Virology News
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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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China H7N9 Joint Mission Report 2013 (WHO)

Ed Rybicki's insight:

An important document - because it lays out in detail just what a high-level team that went to China found during their travels.  And it is disturbing: the virus has 6 internal genes of H9N2, with the H7 HA and N9 NA - the first time the latter has been seen in humans.  I note that H9N2 keeps popping up in humans, but is not so nasty: the H7N9, however, is a low pathogenicity virus in chickens, but severe in humans.

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Medicago successfully produces VLP vaccine candidate for H7N9 virus

Medicago successfully produces VLP vaccine candidate for H7N9 virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OTCQX: MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today announced that it has successfully produced a new VLP vaccine candidate  for the H7N9 virus that is responsible for the current influenza outbreak in China.


Influenza in birds graphic from Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I keep saying, you gotta go green...and Medicago do, and have for H7N9.

 

Quicker than anyone else, evidently.  Truly impressive for plant production technology!

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Scientist: Poultry trade may be spreading deadly bird flu

Scientist: Poultry trade may be spreading deadly bird flu | Virology News | Scoop.it
Poultry workers moving to and from wet markets and farms may be responsible for the spread of the deadly H7N9 virus in China, says a virologist who's working with the World Health Organisation to investigate the outbreak.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

As ever...if people make money from animals, they will trade them even when there is the danger of spreading disease.

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Characterizing the killer H7N9

Characterizing the killer H7N9 | Virology News | Scoop.it

What scientists are learning about the zoonotic flu virus that has infected more than 100 people in China since February.

The virus appears to be more virulent than past H7 avian flu viruses in past outbreaks, which have caused conjunctivitis but have only been blamed for one death. Furthermore, this virus appears to be spreading from its hosts to humans unusually readily

Ed Rybicki's insight:

March 31 to April to publish several papers on the virus: new technology has enabled SUCH rapid progress these days, it is almost unbelievable.

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H7N9 Bird Flu Cases In China Rise By Four To 91; Half Have Had No Contact With Poultry

H7N9 Bird Flu Cases In China Rise By Four To 91; Half Have Had No Contact With Poultry | Virology News | Scoop.it
The number of confirmed H7N9 bird flu cases in China increased by four to 91 on Friday.  Jiangsu province reported one new case, and Zhejiang province reported three, the state-run Shanghai Daily reported today.  The number of dead was unchanged at...
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Who can catch which flu?

Who can catch which flu? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Imgur is used to share photos with social networks and online communities, and has the funniest pictures from all over the Internet.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Excellent graphic!

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China culls birds as bird flu deaths mount | Reuters

China culls birds as bird flu deaths mount | Reuters | Virology News | Scoop.it
SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese authorities slaughtered over 20,000 birds on Friday at a poultry market in the financial hub Shanghai as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu mounted to six,...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"The gene sequences confirm that this is an avian virus, and that it is a low pathogenic form (meaning it is likely to cause mild disease in birds)," said Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist at Britain's Imperial College London.

"But what the sequences also reveal is that there are some mammalian adapting mutations in some of the genes."

 

Sinister...but interesting that a LPAI should be so lethal in humans??

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Two men die of new "bird flu" in China

Two men die of new "bird flu" in China | Virology News | Scoop.it
Two men, aged 27 and 87, have died in the Chinese city of Shanghai after catching a strain of bird flu not previously known in humans, officials say.

 

The men, aged 27 and 87, both fell ill with the H7N9 strain in February and died some weeks later in March, Xinhua news agency reported.

 

A woman of 35 who caught the virus elsewhere is said to be critically ill.

 

It is unclear how the strain spread, but the three did not infect each other or any close contacts, officials say.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

And so it goes on: contact with birds leading to human infections with new variants / types of influenza A viruses, and a N variant never seen in humans before...universal vaccine time!!

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Potential for H3N2 influenza pandemic

Potential for H3N2 influenza pandemic | Virology News | Scoop.it

The 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza, though antigenically novel to the population at the time, was antigenically similar to the 1918 H1N1 pandemic influenza, and consequently was considered to be [ldquo]archived[rdquo] in the swine species before reemerging in humans. Given that the H3N2 is another subtype that currently circulates in the human population and is high on WHO pandemic preparedness list, we assessed the likelihood of reemergence of H3N2 from a non-human host. Using HA sequence features relevant to immune recognition, receptor binding and transmission we have identified several recent H3 strains in avian and swine that present hallmarks of a reemerging virus. IgG polyclonal raised in rabbit with recent seasonal vaccine H3 fail to recognize these swine H3 strains suggesting that existing vaccines may not be effective in protecting against these strains.


Vaccine strategies can mitigate risks associated with a potential H3N2 pandemic in humans.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

No-one think of H3N2...except, as it happens, these folk - who have shown quite convincingly that circulating strains of H3N2 in birds and pigs would be quite capable of avoiding vaccine-conferred immunity, and potentially of causing a pandemic, if they reassorted with human-infecting viruses.  

 

I can't help but feel that there are several ticking influenza pandemic time bombs out there...H5N1, H7N9, and now H3N2.

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China bird flu scare: H7N9 found to be a deadly mix of four strains

China bird flu scare: H7N9 found to be a deadly mix of four strains | Virology News | Scoop.it
The new H7N9 bird flu strain has been found to be a mixture of genes from four flu strains found in birds even as the first patient with severe symptoms of the deadly disease has made a complete recovery.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nasty...just as has been predicted, wild and migratory ducks have been probably responsible for the mixture of viruses that gave rise to the new H7N9.  The rest is down to Chinese farming practices.

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WHO: New flu passes more easily from bird to human

WHO: New flu passes more easily from bird to human | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new strain of bird flu that emerged in China over the past month is one of the "most lethal" flu viruses so far, worrying health officials because it can jump more easily from birds to humans than the one that started killing people a decade ago,...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Frightening...!  Which is the adult way of saying "scary".

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CDC tells US doctors to watch for H7N9 bird flu from China

CDC tells US doctors to watch for H7N9 bird flu from China | Virology News | Scoop.it
A recent outbreak of a new strain of avian influenza (bird flu) has killed at least 17 people in China since the first cases in humans were reported in late March. No cases of the H7N9 virus have...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not to panic anyome.  Oh, no, never that....

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Mississauga Article: Making vaccine for new bird flu virus could be a challenge

Mississauga Article: Making vaccine for new bird flu virus could be a challenge | Virology News | Scoop.it
TORONTO — Making a vaccine to protect against the new bird flu virus that has emerged in eastern China could prove to be problematic, influenza experts acknowledged yesterday.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"...clinical trials of vaccines made to protect against other viruses in the H7 family have shown the vaccines don't induce much of an immune response, even when people are given what would be considered very large doses."


This is a little worrying - and possibly a spur to making universal vaccines!

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A Brief History of Influenza

A Brief History of Influenza | Virology News | Scoop.it
I am TRYING to write an eBook on influenza, which stubbornly refuses to be finished - as part of a sabbatical project, which finished in December 2010.  So, like my History of Virology, I am triall...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I will reprise this post, given a considerable recent spike in interest in it as the new H7N9 Shanghai bird flu starts.  Hopefully to fizzle out, but you never know....

 

Incidentally, I have an almost-finished iBook (for iPad) on influenza: the first five respondents to this post can trial it for free!

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Chris Upton + helpers's comment, April 8, 2013 2:39 PM
cool... and I have iPad
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China closes markets, culls birds to curb H7N9 virus

China closes markets, culls birds to curb H7N9 virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
SHANGHAI - Shanghai on Friday ordered the closure of all live poultry markets in the city and culled more than 20,000 birds to curb the spread of the H7N9 flu virus which has killed six people in China.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And so it begins...hopefully NOT!

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