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Rahul Shukla, Ph.D.,

Scientist, Virology

Viral pathogenesis and anti-viral strategies

Viral diseases continue to affect living beings in an unprecedented way across the globe. Due to efficient transmission, hijacking of host machinery, astonishing display of variable immuno-epitopes and high probabilities of re-eruption and reinfection they cause high economic burden specially to low-middle income countries like India. My lab is interested to study the mechanism of disease pathogenesis and finding solutions for viral diseases like COVID-19, Japanese Encephalitis and Dengue by deploying bio-models. At present our focus is on COVID-19 which is caused by the newly emerged corona virus, SARS-CoV-2. Due to its fast transmission and a potentially short-lived immunity it continues to circulate worldwide despite rigorous control measures. Due to its rapid growth and possible severity of reinfection it is crucial to understand the role of SARS-CoV-2 induced antibodies and its associated pathogenesis. Besides, the relative level of neutralizing vs non-neutralizing antibodies which confer protection over the possible disease enhancement also needs to be deciphered. This could be achieved through the assessment of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing epitopes, identification of cross-neutralizing epitopes, determination of putative enhancing epitopes that might potentiate disease enhancement in vivo and finally evaluate correlates of protective immunity.

Our research focuses on the following aspects

1. Role of SARS-CoV-2 non-neutralizing antibodies in COVID-19 pathogenesis

2. Investigate the biomarkers associated with antibody mediated severe disease

3. Assessment of the risk of vaccine-related disease enhancement and evaluate correlates of protection

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