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PLOS ONE: Tobacco Mosaic Virus in the Lungs of Mice following Intra-Tracheal Inoculation

PLOS ONE: Tobacco Mosaic Virus in the Lungs of Mice following Intra-Tracheal Inoculation | Virology News | Scoop.it

Plant viruses are generally considered incapable of infecting vertebrates. Accordingly, they are not considered harmful for humans. However, a few studies questioned the certainty of this paradigm. Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) RNA has been detected in human samples and TMV RNA translation has been described in animal cells. We sought to determine if TMV is detectable, persists, and remains viable in the lung tissues of mice following intratracheal inoculation, and we attempted to inoculate mouse macrophages with TMV. In the animal model, mice were intratracheally inoculated with 1011 viral particles and were sacrificed at different time points. The virus was detected in the mouse lungs using immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, real-time RT-PCR and sequencing, and its viability was studied with an infectivity assay on plants. In the cellular model, the culture medium of murine bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDM) was inoculated with different concentrations of TMV, and the virus was detected with real-time RT-PCR and immunofluorescence. In addition, anti-TMV antibodies were detected in mouse sera with ELISA. We showed that infectious TMV could enter and persist in mouse lungs via the intratracheal route. Over 14 days, the TMV RNA level decreased by 5 log10 copies/ml in the mouse lungs and by 3.5 log10 in macrophages recovered from bronchoalveolar lavage. TMV was localized to lung tissue, and its infectivity was observed on plants until 3 days after inoculation. In addition, anti-TMV antibody seroconversions were observed in the sera from mice 7 days after inoculation. In the cellular model, we observed that TMV persisted over 15 days after inoculation and it was visualized in the cytoplasm of the BMDM. This work shows that a plant virus, Tobacco mosaic virus, could persist and enter in cells in mammals, which raises questions about the potential interactions between TMV and human hosts.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting paper!  Which proves...which proves...which proves TMV is seriously resistant to degradation in animals and in mammalian cells; that it can enter macrophages; and that it...what?  What, exactly, are the "...questions about the possible interactions..."?  What would TMV do in mammalian cells?  Yes, it might be incoated and be translated; it is far less likely that it MIGHT be able to replicate its RNA - and then?  While it can apparently be taken up quite efficiently by macrophages - a property which, incidentally, has led to its being trialled as an RNA vaccine delivery system - this is a dead end, and one that is quite normal for particles of any kind being introduced into mammals.

 

Which is something that happens every day, as we and our cousin mammals eat: it has been shown elsewhere that animals are actually quite good spreaders of plant viruses, some of which - like TMV and the even tougher Cauliflower mosaic virus - pass right through at high survival rates, and remain infectious.  We will all probably have eaten many grams of various viruses in our lives, and derived nothing more than nutition from them.

 

I also remember, even though it was very late at night, 31 years ago, and in a bar in Banff in Canada, a conversation with one Richard Zeyen, who told me they had used ELISA to test everyone in their lab for antibodies for TMV, seeing as they worked with it.  And everyone was immune - presumably, to aerosolised TMV that had been breathed in or otherwise ingested.  Proving...that oral vaccines based on TMV could work, and that most of us are probably immune to all sorts of viruses that don't replicate in us.  Including, in the case of many people in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, sampled by one Don Hendry via the local blood bank, to a virus of Pine Emperor moths - because it multiples to such high levels in its host that anyone walking in the pine forests was bound to be exposed via the environment.

 

So this is an interesting paper - and no more.  It will, of course, lead to alarmist articles ad blog posts, and people calling out for urgent surveillance of food, in which people will find many viruses.  And so what?

 

 

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Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
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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.

 
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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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NIH Director: We'd Probably Have An Ebola Vaccine If Not For Budget Cuts

NIH Director: We'd Probably Have An Ebola Vaccine If Not For Budget Cuts | Virology News | Scoop.it
BETHESDA, Md. -- As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have...
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The Epstein–Barr Virus Wears Chain Mail

The Epstein–Barr Virus Wears Chain Mail | Virology News | Scoop.it
Electron microscopy reveals a meshlike protective layer in the viruses that cause herpes and mononucleosis, among other disorders
Ed Rybicki's insight:

“We never would have seen that connection based on genetic sequences alone,” says Jack Johnson, a virologist at The Scripps Research Institute not involved with the study who first discovered the chain mail pattern in bacteriophages. 

 

Really? Similarities between phage and adenovrius proteins have previously been noted?

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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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NIH director: Ebola vaccine could be ready by now if not for budget austerity

NIH director: Ebola vaccine could be ready by now if not for budget austerity | Virology News | Scoop.it
The NIH budget has shrunk by about $5 billion over the same period, after adjusting for inflation.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...and the WHO...sounds like a recipe for imminent disaster to me. Oops - already happened.

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AIDS – scientists say they've found a way to beat the HI virus

AIDS – scientists say they've found a way to beat the HI virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
US scientists say their imaging breakthrough can be harnessed to fine-tune drugs and antibodies to stop HIV from wreaking havoc on immune systems

Using high-definition X-ray crystallography and adding fluorescent molecules to tag the envelope, the scientists observed the spikes and their surface molecules change shape.  In its predominant form, the spike is “closed” and difficult for antibodies, the first responders of the immune system, to see.

In the closed configuration, the surface molecules mutate rapidly to evade the immune system, with the exception of an elite force called broadly neutralising antibodies. This type of antibody, so far discovered in just a tiny number of people with HIV, is thus likely the best candidate for a vaccine, said the scientists.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ooooops...really??  They get "HI virus" right, and yet talk about "In the closed configuration, the surface molecules mutate rapidly to evade the immune system", and "This type of antibody, so far discovered in just a tiny number of people with HIV, is thus likely the best candidate for a vaccine, said the scientists."

OK: we HOPE we know what they mean. And it's cool B-)

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