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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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Preliminary Malaria Vaccine Trial a Success - sort of

Preliminary Malaria Vaccine Trial a Success - sort of | Virology News | Scoop.it

A vaccine made from weakened malaria parasites appeared to protect participants in a small clinical trial from malaria infection, according to a study published yesterday (August 8) in Science.

“Scientists and health care providers have made significant gains in characterizing, treating, and preventing malaria,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in a press release. “We are encouraged by this important step forward.”

Rockville, Maryland-based biotech Sanaria made the vaccine by irradiating parasite-infected mosquitoes, harvesting weakened parasites from the mosquitoes’ salivary glands, and cryopreserving them.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ye-esssss...and harvesting whole parasites from the salivary glands of irradiated insects is a viable, scalable process for making vaccines for hundreds of millions of people?  Don't think so!

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HIV and the potential collapse of the Malaysian fishing industry

HIV and the potential collapse of the Malaysian fishing industry | Virology News | Scoop.it
Astro Awani In Focus: HIV and the potential collapse of the Malaysian fishing industry Astro Awani KUALA LUMPUR: Standing amongst a dozen of drug addicts in a filthy, bloodstained and almost dilapidated wooden shack, nothing quite prepared me for...
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More HIV moms choose breastfeeding - Independent Online

More HIV moms choose breastfeeding - Independent Online | Virology News | Scoop.it
Independent Online More HIV moms choose breastfeeding Independent Online Cape Town - More HIV-positive mothers in the Western Cape are opting for breast-feeding over formula feeding as the government intensifies its campaign for women to...
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Brazilian scientists to test AIDS vaccine on monkeys

Brazilian scientists to test AIDS vaccine on monkeys | Virology News | Scoop.it
The vaccine against HIV was developed and patented by a team from the Medicine Faculty of the University of Sao Paulo (Brazilian scientists to test AIDS vaccine on monkeys http://t.co/FCtlVxqAwm)...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

We also used to have an HIV vaccine development programme.  Once.  Now all we have is stuff in freezers and expired clinical lots.  Shame, that.

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SUSPECTED HUMAN-TO-HUMAN INFECTION WITH H7N9 INFLUENZA VIRUS

SUSPECTED HUMAN-TO-HUMAN INFECTION WITH H7N9 INFLUENZA VIRUS | Virology News | Scoop.it

Avian influenza A (H7N9) virus was recently identified in Eastern China. As of 30 Jun 2013, 133 cases have been reported, resulting in 43 deaths. Most cases appear to have visited live poultry markets or had close contact with live poultry 7-10 days before illness onset. Currently, no definite evidence indicates sustained human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus.

A new study reports a family cluster of 2 patients (father and daughter) with H7N9 virus infection in Eastern China in March 2013. The 1st (index) patient -- a 60 year old man -- regularly visited a live poultry market and became ill 5-6 days after his last exposure to poultry. He was admitted to hospital on 11 Mar 2013. When his symptoms became worse, he was transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) on 15 Mar 2013. He was transferred to another ICU on 18 Mar 2013 and died of multi-organ failure on 4 May 2013.

The 2nd patient, his healthy 32-year-old daughter, had no known exposure to live poultry before becoming sick. However, she provided direct and unprotected bedside care for her father in the hospital before his admission to intensive care. She developed symptoms 6 days after her last contact with her father and was admitted to hospital on 24 Mar 2013. She was transferred to the ICU on 28 Mar 2013 and died of multi-organ failure on 24 Apr 2013.
Two almost genetically identical virus strains were isolated from each patient, suggesting transmission from father to daughter.

43 close contacts of both cases were interviewed by public health officials and tested for influenza virus. Of these, one (a son-in-law who helped care for the father) had mild illness, but all contacts tested negative for H7N9 infection. Environmental samples from poultry cages, water at 2 local poultry markets, and swans from the residential area were also tested. One strain was isolated but was genetically different from the 2 strains isolated from the patients.

ProMED-mail

INLFUENZA VIRUS GRAPHIC BY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY MEDIA

Ed Rybicki's insight:

And so it begins...hopefully, not!

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Business travelers: vaccination considerations

Illness in business travelers is associated with reduced productivity on the part of the employee as well as the employer. Immunizations offer a reliable method of preventing infectious diseases for international business travelers. The authors review the travel patterns of business travelers, available data on illnesses they encounter, their potential travel-associated risks for vaccine-preventable diseases and recommendations on immunizations for this population. Routine vaccines (e.g., measles, tetanus and influenza) should be reviewed to assure that they provide current coverage. The combined hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccine with a rapid schedule offers options for those with time constraints. Other vaccine recommendations for business travelers need to focus on their destinations and activities and underlying health, taking into account the concept of cumulative risk for those with frequent travel, multiple trips or long stays.

  
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Before you fly...quite a lucrative niche market.  Except for those who take homeopathic treatments of coruse - who deserve everything they get.

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Pandora virus - covert threat from space?

Pandora virus - covert threat from space? | Virology News | Scoop.it

Moscow (Voice of Russia) Aug 06, 2013 -
It seems that the world is on the threshold of another breakthrough. A huge virus, called the Pandora virus that was discovered accidentally underwater off the Australian coast, has triggered heated debates in the scientific society. What is strange about it and why do many scientists say that it is of extraterrestrial origin?

Ed Rybicki's insight:

They do?  Who said that??  Why would they need to?  We have enough undiscovered life right here, to NOT have to invoke extraterrestrial origins for something that just looks strange.

It's also interesting that whoever did the article simply stuck up some arbitrary virus particle: Pandoravirus [must find proper name!] particles are MUCH more interesting than that.  It was also found off the South American coast OR in a Melbourne pond, not "off the Australian coast"!

I do like the idea of "viruses from outer space", however: we do "Oceanic Viromics'; how much more cool would it be to do "Solar System Viromics", or even "Galactic Viromics"??

I thank AJ Cann for alerting me to this.

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| Top research published in Virology

| Top research published in Virology | Virology News | Scoop.it

New blog highlighting research on viruses published in Elsevier's Virology.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Well worth a look!

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Biosecurity Implications of New Technology and Discovery in Plant Virus Research

Biosecurity Implications of New Technology and Discovery in Plant Virus Research | Virology News | Scoop.it

Human activity is causing new encounters between viruses and plants. Anthropogenic interventions include changing land use, decreasing biodiversity, trade, the introduction of new plant and vector species to native landscapes, and changing atmospheric and climatic conditions. The discovery of thousands of new viruses, especially those associated with healthy-appearing native plants, is shifting the paradigm for their role within the ecosystem from foe to friend. The cost of new plant virus incursions can be high and result in the loss of trade and/or production for short or extended periods.

 

We present and justify three recommendations for plant biosecurity to improve communication about plant viruses, assist with the identification of viruses and their impacts, and protect the high economic, social, environmental, and cultural value of our respective nations' unique flora:

 

1) As part of the burden of proof, countries and jurisdictions should identify what pests already exist in, and which pests pose a risk to, their native flora;

 

2) Plant virus sequences not associated with a recognized virus infection are designated as “uncultured virus” and tentatively named using the host plant species of greatest known prevalence, the word “virus,” a general location identifier, and a serial number; and

 

3) Invest in basic research to determine the ecology of known and new viruses with existing and potential new plant hosts and vectors and develop host-virus pathogenicity prediction tools.

 

These recommendations have implications for researchers, risk analysts, biosecurity authorities, and policy makers at both a national and an international level.

 

TMV image courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

 

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Amen, brothers and sister, amen!!  Points 1 and 3, especially, and especially here at home in South Africa!!

 

It is a bizarre thing: our country has a large share of the worlds's plant biodiversity, yet it is EXTRAORDINARILY hard to get ANY money to do plant virology.

 

Which is why I do biotechnology, vaccinology and human virology these days.

 

It only make sense, though: if you don't know what is present in your plants in terms of viromes, then you don't know what the potential threats are to whatever it is you want to grow.  As it is, South Africa is not actually that good a place to grow anything: we're too dry, and there simply isn't the amount of arable land or decent soil that our northern neighbiours have.

 

Which is why we should be looking at THEIR plant viral diversity....

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Fewer children born with HIV [in SA]

Fewer children born with HIV [in SA] | Virology News | Scoop.it
Sowetan Fewer children born with HIV: Zuma Sowetan "Since there are a million pregnancies per annum in South Africa, with approximately 30 percent HIV prevalence rate in pregnant women, it means that in 2008, a total of 25,000 children were born...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Slowly, slowly, the incidence is going down.  It's taken 20 years!!

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HPV Vaccine Cut Infection by Half in Teen Girls

HPV Vaccine Cut Infection by Half in Teen Girls | Virology News | Scoop.it
ATLANTA (AP) -- A vaccine against a cervical cancer virus cut infections in teen girls by half in the first study to measure the shot′s impact since it came on the market.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Yup!

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Video on influenza virus antigenic drift

NIAID has a terrific 3-minute video that shows how influenza viruses drift over time, and why the flu shot must be frequently updated, which you can view at this link.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Anything to stop people saying "I got flu from the vaccine!"

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Another Scary Danger of HPV

Another Scary Danger of HPV | Virology News | Scoop.it
The sexually transmitted infection can lead to more than just cervical cancer (A scary danger of HPV besides cervical cancer: http://t.co/GIxdHf6j7p)...
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Patenting viruses doesn't restrict research--it gives an incentive to do more research.

Patenting viruses doesn't restrict research--it gives an incentive to do more research. | Virology News | Scoop.it

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people can’t patent isolated human genes, which it considers a product of nature, but they can patent something exceptionally similar: cDNA, a synthesized copy from which someone has removed the noncoding parts. Given that fine line, it’s not entirely clear how the decision will play out in practice or how it will affect work on nonhuman genes. But it’s a hot area of debate.

Earlier this year, Dutch scientists received a patent from their country on the newly discovered MERS virus that killed at least 30 people. The researchers had isolated the virus in their laboratory from a sample sent by a Saudi doctor. The Saudi Ministry of Health protested that the patent would restrict research and lead to more deaths; the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would investigate the legality and take action. But they’ve got it backward. Patents are one of the best tools for quickly fighting disease.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Definitely!  I hate to say it out loud, in this era of "openness", but if you DON'T patent things sometimes, you may well have messed up the use of it for ever - because no-one commercial will touch anything that isn't protected / protectable.

Which means that funky new vaccine you just published on without protecting it will be forever "an interesting paper", but never a product.

The NIH labs, for example, patent everything novel that passes through - because then they have a say in how it is commercialised, and can stop it being blocked by some company that wants to keep its own proprietary product current for that much longer.

Our lab has quite a big patent portfolio, for example: we have something like 14 patent families, and over 60 individual country patents, which gives us a reasonable stock-in-trade when it comes to licencing things to companies.  It has also given us leverage in getting money to work on new / improved versions of vaccines, for example, which has helped keep the lab afloat for a goodly number of years now!

We also negotiated rights to licencing / commercialisation for certain things, such as guarantees for low pricing for South Africa and Africa, keeping all rights for Africa and sharing rights elsewhere, and so on.

So they can be a tool for good, as well as all the other things they are accused of being!

 

Thanks, Arvind Varsani, for alerting me to this.

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Ugandan activists call for early action on barriers for generic HIV drugs

Ugandan activists call for early action on barriers for generic HIV drugs | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ugandan activists call for early action on barriers for generic HIV drugs Africa Science News Service Human rights organisations warn that action must start now to protect the lives of thousands of Ugandans on HIV treatment, who stand to suffer...
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A new home-based HPV test is launched in SA - Sowetan

A new home-based HPV test is launched in SA - Sowetan | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new home-based HPV test is launched in SA
Sowetan
A new cervical cancer screening test looks set to revolutionise the way in which women are tested for this disease.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Anything to drop the incidence!  The problem in SA is that women often don't go back to clinics to get their results - especially in rural areas.  This means that progression to Ca cervix can go unnoticed until it is too late.

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Immunogenic assessment of plant-produced human papillomavirus type 16 L1/L2 chimaeras

Immunogenic assessment of plant-produced human papillomavirus type 16 L1/L2 chimaeras | Virology News | Scoop.it

Cervical cancer is caused by infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV) and is a global concern, particularly in developing countries, which have ~80% of the burden. HPV L1 virus-like particle (VLP) type–restricted vaccines prevent new infections and associated disease. However, their high cost has limited their application, and cytological screening programmes are still required to detect malignant lesions associated with the nonvaccine types. Thus, there is an urgent need for cheap second-generation HPV vaccines that protect against multiple types. The objective of this study was to express novel HPV-16 L1-based chimaeras, containing cross-protective epitopes from the L2 minor capsid protein, in tobacco plants. These L1/L2 chimaeras contained epitope sequences derived from HPV-16 L2 amino acid 108–120, 56–81 or 17–36 substituted into the C-terminal helix 4 (h4) region of L1 from amino acid 414. All chimaeras were expressed inNicotiana benthamiana via an Agrobacterium-mediated transient system and targeted to chloroplasts. The chimaeras were highly expressed with yields of ~1.2 g/kg plant tissue; however, they assembled differently, indicating that the length and nature of the L2 epitope affect VLP assembly. The chimaera containing L2 amino acids 108–120 was the most successful candidate vaccine. It assembled into small VLPs and elicited anti-L1 and anti-L2 responses in mice, and antisera neutralized homologous HPV-16 and heterologous HPV-52 pseudovirions. The other chimaeras predominantly assembled into capsomeres and other aggregates and elicited weaker humoral immune responses, demonstrating the importance of VLP assembly for the immunogenicity of candidate vaccines.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Find trumpet - blow...B-)

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Dying Worms Emit Ethereal Glow

Dying Worms Emit Ethereal Glow | Virology News | Scoop.it
A head-to-tail wave of blue fluorescence signals the death of a nematode worm.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Creepy..."Don't go towards the light...oh, no!  The light's coming towards you!"

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Hidden strains of HPV found in 'virus-negative' genital warts

Hidden strains of HPV found in 'virus-negative' genital warts | Virology News | Scoop.it

Cervical cancer and genital warts are caused by HPV. However, testing for the virus using standard techniques can sometimes give a negative result—in these cases, the condylomas are called 'virus-negative' warts.

In a new study published in Virology, researchers assessed the DNA found in samples taken from 40 patients with 'virus-negative' genital warts. Through a general DNA sequencing approach, the researchers showed that several of the negative samples did in fact contain HPV DNA.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not TOO surprising: there were always going to be more to discover!

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Israel to launch limited active polio virus campaign in south

Israel said on Sunday it was launching a campaign to administer the active polio vaccine to children in its southern region after tests detected at least 1,000 carriers of the virus in that area, though none were found to be ill with the disease.

The Health Ministry said it was recommending that children born after January 2004, but not younger than two months, report to publicly-funded clinics to be administered oral drops of a weakened active virus vaccine beginning on Monday.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

"In the South"...meaning that it is potentially getting in via peoples who have been influenced into NOT getting vaccinated, as a result of certain covert activities in Pakistan?  Just maybe?

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Could We Soon See a Vaccine for HIV?

Could We Soon See a Vaccine for HIV? | Virology News | Scoop.it
The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention, care, and treatment programs.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nah.  Not for years...B-(

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Three new cases of MERS virus confirmed in Saudi: WHO - Fox News

Three new cases of MERS virus confirmed in Saudi: WHO - Fox News | Virology News | Scoop.it
Straits Times Three new cases of MERS virus confirmed in Saudi: WHO Fox News GENEVA (AFP) – Three women have contracted the deadly MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, which has been hardest hit by the enigmatic disease, the World Health Organisation said...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It's not going away, is it?

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The HIV and Viral Hepatitis Epidemic

Dr. John Ward, Director of CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis, brings to the table the similarities between the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C epidemics and the ...
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Garlic Soup Made With 52 Cloves of Garlic Can [NOT! - Ed] Defeat Colds, Flu and Even Norovirus

Garlic Soup Made With 52 Cloves of Garlic Can [NOT! - Ed] Defeat Colds, Flu and Even Norovirus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Forget the flu shot. A soup based on more than 50 cloves of garlic, onions, thyme and lemon will destroy almost any virus that enters its path including colds, flu and even norovirus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I don't believe a word!  But mmmmm, garlic!  B-)

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HPV vaccine: Safe, effective, and grossly underutilized

HPV vaccine: Safe, effective, and grossly underutilized | Virology News | Scoop.it
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and pediatricians are frustrated that large numbers of U.S.
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