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Extend virus alert to visitors from UK, urges doctor - Hong Kong Standard

Extend virus alert to visitors from UK, urges doctor - Hong Kong Standard | Virology News | Scoop.it
Hong Kong Standard
Extend virus alert to visitors from UK, urges doctor
Hong Kong Standard
The alert over a mysterious SARS-like virus should be extended to travelers from Britain, an infectious diseases doctor says.
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Excellent!  Stop those vile disease-ridden Brits from transmitting their nasty SARS-like virus around the world...B-)

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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
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Genetically modified yeasts: the next battleground in wine making

Genetically modified yeasts: the next battleground in wine making | Virology News | Scoop.it
GM yeasts: the next big controversy in wine
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...and of course, it shouldn't really be controversial at all. IF PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD THE SCIENCE!!!
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Low influenza vaccination rates among nursing home employees put residents at risk

Influenza is associated with as many as 7,300 deaths annually in nursing home residents, but the vaccination rate for nursing home staff is only 54 percent, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control, the official...
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As I get older, I start worrying about stuff like this....
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How To Protect Against The West Nile Virus 

How To Protect Against The West Nile Virus  | Virology News | Scoop.it
The west nile virus is spreading, but there are some precautions we can take today that will make our outdoor activities much more safer. Don't let mosquitoes turn you into a prisoner of your own house, take action to protect your family from WNV.
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The U.S. Blew $1.4 Billion on Abstinence Education in Africa

The U.S. Blew $1.4 Billion on Abstinence Education in Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
The effort was supposed to prevent the spread of HIV—but it didn’t work, according to the most comprehensive study of the program
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Phage on tap–a quick and efficient protocol for the preparation of bacteriophage laboratory stocks

Phage on tap–a quick and efficient protocol for the preparation of bacteriophage laboratory stocks | Virology News | Scoop.it
A major limitation with traditional phage preparations is the variability in titer, salts, and bacterial contaminants between successive propagations. Here we introduce the Phage On Tap (PoT) protocol for the quick and efficient preparation of homogenous bacteriophage (phage) stocks. This method produces homogenous, laboratory-scale, high titer (up to 1010–11 PFU·ml−1), endotoxin reduced phage banks that can be used to eliminate the variability between phage propagations and improve the molecular characterizations of phage. The method consists of five major parts, including phage propagation, phage clean up by 0.22 μm filtering and chloroform treatment, phage concentration by ultrafiltration, endotoxin removal, and the preparation and storage of phage banks for continuous laboratory use. From a starting liquid lysate of > 100 mL, the PoT protocol generated a clean, homogenous, laboratory phage bank with a phage recovery efficiency of 85% within just two days. In contrast, the traditional method took upwards of five days to produce a high titer, but lower volume phage stock with a recovery efficiency of only 4%. Phage banks can be further purified for the removal of bacterial endotoxins, reducing endotoxin concentrations by over 3,000-fold while maintaining phage titer. The PoT protocol focused on T-like phages, but is broadly applicable to a variety of phages that can be propagated to sufficient titer, producing homogenous, high titer phage banks that are applicable for molecular and cellular assays.
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Biochemists feed 'poison pill' to coxsackievirus

Biochemists feed 'poison pill' to coxsackievirus | Virology News | Scoop.it
It has a funny name -- coxsackievirus -- but there's nothing funny about how this tiny germ and its close relatives sicken their hosts. Colorado State University researchers led by Professor Olve Peersen have designed a genetic modification to one type of coxsackievirus that strips its ability to replicate, mutate and cause illness. They hope their work could lead to a vaccine for this and other viruses like it.
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My Name is Zika | ZDoggMD.com

A "viral" video. Visit http://ZDoggMD.com to learn more. Follow @ZDoggMD: http://facebook.com/zdoggmd http://instagram.com/zdoggm
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Japanese Encephalitis virus surfaces in India

BHUBANESWAR: After the spurt in dengue cases in 24 districts of the State, Japanese Encephalitis, a viral disease, has been detected in three villages unde
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HIV and tuberculosis in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa -

HIV and tuberculosis in prisons in sub-Saharan Africa - | Virology News | Scoop.it
Given the dual epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa and evidence suggesting a disproportionate burden of these diseases among detainees in the region, we aimed to investigate the epidemiology of HIV and tuberculosis in prison populations, describe services available and challenges to service delivery, and identify priority areas for programmatically relevant research in sub-Saharan African prisons. To this end, we reviewed literature on HIV and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan African prisons published between 2011 and 2015, and identified data from only 24 of the 49 countries in the region. Where data were available, they were frequently of poor quality and rarely nationally representative. Prevalence of HIV infection ranged from 2·3% to 34·9%, and of tuberculosis from 0·4 to 16·3%; detainees nearly always had a higher prevalence of both diseases than did the non-incarcerated population in the same country. We identified barriers to prevention, treatment, and care services in published work and through five case studies of prison health policies and services in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, and Benin. These barriers included severe financial and human-resource limitations and fragmented referral systems that prevent continuity of care when detainees cycle into and out of prison, or move between prisons. These challenges are set against the backdrop of weak health and criminal-justice systems, high rates of pre-trial detention, and overcrowding. A few examples of promising practices exist, including routine voluntary testing for HIV and screening for tuberculosis upon entry to South African and the largest Zambian prisons, reforms to pre-trial detention in South Africa, integration of mental health services into a health package in selected Malawian prisons, and task sharing to include detainees in care provision through peer-educator programmes in Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. However, substantial additional investments are required throughout sub-Saharan Africa to develop country-level policy guidance, build human-resource capacity, and strengthen prison health systems to ensure universal access to HIV and tuberculsosis prevention, treatment, and care of a standard that meets international goals and human rights obligations.

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The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 - The Lancet

The global burden of viral hepatitis from 1990 to 2013: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 - The Lancet | Virology News | Scoop.it
Background
With recent improvements in vaccines and treatments against viral hepatitis, an improved understanding of the burden of viral hepatitis is needed to inform global intervention strategies. We used data from the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study to estimate morbidity and mortality for acute viral hepatitis, and for cirrhosis and liver cancer caused by viral hepatitis, by age, sex, and country from 1990 to 2013.

Methods
We estimated mortality using natural history models for acute hepatitis infections and GBD's cause-of-death ensemble model for cirrhosis and liver cancer. We used meta-regression to estimate total cirrhosis and total liver cancer prevalence, as well as the proportion of cirrhosis and liver cancer attributable to each cause. We then estimated cause-specific prevalence as the product of the total prevalence and the proportion attributable to a specific cause. Disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) were calculated as the sum of years of life lost (YLLs) and years lived with disability (YLDs).

Findings
Between 1990 and 2013, global viral hepatitis deaths increased from 0·89 million (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 0·86–0·94) to 1·45 million (1·38–1·54); YLLs from 31·0 million (29·6–32·6) to 41·6 million (39·1–44·7); YLDs from 0·65 million (0·45–0·89) to 0·87 million (0·61–1·18); and DALYs from 31·7 million (30·2–33·3) to 42·5 million (39·9–45·6). In 2013, viral hepatitis was the seventh (95% UI seventh to eighth) leading cause of death worldwide, compared with tenth (tenth to 12th) in 1990.

Interpretation
Viral hepatitis is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Unlike most communicable diseases, the absolute burden and relative rank of viral hepatitis increased between 1990 and 2013. The enormous health loss attributable to viral hepatitis, and the availability of effective vaccines and treatments, suggests an important opportunity to improve public health.
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And yet, people still worry about Zika...
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Peste des petits ruminants virus in Pakistan

A fast-spreading disease has resulted in the death of dozens of cattle [see comment] in Chamar Khan, Mastuj village in Chitral. Shepherds in the village are unaware of the cause of this outbreak and fear the outcome will put a strain on their pocket.

Mir Khan, a shepherd, told The Express Tribune his goats and sheep were diagnosed with an ailment that weakens their stamina and kill them within a few hours.

"Cattle in the 12 villages of Chamar Khan will be afflicted by the disease if adequate measures are not taken to protect them," he said.

According to Mir, shepherds are facing losses worth millions of rupees on account of this outbreak. A majority of shepherds have slammed the livestock department for neglecting the matter.

Many shepherds believe the livestock department has neither collected data in this regard nor taken any efforts to combat the disease. Shepherds have repeatedly pressed the department to vaccinate their cattle.

At least 50 sheep and goats have been killed so far and many more are feared dead. Officials privy to the development told The Express Tribune 250 sheep and goats were shifted to veterinary hospitals for treatment. However, vaccinations are not available at most of these hospitals.
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Considerations for the development of Zika virus vaccines

The current Zika virus outbreak has galvanized the public health community, resulting in calls for rapid action from entities including the World Health Organization and the United States government. The response to Zika virus is perhaps the first of its kind, and it has been influenced by the lessons learned from the response to the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa. However, Zika virus is not Ebola virus. Prior to 2016, there were only 133 publications on “Zika” in the PubMed database, and a large number of these publications were commentaries or reviews lacking primary research data. In contrast, work had been underway for decades on the development of an Ebola virus vaccine, laying the groundwork for an expedited response in 2014. The broader research community’s extensive experience with dengue virus vaccine development and with the pros and cons of different vaccine platforms has led to speculation that a Zika virus vaccine can be accelerated, potentially with clinical trials initiating by the end of 2016 [1]. However, there are unique attributes of Zika virus, as well as many unanswered questions about the virus, that will need to be considered before a potential vaccine is administered to the public.

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Egypt reports 3 human H5N1 avian influenza cases

Egypt reports 3 human H5N1 avian influenza cases | Virology News | Scoop.it
Egypt reports 3 human H5N1 avian influenza cases.
https://t.co/iKaqIsJ7lO https://t.co/JWY53xkNrZ
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The Legacy of Past Pandemics: Common Human Mutations That Protect against Infectious Disease

The Legacy of Past Pandemics: Common Human Mutations That Protect against Infectious Disease via @PLOSPathogens https://t.co/nn95TSW4WD
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New Ebola Vaccine Trial Begins

Scientists at Oxford University have begun immunising healthy volunteers with a new ebola vaccine.
 
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What Have We Learned about the Microbiomes of Indoor Environments?

The advent and application of high-throughput molecular techniques for analyzing microbial communities in the indoor environment have led to illuminating findings and are beginning to change the way we think about human health in relation to the...
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Merck VSV-based Ebola vaccine wins speedier reviews by regulators

Merck VSV-based Ebola vaccine wins speedier reviews by regulators | Virology News | Scoop.it
Merck has been granted speedier review in the US and Europe for its potential Ebola vaccine.
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Archaeal Virus Highlights Conserved Elements in Icosahedral Membrane-Containing DNA Viruses from Extreme Environments

Despite their high genomic diversity, all known viruses are structurally constrained to a limited number of virion morphotypes. One morphotype of viruses infecting bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes is the tailless icosahedral morphotype with an internal membrane. Although it is considered an abundant morphotype in extreme environments, only seven such archaeal viruses are known. Here, we introduce Haloarcula californiae icosahedral virus 1 (HCIV-1), a halophilic euryarchaeal virus originating from salt crystals. HCIV-1 also retains its infectivity under low-salinity conditions, showing that it is able to adapt to environmental changes. The release of progeny virions resulting from cell lysis was evidenced by reduced cellular oxygen consumption, leakage of intracellular ATP, and binding of an indicator ion to ruptured cell membranes. The virion contains at least 12 different protein species, lipids selectively acquired from the host cell membrane, and a 31,314-bp-long linear double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). The overall genome organization and sequence show high similarity to the genomes of archaeal viruses in the Sphaerolipoviridae family. Phylogenetic analysis based on the major conserved components needed for virion assembly—the major capsid proteins and the packaging ATPase—placed HCIV-1 along with the alphasphaerolipoviruses in a distinct, well-supported clade. On the basis of its virion morphology and sequence similarities, most notably, those of its core virion components, we propose that HCIV-1 is a member of the PRD1-adenovirus structure-based lineage together with other sphaerolipoviruses. This addition to the lineage reinforces the notion of the ancient evolutionary links observed between the viruses and further highlights the limits of the choices found in nature for formation of a virion.
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Cold virus fares better a bit below body temp

Cold virus fares better a bit below body temp | Virology News | Scoop.it
New research shows how body temperature can affect the immune system's response to the common cold virus.
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Discovery of new strains of HTLV-4 virus in hunters bitten by gorillas in Gabon

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS have identified two new strains of the HTLV-4 virus in two hunters who were bitten by gorillas in Gabon. These findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, support the notion that gorillas represent a major source of infectious agents that can be passed on to humans. Many of the viral pathogenic agents that have emerged in humans in recent decades are of animal origin -- including SARS coronavirus, avian influenza virus, hantaviruses, Ebola virus, Marburg virus and Nipah virus. After the initial contact between species, some of these viruses used a variety of evolutionary mechanisms to adapt to their new human host. Scientists from the unité d'Epidémiologie et physiopathologie des virus oncogènes (Institut Pasteur/CNRS), directed by Antoine Gessain, are working on a group of RNA viruses known as HTLV retroviruses. In 2 to 8% of cases, HTLV type 1 results in severe forms of leukemia/lymphoma or neuromyelopathy. There are four types of HTLV virus (types 1 to 4). The animal reservoir for all four types is non-human primates, especially gorillas and chimpanzees. These viruses can be spread by sexual contact, blood transfusion or breastfeeding. Nearly 20 million people worldwide are thought to be infected by HTLV-1, especially in Japan, the Caribbean, Latin America and tropical Africa. HTLV-2 mainly affects Native American populations, some Pygmy populations and intravenous drug users; approximately a million people are infected worldwide. The HTLV-3 virus has only been observed in a small number of people in Cameroon living in close contact with infected non-human primates. HTLV-4 had previously only been identified in one person living in southern Cameroon, and the origin of the infection was unable to be traced. Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS, working in cooperation with the International Center for Medical Research in Franceville, Gabon (the CIRMF) and the Pasteur Center in Cameroon, set about identifying HTLV retroviruses in people at risk of contact with non-human primates. By using molecular screening to examine blood samples from 300 people who had been bitten by monkeys in Central Africa, they were able to identify the HTLV-4 virus -- previously only observed in Cameroon -- in two individuals in Gabon. These individuals reported having been severely bitten by a gorilla during hunting activities, which seems to confirm the zoonotic origin of the virus. The fact that this virus was only found in two people who had been bitten by a gorilla and not in anyone who had been bitten by a chimpanzee or a smaller monkey suggests that the virus is specifically transmitted by gorillas. Moreover, the gorilla bites occurred several years before the blood samples were taken, revealing the chronic persistence of this virus in humans. The scientists also discovered that one of the two new strains is divergent from the previously known strain of HTLV-4, highlighting the genetic diversity of this human virus. This research supports the idea that gorillas should be seen as key reservoirs for infectious agents that can be passed on to humans. The findings suggest that there are probably several other cases in Cameroon and Gabon, as well as in neighboring countries. Work now needs to be done to identify diseases that may be caused by the HTLV-3 and HTLV-4 retroviruses.
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I think if you get bitten by a gorilla, you had it coming...?
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HIV, prisoners, and human rights

Worldwide, a disproportionate burden of HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis is present among current and former prisoners. This problem results from laws, policies, and policing practices that unjustly and discriminatorily detain individuals and fail to ensure continuity of prevention, care, and treatment upon detention, throughout imprisonment, and upon release. These government actions, and the failure to ensure humane prison conditions, constitute violations of human rights to be free of discrimination and cruel and inhuman treatment, to due process of law, and to health. Although interventions to prevent and treat HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and drug dependence have proven successful in prisons and are required by international law, they commonly are not available. Prison health services are often not governed by ministries responsible for national public health programmes, and prison officials are often unwilling to implement effective prevention measures such as needle exchange, condom distribution, and opioid substitution therapy in custodial settings, often based on mistaken ideas about their incompatibility with prison security. In nearly all countries, prisoners face stigma and social marginalisation upon release and frequently are unable to access health and social support services. Reforms in criminal law, policing practices, and justice systems to reduce imprisonment, reforms in the organisation and management of prisons and their health services, and greater investment of resources are needed.

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Polio vaccination: preparing for a change of routine

We are entering a phase of major transition in polio immunisation. Even with the encouraging response to serotype 2 reported in this study after one dose of IPV, poor routine immunisation coverage in high-risk areas and the risk of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus emergence after tOPV withdrawal mean that serotype 2 poliovirus remains a threat to the polio endgame strategy. High-quality surveillance for cases of poliomyelitis alongside enhanced monitoring of waste water and sewage will be key to identifying the persistence of serotype 2 vaccine viruses after tOPV has been withdrawn. We must also be ready to respond rapidly with mOPV2 should an outbreak occur.

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Preventing Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Emergence during the Polio Endgame

Author Summary Global, coordinated withdrawal of serotype-2 OPV (OPV2) is planned for April 2016 and will mark a major milestone for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Because OPV2 withdrawal will leave cohorts of young children susceptible to serotype-2 poliovirus, minimising the risk of new serotype-2 vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV2) emergences before and after OPV2 withdrawal is crucial to avoid large outbreaks. Supplementary immunisation activities (SIAs) with trivalent OPV (tOPV) could raise serotype-2 immunity in advance of OPV2 withdrawal, but may also create new VDPV2. To guide the GPEI strategy we examined the risks and benefits of implementing tOPV SIAs using mathematical models and analysis of data on the 29 independent VDPV2 emergences in Nigeria during 2004–2014. We found that in settings with low routine immunisation coverage, the implementation of a small number of tOPV SIAs could in fact increase the probability of VDPV2 emergence. This probability is greater if SIA coverage is poor or if there are persistently unvaccinated groups within the population. A strategy of tOPV SIA in sufficient number and with high coverage to achieve high population immunity in geographically-focused, at-risk areas is needed to reduce the global risk of VDPV2 emergence after OPV2 withdrawal.
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Lessons from Nature: Understanding Immunity to HCV to Guide Vaccine Design

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an important global health concern with approximately 185 million people infected [1]. HCV infection most often leads to chronic infection with few early symptoms, but chronically infected individuals can develop liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Genome-wide association studies in humans have identified innate associated genes and HLA class II as important predictors of spontaneous clearance of HCV [2,3], but the correlates of protective immunity are not fully defined. The existence of few models to study protective immunity has hindered vaccine development research. Despite this limitation, significant advancements have been made in our understanding of protective immune responses to HCV using the chimpanzee model and humans exposed to HCV (Fig 1).

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