Viral Competition in Lung Epithelial Cells
University of Idaho Seed Grant
Several studies have reported the detection of multiple viruses in 10-30% of respiratory samplesfrom young children exhibiting severe disease. Clinical studies have attempted to identify arelationship between viral co-infections and disease severity. However, their findings are notcongruent, and it remains unclear how viruses interact, within the context of a host, to determinedisease severity. This information is absolutely critical to design effective vaccination ortherapeutic strategies for respiratory viral infections in children. To begin to address thisproblem, we will determine how two respiratory viruses interact within their shared target hostcell: respiratory epithelial cells. Cells will be infected with 4-6 individual viruses or pairwisecombinations as concurrent or sequential infections. Viral growth will be measured to determinehow it is altered by co-infection. These experiments will provide an understanding of howrespiratory viruses interact during co-infections, in the absence of the host’s immune system.From this, we will select viruses to expand our findings into an animal model. The results of thisstudy will be submitted for publication in the Journal of Virology, and used as preliminary datato support an NIH proposal to fund development of the animal model.