Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Christopher Stobart


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major respiratory pathogen of young infants and the elderly and is associated with upper and lower respiratory disease. Vaccine development for RSV has been hindered by poor immunogenicity in target populations, genetic and physical instabilities, and a legacy of vaccine-enhanced disease. The fusion and attachment proteins of RSV, F and G, have been seen to be responsible for inducing the majority of neutralizing antibodies. However, little remains known about how differences in RSV F and G affect virus replication and stability. In this thesis, we proposed to examine the replication and thermal stability of a panel of recombinant RSV strains which express the F and G proteins of laboratory and clinical isolates. To evaluate thermal stability, the RSV panel was incubated at 4°C, 32°C, and 37°C before determining reductions in infectious titer. In addition, since vaccine stocks are often subjected to repetitive cycles of freezing and thawing during transport and storage, we also evaluated stability following multiple cycles of freezing and thawing. Although the majority of strains in our panel were very unstable, one strain was shown to be significantly more stable than others at each temperature as well as at each freeze-thaw interval. Additionally, results showed no correlation between thermal stability and growth kinetics under normal conditions. We hope these results will provide insight into strain-specific differences among RSV isolates as well as provide guidance for particular RSV strains or F and G isolates to use in vaccine preparation.

Included in

Biology Commons