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You are here: Home / Teams / Horvat B - IbIV / Presentation of the team

Presentation of the team

Présentation de l'équipe

From viral invasion to evasion: immunobiology of viral infections and development of novel antiviral approaches

We aim at understanding the immunopathogenesis of the viral infection, and particularly, how a virus and the innate immune system interfere with each other. We focus on emerging highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses belonging to the Henipavirus genus and Paramyxovirus family: Nipah and Hendra. Our studies also benefit from useful and comparative information from measles virus infection model: both henipavirus and morbillivirus genus share common genome organization and replication machinery. We are focusing on the analysis of the role of nonstructural viral proteins and their interaction with the innate immune system. More particularly, we are interested to understand the nature of the efficient control of viral infection in natural host of Henipaviruses, fruit bats. Role of different immune cell types and virus ability to induce inflammatory response in vitro and in vivo in animal models and virus propagation in the brain tissue is also addressed. Application of two model viruses, Nipah and measles, both of them associated with the induction of neuropathology in humans, provides an important comparative research platform for the analysis of different aspects of viral pathogenesis and new anti-viral treatments. Following the recent emergency of SARS-CoV-2, we have developed new project aiming to study the COVID-19 physiopathology, linked to the induction of human endogenous retroviruses. As Nipah, measles and SARS-CoV-2 viruses share the similar mechanism of viral fusion and entry into the host cells, we are consequently developing of fusion inhibitory peptides to block viral entry and succeeding infection.


Our projects combine approaches starting from the molecular level studies of virus-cell interaction, via cellular analysis and study in organotypic cultures, up to the more integrative analysis of viral pathogenesis in the animal models. These studies may reveal the particular properties of virus interaction with the innate immune response as well as central nervous system, reflecting common and/or different features for analyzed viruses and open new avenues to better understanding of viral pathogenesis and develop novel therapeutic approaches.

Key words: Emerging viral infections, innate immunity, neuroinflammation, immunopathogenesis, antivirals, Nipah, measles, COVID-19