Epidemiology and Pathogenicity of Equine Parvovirus Hepatitis

Principal Investigator: Gerlinde Van de Walle

Baker Institute for Animal Health
Sponsor: National Institute of Food And Agriculture-USDA
Grant Number: 2020-67015-31297
Title: Epidemiology and Pathogenicity of Equine Parvovirus Hepatitis
Project Amount: $500,000
Project Period: July 2020 to June 2023

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

In 2018, our team identified a novel equine parvovirus, named equine parvovirus hepatitis (EqPV-H). This virus is strongly associated with Theiler’s disease, a highly fatal syndrome of fulminant hepatitis in horses. Our long-term goal is to reduce and/or prevent transmission and disease caused by EqPV-H. Improving our understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenic mechanisms of this novel equine parvovirus will provide a strong basis for improved management strategies as well as future vaccine development and/or therapeutic interventions.

Our specific hypothesis is that EqPV-H can be transmitted naturally within horse populations and can be associated with hepatitis of varying severities, which is immune response-mediated. To test this, we will perform epidemiologic modeling of natural EqPVH infection kinetics and transmission in horses (Aim 1); we will characterize the liver pathogenicity of EqPV-H to further establish its clinical significance and improve diagnostic measures (Aim 2); and we will determine the immunopathogenesis of EqPV-H (Aim 3).

The proposed work is innovative, because many aspects of the pathogenesis of this newly discovered equine parvovirus are not, or only poorly, understood. With respect to potential impact and expected outcomes, the combination of the work proposed in the three aims will lead to a better understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenicity of EqPV-H, which is essential to improve (i) diagnostics of equine liver disease and (ii) management strategies, including future vaccine development and therapeutic intervention, all geared towards control and prevention of disease caused by EqPV-H in the equine population.