Host range trade-offs in new world Arenaviruses and discovery of antibodies against Ebola virus and Norovirus
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All biological life lives under the constant threat of viral infection. From the earliest homo sapiens until now well into the 21st century, the destruction brought on human life by viruses has been immense. Combating the viral threat has always required a combination of basic science and applied engineering. Scientific understanding of how viruses infect, propagate, and evolve is a pre-requisite for understanding how to go about preventing their activity. Of equal importance is the engineering of applications to take advantage of that knowledge to build solutions to the constant threat. The combination of hypothesis driven research and applied biotechnology lead to the first vaccines and the process continues to this day as we continue to build better diagnostic tools, safer vaccines, and more comprehensive strategies to combat the constant viral threat. Recent outbreaks of Ebola, Norovirus, Arenaviruses, novel Influenza strains, and Zika virus punctuate the ongoing need for understanding and application. Continuing in this tradition, the work describes both basic science and applied biotechnology approaches to: 1) understand host-viral evolution patterns in New World Arenaviruses, 2) identify Ebola specific antibodies for a diagnostic platform, and 3) characterize the immune profile following a Norovirus vaccine in clinical trials.