Thirty years ago, in a hasty and ill-timed press conference, health officials unveiled one of the most important discoveries in medical history.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
This is a timely and very even-handed recap of the history of the discovery of HIV - which I lived through as a young scientist and supervisor, avidly devouring any and all information we could get on the subject, little realising that South Africa would soon become the world's most infected country.
Sanofi Pasteur MSD announced today that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation for a 2-dose schedule at 0 and 6 months in children aged from 9 to 13 years for its quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Gardasil® is the only quadrivalent HPV vaccine and is indicated in adolescent girls and boys to help protect against cervical cancer, vulvar and vaginal precancers as well as genital warts.
“We are delighted to offer this alternative 2-dose schedule which could help to extend HPV vaccine coverage and increase uptake. It is based on data showing that 2 doses elicited an immune response in adolescents, comparable to that of 3 doses in young women, to the four HPV types – 6, 11, 16 and 18 – included in Gardasil®”, said Dr Fiona Thomas, UK Medical Director for Sanofi Pasteur MSD.
The approval of a Gardasil® vaccine 2-dose schedule follows the positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted in February, based on a Canadian study performed by Dobson et al. It demonstrated that the 2-dose 0, 6 month schedule in 9-13 year-old girls elicited an immune response comparable/non-inferior to that of 3 doses in the 16-26 year-old women, the population where quadrivalent vaccine efficacy has been shown. These results were sustained at 36 months of follow-up.
The annual ritual of visiting a doctor’s office or health clinic to receive a flu shot may soon be outdated, thanks to the findings of a new study published in the journal Vaccine.
The research, which involved nearly 100 people recruited in the metropolitan Atlanta area, found that test subjects could successfully apply a prototype vaccine patch to themselves. That suggests the self-administration of vaccines with microneedle patches may one day be feasible, potentially reducing administration costs and relieving an annual burden on health care professionals.
The study also suggested that the use of vaccine patches might increase the rate at which the population is vaccinated against influenza. After comparing simulated vaccine administration using a patch and by conventional injection, the percentage of test subjects who said they’d be vaccinated grew from 46 percent to 65 percent.
In a new article, researchers have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic.
Toronto Star HPV test should replace Pap test as first screen for cervical cancer, experts say Toronto Star HPV testing should replace the Pap smear as the first screening procedure for cervical cancer for women over 30, recommends Cancer Care...
Health experts report that deaths from the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa are slowing, which is a sign that the latest outbreak of the deadly virus may finally be getting under control. The current outbreak has killed more than 120 people and, unlike previous outbreaks, has spread beyond the forested rural villages into a big city.
Guinea’s health ministry told the media that the number of new cases has fallen dramatically. Once they are sure there are no more new cases, the outbreak will be considered under control.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the death toll from the 2014 Ebola outbreak is now 121 people in Guinea and Liberia. Officials in those two countries and other neighboring countries that may have been affected have reported approximately 200 patients confirmed or suspected to have the virus. However, that figure includes some cases from Mali, which the government there reported today turned out not to be Ebola. The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where the current outbreak began. Officials have reported 168 cases in Guinea, including 108 deaths. Liberia has reported 13 deaths from the virus.
A Filipino male nurse has been confirmed to be the first reported case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in the Philippines, Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced Wednesday. The nurse, a friend of the Filipino paramedic who died from MERS last week in the United Arab Emirates, tested positive and has been quarantined along with nine other people who may have been exposed to the virus, Ona said.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
"Don't do that journey, pilgrim" could be the message here.
The first cases went unrecognized. Ebola had never been seen in Guinea before, so when people became ill with fever, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, health workers initially assumed Lassa fever or yellow fever—both endemic in the region—were to blame. No one put the pieces together until late March. By then, the virus had been spreading for months. Now, health workers are struggling to contain the outbreak, which has already killed more than 100 and has affected at least two neighboring countries. At the same time, scientists are combing the forests, and the genome of the virus itself, looking for clues to how this strain—well known in Central Africa—ended up so far west, and whether its spread suggests people in forested areas all across sub-Saharan Africa are at risk.
Ebola is not a complete stranger to West Africa. In the mid-1990s, two outbreaks hit chimpanzees in Taï National Park in the Ivory Coast, and one researcher studying the animals was infected. (She survived.) "We expected to find the Taï strain," says Sylvain Baize, a virologist at the Institut Pasteur in Lyon, France, who with his colleagues sequenced some of the first samples of the virus from Guinea. To their surprise, it turned out to be Ebola Zaire, the deadliest of the five known Ebola species.
"We have no idea how it's moved from Central Africa to Guinea," says primatologist Christophe Boesch of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. A leading suspect is fruit bats. In Central African rainforests, several species have shown evidence of infection with Ebola without getting sick. And at least one of the species, the little collared fruit bat, Myonycteris torquata, has a range that stretches as far west as Guinea. "We've always been very suspicious of bats," says William Karesh of EcoHealth Alliance in New York City, who studies the interactions among humans, animals, and infectious diseases.
A documentary about the Icelandic Penis Museum will be released in the USA next week. The movie is called The Final Member. Watch the trailer below!
The documentary is directed by two Canadians, Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math - who stayed in Iceland for a while to make the movie. The movie was actually shown in RIFF (Reykjavík Internaitonal Film Festival) last year but film distribution company, Drafthouse, bought all rights to the movie in North America.
The movie tells the story of Sigurður Hjartarson, the founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum - and his search for the final member for the museum, the human penis. The movie also follows the two men who wanted to donate their penises to the museum, Icelandic Páll Arason and American Tom who named his penis Elmo.
Creating a vaccine that protects people from all four types of dengue virus has frustrated scientists for decades. But researchers at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new target for human antibodies that could hold the key to a vaccine for the world’s most widespread mosquito-borne disease: dengue virus.
Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that after primary infection most human antibodies that neutralize the virus bind to the hinge region....
Also, de Silva and Baric’s research could be translated into other fields in need of vaccines. “The general idea is that a complex protein-interaction site can now be moved from one virus to another,” de Silva said. For instance, an epitope from a virus like hepatitis C could be moved onto the live virus used in the measles vaccine. This new chimeric virus would simultaneously offer people protection against hepatitis C and measles.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a system for precisely delivering anti-inflammatory drugs to immune cells gone out of control, while sparing their well-behaved counterparts. Their findings were published online Feb. 23 in Nature Nanotechnology.
The system uses nanoparticles made of tiny bits of protein designed to bind to unique receptors found only on neutrophils, a type of immune cell engaged in detrimental acute and chronic inflammatory responses.
Scientists at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with American and Icelandic colleagues, demonstrated that bird flu viruses from both continental Europe and North-America, as well as mixed virus strains are found in wild birds in Iceland.
Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic New York Times Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready.
New vaccines against the virus which triggers most cervical cancers will protect young girls after two doses, rather than the three in the current schedule, enabling GAVI to reach more in the developing world where most cases occur (Two shots of HPV...
Japan has been forced into the 'emergency slaughter' of 112,000 chickens after confirming that the virus, last seen in the country three years ago, is back.
Urgent DNA tests were conducted after 200 birds suddenly died in just hours at a farm in Kumamoto, southwestern Japan.
Officials have now confirmed it IS the deadly H5 strain of the virus and could even be the SAME super-resistant H5N1 strain that spread around the world within days in 2005 and killed more than 600 people.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
OK, OK, I'm just doing this to show you how hard we work to protect you all from the Virus Apocalypse.
A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome...
Malaysia’s health ministry said the man returned to Malaysia on March 29 and developed a high fever and cough and had difficulty breathing more than a week later. The man, a 54-year-old from southern Johor state, neighbouring Singapore, died Sunday in a hospital, it said Wednesday.