Jena Alliance Life in Focus course: Basics in Virology

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Christina Ehrhardt and colleagues

Sektion für Experimentelle Virologie, Hans-Knöll Str. 2

Theme of the workshop
In the Section of Experimental Virology, research focuses on the investigation of regulation of molecular processes as a result of individual or co-infection with various respiratory pathogens and their role in infection processes.

influenza viruses, which continue to be a major problem worldwide, are – among others – in focus of interest. One hundred years after the most devastating pandemic of the 20th century, the Spanish flu of 1918-19, the influenza A viruses responsible still pose a huge threat to public health. Seasonal influenza virus epidemics cause the sudden onset of respiratory problems with mild to severe disease courses. Even though vaccination is the most efficient way to protect from annual influenza virus epidemics and new vaccines are produced every year, coverage is low, efficiency variable, and in the case of new emerging influenza virus subtypes, vaccinations do not provide timely protection. In addition, parts of the population reject vaccination. Only a few therapeutic agents directed against the virion itself are approved. A major disadvantage of these antivirals is that influenza viruses can quickly develop resistance. Thus, basic knowledge in pathogenesis and alternative antiviral strategies is required. In this context, repurposing of existing pharmaceutical substances supporting host defense or targeting virus-supportive cellular factors represent promising alternatives for antiviral intervention.

As part of the workshop, the basics of influenza virus infection and replication will be introduced, and the advantages and disadvantages of the various detection methods for these viruses will be discussed. Participants will perform influenza virus infection in a cellular infection model and determine the progeny infectious virus particles. In addition, participants will treat samples with a pharmaceutical substance and will compare the virus replication between treated and untreated samples. Participants will use two methods: A plaque-assay, the gold-standard method to detect and quantify infectious virus particles as well as qRT-PCR to quantify the viral mRNA synthesis.

Location: Sektion für Experimentelle Virologie, Hans-Knöll Str. 2, CMB-building, 4th floor

The number of participants will be limited to 4 in order to assure a workshop environment conducive to “hand to hand” exercises.

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