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Virology - Plant virus expression vectors set the stage as production platforms for biopharmaceutical proteins

Virology - Plant virus expression vectors set the stage as production platforms for biopharmaceutical proteins | Virology News | Scoop.it

"Transgenic plants present enormous potential as a cost-effective and safe platform for large-scale production of vaccines and other therapeutic proteins. A number of different technologies are under development for the production of pharmaceutical proteins from plant tissues. One method used to express high levels of protein in plants involves the employment of plant virus expression vectors. Plant virus vectors have been designed to carry vaccine epitopes as well as full therapeutic proteins such as monoclonal antibodies in plant tissue both safely and effectively. Biopharmaceuticals such as these offer enormous potential on many levels, from providing relief to those who have little access to modern medicine, to playing an active role in the battle against cancer. This review describes the current design and status of plant virus expression vectors used as production platforms for biopharmaceutical proteins."

 

And of course, let it not be forgotten that our group has pioneered the use of mastreviruses in this regard: maize streak virus in 1999-2001, and bean yellow dwarf in 2010 and since.

Investigation of the potential of maize streak virus to act as an infectious gene vector in maize plants.


Palmer KE, Rybicki EP.
Arch Virol. 2001;146(6):1089-104.


Generation of maize cell lines containing autonomously replicating maize streak virus-based gene vectors.
Palmer KE, Thomson JA, Rybicki EP.
Arch Virol. 1999;144(7):1345-60.

 

High level protein expression in plants through the use of a novel autonomously replicating geminivirus shuttle vector.
Regnard GL, Halley-Stott RP, Tanzer FL, Hitzeroth II, Rybicki EP.
Plant Biotechnol J. 2010 Jan;8(1):38-46. Epub 2009 Nov 19.

 

...not to mention a treatise on ssDNA virus vectors in plants:

 

Virus-Derived ssDNA Vectors for the Expression of Foreign Proteins in Plants.
Rybicki EP, Martin DP.
Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2011 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print]


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Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
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Canada urged to cancel Ebola vaccine licence, transfer rights to bigger company

Canada urged to cancel Ebola vaccine licence, transfer rights to bigger company | Virology News | Scoop.it
A prominent law professor is urging the federal government to terminate an American company's licence for a Canadian-made Ebola vaccine.
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Can big data help contain Ebola?

Can big data help contain Ebola? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Can big data analytics help emergency response teams, medical charities and non-governmental organisations contain the Ebola virus?
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Of course. Big Data - like omics - can do ANYTHING...he said, cynically

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The Influenza Epidemic of 1918

World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Useful to reflect: another time of plague.

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Nigeria declared free of deadly Ebola virus

Nigeria has been declared officially Ebola-free after a six week period with no new cases. Speaking at a conference in Tunis, the World Health Organisation's Director General Margaret Chan...
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University of Cape Town leads in plant-based HPV vaccine research

University of Cape Town leads in plant-based HPV vaccine research | Virology News | Scoop.it

The University of Cape Town’s Biopharming Research Unit (BRU) group developed the “first proof of efficacy of a plant-produced papillomavirus vaccine”. The unit’s breakthrough now sees it collaborating with Medicago, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company, to produce a plant based-HPV vaccine. 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

blush...B-)

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Jamaica Declares State of Emergency over Chikungunya Virus

Jamaica Declares State of Emergency over Chikungunya Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Prime Minister declares a 'national emergency' as the Caribbean nation works to combat the mosquito-borne virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...just to show that not EVERYTHING in the viral news is about Ebola!

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How Ebola was discovered

How Ebola was discovered | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Belgian doctor who first discovered the deadly virus in 1976 recalls his trip to Zaire to study what was then "an epidemic of unknown origin and transmission."
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Useful to remember!

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Is it Ebola or is it flu?

Is it Ebola or is it flu? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ebola has killed over 1 200 Africans this year. With the outbreak worsening, how do you know if you need to be worried or not?
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Ugandan Ebola survivors ask to be sent to West Africa

Ugandan Ebola survivors ask to be sent to West Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
Survivors of an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 200 people in Uganda 14 years ago have asked to be sent to West Africa to lend psychological support to sufferers there.
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The RNomics-RNA World

The RNomics-RNA World | Virology News | Scoop.it
The RNomics-RNA World #Paper, by Fabrice Leclerc: Origin of Life, Abiogenesis, etc.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting new blog: covering those genomes ignored by all of those DNA-centric folk...B-)

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2nd Dallas Hospital Worker To Contract Ebola

2nd Dallas Hospital Worker To Contract Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
The second Dallas hospital worker to contract Ebola while treating a patient who later died of the virus has been identified.

Amber Vinson, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, became ill after having contact with Thomas Eric Dun...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is only relevant or remarkable because:
 "According to the AP, Duncan's medical records show that hospital staff did not initially wear proper protective gear around him."

So: they didn't take the same precautions as they would have in West Africa...?

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World Bank Projects Ebola Costs at $32.6 billion

World Bank Projects Ebola Costs at $32.6 billion | Virology News | Scoop.it

 “The most authoritative model, at the moment, suggests a potential economic drain of as much as $32.6 billion by the end of 2015 if ‘the epidemic spreads into neighboring countries’ beyond Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, according to a recent study by the World Bank. That estimate is considered a worst-case scenario, but it does not account for any costs beyond the next 18 months, nor does it assume a global pandemic.” 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ouch!

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Russian scientists working on fast-acting Ebola vaccine [=MAbs]

Russian scientists working on fast-acting Ebola vaccine [=MAbs] | Virology News | Scoop.it
Russian scientists are developing a technology to make monoclonal antibodies specific to the Ebola virus. If successful, the resulting medicine could be available as soon as December.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting!  All the old players in Ebola space getting into the act - dusting off their Cold War era bioweapons technology...

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Scientists take step towards drug to treat norovirus stomach bug

Scientists take step towards drug to treat norovirus stomach bug | Virology News | Scoop.it
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the UK. For most people, infection causes an unpleasant but relatively short-lived case of vomiting and diarrhoea, but chronic infection can cause major health problems for people with compromised immune systems. In many cases, patients who have weaker immune systems suffer from norovirus infection for months to years, with some patients experiencing gastroenteritis for as many as eight years.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting: the same drug used to treat influenza, West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, and foot-and-mouth disease virus??

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‘Let them eat cake’: A dangerous approach to bushmeat and Ebola

‘Let them eat cake’: A dangerous approach to bushmeat and Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
Let them eat cake—is the phrase supposedly uttered by a great princess (though often attributed to Marie Antoinette) upon learning that France’s peasants had no bread.
This is a similar response, in our estimation, to what seems to be permeating from certain quarters with respect to the consumption of bushmeat and its links to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever).
A number of opinion pieces have appeared in reputable magazines such as New Scientist and
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice sober article about the mistake in making the kneejerk response of stopping people eating bushmeat - although if they don't, there won't be a lot left, quite soon.

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Scientists unlock exact structure of Hepatitis A virus

Scientists unlock exact structure of Hepatitis A virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Scientists have announced that for the first time, they have determined the precise atomic structure of the Hepatitis A virus. In an unprecedented step forward, a team of scientists from Beijing and Oxford have been able to map the exact construction of Hepatitis A, down to the individual atoms. 

This discovery is ground-breaking in terms of what it reveals about the history and evolution of viruses. The findings suggest that Hep A may be the evolutionary 'missing link' between picornaviruses, which infect humans and animals, and some insect viruses.

 

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Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola may have beaten virus

Spanish nurse who contracted  Ebola may have beaten virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Government says Teresa Romero gave negative result after human serum treatment
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting: seems to be being used routinely now - and it becomes increasingly more usable the more survivors there are.

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Taiwan raises travel alert on H7N9 flu reports

Taiwan raises travel alert on H7N9 flu reports | Virology News | Scoop.it
Taipei, Oct. 19 (CNA) Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) raised its travel alert for Beijing and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China Sunday after two human infections of H7N9 avian flu were reported there.
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Resurrecting Smallpox? Easier Than You Think

Resurrecting Smallpox? Easier Than You Think | Virology News | Scoop.it
The virus’s genome is already online. You just need the right lab.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Weeeeeellll...yes and no. Smallpox is a BIIIIG genome - not far off in size to the bacterial genome famously resynthesised by Craig Venter et al., a while ago.  This means it would be a huge undertaking, cost a LOT of money, and need sophisticated facilities to do it.

Not something your average cave-dwelling fanatic could do, then!

States could do it, however: a well-funded lab in even a country like North Korea could theoretically resynthesise a poxvirus - but why bother??  We have vaccines against smallpox right now; growing poxviruses and vaccinia virus in particular is a well-established biotechnology still.

SO I think this is an artificial concern, to be honest. 

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China sends Ebola drug to Africa

China sends Ebola drug to Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
A Chinese drugmaker has sent an experimental Ebola drug to Africa for use by Chinese aid workers and is planning clinical trials there.
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The Apocalypse as a Rhetorical Device in the Influenza Virus Gain-of-Function Debate

Humans are notoriously poor at assessing future benefits and risks. Consider nuclear power, which was born from a program to develop a weapon of mass destruction. When nuclear power was developed for commercial purposes, the risk was thought to be minimal and no one anticipated the disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. On the other hand, no one initially anticipated the benefits of radioactive nucleotides and radiation in medicine, archeological dating, smoke detectors, and sterilization of food and medical devices. In the mid-1970s, scientists fretted that recombinant DNA technology would unleash a plague of new infectious diseases and convened a conference at Asilomar that put in place a self-enforced moratorium until the process was better understood (1). Four decades later, no superbugs have appeared from recombinant DNA technology, and society is reaping the rewards of the molecular biology revolution in new drugs, DNA identification, personal genomics, and pest-resistant plants. In the late 1990s, many worried about the Y2K computer bug, which it was feared would cripple computer systems and associated infrastructure such as banking, but the new millennium came and went without a ripple. Today we have falling rates of vaccine acceptance because of widely believed yet discredited associations between vaccination and autism, with overwhelming evidence demonstrating that vaccines are safe and effective. Consequently, diseases that were considered controlled, such as measles, have become endemic again. These examples suffice to make the point that when assessing risks and benefits, humans need to be extremely humble, for their prediction record is poor.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I have to humbly thank Alan Cann, for this too-good-to-ignore title - and pretty good paper, as it happens!

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Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World?

Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World? | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new review in Annual Review of Microbiology gives an excellent introduction to viroids.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Great and timely review - thanks, Alan!

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