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Did wild birds cause the 2010 deadly West Nile virus outbreak in Greece? | Science Codex

Did wild birds cause the 2010 deadly West Nile virus outbreak in Greece? | Science Codex | Virology News | Scoop.it
In 2010, 35 people in Greece died from a West Nile virus (WNV) outbreak, with a further 262 laboratory-confirmed human cases.
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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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Ebola Virus - YouTube

https://www.facebook.com/ArmandoHasudungan Source: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/
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A virus hunter faces the big one: Ebola

A virus hunter faces the big one: Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
For years, Joseph Fair dreamed of fighting Ebola. Then he got his chance. It wasn’t what he expected.
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New analysis of old HIV vaccines finds potentially protective immune response

Applying the benefit of hindsight, researchers at Duke Medicine have reanalyzed the findings of two historic pediatric HIV vaccine trials with encouraging results. The vaccines had in fact triggered an antibody response -- now known to be associated with protection in adults -- that was previously unrecognized in the infants studied in the 1990s.
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Ebola Cases Rise Rapidly in Congo

Ebola Cases Rise Rapidly in Congo | Virology News | Scoop.it
The World Health Organization said that the number of Ebola cases in the country was 62, up from 31 a week earlier, and that more than half the afflicted patients had died.
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WHO meeting chooses untried interventions to defeat Ebola

WHO meeting chooses untried interventions to defeat Ebola. By - John Maurice
Delegates met in Geneva on Sept 4—5 to prioritise experimental therapies and vaccines that could be rapidly used to help curb the present Ebola outbreak in west Africa. John Maurice reports.“Right now the epidemic is out of control. The situation is drastic and calls for drastic measures.” This statement, by Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Innovation, encapsulates the mood of a WHO consultation meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept 4—5, 2014, that brought together more than 150 international experts involved in the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Their task was to determine if and how experimental vaccines and therapies for Ebola could be pulled out of the development pipeline and put to work to halt transmission of the virus and alleviate the suffering of its victims.“This 2-day meeting was in itself a drastic measure”, Kieny told The Lancet. “Delegates came from 29 countries, including the three west African countries severely affected by the outbreak. Just about every sector of the international health community was represented. What impressed me most was the willingness that everyone expressed to take action to curb the epidemic.” The number of people affected by this epidemic certainly calls for action. As of Sept 5, the last day of the meeting, there were, according to a WHO Ebola Response Roadmap Situation Report, 3944 probable, confirmed, and suspected cases of Ebola and 2097 deaths in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—nearly twice as many cases and deaths as for all previous outbreaks that have occurred since the Ebola virus first appeared in 1976, and nearly ten times as many as there were for the biggest previous outbreak, in Uganda in 2000—01. The heaviest burden right now is in Liberia, where 14 of 15 counties are affected, with 1871 cases and 1089 deaths, mostly in the capital, Monrovia.
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The origins of giant viruses, virophages and their relatives in host genomes

Giant viruses have revealed a number of surprises that challenge conventions on what constitutes a virus. The Samba virus newly isolated in Brazil expands the known distribution of giant mimiviruses to a near-global scale. These viruses, together with the transposon-related virophages that infect them, pose a number of questions about their evolutionary origins that need to be considered in the light of the complex entanglement between host, virus and virophage genomes.

 
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Where Is The Ebola Outbreak? Updated Map

Where Is The Ebola Outbreak? Updated Map | Virology News | Scoop.it
Where Is The Ebola Outbreak? Updated Map Of Ebola Virus Outbreak As Death ...
International Business Times
One person tested positive for the virus in Senegal, which furthered the international community's fears of the spreading epidemic.
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Ebola virus spread by taxi passengers, says WHO

Ebola virus spread by taxi passengers, says WHO | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Independent Ebola virus spread by taxi passengers, says WHO The Independent The organisation said that motorbike-taxis and regular taxis are "a hot source of potential virus transmission" because they are not disinfected in Liberia, where...
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DR Congo Ebola death toll climbs to 32

DR Congo Ebola death toll climbs to 32 | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Democratic Republic of Congo upped its death toll from Ebola on Saturday to 32 but insisted the outbreak, separate from an epidemic raging in west Africa, could be contained in its remote forest hotspot. "We have registered 32 deaths," one up from a toll issued on Tuesday, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi told a press conference. Three hundred and thirty-six people have had contact with Ebola sufferers or the bodies of victims, up from 285 on Tuesday, he said. He recently returned from a trip to the affected region, near the city of Boende some 800 kilometres (500 miles) northwest of Kinshasa in Equateur province.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Everybody seems to have forgotten about DR Congo - where a coincident and different Ebolavirus outbreak is on the go, with an increasing death toll.  Although they claim to have contained it - and they DO have the most experience of anyone in Africa in dealing with it.

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Dengue vaccine Successfully Completes Phase III Clinical Efficacy Study

Dengue vaccine Successfully Completes Phase III Clinical Efficacy Study | Virology News | Scoop.it
Sanofi Pasteur releases promising details of their landmark phase 3 clinical trial of their dengue vaccine candidate

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi, today announced that the final landmark phase III efficacy study of its dengue vaccine candidate in Latin America successfully achieved its primary clinical endpoint. Results showed an overall significant reduction of 60.8 percent* of dengue disease cases in children and adolescents 9-16 years old after a three-dose vaccination schedule. Importantly, efficacy was observed against each of the four dengue serotypes.*

Additional observations of the results showed a clinically important reduction by 80.3 percent* in the risk of hospitalization due to dengue during the study. The results also showed in the study population an efficacy against dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF), the severe form of dengue1, which is consistent with the results released from Sanofi’s phase III dengue study in Asia. Lastly, the results suggest better protection in case of prior exposure to dengue.

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In Australia, the HPV Vaccine Is (Still) Doing What It Was Supposed to Do

In Australia, the HPV Vaccine Is (Still) Doing What It Was Supposed to Do | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study shows a huge decrease in the prevalence of genital warts.

In 2007, the Australian government introduced a free Human Papillomavirus vaccine program for young women. The vaccineprotects against certain types of cancer and genital warts, and since its introduction in Australia, a new study reports, the rate of patients presenting with genital warts has nosedived by 61 percent. That is a lot of money saved on medical treatment, not to mention prevented angst among patients.

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The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

The Ebola Outbreak in West Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
News about Ebola. Commentary and archival information about Ebola from The New York Times.
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A sobering chronological account of the epidemic in West Africa from the New York Times.

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Inducible Resistance to Maize Streak Virus

Inducible Resistance to Maize Streak Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Maize streak virus (MSV), which causes maize streak disease (MSD), is the major viral pathogenic constraint on maize production in Africa. Type member of the Mastrevirus genus in the family Geminiviridae, MSV has a 2.7 kb, single-stranded circular DNA genome encoding a coat protein, movement protein, and the two replication-associated proteins Rep and RepA. While we have previously developed MSV-resistant transgenic maize lines constitutively expressing “dominant negative mutant” versions of the MSV Rep, the only transgenes we could use were those that caused no developmental defects during the regeneration of plants in tissue culture. A better transgene expression system would be an inducible one, where resistance-conferring transgenes are expressed only in MSV-infected cells. However, most known inducible transgene expression systems are hampered by background or “leaky” expression in the absence of the inducer. Here we describe an adaptation of the recently developed INPACT system to express MSV-derived resistance genes in cell culture. Split gene cassette constructs (SGCs) were developed containing three different transgenes in combination with three different promoter sequences. In each SGC, the transgene was split such that it would be translatable only in the presence of an infecting MSV’s replication associated protein. We used a quantitative real-time PCR assay to show that one of these SGCs (pSPLITrepIII-Rb-Ubi) inducibly inhibits MSV replication as efficiently as does a constitutively expressed transgene that has previously proven effective in protecting transgenic maize from MSV. In addition, in our cell-culture based assay pSPLITrepIII-Rb-Ubi inhibited replication of diverse MSV strains, and even, albeit to a lesser extent, of a different mastrevirus species. The application of this new technology to MSV resistance in maize could allow a better, more acceptable product.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is a big deal: seriously. It's the culmination of some 24 years of involvement by my lab in engineering resistance in maize, and is the latest effort on top of of one unsuccessful and one partially successful construction by three top-class researchers in that time.

So take a bow, Fiona Tanzer, Tich Mangwende and Dionne Shepherd, who did the main work - and Kenneth Palmer, Janet Willment, Darrin Martin, Marian Bezuidenhout and Francisco Lakay, who made it happen. And not forgetting Bev Clarke, who started it all, and Barbara von Wechmar, without whom it would have started.

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U.S. to announce major increase in aid to fight Ebola

U.S. to announce major increase in aid to fight Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
President Obama is expected to lay out details during visit to CDC on Tuesday.

President Obama plans to announce a significant boost in the U.S. response to the worst Ebola outbreak in history in West Africa, including more involvement of the U.S. military, according to an administration official.

Among the likely moves are setting up more field hospitals, sending more health-care personnel and training health workers in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Pentagon announced last week that it would send a 25-bed hospital to Liberia. The hospital is intended to treat health-care workers, including Liberians, and eventually will be turned over to the Liberian government. But it will be at least a month before the hospital is delivered. “There will be some additional facilities in the works,” the official said.

Obama is expected to lay out details during his visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Tuesday, the official said.

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Mers: Saudis in push to keep Hajj free from deadly virus

Mers: Saudis in push to keep Hajj free from deadly virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
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Viruses spread easily from a single doorknob

Scientists have used special tracer viruses to show that contamination of just a single doorknob can leads to the spread of viruses throughout an entire office building. The idea was to see how easily something unpleasant like norovirus spreads.

Via Chris Upton + helpers
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"Tracer viruses".  They put viruses on a doorknob??  Phages, obviously - and MS2 coliphage, to boot.  I would like to take a look at that ethics application...!

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How to respond to the new anti-vaccine “bombshell”

I've already written many posts. I even made a video. Here it is: 

But there’s a new “bombshell” that everyone on my twitter feed seems to want me to address. I just don’t feel up to it. Luckily I don’t have to. David Gorski at Science-Based Medicine knocked it out of the park. “Did a high ranking whistleblower really reveal that the CDC covered up proof that vaccines cause autism in African-American boys?“:

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Epstein-Barr Virus: The Path from Association to Causality for a Ubiquitous Human Pathogen

Epstein-Barr Virus: The Path from Association to Causality for a Ubiquitous Human Pathogen | Virology News | Scoop.it

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a herpes virus, is now accepted as a bona fide human tumor virus and has been found to be a risk factor for the development of multiple sclerosis (MS). Epidemiological studies and molecular virology have been combined to establish EBV's causal roles in several lymphomas and carcinomas. The success of these combined approaches illustrates what insights will be needed to confirm or refute EBV as a cause of MS.

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WHO: Use Ebola survivors' blood to treat patients

WHO: Use Ebola survivors' blood to treat patients | Virology News | Scoop.it
Desperate to restore hope amid the Ebola crisis, the World Health Organization said Friday it would accelerate the use of experimental treatments and vaccines to contain the expanding epidemic in West Africa.
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Many in West Africa May Be Immune to Ebola Virus

Many in West Africa May Be Immune to Ebola Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
New York Times
Many in West Africa May Be Immune to Ebola Virus
New York Times
Although few medical experts realize it, part of the population in West Africa is immune to the Ebola virus, according to virologists who specialize in the disease.
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Meet biofarming: Ed Rybicki at TEDxCapeTown

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Ed explores new ways to make pharmaceuticals inexpensive and asks: ...
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[Entero]Virus 68 hitting Midwest could be 'tip of iceberg,' CDC official says

[Entero]Virus 68 hitting Midwest could be 'tip of iceberg,' CDC official says | Virology News | Scoop.it
A respiratory virus called Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) sends hundreds of children to Midwest hospitals. Learn more about the Enterovirus D68 Midwest virus.

The unusually high number of hospitalizations reported could be "just the tip of the iceberg in terms of severe cases," said Mark Pallansch, a virologist and director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Viral Diseases.

Twelve states have contacted the CDC for assistance in investigating clusters of enterovirus: Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Utah. Four -- Colorado, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa -- have confirmed cases of Enterovirus D68, also known as EV-D68.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Vaccines. We need more vaccines....

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Chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine for Ebola

Chimpanzee adenovirus vaccine for Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
A chimpanzee adenovirus-based vaccination approach elicits acute and long-term protection against ebolavirus challenge in nonhuman primates.

Ebolavirus disease causes high mortality, and the current outbreak has spread unabated through West Africa. Human adenovirus type 5 vectors (rAd5) encoding ebolavirus glycoprotein (GP) generate protective immunity against acute lethal Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) challenge in macaques, but fail to protect animals immune to Ad5, suggesting natural Ad5 exposure may limit vaccine efficacy in humans. Here we show that a chimpanzee-derived replication-defective adenovirus (ChAd) vaccine also rapidly induced uniform protection against acute lethal EBOV challenge in macaques. Because protection waned over several months, we boosted ChAd3 with modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA) and generated, for the first time, durable protection against lethal EBOV challenge.

  

Ed Rybicki's insight:

So, a two-virus immunisation regime: recombinant adeno- and poxviruses, expressing Ebolavirus envelope glycoprotein.  And it works in monkeys!  This means we potentially have two avenues to attack Ebolavirus infections: monoclonal antibodies (AND immune serum), and a vaccine.

But of course, only to possibly two of the several Ebolas...!

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Ebola: "We Could Have Stopped This"

Ebola: "We Could Have Stopped This" | Virology News | Scoop.it
Public health officials knew Ebola was coming. They know how to defeat it. But they’re blowing it anyway.

ld, you still just don't get it. The Ebola epidemic that is raging across West Africa, killing more than half its victims, will not be conquered with principles of global solidarity and earnest appeals. It will not be stopped with dribbling funds, dozens of volunteer health workers, and barriers across national borders. And the current laboratory-confirmed tolls (3,944 cases, with 2,097 deaths) will soon rise exponentially.

To understand the scale of response the world must mount in order to stop Ebola's march across Africa (and perhaps other continents), the world community needs to immediately consider the humanitarian efforts following the 2004 tsunami and its devastation of Aceh, Indonesia. The U.S. and Singaporean militaries launched their largest rescue missions in history: The United States alone put 12,600 military personnel to a rescue and recovery mission, including the deployment of nearly the entire Pacific fleet, 48 helicopters, and every Navy hospital ship in the region. The World Bank estimated that some $5 billion in direct aid was poured into the countries hard hit by the tsunami, and millions more were raised from private donors all over the world. And when the dust settled and reconstruction commenced, the affected countries still cried out for more.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

A seriously hard-hitting article by a very good journalist with a particular interest in infectious diseases.

And she's right: Ebola was stopped, not once, but a number of times, as long as 38 years ago, in settings that are as or even more desperate in terms of poverty and lack of medics and medical resources.

The problem is, intervention did not occur soon enough this time, or on a scale sufficient to stem the increase in infections that inevitably followed introduction of the disease into urban settings.

It is a matter of amazement to me, that with the ever-present threat of pandemic influenza AND the recent emergence of MERS, that the WHO should have its "...miniscule epidemic-response department slashed to smithereens by three years of budget cuts".

Seriously: faced with diseases that can jump out of camels, or bats, or rats literally anywhere, WHO has to have budget cuts??

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On the utility of Pink Floyd's "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" as a metaphor for virus multiplication

On the utility of Pink Floyd's "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" as a metaphor for virus multiplication | Virology News | Scoop.it
...which pretty much explains the concept...what's that?  Why?  Well, because the above-mentioned song - off the very strange and very wonderful album Ummagumma, released in 1969 - incorporates thr...
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Ah, well - just because.  I was listening to Floyd, and I thought about viruses, and....

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