Andrea J. Pruijssers, PhD
Dr. Pruijssers' 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 Dr. Pruijssers' research is to develop broad-spectrum antivirals to fight the current MERS-CoV outbreak and future CoV outbreaks. Dr. Pruijssers tests combinations of direct-acting antivirals for their efficacy and potency against CoV infection. She also studies the mechanisms by which CoVs develop resistance against drugs to inform therapeutic regimens.