Serological tools for surveillance across species

Due to factors including increasing population density, climate change, and a water-dominated landscape, The Netherlands is vulnerable to outbreaks of (emerging) infectious diseases. Specifically, vector-borne diseases (VBDs) that are transmitted via arthropods such as mosquitos are very relevant to The Netherlands due to its water-dominated ecosystems (ideal for mosquito breeding sites) and an abundant wildlife and domestic animal population that can act as potential amplifying hosts.

The One Health PACT consortium aims to develop pathogen specific and generic early warning indicators to measure the vulnerability for VBD outbreaks, develop catch all tools for outbreak detection and risk assessment, and translating this knowledge into interventions.

My PhD project within the consortium will focus on the development of novel tools to directly (capturing the virus) and indirectly (via serology) detect arboviruses present in human, livestock, wildlife, and the ecosystem.

The main objectives of the project are to convert current lab-based platforms for multiplex testing of blood for antibodies against various arboviruses into a fieldable assay, to use peptide microarrays to select viral peptides able to distinguish between antigenically similar arboviruses, to evaluate and select best performing assays based on broad detection and identification of antibodies and viral proteins, and to convert selected assays into fieldable multiplex assays and validate them using samples from patients, travellers, wildlife, livestock, and the environment.

Bijan Godarzi