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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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The CDC Tells More of the Truth than Usual about Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

When U.S. public health agencies acknowledge the limitations of the influenza vaccine – which they do much less often than they should – they tend to use a phrase like “less than perfect.” “Less than adequate” would capture the situation better.

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

...but it's still an excellent idea to get vaccinated.  ESPECIALLY in a bad flu season.

 

Thanks Chris Upton!

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Aging cells lose their grip on DNA rogues | News | R&D Magazine

Aging cells lose their grip on DNA rogues | News | R&D Magazine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Transposable elements are mobile strands of DNA that insert themselves into chromosomes with mostly harmful consequences.

Cells have evolved ways to defend themselves, but in a new study, Brown University researchers describe how cells lose this ability as they age, possibly resulting in a decline in their function and health.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Yet ANOTHER reason not to get old...B-(

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Why Death for Distributing Polio Vaccine in Pakistan?

Why Death for Distributing Polio Vaccine in Pakistan? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Vaccine News Daily (blog)
Why Death for Distributing Polio Vaccine in Pakistan?
Global Voices Online
The huge rise in militancy across Pakistan (pdf), is also creating a number of hazards for aid workers.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I have three little letters for you: C.I.A.  Oh, and throw in the big bad Osama.

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Virus study may signal trouble for animal populations facing climate change

Virus study may signal trouble for animal populations facing climate change | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study suggests that some organisms, such as manatees, polar bears or cheetahs, may be in for a rough time as they try to adapt to climate change.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Fascinating stuff, and a tour de force in in vitro virology - but extrapolating from vesicaulr stomatitis virus to polar bears??  Bit of a stretch!

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INSIGHT-Revived search for a TB vaccine may be about to pay off

CHICAGO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - After nearly 100 years,researchers could be on the verge of finding a vaccine thatwould eradicate tuberculosis infections, a scourge that kills1.4 million people a year.Global...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

OK, it's not a virus, but it's an honorary member of the nasties club.  And big news is just around the corner - out of South Africa!

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Schmallenberg Virus Pathogenesis, Tropism and Interaction with the Innate Immune System of the Host

Schmallenberg Virus Pathogenesis, Tropism and Interaction with the Innate Immune System of the Host | Virology News | Scoop.it

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was discovered in Germany (near the town of Schmallenberg) in November 2011 and since then has been found to be the cause of malformations and stillbirths in ruminants. SBV has spread very rapidly to many European countries including the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Very little is known about the biological properties of this virus and there is no vaccine available. In this study (i) we developed an approach (called reverse genetics) that allows the recovery of “synthetic” SBV under laboratory conditions; (ii) we developed a mouse model of infection for SBV; (iii) we showed that SBV replicates in neurons of experimentally infected mice similar to naturally infected lambs and calves; (iv) we developed viral mutants that are not as pathogenic as the original virus due to the inability to counteract the host cell defenses; and v) we identified mutations that are associated with increased virulence. This work provides the experimental tools to understand how this newly emerged virus causes disease in ruminants. In addition, it will now be possible to manipulate the SBV genome in order to develop highly effective vaccines.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

A timely paper on a serious new emerging virus of livestock.

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Dual Short Upstream Open Reading Frames Control Translation of a Herpesviral Polycistronic mRNA

Dual Short Upstream Open Reading Frames Control Translation of a Herpesviral Polycistronic mRNA | Virology News | Scoop.it

Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent of multicentric Castleman's disease, primary effusion lymphoma and Kaposi's sarcoma. KSHV expresses a number of transcripts with the potential to generate multiple proteins, yet relies on the cellular translation machinery that is primed to synthesize only one protein per mRNA. Here we report that the viral transcript encompassing ORF35–37 is able to direct synthesis of two proteins and that the translational switch is regulated by two short upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in the native 5′ untranslated region. uORFs are elements commonly found upstream of mammalian genes that function to interfere with unrestrained ribosomal scanning and thus repress translation of the major ORF. The sequence of the viral uORF appears unimportant, and instead functions to position the translation machinery in a location that favors translation of the downstream major ORF, via a reinitiation mechanism. Thus, KSHV uses a host strategy generally reserved to repress translation to instead allow for the expression of an internal gene.

 
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One Of My Favorite Charts On The Power Of Vaccines

One Of My Favorite Charts On The Power Of Vaccines | Virology News | Scoop.it
I'm posting this because I found the graphic in a file folder on my computer and didn't want to lose it. It's originally from my profile of Bill Gates from last year's Forbes Power List issue.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen!

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HIV-like viruses in non-human primates have existed much longer than previously thought

HIV-like viruses in non-human primates have existed much longer than previously thought | Virology News | Scoop.it
Viruses similar to those that cause AIDS in humans were present in non-human primates in Africa at least five million years ago and perhaps up to 12 million years ago, according to new study.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Which could account very nicely for why those viruses do not, or seldom, cause immunodeficiency diseases in those primates.  Sadly, we cannot wait for evolution for fix our disease problems.

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Antibiotic 'apocalypse' warning

Antibiotic 'apocalypse' warning | Virology News | Scoop.it
The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Phages!

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Greenpeace's crime against humanity | The National Business Review

Greenpeace's crime against humanity  | The National Business Review | Virology News | Scoop.it
A co-founder of the group accuses it of preventing a cure for widespread vitamin A deficiency.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Luddites.  And like Luddites, they will be crushed and forgotten.

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Cervical cancer vaccine for girls must be given to gay men due to increase in anal cancer, says BMA

Cervical cancer vaccine for girls must be given to gay men due to increase in anal cancer, says BMA | Virology News | Scoop.it
The national programme to vaccinate young girls against a sexually transmitted virus which can cause cervical cancer should be extended to gay men, doctors say.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Makes simple sense!

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Global Control and Regional Elimination of Measles, 2000–2011


Via Chris Upton + helpers
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Genetically modified tobacco plants produce antibodies to treat rabies

Genetically modified tobacco plants produce antibodies to treat rabies | Virology News | Scoop.it
Smoking tobacco is bad for your health, but a genetically altered version of the plant might provide an inexpensive cure for the deadly rabies virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Going green...seriously, plants represent an extremely useful alternative production system for many biologicals - and especially for antibodies.  Some day, all monoclonals will be made this way...B-)

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Patients can emit small, influenza-containing particles into the air during routine care

Patients can emit small, influenza-containing particles into the air during routine care | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study suggests that patients with influenza can emit small virus-containing particles into the surrounding air during routine patient care, potentially exposing health care providers to influenza.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...so not just sneezing, and larger particles, then!  Sounds like a good justification for barrier nursing especially for severely infected patients.

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Genetically modified version of herpes virus 'can block spread of ovarian and breast cancer'

Genetically modified version of herpes virus 'can block spread of ovarian and breast cancer' | Virology News | Scoop.it
A genetically modified type of herpes has been created by scientists at the University of Bologna to limit the spread of breast and ovarian cancer.

Scientists believe the virus, which has been reprogrammed so it no longer harms humans, could form the basis of a potent new cancer treatment.

The 'oncolytic' herpes simplex virus (HSV) attacks especially aggressive tumours that have an over-active Her-2 gene.

 

The HSV virus attacks aggressive breast cancer tumours and limits how much they spread

Breast cancer drug Herceptin was designed to target the same cell sub-group.

When the modified virus was injected into mice growing human breast and ovarian tumours, it strongly inhibited the spread of cancer cells.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2271532/Genetically-modified-version-herpes-virus-block-spread-ovarian-breast-cancer.html#ixzz2JeAqvAP7 
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I do so like the idea of putting viruses to work - another piece of good news for today using viral vectors for other purposes!

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'Universal HPV vaccination' call

'Universal HPV vaccination' call | Virology News | Scoop.it
School boys in the UK should receive the HPV vaccine to protect against throat cancer, a charity has urged.

The jab was introduced in 2008 for girls, to immunise them against the virus that causes cervical cancer.

The Throat Cancer Foundation says the vaccine protects against other cancers and has urged the government to extend the programme to all 12-year-olds.

So far Australia is the only country to routinely offer universal vaccination to boys and girls.

The measure has also been recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Too true - but not ONLY for oropharyngeal cancer; men are the other half of the sexually-transmitted HPV equation, after all.

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Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever in South Africa

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice little info sheet on a potentially big problem

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PLOS Pathogens: The Importance of Prions

PLOS Pathogens: The Importance of Prions | Virology News | Scoop.it

While agent host-range and strain properties convinced early researchers of a viral etiology, the once unorthodox postulate that prion transmission occurs by conformational corruption of host-encoded cellular prion protein (PrPC) by a pathogenic isoform (PrPSc) is now widely accepted. Indeed, conformational templating is increasingly understood to be a general mechanism of protein-mediated information transfer and pathogenesis. The high infectivity of prions, their capacity to cause neurodegeneration in genetically tractable animal models, as well as the ability to culture prions in cells, or under cell-free conditions using defined components, provide finely controlled experimental settings in which to elucidate general mechanisms for all diseases involving protein conformational templating, and thus to develop integrated therapeutic approaches.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

These things have fascinated me since I heard and read about kuru and scrapie as a student - and they still do.  Alternative protein folding as a route to pathology - and transmissible!

 

Prion transmission graphic by Russell Kightley Media.

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123 Against HPV - info

This website provides information for the general
public on HPV (Human Papillomavirus), its links
with cervical cancer and genital warts, and the
HPV vaccination.


Via Chris Upton + helpers
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Drinking water unexpectedly rich in microbial life

Drinking water unexpectedly rich in microbial life | Virology News | Scoop.it
Flow cytometry can now be officially used for the quantification of microbial cells in drinking water. The new analytical method provides much more realistic results than the conventional method, in which bacterial colonies are grown on agar plates.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Pretty much mirrors phage practicals we used to do in MCB here at UCT: tap water was always cleaner in terms of coliphages than bottled mineral water.  I'd still go with phages over flow cytometry, though: it was exquisitely sensitive, and a LOT cheaper.

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Controversial bird flu work resumes

Controversial bird flu work resumes | Virology News | Scoop.it
Controversial research into making bird flu easier to spread in people is to resume after a year-long pause.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

And about time!  Greetings from Heathrow, VN fans.

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MPL Moves Science Toward An Alzheimer's Vaccine

MPL Moves Science Toward An Alzheimer's Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it

Researchers have discovered a way to stimulate the brain's natural defense mechanisms in people with Alzheimer's disease.

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Ed Rybicki's curator insight, January 17, 2013 5:23 PM

For a change, GOOD news about an unexpected vaccination side-effect!  I'm going to get me some MPL...wait a minute, I have some!  What was I talking about again?

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Influenza spreading across Western Europe

Influenza spreading across Western Europe | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I suppose it makes the news every year.  Time that changed.

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Flublok, a Flu Vaccine, Wins F.D.A. Approval

Flublok, a Flu Vaccine, Wins F.D.A. Approval | Virology News | Scoop.it
The vaccine, called Flublok, can be ready more quickly in the event of a pandemic and, unlike current vaccines, will be an option for those allergic to eggs.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

...made via recombinant baculoviruses.  Wonder why it took so long?!

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