Sandra Blome

Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Griefswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany

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Publications (58)151.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Domestic pigs and Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa) share several important viral and bacterial pathogens. Therefore, direct and indirect contacts between domestic pigs and wild boar present a risk of pathogen spillover and can lead to long-term perpetuation of infection. Biological indicators could be a powerful tool to understand and characterize contacts between wild boar and domestic pigs. Here, faecal Escherichia coli and Hepatitis E virus (HEV) were explored as potential biological indicators under experimental conditions. The data gained in our pilot study suggest that faecal E. coli can be used as biological indicator of contact between wild boar and domestic pig. For HEV, faecal transmission was also confirmed. However, molecular studies on full-genome basis did not reveal markers that would allow tracing of transmission direction. Based on these promising results, future field studies will especially target the practicability of E. coli microbiome molecular typing as surrogate of contacts at the wildlife–livestock interface.
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    ABSTRACT: Infections with Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) are a major economic threat to pig production. To combat CSF outbreaks and to maintain trade, new marker vaccines were developed that allow differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA principle). The chimeric pestivirus CP7_E2alf was shown to be safe and efficacious. Its DIVA strategy is based on the detection of CSFV E(rns)-specific antibodies that are only developed on infection. However, for the new marker vaccine to be considered a valuable control tool, a validated discriminatory assay is needed. One promising candidate is the already commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, PrioCHECK CSFV E(rns) ELISA (Prionics BV, Lelystad, The Netherlands). Four laboratories of different European Union member states tested 530 serum samples and country-specific field sera from domestic pigs and wild boar. The ELISA displayed a good robustness. However, based on its reproducibility and repeatability, ranges rather than single values for diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were defined. The ELISA displayed a sensitivity of 90-98% with sera from CSFV-infected domestic pigs. A specificity of 89-96% was calculated with sera from domestic pigs vaccinated once with CP7_E2alf. The ELISA detected CSFV infections in vaccinated domestic pigs with a sensitivity of 82-94%. The sensitivity was lower with sera taken ≤21 days post-challenge indicating that the stage of CSFV infection had a considerable influence on testing. Taken together, the PrioCHECK CSFV E(rns) ELISA can be used for detection of CSFV infections in CP7_E2alf-vaccinated and nonvaccinated domestic pig populations, but should only be applied on a herd basis by testing a defined number of animals. © 2015 The Author(s).
    Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation: official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc 07/2015; DOI:10.1177/1040638715592446 · 1.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever is a highly contagious disease that affects domestic and wild pigs worldwide. The causative agent of the disease is Classical swine fever virus (CSFV), which belongs to the genus Pestivirus within the family Flaviviridae . On the genome level, CSFV can be divided into three genotypes with three to four sub-genotypes. Those genotypes can be assigned to distinct geographical regions. Knowledge about CSFV diversity and distribution is important for the understanding of disease dynamics and evolution, and can thus help to design optimized control strategies. For this reason, the geographical pattern of CSFV diversity and distribution are outlined in the presented review. Moreover, current knowledge with regard to genetic virulence markers or determinants and the role of the quasispecies composition is discussed.
    Animal Health Research Reviews 06/2015; 16(1):33-9. DOI:10.1017/S1466252315000109
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    ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, pestivirus chimaera CP7_E2alf has proven to be a most promising marker vaccine candidate against classical swine fever (CSF). To provide further background data for the risk assessment towards licensing and release, especially on presence of the vaccine chimaera in faeces, urine, and organs of the male reproductive tract, supplementary studies were carried out under controlled laboratory conditions. In detail, the shedding and dissemination pattern of Suvaxyn(®) CSF Marker ("CP7_E2alf") was assessed in 12 adult boars after single intramuscular vaccination with a tenfold vaccine dose. Four and seven days post vaccination, six animals were subjected to necropsy and triplicate samples were obtained from reproductive and lymphatic organs as well as urine, faeces, blood, and several additional organs and matrices. The sampling days were chosen based on pre-existing data that indicated the highest probability of virus detection. Upon vaccination, neither local nor systemic adverse effects were observed in the experimental animals. It was confirmed that primary replication is restricted to the lymphatic tissues and especially the tonsil. While viral genome was detectable in several samples from lymphatic tissues at four and seven days post vaccination, infectious virus was only demonstrated at four days post vaccination in one tonsil sample and one parotid lymphnode. Sporadic detection at a very low level occurred in some replicates of liver, lung, bone marrow, and salivary gland samples. In contrast, viral genome was not detected in any sample from reproductive organs and accessory sex glands, in faeces, urine, or bile. The presented data on the dissemination of the vaccine virus CP7_E2alf in adult boars are supplementing existing safety and efficacy studies and indicate that the use of the vaccine is also safe in reproductive boars. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Vaccine 05/2015; 33(27). DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.04.103 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF), a disease notifiable to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE), is characterized by severe, unspecific clinical signs and high mortality rates. Hosts for ASF virus (ASFV) are only members of the family Suidae and soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros. Currently, no vaccine is available and therefore, the control is primarily based on strict sanitary measures. The most important part is the early detection of the disease within affected animal holdings and the fast and reliable confirmation by laboratory diagnosis. Infections of domestic pigs and European wild boar with recent Armenian, Sardinian, Lithuanian or Kenyan ASFV isolates lead to severe, acute disease courses with the predominant symptom of high fever (> 41 degrees C) accompanied by further unspecific clinical signs such as lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, respiratory symptoms, and an increased bleeding tendency. In experimental infection studies the mortality rate reached 100%. The most prominent pathomorphological findings included ebony-colored gastrohepatic lymph nodes, lung oedema, petechiae in the renal cortex, and oedema of the gallbladder wall. In the light of the current epidemiological situation with endemic ASFV infections on Sardinia, outbreaks in Russia and several Eastern EU Member States there is a risk for an introduction in further, previously unaffected EU countries including Germany. Hence, appropriate sample materials (serum, blood, spleen) of domestic pigs with unspecific clinical symptoms or pathomorphological findings should be examined for both ASFV and classical swine fever virus.
    Berliner und Münchener tierärztliche Wochenschrift 05/2015; 128(5-6):169-76. · 0.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In 2007, African swine fever virus (ASFV) was introduced into the Transcaucasian countries and Russia. Since then, it has spread alarmingly and reached the European Union. ASFV strains are highly virulent and lead to almost 100 % mortality under experimental conditions. However, the possibility of dose-dependent disease courses has been discussed. For this reason, a study was undertaken to assess the risk of chronic disease and the establishment of carriers upon low-dose oronasal infection of domestic pigs and European wild boar. It was demonstrated that very low doses of ASFV are sufficient to infect especially weak or runted animals by the oronasal route. Some of these animals did not show clinical signs indicative of ASF, and they developed almost no fever. However, no changes were observed in individual animal regarding the onset, course and outcome of infection as assessed by diagnostic tests. After amplification of ASFV by these animals, pen- and stablemates became infected and developed acute lethal disease with similar characteristics in all animals. Thus, we found no indication of prolonged or chronic individual courses upon low-dose infection in either species. The scattered onset of clinical signs and pathogen detection within and among groups confirms moderate contagiosity that is strongly linked with blood contact. In conclusion, the prolonged course at the "herd level" together with the exceptionally low dose that proved to be sufficient to infect a runted wild boar could be important for disease dynamics in wild-boar populations and in backyard settings.
    Archives of Virology 04/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00705-015-2430-2 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    Emerging Infectious Diseases 04/2015; 21(4):731-732. DOI:10.3201/eid2104.141792 · 7.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since 2013, highly virulent porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has caused considerable economic losses in the United States. To determine the relation of US strains to those recently causing disease in Germany, we compared genomes and found that the strain from Germany is closely related to variants in the United States.
    Emerging infectious diseases 03/2015; 21(3). DOI:10.3201/eid2103.141165 · 7.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever (CSF) marker vaccine candidate CP7_E2alf produced under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) conditions by Pfizer was tested on 40 six-week-old MDA-piglets according to the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph.Eur.) requirements. Single doses of CP7_E2alf were given to 15 piglets orally, while 15 other piglets were intramuscularly vaccinated. Ten additional animals were included as unvaccinated controls. All piglets were oronasally challenged with the highly virulent CSF virus (CSFV) strain "Koslov" 14 days after vaccination. CP7_E2alf administered i.m. provided a complete protection, while p.o. administratrion triggered only partial protection. The level of protection was determined by the development of clinical signs, viraemia and rate of mortality. The vaccine candidate met the criteria of Ph. Eur Monograph 0065, "Swine-fever vaccine (live, prepared in cell cultures), classical" 7th Edition, which claims the efficacy test is invalid if fewer than 50 per cent of the control piglets display typical signs of serious infection of CSF or die, and if fewer than 100 per cent of the control piglets show clinical signs of disease within 21 days following challenge. Fulfilling these validity criteria is a key step in the registration procedure for a vaccine candidate to become openly available. Copyright © 2015 The International Alliance for Biological Standardization. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Biologicals 01/2015; 43(2). DOI:10.1016/j.biologicals.2014.12.004 · 1.41 Impact Factor
  • Carolin Dräger · Martin Beer · Sandra Blome
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    ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever virus (CSFV) is the causative agent of a severe multi-systemic disease of pigs. While several aspects of virus-host-interaction are known, the early steps of infection remain unclear. For the closely related bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV), a cellular receptor is known: bovine complement regulatory protein CD46. Given that these two pestiviruses are closely related, porcine CD46 is also a candidate receptor for CSFV. In addition to CD46, cell-culture-adapted CSFV strains have been shown to use heparan sulfates as an additional cellular factor. In the present study, the interaction of field-type and cell-culture-adapted CSFV with a permanent porcine cell line or primary macrophages was assessed using anti-porcine CD46 monoclonal antibodies and a heparan-sulfate-blocking compound, DSTP-27. The influence of receptor blocking was assessed using virus titration and quantitative PCR. Treatment of cells with monoclonal antibodies against porcine CD46 led to a reduction of viral growth in both cell types. The effect was most pronounced with field-type CSFV. The blocking could be enhanced by addition of DSTP-27, especially for cell-culture-adapted CSFV. The combined use of both blocking agents led to a significant reduction of viral growth but was also not able to abolish infection completely. The results obtained in this study showed that both porcine CD46 and heparan sulfates play a major role in the initial steps of CSFV infection. Additional receptors might also play a role for attachment and entry; however, their impact is obviously limited in vitro in comparison to CD46 and heparan sulfates.
    Archives of Virology 01/2015; 160(3). DOI:10.1007/s00705-014-2313-y · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs with tremendous socio-economic impact. Vaccines are available for disease control. However, most industrialized countries are implementing stamping out strategies to eliminate the disease to avoid trade restrictions. These restrictions could be avoided through the use of marker vaccines such as CP7_E2alf. Marker vaccines have to be accompanied by reliable and robust discriminatory assays. In this context, a multiplex microsphere immunoassay for serological differentiation of the CSFV infected from CP7_E2alf vaccinated animals (DIVA) was developed. To this end, three viral proteins, namely CSFV E2, CSFV E(rns) and BVDV E2, were produced in insect cells using a baculovirus expression system and used as antigens in a microsphere immunoassay, which was further evaluated by testing a large panel of pig sera and compared to a well characterized commercial CSFV E2 Antibody ELISA and a "test" version of an improved CSFV E(rns) antibody ELISA. Under a cut-off median fluorescence intensity value of 5522, the multiplex microsphere immunoassay had a sensitivity of 98.5% and specificity of 98.9% for detection of antibodies against CSFV E2. Both the microsphere immunoassay and the CSFV E(rns) ELISA gave the same results for 155 out of 187 samples (82.8%) for the presence of CSFV E(rns) antibodies. This novel multiplex immunoassay is a valuable tool for measuring and differentiating immune responses to vaccination and/or infection in animals.
    Clinical and vaccine Immunology: CVI 11/2014; 22(1). DOI:10.1128/CVI.00271-14 · 2.37 Impact Factor
  • Veterinary Microbiology 10/2014; 174(3-4). DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.09.018 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In view of the fact that African swine fever (ASF) was recently introduced into the wild boar population of the European Union and that classical swine fever (CSF) keeps reoccurring, targeted surveillance is of utmost importance for early detection. Introduction of both diseases is usually accompanied by an increased occurrence of animals found dead. Thus, fallen wild boar are the main target for passive surveillance. However, encouraging reporting by hunters and sampling of these animals is difficult. Partly, these problems could be solved by providing a pragmatic sampling approach. For this reason, we assessed the applicability of three different dry/semi-dry blood swabs, namely a cotton swab, a flocked swab, and a forensic livestock swab, for molecular swine fever diagnosis. After nucleic acid extraction using manual and automated systems, routine quantitative real-time polymerase chain reactions (qPCR) were carried out. Results obtained from swabs or their fragments were compared to results generated from EDTA blood. It was shown that reliable detection of both pathogens was possible by qPCR. Shifts in genome copy numbers were observed, but they did not change the qualitative results. In general, all swabs were suitable, but the forensic swab showed slight advantages, especially in terms of cutting and further storage. Robustness of the method was confirmed by the fact that different extraction methods and protocols as well as storage at room temperature did not have an influence on the final outcome. Taken together, swab samples could be recommended as a pragmatic approach to sample fallen wild boar.
    Veterinary Microbiology 10/2014; 173(3-4). DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.07.030 · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical Swine Fever is one of the most important infectious diseases for the pig industry worldwide due to its economic impact. Vaccination is an effective means to control disease, however within the EU its regular use is banned owing to the inability to differentiate infected and vaccinated animals, the so called DIVA principle. This inability complicates monitoring of disease and stops international trade thereby limiting use of the vaccine in many regions. The C-strain vaccine is safe to use and gives good protection. It is licensed for emergency vaccination in the EU in event of an outbreak. Two genetic assays that can distinguish between wild type virus and C-strain vaccines have recently been developed. Here the results from a comparison of these two real-time RT-PCR assays in an interlaboratory exercise are presented. Both assays showed similar performance.
    Research in Veterinary Science 10/2014; 97(2). DOI:10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.06.010 · 1.51 Impact Factor
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    Anja Petrov · Martin Beer · Sandra Blome
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    ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of cytokine responses plays a major role in the pathogenesis of severe and life-threatening infectious diseases like septicemia or viral hemorrhagic fevers. In pigs, diseases like African and classical swine fever are known to show exaggerated cytokine releases. To study these responses and their impact on disease severity and outcome in detail, reliable, highly specific and sensitive methods are needed. For cytokine research on the molecular level, real-time RT-PCRs have been proven to be suitable. Yet, the currently available and most commonly used SYBR Green I assays or heterogeneous gel-based RT-PCRs for swine show a significant lack of specificity and sensitivity. The latter is however absolutely essential for an accurate quantification of rare cytokine transcripts as well as for detection of small changes in gene expressions. For this reason, a harmonized TaqMan-based triplex real-time RT-PCR protocol for the quantitative detection of normalized gene expression profiles of seven porcine cytokines was designed and validated within the presented study. Cytokines were chosen to represent different immunological pathways and targets known to be involved in the pathogenesis of the above mentioned porcine diseases, namely interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interferon (IFN)-α. Beta-Actin and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) served as reference genes for normalization. For absolute quantification a synthetic standard plasmid was constructed comprising all target cytokines and reference genes within a single molecule allowing the generation of positive control RNA. The standard as well as positive RNAs from samples, and additionally more than 400 clinical samples, which were collected from animal trials, were included in the validation process to assess analytical sensitivity and applicability under routine conditions. The resulting assay allows the reliable assessment of gene expression profiles and provides a broad applicability to any kind of immunological research in swine.
    PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108910. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108910 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • M. Lange · H. Siemen · S. Blome · H.-H. Thulke
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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is a highly lethal viral disease of domestic pigs and wild boar. ASF was introduced into the southern Russian Federation in 2007 and is now reported to be spreading in populations of wild and domestic suids. An endemic situation in the local wild boar population would significantly complicate management of the disease in the livestock population. To date no sound method exists for identifying the characteristic pattern of an endemic situation, which describes infection persisting from generation to generation in the same population. To support urgent management decisions at the wildlife-livestock interface, a new algorithm was constructed to test the hypothesis of an endemic disease situation in wildlife on the basis of case reports. The approach described here uses spatial and temporal associations between observed diagnostic data to discriminate between endemic and non-endemic patterns of case occurrence. The algorithm was validated with data from an epidemiological simulation model and applied to ASF case data from southern Russia. Based on the algorithm and the diagnostic data available, the null hypothesis of an endemic situation of ASF in wild boar of the region was rejected.
    Preventive Veterinary Medicine 08/2014; 117(2). DOI:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.08.012 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the attitudes and beliefs of pig farmers and hunters in Germany, Bulgaria and the western part of the Russian Federation towards reporting suspected cases of African swine fever (ASF). Data were collected using a web-based questionnaire survey targeting pig farmers and hunters in these three study areas. Separate multivariable logistic regression models identified key variables associated with each of the three binary outcome variables whether or not farmers would immediately report suspected cases of ASF, whether or not hunters would submit samples from hunted wild boar for diagnostic testing and whether or not hunters would report wild boar carcasses. The results showed that farmers who would not immediately report suspected cases of ASF are more likely to believe that their reputation in the local community would be adversely affected if they were to report it, that they can control the outbreak themselves without the involvement of veterinary services and that laboratory confirmation would take too long. The modelling also indicated that hunters who did not usually submit samples of their harvested wild boar for ASF diagnosis, and hunters who did not report wild boar carcasses are more likely to justify their behaviour through a lack of awareness of the possibility of reporting. These findings emphasize the need to develop more effective communication strategies targeted at pig farmers and hunters about the disease, its epidemiology, consequences and control methods, to increase the likelihood of early reporting, especially in the Russian Federation where the virus circulates.
    Transboundary and Emerging Diseases 08/2014; 6. DOI:10.1111/tbed.12254 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background Classical swine fever (CSF) is one of the most important viral diseases of pigs. Clinical signs may vary from almost inapparent infection to a hemorrhagic fever like illness. Among the host factors leading to different disease courses are age, breed, and immune status. The aim of this study was to compare host responses of different pig breeds upon infection with a recent moderately virulent CSF virus (CSFV) strain, and to assess their impact on the clinical outcome and the efficiency of immune responses. To this means, two domestic pig types (German Landrace and hybrids), were compared to European wild boar. Along with clinical and pathological assessments and routine virological and serological methods, kinetics of immune-cellular parameters were evaluated. Findings All animals were susceptible to infection and despite clinical differences, virus could be detected in all infected animals to similar amounts. All but one animal developed an acute disease course, two landrace animals recovered after a transient infection. One wild boar got chronically infected. Changes in the percentages of lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood did not show a clear correlation with the clinical outcome. High and early titers of neutralizing antibodies were especially detected in wild boar and German Landrace pigs. Conclusions While differences among breeds did not have the expected impact on course and outcome of CSFV infection, preload with facultative pathogens and even small differences in age seemed to be more relevant. Future studies will target the characterization of responses observed during different disease courses including cytokine reactions and further analyses of lymphocyte subsets.
    Virology Journal 07/2014; 11(1):134. DOI:10.1186/1743-422X-11-134 · 2.09 Impact Factor
  • Sandra Blome · Claudia Gabriel · Martin Beer
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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is among the most devastating viral diseases of pigs. In recent years, the disease has spread alarmingly. Despite intensive research activities, promising vaccine candidates are still lacking. For this reason, a study was undertaken to re-assess inactivated ASFV preparations with state-of-the-art adjuvants. Inactivated preparations of ASF virus (ASFV) “Armenia08” were adjuvanted with either Polygen™ or Emulsigen®-D, respectively, and used to immunize six weaner pigs two times with a three-week interval. Six weeks after the first immunization, animals were challenged with the homologues highly virulent ASFV. Although ASFV-specific antibodies were detectable in all but one vaccinated animal prior to challenge, no protective effect of immunization was observed. All animals developed acute-lethal ASF and had to be euthanized within eleven days post challenge. A slightly accelerated clinical course in vaccinees could even indicate an antibody dependent enhancement, which could also influence efficacy of other vaccine approaches.
  • Sandra Blome · Claudia Gabriel · Martin Beer
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    ABSTRACT: African swine fever (ASF) is among the most devastating viral diseases of pigs. In recent years, the disease has spread alarmingly. Despite intensive research activities, promising vaccine candidates are still lacking. For this reason, a study was undertaken to re-assess inactivated ASFV preparations with state-of-the-art adjuvants. Inactivated preparations of ASF virus (ASFV) "Armenia08" were adjuvanted with either Polygen™ or Emulsigen(®)-D, respectively, and used to immunize six weaner pigs two times with a three-week interval. Six weeks after the first immunization, animals were challenged with the homologues highly virulent ASFV. Although ASFV-specific antibodies were detectable in all but one vaccinated animal prior to challenge, no protective effect of immunization was observed. All animals developed acute-lethal ASF and had to be euthanized within eleven days post challenge. A slightly accelerated clinical course in vaccinees could even indicate an antibody dependent enhancement, which could also influence efficacy of other vaccine approaches.
    Vaccine 05/2014; 32(31). DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.05.051 · 3.49 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

404 Citations
151.49 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2015
    • Friedrich Loeffler Institute
      • Institute of Diagnostic Virology
      Griefswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 2007–2012
    • University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover
      • Institute of Virology
      Hannover, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 2008
    • Universität zu Lübeck
      Lübeck Hansestadt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany