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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Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola

Study will test survivors' blood to treat Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa. Plasma from ...
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One in eight gay and bisexual men in London living with HIV

One in eight gay and bisexual men in London living with HIV | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new report published by Public Health England shows one in eight gay and bisexual men in London are now living with HIV
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Distressingly high - as high as the overall prevalence in South Africa!

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Are we on the verge of a new Ebola-like virus outbreak?

Are we on the verge of a new Ebola-like virus outbreak? | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study provides the first evidence that a family of deadly viruses - known as henipaviruses - may have jumped from bats to humans in Africa.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It's NEVER safe to impinge upon the jungle. Or fruit bats.

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Can Ebola Be Transmitted Sexually?

Can Ebola Be Transmitted Sexually? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Technically yes, though it's never actually happened
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ummmmmmm...that is not so certain. But worth taking note that Indian immigration want semen samples before they'll clear someone who has recovered.

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Kenya’s Catholic bishops: Tetanus vaccine is birth control in disguise. FAIL!

Kenya’s Catholic bishops: Tetanus vaccine is birth control in disguise. FAIL! | Virology News | Scoop.it
A row between the Catholic Church and the government over a tetanus vaccine aimed at women in their childbearing years has clergy urging people to shun the injection, saying it’s a stealth population-control ploy.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Need a Popeslap....

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Advancing HIV prevention science: the roads from Cape Town

Advancing HIV prevention science: the roads from Cape Town. By - Kenneth H Mayer
At the recent HIV Research for Prevention 2014 (HIV R4P) conference in Cape Town, South Africa, almost 1400 researchers from around the world came together to discuss advances in biobehavioural HIV prevention science. The rationale for this first-time meeting was that investigators need to understand the latest research findings from a wide array of disciplines, if the most promising approaches to HIV prevention can be transformed into sustained, cohesive responses that will arrest the pandemic. 
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How Bacteria In The Gut Help Fight Off Viruses

How Bacteria In The Gut Help Fight Off Viruses | Virology News | Scoop.it
Rotavirus kills more than a half-million kids around the world each year. Now scientists have evidence that the secret to stopping it is hiding in the trillions of bacteria of our microbiome.
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Rare Vaccine-Derived Polio Discovered in 2 Countries

Rare Vaccine-Derived Polio Discovered in 2 Countries | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cases of paralysis caused by mutating polio vaccine have been found in South Sudan and Madagascar, the World Health Organization said Friday.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Time for the killed vaccine, people....

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How to spot Ebola’s ‘cousin’ before symptoms

How to spot Ebola’s ‘cousin’ before symptoms | Virology News | Scoop.it
Even before symptoms appear, it’s possible to tell different hemorrhagic fevers apart, a new study reports.
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New Band Aid single raises £1 million for Ebola within five minutes

New Band Aid single raises £1 million for Ebola within five minutes | Virology News | Scoop.it
However Damon Albarn claims it patronises Africa
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Go. Buy it!

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Uganda: Unsung Heroes in Marburg, Ebola War

Uganda: Unsung Heroes in Marburg, Ebola War | Virology News | Scoop.it
Uganda has been declared free of Marburg fever, which broke out in September, killing one health worker attached to Mengo hospital.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting insight into how a relatively poor African country handles not only Ebola, but Marburg too.

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Ethical dilemma for Ebola drug trials

Ethical dilemma for Ebola drug trials | Virology News | Scoop.it
Public-health officials split on use of control groups in tests of experimental treatments.

With clinical trials of experimental Ebola treatments set to begin in December, public-health officials face a major ethical quandary: should some participants be placed in a control group that receives only standard symptomatic treatment, despite a mortality rate of around 70% for Ebola in West Africa?

Two groups planning trials in Guinea and Liberia are diverging on this point, and key decisions for both are likely to come this week. US researchers meet on 11 November at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, to discuss US-government sponsored trials. A separate group is gathering at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, on 11 and 12 November to confer on both the US effort and trials organized by the WHO with help from African and European researchers and funded by the Wellcome Trust and the European Union.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I have to say - faced with a deadly disease, I think it is UNethical to have control / placebo arms of any trial.

Seriously: what about comparing ZMapp and immune serum, for example, with historical records of previous standard of care outcomes rather than directly?

I know if I were an Ebola patient, and I saw someone else getting the experimental therapy and I didn't, that I would have a few things to say.

It's not as if these therapies have not been tested in primates, after all - in fact, both the ChAd3 and MVA-based vaccines and ZMapp have been thoroughly tested in macaques, as have the other therapeutics, with no adverse events there.

I say if people say clearly that they want an experimental intervention, that they should get one: after all, the first use of immune serum was not done in a clinical trial, but rather as a last-ditch let's-see-if-this-works intervention - yet its use does not seem controversial?

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A new model of plant–microbe interactions?

A new model of plant–microbe interactions? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I thank Gary Foster for pointing this out!  Not that I care about anything other than viruses, of course...B-)

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New vaccine generates strong immune response against hepatitis C

New vaccine generates strong immune response against hepatitis C | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new hepatitis C vaccine has shown promising results in an early clinical trial at Oxford University, generating strong and broad immune responses against the virus causing the disease.
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Destructive strawberry virus under control in Nova Scotia

Destructive strawberry virus under control in Nova Scotia | Virology News | Scoop.it
A strawberry virus that devastated Nova Scotia crops last year is under control, a specialist testified during a legislature committee on Thursday.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Just to show you they have virus problems in North America too.

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Viruses as a Cure

Viruses as a Cure | Virology News | Scoop.it
Our bodies are home to trillions of viruses, and new research hints that some of them may actually be keeping us healthy.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Another great, thoughtful piece by Carl Zimmer.

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Canada begins domestic trial of experimental Ebola vaccine

Canada begins domestic trial of experimental Ebola vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada has launched a clinical trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed at its national microbiology laboratory and expects to have the results in early 2015, the government said on Friday.
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Low HPV vaccine rates correlate with high cervical cancer risk

Low HPV vaccine rates correlate with high cervical cancer risk | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cervical cancer is less common in states where HPV vaccines are more common, a new study from the University of North Carolina reveals.
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H5N8 Avian Flu Detected in the Netherlands and Britain

H5N8 Avian Flu Detected in the Netherlands and Britain | Virology News | Scoop.it
It was not clear if the outbreaks at poultry farms in the two countries were linked, but a British veterinary official said wild birds may have carried the disease.

The authorities ordered the slaughter of 150,000 chickens at the farm. News reports identified the strain as H5N8, which has never been detected in humans, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Stockholm, but has been reported in birds in South Korea, China, Japan and, earlier this month, in Germany.

“This highly pathogenic variant of avian influenza is very dangerous for bird life,” the Dutch government said. “The disease can be transmitted from animals to humans.”

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Flu bigger threat than Ebola in the US

Flu bigger threat than Ebola in the US | Virology News | Scoop.it
Flu bigger threat than Ebola
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And probably in Europe too.

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Ebola Strikes Mali Just as Vaccination Effort Gets Under Way

Ebola Strikes Mali Just as Vaccination Effort Gets Under Way | Virology News | Scoop.it
An imam crossed the border while ill with Ebola, potentially sparking an outbreak.
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Dogs and wild animals can swap parvovirus

Dogs and wild animals can swap parvovirus | Virology News | Scoop.it
When canine parvovirus first emerged in 1978, it started a global pandemic that’s thought to have killed hundreds of thousands of dogs.
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More Surprises in the Development of an HIV Vaccine

More Surprises in the Development of an HIV Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
More Surprises in the Development of an HIV Vaccine

In the current issue of Frontiers in Immunology, Jean-Marie Andrieu and collaborators, report results from non-human primate experiments designed to explore a new vaccine concept aimed at inducing tolerance to the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) (1). This approach, which is significantly different from other vaccine concepts tested to date, resulted in a surprisingly high level of protection. If the results are confirmed and extended to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), this approach may represent a game changing strategy, which should be welcomed by a field that has been marred by mostly disappointing results.

 

HIV Graphic from Russell Kightley Media

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is a commentary by two well-respected friends of mine on a very surprising result published by the Andrieu group recently, which seems to have been ignored by the mainstream HIV vaccine world.

This is not surprising, in that Andrieu is an outsider in this field - he is a cancer researcher - but is typical of the disappointing tendency in science to ignore contributions from outside the various "Golden Circles" that exist for various specialties.

Something that should elicit interest, though, is that this group has shown that a previously obscure 

"...population of non-cytolytic MHCIb/E-restricted CD8+ T regulatory cells [that] suppressed the activation of SIV positive CD4+ T-lymphocytes".

This is interesting because Louis Picker's groups' recent findings, announced at the recent HIVR4P conference in Cape Town, highlighted the involvement of MHC-E proteins in what amounted to a cure of SIV infection in macaques by a modified Rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV) HIV vaccine vector (see here: http://www.iavireport.org/Blog/archive/2013/09/13/cmv-based-vaccine-can-clear-siv-infection-in-macaques.aspx). 

I tweeted at the time:

"Universal MHC-E-restricted CD8+ T cells - break all the rules for epitope recognition"

Could this be a link between the two mechanisms - both from way outside the orthodoxy, I will point out?

It will be interesting to see.

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While you were all obsessing about Ebola: Uganda Declared Marburg Free!

While you were all obsessing about Ebola: Uganda Declared Marburg Free! | Virology News | Scoop.it
Today, the Ministry of Health wishes to inform the Public that the country is officially declared free of the Marburg Virus Epidemic.
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TB and HIV researcher gets high praise from SA science academy

TB and HIV researcher gets high praise from SA science academy | Virology News | Scoop.it

One of UCT's rising academic stars was recently acknowledged for her research into HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) epidemics.

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf), on behalf of the African Union (AU) Commission, The World Academy of Science (TWAS) and the Department of Science and Technology, presented Dr Keren Middelkoop with the AU-TWAS Young Scientist in South Africa award. Middelkoop won in the Life and Earth Sciences category.

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