The primary mode of transmission of arthropod-borne viruses is through the bite of an infected mosquito, where virus is injected into the host skin along with mosquito saliva. Although modulation of the host immune response by mosquito saliva alone or during viral infection has been studied, full evaluation of the complex dynamics between different viruses, mosquitoes, and the ecosystem is lacking. Specifically, the differential effects of variant combinations of vector and virus species on the modulation of the local (skin) and systemic immune response and outcome of pathogenesis in the vertebrate host has not yet been extensively studied. In addition, recent introduction of exotic mosquito species in the Netherlands, such as the Asian bush mosquito Aedes japonicus, warrants investigation of the ability of such mosquitoes to transmit emerging viruses to humans and cause disease. Therefore, examining the effect of a mosquito bite from different relevant mosquitoes under changing environmental influences is imperative. I want to study the early interactions between virus, vector (saliva), and the first organ that the virus encounters: the skin. Concurrently, I want to investigate whether these early interactions subsequently influence the host viremia and viral pathogenesis. Overall, I want to see whether different mosquito species trigger distinct host immunopathogenic responses, accounting for diverse clinical outcomes of viral infection.
Furthermore, alternative transmission routes of arthropod-borne viruses such as oral (TBEV) and respiratory (JEV) have been reported, but the importance of non-arthropod transmission during arthropod-borne disease outbreaks is not well-studied. Our approach is expected to identify key parameters that are instrumental in virus transmission and pathogenesis.
Research questions / objectives
This project 'Preparing for vector-borne virus outbreaks in a changing world: a One Health Approach' (NWA. 1160.1S.210) is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
More about this project and the Dutch Research Council (NWO)
OHPACT is a NWA ORC project. More info can be found here