Equine hepacivirus (EqHV) phylogeny, infectivity profile and entry in Thoroughbred racehorses

Akagha, Terry (2021) Equine hepacivirus (EqHV) phylogeny, infectivity profile and entry in Thoroughbred racehorses. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes chronic and acute liver diseases in humans. This virus’s origin is unknown, and many research works into the design of a prophylactic vaccine have been inhibited due to the lack of a tractable model, partly due to its narrow host range (humans and chimpanzees). Equine Hepacivirus (EqHV) in 2011 was discovered in respiratory samples of dogs and found to be the closest genetic relative to Hepatitis C virus (HCV). This virus naturally infects horses and has several similarities to HCV, ranging from delayed onset of seroconversion, persistent infection, and liver pathology, thereby making it a potential experimental model to study hepacivirus infections in their natural host.

This study investigated the prevalence of EqHV among Thoroughbred racehorses. Polymerase reaction (PCR) assays were designed to detect and quantify this virus in 66 Thoroughbred racehorses’ serum samples. Approximately 38% of these horses were positive for the virus with a viral load range between 6.19 x 102 – 1.26 x 107copies/mL. Using retrospective sera samples sampled at different time points, we further investigated this virus’s infection profile among Thoroughbred racehorses. The results showed, similar to HCV that EqHV causes acute and chronic infections and that infected animals are susceptible to reinfection with varying seroreactivity degrees.

Further analysis of these sera showed diversification of these viral populations among Thoroughbred racehorses. Also, multiple signatures of vector-borne transmission and immune-mediated selection of viral variants were observed. Optimisation of an EqHV entry assay utilising retrovirus pseudotypes was performed. The stability of these virus particles was also investigated.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Tarr, Alexander
McClure, Patrick
Keywords: Equine, Equine hepacivirus (EqHV), Thoroughbred, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Hepatitis C virus (HCV), Non primate hepacivirus (NPHV), acute, Chronic, Reinfection, Entry, Phylogenetic analysis, Phylogeny
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Life Sciences
Item ID: 65012
Depositing User: AKAGHA, Terry
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:41
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:41
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65012

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