Isolation of human antibodies against Powassan virus for potential therapy vaccine and diagnostic purposes.

Purpose

Powassan virus (POWV) is a virus spread by the same tick that spreads Lyme disease. When humans are bitten by an infected tick they can develop severe disease including encephalitis and POWV infection can be fatal. There is currently no specific treatment available. Ticks carrying the virus are found in several regions of the United States including the upper Midwest and the Northeast. There is concern that cases are increasing and POWV is emerging as a significant public health threat. Upon infection with germs such as bacteria and viruses the human body mounts a protective response including the production of special proteins called antibodies that block the germs and protect against similar infections in the future. Antibodies are made by special cells in the blood called B cells which have been shown to play important roles in protection from a number of viruses. B cells can be isolated from blood and analyzed to identify those that make the protective antibody for a specific virus. The genes that code for the protective antibody can be cloned and antibodies can be made outside the body. After they are purified the antibodies are further tested for their ability to bind to and block the virus's ability to infect cells. This has been a successful strategy to obtain HIV blocking antibodies which are being tested in clinical trials and have been found to be safe and to have significant activity against HIV. We propose to take a similar approach to isolate B cells and make antibodies that can block POWV. The antibodies could be useful for POWV treatment or the development of tests to aid diagnosis and may inform the design of vaccines against this emerging virus.

Condition

  • Powassan virus

Eligibility

Eligible Ages
Between 18 and 99
Eligible Genders
All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Yes

Inclusion Criteria

  • All groups (Control and POWV exposed): Male or female between 18 and 99 years of age
  • All groups (Control and POWV exposed): Willing to provide written informed consent
  • For Control group: Generally healthy with no history of tick exposure or history of a tick-borne illness (Anaplasmosis Babesiosis Bourbon virus infection Colorado tick fever Ehrlichiosis Heartland virus infection Lyme disease Powassan disease Rickettsia infection Rocky Mountain spotted fever Southern tick-associated rash illness Tickborne relapsing fever or Tularemia)
  • For POWV or other flavivirus exposed: Positive POWV antibody serological test result by NYSDOH test or discordant NYSDOH test result with a research test result OR Laboratory evidence of a positive serological response to POWV or detection of POWV genomic RNA or virus OR Laboratory evidence of a positive serological response to a Flaviviridae member other than POWV or detection of Flaviviridae (other than POWV) genomic RNA or virus

Exclusion Criteria

  • All groups: Bleeding disorder or currently pregnant
  • All groups (Control and POWV exposed): Chronic HIV.
  • Control group: history of a tick bite or finding a tick on themselves or history of a tick-borne illness (Anaplasmosis Babesiosis Bourbon virus infection Colorado tick fever Ehrlichiosis Heartland virus infection Lyme disease Powassan disease Richettsia infection Rocky Mountain spotted fever Southern tick-associated rash illness Tickborne relapsing fever or Tularemia) or is a hunter or is an outdoor enthusiast (hiker trail biker) or has a history of infection with or vaccination against any flavivirus

Study Design

Phase
Study Type
Observational

More Details

Status
Recruiting
Sponsor
Rockefeller University

Study Contact

Recruitment Office
8007822737
rucares@rockefeller.edu