The United World Antiviral Research Network (UWARN, formerly referred to as the University of Washington Arboviral Research Network) will address emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by carrying out research on arboviruses that include current high burden pathogens including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Arboviruses also include emerging and re-emerging viruses such as Mayaro, Una, Usutu, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and Oropouche viruses. UWARN will leverage the UW Alliance (formerly Metacenter) for Pandemic Disease Preparedness and strong research laboratory partners in Brazil, Senegal, South Africa, Pakistan and Taiwan as well as the UW Department of Global Health global reach in capacity building. The UWARN international Collaborating Partners have institution-based and population-based cohorts in place to carry out the planned research and monitor for new virus emergence. The proposed UWARN research will create new human viral-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (Hu-nMabs) that can be used as therapeutics or diagnostics. UWARN research will also create new diagnostics, created ab initio by the Institute for Protein Design, as artificial proteins that release light when antibodies to virus are present in body fluids. Finally, UWARN research will generate an understanding of how viruses manipulate the human innate immune system, and this information will be used to design biomarkers to predict severe disease as well as to suggest host-directed therapies that could lead to better outcomes after arboviral infection. The proposed technologies are generic and could be rapidly adapted to any future emerging arbovirus threat. UWARN collaborators span virology, bacteriology, mycology, and parasitic infections, such that UWARN can respond to diverse emerging infectious diseases threats. UWARN international laboratories have advanced capabilities including biorepositories with generator-power backed-up -80C freezers, next-generation sequencing (NGS) capabilities, fluorescence cell sorting, and BSL-3 containment facilities. UWARN cohorts have biobanked samples taken from individuals during acute febrile illnesses, with known and unknown arboviral diseases, and partnership sites are poised for prospective collection of population and facility?based samples. UWARN labs will use metagenomic NGS to detect novel viral emergence in affiliated cohorts. UWARN Partners have collaborating entomologists and veterinarians to sample arthropod vectors and animal reservoirs as needed. Additional innovative capacity included the Brazil UWARN partner?s mobile van with on board NGS capability for real-time, on-site viral sequencing and sampling to viral identification in less than 18 hrs. A second partner, IRESSEF in Senegal, plans to set up a similar mobile vehicle for viral sampling and sequencing in Senegal and the Brazil group will collaborate with IRESSEF on technology transfer and best practices. UWARN partners will serve as a resource to other Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Centers (EIDRC) providing expertise in monoclonal antibodies, protein design, and host directed therapies.

Public Health Relevance

United World Antiviral Research Network (UWARN) will address emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases by carrying out research on arboviruses, viruses transmitted by arthropods to humans, with collaborating partner research laboratories in Brazil, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa and Taiwan. The research will develop innovative new diagnostic reagents, namely human viral-neutralizing antibodies and designed proteins that release light when antibodies to virus are present in blood. UWARN research will also improve understanding of how viruses manipulate the human immune system, facilitating development of better biomarkers to predict severe disease as well as host-directed therapies that could improve outcomes of viral infection.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project--Cooperative Agreements (U01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1)
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Patterson, Jean Lois
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University of Washington
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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