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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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Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola

Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
VICE News went to the bushmeat markets in Liberia, where the most recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus is said to have originated.

Via Ken Yaw Agyeman-Badu
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Thanks, Ken!
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Ken Yaw Agyeman-Badu's curator insight, July 9, 12:30 AM

I love this documentary - Bushmeat in the Time of Ebola.

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Newly Discovered Smallpox Samples at NIH

Newly Discovered Smallpox Samples at NIH | Virology News | Scoop.it

On July 1, 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notified the appropriate regulatory agency, the Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that employees discovered vials labeled ”variola,” commonly known as smallpox, in an unused portion of a storage room in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laboratory located on the NIH Bethesda campus.

The laboratory was among those transferred from NIH to FDA in 1972, along with the responsibility for regulating biologic products. The FDA has operated laboratories located on the NIH campus since that time. Scientists discovered the vials while preparing for the laboratory’s move to the FDA’s main campus.  

The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda. 

 

Smallpox virus graphic from Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

"DSAT, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is actively investigating the history of how these samples were originally prepared and subsequently stored in the FDA laboratory."


Why??  They're from the 1950s, for firkin' hell's sake!  Variola was a pretty common thing to have around at the time - it was still killing millions of people a year!!

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Conservation of T cell epitopes between seasonal influenza viruses and the novel influenza A H7N9 virus

Conservation of T cell epitopes between seasonal influenza viruses and the novel influenza A H7N9 virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Abstract: A novel avian influenza A (H7N9) virus recently emerged in the Yangtze River delta and caused diseases, often severe, in over 130 people. This H7N9 virus appeared to infect humans with greater ease than previous avian influenza virus subtypes such as H5N1 and H9N2. While there are other potential explanations for this large number of human infections with an avian influenza virus, we investigated whether a lack of conserved T-cell epitopes between endemic H1N1 and H3N2 influenza viruses and the novel H7N9 virus contributes to this observation. Here we demonstrate that a number of T cell epitopes are conserved between endemic H1N1 and H3N2 viruses and H7N9 virus. Most of these conserved epitopes are from viral internal proteins. The extent of conservation between endemic human seasonal influenza and avian influenza H7N9 was comparable to that with the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. Thus, the ease of inter-species transmission of H7N9 viruses (compared with avian H5N1 viruses) cannot be attributed to the lack of conservation of such T cell epitopes. On the contrary, our fi ndings predict significant T-cell based cross-reactions in the human population to the novel H7N9 virus. Our findings also have implications for H7N9 virus vaccine design. Influenza virus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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"Ebola Outbreak Decimates African Countries, Masturbation To Blame". Giggle.

"Ebola Outbreak Decimates African Countries, Masturbation To Blame". Giggle. | Virology News | Scoop.it
DARKEST AFRICA- SMNNN Ebola, feared disease who's horrible symptoms include organ explosion and puss legions, and eventually, painful excruciating death, is now spreading rapidly across the countri...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Sorry - this combined two of my favourite things: viruses and atheism.

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Vaccine Side Effects Are Very, Very Rare

Vaccine Side Effects Are Very, Very Rare | Virology News | Scoop.it
Vaccine Side Effects Are Very, Very Rare: Study Huffington Post Canada Some childhood vaccines are linked to serious side effects, but they are quite rare and do not include autism, food allergies or cancer, said a review of scientific literature...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen amen!!

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"Scientist Creates New Flu Virus That Can Kill All Of Humanity!" Yah, sure.

"Scientist Creates New Flu Virus That Can Kill All Of Humanity!"  Yah, sure. | Virology News | Scoop.it
Working at a lab with a relatively low level-two biosafety rating, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka has created a strain of...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Hype and bullsh1t.  If it - H1N1pdm 2009 - didn't kill all of humanity when it caused a pandemic, why would a new strain of it (which is all Kawaoka's escape mutants are) do it?  Simple-minded crap.

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Childhood Vaccines Vindicated Once More

Childhood Vaccines Vindicated Once More | Virology News | Scoop.it
No link to autism found in large review of previous research on measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen!!

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No, the entire German [soccer] team has not been ravaged by the flu

No, the entire German [soccer] team has not been ravaged by the flu | Virology News | Scoop.it
NESN.com No, the entire German team has not been ravaged by the flu SB Nation During his press conference on Wednesday, ahead of Germany's quarterfinal against France, Die Mannschaft's manager Joachim Löw made some comments about seven members of...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

In the interests of the Sepp Blatter Cup B-)

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▶ Ebola virus explained in 60 seconds (video)

Here's our 60 look at why Ebola is so deadly. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for "drastic action" to contain an Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has killed nearly 500 people. 
It is the world's largest outbreak in terms of cases, deaths and geographical spread.

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Implications of finding poliovirus in sewers of Brazil and Israel

Implications of finding poliovirus in sewers of Brazil and Israel | Virology News | Scoop.it
Why has wild poliovirus been detected in the sewers of Brazil and Israel, and what are the implications for the eradication effort?
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not unexpectedly, a calm and thorough analysis of the potential problem from the "virology blog"!

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"Controversial scientist recreates H1N1 flu that killed 500K people" - NOT

"Controversial scientist recreates H1N1 flu that killed 500K people" - NOT | Virology News | Scoop.it
Dr Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of virology at University of Wisconsin at Madison, has tweaked the 2009 strain of pandemic influenza to make it resistant the human immune system's antibodies.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Trust the Dimwitted Mail to misstate what happened - which is that Yoshihiro Kawaoka selected the H1N1pdm 2009 flu virus in culture till he came up with antibody-binding escape mutants.

What he said:

‘Through selection of immune escape viruses in the laboratory under appropriate containment conditions, we were able to identify the key regions [that] would enable 2009 H1N1 viruses to escape immunity,’

Now recall that the H1N1pdm 2009 virus is NOT a particularly nasty variant; that it has NOT been proved the escape mutants will infect vaccinated people at all - and that all the work was done "a state-of-the-art laboratory at the Institute for Influenza Virus Research in Madison", so the odds that it will get out are VERY low.

But papers have been sold, and the scare is in.

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Plant genomes enclose footprints of past infections by giant virus relatives

Plant genomes enclose footprints of past infections by giant virus relatives | Virology News | Scoop.it

Nucleocytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDVs) are eukaryotic viruses with large genomes (100 kb–2.5 Mb), which include giant Mimivirus, Megavirus and Pandoravirus. NCLDVs are known to infect animals, protists and phytoplankton but were never described as pathogens of land plants. Here, we show that the bryophyte Physcomitrella patens and the lycophyte Selaginella moellendorffii have open reading frames (ORFs) with high phylogenetic affinities to NCLDV homologues. The P. patens genes are clustered in DNA stretches (up to 13 kb) containing up to 16 NCLDV-like ORFs. Molecular evolution analysis suggests that the NCLDV-like regions were acquired by horizontal gene transfer from distinct but closely related viruses that possibly define a new family of NCLDVs. Transcriptomics and DNA methylation data indicate that the NCLDV-like regions are transcriptionally inactive and are highly cytosine methylated through a mechanism not relying on small RNAs. Altogether, our data show that members of NCLDV have infected land plants.

  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

They're everywhere....including in moss and other genomes, apparently.

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Egypt’s ‘virus cure’ needs more tests = bullsh1t alert

Egypt’s ‘virus cure’ needs more tests = bullsh1t alert | Virology News | Scoop.it
Military had claimed 'astonishing' device would cure AIDS, Hepatitis C
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How deforestation shares the blame for the Ebola epidemic

How deforestation shares the blame for the Ebola epidemic | Virology News | Scoop.it
Deforestation has decimated West Africa. It's also possibly given rise to Ebola outbreaks.

Like most matters involving an Ebola epidemic, chronicling its first horrifying infection is not an easy endeavor. But even in circumstances in which details are hard to come by, certain similarities have emerged. The first contact often occurs in remote, rural communities where a victim handles an infected animal carcass, and things quickly progress downward from there.

One outbreak in Ivory Coast was sparked when an ethologist touched an infected, dead chimpanzee. In Gabon and the Republic of Congo, scientists linked several outbreaks to extensive deaths of forest chimpanzees and gorillas. And in this most current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa — which has been called “out of control” and has claimed at least 481 lives in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia — is also believed to have begun in a remote location in the town of Gueckedou.

The commonality between numerous outbreaks of Ebola, scientists say, is growing human activity and deforestation in previously untouched forests, bringing humans into closer contact with rare disease strains viral enough to precipitate an epidemic.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I vividly remember the legendary Bob Swanepoel saying, at a conference we organised in Cape Town in 2009, that:

"It was frightening to think that, as I stood in a clearing looking into the rainforest, Ebola was probably looking back at me".

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Vaccine production expanding in developing countries

Vaccine production expanding in developing countries | Virology News | Scoop.it

BioProcess International recently took a look at the growing manufacturing demand in developing countries of vaccines. The big four Pharma companies are in control of the majority of the production of vaccines: Sanofi, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.  With the world wide market valued at $30 billion a year, vaccines are in demand and widely considered a right and often create a healthier public.  As many governments are the only suppliers of healthcare in growing countries, they find the need to be able to produce these products within their borders so that they can reach their citizens.  New technologies are expanding the capabilities making vaccines affordable, quick and feasible in many of these countries.

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HIV Drug Could Reduce Risk Of Genital Herpes

HIV Drug Could Reduce Risk Of Genital Herpes | Virology News | Scoop.it
According to a new study, Truvada may help reduce the risk of getting genital herpes.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Although the site says "warts".  Civilians...!!!

 

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Could a Cow Virus Cause Colon Cancer?

Could a Cow Virus Cause Colon Cancer? | Virology News | Scoop.it

I heard Harald zur Hausen hypothesize that a cow virus might be responsible for most cases of colon cancer.

And why should anyone pay attention to what Harald Zur Hausen thinks? Well, he won a Nobel Prize in 2008 for proving that most cases of cervical cancer are caused by a few strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Nor is HPV the only viral cause of cancer. Chronic infection with certain hepatitis viruses, for example, is a major cause of liver cancer.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Just as we submit a grant application for looking at this very thing....

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Swine flu virus which killed half-million modified to 'incurable' - NOT!

Swine flu virus which killed half-million modified to 'incurable' - NOT! | Virology News | Scoop.it
A controversial flu researcher has modified the flu virus responsible for the 2009 pandemic to allow it evade the human immune system. His lab’s previous works include recreating the Spanish flu and making a deadly bird flu strain highly transmittable.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Sorry, this is simple-minded hype: what Kawaoka and team did was to select antibody binding escape mutants from H1N1pdm 2009 virus - which means that what they did was effectively recreate the original virus, in terms of its ability to infect people - POTENTIALLY.

 

And let's remember, the H1N1pdm virus was only about as bad as the circulating seasonal viruses at causing disease - as in, "not very"!

 

Additionally, calling the mutant virus "incurable" is simply inaccurate: there is NO evidence presented that the mutants are resistant to Tamiflu or other drugs, and NO evidence that they in fact infect humans at all.

 

I would be willing to bet that even if they escape antibodies specific for H1N1pdm, that they would NOT escape cellular immune responses - which are generally more broad-based in terms of antigenic specificity than anti-flu antibody responses.

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HPV vaccine indicated for treating anal cancers

HPV vaccine indicated for treating anal cancers | Virology News | Scoop.it
HPV vaccine indicated for treating anal cancers Nursing Times The European Commission has approved the use of Gardasil – the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine – for preventing anal precancerous lesions and anal cancers that are causally...
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Ebola virus: Can nations stop deadliest ever outbreak from spreading?

Ebola virus: Can nations stop deadliest ever outbreak from spreading? | Virology News | Scoop.it
CNN
Ebola virus: Can nations stop deadliest ever outbreak from spreading?
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Chikun-What? A New Mosquito-Borne Virus Lands In The US

Chikun-What? A New Mosquito-Borne Virus Lands In The US | Virology News | Scoop.it
NPR (blog)
Chikun-What? A New Mosquito-Borne Virus Lands In The US NPR (blog) "In fact, we expect that over the course of the next months or years — as this virus spreads through the American tropics, and we see more travelers coming into the U.S —...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Of course, it's only important if it gets to the US....

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High virus-to-cell ratios indicate ongoing production of viruses in deep subsurface sediments

High virus-to-cell ratios indicate ongoing production of viruses in deep subsurface sediments | Virology News | Scoop.it

Marine sediments cover two-thirds of our planet and harbor huge numbers of living prokaryotes. Long-term survival of indigenous microorganisms within the deep subsurface is still enigmatic, as sources of organic carbon are vanishingly small. To better understand controlling factors of microbial life, we have analyzed viral abundance within a comprehensive set of globally distributed subsurface sediments. Phages were detected by electron microscopy in deep (320 m below seafloor), ancient (~14 Ma old) and the most oligotrophic subsurface sediments of the world’s oceans (South Pacific Gyre (SPG)). The numbers of viruses (104–109 cm−3, counted by epifluorescence microscopy) generally decreased with sediment depth, but always exceeded the total cell counts. The enormous numbers of viruses indicate their impact as a controlling factor for prokaryotic mortality in the marine deep biosphere. The virus-to-cell ratios increased in deeper and more oligotrophic layers, exhibiting values of up to 225 in the deep subsurface of the SPG. High numbers of phages might be due to absorption onto the sediment matrix and a diminished degradation by exoenzymes. However, even in the oldest sediments, microbial communities are capable of maintaining viral populations, indicating an ongoing viral production and thus, viruses provide an independent indicator for microbial life in the marine deep biosphere.

 

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Virologist takes to YouTube to challenge 'pseudoscience' behind Egyptian anti-virus devices

Virologist takes to YouTube to challenge 'pseudoscience' behind Egyptian anti-virus devices | Virology News | Scoop.it
Military-supported devices claim to noninvasively detect viruses in blood and treat infected people

Earlier this year, the Engineering Authority of Egypt's military announced a hand-held instrument that could detect a variety of viral infections without even touching a person, and another device that clears a patient's blood of viruses. Widespread treatment of Egyptian patients with both devices was scheduled to begin today, but military officials said on Saturday that they were delaying the rollout for another 6 months.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Virodene, anyone?  Vitamins, possibly?  A little garlic and African potato with that?  In Gambia with the President, possibly?  Bullsh1t around HIV and other viral "cures" abounds - nice to see someone standing up against it.

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The genome of a Mesozoic paleovirus reveals the evolution of hepatitis B viruses

Paleovirology involves the identification of ancient endogenous viral elements within eukaryotic genomes. The evolutionary origins of the reverse-transcribing hepatitis B viruses, however, remain elusive, due to the small number of endogenized sequences present in host genomes. Here we report a comprehensively dated genomic record of hepatitis B virus endogenizations that spans bird evolution from >82 to <12.1 million years ago. The oldest virus relic extends over a 99% complete hepatitis B virus genome sequence and constitutes the first discovery of a Mesozoic paleovirus genome. We show that Hepadnaviridae are >63 million years older than previously known and provide direct evidence for coexistence of hepatitis B viruses and birds during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras. Finally, phylogenetic analyses and distribution of hepatitis B virus relics suggest that birds potentially are the ancestral hosts of Hepadnaviridae and mammalian hepatitis B viruses probably emerged after a bird–mammal host switch. Our study reveals previously undiscovered and multi-faceted insights into prehistoric hepatitis B virus evolution and provides valuable resources for future studies, such as in-vitro resurrection of Mesozoic hepadnaviruses.

  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Can't think HOW I missed this one!!  Really good evidence that even pararetroviruses - with their accelerated evolution - are ancient, evolutionarily speaking.

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Polio virus sample at Brazil airport

Polio virus sample at Brazil airport | Virology News | Scoop.it
A strain of the polio virus has been found at an international airport in Brazil, but there are no human cases, the World Health Organization has said...

Brazil has been polio-free since 1989 and has high vaccination coverage.

The virus was found in "sewage only" and subsequent analysis of similar samples have either been negative or only positive for "non-polio enteroviruses", the organisation said.

The WHO said the sample was a close match with a recent strain isolated in a case in Equatorial Guinea.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Which shows just how easily the virus spreads - and how essential it is to keep up vaccinations even in polio-free areas until the virus is actually eradicated.

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