Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/

0000-0002-4101-7250

Date of Award

8-2022

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Julia Hilliard

Second Advisor

David Katz

Abstract

The Zika virus (ZIKV) has been listed as an international public health emergency since 2016 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Unfortunately, no vaccines or antivirals are currently available for ZIKV prevention and control. The genotypical and phenotypical similarities between ZIKV and other flaviviruses make it challenging to differentiate ZIKV infections among flavivirus infections by serological techniques. One of the approaches to find better ways to unequivocally differentiate ZIKV antibodies from antibodies induced by other serologically cross-reacting flaviviruses was to generate ZIKV-specific monoclonal antibodies (MABs). My thesis focuses on characterizing hamster monoclonal antibodies (MABs), 1) to analyze the activity of the hamster MABs against ZIKV antigens, and 2) to identify specific target epitopes for these MABs recognize. A novel MAB-blocking ELISA (MAB-BE) will be developed and applied to determine the frequency of antibodies against the specific epitopes in a cohort of sera collected from patients in the ZIKV epidemic regions of Colombia.

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