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Creation of a cardiotropic adeno-associated virus: the story of viral directed evolution

Creation of a cardiotropic adeno-associated virus: the story of viral directed evolution | Virology News | Scoop.it

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is an important vector system for human gene therapy. Although use of AAV serotypes can result in efficient myocardial gene transfer, improvements in the transduction efficiency and specificity are still required.  As a method for artificial modification and selection of gene function, directed evolution has been used for diverse applications in genetic engineering of enzymes and proteins. Since 2000, pioneering work has been performed on directed evolution of viral vectors. We further attempted to evolve the AAV using DNA shuffling and in vivo biopanning in a mouse model. An AAVM41 mutant was characterized, which was found to have improved transduction efficiency and specificity in myocardium, an attribute unknown for any natural AAV serotypes. This review focuses on the development of AAV vector for cardiac gene transfer, the history of directed evolution of viral vectors, and our creation of a cardiotropic AAV, which might have implications for the future design and application of viral vectors.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

A VERY interesting paper from the viewpoint of directed evolution of viruses AND from the standpoint of gene therapy.  Putting viruses to use!!

 

Adeno-associated virus particle courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
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FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to RSV F-Protein Nanoparticle Vaccine

FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to RSV F-Protein Nanoparticle Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Novavax, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of recombinant nanoparticle vaccines and adjuvants, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track Designation to Novavax’ RSV F-Protein nanoparticle vaccine candidate (RSV F vaccine) for protection of infants via maternal immunization.
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Ebola: experiences at the frontline

Ebola: experiences at the frontline | Virology News | Scoop.it

"There is a lot of talk but not enough action in the global response to containing the disease in West Africa. We need rational responses and not those fuelled by panic," says Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctor Gem Patten.

 Folk from UCT sharing their experiences on Ebola.
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Peculiarities of Prion Diseases

Peculiarities of Prion Diseases | Virology News | Scoop.it
Prion diseases (PrDs) are transmissible and fatal neurodegenerative diseases naturally occurring in humans and animals, “mad cow” disease being the most infamous. Their development and propagation requires endogenous prion protein (PrP) and derives from the conversion of PrP to a misfolded form, which combines with other misfolded PrP molecules to form small nuclei (seeds). The seeds can then result in an exponential increase in additional misfolded PrP molecules, eventually accumulating into large aggregates. However, the physiological roles of normal and misfolded PrP, mechanisms of the conformational transition, and the associated nature of the infectious and neurotoxic agents still remain enigmatic. In this review, we address five questions regarding PrDs that we are frequently asked by laypeople and scientists new to the field.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Now HERE'S a useful review!

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Scientists find promise in ‘back boost’ study for future flu vaccine

Scientists find promise in ‘back boost’ study for future flu vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it

Developing a seasonal flu vaccine has long challenged scientists, as predicting the strain that will impact the public in any given year involves an educated guessing game. The flu, like the Ebola virus, is comprised of RNA, not DNA, genes. These viruses’ distinct genetic makeup enables them to mutate and evolve efficiently— sometimes long after a vaccination has been developed and distributed, leaving even the vaccinated public vulnerable to infection.

But U.K. researchers have discovered a potential solution to this problem: considering an individual’s antibody response to develop a stronger flu vaccine.

 
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Top 5 cities that will [NOT!] be affected by the Ebola virus by New Years Eve

Top 5 cities that will [NOT!] be affected by the Ebola virus by New Years Eve | Virology News | Scoop.it
Shocking cities who will have the Ebola virus. Is your city on the list? Also, find out why it is on the list!
Ed Rybicki's insight:

How. UNBELIEVABLY! Amerocentric is this list??

Where is Lagos - bigger than a couple of the others COMBINED??

Where is Accra? Johannesburg? London? Paris?  ALL closer to the action, and with more flights from the area, than ANY US city?  Ah, me...

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New chemotherapy approach to treating HPV-related cervical cancer

New chemotherapy approach to treating HPV-related cervical cancer | Virology News | Scoop.it
Barcelona, Spain: A drug that is already well established as a treatment for infection of the retina in people with AIDS has been shown, for the first time, to sensitise cervical cancer to chemotherapy and radiotherapy without an increase in toxic
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Mysterious virus linked to sea stars turning into ooze

Mysterious virus linked to sea stars turning into ooze | Virology News | Scoop.it
Large starfish known as Pisaster are literally turning to goo on the western coast of Vancouver Island — both on beaches and in experimental aquariums.
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New vaccine generates strong immune response against hepatitis C

New vaccine generates strong immune response against hepatitis C | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results in an early clinical trial at Oxford University, generating strong and broad immune responses against the virus causing the disease.
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Destructive strawberry virus under control in Nova Scotia

Destructive strawberry virus under control in Nova Scotia | Virology News | Scoop.it
A strawberry virus that devastated Nova Scotia crops last year is under control, a specialist testified during a legislature committee on Thursday.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Just to show you they have virus problems in North America too.

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Viruses as a Cure

Viruses as a Cure | Virology News | Scoop.it
Our bodies are home to trillions of viruses, and new research hints that some of them may actually be keeping us healthy.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Another great, thoughtful piece by Carl Zimmer.

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Canada begins domestic trial of experimental Ebola vaccine

Canada begins domestic trial of experimental Ebola vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada has launched a clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed at its national microbiology laboratory and expects to have the results in early 2015, the government said on Friday.
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Low HPV vaccine rates correlate with high cervical cancer risk

Low HPV vaccine rates correlate with high cervical cancer risk | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cervical cancer is less common in states where HPV vaccines are more common, a new study from the University of North Carolina reveals.
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Merck enters the Ebola Vaccine Race

Merck enters the Ebola Vaccine Race | Virology News | Scoop.it

Merck has struck a agreement with NewLink Genetics to licence their investigationalEbola vaccine, rVSV-EBOV. The $50 million agreement gives Merck exclusive rights to develop, manufacture, and distribute the vaccine across the world.

This partnership should allow NewLink to keep pace with the huge effort by GlaxoSmithKline and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to developer their Ebola vaccine candidate.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

FINALLY, Big Pharma starts to jostle for position with Ebola vaccines. FINALLY!

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Taking More Than One Vaccine at a Time Doesn't Hurt!

Taking More Than One Vaccine at a Time Doesn't Hurt! | Virology News | Scoop.it
The specific antigens given in vaccines represent only a small portion of the daily stimuli the immune system has to deal with.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

ANYONE who has done some immunology could tell you that - but there are distressingly few of us...B-(

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Erik Carter's comment, November 21, 10:52 AM
However, while it's not dangerous to give multiple vaccines at once, it can prove detrimental to the development of a good immune response. I used to work in a viral immunology lab that looked at heterologous immunity as well as simultaneous infections. If you're interested, look into Liisa Selin's research as UMass Medical School. It's very interesting, and a lot of fun to do.
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Biologists discover HIV-like virus - in microbes in hot springs

Biologists discover HIV-like virus - in microbes in hot springs | Virology News | Scoop.it
It lives in volcanic hot springs, and studying it will give researchers a better understanding of how to treat the disease.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Yah, Sure. Sure it will...as my good wife, sitting here beside me says, "Why wouldn't you just study HIV? Or SIV? Or another lentivirus??"

Seriously: just like any breakthrough in crystallography of virus proteins "will lead to better vaccines!".

Maybe. If we're lucky.  Meanwhile, this is just another of Science By Hype.

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Vaccine against Chikungunya successful in phase 1

Vaccine against Chikungunya successful in phase 1 | Virology News | Scoop.it
The induction of neutralizing antibodies by a prophylactic Chikungunya vaccine candidate has now been confirmed by the final results of a phase 1 clinical trial, as well as its tolerability and safety.
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Fast-Track Ebola Vaccine Effort Hits Potholes -- Real Ones -- in Africa

Fast-Track Ebola Vaccine Effort Hits Potholes -- Real Ones -- in Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
Deep inside a drug manufacturing plant in an industrial district of suburban Rome, vials of Ebola vaccine sit in freezers, chilled to minus 70 degrees Celsius with the help of liquid nitrogen. Much warmer -- say, the temperature in outdated kerosene-fueled fridges in some West African villages -- risks destroying the drug.
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Study Shows HPV Vaccine DOES Lower Rates of Cervical Cancer

Study Shows HPV Vaccine DOES Lower Rates of Cervical Cancer | Virology News | Scoop.it
Study shows how the HPV vaccine is really working http://t.co/FGvUJ8DgPO
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Yup. Next question??

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Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola

Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa. Plasma from ...
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One in eight gay and bisexual men in London living with HIV

One in eight gay and bisexual men in London living with HIV | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new report published by Public Health England shows one in eight gay and bisexual men in London are now living with HIV
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Distressingly high - as high as the overall prevalence in South Africa!

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Are we on the verge of a new Ebola-like virus outbreak?

Are we on the verge of a new Ebola-like virus outbreak? | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study provides the first evidence that a family of deadly viruses - known as henipaviruses - may have jumped from bats to humans in Africa.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It's NEVER safe to impinge upon the jungle. Or fruit bats.

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Can Ebola Be Transmitted Sexually?

Can Ebola Be Transmitted Sexually? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Technically yes, though it's never actually happened
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ummmmmmm...that is not so certain. But worth taking note that Indian immigration want semen samples before they'll clear someone who has recovered.

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Kenya’s Catholic bishops: Tetanus vaccine is birth control in disguise. FAIL!

Kenya’s Catholic bishops: Tetanus vaccine is birth control in disguise. FAIL! | Virology News | Scoop.it
A row between the Catholic Church and the government over a tetanus vaccine aimed at women in their childbearing years has clergy urging people to shun the injection, saying it’s a stealth population-control ploy.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Need a Popeslap....

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