The Shadow of the Virus: Measuring Antibodies to Track Viruses as they Move Across Populations by Leah Katzelnick, UC Berkeley, Math/Bio Colloquium and the Public Health Class of 1960s Speaker, Friday, February 28, 1:10 – 1:55 pm, Wege Auditorium
Abstract: To combat viral infection and protect against future disease, the body generates antibodies, proteins that specifically target each pathogen. By carefully measuring antibody responses to a given virus across individuals, we are able to map how viruses evolve to escape immunity, identify which people are protected against disease and for how long, and look into the past to measure how intensely a virus has transmitted in a given population over time. We will see how the quantitative methods of ‘seroepidemiology’ have provided insights into the complex immune interactions between the four closely related dengue viruses and their ‘cousin’ Zika virus. These viruses, all members of the Flaviviridae family, cause debilitating disease ranging from hemorrhagic disease and shock to severe congenital and neurological complications, often by taking advantage of the body’s antibody response.