Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

Principal Investigator: Andrew Allison

Baker Institute for Animal Health
Email:; 607-256-5650
Sponsor: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Grant Number: F12AP01226
Title: Genetic Characterization of WellFleet Bay Virus, a Novel Orthomyxovirus
Annual Direct Cost: $7,239
Project Period: 9/20/2012-9/30/2013

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objectives of this work are to 1) genetically characterize the entire RNA genome of WFBV, 2) define the evolutionary relationship of WFBV to other orthomyxoviruses, and to 3) potentially discern insights into the mechanism of transmission and maintenance of the virus in the wild. Currently, the envelope glycoprotein(s) of WFBV (e.g., the viral surface protein(s) used to infect hosts) have not been identified.  All known tick-borne orthomyxoviruses have a baculovirus-like glycoprotein used for cellular entry, which is believed to have been acquired from an insect virus, while influenza A virus has an unrelated hemagglutinin as its primary viral receptor.   Discerning the glycoproteins of the virus, along the remaining RNA segments, will allow us to define not only the evolutionary relationship of this virus to other orthomyxoviruses (i.e., whether it is more closely related to influenza or to tick-borne viruses), but also help determine the most likely plausible mode of transmission of the virus in the wild (tick-borne vs. fecal-oral) which will aid in focusing the directions of ongoing studies aimed at elucidating the ecology and epidemiology of the virus.