immune responses to the ferret model. We present a comparison of the models using a recent H1N1pdm09 virus (A/GM19) in terms of clinical disease, virus load, and lung pathology. We also characterised both the humoral and cellular immune responses to infection in both models. Our data support the Golden Syrian hamster model being useful in preclinical evaluation studies to explore the efficacy of countermeasures against influenza. The pros and cons of the two models are considered.
Systems biology approaches reveal host defence mechanisms against Dengue virus
Laura Martin-Sancho1, Jeffrey Johnson2, Eun-Young Kim3, Dabeiba Bernal2, Dexter Pratt4, Christopher Churas4, Paul de Jesus5, Trey Ideker4, Steven Wolinsky3, Eva Harris6, Ana Fernandez-Sesma2, Sumit K Chanda5
1Department of Infectious Disease, Imperial College London, London, UK
2Department of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA
3Division of Infectious Diseases, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, USA
4Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, USA
5Department of Immunology and Microbiology, The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego, USA
6School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, USA
Dengue virus (DNV) is the most prevalent mosquito-borne human virus. Due to climate change and urbanization DNV has emerged beyond tropical areas. Currently half of the world’s population lives in areas with DNV and 300 million gets infected every year. Critically, vaccines are of limited use and no specific antivirals are available. This is partly due to a poor understanding of DNV biology, especially regarding mechanisms of host defence that control DNV spread and disease. Here, we adopted a systems biology approach to systematically define host factors and networks involved in DNV restriction. First, we carried out a concurrent multiOMICs dissection of DNV restriction using disease-relevant monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs) infected with a clinical isolate of DNV from Nicaragua. Using state-of-the-art technologies, we conducted a genome-wide genetic screen to identify host factors that inhibit DNV and then profiled the impact of DNV infection on the transcriptome and proteome. These three datasets were integrated with published DNV-host protein-protein interaction (PPI) datasets to identify DNV restriction factors that are regulated over the course of infection and modulate their responses through physical interactions with DNV proteins. These analyses revealed 264 host factors to inhibit DNV. From these, 59 changed in expression or abundance over the course of infection and 41 physically interacted with DNV proteins. The genome-wide nature of these screens enabled the identification not only of innate immune regulators and effectors, including STAT2 or IFITM3, but importantly also non-immune factors/networks, including mitochondrial and cholesterol homeostasis, which were not previously linked to DNV restriction. These meta-analyses provide systematic understanding of the poorly characterized mechanisms of host control against DNV and highlight targets that may guide informed-based design of virus- and host-directed antiviral therapies.
Adaptation of a SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assay to detect Omicron variants
Meleri Jones, Kevin Bewley, Phillip Brown, Kelly Thomas, Karen Buttigieg, Sue Charlton
UK Health Security Agency, Porton Down, UK
UKHSA developed a SARS-CoV-2 Microneutralisation assay (MNA) which measures the ability of antibodies raised in human serum against SARS-CoV-2 to neutralise live virus. The assay was successfully qualified and validated for use in UKHSA Porton laboratories. The original MNA was designed to detect the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 post-neutralisation using immunostaining of infected cell monolayers. Infection foci are then quantified using an automated imaging scanner. However since the beginning of the pandemic and despite encoding a proofreading function within its polymerase, the SARS-CoV-2 genome has acquired numerous mutations during the worldwide spread of the virus. The Omicron variant and its sub-linages, carry numerous changes in the spike protein and are not detected by the anti-RBD antibody used in the original MNA. The MNA assay was adapted to detect virus using an anti-nucleoprotein antibody, which requires cell permeabilization and background blocking. Automated imaging parameters were also optimised for each Omicron variant to detect altered morphology of infection foci caused by differing growth characteristics. This adapted method is being used to test serum from clinical trials for first- and second-generation vaccines, to identify levels of cross-immunity induced against new and emerging variants of concern, including XBB. Additionally, serosurveillance panels of serum from people who have received multiple boosters of COVID-19 via the national vaccine rollout programme have also been tested, to predict likely levels of population immunity and inform government booster policies during peaks of disease epidemiology, such as in December 2022.