Virology News
45.2K views | +1 today
Follow
Virology News
Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

What can we learn about the Ebola outbreak from tweets?

What can we learn about the Ebola outbreak from tweets? | Virology News | Scoop.it

The current Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak is of major global concern and is classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an international health emergency. Beginning in December 2013 in the eastern section of the Republic of Guinea,1, 2, 3 new cases were reported regularly by the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and recently Senegal (daily direct flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport [New York, NY], Washington Dulles International Airport [Dulles, VA], and Charles de Gaulle Airport [Roissy-en-France, France]).4, 5, 6 With a cumulative case total of >13,567 (case) and 4,951 deaths,7, 8 the first major West African outbreak of the most virulent Zaire strain of EVD is now the largest EVD outbreak to date.9 Local, regional, and international agencies are challenged to contain the epidemic, reduce fatalities, and allay the climate of fear.9, 10However, ongoing disease containment and surveillance is difficult because of the current outbreak. Furthermore, in resource-limited settings, barriers to optimal public health outbreak surveillance exist.4 With Ebola in the United States and the recent New York City diagnosed case,11 there is valid cause for concern of spread in developed countries. In populated cities such as New York City, contamination is a sobering reality, and with its rodent population out numbering the humans, endemic Ebola is not outside the realm of possibility. Rodents are a main reservoir of viral hemorrhagic fevers. Similar to Lassa fever, another hemorrhagic disease, the mode of transmission is direct exposure to excreta of infected rats.12 The certainty of EVD containment in the immediate future is not known. To improve compliance with measures of prevention and control, several priority actions are recommended for strengthened surveillance systems. These include the use of emerging technologies to support early warning systems for communication between agencies and the general public.1


Ed Rybicki's insight:

Using Twitter to disseminate news about a paper exploring what one can learn about Ebola outbreaks from tweets: nicely circular B-)

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Tenofovir during pregnancy reduces risk of mother-to-child hepatitis B virus transmission

Tenofovir during pregnancy reduces risk of mother-to-child hepatitis B virus transmission | Virology News | Scoop.it
Women with chronic hepatitis B and high viral
load who were treated with tenofovir (Viread)
during pregnancy were significantly less likely to transmit hepatitis B virus
(HBV) to their babies, according to study findings presented this week at the 2015 AASLD Liver Meeting in San Francisco. Another study showed that women with hepatitis B
often experience viral load or ALT 'flares' during pregnancy or post-partum.
Calvin Pan from New York University School of Medicine
and colleagues from China co
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Anti-retrovirals are suddenly proving useful all over: MS, now this!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

'Fourth Strand' of Previously Unknown Ancient European Human Ancestry Discovered

'Fourth Strand' of Previously Unknown Ancient European Human Ancestry Discovered | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers may have uncovered a previously unknown "fourth strand" of ancient European ancestry. The newly discovered ancestry may tell researchers a bit more about ancient populations of humans.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Human diarrhoea virus could mix and match in monkeys

Human diarrhoea virus could mix and match in monkeys | Virology News | Scoop.it

A study of monkey [faeces - I CANNOT allow "poop"]  suggests that viruses that cause human diarrhea are common in macaques and other nonhuman primates in Southeast Asia. The animals, which live in close contact with humans across the region, carry a wide variety of astroviruses, pathogens that commonly cause diarrhea in people and can also infect the kidney, liver, and brain, researchers report this week in PLOS Pathogens.

Astroviruses are not usually deadly, but the new data suggest that they are less discriminating with regard to what they infect than researchers had thought, raising the possibility that different strains could trade genetic material in monkey hosts and give rise to new forms that might cause more serious disease in people.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Anti-HIV drug for infants blocks virus in breastmilk

Anti-HIV drug for infants blocks virus in breastmilk | Virology News | Scoop.it
Giving anti-AIDS drugs directly to infants breastfed by their HIV-positive mothers significantly reduces their risk of contracting the killer virus, researchers said Thursday. Less than 1.5 percent of children, given one of two anti-viral drugs during 12 months of breastfeeding, caught the virus from their mothers, said a study published in The Lancet medical journal. This was the first study to assess the effectiveness of AIDS drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission in infants breastfed f
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Ebola crisis: Liberia confirms fresh cases

Ebola crisis: Liberia confirms fresh cases | Virology News | Scoop.it
Three new cases of Ebola are confirmed in Liberia less than three months after the country was declared free of the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Ed Rybicki from Emerging Viruses, Virus Discovery and Virus Characterization
Scoop.it!

FrontPageAfrica - Fears of Deadly Ebola Virus Reportedly Resurface in Liberia

FrontPageAfrica - Fears of Deadly Ebola Virus Reportedly Resurface in Liberia | Virology News | Scoop.it
FrontPageAfrica Newspaper - All Things Africa 24/7

Via Ian M Mackay, PhD
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Birth of the Skin Microbiome

Birth of the Skin Microbiome | Virology News | Scoop.it
The immune system tolerates the colonization of commensal bacteria on the skin with the aid of regulatory T cells during the first few weeks of life, a mouse study shows.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers Debate

Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers Debate | Virology News | Scoop.it
The creation of a chimeric SARS-like virus has scientists discussing the risks of gain-of-function research.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

“The only impact of this work is the creation, in a lab, of a new, non-natural risk,” Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist and biodefence expert at Rutgers University, told Nature.

 
Balls.  How is it a greater risk than natural, human-adapted viruses?  It is by doing such work that we will find out what exactly is needed for viruses to pop up out of nowhere and cause outbreaks and panic.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

In a Tooth, DNA From Some Very Old Cousins, the Denisovans

In a Tooth, DNA From Some Very Old Cousins, the Denisovans | Virology News | Scoop.it
A fossil found in a Siberian cave yields evidence from a vanished, once-hardy branch of the human tree that lived at least 110,000 years ago.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research 

Engineered bat virus stirs debate over risky research  | Virology News | Scoop.it
An experiment that created a hybrid version of a bat coronavirus — one related to the virus that causes SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) — has triggered renewed debate over whether engineering lab variants of viruses with possible pandemic potential is worth the risks.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

You know something?  I reiterate my stance on engineered flu viruses.  Which is that it is NOT known that these coronaviruses will have pandemic potential; that they ARE being worked with under stringent containment, and no other similar NATURAL virus has escaped in recent memory; they DO provide valuable information on what is needed for such viruses to infect humans.

Which is all good, right?!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Knockout jab: two vaccines for the price of one

Knockout jab: two vaccines for the price of one | Virology News | Scoop.it
A vaccine that rarely makes the news is a big public-health success
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

"Set your phages to stun"

"Set your phages to stun" | Virology News | Scoop.it
Engineered phage viruses show promise as targeted assassins - genetic manipulation might make it easier for them to gain regulatory approval

Many phage infect and replicate inside bacteria, killing them. This makes phages a possible alternative to antibiotics as resistance to these drugs grows. What’s more, most phages infect only one species or even a few strains within a species; antibiotics aren’t so selective.

But that specificity is a problem: it might not be clear which pathogenic bacterial strain is present in an infection, so a cocktail of several phages might be needed to guarantee effective treatment. Each may have to pass regulatory approval separately.

Timothy Lu and his colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology aim to get round this by making a single phage modifiable with bacteria-attacking machinery from other phages. In theory, that could reduce regulatory hold-ups.

 

E coli and lambda phage graphic by Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Couldn't resist that byline - it's part of the article - so that I could get some mileage out of something mildly upsetting.

It's just that someone else has yet AGAIN had my good idea before I did.

There I was, reading about and blogging on bacteria co-opting phage tail assemblies as weapons against other phages, and dreaming up ways of using them creatively - and someone else had gone and done it.

That is, used an engineered phage genome and presumably head structure with a variety of tail assemblies (which determine the binding specificity) in order to target as many bacterial types as possible.

Very clever!  It's what may make phage therapy into a science instead of an art.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Human genomic pathways to bronchitis virus therapy - using glow-in-the-dark coronaviruses

Human genomic pathways to bronchitis virus therapy - using glow-in-the-dark coronaviruses | Virology News | Scoop.it
Viral replication and spread throughout a host organism employs many proteins, but the process is not very well understood. Scientists at A*STAR have led a collaborative study to learn which host factors play a key role in viral replication. The aim was to identify host pathways and processes that operate at various stages of infection by a bronchitis virus that could be targeted to fight viruses.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Study claims drug course can cure hepatitis C virus in patients in 12 weeks

Study claims drug course can cure hepatitis C virus in patients in 12 weeks | Virology News | Scoop.it
A Canadian study published this week in The New England Medical Journal showed that a simple 12-week course of a pharmaceutical treatment cured 99% of the study's participants of the hepatitis C virus.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

'Good' Mosquito Virus Fights Human Disease?

'Good' Mosquito Virus Fights Human Disease? | Virology News | Scoop.it
In a recent study, Australian scientists have identified a new mosquito-carried virus, which can be used to fight human viruses.

Researchers have identified a new mosquito-carried virus, known as the Parramatta River virus, which can be used to fight human viruses, according to a collaborated study at the Universities of Queensland andSydney in Australia.

The new finding could enable scientists to development new ways for preventing outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease, according to Dr. Jody Hobson-Peters, of UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

A virus spreading in South America and the Caribbean may be causing birth deformities

A virus spreading in South America and the Caribbean may be causing birth deformities | Virology News | Scoop.it
A virus believed to cause under-developed brains and skulls in newborn babies has sparked a public health emergency in Brazil and the Caribbean. The Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease similar to dengue fever, was first identified on Easter Island, Chile in February last year and has since spread to Brazil, Columbia and the Caribbean.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Alcoholism drug brings dormant HIV virus out of hiding

Alcoholism drug brings dormant HIV virus out of hiding | Virology News | Scoop.it

A drug that’s used to treat alcoholism has been found to activate dormant HIV cells, dragging them out of hiding so they can be destroyed. When given to 30 HIV positive patients in the US and Australia in a three-day trial, the common anti-alcohol drug, disulfiram, appears to ‘wake up’ HIV cells without causing any harmful side-effects.

Sold commercially as Antabuse, the drug causes people to vomit when they consume alcohol, which makes a pretty strong case to never drink again. But now it seems it can also overcome one of the greatest hurdles to curing HIV/AIDS: HIV latency. 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Deep Evolutionary Relationships between Bornaviruses and Bats

Deep Evolutionary Relationships between Bornaviruses and Bats | Virology News | Scoop.it
Bats globally harbor viruses in order Mononegavirales, such as lyssaviruses and henipaviruses; however, little is known about their relationships with bornaviruses. Previous studies showed that viral fossils of bornaviral origin are embedded in the genomes of several mammalian species such as primates, indicative of an ancient origin of exogenous bornaviruses. In this study, we mined the available 10 bat genomes and recreated a clear evolutionary relationship of endogenous bornaviral elements and bats. Comparative genomics showed that endogenization of bornaviral elements frequently occurred in vesper bats, harboring EBLLs (endogenous bornavirus-like L elements) in their genomes. Molecular dating uncovered a continuous bornavirus-bat interaction spanning 70 million years. We conclude that better understanding of modern exogenous bornaviral circulation in bat populations is warranted.
 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

So: not only are our furry flying friends full of viruses, they are genetically immune to a lot of them, too - like bornaviruses.  By dint of incorporating cDNA copies of bits of them in their genomes, for lo, these many million years....

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Bat SARS-like coronavirus: It’s not SARS 2.0!

Bat SARS-like coronavirus: It’s not SARS 2.0! | Virology News | Scoop.it
Criticisms of a new study on the potential of SARS-virus-like bat coronaviruses to cause human disease have little merit.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Dehyping the debate around the recombinant SARS-CoV: nice one, Vincent!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Toward Eliminating Poliovirus In the Lab

Toward Eliminating Poliovirus In the Lab | Virology News | Scoop.it
As the world inches closer to polio eradication, laboratories studying the virus will have to bolster biosafety standards. Eventually, most will need to stop working with the pathogen entirely.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

EVENTUALLY.  I note smallpox is still in freezers; so too is rinderpest - we have vaccines against both of them...oh, wait - we have vaccines against polio too!

Nice thing about rinderpest and polio - not so sure about smallpox - is that they COULD be recreated as needed from synthesised cDNA.

However, we really need to do that ONLY after there's been significant sequencing of all known variants, just in case we missed something.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Hepatitis delta virus

Hepatitis delta virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Hepatitis delta virus: From biological and medical aspects to current and investigational therapeutic options
Dulce Alfaiate, Paul Dény ,...

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Even if it's Elsevier B-)

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Rounding Up The Last Of A Deadly Cattle Virus

Rounding Up The Last Of A Deadly Cattle Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Rinderpest, or cattle plague, was declared eradicated in 2011. But many research institutes still have samples of the rinderpest virus in storage. Disease experts want those samples destroyed.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I have written a lot about rinderpest, and covered it in my book on virus history, as well as covering the debate on whether or not smallpox virus stocks should be eliminated.

And if they haven't yet, despite years of debate, why should rinderpest virus stocks?

Consider: we have an effective vaccine(s); we still have the related peste des petites ruminants virus knocking around, with vaccines to it - so why shouldn't stocks of the live virus strains be preserved?

How many viruses have in fact made it out of fridges, and back into the world?  Well, there was that purported 1977 H1N1 release in Russia/Mongolia...but can anyone think of another well-documented one?  Just one?

The fact is that it is FAR easier to deliberately spread endemic viruses around - like foot-and-mouth disease virus - than it would be to reactivate and spread something from a lab freezer.

Rather let us conduct an inventory of who has what, consolidate it like they did with smallpox, and forget about the unknowable, which is obscure freezers in far-flung rural centres where no-one remembers what is there - and where powercuts have probably thawed the samples more than once.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

Icy volcanoes may dot Pluto's surface

Icy volcanoes may dot Pluto's surface | Virology News | Scoop.it
New Horizons mission spots a pair of mountains with deep pits at their centres.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"Floating down, the sound resounds 
Around the icy waters underground."

Pink Floyd had it right: all the little worldlets got liquid water...and obviously viruses as well.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Ed Rybicki
Scoop.it!

10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species

10 Deadly Diseases That Hopped Across Species | Virology News | Scoop.it
A host of infectious and deadly diseases have hopped from animals to humans, and the other way.
more...
No comment yet.