Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) is an RNA virus that can cause outbreaks of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), a polio-like disease. Before 2010, EV-D68 was a rare pathogen associated with mild respiratory symptoms. However, studies show that recent outbreaks of EV-D68 are associated with a serious neurological condition in young children, AFM.
Currently, there is no antiviral treatment or vaccine available for EV-D68. By understanding this virus, we will be able to develop a treatment to prevent the neurological disease caused by EV-D68. At OrganoVIR Labs, one of our PhD students Josse Depla and our Senior Scientist Adithya Sridhar investigated if a change in receptor usage of EV-D68 increases the virulence of EV-D68 in the airway or the central nervous system (CNS).
In their new publication, Josse described how he and Adithya used physiologically relevant human airway epithelium and cerebral organoid cultures and discovered that the change in receptor usage by EV-D68 did not increase infection of the airway or the CNS. In this paper, they suggested that studies using these models will be able to clarify how EV-D68 causes AFM.
Adithya is a Senior Scientist at the OrganoVIR Labs and the Scientific Manager of GUTVIBRATIONS. Within GUTVIBRATIONS, he is responsible for overseeing the scientific activities ensuring cohesion and knowledge exchange between the work packages. He has a degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Oxford and did his PhD in the lab-on-chip group of Prof. van den Berg at the University of Twente. He has more than 10 years’ experience developing complex in vitro cell culture models. In his role as Senior Scientist at OrganoVIR Labs at the Amsterdam UMC, he has set up airway, gut, and brain organoid models for virology.
Josse Depla is a PhD student at the OrganoVIR Labs at the Amsterdam UMC (location AMC) and the Research and Development Department at uniQure Biopharma. For his PhD project, Josse aims to set up brain organoid models to study how enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infection causes neurological conditions and to study adeno-associated virus transduction of the CNS in order to improve the delivery of gene therapy for genetic brain disorders.