In 2012 in Jordan, infection by a novel coronavirus (CoV) caused the first known cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). MERS-CoV sequences have since been found in a bat and the virus appears to be enzootic among dromedary camels across the Arabian Peninsula and in parts of Africa. The majority of human cases have occurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In humans, the etiologic agent, MERS-CoV, has been detected in severe, mild and influenza-like illness and in those without any obvious signs or symptoms of disease. MERS is often a lower respiratory tract disease associated with fever, cough, breathing difficulties, pneumonia that can progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure and death among more than a third of those infected. Severe disease is usually found in older males and comorbidities are frequently present in cases of MERS. Compared to SARS, MERS progresses more rapidly to respiratory failure and acute kidney injury, is more often observed as severe disease in patients with underlying illnesses and is more often fatal. MERS-CoV has a broader tropism than SARS-CoV, rapidly triggers cellular damage, employs a different receptor and induces a delayed proinflammatory response in cells. Most human cases have been linked to lapses in infection prevention and control in healthcare settings, with a fifth of virus detections reported among healthcare workers. This review sets out what is currently known about MERS and the MERS-CoV, summarises the new phenomenon of crowd-sourced epidemiology and lists some of the many questions that remain unanswered, nearly three years after the first reported case.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Great stuff! Leveraging the power of people and of teh web.
Patients who have HPV 16 DNA in their saliva following treatment of their oropharyngeal cancer are more likely to have their cancer recur, and a prospective cohort study has shown that a simple mouth rinse can be used to detect it.
Giving universal access to the flu vaccine to anybody aged over 50 is likely to save many more lives, a study has found.
It is like riding a bicycle to avoid the traffic and accidentally getting fit.
People who get the flu vaccine are less likely to have a heart attack.
A study by University of NSW researchers has found that people who have been vaccinated against influenza are 29 per cent less likely to have a heart attack - representing a greater protective effect than ceasing smoking and nearly as much as taking statins.
They are now advocating that the flu vaccine be provided free of charge to everybody aged over 50, extending the current scheme that makes it available to people over 65.
The question of the origin of smallpox, one of the major menaces to humankind, is a constant concern for the scientific community. Smallpox is caused by the agent referred to as the variola virus (VARV), which belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. In the last century, smallpox was declared eradicated from the human community; however, the mechanisms responsible for the emergence of new dangerous pathogens have yet to be unraveled. Evolutionary analyses of the molecular biological genomic data of various orthopoxviruses, involving a wide range of epidemiological and historical information about smallpox, have made it possible to date the emergence of VARV. Comparisons of the VARV genome to the genomes of the most closely related orthopoxviruses and the examination of the distribution their natural hosts’ ranges suggest that VARV emerged 3000 to 4000 years ago in the east of the African continent. The VARV evolution rate has been estimated to be approximately 2 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the central conserved genomic region and 4 × 10−6 substitutions/site/year for the synonymous substitutions in the genome. Presumably, the introduction of camels to Africa and the concurrent changes to the climate were the particular factors that triggered the divergent evolution of a cowpox-like ancestral virus and thereby led to the emergence of VARV.
Variola virus picture by Russell Kightley Media
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Great stuff! So Variola came from camels, and the virus that we use to protect against it comes from horses!
In a landmark study, University of Otago researchers have found that human papilloma virus (HPV) can infect the placenta and is linked to several pregnancy complications, including the potentially fatal disorder pre-eclampsia.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Interesting...! Yet another good reason to get vaccinated.
Sierra Leone today began its countdown to be declared by the World Health Organization as free of Ebola virus transmission as the West African nation’s President described the release of the last patient treated for the disease at a treatment centre...
More than a year on from the start of the Ebola epidemic, the world has been hard at work trying to learn from the factors that have so far contributed to over 11,000 deaths.
Despite promising results from the recent Ebola vaccine trials, there are still signs that important lessons about research, health systems and vaccine preparedness have yet to be learned. Here, Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, draws them out in a TED talk delivered earlier this year in Vancouver.
Optimised two-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine schedules are now endorsed for young adolescents by the World Health Organization. Limited data are available about effectiveness of <3 doses using a standard dose schedule.
Deterministic data linkage was undertaken between the Victorian Cervical Cytology Registry and National HPV Vaccination Program Register to determine quadrivalent HPV vaccination status and incidence of cervical pathology among vaccine eligible women (aged 26 years or younger in 2007) screened in Victoria, Australia between April 2007 and December 2011. Proportional hazards regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) adjusted for age, socioeconomic status and area of residence. Women were stratified into those vaccinated before or after first screen.
Any number of doses (1, 2 or 3) were associated with lower rates of high grade and low grade cytology diagnoses as long as doses were given before screening commencement (one dose HR high grade 0.44 (95% CI 0.32–0.59), one dose low grade 0.48 (95% CI 0.40–0.58); two doses HR high grade 0.63 (95% CI 0.50–0.80), HR low grade 0.52 (95% CI 0.44–0.61); three doses HR high grade 0.53 (95% CI 0.47–0.60), HR low grade 0.73 (95% CI 0.68–0.78)). Three doses of vaccine, but not fewer, were associated with reduced risk of high grade histologically confirmed abnormality in this cohort, regardless of whether vaccination occurred before or after screening (HR before 0.71 (95% CI 0.64–0.80), HR after 0.87 (95% CI 0.82–0.93)). Secondary analyses censoring end points occurring within 1, 6, 12, or 24 months of final vaccine dose suggested an increasing effect of partial vaccination courses over time.
Our data suggest that less than three doses of quadrivalent HPV vaccine provides some protection against cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, even when measured within 5 years in a population including those who were sexually active at the time of vaccination.
Even if Ebola has faded from the headlines, the danger remains. As the largest and most deadly outbreak of Ebola winds down, scientists and public health officials are looking closely at what it will take to finish the job and to prepare better for the next big crisis. The apparent success of a nimble and creative clinical trial for a vaccine is a positive and instructive outcome. But many of the most important lessons come from failures in preparedness.
Two lytic phages, vB_SenM-PA13076 (PA13076) and vB_SenM-PC2184 (PC2184), were isolated from chicken sewage and characterized with host strains Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) ATCC13076 and CVCC2184, respectively. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that they belonged to the family Myoviridae. The lytic abilities of these two phages in liquid culture showed 104 multiplicity of infection (MOI) was the best in inhibiting bacteria, with PC2184 exhibiting more activity than PA13076. The two phages
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Good current stuff - and something that I bet is going to get a lot more important as time goes on.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the entire African continent has been free of wild polio cases for the past year, thanks to a dedicated vaccine campaign. This means that no one has been infected with the virus anywhere in...
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I hope it lasts - I SOOOOOOO hope it lasts! But all it takes is one hajji coming home, where they met another from Afghanistan or Pakistan, or a merchant coming.....
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