Project 7: Viruses and Host Membranes




Jacob, Riya
Kefale, Mikael
Khanna, Jahnavi
Kim, Andrew Jacob
McLaughlin, Madison

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George Mason University

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Background: Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by an unsegmented RNA virus of the Lyssavirus genus. It spreads between animals and humans through contact with mucosal membranes, abrasions, or the saliva of an infected animal, most commonly a dog. The rabies virus travels through the body's signal transmission pathways to reach the central nervous system and brain. Once it has entered the host, it attaches itself to nerve cells and begins to replicate. The virus then spreads throughout the body through neuronal pathways until it reaches the brain. The incubation period varies widely depending on the location of the bite and the severity of the infection. Once the virus reaches the brain, symptoms increase in severity, starting from flu-like symptoms to hydrophobia and delirium. The infected person enters the prodromal phase, during which they experience significant behavioral and physical changes, such as heightened aggression and pupil dilation. Progression to the "excited" or "furious" rabies phase leads to autonomic dysfunction and vicious, erratic behavior. The infected person may die in this phase or progress to the final stage, paralytic rabies, where they will eventually die. Objective: This project aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of mechanisms for infectivity (attachment and entry) by defining the landscape of rabies virus research through bibliometric analysis.