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Scientists Solve Mystery of World-Traveling Plant

Scientists Solve Mystery of World-Traveling Plant | Virology News | Scoop.it
Were bottle gourds carried to the Americas—or did they float there?

By land or by sea? That’s the question scientists have been pondering for decades when it comes to the bottle gourd, a plant with a hard-skinned fruit that’s used by cultures all over the world to make lightweight containers and other tools. Archaeologists know that people were using domesticated bottle gourds in the Americas as early as 10,000 years ago. But how did the plant make the jump from its original home in Africa to the New World with an ocean in the way? A new study overturns previous evidence pointing to a human-assisted land migration and concludes that the bottle gourd floated across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas on its own.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...and if a large vegetable can float between Africa and South America in just 9 months and remain viable - at least 30 000 years quicker than people, incidentally - it means plant viruses could too.  A possible clue as to how geminiviruses got there...and possibly others, too.

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Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people. And other things.
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The biggest killer diseases in history

The biggest killer diseases in history | Virology News | Scoop.it
We take a look at some of the world’s deadliest diseases, and the death tolls they have caused.

The current Ebola outbreak has put the disease firmly in the global spotlight as cases exceed 10,000, with more than 4,900 deaths, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

However, compared to other viruses and global epidemics in history, the Ebola virus’ impact has, so far, been minimal.

Ebola first showed up in the world in 1976, according to the WHO, and has since led to the deaths of approximately 6,250 people in total.

By contrast, Malaria is reported to have wiped out half of all people who have ever lived – and continues to be one of the biggest killers today.

BusinessTech takes a look at some of the world’s deadliest diseases, and the death tolls they have left in their wake.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Sobering: puts Ebola into perspective. Which is not to say it's not important - just that it's not AS important as things we tend to ignore.

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Paper test can detect Ebola strains

Paper test can detect Ebola strains | Virology News | Scoop.it

DNA-programmed blotting paper could soon be giving doctors a simple disease test that will reveal an infection in 30 minutes for just a few pence.

Researchers have proved the technique works by developing a prototype Ebola test in just 12 hours, and using just $20 of materials.

The smart diagnostics use a soup of biological ingredients including the genetic material RNA.

The researchers say this can be freeze-dried and preserved on ordinary paper.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

About time there were some cheap, quick diagnostics!

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Rabies Vaccine Protects Nonhuman Primates against Deadly Ebola Virus

Rabies Vaccine Protects Nonhuman Primates against Deadly Ebola Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The research team is pursuing the inactivated rabies/Ebola vaccine for use in humans. The live vaccine is being developed for use in protecting wildlife at risk of Ebola virus infection in Africa, which could also serve to prevent transmission into the human population. 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I missed this one at the time - and it is an interesting piece of news.  Basically, the research team cloned the Ebola envelope glycoprotein GP1 into the extant rabies virus vaccine strain genome, and tested a live version, a replication-deficient version, and a killed whole virion version in macaques.

Their results are interesting enough - 100% protection against challenge for live, 50% for the other two - that they plan to follow up to see whether or not additional doses could improve protection in the two non-replicating versions, and to make a "multivalent filovirus vaccine".

This can only be welcome news against the backdrop of the still-ongoing epidemic in West Africa - where two other vaccines (recombinant vesicular stomatitis and chimpanzee adenovirus) are probably going to be trialled next year. The rabies version at least is based on a very well characterised vaccine that already protects against an extremely deadly disease - it remains to be seen how well the other two do.

 

I forgot to mention that I found reference to this article on "The Zombie Research Society"'s blog site: http://zombieresearchsociety.com/archives/25562. A very apt place if one considers the parallels that are already being drawn between Ebola and a "zombie virus".

And because I like zombies B-)

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Ebola: The Real Reason Everyone Should Panic

Ebola: The Real Reason Everyone Should Panic | Virology News | Scoop.it
Our Global Institutions are Broken
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Very insightful article!

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Vaccines are not associated with autism: Any questions??

Highlights

 

There was no relationship between vaccination and autism (OR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.92 to 1.06).

There was no relationship between vaccination and ASD (autism spectrum disorder) (OR: 0.91; 95% CI: 0.68 to 1.20).

There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and MMR (OR: 0.84; 95% CI: 0.70 to 1.01).

There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and thimerosal (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.31).

There was no relationship between [autism/ASD] and mercury (Hg) (OR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.93 to 1.07).

Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

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Vaccine Congress Virtual Special Issue

Vaccine Congress Virtual Special Issue | Virology News | Scoop.it
Top articles in Vaccine, as chosen by the Editor-in-Chief

Supported by Vaccine, the 7th Vaccine & ISV Congress takes place on 27-29...
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Good value!  As in - free!

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Canada urged to cancel Ebola vaccine licence, transfer rights to bigger company

Canada urged to cancel Ebola vaccine licence, transfer rights to bigger company | Virology News | Scoop.it
A prominent law professor is urging the federal government to terminate an American company's licence for a Canadian-made Ebola vaccine.
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Can big data help contain Ebola?

Can big data help contain Ebola? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Can big data analytics help emergency response teams, medical charities and non-governmental organisations contain the Ebola virus?
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Of course. Big Data - like omics - can do ANYTHING...he said, cynically

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The Influenza Epidemic of 1918

World War I claimed an estimated 16 million lives. The influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people. One fifth of the world's population was attacked by this deadly virus. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history.

 
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Useful to reflect: another time of plague.

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Nigeria declared free of deadly Ebola virus

Nigeria has been declared officially Ebola-free after a six week period with no new cases. Speaking at a conference in Tunis, the World Health Organisation's Director General Margaret Chan...
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University of Cape Town leads in plant-based HPV vaccine research

University of Cape Town leads in plant-based HPV vaccine research | Virology News | Scoop.it

The University of Cape Town’s Biopharming Research Unit (BRU) group developed the “first proof of efficacy of a plant-produced papillomavirus vaccine”. The unit’s breakthrough now sees it collaborating with Medicago, a Canadian biopharmaceutical company, to produce a plant based-HPV vaccine. 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

blush...B-)

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Jamaica Declares State of Emergency over Chikungunya Virus

Jamaica Declares State of Emergency over Chikungunya Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Prime Minister declares a 'national emergency' as the Caribbean nation works to combat the mosquito-borne virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...just to show that not EVERYTHING in the viral news is about Ebola!

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'Army of two fighting Ebola'

'Army of two fighting Ebola' | Virology News | Scoop.it
The US ambassador to the UN criticised the lack of international support for nations hit by Ebola as she began a tour yesterday of West African nations struggling to fight the disease.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Have they forgotten that Cuba is the leading nation in terms of actually having medics on the ground in West Africa?? Really!

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NIH begins early human clinical trial of VSV Ebola vaccine

Human testing of a second investigational Ebola vaccine candidate is under way at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are conducting the early phase trial to evaluate the vaccine, called VSV-ZEBOV, for safety and its ability to generate an immune system response in healthy adults who are given two intramuscular doses, called a prime-boost strategy. The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) is simultaneously testing the vaccine candidate as a single dose at its Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“The need for a vaccine to protect against Ebola infection is urgent,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “NIH welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct human clinical tests of another promising — and hopefully, successful — Ebola vaccine candidate.”

Ed Rybicki's insight:

A little late, but I missed this.

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An Ebola Update From the Desk of Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Health Institute gives a briefing on Ebola. Get the facts and learn more at http://wh.gov/ebola-response
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Ebola: Journey to a quarantined village

Ebola: Journey to a quarantined village | Virology News | Scoop.it
We’re on the road again. This time to investigate a new hotspot. A woman and her three-year-old child came in yesterday in one of the ambulances, both with signs and symptoms, both from a remote village that had just appeared on my epidemiological radar.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

From UCT nogal!

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World Hepatitis Day Virtual Special Issue - Vaccine

World Hepatitis Day Virtual Special Issue - Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Read the latest research for free

Viral hepatitis leads to liver disease and kills almost 1.4 million people every year. It is caused by...
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Again - free!

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Ancient human bone helps date our first sex with Neanderthals

Ancient human bone helps date our first sex with Neanderthals | Virology News | Scoop.it
Oldest genome sequence of a modern human suggests Homo sapiens first bred with Neanderthals 50,000-60,000 years ago
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Well, it's not viruses - but human evolution is also a fascination of mine.

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Russian scientists working on fast-acting Ebola vaccine [=MAbs]

Russian scientists working on fast-acting Ebola vaccine [=MAbs] | Virology News | Scoop.it
Russian scientists are developing a technology to make monoclonal antibodies specific to the Ebola virus. If successful, the resulting medicine could be available as soon as December.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting!  All the old players in Ebola space getting into the act - dusting off their Cold War era bioweapons technology...

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Scientists take step towards drug to treat norovirus stomach bug

Scientists take step towards drug to treat norovirus stomach bug | Virology News | Scoop.it
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the UK. For most people, infection causes an unpleasant but relatively short-lived case of vomiting and diarrhoea, but chronic infection can cause major health problems for people with compromised immune systems. In many cases, patients who have weaker immune systems suffer from norovirus infection for months to years, with some patients experiencing gastroenteritis for as many as eight years.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting: the same drug used to treat influenza, West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, and foot-and-mouth disease virus??

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‘Let them eat cake’: A dangerous approach to bushmeat and Ebola

‘Let them eat cake’: A dangerous approach to bushmeat and Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
Let them eat cake—is the phrase supposedly uttered by a great princess (though often attributed to Marie Antoinette) upon learning that France’s peasants had no bread.
This is a similar response, in our estimation, to what seems to be permeating from certain quarters with respect to the consumption of bushmeat and its links to the outbreak of Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever).
A number of opinion pieces have appeared in reputable magazines such as New Scientist and
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice sober article about the mistake in making the kneejerk response of stopping people eating bushmeat - although if they don't, there won't be a lot left, quite soon.

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Scientists unlock exact structure of Hepatitis A virus

Scientists unlock exact structure of Hepatitis A virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Scientists have announced that for the first time, they have determined the precise atomic structure of the Hepatitis A virus. In an unprecedented step forward, a team of scientists from Beijing and Oxford have been able to map the exact construction of Hepatitis A, down to the individual atoms. 

This discovery is ground-breaking in terms of what it reveals about the history and evolution of viruses. The findings suggest that Hep A may be the evolutionary 'missing link' between picornaviruses, which infect humans and animals, and some insect viruses.

 

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