Virology News
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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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Another 8 people killed by H1N1 virus in Greece

Another 8 people killed by H1N1 virus in Greece | Virology News | Scoop.it
Twelve new cases of the H1N1 strain of flu were reported on Wednesday, according to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO),
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A virus is taming Australia’s bunny menace, and giving endangered species new life

A virus is taming Australia’s bunny menace, and giving endangered species new life | Virology News | Scoop.it
Biocontrol effort leading to massive ecological shifts

For more than 150 years, Australia has been plagued by rabbits. First introduced by an English settler as hunting fodder in 1859, the European rabbit population soon ballooned to an estimated 10 billion, contributing to extensive environmental damage and the extinction of some native species. Over the past century, biologists tried—and largely failed—to stem the tide with fences, poisons, and pathogens.

Now, an accidental approach seems to be taming the invasion. Since scientists unintentionally released a deadly rabbit virus in 1995, it has wrought havoc on the bunnies—and allowed some endangered native mammals to recover, according to anew study in the journal Conservation Biology.

 
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Zika hysteria is way ahead of research into virus, says expert

Zika hysteria is way ahead of research into virus, says expert | Virology News | Scoop.it
Leslie Lobel says it’s unclear whether birth defects in Brazil are linked to Zika, and any panic can cause more harm than the virus itself
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen, brother!

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The scientific journey of AIDS from despair to cautious hope

The scientific journey of AIDS from despair to cautious hope | Virology News | Scoop.it
Despite the breakthroughs in HIV and AIDS research, without an effective vaccine, the world will not get to zero new infections and deaths.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice series of articles - I covered the first one earlier.

HIV/AIDS for many of has been a long and sustained learning experience that has paralleled the pandemic: it has provided numerous invaluable insights into the workings of the human immune system, into how retroviruses work, how they evolve - and how to treat the diseases HIV infection leads to, as well as how to develop therapies for those infected.

I hope we are past the midpoint of the pandemic curve now: as a young academic, I remember the first reports of AIDS the syndrome, the discovery of the viruses involved.

As an old academic who has been involved in research on candidate vaccines against it, I am still hoping that we will conquer the virus in my lifetime.

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Violence clouds legitimate student issues

Violence clouds legitimate student issues | Virology News | Scoop.it
Violence clouds legitimate student issues
17 February 2016

UCT would always support and protect legitimate, peaceful protest but “drew the line” at criminality and violence on campus, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price said at a press conference after last night’s Rhodes Must Fall campaign of violence, intimidation and vandalism on campus.
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CRISPR/Cas9-based tools for targeted genome editing and replication control of HBV

CRISPR/Cas9-based tools for targeted genome editing and replication control of HBV | Virology News | Scoop.it

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection remains a major global health problem because current therapies rarely eliminate HBV infections to achieve a complete cure. A different treatment paradigm to effectively clear HBV infection and eradicate latent viral reservoirs is urgently required. In recent years, the development of a new RNA-guided gene-editing tool, the CRISPR/Cas9 (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR-associated nuclease 9) system, has greatly facilitated site-specific mutagenesis and represents a very promising potential therapeutic tool for diseases, including for eradication of invasive pathogens such as HBV. Here, we review recent advances in the use of CRISPR/Cas9, which is designed to target HBV specific DNA sequences to inhibit HBV replication and to induce viral genome mutation, in cell lines or animal models. Advantages, limitations and possible solutions, and proposed directions for future research are discussed to highlight the opportunities and challenges of CRISPR/Cas9 as a new, potentially curative therapy for chronic hepatitis B infection.

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AIDS: how far the world has come and how far it needs to go to get to zero

AIDS: how far the world has come and how far it needs to go to get to zero | Virology News | Scoop.it
Globally, the health community is moving to a point where there could be zero new HIV infections or deaths. But it has been a long road.
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Debugging the recent claim that Pyriproxyfen is the cause of microcephaly in Brazil

Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator with a mechanism of action that is highly specific to insects. Pyriproxyfen is used on a wide variety of crops and is recommended by the WHO for addition to drinking water storage vessels to prevent the spread of deadly diseases such as malaria.

Studies in rats and rabbits have shown pyriproxyfen to have no reproductive or developmental effects at doses up to at least 100 mg per kg of body-weight every day. This intake would be equivalent to an average human female consuming 6 grams of the compound per day. The acceptable daily intake of pyriproxyfen set by the WHO is 100 micrograms per kg of body-weight per day for a lifetime.

This equates to approximately 6 mg per person per day. By contrast the WHO recommended addition of pyriproxyfen to drinking water storage is a maximum of 10 micrograms per litre which would deliver a daily dose of 20 micrograms. A microgram is one millionth of a gram. Thus, the intake of pyriproxifen in Brazil from treated drinking water is of the order of 300 times lower than the safe limit set by the WHO.

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Sierra Leone releases last four people from Ebola quarantine

Sierra Leone releases last four people from Ebola quarantine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Four people who had been in contact with Sierra Leone's last known Ebola case were declared free of the disease and released from quarantine Thursday, health authorities said.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Remember Ebola...?

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Russia confirms first Zika case in the country

Russia confirms first Zika case in the country | Virology News | Scoop.it
A woman flew home to Moscow from the Dominican Republic, exhibiting no symptoms.

Russia has registered its first case of an infection with the Zika virus, the country’s consumer watchdog reported on Monday.

Rospotrebnadzor, which polices the health and safety of cargo coming into the country from abroad issued a statement reporting that a woman, returning from vacation in the Dominican Republic has fallen ill with the virus following her arrival in Moscow. She did not exhibit any symptoms until her return home.

"At present the patient is at an infectious diseases hospital, her condition is satisfactory,” the watchdog reported. “Medical observation of family members has been established and no clinical manifestations of the virus were registered among them, as they tested negative for the Zika virus."

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Oh, OK, just ONE Zika article then....

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Carp virus push to get rogue fish out of Australian waters

Carp virus push to get rogue fish out of Australian waters | Virology News | Scoop.it
STATE governments have welcomed a potential solution to Australias carp problem, but are yet to commit funding to make it a reality.

STATE governments have welcomed a potential solution to Australia’s carp problem, but are yet to commit funding to make it a reality.

 

Victoria, South Australia and Queensland are instead waiting for further guidance from the Federal Government on moves to introduce a virus to target carp, which now dominate the Murray Darling Basin.

Support for the virus – known colloquially as “carp herpes” – gained ground last week after CSIRO scientists revealed they were confident after eight years of testing that it killed only carp

Ed Rybicki's insight:

"confident after eight years of testing that it killed only carp".  Really?  Confident enough to let it get out??

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Yellow fever outbreak kills 51 in Angola

Yellow fever outbreak kills 51 in Angola | Virology News | Scoop.it
There is no specific treatment for the viral hemorrhagic disease which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It's getting worse...?

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Unexpected picornavirus diversity in a single diarrhoeic chicken

Unexpected picornavirus diversity in a single diarrhoeic chicken | Virology News | Scoop.it
In this project our aim was to gain detailed insight into the enteric picornavirus diversity of a single diarrheic chicken introduced recently to a novel location. During the course of our investigation the complete genomes of nearly all picornaviruses found in the studied cloacal sample were determined, characterized and phylogenetically analysed. Using a combination of viral metagenomic and RT-PCR techniques, a total of eight unique picornaviruses were identified which belonged to genera Megrivirus, Sicinivirus, Gallivirus, Tremovirus, Avisivirus, “Orivirus” (two potential genotypes) and an unassigned novel picornavirus (chicken phacovirus 1) (see the figure below). The phacoviruses were also detected in multiple chicken enteric samples from the USA, suggesting a worldwide distribution of these viruses among chicken flocks. The megrivirus-related sequences could not be confirmed by RT-PCR, and one picornavirus called orivirus A1 (genus “Orivirus”) was described earlier by our research group.
 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Love it!

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Why People Want to Believe the Zika Virus Is a Conspiracy

Why People Want to Believe the Zika Virus Is a Conspiracy | Virology News | Scoop.it
Watch carefully, and you can see the birth of a conspiracy theory.

LOOK AT TODAY’S Internet with the right lens, and you can watch a conspiracy theory being born: While scientists are increasingly convinced that Zika virus is behind an uptick of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil, an Argentinian activist group Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns has blamed—perhaps not surprisingly—spraying. In this case, the activists are blaming insect killers called larvicides. Bonus conspiracy points! The larvicide vaguely has to do with ag-chem company (and perpetual badguy) Monsanto.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not Monsanto. Not vaccines. Not insecticides. Just a virus - and a mosquito.

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Flu still a risk despite mild season for virus in US

Flu still a risk despite mild season for virus in US | Virology News | Scoop.it
Every year seems to bring a new twist to the flu season and this year is no exception because, so far, it's been a mild year for the virus.
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On the destruction of art and the loss of collective histories

On the destruction of art and the loss of collective histories | Virology News | Scoop.it
On the destruction of art and the loss of collective histories
18 February 2016

Assoc Prof Fritha Langerman, director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art, condemns the destruction of artworks and the threat to university collections, calling the loss of five works by Keresemose Richard Baholo, the first Black student to receive a master’s degree in fine art at UCT, “particularly tragic”.
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Protein structure illuminates how retroviruses insert DNA

Protein structure illuminates how retroviruses insert DNA | Virology News | Scoop.it
LA JOLLA—Using cutting-edge imaging technology, Salk Institute and Harvard Medical School researchers have determined the structure of a protein complex that lets viruses similar to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) establish permanent infections within their hosts.
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Zika Update | The Scientist Magazine®

Zika Update | The Scientist Magazine® | Virology News | Scoop.it
Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Suriname, and Venezuela are all reporting an uptick in the number of people diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), which can cause temporary but nearly complete paralysis. Health officials suspect Zika virus infection may be related to this surge in GBS cases.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO)’s February 12 Zika Situation Report, some of the patients had been infected with the virus. During the 2013-2014 Zika outbreak in French Polynesia, all 42 patients with GBS tested positive for dengue and Zika infections.

“The cause of the increase in GBS incidence observed in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Suriname remains unknown, especially as dengue, chikungunya and Zika virus have all been circulating simultaneously in the Americas,” the WHO report stated.

As researchers try to quickly get to the bottom of increases in GBS and microcephaly, which is also linked with Zika infection, data-sharing initiatives have been invoked by public health agencies, nonprofits, research groups, and scientific publishers—but not without problems.

Nature News reported last week (February 12) that Brazilian scientists who had deposited a Zika genome into a public database felt slighted when the genome was used by another group in a study about Zika virus retrieved from the brain of a fetus with microcephaly. The depositors were not acknowledged directly, only the GenBank accession number.
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New therapeutic vaccination strategies for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B

New therapeutic vaccination strategies for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B | Virology News | Scoop.it

Chronic hepatitis B virus (CHB) is currently treated with either interferon-based or nucleot(s)ide-based antiviral therapies. However, treatment with pegylated interferon alpha results in a durable antiviral response in only about 30% patients and is associated with side effects. Most patients receiving nucleot(s)ide analogue treatment do not establish long-term, durable control of infection and have rebounding viremia after cessation of therapy. Thus, novel therapy strategies are necessary to achieve the induction of potent and durable antiviral immune responses of the patients which can maintain long-term control of viral replication. Therapeutic vaccination of HBV carriers is a promising strategy for the control of hepatitis B. Here the authors review new therapeutic vaccination strategies to treat chronic hepatitis B which may be introduced for patient treatment in the future.

 
 
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Russia to Present Ebola Vaccine at UN Office in Geneva today

Russia to Present Ebola Vaccine at UN Office in Geneva today | Virology News | Scoop.it
Russian Ministry of Healthcare said that an Ebola vaccine developed by Russia will be officially unveiled at the UN Office in Geneva on February 15.
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Cyanobacteria evolved the first eyes

Cyanobacteria evolved the first eyes | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cyanobacteria in the oceans are among the world's most important oxygen producers and carbon dioxide consumers. Synechocystis is a spherical single-celled cyanobacterium that measures about three thousandths of a millimetre across. Because Synechocystis needs sunlight to produce energy, it is important for it to find places where the light is neither too weak nor too…
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Wild oyster population in Tasmania affected by POMS virus

Wild oyster population in Tasmania affected by POMS virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The deadly virus affecting oysters in Tasmania's south-east is detected in a population of wild oysters in the Derwent estuary

Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome, or POMS, has been detected in six Tasmanian commercial growing regions — Lower Pittwater, Upper Pittwater, Pipe Clay Lagoon, Blackman Bay, Little Swanport and Dunalley Bay.

It is also believed the infection has hit oyster leases at Bruny Island's Great Bay, but that will not be confirmed until further testing is carried out.

The Environment Department has now confirmed the disease has affected a population of wild oysters in the Derwent estuary.

Tasmania's Chief Veterinary Officer Rod Andrewartha said the finding could be a positive aspect to the outbreak since wild oysters were considered pests.

 

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Ed Rybicki's insight:

POMS virus.  Really??  Only Australians could say that with a straight face...B-)

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Farmers on alert for highly infectious bluetongue virus in UK

Farmers on alert for highly infectious bluetongue virus in UK | Virology News | Scoop.it
Farmers are being warned to expect an outbreak of a highly infectious animal disease called bluetongue this summer.

The disease, carried by a biting midge, can be fatal to sheep and cows.

The return of the disease to central France last year has led to concerns the virus could spread, particularly to southern England.

Government vets say there is an 80% chance that infected midges will arrive in the UK this summer.

Humans are not affected, but bluetongue has economic impacts for farmers, who can lose livestock and face restrictions on moving animals from farm-to-farm.

Government Deputy Chief Vet Simon Hall said robust disease surveillance measures were in place and the situation in France was being carefully monitored.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And we helped make a vaccine in plants...?

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Dengue virus’ evaluation with flow virometry | Virology Highlights

Dengue virus’ evaluation with flow virometry | Virology Highlights | Virology News | Scoop.it
Dengue virus (DENV) is a small positive single-stranded RNA enveloped Flavivirus that is formed as a non-infectious particle, which undergoes maturation by cleavage of a protein (prM) on its surface. Different prMs are cleaved at different time-points/locations, resulting in viral heterogeneity both at the population and at the individual particle levels. Bulk analyses cannot capture this heterogeneity. Using our new technology, flow virometry, we analyzed single virions and evaluated the heterogeneity of the surface proteins that determine viral pathogenicity. We showed that uncleaved protein (prM) was present on about 50% of infectious DENV particles produced by BHK-21 cells. In contrast if DENV is produced by LoVo cells, which lack the furin-protease mediating the cleavage of prM, this precursor was present on ~85% of virions. Flow virometry opens the way to analyze individual proteins on individual virions.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

"Flow virometry": I gotta do me some of that....

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