HerpeZ

Diagnostics Research & Training in Zambia

Herpesvirus infections are neglected

In sub-Saharan African herpesvirus infections are widespread, yet outside of some specific disease presentations (Kaposi's Sarcoma, Burkett's Lymphoma and HSV-1/2 genital warts) they have been under-researched. We seek to network herpesvirus researchers to bring about collaborative research studies in patient populations in Africa, where there is a high burden of HIV, Tuberculosis, malnutrition, and other diseases of poverty. We promote basic science, observational and epidemiological studies, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic development and intervention.

Herpesvirus basics

There are nine herpesvirus species for which humans are the natural reservoir. They cause a diverse set of diseases affecting a broad range of tissues and organ systems. Primary infection results in life-long latent infection with periodic reactivations which are more common for some species than others. Disease presentation often differs between primary infection and reactivation, or re-infection with different strains. Herpesviruses are well established as causal pathogens in many well characterised diseases which result from direct pathology of the virus in a specific tissue or organ, but they are also associated with several neurological conditions and malignancies, where the exact causal mechanisms are less clear. There is a long and expanding list of conditions in which herpesviruses may play a causal role, and one of the greatest challenges to the herpesvirus researcher or practitioner, is to differentiate active infections causing pathology which might respond to treatment, from sub-clinical infections.
Species
 Abbreviation
 Diseases
Herpes Simplex Virus - 1
 HSV-1
Cold sores, genital sores, neonatal herpes simplex, Alzheimers, encephalitis, whitlow
Herpes Simplex Virus - 1
 HSV-2
Cold sores, genital sores, neonatal herpes simplex
Varicella Zoster Virus
 VZV
Chicken Pox, herpes zoster (shingles),  encephalitis, pneumonia, post herpetic neuralgia, zoster multiplex, myelitis, herpes ophthalmicus, Ramsay Hunt syndrome
Epstein Barr Virus
 EBV
Infectious mononucleosis, Hodgkin's lymphoma, Burkitt's lymphoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, CNS lymphomas associated with HIV. Plus linked with autoimmune diseases:  dermatomyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, multiple sclerosis
Human Cytomegalovirus
 HCMV

Pneumonia, Congenital HCMV, disseminated infections affecting multiple organ systems in immunosuppressed patient groups

Human Herpesvirus 6A
 HHV-6A

Neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and rhomboencephalitis. AIDS progression

Human Herpesvirus 6B
 HHV-6B

Exanthem Subitum, febrile seizures, status epilepticus, mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

Human Herpesvirus 7
 HHV-7
Exanthem Subitum, febrile seizures
Kaposi's Sarcoma Associated Herpesvirus
 KSHV

Kaposi's sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma, multicentric castleman's disease

Up and coming herpesvirus conferences

Publications

Useful Links

  • TWIV - This Week In Virology - Check out Prof Vincent Racaniello's fantastic weekly podcast from Columbia University
  • Vincent Racaniello's Virology Lecturer Series 2015 on Youtube.
  • ViralZone - excellent entry ports into the magical world of viruses from ExPASy and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB)
  • All the Virology on the WWW - another expansive entry portal.

News & Publications

  • CMV-based vaccines could issue in a new dawn for vaccine development, with promising preliminary trials for Ebola using a mouse model. Tsuda et al...2015.

  • Tembo et al... publish in CID on the prevalence of betaherpesvirus DNAemia in over 300 hospitalised Zambian infants, showing that HCMV DNAemia is strongly associated with HIV infection and being underweight, and also with meningitis. These findings add to previous data suggesting HCMV is an important determinant of the health of African children. PDF

  • HerpeZ collaborators present work on anti-herpesvirus activity of a novel quaternary ammonium salt at the 3rd Antivirals Congress in Amsterdam (12-14th Oct 2014). From left: Bhupesh Prusty, Dharam Ablashi, Kirk Kimmerling and Gehard Krueger

  • John Tembo has won a Chinese Government PhD Scholarship to study betaherpesvirus infections in Zambia

  • Bates et al... publish editorial in the Tropical Medicine & International Health journal on congenital CMV infections in sub-Saharan Africa PDF

  • Mwaanza et al... publish in CID the first evidence that congenital CMV infection is extremely prevalent in Zambian neonates born to HIV-infected mothers, with broad-reaching implications for child development across the region. PDF