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Afraid of a Zombie virus? Here's a patent for doomsday

Afraid of a Zombie virus? Here's a patent for doomsdaySalt Lake TribunePandemic diagnostic and intervention tool for emergency dispatch, patent No. 8,335,298, invented by Jeffrey J. Clawson of Salt Lake City.
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What would Virology News be without a little festive season Zombie Apocalypse news??

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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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Anatomy of a Virus: influenza

Anatomy of a Virus: influenza | Virology News | Scoop.it
A mass spectrometry-based analysis of influenza virions provides a detailed view of their composition.
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So cool!

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Increased concern over latest strain of avian influenza in Southeast Asia

Increased concern over latest strain of avian influenza in Southeast Asia | Virology News | Scoop.it
FAO urges continued vigilance to safeguard poultry and livelihoods 22 September 2014, Rome - A recently-emerged strain of avian influenza virus in poultry in Southeast Asia known as A(H5N6) represents a new threat to animal health and livelihoods...
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Just because we're currently obsessed with Ebola, doesn't mean flu has gone away.

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Are Viruses Alive? Yet another opinion.

Are viruses life forms or not? Scientists have been fighting about it for years, and Anthony has more on the latest wrinkle in this seemingly simple yet age-...
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Yes. Next question.

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500,000 people ill with mosquito-borne virus in Dominican Republic

500,000 people ill with mosquito-borne virus in Dominican Republic | Virology News | Scoop.it
The mosquito virus chikungunya has left almost 500,000 people ill, and 109 of them are newborn babies, according to an official in the Dominican Republic hit by the disease.
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Funny how a few Americans sick with the same virus trumps a half-million Caribbean islanders when it comes to newsworthiness

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Ebola virus outbreak: Collapse of three African states possible

Ebola virus outbreak: Collapse of three African states possible | Virology News | Scoop.it
West Africa’s Ebola epidemic threatens the “collapse” of three entire states, a Liberian minister has warned. Speaking exclusively to The Independent on Sunday, information minister Lewis Brown said that the international media had failed to “appreciate” the scale of an epidemic that has gone beyond a health crisis to threaten “every aspect of [Liberia’s] national existence”.
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The sociopolitics of infectious disease - when health systems are too rickety to cope.

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Before Wasps Enslaved Caterpillars, They Enslaved a Virus

Before Wasps Enslaved Caterpillars, They Enslaved a Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Every day we get more proof that wasps are the most terrifying creatures on the planet. Not only do they mind-control caterpillars and inject them with their wasp babies, they also managed to enslave a virus to do their dirty work for them.

Just when you get used to wasps, they spring some new diabolical thing on you. When you get accustomed to the fact that they stuff other creatures full of their eggs so that their larvae eat the other creature from the inside out, it is revealed that they also dabbled in mind control. And when you finally settle down about the fact that the wasps can drive caterpillars around like golf carts, the wasps add a virus to the mix.

When you think about it, the use of a virus makes sense. There's a reason why every single thing that gets under our skin doesn't fester or proliferate until it takes over our entire body. We have an immune system that attacks debris and breaks it down. Caterpillars have the same thing, until these viruses, called polydnaviruses hit them. The viruses are injected along with the wasp egg. The virus takes out the caterpillars' immune systems so the wasp eggs aren't in danger.
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Viruses: gotta love 'em. Because they want it that way B-)

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Why Ebola is very unlikely to go airborne

Why Ebola is very unlikely to go airborne | Virology News | Scoop.it
Fears that Ebola will mutate and spread through the air are overblown, experts say.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I suppose H5N1 flu has been around for years, and has not yet mutated to spread easily human-to-human - so the logic may work.

However, that was NOT true for the 1918 flu. I think it is dangerous to make predictions like this - either way.

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Ebola health team found murdered

Ebola health team found murdered | Virology News | Scoop.it
The group had been working to spread public-health messages in Guinea.
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Nepal in historic introduction of the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

Nepal in historic introduction of the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) | Virology News | Scoop.it
The IPV will help secure a world free of all polio disease

KATHMANDU, 18 September 2014 – In a landmark step to accelerate the global eradication of polio and help prevent a resurgence of the disease, Nepal is today introducing the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) into its routine immunization programme. Nepal has the distinction of being the first country in South Asia region to launch IPV as part of the global roll-out of the vaccine.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Indeed historic - because it marks the beginning of the global endgame in the battle against polio.  Using a killed vaccine means NO circulating live virus derived from vaccine strains.

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Ebola vaccine trial begins

Ebola vaccine trial begins | Virology News | Scoop.it

London - The first volunteer in a fast-tracked British safety trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline received the injection on Wednesday, trial organisers said.

The candidate Ebola vaccine, which GSK co-developed with the United States National Institutes of Health, has also been given to 10 volunteers taking part in a separate trial in the United States, and so far there were no signs of any serious adverse reactions, doctors said.

The vaccine is designed to specifically target the Zaire strain of Ebola, the one circulating in the West Africa epidemic, the worst Ebola outbreak recorded.

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Ebola crisis 'violently escalating'

Ebola crisis 'violently escalating' | Virology News | Scoop.it

World health officials say the number of people infected by the deadly Ebola virus has doubled in a matter of weeks. 
September 18 2014 at 10:54am

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"Forgotten" stores of ricin at NIH?

Ricin left behind A laboratory sweep at the US National Institutes of Health uncovered forgotten stores of the toxin ricin and four pathogens, according to an agency memo released on 5 September. The agency performed the search after finding improperly stored vials of the deadly smallpox virus in a refrigerator at its campus in Bethesda, Maryland, in July. See go.nature.com/eyyylw for more.

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Cuba to commit large health corps to Ebola fight

Cuba to commit large health corps to Ebola fight | Virology News | Scoop.it
Tiny island nation will send 165 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone
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Muslim pilgrims [in Nigeria] checked for Ebola virus on their way to Mecca

Muslim pilgrims [in Nigeria] checked for Ebola virus on their way to Mecca | Virology News | Scoop.it
Daily Mail Muslim pilgrims checked for Ebola virus on their way to Mecca Daily Mail Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca were tested for the Ebola virus at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos today prior to their trip to the...
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Call to offer HPV vaccine to boys

Call to offer HPV vaccine to boys | Virology News | Scoop.it
Scientific experts are meeting on Monday to discuss whether boys as well as girls should be offered the HPV jab.
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Exotic mosquito-borne virus makes US premiere, infects 2 (!) in Florida

Exotic mosquito-borne virus makes US premiere, infects 2 (!) in Florida | Virology News | Scoop.it
A disease transmitted by mosquitos has appeared in the US from the Caribbean, with health officials expressing frustration over their inability to control the spread of such pathogens.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Quod erat demonstrandum.  SO why don't they help control the virus in the Caribbean, then??

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Rare respiratory virus spreads to 22 US states

Rare respiratory virus spreads to 22 US states | Virology News | Scoop.it
The latest on which states have the uncommon virus strain sickening children.

That rare respiratory illness sickening children around the countrycontinues to crop up in new places. It has been confirmed in 22 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, appearing in three states where it had not been previously: Georgia, Michigan and Washington state.

These children are facing an uncommon enterovirus strain. While enteroviruses in general are quite common, this particular strain — enterovirus 68 — has not cropped up terribly often since it was first identified in 1962. It can cause severe breathing problems, a particular danger for children who may suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues.

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Ebola Virus: New Aid Worker Attack In Sierra Leone Amid Curfew

Ebola Virus: New Aid Worker Attack In Sierra Leone Amid Curfew | Virology News | Scoop.it
Sierra Leone is under a curfew, but villagers close to its capital nonetheless attacked workers attempting to bury Ebola victims.
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Beak and feather disease virus: correlation between viral load and clinical signs in wild Cape parrots

Beak and feather disease virus: correlation between viral load and clinical signs in wild Cape parrots | Virology News | Scoop.it

Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD), the most prevalent viral disease affecting psittacines, is caused by beak and feather disease virus (BFDV). This study assessed viral load using qPCR in a wild Cape parrot population affected by PBFD and compared it to overall physical condition based on clinical signs attributable to PBFD. A significant inverse correlation between viral load and overall physical condition was found, which confirmed that clinical signs may confidently be used to diagnose the relative severity of BFDV infections in wild populations. This is the first assessment of BFDV viral load in a wild psittacine population.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice one Guy! Except for the typo in the title, but hey, if the co-authors don't see it, tough!

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A short visual history of the Ebola epidemic

The Ebola outbreak has reached an unprecedented number of victims in the history of the disease.
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What we are NOT afraid to say about Ebola virus

What we are NOT afraid to say about Ebola virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The message is clear: gain of function (airborne transmission) is accompanied by loss of function (virulence).
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The discussion is interesting.

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Ecology and evolution of viruses infecting uncultivated SUP05 bacteria

Ecology and evolution of viruses infecting uncultivated SUP05 bacteria | Virology News | Scoop.it

Viruses modulate microbial communities and alter ecosystem functions. However, due to cultivation bottlenecks specific virus-host interaction dynamics remain cryptic. Here we examined 127 single-cell amplified genomes (SAGs) from uncultivated SUP05 bacteria isolated from a marine oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) to identify 69 viral contigs representing five new genera within dsDNA Caudovirales and ssDNA Microviridae. Infection frequencies suggest that ~1/3 of SUP05 bacteria are viral-infected, with higher infection frequency where oxygen-deficiency was most severe. Observed Microviridae clonality suggests recovery of bloom-terminating viruses, while systematic co-infection between dsDNA and ssDNA viruses posits previously unrecognized cooperation modes. Analyses of 186 microbial and viral metagenomes revealed that SUP05 viruses persisted for years, but remained endemic to the OMZ. Finally, identification of virus-encoded dissimilatory sulfite reductase suggests SUP05 viruses reprogram their host's energy metabolism. Together these results demonstrate closely coupled SUP05 virus-host co-evolutionary dynamics with potential to modulate biogeochemical cycling in climate-critical and expanding OMZs - See more at: http://elifesciences.org/content/early/2014/08/29/eLife.03125#sthash.zHW4bHYA.IJrBl8h3.dpuf

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SA negating Ebola role: expert

SA negating Ebola role: expert | Virology News | Scoop.it

Pretoria - South Africa should have played the leading role in the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa, Frans Viljoen, director of the University of Pretoria's centre for human rights, said on Wednesday.

“As South Africans we should laud President Barack Obama,” he said during a University of Pretoria panel discussion on South Africa's preparedness for Ebola.

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Ebola: While Big Pharma Slept

Ebola: While Big Pharma Slept | Virology News | Scoop.it
The story of Ebola's most recent (and now deadliest) outbreak is a book worthy topic.
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Neal Stephenson: The sci-fi optimist in Nature

Neal Stephenson: The sci-fi optimist in Nature | Virology News | Scoop.it
Best-selling science-fiction writer Neal Stephenson's works cover everything from cryptography to Sumerian mythology. Ahead of next year's novel Seveneves, he talks about his influences, the stagnation in material technologies, and Hieroglyph, the forthcoming science-fiction anthology that he kick-started to stimulate the next generation of engineers.
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