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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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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The students who feel they have the right to cheat

The students who feel they have the right to cheat | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ummmmmm...all of them??  Present company excepted, of course!

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Infection Secrets of Ebola Explained

Infection Secrets of Ebola Explained | Virology News | Scoop.it
By attacking the body's first responders, the virus cripples the immune system before it can mount an effective defense
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice account of how Ebolaviruses cause disease.

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Ebola and dogs: testing not automatic euthanasia?

ve to love dog lovers - because I am sure THE World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is calling for dogs that are exposed to the Ebola virus in countries that are not endemic for the disease to be tested and quarantined rather than be automatically euthanased. The call follows the euthanasia of the pet dog belonging to a Spanish health worker who was infected by the virus after caring for a missionary who died from Ebola.

The WSAVA reports that the dog was euthanased against the health worker's wishes on October 8 on the orders of the Spanish government. The Madrid regional government obtained a court order to euthanase the dog, claiming that ‘available scientific information’ could not rule out ‘a risk of contagion’. The WSAVA says that quarantine was not considered as an alternative. People who have come into contact with the health worker have been placed in quarantine.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

You have to love dog lovers - but I really don't think people are going to be testing too many dogs in outbreak areas! 

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Phase II Clinical Efficacy Data of Cervical Cancer Therapeutic DNA Vaccine

Phase II Clinical Efficacy Data of Cervical Cancer Therapeutic DNA Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Inovio Presents Phase II Clinical Efficacy Data at the 15th World Vaccine Congress
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Ebola Virus Disease Information Page: University of Cape Town

Ebola Virus Disease Information Page: University of Cape Town | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

A welcome informational addition, by my hard-worked Med School colleagues

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Breathable Ebola Vaccine Protects Nonhuman Primates

A single dose of a breathable Ebola vaccine has been shown to provide long-lasting protection to nonhuman primates. The vaccine, a respiratory formulation based on an adenovirus, improved survival of immunized nonhuman primates from 67 to 100% after the challenge with 1,000 plaque-forming units of Ebola Zaire—the strain currently ravaging West Africa. Protection was recorded to last as long as 150 days after immunization.

These results emerged from a preclinical study that was led by Maria Croyle, Ph.D., an associate professor of pharmaceutics at the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Pharmacy, and Gary Kobinger, Ph.D., head of vector design and immunotherapy at the National Microbiology Laboratoryin Winnipeg. The researchers summarized their findings November 1 in the journal Molecular Pharmaceutics, in an article entitled, “A Single Dose Respiratory Recombinant Adenovirus-Based Vaccine Provides Long-Term Protection for Non-Human Primates from Lethal Ebola Infection.”

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Circovirus in Dogs FAQ

Circovirus in Dogs FAQ | Virology News | Scoop.it
This page answers pet owners' common questions about the recently discovered canine circovirus and its possible role in disease in dogs.
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Ebola outbreak: Virus 'spreading quickly' in Sierra Leone

Ebola outbreak: Virus 'spreading quickly' in Sierra Leone | Virology News | Scoop.it
Just as the Ebola crisis in Liberia appears to be beginning to improve, the outbreak in neighbouring Sierra Leone takes a turn for the worse.
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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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What factors might have led to the emergence of Ebola in West Africa?

What factors might have led to the emergence of Ebola in West Africa? | Virology News | Scoop.it

An Ebola outbreak of unprecedented scope emerged in West Africa in December 2013 and presently continues unabated in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Ebola is not new to Africa and outbreaks have been confirmed as far back as 1976. The current West African Ebola outbreak is the largest ever recorded and differs dramatically from prior outbreaks in its duration, number of people affected, and geographic extent. The emergence of this deadly disease in West Africa invites many questions, foremost among these: Why now and why in West Africa? Here, we review the sociological, ecological, and environmental drivers that might have influenced the emergence of Ebola in this region of Africa and its spread throughout the region. Containment of the West African Ebola outbreak is the most pressing, immediate need. A comprehensive assessment of the drivers of Ebola emergence and sustained human-to-human transmission is also needed in order to prepare other countries for importation or emergence of this disease.  Such assessment includes identification of country-level protocols and interagency policies for outbreak detection and rapid response, increased understanding of cultural and traditional risk factors within and between nations, delivery of culturally embedded public health education, and regional coordination and collaboration, particularly with governments and health ministries throughout Africa. Public health education is also urgently needed in countries outside of Africa in order to ensure that risk is properly understood and public concerns do not escalate unnecessarily. To prevent future outbreaks, coordinated, multiscale, early warning systems should be developed that make full use of these integrated assessments, partner with local communities in high-risk areas, and provide clearly defined response recommendations specific to the needs of each community.

 
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Camels are MERS Virus Reservoirs

Camels are MERS Virus Reservoirs | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers have concluded that these animals, known as the “ships of the desert,” can ferry the deadly coronavirus, perhaps infecting people.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting idea: vaccinate camels to stop them shedding.  Now - to make the vaccine in plants!

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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 diseaseNovember 5, 2014

The vaccine was found to be very safe and well tolerated in the 15 healthy human volunteers who took part in the phase 1 safety trial.

A trial to test the efficacy of the vaccine is now underway among intravenous drug users in two sites in the USA. It is the first hepatitis C vaccine to reach this stage of clinical trials.

The aim is to see if the vaccine is able to offer any protection from infection in this group at high risk of hepatitis C compared with placebo.

‘The size and breadth of the immune responses seen in the healthy volunteers are unprecedented in magnitude for a hepatitis C vaccine,’ says principal investigator Professor Ellie Barnes of the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University.

The Oxford University team, with colleagues from the Italian biotechnology company Okairos (now part of GSK) and Stanford University in the USA, have published their results in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

 

HCV particles courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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Norovirus: The Perfect Pathogen Emerges From the Shadows

Norovirus: The Perfect Pathogen Emerges From the Shadows | Virology News | Scoop.it
As the year comes to a close, people are starting to puke. The notorious stomach bug known as norovirus is starting its annual rampage,, which will last from late fall through winter. A couple year...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

In the US and Canada, obviously. We don't do that here B-) Or this time of the year, anyway.

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Ebola: Prevention and Containment video

Ebola: Prevention and Containment video | Virology News | Scoop.it

Diagnostics analyst Aish Vivekanadan with Frost & Sullivan's global Life Sciences practices sheds light on why Ebola is so hard to treat, currently available diagnostic tests, companies pursuing other tests and the roadblocks in the way of progress.

 
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Taking Shots at Ebola: another company jumps on the bandwagon

Taking Shots at Ebola: another company jumps on the bandwagon | Virology News | Scoop.it
With an infusion of public and private resources and accelerated regulatory processes, a handful of companies are racing to develop a vaccine to curb the Ebola epidemic.
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Ebola vaccine story shows folly of free-market drugs

Ebola vaccine story shows folly of free-market drugs | Virology News | Scoop.it
Canadian public-sector scientists’ creation of a promising vaccine against Ebola is a major coup, but its subsequent licensing to a U.S. firm, which delayed human trials, reveals the downside of the profit motive
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I can only agree - BUT with the caveat that vaccines that are needed in the developing world should be backed by governments directly funding Pharma; others should maybe be left alone.

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The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is Forgetting the Polio Epidemic

The Anti-Vaccine Movement Is Forgetting the Polio Epidemic | Virology News | Scoop.it
On the 100th anniversary of Jonas Salk's birth, his son Peter talks about the backlash against vaccines and other human factors that make it difficult to eradicate deadly viruses.
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