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Bird flu: Poultry farms face Rs 200 crore loss

Bird flu: Poultry farms face Rs 200 crore loss | Virology News | Scoop.it
BHUBANESWAR: A month after bird flu was first detected in the state on January 8, it is feared thousands of poultry farms in the state would down shutters for ever."In areas where the fowls were...
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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
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Biochemists feed 'poison pill' to coxsackievirus

Biochemists feed 'poison pill' to coxsackievirus | Virology News | Scoop.it
It has a funny name -- coxsackievirus -- but there's nothing funny about how this tiny germ and its close relatives sicken their hosts. Colorado State University researchers led by Professor Olve Peersen have designed a genetic modification to one type of coxsackievirus that strips its ability to replicate, mutate and cause illness. They hope their work could lead to a vaccine for this and other viruses like it.
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My Name is Zika | ZDoggMD.com

A "viral" video. Visit http://ZDoggMD.com to learn more. Follow @ZDoggMD: http://facebook.com/zdoggmd http://instagram.com/zdoggm
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Japanese Encephalitis virus surfaces in India

BHUBANESWAR: After the spurt in dengue cases in 24 districts of the State, Japanese Encephalitis, a viral disease, has been detected in three villages unde
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HIV and tuberculosis in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa -

HIV and tuberculosis in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa - | Virology News | Scoop.it
Given the dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa and evidence suggesting a disproportionate burden of these diseases among detainees in the region, we aimed to investigate the epidemiology of HIV and tuberculosis in prison populations, describe services available and challenges to service delivery, and identify priority areas for programmatically relevant research in sub-Saharan African prisons. To this end, we reviewed literature on HIV and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan African prisons published between 2011 and 2015, and identified data from only 24 of the 49 countries in the region. Where data were available, they were frequently of poor quality and rarely nationally representative. Prevalence of HIV infection ranged from 2·3% to 34·9%, and of tuberculosis from 0·4 to 16·3%; detainees nearly always had a higher prevalence of both diseases than did the non-incarcerated population in the same country. We identified barriers to prevention, treatment, and care services in published work and through five case studies of prison health policies and services in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, and Benin. These barriers included severe financial and human-resource limitations and fragmented referral systems that prevent continuity of care when detainees cycle into and out of prison, or move between prisons. These challenges are set against the backdrop of weak health and criminal-justice systems, high rates of pre-trial detention, and overcrowding. A few examples of promising practices exist, including routine voluntary testing for HIV and screening for tuberculosis upon entry to South African and the largest Zambian prisons, reforms to pre-trial detention in South Africa, integration of mental health services into a health package in selected Malawian prisons, and task sharing to include detainees in care provision through peer-educator programmes in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. However, substantial additional investments are required throughout sub-Saharan Africa to develop country-level policy guidance, build human-resource capacity, and strengthen prison health systems to ensure universal access to HIV and tuberculsosis prevention, treatment, and care of a standard that meets international goals and human rights obligations.

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The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 - The Lancet

The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 - The Lancet | Virology News | Scoop.it
Background
With recent improvements in vaccines and treatments against viral hepatitis, an improved understanding of the burden of viral hepatitis is needed to inform global intervention strategies. We used data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study to estimate morbidity and mortality for acute viral hepatitis, and for cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by viral hepatitis, by age, sex, and country from 1990 to 2013.

Methods
We estimated mortality using natural history models for acute hepatitis infections and GBD's cause-of-death ensemble model for cirrhosis and liver cancer. We used meta-regression to estimate total cirrhosis and total liver cancer prevalence, as well as the proportion of cirrhosis and liver cancer attributable to each cause. We then estimated cause-specific prevalence as the product of the total prevalence and the proportion attributable to a specific cause. Disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) were calculated as the sum of years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs).

Findings
Between 1990 and 2013, global viral hepatitis deaths increased from 0·89 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 0·86–0·94) to 1·45 million (1·38–1·54); YLLs from 31·0 million (29·6–32·6) to 41·6 million (39·1–44·7); YLDs from 0·65 million (0·45–0·89) to 0·87 million (0·61–1·18); and DALYs from 31·7 million (30·2–33·3) to 42·5 million (39·9–45·6). In 2013, viral hepatitis was the seventh (95% UI seventh to eighth) leading cause of death worldwide, compared with tenth (tenth to 12th) in 1990.

Interpretation
Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Unlike most communicable diseases, the absolute burden and relative rank of viral hepatitis increased between 1990 and 2013. The enormous health loss attributable to viral hepatitis, and the availability of effective vaccines and treatments, suggests an important opportunity to improve public health.
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And yet, people still worry about Zika...
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Peste des petits ruminants virus in Pakistan

A fast-spreading disease has resulted in the death of dozens of cattle [see comment] in Chamar Khan, Mastuj village in Chitral. Shepherds in the village are unaware of the cause of this outbreak and fear the outcome will put a strain on their pocket.

Mir Khan, a shepherd, told The Express Tribune his goats and sheep were diagnosed with an ailment that weakens their stamina and kill them within a few hours.

"Cattle in the 12 villages of Chamar Khan will be afflicted by the disease if adequate measures are not taken to protect them," he said.

According to Mir, shepherds are facing losses worth millions of rupees on account of this outbreak. A majority of shepherds have slammed the livestock department for neglecting the matter.

Many shepherds believe the livestock department has neither collected data in this regard nor taken any efforts to combat the disease. Shepherds have repeatedly pressed the department to vaccinate their cattle.

At least 50 sheep and goats have been killed so far and many more are feared dead. Officials privy to the development told The Express Tribune 250 sheep and goats were shifted to veterinary hospitals for treatment. However, vaccinations are not available at most of these hospitals.
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Considerations for the development of Zika virus vaccines

The current Zika virus outbreak has galvanized the public health community, resulting in calls for rapid action from entities including the World Health Organization and the United States government. The response to Zika virus is perhaps the first of its kind, and it has been influenced by the lessons learned from the response to the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. However, Zika virus is not Ebola virus. Prior to 2016, there were only 133 publications on “Zika” in the PubMed database, and a large number of these publications were commentaries or reviews lacking primary research data. In contrast, work had been underway for decades on the development of an Ebola virus vaccine, laying the groundwork for an expedited response in 2014. The broader research community’s extensive experience with dengue virus vaccine development and with the pros and cons of different vaccine platforms has led to speculation that a Zika virus vaccine can be accelerated, potentially with clinical trials initiating by the end of 2016 [1]. However, there are unique attributes of Zika virus, as well as many unanswered questions about the virus, that will need to be considered before a potential vaccine is administered to the public.

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Genomoviridae: a new family of widespread single-stranded DNA viruses

Official Full-Text Publication: Genomoviridae: a new family of widespread single-stranded DNA viruses on ResearchGate, the professional network for scientists.
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Stupid name - but highly interesting viruses B-)
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Virus particles in a doughnut-shaped chamber form fixed patterns

Virus particles in a doughnut-shaped chamber form fixed patterns | Virology News | Scoop.it
Large biomolecules in a small space spontaneously form symmetrical patterns. Researchers from FOM institute AMOLF discovered this together with colleagues from Oxford and Jülich when they confined rod-shaped virus particle
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Emerging strain of honeybee virus proves even more deadly

Emerging strain of honeybee virus proves even more deadly | Virology News | Scoop.it
Viral infections have been identified as a major factor​ in the continued decline of honeybee populations, including Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). Now, European researchers have shown that DWV is composed of two different strains, and the second is even more virulent than the established type.
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South Africa’s bid to end AIDS

South Africa’s bid to end AIDS | Virology News | Scoop.it
The tools exist, but the country’s epidemic—the largest in the world—won’t yield easily
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Imagine that a country that is still developing can have the largest number of people on ARVs in the world. With a tax base of some 10% of the population.
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Researchers identify exact origin of 2009 swine H1N1 flu pandemic

Researchers identify exact origin of 2009 swine H1N1 flu pandemic | Virology News | Scoop.it
The 2009 swine H1N1 flu pandemic — responsible for more than 17,000 deaths worldwide — originated in pigs from a very small region in central Mexico, a research team headed by investigators at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is reporting.
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Mysterious viral haemorrhagic fever outbreak in northern South Sudan

team from WHO's Regional Office for Africa is investigating a mysterious viral haemorrhagic fever outbreak in northern South Sudan that has killed 10 people. At the same time, national health officials are scrambling to put preventive measures in place based on the scant knowledge they have so far. However, in a country where nearly 2.5 years of fighting have left the health system in tatters, it is unclear how effective those efforts will be.

The outbreak was 1st reported to national health officials in March [2016], but John Rumunu, South Sudan's director general of preventive health services for the Ministry of Health, said it might have started as early as December 2015. The symptoms include unexplained bleeding, vomiting, and fever.
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Cold virus fares better a bit below body temp

Cold virus fares better a bit below body temp | Virology News | Scoop.it
New research shows how body temperature can affect the immune system's response to the common cold virus.
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Discovery of new strains of HTLV-4 virus in hunters bitten by gorillas in Gabon

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS have identified two new strains of the HTLV-4 virus in two hunters who were bitten by gorillas in Gabon. These findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, support the notion that gorillas represent a major source of infectious agents that can be passed on to humans. Many of the viral pathogenic agents that have emerged in humans in recent decades are of animal origin -- including SARS coronavirus, avian influenza virus, hantaviruses, Ebola virus, Marburg virus and Nipah virus. After the initial contact between species, some of these viruses used a variety of evolutionary mechanisms to adapt to their new human host. Scientists from the unité d'Epidémiologie et physiopathologie des virus oncogènes (Institut Pasteur/CNRS), directed by Antoine Gessain, are working on a group of RNA viruses known as HTLV retroviruses. In 2 to 8% of cases, HTLV type 1 results in severe forms of leukemia/lymphoma or neuromyelopathy. There are four types of HTLV virus (types 1 to 4). The animal reservoir for all four types is non-human primates, especially gorillas and chimpanzees. These viruses can be spread by sexual contact, blood transfusion or breastfeeding. Nearly 20 million people worldwide are thought to be infected by HTLV-1, especially in Japan, the Caribbean, Latin America and tropical Africa. HTLV-2 mainly affects Native American populations, some Pygmy populations and intravenous drug users; approximately a million people are infected worldwide. The HTLV-3 virus has only been observed in a small number of people in Cameroon living in close contact with infected non-human primates. HTLV-4 had previously only been identified in one person living in southern Cameroon, and the origin of the infection was unable to be traced. Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS, working in cooperation with the International Center for Medical Research in Franceville, Gabon (the CIRMF) and the Pasteur Center in Cameroon, set about identifying HTLV retroviruses in people at risk of contact with non-human primates. By using molecular screening to examine blood samples from 300 people who had been bitten by monkeys in Central Africa, they were able to identify the HTLV-4 virus -- previously only observed in Cameroon -- in two individuals in Gabon. These individuals reported having been severely bitten by a gorilla during hunting activities, which seems to confirm the zoonotic origin of the virus. The fact that this virus was only found in two people who had been bitten by a gorilla and not in anyone who had been bitten by a chimpanzee or a smaller monkey suggests that the virus is specifically transmitted by gorillas. Moreover, the gorilla bites occurred several years before the blood samples were taken, revealing the chronic persistence of this virus in humans. The scientists also discovered that one of the two new strains is divergent from the previously known strain of HTLV-4, highlighting the genetic diversity of this human virus. This research supports the idea that gorillas should be seen as key reservoirs for infectious agents that can be passed on to humans. The findings suggest that there are probably several other cases in Cameroon and Gabon, as well as in neighboring countries. Work now needs to be done to identify diseases that may be caused by the HTLV-3 and HTLV-4 retroviruses.
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I think if you get bitten by a gorilla, you had it coming...?
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HIV, prisoners, and human rights

Worldwide, a disproportionate burden of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis is present among current and former prisoners. This problem results from laws, policies, and policing practices that unjustly and discriminatorily detain individuals and fail to ensure continuity of prevention, care, and treatment upon detention, throughout imprisonment, and upon release. These government actions, and the failure to ensure humane prison conditions, constitute violations of human rights to be free of discrimination and cruel and inhuman treatment, to due process of law, and to health. Although interventions to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and drug dependence have proven successful in prisons and are required by international law, they commonly are not available. Prison health services are often not governed by ministries responsible for national public health programmes, and prison officials are often unwilling to implement effective prevention measures such as needle exchange, condom distribution, and opioid substitution therapy in custodial settings, often based on mistaken ideas about their incompatibility with prison security. In nearly all countries, prisoners face stigma and social marginalisation upon release and frequently are unable to access health and social support services. Reforms in criminal law, policing practices, and justice systems to reduce imprisonment, reforms in the organisation and management of prisons and their health services, and greater investment of resources are needed.

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Polio vaccination: preparing for a change of routine

We are entering a phase of major transition in polio immunisation. Even with the encouraging response to serotype 2 reported in this study after one dose of IPV, poor routine immunisation coverage in high-risk areas and the risk of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus emergence after tOPV withdrawal mean that serotype 2 poliovirus remains a threat to the polio endgame strategy. High-quality surveillance for cases of poliomyelitis alongside enhanced monitoring of waste water and sewage will be key to identifying the persistence of serotype 2 vaccine viruses after tOPV has been withdrawn. We must also be ready to respond rapidly with mOPV2 should an outbreak occur.

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Preventing Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Emergence during the Polio Endgame

Author Summary Global, coordinated withdrawal of serotype-2 OPV (OPV2) is planned for April 2016 and will mark a major milestone for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Because OPV2 withdrawal will leave cohorts of young children susceptible to serotype-2 poliovirus, minimising the risk of new serotype-2 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2) emergences before and after OPV2 withdrawal is crucial to avoid large outbreaks. Supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) with trivalent OPV (tOPV) could raise serotype-2 immunity in advance of OPV2 withdrawal, but may also create new VDPV2. To guide the GPEI strategy we examined the risks and benefits of implementing tOPV SIAs using mathematical models and analysis of data on the 29 independent VDPV2 emergences in Nigeria during 2004–2014. We found that in settings with low routine immunisation coverage, the implementation of a small number of tOPV SIAs could in fact increase the probability of VDPV2 emergence. This probability is greater if SIA coverage is poor or if there are persistently unvaccinated groups within the population. A strategy of tOPV SIA in sufficient number and with high coverage to achieve high population immunity in geographically-focused, at-risk areas is needed to reduce the global risk of VDPV2 emergence after OPV2 withdrawal.
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Lessons from Nature: Understanding Immunity to HCV to Guide Vaccine Design

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important global health concern with approximately 185 million people infected [1]. HCV infection most often leads to chronic infection with few early symptoms, but chronically infected individuals can develop liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Genome-wide association studies in humans have identified innate associated genes and HLA class II as important predictors of spontaneous clearance of HCV [2,3], but the correlates of protective immunity are not fully defined. The existence of few models to study protective immunity has hindered vaccine development research. Despite this limitation, significant advancements have been made in our understanding of protective immune responses to HCV using the chimpanzee model and humans exposed to HCV (Fig 1).

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The Cape Town Declaration on Vaccines 2012: Unlocking the full potential of vaccines in Africa

Delegates at the first International African Vaccinology Conference noted, with dismay, that many African children have limited access to existing and new vaccines as a consequence of weak immunisation programmes, lack of political will, and high vaccine prices. This inequality is a denial of the African child her basic right to a healthy life, and jeopardises long term economic growth on the continent. In addition, there is insufficient emphasis in Africa on adolescent and adult immunisation. The delegates documented various concerns and made various commitments; contained in this Cape Town Declaration on Vaccines, adopted on 11 November 2012. Finally, delegates confirmed their agreement with the goals and strategic objectives of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, and committed to hold African leaders accountable for its implementation during the Decade of Vaccines. The full list of registered conference delegates is provided as supplementary data to this manuscript.

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Gene editing could destroy herpes viruses living inside you

Gene editing could destroy herpes viruses living inside you | Virology News | Scoop.it

The CRISPR technique is a new weapon against dormant herpes viruses in the body, which cause cold sores and can be implicated in blindness and cancer


Herpesvirus graphic from Russell Kightley Media

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Bright carbonate deposits as evidence of aqueous alteration on Ceres

Bright carbonate deposits as evidence of aqueous alteration on Ceres | Virology News | Scoop.it
The typically dark surface of the dwarf planet Ceres is punctuated by areas of much higher albedo, most prominently in the Occator crater. These small bright areas have been tentatively interpreted as containing a large amount of hydrated magnesium sulfate, in contrast to the average surface, which is a mixture of low-albedo materials and magnesium phyllosilicates, ammoniated phyllosilicates and carbonates. Here we report high spatial and spectral resolution near-infrared observations of the bright areas in the Occator crater on Ceres. Spectra of these bright areas are consistent with a large amount of sodium carbonate, constituting the most concentrated known extraterrestrial occurrence of carbonate on kilometre-wide scales in the Solar System. The carbonates are mixed with a dark component and small amounts of phyllosilicates, as well as ammonium carbonate or ammonium chloride. Some of these compounds have also been detected in the plume of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon Enceladus. The compounds are endogenous and we propose that they are the solid residue of crystallization of brines and entrained altered solids that reached the surface from below. The heat source may have been transient (triggered by impact heating). Alternatively, internal temperatures may be above the eutectic temperature of subsurface brines, in which case fluids may exist at depth on Ceres today.
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And where there's water, there's life. And where there's life - viruses...B-)
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Two Escape Mechanisms of Influenza A Virus to a Broadly Neutralizing Stalk-Binding Antibody

Author Summary IAV causes seasonal epidemics and periodic pandemics that result in significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. The effectiveness of influenza vaccines is highly variable because the virus evolves rapidly and causes antibody mismatch. The use of neuraminidase inhibitors, the current standard of treatment for IAV infection, is limited by their lack of efficacy beyond 48 hours of symptom onset and by the emergence of drug resistant viruses. Recently, broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting the conserved stalk region of IAV HA have been discovered. These antibodies are able to block the infection of many or even all IAV strains, and hold great promise as the next generation of anti-flu treatment. Nonetheless, virus resistance to these antibodies has not been thoroughly studied despite the common view that broadly neutralizing stalk-binding antibodies are less permissive for mutational escape due to the functional importance of their highly conserved epitopes. In this study, we isolated three resistant viruses to a stalk-binding antibody that was previously shown to neutralize all IAV tested. Interestingly, they use two distinct mechanisms to escape the antibody, abolishing antibody binding or enhancing membrane fusion. Our study emphasizes the need to consider novel escape mechanisms when studying virus resistance to broadly neutralizing stalk-binding antibodies.
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I will diffidently point out that the virus escaped ONE stalk-binding antibody - and a "universal" vaccine would elicit more than just one!
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Vaccine protection against Zika virus from Brazil

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus that is responsible for an unprecedented current epidemic in Brazil and the Americas1,2. ZIKV has been causally associated with fetal microcephaly, intrauterine growth restriction, and other birth defects in both humans3-8 and mice9-11. The rapid development of a safe and effective ZIKV vaccine is a global health priority1,2, but very little is currently known about ZIKV immunology and mechanisms of immune protection. Here we show that a single immunization of a plasmid DNA vaccine or a purified inactivated virus vaccine provides complete protection in susceptible mice against challenge with a ZIKV outbreak strain from northeast Brazil. This ZIKV strain has recently been shown to cross the placenta and to induce fetal microcephaly and other congenital malformations in mice11. We produced DNA vaccines expressing full-length ZIKV pre-membrane and envelope (prM-Env) as well as a series of deletion mutants. The full-length prM-Env DNA vaccine, but not the deletion mutants, afforded complete protection against ZIKV as measured by absence of detectable viremia following challenge, and protective efficacy correlated with Env-specific antibody titers. Adoptive transfer of purified IgG from vaccinated mice conferred passive protection, and CD4 and CD8 T lymphocyte depletion in vaccinated mice did not abrogate protective efficacy. These data demonstrate that protection against ZIKV challenge can be achieved by single-shot subunit and inactivated virus vaccines in mice and that Env-specific antibody titers represent key immunologic correlates of protection. Our findings suggest that the development of a ZIKV vaccine for humans will likely be readily achievable.

Ed Rybicki's insight:
OK: so a DNA vaccine against PrM-Env of Zika, plus killed virions, both protect against Zika infection in mice. But mice aren't men. And monkeys lie....
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