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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Bones hold the key to DNA virus history and epidemiology

Bones hold the key to DNA virus history and epidemiology | Virology News | Scoop.it
DNA in human skeletal remains represents an important historical source of host genomic information and potentially of infecting viruses. However, little is known about viral persistence in bone.
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Clinical Sequencing Uncovers Origins and Evolution of Lassa Virus

Clinical Sequencing Uncovers Origins and Evolution of Lassa Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

The 2013–2015 West African epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reminds us of how little is known about biosafety level 4 viruses. Like Ebola virus, Lassa virus (LASV) can cause hemorrhagic fever with high case fatality rates. We generated a genomic catalog of almost 200 LASV sequences from clinical and rodent reservoir samples. We show that whereas the 2013–2015 EVD epidemic is fueled by human-to-human transmissions, LASV infections mainly result from reservoir-to-human infections. We elucidated the spread of LASV across West Africa and show that this migration was accompanied by changes in LASV genome abundance, fatality rates, codon adaptation, and translational efficiency. By investigating intrahost evolution, we found that mutations accumulate in epitopes of viral surface proteins, suggesting selection for immune escape. This catalog will serve as a foundation for the development of vaccines and diagnostics.

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Hospital patient with suspected MERS in isolation at Manchester Royal Infirmary

Hospital patient with suspected MERS in isolation at Manchester Royal Infirmary | Virology News | Scoop.it
The patient was admitted to the hospital’s Accident and Emergency department with a respiratory infection and has been placed in isolation as a precaution
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Potentially Deadly Dengue Virus Hits Hawaii

Potentially Deadly Dengue Virus Hits Hawaii | Virology News | Scoop.it
With nearly 100 cases since September, travelers should be aware of the outbreak on the island of Hawaii. Of those cases 79 of the victims have been Hawaii residents and 13 have been visitors. "Simple measures like mosquito repellent … can greatly reduce your risk.” The fever is not spread by contact with an infected person, rather through the bite of an infected mosquito.   Last week the National Guard began assisting the health department by flying mosquito sprayers from Oahu to the Big Island. Here are the things the Hawaii health department wants you to know about the current dengue fever outbreak.  What is dengue fever?
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Ebola experience leaves world no less vulnerable

Ebola experience leaves world no less vulnerable | Virology News | Scoop.it
Report concludes that not enough has changed nearly two years after the start of the catastrophic epidemic in West Africa.
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Fossil fireworm species named after rock musician

Fossil fireworm species named after rock musician | Virology News | Scoop.it

A muscly fossil fireworm, discovered by scientists from the University of Bristol and the Natural History Museum, has been named Rollinschaeta myoplena in honour of punk musician and spoken word artist, Henry Rollins.

The fossil worm is a polychaete annelid, a marine relative of earthworms and leeches.  Polychaetes are entirely soft bodied and thus seldom occur as fossils.  When conditions are right, however, some remarkable and surprising details of such creatures can be preserved, as in the case of Rollinschaetawhich is preserved mostly as three dimensional muscle tissue.


Ed Rybicki's insight:

I would have been more impressed by Jimihendrixii or Stratocasterii, but there you are.

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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.
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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.
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'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.

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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.
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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. 

 

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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....

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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!

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“Bibliometricians are really the curse of the age”

“Bibliometricians are really the curse of the age” | Virology News | Scoop.it
Labtimes Editorial 659

(November 24th, 2015) Once a successful pharmacologist, working on ion channels with amongst others Nobelist Bert Sakmann, David Colquhoun now focuses on calling out shortcomings in the scientific world.LT author Jeremy Garwood talked to him, here’s the full interview.


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How climate change is causing pied crow numbers to soar in SA

How climate change is causing pied crow numbers to soar in SA | Virology News | Scoop.it

Pied crows, or Corvus albus, are a natural part of the landscape of southern Africa. They are bold, common, and familiar. But over recent years, especially in South Africa, there is evidence that there are many more of these birds.


The increase is worrying some conservationists who fear it could be having a negative impact on the local biodiversity. These fears have some merit given that the species is known to predate on birds' nests and young tortoises. Farmers are also concerned about the potential damage to sheep flocks because crows pluck out the eyes of the young lambs.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I find it interesting, because I grew up with these crows in central Africa - but there were none when I got to Cape Town in 1974.

Now, they're  everywhere!  So I can attest personally to their increase.

Now, about those hadeda ibises...?

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India Launches Drive to Eradicate Hepatitis B Virus

India Launches Drive to Eradicate Hepatitis B Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The health ministry in collaboration with UNICEF today launched a media campaign with the resolve to make India Hepatitis B Virus-free by the next decade.
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Liberia monitors over 150 as Ebola virus re-emerges

Liberia monitors over 150 as Ebola virus re-emerges | Virology News | Scoop.it
The outbreak in the capital comes more than 2 months after the country was declared free of the virus.
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Study shows that poliovirus and reovirus use fundamentally different transport mechanisms

Study shows that poliovirus and reovirus use fundamentally different transport mechanisms | Virology News | Scoop.it

This study was based upon previous work from our lab showing that host barriers restrict poliovirus dissemination in mice. Specifically, poliovirus dissemination to the central nervous system was limited by inefficient transport in neurons and by type I interferon responses (Kuss et al., PLoS Path, 2008, 4:e1000082 and Lancaster et al., PLoS Path, 2010, 6:e1000791). These discoveries were made possible by using a pool of ten genetically tagged polioviruses to follow viral population diversity during dissemination from the injection site in the leg, through the sciatic nerve, up the spinal cord, and to the brain. We wondered whether other neurotropic viruses encounter these same host barriers. To test this, we compared dissemination of genetically tagged pools of poliovirus, yellow fever virus, and reovirus. For this study, we made nine tagged reoviruses in collaboration with Terry Dermody’s lab and we used a pool of six tagged yellow fever viruses (Erickson et al., J Virol, 2013, 87:12392-7). We found that these three viruses each disseminate to the brain through different pathways.

 
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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-)

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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!

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'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.
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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.

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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
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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.
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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
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