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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Bird Flu Takes Biggest Toll Yet as Virus Hits US Chicken Farms

Bird Flu Takes Biggest Toll Yet as Virus Hits US Chicken Farms | Virology News | Scoop.it
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Poultry producers and scientists have been hoping warmer weather would knock down a virulent strain of bird flu that has hammered the Midwest, but the virus recently took its biggest toll yet, hitting a farm in Iowa that held...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Possibly not bigger than what happened in China and Hong Kong....

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Preparing for Ebola, but Stopping Lassa Fever

Last fall, with the Ebola epidemic raging, the small nation of Benin, a few countries away from the outbreak zone, experienced a cluster of unexplained deaths.

In mid-October, a 12-day-old baby was taken to a hospital in Tanguiéta, in northwest Benin, and died two days later. By early November, three employees of the hospital, St. Jean de Dieu, were dead too.

Ultimately, 16 people fell ill and nine died, including a prominent pediatrician. Ebola was suspected because of symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. But in mid-November, lab tests were negative for the virus.

“There was a lot of panic,” Catherine Smallwood, a technical officer with the World Health Organization, said. “They didn’t know what it was.” W.H.O. described the incident recently in a report on its website.

 The day the Ebola tests came back negative, Dr. Smallwood and a W.H.O.-led team happened to arrive in Benin, part of an effort to help 14 vulnerable African countries prepare for a possible Ebola outbreak. The team suggested that the samples be tested for Lassa fever, a related virus that had never been seen in Benin.

The Lassa tests were positive.

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Rabies Deaths Higher Than Previously Thought

Rabies Deaths Higher Than Previously Thought | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ninety-nine percent of human deaths are caused by dog bites, with India having the most rabies deaths — almost 21,000 a year.

 

Rabies kills 59,000 people a year, or about 160 a day — more than had previously been assumed — according to a study published last week.

The report, based on mathematical modeling, is higher than previous estimates based on officially reported deaths, the authors said. It was produced by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control and published in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Although India has the most rabies deaths — almost 21,000 a year — many African countries have higher per capita death rates. China also has a high death rate from rabies.

Although all mammalian animals can get rabies, 99 percent of human deaths from rabies are caused by dog bites.

 

Rabies virus graphic from Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

And if Ebola doesn't get you, rabies might.

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Disease Detection Gets A Boost With Plans For A CDC In Africa

Disease Detection Gets A Boost With Plans For A CDC In Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it
African health officials are partnering with the U.S. to build a continentwide Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is a more rapid response to health emergencies, such as Ebola.

 

In 1946, a malaria outbreak across the Southern U.S. catalyzed the formation of what would eventually become the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Then in 2002, China's CDC began its operations just as an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, took hold.

 

Now, as the worst Ebola outbreak in history winds down, African health officials announced Monday they will partner with the U.S. to establish a continentwide African CDC.

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The Maps Within: Using Viruses in Forensic Biology

The Maps Within: Using Viruses in Forensic Biology | Virology News | Scoop.it
It is a romantic thought: we hold maps in our blood. Our DNA is a legacy that reaches back beyond our furthest forebears, and so too with our microbes. The place of our birth is reflected in the organisms that live, grow, and die within our bodies; how we live determines what presences we carry, telling own unique story of evolution, migration, and identity.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting...I wonder if the CIA knows about this B-)

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Health Officials Warn Ebola Survivors Against Having Sex After Virus Found in Fluid After 175 Days

Health Officials Warn Ebola Survivors Against Having Sex After Virus Found in Fluid After 175 Days | Virology News | Scoop.it
Health officials have warned that the Ebola virus can be transmitted through the fluids associated with sexual contact, but  they strengthened their warning after the virus was found longer than expected in a recovered Liberian man. According to the New York Times, the virus was found...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

You survive Ebola, then this?  Life's not fair sometimes....

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Virus hiding in our genome protects early human embryos

Virus hiding in our genome protects early human embryos | Virology News | Scoop.it

We may owe our survival and complexity to a stowaway virus that springs to life in the very first cells of human embryos. Not only does the virus seem to protect embryos from other viruses, but it also assists genes when the groundwork is under way for the body plan of a new human.

The finding backs the controversial idea that viruses which took up residence in our DNA millions of years ago may be playing the role of puppet master, quietly influencing our existence and evolution. 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Old news, but nicely explained.

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Mysterious Childhood Paralysis Linked to a Common Cold Virus

Mysterious Childhood Paralysis Linked to a Common Cold Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

Scientists have found evidence that a polio-like virus called EV-D68 is behind a mysterious outbreak of paralysis in children [in the USA] last year.

 

LAST YEAR, HUNDREDS of children across the country got sick with what looked like a common cold. Nothing to worry about: body aches, runny nose, coughing and sneezing. But then, mysteriously, a handful of those kids became paralyzed—first, just in an arm or a leg, and then spreading so far that some children needed a ventilator to breathe. The CDC reports that since August 2014, at least 115 children in 34 states have developed unexplained muscle weakness or paralysis, which they’re now calling acute flaccid myelitis. Doctors have urgently been hunting down the origin of this strange illness for over half a year, and now they think they’ve finally identified the culprit: enterovirus D68.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And it's going to spread...vaccine time, people!

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Bio Restore 24's curator insight, April 19, 2015 9:11 PM

Virus's and Bacteria keep changing their make up so that they can spread easier without being harmed by typical cleaning techniques.

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Virus Infects Winter Cereal Crops

Virus Infects Winter Cereal Crops | Virology News | Scoop.it
TWIN FALLS • A major disease threat to winter wheat and barley has appeared in fields across southern Idaho.

 

Barley yellow dwarf virus “is rampant from Parma to Ririe,” said Juliet Marshall, a University of Idaho Extension cereal pathologist in Idaho Falls. Some growers are killing infected fields and reseeding with other crops.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ah, BYDV...back to my roots of 31 years ago, when I published a paper and a thesis on BYDV in SOuth African small grains.  It's never gone away.

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A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu

A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu | Virology News | Scoop.it
It's related to herpes. And it infects most of the world — about half of Americans, nearly all the developing world. But don't go out and get infected. The virus has a dark side, too.
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HOW THE WORLD LOOKED AWAY WHILE WEST AFRICA BLED: 365 days of Ebola

HOW THE WORLD LOOKED AWAY WHILE WEST AFRICA BLED: 365 days of Ebola | Virology News | Scoop.it
How the world looked away while West Africa bled.

 

Sunday marked a year into the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It has been, and continues to be, a cruel lesson in bureaucratic ineptitude and “First World” disregard for Africans, yet it has also been a year when Africans and Westerners alike have shown fidelity by staring real horror in the face. As Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) international president, Dr Joanne Liu, said in an appeal to UN member states in September: ‘To put out this fire, we must run into the burning building.’

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Major neurosciences initiative launched at UCT and Groote Schuur

Major neurosciences initiative launched at UCT and Groote Schuur | Virology News | Scoop.it
Major neurosciences initiative launched at UCT and Groote Schuur
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Meanwhile. away from faeces-throwing and statues...

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2,000 died in UK through blood infected with HIV or Hep C 30 yrs ago

2,000 died in UK through blood infected with HIV or Hep C 30 yrs ago | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Government will apologise this week for the infection of thousands of patients with deadly diseases through contaminated blood products, three decades ago.
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A new look at plant viruses and their potential beneficial roles in crops

Twenty years ago most people (including many scientists) thought of bacteria solely as agents of disease, best treated with disinfectants and antibiotics. Today, most of us are aware that bacteria make up almost 90% of the cells in our bodies, and play a critical role in digestion and the immune response. In plants, bacteria also form important mutualistic relationships, providing nitrogen fixation, growth enhancement and defence against pathogens, and undoubtedly a host of other functions that have yet to be described. The stigma of bacteria has changed dramatically in recent decades, and most people are aware that we need our good microbes.

Although there have been recent efforts to characterize the plant microbiome with a focus on finding beneficial microbes, viruses generally have not been included in the beneficial microbe lists (Berg et al., 2014, and references cited therein). Recent work has indicated that they can also play important and beneficial roles in plants, especially in extreme environments in which they are involved in conferring tolerance to drought, cold and hot soil temperatures (Roossinck, 2011). Beneficial viruses are defined for the purposes of this discussion as viruses that provide a trait to crop plants that increases their value or growth potential, or decreases the need for the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

 
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Egypt’s Avian Flu Surge Lacks an Explanation

Egypt’s Avian Flu Surge Lacks an Explanation | Virology News | Scoop.it
Cases of H5N1 have inexplicably increased, and a study of genetic sequences in victims shows some mutations that may make humans more susceptible.

 

Cases of H5N1 avian flu have been surging in Egypt since the fall. Egypt has now passed Indonesia as the country with the most human cases in total since the virus was first found in Hong Kong almost 20 years ago.

About a third of the 336 cases Egypt has reported to theWorld Health Organization since 2006 have been fatal. H5N1 avian flu still has killed more people in Indonesia.

Despite the sudden unexplained increase — Egypt has officially reported 125 cases since January — the World Health Organization said the country’s “current risk status” has not changed.

Nearly all cases still appear to involve contact with poultry; the disease has long been endemic in birds throughout Egypt, where many households have small poultry flocks. Transmission from birds to humans continues to be sporadic, the W.H.O. said.

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Ebola Lying in Wait

Ebola Lying in Wait | Virology News | Scoop.it
The virus may have been in West Africa for years, or decades, before last year’s outbreak.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Forget zombies: Ebola is out there, waiting for you....

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Measles kills 6 in Margibi, Liberia

Measles kills 6 in Margibi, Liberia | Virology News | Scoop.it

As Margibi County observes the eradication of Ebola for more than 42 days without a new case, another disease has hit the county, killing at least six persons.

Speaking to reporters in Kakata, Margibi County on Friday, 10 April the County Mobilization Coordinator for UNICEF, Sophie Reeves, disclosed that there are about 77 measles cases with six deaths reported in the county.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Poor folk can't catch a break...but that's why you vaccinate - and they couldn't, what with Ebola.

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HIV breakthrough 'imminent', says virus' discoverer

HIV breakthrough 'imminent', says virus' discoverer | Virology News | Scoop.it

Nobel laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi‚ who co-discovered the virus that causes Aids‚ believes it is possible that one day people will live with HIV‚ without taking medicine and yet remain healthy and un-infectious.

She was speaking at the Sci-Bono centre in Johannesburg on Friday.

Barre-Sinoussi believes a cure that will completely eliminate HIV from the body is "impossible". But she says sending the virus into remission is possible.

The scientist explained that clinical remission is when the virus is still in the body‚ but it is not replicating‚ not attacking the cells and the person cannot transmit HIV.

The virus would also not be activating the carrier's immune system and causing inflammation in the body‚ which is linked to lifestyle disease such as heart disease and cancer.

The reason she believes remission is possible is because up to three in 1000 HIV-positive people naturally send the virus into remission and never require medicine. They are called elite controllers. These are people whose bodies stop the virus replicating and remain healthy 20 years after infection without antiretroviral medication.

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Wild rabbits being poisoned by carrots laced with deadly virus

Wild rabbits being poisoned by carrots laced with deadly virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Local councils in greater Sydney scattered the vegetables, which are laced with the haemorrhaging inducing calicivirus, in public areas to reduce the extensive damage rabbits cause.

 

Easter is over for the wild rabbits of greater Sydney as councils and parks prepare another attempt to kill them off with strategically placed carrots that have been laced with a deadly virus.

Public land managers are desperate to reduce the most recent 'significantly rampant population' of the pest, which causes millions of dollars of major agricultural and environmental damage each year.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Deadly only to rabbits, we will note - and in Australia. Your kids are safe B-)

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Lack of Marburg Virus Transmission From Experimentally Infected to Susceptible In-Contact Egyptian Fruit Bats

Lack of Marburg Virus Transmission From Experimentally Infected to Susceptible In-Contact Egyptian Fruit Bats | Virology News | Scoop.it

Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) were inoculated subcutaneously (n = 22) with Marburg virus (MARV). No deaths, overt signs of morbidity, or gross lesions was identified, but microscopic pathological changes were seen in the liver of infected bats. The virus was detected in 15 different tissues and plasma but only sporadically in mucosal swab samples, urine, and fecal samples. Neither seroconversion nor viremia could be demonstrated in any of the in-contact susceptible bats (n = 14) up to 42 days after exposure to infected bats. In bats rechallenged (n = 4) on day 48 after infection, there was no viremia, and the virus could not be isolated from any of the tissues tested. This study confirmed that infection profiles are consistent with MARV replication in a reservoir host but failed to demonstrate MARV transmission through direct physical contact or indirectly via air. Bats develop strong protective immunity after infection with MARV.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

From our very own NICD!

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New, whole-virus vaccine for Ebola effective in primates

New, whole-virus vaccine for Ebola effective in primates | Virology News | Scoop.it
Novel whole virus vaccine offers promising protection against Ebola infection

 

A study published in Science demonstrates that vaccination with a mutated form of the Ebola virus provides some measure of protection to non-human primates. This finding places the vaccine one step closer to clinical trials in humans.

The researchers publishing this study have developed what’s called a “whole virus” vaccine for Ebola. Viruses have proteins on their exterior and genetic material on their interior. Whole virus vaccines present the host’s immune system with multiple viral proteins and the viral genetic material. These vaccines trigger broader immune system responses than vaccines that only present a single protein from the virus. Whole virus vaccines have had widespread success in offering protection against potentially deadly diseases such as smallpox, measles, and influenza.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

NOW everyone starts getting Ebola results...never mind, it'll be along again shortly - like flu.

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Researchers Use Polio Virus for Cancer Treatment

Researchers Use Polio Virus for Cancer Treatment | Virology News | Scoop.it
The cure to cancer could come from researchers at the Duke University Hospital Cancer Center.


Duke Medicine’s Dr. Matthias Gromeier has been working on a Glioblastoma treatment using a modified polio virus for more than 25-years.

Now, Duke researchers are testing the treatment and trials show it is working for some patients. 

After doctors told Clara Guy she had six to 18-months to live, she transferred to Duke Medicine’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, where she became a stage four Glioblastoma research patient.  Glioblastoma is an aggressive and fast growing type of brain cancer.

"It's a big word...Glioblastoma is so much than a four letter word, and it really ought to be,” she said.

Guy was under the regulate vaccine trial.

"It turns your immune system onto high gear to teach it to fight the cancer cells,” she said. 

Neurooncologist Dr. Annick Desjardins is using the genetically modified polio virus as treatment for some patients during Phase One of the research. 

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Liberia: Ebola Vaccine Tests Show It Could 'Neutralise' Virus

Liberia: Ebola Vaccine Tests Show It Could 'Neutralise' Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
An experimental Ebola vaccine tested on humans in Europe and Africa sparks the production of the antibodies needed to neutralize the deadly virus, a Geneva hospital said Wednesday.

Initial clinical trials of the VSV-ZEBOV candidate vaccine, manufactured by the Public Health Agency of Canada and developed by Merck, show that it "triggers the production of antibodies capable of neutralizing the Ebola virus," the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) said in a statement.

 
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Ebola: it hasn't gone away.

Ebola: it hasn't gone away. | Virology News | Scoop.it

We've just got blase about it.  And we shouldn't be - because even as the epidemic declines, there are more cases per day than in ANY previous outbreak.  

 

Ebola replication graphic from Russell Kightley Media

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Avian influenza H7N9 human infection emerged 2 years ago...

Seems like only 365 days ago I wrote about H7N9 being 1 year old.
Now - it's another year later.

Via Mel Melendrez-Vallard
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