Brayden G. Schindell

PhD Candidate, University of Manitoba

I am a PhD candidate from the University of Manitoba Working on reproductive persistence of Filoviruses in the Kindrachuk Lab. Recent data indicates that Ebola virus (EBOV) persists in high concentrations within reproductive tissues during convalescence1. Viral persistence occurs in at least 50% of survivors at 115 days post-recovery and may linger for up to three years post-recovery in the absence of symptoms or detectable viremia. There are reports of sexual transmission from male Ebola virus disease (EVD) survivors up to 18 months following recovery and the same may be true for female survivors with reports of transmission up to 15 months. Persistence and sexual transmission cases date back to the 1967 Marburg virus (MARV) outbreak where filovirus sexual transmission and persistence were first noted. Historical studies reported testicular swelling as a sign of MARV testicular persistence; however, this has not been reported for EBOV. Further, the frequency and sequelae of filovirus persistence in females is unknown. By understanding the global health risks of EBOV persistence provides insight into the relation between filovirus: persistence, sexual transmission and long-term reproductive health, all of which will help fill a critical knowledge gap. With the current Democratic Republic of Congo outbreak at a tipping point, this project provides knowledge towards the better care and support for EVD survivors, aiding to conclude outbreaks faster. Importantly, this work will directly benefit survivors through a better understanding of the main health issues they face leading to the potential betterment of their condition. I am developing novel model systems recreating the blood testis barrier (BTB) and the mucosal epithelium of the testis and female genital tract (FGT) respectively and a longitudinal study on survivor health

Experience

  • –present
    PhD Candidate, University of Manitoba