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UFS Expert: Prof Felicity Burt investigates zoonotic and arboviruses
2017-12-13


 Description: Burt read more 2 Tags: Arboviruses, Felicity Burt, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, viruses  

Prof Felicity Burt recently received a B-rating from the
National Research
Foundation.
Photo: Sonia Small

Prof Felicity Burt is from the Division of Virology in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS), as well as the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS). She currently holds an NRF-DST South African Research Chair in vector-borne and zoonotic diseases.  Professor Burt and her research group investigate arboviruses and zoonotic viruses. 

Prof Burt’s research primarily focuses on host immune responses to arboviral infections specifically characterising humoral and cellular immune responses in patients with infections such as Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) virus and Sindbis virus; epitope discovery for development of diagnostic tools; development of molecular and serological assays for surveillance purposes; virus discovery; and the development of vaccines.

Raising awareness of these viruses, defining associated diseases, and developing tools for surveillance programmes will contribute to understanding these pathogens as well as the public health implications.

Leads research group in papilloma viruses
Arboviruses cause outbreaks of disease in South Africa annually. Outbreaks are usually associated with heavy rainfall favouring the breeding of mosquitos, but these viruses also have the capacity to spread and become endemic in new areas where competent vectors are present. 
In addition, she is leading a research group that investigates human papilloma viruses (HPV) associated with head and neck cancers and recurrent laryngeal papilloma.

The focus of this research group is to ascertain the genotypes of HPV causing these diseases, identification of novel biomarkers for early detection, and complete genome sequencing for molecular characterisation of HPV isolates.  

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