PerspectiveInfectious Disease

Emerging Viral Diseases: Confronting Threats with New Technologies

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Science Translational Medicine  10 Sep 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 253, pp. 253ps10
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009872


  • Fig. 1 Mapping emerging viral diseases.

    Shown are examples of sites where diseases caused by newly emerging viruses (those not known to have infected humans before, or not previously recognized as human pathogens; yellow) and reemerging viruses (those increasing in incidence, emerging in new locations or exhibiting enhanced pathogenicity; orange) have appeared. (Bottom) Listed are modern developments that facilitate virus emergence, such as commercial air travel and urbanization, and research advances that are helping to control emerging viruses, including genomic sequencing, rapid diagnostics, and new approaches to vaccine and therapeutic design.



  • Table 1.

    Modern technologies that address the challenges of emerging viral infections.

    TechnologyApplication to emerging viral infections
    Genomic sequencingIdentification of new agents (such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV); evaluation of strain diversity (HIV, MERS-CoV)
    Rapid diagnosticsReal-time reverse transcription–PCR for Ebola virus; distinguishing bacterial versus viral causes of certain acute respiratory illness
    Structural biologyVaccine design for influenza, HIV, respiratory syncytial virus; therapeutics design for HIV, HCV
    New vaccine platformsViral vectors for Ebola virus, Marburg virus, HIV; virus-like particles for chikungunya virus; nanoparticle platforms for influenza virus immunogens

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