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Hepatic tolerance in chronic equine hepacivirus infection

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most frequent medical indication for livertransplantation in humans worldwide. The virus displays a narrow host species tropism and naturally onlyinfects humans, although chimpanzees may be infected experimentally. The restricted host range hashampered the development of a robust immunocompetent animal model, which in turn has hindered themechanistic analysis of virus pathogenesis and immune control. The most closely related animalhepacivirus (HV) is found in horses, the equine hepacivirus (EqHV). EqHV, similar to HCV, can causeacute and chronic infections, with viremia lasting for months to years. As in HCV, the major determinantsof an effective immune response have not been identified. So far there are no preventive or therapeuticapproaches available. Thus, the development of a novel general approach for innovative and rational designof vaccines and therapeutic measures is urgently needed.Hypotheses/Research Questions/objectives: In this project we aim to evaluate the immunological impact oftherapeutic vaccination against EqHV infection in chronically infected horses. These findings will enhanceour knowledge of an immunocompetent host’s immune response to a hepacivirus vaccination and infection.In addition to providing insights into the horse’s immune response, the system holds great potential as asurrogate model for a potential therapeutic strategy against HCV in humans.Approach/Methods: We will generate four different recombinant MVA viruses expressing the EqHV-E1/E2,EqHV-NS3, EqHV-NS5B antigens and test whether MVA-based vaccination can safely induce vectorspecific and EqHV-specific T-cell responses and lead to a reduction in viral load in EqHV infected horses.Level of originality/Innovation: The project uses novel vector technologies to further improve understanding ofhepacivirus immunity.
Equine Hepacivirus
Coordination for vetmeduni vienna
Cavalleri Jessika-Maximiliane
Coordination in general
Asisa Volz
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, München, Germany
FWF Joint Projects
Type of Research
Clinical research / study
Cavalleri J.,
Vetmed Research Units
University Equine Clinic, Clinical Unit of Equine Internal Medicine
Institute of Immunology
Projekt partner
Contact: Eike Steinmann
Ruhr-Universität-Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
Funded by
FWF - Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Wien, Austria

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