An international team of researchers has shed light on the potential impact of new drugs for hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is an important cause of liver cancer and is transmitted through blood to blood contact. People who inject drugs (PWID) and men who have sex with men (MSM), who are also infected with HIV, are key risk groups for HCV infection in UK.
Researchers have developed a new method to directly follow viral infections in living organisms. This method can make infected cells produce fluorescent proteins, which means that they light up and become easier to identify. The method also makes it possible to activate other functions in infected cells, for instance to enhance the immune system.
Zika virus (ZIKV), formerly a neglected pathogen, has recently been associated with microcephaly in fetuses, and with Guillian–Barré syndrome in adults. Here we present the 3.7 Å resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of ZIKV, and show that the overall architecture of the virus is similar to that of other flaviviruses. Sequence and structural comparisons of the ZIKV envelope (E) protein with other flaviviruses show that parts of the E protein closely resemble the neurovirulent West Nile and Japanese encephalitis viruses, while others are similar to dengue virus (DENV). However, the contribution of the E protein to flavivirus pathobiology is currently not understood. The virus particle was observed to be structurally stable even when incubated at 40 °C, in sharp contrast to the less thermally stable DENV. This is also reflected in the infectivity of ZIKV compared to DENV serotypes 2 and 4 (DENV2 and DENV4) at different temperatures. The cryo-electron microscopy structure shows a virus with a more compact surface. This structural stability of the virus may help it to survive in the harsh conditions of semen, saliva and urine. Antibodies or drugs that destabilize the structure may help to reduce the disease outcome or limit the spread of the virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
I await the comment that Zika structure shouldn't have been published in nature....
Before the horrors of the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa could begin to fade from our minds, the Zika virus emerged as a major global health risk, and is now occupying researchers and doctors in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Yet the death toll from another virus is rising fast: yellow fever.
Ed Rybicki's insight:
"At least half of untreated patients with severe cases of yellow fever die within 10-14 days". Zika's not looking so bad now, is it?
Every year millions of people head to their doctors’ surgeries to roll up their sleeves and receive their annual flu jab. In anticipation, the World Health Organisation convenes meetings each February and September to recommend which strains of
Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Using state-of-the-art tools, EPFL scientists have described a million-atom "tail" that bacteriophages use to breach bacterial surfaces. The breakthrough has major implications for science and medicine, as bacteriophages are widely used in research. To infect bacteria, most bacteriophages employ a 'tail' that stabs and pierces the bacterium's membrane to…
Two specimens of pandoraviruses have been found in shallow water sediments, one in Chile and the other one in Australia. They were both so big that they could be seen with just an optical microscope, reaching 1 μm in length and 0.5 μm in diameter. The researchers found over 2,000 genes in these pandoraviruses, of which over 90% looked nothing like any other previously known gene. In fact, they appear to be unrelated to the previously discovered megaviruses. So what are they? A fourth domain of life? A completely isolated niche in the tree of life? Or could they be — as the sci-fi writer in me wants to think — the remnants of a completely different form of life, one that existed so long ago that these gigantic particles are all there is left of it?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted breakthrough therapy designation this month to a polio virus for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma brain cancer. The designation came after nearly unprecedented results during a Phase I clinical trial from Duke University
Between late December 2015 and early May 2016, the National IHR Focal of South Sudan notified WHO of an outbreak of haemorrhagic fever syndrome.
As of 9 May , a total of 51 suspected cases, including 10 deaths, had been reported from the counties of Aweil North (45 cases, including 10 deaths) and Aweil West (6 cases). No health care workers had been reported among the cases. The majority (74.5 percent) of the suspected cases are below 20 years of age. The last recorded death dates back to 28 Feb .
The most frequent symptoms include unexplained bleeding, fever, fatigue, headache and vomiting. The symptoms do not seem to be severe and rapidly resolve following supportive treatment. Currently, there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the disease.
Samples of 33 patients were shipped to WHO collaborating centres in Uganda (Uganda Virus Research Institute), Senegal (Institut Pasteur of Dakar) and South Africa (National Institute for Communicable Diseases). The samples were tested by plaque reduction neutralization test, polymerase chain reaction or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. All samples were negative for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus disease, Rift Valley fever, yellow fever, West Nile virus and Zika virus; 5 samples tested positive for onyong-nyong virus; 3 samples were positive for chikungunya; and 1 sample tested positive for dengue virus.
Further laboratory testing is ongoing that may confirm the causative agent. Other causes under investigation include bacterial diseases (e.g., Leptospirosis) and food intoxication (mycotoxins). Ecological risk factors for arboviral disease transmission were identified in the affected areas.
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