Animal models of highly pathogenic RNA viralinfections: Encephalitis viruses
The highly pathogenic RNA viruses that cause encephalitis include a significant number of emerging or re-emerging viruses that are also considered potential bioweapons. Many of these viruses, including members of the family Flaviviridae, the genus Alphavirus in the family Togaviridae, and the genus Henipavirus in the family Paramyxoviridae, circulate widely in their endemic areas, where they are transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks. They use a variety of vertebrate hosts, ranging from birds to bats, in their natural life cycle. As was discovered in the United States, the introduction of a mosquito-borne encephalitis virus such as West Nile virus can cause significant health and societal concerns. There are no effective therapeutics for treating diseases caused by any of these viruses and there is limited, if any, vaccine availability for most. In this review we provide a brief summary of the current status of animal models used to study highly pathogenic encephalitic RNA viruses for the development of antiviral therapeutics and vaccines.
Holbrook, M.R. and Gowen, B.B. Animal models of highly pathogenic RNA viral infections: Encephalitis viruses. Antiviral Res. (2008) 78, 69-78.