Ardina (Andrea) J. Pruijssers, Ph.D.
Coronavirus antiviral therapies
Andrea earned a Masters of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from Wageningen University in Wageningen, The Netherlands, and a PhD in Entomology from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. She received postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Terence Dermody at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Our research focuses on the development of antiviral therapies for emerging coronavirus (CoV) infections. CoVs have and continue to emerge from natural hosts to infect humans via an intermediate animal host. Most CoV infections cause mild common cold-like upper respiratory infections. More recently, two coronaviruses SARS- and MERS-CoV have emerged from bats via an intermediate host into humans to cause severe disease with high fatality rates. Several other SARS- and MERS-like CoVs isolated from bats have not yet been found in humans but have the capacity to infect human cells, highlighting the potential for new outbreaks. No licensed drugs or vaccines are available to prevent or treat CoV infections. The goal of our research is to develop broad-spectrum antivirals to fight the current MERS-CoV outbreak and future CoV outbreaks. We test combinations of direct-acting antivirals for their efficacy and potency against CoV infection. We also study the mechanisms by which CoVs develop resistance against drugs to inform therapeutic regimens.