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Posted on: September 15, 2020

K-State Disease Researchers Making Strides in the Fight Against COVID-19 and African Swine Fever

190-smallerKansas State University researchers at the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) are making great strides in the fight against two diseases having significant impact on global health and economies: COVID-19 and African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), a fatal disease in pigs that is devastating global swine production.

Recent announcements related to CEEZAD’s work include:

  • CEEZAD researchers study the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces in different seasonal conditions — The study details findings of research into the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on various common surfaces under indoor, summer, and spring/fall conditions. 
  • Study finds a way to improve genomic data collection for African Swine Fever — The Journal of Virological Methods recently published a CEEZAD study that reports on the development of a method for rapid and efficient next-generation sequencing of approximately 40% of the ASFV. The researchers found that implementation of this methodology could substantially increase the scale of ASFV genetic collection, critical to monitoring and combating this disease.
  • Study finds pigs to be unlikely carriers of SARS-CoV-2 — The CEEZAD team determined that SARS-CoV-2 replicated in porcine cell lines, but the virus didn’t establish infection in domestic pigs via experimental inoculation, nor did it transmit to co-housed pigs. This indicates pigs are unlikely to be significant carriers and are not suitable preclinical animal models to study SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis or for use in testing vaccines or therapeutics.
  • Study finds cats spread SARS-CoV-2 to other cats — A study found that cats remained clinically asymptomatic after SARS-CoV-2 infection and are capable of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to other cats. These results are critical for understanding the clinical course of SARS-CoV-2 in a naturally susceptible host species and potential transmission to other animals and humans. 
  • Two federal grants received for upcoming SARS CoV-2 projects — One grant for $861,253 received from the Department of Homeland Security will evaluate novel antiviral therapies against COVID-19 in hamsters, mice, ferrets and cats. A second for $625,460 from the National Institutes of Health’s Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance will fund work to evaluate the susceptibility of several animal species to the SARS-CoV-2. Learn more at

In 2010, the Department of Homeland Security established The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, to help protect the nation’s agricultural and public health sectors against high- consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. 

CEEZAD-funded and -coordinated research is presently conducted at more than 15 U.S. and international universities, as well as government agencies and industry partners. CEEZAD also collaborates with professionals working at the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University, the Kansas Department of Agriculture, and private industries. 

Dr. Juergen A. Richt, DVM, Ph.D., and Regent’s Distinguished Professor, is the Center’s director. Potential research collaborators are encouraged to contact the Center at or 785-532-2793. Media inquiries should be directed to or 785-532-2535. 

CEEZAD is just one of many employment opportunities for animal health, zoonotic and infectious disease researchers in Manhattan, Kansas. Currently, the USDA National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) is nearing the completion of its $1.25 billion facility in Manhattan, which will provide the nation’s first maximum biocontainment (BSL-4) laboratory capable of housing large livestock for zoonotic disease research. NBAF will recruit many federal scientific positions in the coming months. To learn more about NBAF, visit or follow NBAF on Twitter (USDA_NBAF) and LinkedIn (usda-nbaf).

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