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Abalone discovery leads to herpes treatment hope

Abalone discovery leads to herpes treatment hope | Virology News | Scoop.it
Healed hand warts alert scientists to the herpes-fighting properties of the Tasmanian blacklip abalone.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I love fortuitous discoveries - but I see no mention of the fact that warts are caused by papillomaviruses - so it may work for them too?

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Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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Ed Rybicki and Zombies

Ed Rybicki and Zombies | Virology News | Scoop.it

Viruses and zombies go well together.  Seriously: card-carrying member B-) pic.twitter.com/YikWu64c4I

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Facing Down Emerging Viruses | The Scientist Magazine®

Facing Down Emerging Viruses | The Scientist Magazine® | Virology News | Scoop.it
A better knowledge of the pathogenesis of emerging zoonotic diseases is crucial if we want to prepare for “the next Ebola.”
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Neuroscience: A cellular basis for the munchies

Neuroscience: A cellular basis for the munchies | Virology News | Scoop.it
How does marijuana cause the irresistible hunger pangs known as the munchies? Paradoxically, the answer seems to involve an unusual mode of activation of a brain circuit best known for suppressing appetite.
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Hey, man: getting high is like neuroscience now, man...!

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Customer Reviews: Melanie's Marvelous Measles

Customer Reviews: Melanie's Marvelous Measles | Virology News | Scoop.it
Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Melanie's Marvelous Measles at Amazon.com. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users.
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I have never seen a book so reviled, and so eloquently: basically, it extols the virtues of letting your kids catch measles "naturally"; thankfully, more than a thousand people out there think it is a dangerous piece of crap.

 

Add me!

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Latest updates on today's emerging viruses of pandemic potential

The online version of Microbes and Infection at ScienceDirect.com, the world's leading platform for high quality peer-reviewed full-text journals.
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Useful resource, and nice material on Ebola in particular.

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Virus One Billion Times

Virus One Billion Times | Virology News | Scoop.it
Molecular structures built to scale at one billion times magnification, using the raw scientific data from X-Ray crystallography.
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The virus as spectacle...I wanna do that in Cape Town!

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Phage lytic enzymes: a history

Phage lytic enzymes: a history | Virology News | Scoop.it
Abstract: There are many recent studies regarding the efficacy of bacteriophage-related lytic enzymes: the enzymes of ‘bacteria-eaters’ or viruses that infect bacteria. By degrading the cell wall of the targeted bacteria, these lytic enzymes have been shown to efficiently lyse Gram-positive bacteria without affecting normal fl ora and non-related bacteria. Recent studies have suggested approaches for lysing Gram-negative bacteria as well (Briersa Y, et al., 2014). These enzymes include: phage-lysozyme, endolysin, lysozyme, lysin, phage lysin, phage lytic enzymes, phageassociated enzymes, enzybiotics, muralysin, muramidase, virolysin and designations such as Ply, PAE and others. Bacteriophages are viruses that kill bacteria, do not contribute to antimicrobial resistance, are easy to develop, inexpensive to manufacture and safe for humans, animals and the environment. The current focus on lytic enzymes has been on their use as anti-infectives in humans and more recently in agricultural research models. The initial translational application of lytic enzymes, however, was not associated with treating or preventing a specifi c disease but rather as an extraction method to be incorporated in a rapid bacterial detection assay (Bernstein D, 1997).The current review traces the translational history of phage lytic enzymes-from their initial discovery in 1986 for the rapid detection of group A streptococcus in clinical specimens to evolving applications in the detection and prevention of disease in humans and in agriculture. 
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Bacteriophages, revitalized after 100 years in the shadow of antibiotics

Bacteriophages, revitalized after 100 years in the shadow of antibiotics | Virology News | Scoop.it

The year 2015 marks 100 years since Dr. Frederick Twort discovered the “filterable lytic factor”, which was later independently discovered and named “bacteriophage” by Dr. Felix d'Herelle. On this memorable centennial, it is exciting to see a special issue published by Virologica Sinica on Phages and Therapy. In this issue, readers will not only fi nd that bacteriophage research is a booming field but also learn about the diverse applications currently being explored for bacteriophages. The biggest driving force behind these applications is the serious threat of bacterial antibiotic resistance that is emerging in the current era.

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Phages: love 'em!

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Understanding Ebola Virus Transmission

Understanding Ebola Virus Transmission | Virology News | Scoop.it
This short review describes different routes of Ebola virus transmission between people.
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Novel virus discovery in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues

Detection and characterization of novel viruses is hampered frequently by the lack of properly stored materials. Especially for the retrospective identification of viruses responsible for past disease outbreaks, often only formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples are available. Although FFPE tissues can be used to detect known viral sequences, the application of FFPE tissues for detection of novel viruses is currently unclear. In the present study it was shown that sequence-independent amplification in combination with next-generation sequencing can be used to detect sequences of known and unknown viruses, although with relatively low sensitivity. These findings indicate that this technique could be useful for detecting novel viral sequences in FFPE tissues collected from humans and animals with disease of unknown origin, when other samples are not available. In addition, application of this method to FFPE tissues allows to correlate with the presence of histopathological changes in the corresponding tissue sections.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Can you just IMAGINE the flood of discovery that could come from this?  I see a thousand virologists eyeing those old cupboards full of embedded tissue...[scrambles to get ahead of they pack thundering down the corridor]

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Phages as agents of innate immunity in eels?

In this work, we used the eel (Anguilla anguilla) as an animal model to test the hypothesis of Barr et al. about the putative role of the epidermal mucosa as a phage enrichment layer. To this end, we analyzed the microbial content of the skin mucus of wild and farmed eels by using a metagenomic approach. We found a great abundance of replicating phages (concatemers) in all the samples. They were assembled in four complete genomes of three Myovirus and one Podovirus. We also found evidences that ΦKZ and Podovirus phages could be part of the resident microbiota associated to the eel mucosal surface and persist on them over the time. Moreover, the viral abundance estimated by epiflorescent counts and by metagenomic recruitment from eel mucosa was higher than that of the surrounding water. Taken together, our results support the hypothesis that claims a possible role of phages in the animal mucus as agents controlling bacterial populations, including pathogenic species, providing a kind of innate immunity.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Viruses are amazing - just more evidence B-) I mean, incorporating bacterial viruses into your surface slime as a means of controlling bacteria - cool!

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Rising to the challenge: accelerated pace of discovery transforms marine virology

Rising to the challenge: accelerated pace of discovery transforms marine virology | Virology News | Scoop.it

Marine viruses have important roles in microbial mortality, gene transfer, metabolic reprogramming and biogeochemical cycling. In this Review, we discuss recent technological advances in marine virology including the use of near-quantitative, reproducible metagenomics for large-scale investigation of viral communities and the emergence of gene-based viral ecology. We also describe the reprogramming of microbially driven processes by viral metabolic genes, the identification of novel viruses using cultivation-dependent and cultivation-independent tools, and the potential for modelling studies to provide a framework for studying virus–host interactions. These transformative advances have set a rapid pace in exploring and predicting how marine viruses manipulate and respond to their environment.

 Amoeba graphic by Russell Kightley Media
Ed Rybicki's insight:

A wonderful new field - and one we're HOPING we're still in, as we wait for our grant review results....

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Researchers discover RNA viral "Enigma machine"

Researchers discover RNA viral "Enigma machine" | Virology News | Scoop.it

Researchers have cracked a code that governs infections by a major group of viruses including the common cold and polio. Until now, scientists had not noticed the code, which had been hidden in plain sight in the sequence of the ribonucleic acid (RNA) that makes up this type of viral genome. But a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition by a group from the University of Leeds and University of York unlocks its meaning and demonstrates that jamming the code can disrupt virus assembly. Stopping a virus assembling can stop it functioning and therefore prevent disease.


Single-stranded RNA viruses are the simplest type of virus and were probably one of the earliest to evolve. However, they are still among the most potent and damaging of infectious pathogens. Rhinovirus (which causes the common cold) accounts for more infections every year than all other infectious agents put together (about 1 billion cases), while emergent infections such as chikungunya and tick-borne encephalitis are from the same ancient family. Other single-stranded RNA viruses include the hepatitis C virus, HIV and the winter vomiting bug norovirus.


This breakthrough was the result of three stages of research:

In 2012, researchers at the University of Leeds published the first observations at a single-molecule level of how the core of a single-stranded RNA virus packs itself into its outer shell—a remarkable process because the core must first be correctly folded to fit into the protective viral protein coat. The viruses solve this fiendish problem in milliseconds. The next challenge for researchers was to find out how the viruses did this.University of York mathematicians Dr Eric Dykeman and Professor Reidun Twarock, working with the Leeds group, then devised mathematical algorithms to crack the code governing the process and built computer-based models of the coding system.In this latest study, the two groups have unlocked the code. The group used single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy to watch the codes being used by the satellite tobacco necrosis virus, a single stranded RNA plant virus.


Dr Roman Tuma, Reader in Biophysics at the University of Leeds, said: “We have understood for decades that the RNA carries the genetic messages that create viral proteins, but we didn’t know that, hidden within the stream of letters we use to denote the genetic information, is a second code governing virus assembly. It is like finding a secret message within an ordinary news report and then being able to crack the whole coding system behind it.


“This paper goes further: it also demonstrates that we could design molecules to interfere with the code, making it uninterpretable and effectively stopping the virus in its tracks.”


Reference: N. Patel et al. ‘Revealing the density of encoded functions in a viral RNA,’ PNAS (2014) is available to download (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1420812112; DOI 10.1073/ pnas.1420812112).


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Virus to strike down thousands after outbreak confirmed in Queensland

Virus to strike down thousands after outbreak confirmed in Queensland | Virology News | Scoop.it

Ross River fever is expected to afflict thousands of Queenslanders in coming weeks after an outbreak was confirmed in the state's south.  

Figures indicate 1000 people have already been infected since the start of the year, the ABC reported.

Heavy rain high tides are being blamed for an upsurge in the mosquito population, leading to a corresponding increase in bites.

 

Ross River virus graphic by Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

It's not only Africa and central America...so-called civilised countries have nasty virus outbreaks too!

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TSLive: The Enemy Within | The Scientist Magazine®

TSLive: The Enemy Within | The Scientist Magazine® | Virology News | Scoop.it
How viruses wield tiny molecules of RNA to help them persist in our bodies for years, decades, and sometimes an entire life span
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Radical HIV vaccine ploy raises hope

Radical HIV vaccine ploy raises hope | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Basically it's genetic immunisation with a novel Ig-based construct that's more potent than the most potent "natural" NAbs.

 

But it's still genetic immunisation using an engineered adeno-associated virus - and I wonder how that will fly with healthy people?

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Evolution of Genome Size and Complexity in the Rhabdoviridae

Evolution of Genome Size and Complexity in the  Rhabdoviridae | Virology News | Scoop.it

Understanding the patterns and mechanisms of genome evolution is one of the most important, yet least understood, aspects of RNA virus biology. The evolutionary challenge faced by RNA viruses is to maximize functional diversity within severe constraints on genome size. Here we show that rhabdoviruses, a family of RNA viruses that infect hosts as diverse as plants, insects and vertebrates, have an unusual capacity for genomic plasticity. By analysing the complete or near-complete genome sequences of 99 animal rhabdoviruses, we show that genome expansion and contraction has likely occurred frequently throughout the evolution of the family. Genomic plasticity has been associated with the evolution of alternative, overlapping and consecutive ORFs within the major structural protein genes, as well as the insertion and loss of additional ORFs in each gene junction in a clade-specific manner. This has resulted in remarkable diversity in genome organisation and gene expression strategies that is reflective of the broad ecological diversity of rhabdoviruses. We conclude that genomic plasticity in rhabdoviruses may be linked to their discontinuous transcription strategy from the negative-sense single-stranded RNA genome and propose a general model that accounts for both gains and losses in genome size and complexity.

  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Great stuff!  Nicely done, with some very sophisticated analyses and some great conclusions.

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Poliovirus replication - many generations per cell

Poliovirus replication - many generations per cell | Virology News | Scoop.it
Viruses with RNA genomes can multiply quickly, but not very accurately. This means that errors, or mutations, occur when the RNA is copied to create new viruses. The advantage of this rapid, but mi...
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Nice piece on RNA viruses

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Norovirus cross-contamination during preparation of fresh produce

Norovirus cross-contamination during preparation of fresh produce | Virology News | Scoop.it

Infection with human norovirus (HuNoV) is considered a common cause of foodborne illness worldwide. Foodborne HuNoV outbreaks may result from consumption of food contaminated by an infected food handler in the foodservice environment, in which bare-hand contact, lack of hand washing, and inadequate cleaning and disinfection are common contributing factors.

The goal of this study was to examine cross-contamination of a HuNoV surrogate, murine norovirus (MNV-1), during common procedures used in preparing fresh produce in a food service setting, including turning water spigots, handling and chopping Romaine lettuce, and washing hands.

MNV-1 transfer % was log-transformed to achieve a normal distribution of the data and enable appropriate statistical analyses to be performed. MNV-1 transfer coefficients varied by surface type, and a greater affinity for human hands and chopped lettuce was observed. For example, greater transfer was observed from a contaminated stainless steel spigot to a clean hand (24% or 1.4-log transfer %) compared to transfer from hand to spigot (0.6% or − 0.2-log transfer %). During the chopping of Romaine lettuce, MNV-1 was transferred from either a contaminated cutting board (25% or 1.4-log transfer %) or knife (~ 100% or 2.0-log transfer %) to lettuce at a significantly greater rate (p > 0.05) than from contaminated lettuce to the board (2.1% or 0.3-log transfer %) and knife (1.2% or 0.06-log transfer %). No significant difference (p > 0.05) in MNV-1 transfer coefficients was observed between bare hands and Romaine lettuce during handling. For handwashing trials, only one hand was inoculated with MNV-1 prior to washing. The handwashing methods included rubbing hands under tap water for at least 5 s (average 2.8-log reduction) or washing hands for at least 20 s with liquid soap (average 2.9-log reduction) or foaming soap (average 3.0-log reduction), but no statistical difference between these reductions was achieved (p > 0.05). Despite the reductions of MNV-1 observed, residual virions were detected on both hands after washing in every replicate trial. This observation reveals that virions are transferred from one hand to the other during washing with and without soap.

Each transfer scenario was repeated at least 9 times, and the data gathered indicate that MNV-1 transfers readily between common surfaces during food preparation. These data are important for the development of quantitative risk analyses, and will assist in the development of appropriate intervention strategies for enteric viruses in food preparation.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the supermarket...norovirus!  You can run, but you can't hide B-)

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Experience of the Eliava Institute in bacteriophage therapy

Experience of the Eliava Institute in bacteriophage therapy | Virology News | Scoop.it

The rapid propagation of multidrug resistant bacterial strains is leading to renewed interest in bacteriophage therapy. With challenges in the treatment of bacterial infections, it is essential for people worldwide to understand how alternative approaches, such as bacteriophages, could be used to combat antibiotic resistant bacteria. The Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology and Virology (Tbilisi, Georgia) is arguably the most famous institution in the world focused on the isolation, study, and selection of phages active against a variety of bacterial pathogens.


Figure 1. (A) Felix d'Herelle and George Eliava working at the bacteriophage institute in Tbilisi in the 1930s. (B) The George Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages, Microbiology, and Virology. (Courtesy of the Eliava Institute)


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Really nice little piece of neglected history.

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Virologica Sinica: commemorating 100 years of phages

Virologica Sinica: commemorating 100 years of phages | Virology News | Scoop.it
Virologica Sinica (ViroSin) has become an international journal which aims at presenting the current basic and application research on viruses in China and the world. The journal publishes peer-reviewed original research articles, letters, minireviews that cover any aspect of virology, including the viruses of humans, animals, plants, protozoa, archaea, bacteria, fungi and transmissible spongiform ncephalopathies. The journal also publishes commentary articles on topics of current interest, special issues focused on a defined subject, and occasional recollections and meeting reports.
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Parasitic Wasps Infect Ladybugs with Mind-Controlling Viruses

Parasitic Wasps Infect Ladybugs with Mind-Controlling Viruses | Virology News | Scoop.it
In November, National Geographic put a ladybug and a wasp on its cover. They made for a sinister pair. The wasp, a species called Dinocampus coccinellae, lays an egg inside the ladybug Coleomegilla...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Awesome!  Viruses are amazing...and have a loooooooong history with insects, so it's not surprising their relationship has evolved some SERIOUSLY cool effects.

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Facts About the US Measles Outbreak

Facts About the US Measles Outbreak | Virology News | Scoop.it

A map of counties where cases have been reported so far this year, and a chart showing how the number of cases compares to previous years.

 

The United States has already had more cases of measles in the first
month of 2015 than the number that is typically diagnosed in a full
year. This follows a year in which the number of cases was several
times more than the average since 2000, when the disease was declared
eliminated in the United States. UPDATED Feb. 6

  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

No, seriously: how does this HAPPEN in our modern age?  How can people be so damn stupid??

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Viral supercomputer simulations

Viral supercomputer simulations | Virology News | Scoop.it
I visited Jason Roberts of VIDRL makes three-dimensional simulations of viruses showing how molecules move in a short period of time.
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Reminding us that the structures we THINK exist, probably don't - not al the time, anyway.  Proteins are wobbly, structures are dynamic!

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The new Ebola target number: Zero cases

The new Ebola target number: Zero cases | Virology News | Scoop.it
Even as the number of infections in West Africa drops, health officials must redouble their efforts.
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Roll it on!!

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