The irrational germophobia story of the week is that beards harbor “dangerous germs.” This story hits almost all the sweet spots of the genre: It has no actual data, no controls, nonsensical interpretation of results (such as they are), and a punch line that can be summed up in 140...
DES MOINES, Iowa — It’s been five months since the H5N2 bird flu virus was discovered in the United States, and producers have lost 21 million birds in the Midwest alone. Yet researchers acknowledge they still know little about a bird flu virus that’s endangered turkey and egg-laying chicken populations that supply much of the nation.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies are puzzled by the H5N2 virus’s spread — even amid heightened biosecurity measures — and apparent lack of widespread deaths in largely unprotected backyard flocks.
Medical entomologist inadvertently provides evidence of sexual transmission of a mosquito-borne virus
A U.S. vector biologist appears to have accidentally written virological history simply by having sex with his wife after returning from a field trip to Senegal. A study just released in Emerging Infectious Diseases suggests that the researcher, Brian Foy of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, passed to his wife the Zika virus, an obscure pathogen that causes joint pains and extreme fatigue. If so, it would be the first documented case of sexual transmission of an insect-borne disease.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I can imagine a conversation that starts: "Honey, I'm really, really sorry..."?
Lassa virus is widespread in parts of West Africa and causes the often deadly hemorrhagic fever. Scientists at NRL are studying the genetic diversity of the virus with hopes that their work can aid the development of vaccines, diagnostic tests, and possibly antiviral drugs.
How can reasonable people talk to anti-vaccine advocates without their head exploding? Here are some suggestions.
Trying to talk with people who are self-righteous, certain and profoundly wrong is a toxic conversational mix. In fact, such conversations just might make your head explode. Unfortunately, the current risk of exploding heads is high because anti-vaccine advocates have mobilized to spread dangerous fear-mongering messages. Their actions are in response to others mobilizing legislative efforts to prevent more outbreaks of preventable disease, like the recent measles outbreak traced to California’s Disneyland. It’s quite a mess. Help is needed. So, read on for advice for how to prevent cranial detonation when talking with the anti-vaxers in your life.
A lab worker in Boston became infected with a virus similar to smallpox after he accidentally stuck himself with a needle that was contaminated with the virus, according to a new report of the case.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Original title said "Smallpox-like virus..." - which is crap, except that it's also a poxvirus. And just goes to show that people's responses to vaccinia should be assayed to make sure they HAVE in fact mounted a response!
Recent discoveries are spurring a renaissance in HIV vaccine research and development.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
This is an excellent article, by a long-time anti-HIV researcher and treatment / vaccine advocate. He covers pretty much everything of recent relevance, and is pretty even-handed compared to the generally more rabid "Env only!" or "Adeno only!" crowds of bandwagon jumpers.
In the midst of an international campaign to slow the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Health Organization recommends male circumcision (the surgical removal of foreskin from the penis) which reduces HIV acquisition by 50-60%.
An investigational 9-valent vaccine against human papillomavirus (9vHPV) had an efficacy of nearly 97% against cervical, vulvar, and vaginal disease associated with HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 and a similar efficacy against disease associated...
A vaccine containing a protein necessary for virus replication can boost an HIV-infected patient's immune system, according to clinical research published in the open access journal Retrovirology. This boost can result in increased effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs.
When people are first diagnosed with HIV they are put on antiretroviral drugs, also known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). These drugs can stop the virus reproducing almost completely. When taking HAART, however, it is known that the virus can still replicate at low levels and accumulate in a latent form in what are called "reservoirs." These reservoirs, located throughout the body including the brain, bone marrow and genital tract, cannot be acted upon by HAART and can cause complications and deaths due to non-AIDS related diseases.
A vaccine was developed that targets the viral protein "Tat," which is produced early on in HIV infection. Tat has a key role in viral replication and progression of the disease by weakening the immune system. By designing a vaccine that included a small amount of the Tat protein, researchers were able to produce an immune response to prevent disease progression.
With the Ebola outbreak not yet behind us, global health workers are already scrambling to prevent what could be the next big outbreak of an emerging disease caused by a virus that jumped from animals into humans. In Tanzania, an organization is trying a new approach to tracking these new viruses and preventing another pandemic. #
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Highly laudable work, and already having an impact if it is increasing our understanding of the diversity of animal viruses that could infect humans.
But I WISH people wouldn't say "poop" when they mean faeces, dung, scat or other perfectly acceptable word.
And why are the more interesting viruses shipped back to the USA? What about enabling local science??
LONDON (Reuters) - The world's first malaria vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, could be approved by international regulators for use in Africa from October after final trial data showed it offered partial...
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