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Bacteria Boost Vaccine Effectiveness | The Scientist Magazine®

Bacteria Boost Vaccine Effectiveness | The Scientist Magazine® | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers are looking to microbes to improve immune responses to a wide range of vaccines.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Adjuvants rule, OK?!

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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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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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5 Ugandans in isolation over Marburg virus

5 Ugandans in isolation over Marburg virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ugandan health officials say they are continuing to monitor five people feared to have contracted the Ebola-like Marburg virus, even though all suspected cases so far have tested negative.
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Ask Well: Can Pets Spread Ebola?

Ask Well: Can Pets Spread Ebola? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Donald G. McNeil Jr. answers reader questions about the Ebola virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice, reasoned discussion about Ebola transmission - including the possibility that dogs may transmit the virus.

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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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Packs of wild dogs spread Ebola after eating corpses!! Or...not, maybe?

Packs of wild dogs spread Ebola after eating corpses!! Or...not, maybe? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Packs of wild dogs spread Ebola after eating corpses

The ever-evolving Ebola narrative is broaching into ludicrous territory, with reports now claiming that wild dogs are going around digging up the rotting remains of deceased victims and eating their flesh in the streets. Special Ebola graveyards, where the dead are being buried in haste and at shallow depths, are reportedly feasting grounds for these dogs, which officials say are capable of spreading the disease to humans.

The Daily Mail says Liberian villagers first came across the dogs while going about their daily routines. Right in the middle of busy streets, they said, hungry hounds were allegedly seen ripping through rotting corpses, to the shock of onlookers. After determining the source of the bodies, it was revealed that shallow graves were to blame.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Stephen Korsman of the Division of Medical Virology at UCT just alerted me to this article, in some distress because they had misquoted him and used his comments out of context.  This is a rather wild, sensationalist and highly inaccurate piece from a fringe web site that seems to have blocked me from commenting, because of previous criticism.  So, I'll just do it here.


They comment: "Logically speaking, it makes little sense that asymptomatic dogs are possible Ebola carriers while asymptomatic humans are not. There exists no credible science to substantiate this apparent inconsistency beyond the baseless claims made by government health officials."


Utter garbage: bats carry Nipah virus, SARS-CoV, Ebola, Marburg AND rabies essentially asymptomatically - and can transmit ALL of them to other mammals. So too can deer mice transmit Sin Nombre hantavirus in the south-western USA without showing symptoms.  Rodents transmit Lassa fever virus in West Africa every year, again without being symptomatic.  Mice can transmit various South American haemorrhagic fever viruses without obviously being sick. I wish they would get their facts straight: this is is very easily checked!

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