Linfa Wang

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, United States

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Publications (7)26.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Nipah virus (NiV) (Genus Henipavirus) is a recently emerged zoonotic virus that causes severe disease in humans and has been found in bats of the genus Pteropus. Whilst NiV has not been detected in Australia, evidence for NiV-infection has been found in pteropid bats in some of Australia's closest neighbours. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of henipaviruses in fruit bat (Family Pteropodidae) populations to the north of Australia. In particular we tested the hypothesis that Nipah virus is restricted to west of Wallace's Line. Fruit bats from Australia, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and Indonesia were tested for the presence of antibodies to Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus, and tested for the presence of HeV, NiV or henipavirus RNA by PCR. Evidence was found for the presence of Nipah virus in both Pteropus vampyrus and Rousettus amplexicaudatus populations from East Timor. Serology and PCR also suggested the presence of a henipavirus that was neither HeV nor NiV in Pteropus alecto and Acerodon celebensis. The results demonstrate the presence of NiV in the fruit bat populations on the eastern side of Wallace's Line and within 500 km of Australia. They indicate the presence of non-NiV, non-HeV henipaviruses in fruit bat populations of Sulawesi and Sumba and possibly in Papua New Guinea. It appears that NiV is present where P. vampyrus occurs, such as in the fruit bat populations of Timor, but where this bat species is absent other henipaviruses may be present, as on Sulawesi and Sumba. Evidence was obtained for the presence henipaviruses in the non-Pteropid species R. amplexicaudatus and in A. celebensis. The findings of this work fill some gaps in knowledge in geographical and species distribution of henipaviruses in Australasia which will contribute to planning of risk management and surveillance activities.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e61316. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    New Directions in Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases of Ecological Health, Edited by A.A. Aguirre, R.S. Ostfeld, P. Daszak, 01/2012: chapter Are bats unique viral reservoirs?: pages 195-212; Oxford University Press., ISBN: 0199731470
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    ABSTRACT: Nipah virus (NiV) was first recognized in 1998 in a zoonotic disease outbreak associated with highly lethal febrile encephalitis in humans and a predominantly respiratory disease in pigs. Periodic deadly outbreaks, documentation of person-to-person transmission, and the potential of this virus as an agent of agroterror reinforce the need for effective means of therapy and prevention. In this report, we describe the vaccine potential of NiV virus-like particles (NiV VLPs) composed of three NiV proteins G, F and M. Co-expression of these proteins under optimized conditions resulted in quantifiable amounts of VLPs with many virus-like/vaccine desirable properties including some not previously described for VLPs of any paramyxovirus: The particles were fusogenic, inducing syncytia formation; PCR array analysis showed NiV VLP-induced activation of innate immune defense pathways; the surface structure of NiV VLPs imaged by cryoelectron microscopy was dense, ordered, and repetitive, and consistent with similarly derived structure of paramyxovirus measles virus. The VLPs were composed of all the three viral proteins as designed, and their intracellular processing also appeared similar to NiV virions. The size, morphology and surface composition of the VLPs were consistent with the parental virus, and importantly, they retained their antigenic potential. Finally, these particles, formulated without adjuvant, were able to induce neutralizing antibody response in Balb/c mice. These findings indicate vaccine potential of these particles and will be the basis for undertaking future protective efficacy studies in animal models of NiV disease.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18437. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Henipaviruses are emerging RNA viruses of fruit bat origin that can cause fatal encephalitis in man. Ghanaian fruit bats (megachiroptera) were tested for antibodies to henipaviruses. Using a Luminex multiplexed microsphere assay, antibodies were detected in sera of Eidolon helvum to both Nipah (39%, 95% confidence interval: 27-51%) and Hendra (22%, 95% CI: 11-33%) viruses. Virus neutralization tests further confirmed seropositivity for 30% (7/23) of Luminex positive serum samples. Our results indicate that henipavirus is present within West Africa.
    PLoS ONE 01/2008; 3(7):e2739. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This brief review looks at the biological features that make bats good reservoir hosts, and the more important neurological viruses (Lyssaviruses, Henipaviruses, Flaviviruses) associated with bats that are, or have the potential to be, transmitted to humans.
    01/2008: pages 382-406;
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies have suggested that bats are the natural reservoir of a range of coronaviruses (CoVs), and that rhinolophid bats harbor viruses closely related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) CoV, which caused an outbreak of respiratory illness in humans during 2002-2003. We examined the evolutionary relationships between bat CoVs and their hosts by using sequence data of the virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene and the bat cytochrome b gene. Phylogenetic analyses showed multiple incongruent associations between the phylogenies of rhinolophid bats and their CoVs, which suggested that host shifts have occurred in the recent evolutionary history of this group. These shifts may be due to either virus biologic traits or host behavioral traits. This finding has implications for the emergence of SARS and for the potential future emergence of SARS-CoVs or related viruses.
    Emerging Infectious Diseases 11/2007; 13(10):1526-32. · 6.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role that bats have played in the emergence of several new infectious diseases has been under review. Bats have been identified as the reservoir hosts of newly emergent viruses such as Nipah virus, Hendra virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome-like coronaviruses. This article expands on recent findings about bats and viruses and their relevance to human infections. It briefly reviews the history of chiropteran viruses and discusses their emergence in the context of geography, phylogeny, and ecology. The public health and trade impacts of several outbreaks are also discussed. Finally, we attempt to predict where, when, and why we may see the emergence of new chiropteran viruses.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 04/2007; 44(5):711-7. · 9.37 Impact Factor