CHIKV, an infectious cause of long-term chronic arthritis, is a communicable disease that evolves into a disabling non-communicable disease that can last for years; therefore, understanding how CHIKV-related arthritis is mediated and how it can be prevented will result in large savings of human health burden and costs. CHIKV introduction into Grenada in 2014 led to large outbreaks with substantial chronic disease burden. We hypothesize that specific measurable host and viral factors underpin these chronic sequelae. Preliminary data demonstrate that both host and viral factors are essential to determine CHIKV human disease outcome, but the most important drivers of disease have not been elucidated. Severe disease is also linked to host factors such as comorbidities and specific host immune responses. In the proposed research, through combined studies of humans and viral isolates, we will determine the influential drivers of chronic chikungunya disease in the island country of Grenada, linking disease phenotype and long-term health consequences to viral strain, demography, and host immune response.
Funded by the ASTMH Robert E. Shope International Fellowship Award.