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X.J. Meng shares his passion for innovative research in molecular virology

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Category: research Video duration: X.J. Meng shares his passion for innovative research in molecular virology
A National Academy member and University Distinguished Professor, X.J. Meng’s twenty-plus year tenure at Virginia Tech includes several successful commercial endeavors. Leading the Meng Lab, the world-renowned researcher’s work focuses on emerging and reemerging viral diseases that impact veterinary and human public health. Meng is widely considered one of the world’s leading scientists in hepatitis E virus, porcine circovirus type 2, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, and porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. With 22 awarded patents and approximately $53 million in research grant awards to his name, Meng embodies the synergy between academic research and innovation.
One of the emerging viruses we've been working on for the past decade is porcine circovirus type 2, also known as PCV2. Which causes really, a devastating global disease in the pork industries. Our lab was able to evolve in a very successful commercial licensed vaccine. In fact, I was the first USDA officially licensed vaccines. We also look at why some of the emerging animal viruses jump species and infect humans. We try to apply some of the fundamental knowledge that we learned in the lab to develop effective vaccines against those emerging infectious disease. Many of those emerging human viruses came from animals. And in fact, about three quarters of those emerging human viral infections can be traced back to an animal origin. The problem we have today with those emerging human infection, is that, we are in a reactive mode. Unless the animal virus actually jumps species and infect a human, we don't pay much attention to them. So I strongly believe that the most cost effective way to prevent and control those emerging human infections is to stop those so called animal viruses through vaccines and vaccination program in their own animal host, before they jump species and infecting us. It is really a passion, and this is one area I feel very strongly about. And I feel very strongly about that we have to prevent those animal viruses from jumping species, infecting humans. There's a lot of momentum right now in this particular field. So we'll feel very excited about the potential of our research program in contributing to those really life-saving preventative measures.