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Antigens and Reassortants for Rotaviruses Circulating in Africa (AfRota) (2nd project period) (AfRota)


Funding programme / funding institution: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V.

Grant number: JO369/5-2

Project homepage: -

Project description:

Rotaviruses  are distributed in humans and animals and are transmitted by direct contact or contaminated drinking water or food. Rotavirus infections are the main cause of severe gastroenteritis in young children worldwide. Life-threatening disease mainly occurs in developing countries in Africa and Asia. The use of live-attenuated vaccines led to a significant decrease of rotavirus disease worldwide. However, the vaccine efficacy is considerably lower in Africa as compared to Europe and North America. This could be because the vaccines are mainly based on rotavirus strains predominantly found in Europe and North America and do not include strains circulating in Africa. The goal of this project is to provide strategies for the generation of antigens and recombinant reassortant strains for future vaccine development based on rotavirus strains circulating in Africa. In the first project period, the actual occurrence of different rotavirus strains was assessed in Mozambique and first systems for generation of  antigens using reverse genetics were developed. The developed technologies will be further optimized during the second project period in order to overcome the limitations that became obvious during the first project period. Newly determined African strains will be integrated to broaden the antigenic repertoire. In addition, antigenicity testing of the generated reassortants in animals as well as the targeted attenuation of rotaviruses will be included. Surveillance will be expanded using an extended One-Health approach including animal and environmental samples, applied to specific regions in Mozambique. The project will give further insights into the genetic and antigenic properties of rotaviruses currently circulating in Africa, and  techniques for generation of antigens, which are specifically designed for vaccines for the African continent, will be further developed.

Projekt partners

  • National Institute of Health, Mozambik
  • University of Free State, South Africa
  • North-West University Potchefstroom, South Africa




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