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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 vaccine that means coeliacs can eat wheat

The vaccine that means coeliacs can eat wheat | Virology News | Scoop.it
A vaccine that stops the body reacting to one of the main ingredients in bread could allow thousands of coeliac sufferers to eat a normal diet.
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Europe risks 'vaccine fatigue' | Vaccines Today

Europe risks 'vaccine fatigue' | Vaccines Today | Virology News | Scoop.it
The return of diseases such as measles and pertussis call for a Europe-wide response, according to Dr Karin Kadenbach, a member of the European Parliament | Vaccines Today.
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Full-Length HIV-1 Immunogens better than Conserved-Region-Only HIV-1 Immunogens in Rhesus Monkeys

"A global HIV-1 vaccine will likely need to induce immune responses against conserved HIV-1 regions to contend with the profound genetic diversity of HIV-1. Here we evaluated the capacity of immunogens consisting of only highly conserved HIV-1 sequences that are aimed at focusing cellular immune responses on these potentially critical regions. We assessed in rhesus monkeys the breadth and magnitude of T lymphocyte responses elicited by adenovirus vectors expressing either full-length HIV-1 Gag/Pol/Env immunogens or concatenated immunogens consisting of only highly conserved HIV-1 sequences. Surprisingly, we found that the full-length immunogens induced comparable breadth (P = 1.0) and greater magnitude (P = 0.01) of CD8+ T lymphocyte responses against conserved HIV-1 regions compared with the conserved-region-only immunogens. Moreover, the full-length immunogens induced a 5-fold increased total breadth of HIV-1-specific T lymphocyte responses compared with the conserved-region-only immunogens (P = 0.007). These results suggest that full-length HIV-1 immunogens elicit a substantially increased magnitude and breadth of cellular immune responses compared with conserved-region-only HIV-1 immunogens, including greater magnitude and comparable breadth of responses against conserved sequences.`'

 

Whole natural-looking proteins are better than artificial epitope collections: so let's do more clinical trials!!

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Congo fever on a plane

CRIMEAN-CONGO HAEMORRHAGIC FEVER - UK: (SCOTLAND ex AFGHANISTAN)
AIRLINE PASSENGER
**********************************************************************************
A ProMED-mail post
<http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
<http://www.isid.org>

Date: Thu 5 Oct 2012
Source: BBC News Glasgow and West Scotland [edited]
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-19846300>;

Glasgow Crimean-Congo viral haemorrhagic fever case flown to London
- -------------------------------------------------------------------
A man critically ill with Crimean-Congo viral haemorrhagic fever (CCVHF) has been flown from Glasgow to London in a special RAF [Royal Air Force] isolation plane. The 38-year-old, who had been in Kabul, Afghanistan, was diagnosed hours after returning to Glasgow on Emirates flight EK027 from Dubai on Tuesday [2 Oct 2012]. He was transferred from the city's specialist Brownlee unit [Gartnavel Hospital] to the Royal Free Hospital in London on Friday morning [5 Oct 2012].

Passengers who sat near the man have been contacted and have no symptoms. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) said medical staff would continue to follow up with passengers on the flight from Dubai. The health authority said the risk to all other passengers was "extremely low" and advised anyone with concerns to contact NHS 24 [Emergency Telephone Service].

This is the 1st case of CCVHF in the UK. NHS GGC said the patient's transfer was "in line with the UK-wide protocol for the management of diseases of this severity and rarity." The man was stabilised overnight before being moved in specialist isolation facilities by air with the support of the Scottish Ambulance Service and the RAF. Public health consultant, Dr Syed Ahmed, who is coordinating the investigations into this case, said:

"The risk of person-to-person transmission of Crimean Congo Viral Haemorrhagic Fever is extremely low as it can only be transmitted by direct contact with infected blood or body fluids. It is not a virus which is transmitted through the air. As such the risk to those who were in close contact with him is minimal. We have already made contact with all the patient's close contacts and they are being followed-up appropriately. The decision to transfer the patient to the high security unit at the Royal Free was taken in line with the national protocol for the management of cases such as this."

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A Tail-like Assembly at the Portal Vertex in Intact Herpes Simplex Type-1 Virions

A Tail-like Assembly at the Portal Vertex in Intact Herpes Simplex Type-1 Virions | Virology News | Scoop.it

Or: herpesvirus is a phage....

 

It is estimated that 90% of the world's adult population is infected with Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV), which is responsible for causing cold sores, blindness, encephalitis, even death. One problem faced by all viruses is how to ensure that their genetic material enters the host cell. In viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophage), genome transfer from the virus into the cell is carried out by a specialized structure known as the tail. Studies have shown that bacteriophage and herpesviruses share a common evolutionary origin. However, until now, no tail-like structure has been seen in herpes. We have used newly developed electron microscopy based techniques to identify a structure in HSV, which recapitulates features of the bacteriophage tail and may also be involved in release of DNA from the virus particle at the nuclear pore. Such advances in understanding the structures that drive virus replication may suggest new therapeutic targets to counter viral infection.

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Killers on the loose: the deadly viruses that threaten human survival

Killers on the loose: the deadly viruses that threaten human survival | Virology News | Scoop.it
Could the next big animal-human disease wipe us out?

 

I do so love a good scare story.  Especially about viruses.


Via Chris Upton + helpers
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New HPV vaccine on the horizon

New HPV vaccine on the horizon | Virology News | Scoop.it

"Gardasil protects against the four most common strains of HPV which cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts....a new vaccine that would protect against eight strands [sic] of HPV is almost finished with clinical trials."

 

Widening the net - always a good thing!

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A form of smallpox virus shows potential for treating triple-negative breast cancer

A form of smallpox virus shows potential for treating triple-negative breast cancer | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York City have shown that a new vaccinia virus, acting as both an oncolytic and anti-angiogenic agent, can enter and kill triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells.
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Nature Study Pinpoints Mechanism that Controls AIDS in Rare Cases | Miller School of Medicine | University of Miami

Nature Study Pinpoints Mechanism that Controls AIDS in Rare Cases | Miller School of Medicine | University of Miami | Virology News | Scoop.it

Left untreated, HIV almost always progresses to AIDS in humans, except in about one in 300 HIV-infected people who have an initial burst of viral replication, then control the virus and remain AIDS-free without the medications that have turned the disease from a fatal to a chronic one.
Understanding how these individuals, known as “elite controllers,” suppress replication of a virus that rapidly adapts to the human immune response is a mystery that David I. Watkins, Ph.D., professor of pathology, and his team explain in a seminal study September 30 in the journal Nature. The study, “Vaccine-induced CD8+ T cells control AIDS virus replication,” determined that elite controllers suppress the virus by generating a potent “killer cell” CD8+ T response against just two or three small regions of the virus.

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Religious Leaders With HIV Fight Multiple Stigmas in Kenya

Religious Leaders With HIV Fight Multiple Stigmas in KenyaBig News Network.comLavonga says that a different pastor saved her by introducing her to an organization of preachers, some who were also living with HIV.
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EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO | Virology News | Scoop.it

EBOLA VIRUS DISEASE - DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (16): (ORIENTALE)
********************************************************************
A ProMED-mail post
<http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
<http://www.isid.org>

Date: Thu 27 Sep 2012
Source: News24 Africa, Agence France-Presse report [edited]
<http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/Ebola-claims-more-lives-in-DRC-20120927>;

Ebola claims more lives in DRC
- ------------------------------

An outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] may have killed up to 33 people, while the number of suspected cases has risen, the health ministry said on Thursday [27 Sep 2012]. A total of 79 cases have been recorded, including 19 confirmed positive after laboratory analysis, 32 probable cases and 28 suspected cases, while 33 deaths were registered by 25 Sep 2012, the Ministry announced. 17 of the deaths were confirmed to be caused by Ebola virus infection. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said that the fatality rate was almost 42 percent. The WHO added that a baby born prematurely in the isolation centre in Isiro -- the epicentre of the epidemic in northeastern DRC -- to a mother infected by Ebola virus had died on Thursday, the statement said. In DRC, it was the 1st time a pregnant Ebola disease patient had given birth, because "Ebola disease and pregnancy are almost incompatible," Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said after the baby was born.

 

To date, there is no treatment nor vaccine for Ebola disease, which kills between 25 percent and 90 percent of patients depending on the strain of the virus. There have been 8 outbreaks in the DRC. The disease is transmitted by direct contact with blood, faeces and sweat, by sexual contact and by unprotected handling of contaminated corpses. Currently, 167 people who have been in contact with the 79 reported cases are under surveillance.

 

"We need to manage to follow all the contacts closely and regularly and to that end, we need to strengthen awareness among the population," Benoit Kebela, the head of the health ministry's unit to fight infectious diseases told Agence France-Presse. Among the 79 reported cases, 24 concern health workers. "We are in control of the situation, because we were able to make efforts in hospital measures -- we have protective equipment," added Dr Kebela, who was on a mission to Isiro.

 

An epidemic was declared in mid-August in Orientale province, but the international committee for the fight against Ebola has carried out research and dated the outbreak back to May [2012]. The ministry of health, the WHO, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, and Doctors Without Borders (MSF - Medecins Sans Frontieres) are working in close collaboration to combat the outbreak.

 

- -- Communicated by: ProMED-mail Rapporteur Kunihiko Iizuka

 

[The number of suspected cases continues to increase. Since the previous WHO report of 24 Sep 2012 (Ebola virus disease - Congo DR (15): (OR) WHO 20120927.1312872) the number of reported cases has increased from 46 to 79, although the actual numbers of confirmed and suspected cases remain 19 and 32 respectively. The number of fatalities has increased from 19 (6 confirmed) to 33 (17 confirmed). All the cases identified so far remain confined to the health zones of Isiro and Viadana in Haut-Uele district in Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

A map of the provinces of DRC is available at: <http://www.mapsofworld.com/democratic-republic-of-congo/democratic-republic-of-congo-political-map.html>, and the interactive ProMED-mail/HealthMap can be accessed at:

http://healthmap.org/r/1Ahy. - Mod.CP]

 

Ebola virus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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using bacteriophages to fight acne

http://www.livescience.com/23425-zit-zapping-virus-acne-treatment.html

 

Sounds like a good one to me...B-)  Thanks Natalie Prigozhina!

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The hidden threat of West Nile virus

The hidden threat of West Nile virus | Virology News | Scoop.it

"This year is on track to be the worst on record for West Nile virus in the United States. As of 11 September, more than 2,600 new cases, including 118 deaths, had been reported from across the country to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease range from none (in most people) to life-threatening brain inflammation, and it can leave survivors with long-term disabilities including paralysis and fatigue. Researchers are now investigating suggestions that even mild infections may leave another lasting burden — kidney disease."

 

Why don't they look in Africa?  A lot more people getting it here - for a lot longer.  Thanks @AJCann!

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Fainting, skin issues [the ONLY! side effects] linked to HPV shots

Fainting, skin issues [the ONLY! side effects] linked to HPV shots | Virology News | Scoop.it
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, found the only side effects associated with the HPV vaccine were same-day fainting and skin infections in the two weeks after vaccination.

"The findings from this large, comprehensive study did not detect any evidence of serious safety concerns secondary to HPV4," Klein and colleagues said."These findings support the general safety of routine vaccination with HPV4 to prevent cancer."

...

The authors noted the association between HPV4 vaccine and fainting was not unexpected because immunization and injections in general have a known association -- especially with this age group.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/10/08/Fainting-skin-issues-linked-to-HPV-shots/UPI-27371349734401/#ixzz28ndkc1MA

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Structural Insight into African Horsesickness Virus Infection

Structural Insight into African Horsesickness Virus Infection | Virology News | Scoop.it

"African horsesickness (AHS) is a devastating disease of horses. The disease is caused by the double-stranded RNA-containing African horsesickness virus (AHSV). Using electron cryomicroscopy and three-dimensional image reconstruction, we determined the architecture of an AHSV serotype 4 (AHSV-4) reference strain. The structure revealed triple-layered AHS virions enclosing the segmented genome and transcriptase complex. The innermost protein layer contains 120 copies of VP3, with the viral polymerase, capping enzyme, and helicase attached to the inner surface of the VP3 layer on the 5-fold axis, surrounded by double-stranded RNA. VP7 trimers form a second, T=13 layer on top of VP3. Comparative analyses of the structures of bluetongue virus and AHSV-4 confirmed that VP5 trimers form globular domains and VP2 trimers form triskelions, on the virion surface. We also identified an AHSV-7 strain with a truncated VP2 protein (AHSV-7 tVP2) which outgrows AHSV-4 in culture. Comparison of AHSV-7 tVP2 to bluetongue virus and AHSV-4 allowed mapping of two domains in AHSV-4 VP2, and one in bluetongue virus VP2, that are important in infection. We also revealed a protein plugging the 5-fold vertices in AHSV-4. These results shed light on virus-host interactions in an economically important orbivirus to help the informed design of new vaccines."

 

Well done all!  Nice piece of science, largely out of Africa, on an African virus.  AND they got the cover!

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A Virus-Like Particle That Elicits Cross-Reactive Antibodies to the Conserved Stem of Influenza Virus Hemagglutinin

"The discovery of broadly neutralizing antibodies that recognize highly conserved epitopes in the membrane-proximal region of influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) has revitalized efforts to develop a universal influenza virus vaccine. This effort will likely require novel immunogens that contain these epitopes but lack the variable and immunodominant epitopes located in the globular head of HA. As a first step toward developing such an immunogen, we investigated whether the 20-residue A-helix of the HA2 chain that forms the major component of the epitope of broadly neutralizing antibodies CR6261, F10, and others is sufficient by itself to elicit antibodies with similarly broad antiviral activity. Here, we report the multivalent display of the A-helix on icosahedral virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from the capsid of Flock House virus. Mice immunized with VLPs displaying 180 copies/particle of the A-helix produced antibodies that recognized trimeric HA and the elicited antibodies had binding characteristics similar to those of CR6261 and F10: they recognized multiple HA subtypes from group 1 but not from group 2. However, the anti-A-helix antibodies did not neutralize influenza virus. These results indicate that further engineering of the transplanted peptide is required and that display of additional regions of the epitope may be necessary to achieve protection."

 

Ummmm...so a 20-residue HA peptide dispayed on another virus-like particle didn't elicit neutralising antibodies?  Sorry, not worth a JV paper AFAIAC!

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Seasonal Pulses of Marburg Virus Circulation in Juvenile Rousettus aegyptiacus Bats Coincide with Periods of Increased Risk of Human Infection

Seasonal Pulses of Marburg Virus Circulation in Juvenile Rousettus aegyptiacus Bats Coincide with Periods of Increased Risk of Human Infection | Virology News | Scoop.it

Or: More reasons to fear the bat.

 

"Marburg virus, like its close relative Ebola virus, can cause large outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever with case fatalities nearing 90%. For decades the identity of the natural reservoir was unknown. However, in 2007 Marburg viruses were isolated directly from Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) that inhabited a Ugandan gold mine where miners were previously infected. Soon after, two tourists became infected with Marburg virus after visiting nearby Python Cave, a popular attraction in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. This cave also contained R. aegyptiacus bats (~40,000 animals). These events prompted a long-term investigation of Python Cave to determine if, 1) R. aegyptiacus in the cave carried infectious Marburg virus genetically similar to that found in the tourists, and 2) what ecological factors might influence virus spillover to humans. In the study, we found that, 1) approximately 2.5% of the bat colony is actively infected at any one time and that virus isolates from bats are genetically similar to those from infected tourists, and 2) specific age groups of bats (juveniles~six months of age) are particularly likely to be infected at specific times of the year that roughly coincide with historical dates of Marburg virus spillover into humans."

 

Filovirus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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Onset of flu season raises concerns about human-to-pet transmission

Onset of flu season raises concerns about human-to-pet transmission | Virology News | Scoop.it
As flu season approaches, people who get sick may not realize they can pass the flu not only to other humans, but possibly to other animals, including pets such as cats, dogs and ferrets.
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Scoop those slides! Curation publishing platform Scoop.it now integrates with SlideShare | SlideShare Blog

Scoop.it, the publishing-by-curation platform, is now integrated with SlideShare!

 

Gotta love this technology...B-)

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South Africa Gets Ready for HIV Vaccine Trial

South Africa Gets Ready for HIV Vaccine Trial | Virology News | Scoop.it
A vaccine candidate which showed that it can protect against HIV infection by up to 31% when tested in Thailand three years ago will be further tested in South Africa as soon as next year.

South Africa is the first country outside of Thailand to test the vaccine candidate that made worldwide headlines three years ago. Results of the RV144 Thai study gave hope that it is possible to find a vaccine to prevent HIV infection when it was found that the study vaccine had a 31% efficacy. Co-principal investigator for the HIV Vaccine Clinical Trials Network, Dr Glenda Gray, says the South African leg of the trial will be a Phase III clinical study, which will look into the efficacy of the vaccine in the South African population.

 

HIV graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

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Study Finds HPV Vaccine Gardasil Safe

Study Finds HPV Vaccine Gardasil Safe | Virology News | Scoop.it
A new study of Merck & Co.'s Gardasil cervical-cancer vaccine showed it was associated with fainting on the day of inoculation and skin infections two weeks afterward, but no link with more serious health problems was found.

 

Right: vaccine is safe.  Now let's get ON with it...!

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A New [Viral] Threat Looming over the Mediterranean Basin

"...in 2012, a new threat for vector-borne diseases has emerged on the horizon for southern Europe. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is currently the most invasive mosquito species in the world. Over the past 30 years, this aggressive day-biting mosquito has rapidly spread from its native tropical forests of Southeast Asia across the world and is found currently in at least 28 countries in all continents, except Australia and Antarctica [4], [5]. Its populations exhibit extreme variation in adaptive traits such as egg diapause, cold hardiness, and autogeny (the ability to mature a batch of eggs without blood feedings) [6]. This high ecological plasticity permits this species to spread and successfully establish in both tropical and temperate regions. The colonization of Europe by Ae. albopictus began in Albania in the late 1970s [7], then in Italy in the 1990s [8], and gradually spread into the other Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Greece [5]. Tiger mosquitoes have also established permanently in southern Switzerland, and hence there is considerable concern about possible outbreaks further north [9]. The current distribution map of Ae. albopictus in Europe can be seen on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) website [10]. Predictive models indicate its likely expansion throughout Europe due to climate change [11]–[13]."

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New virus found for deadly hemorrhagic fever in the Congo

New virus found for deadly hemorrhagic fever in the Congo | Virology News | Scoop.it
A haemorrhagic fever that killed two people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009 and left a third person seriously ill was caused by a novel virus, researchers said. The newly-found microbe is likely to exist naturally ...
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ProMED Update on New Coronavirus

ProMED Update on New Coronavirus | Virology News | Scoop.it

[1] WHO update
Date: 26 Sep 2012
Source: WHO GAR [edited]
<http://www.who.int/csr/don/2012_09_25/en/index.html>;

Novel coronavirus infection - update
- -----------------
As of [25 Sep 2012], no additional cases of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure due to infection with a novel coronavirus have been reported to WHO. WHO is continuing investigations into 2 recently confirmed infections identified as a novel coronavirus. Today WHO issued an interim case definition to help countries strengthen health protection measures against the new virus. The case definition, based on the cases so far, includes criteria for identifying a 'patient under investigation', a 'probable case' and a 'confirmed case'. These criteria are based on clinical, epidemiological and laboratory indicators. Following the confirmation of the novel coronavirus, WHO - under the International Health Regulations - immediately alerted all its Member States about the virus and has been leading the coordination and providing guidance to health authorities and technical health agencies. WHO is also identifying a network of laboratories that can provide expertise on coronaviruses for countries. On [22 Sep 2012], the United Kingdom (UK) informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with travel history to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Qatar. The case is a previously healthy, 49 year-old male Qatari national that presented with symptoms on [3 Sep 2012] with travel history to KSA several days prior to onset of illness. On [7 Sep 2012] he was admitted to an intensive care unit in Doha, Qatar. On [11 Sep 2012], he was transferred to the UK by air ambulance from Qatar. The Health Protection Agency of the UK (HPA) conducted laboratory testing and subsequently confirmed the presence of the novel coronavirus.The HPA compared the sequencing of the virus isolate from the 49 year-old Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands. This latter isolate was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60 year-old Saudi national. This comparison indicated 99.5 percent identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared. Though it is a very different virus to SARS, given the severity of the 2 confirmed cases so far, WHO is engaged in further characterizing the novel coronavirus. As such, international efforts are being stepped up across all WHO 6 regions to ensure an appropriate and effective response with a WHO specialist team in daily contact with more than a dozen international and regional technical partners. In addition WHO is working closely with KSA, as in previous years, to support the country's health measures for all visitors participating in the Haji pilgrimage to Mecca next month [October 2012].

For more details:
<http://www.who.int/influenza/case_definition_NovelCoronavirus_20120925/en/index.html>;
<http://www.who.int/ith/updates/20120730/en/index.html>;

- --
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail
<promed@promedmail.org>

 

SARS Coronavirus graphic by Russell Kightley Media

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Rule of 6ix: A new coronavirus, should you care?

Rule of 6ix: A new coronavirus, should you care? | Virology News | Scoop.it

"I doubt you have missed the news but a new virus that infects (and has so far killed one person) has just been discovered in the last few months. The virus in question is believed to be a new - never before seen in the wild - kind of virus (a new coronavirus to be more precise), so we really have little clues as to how it behaves as not much work has been done.

Schematic of a coronavirus - this new virus probably looks a lot like this. From Biowiki.

We only have two examples of human infections with this new virus to go on but despite this, the BBC and other media outlets have sparked confusion (and maybe panic) by comparing it to the 2002 SARS coronavirus (whose case fatality rate was around 10% of those over eight thousand or so people infected), which proved to be a much more deadly affair. What they probably should have compared it to is the common cold coronavirus, known as 229E - an equally valid example.

But this misses the point, it is all speculation really at this minute in time. We should really wait for the hard facts to emerge."

 

What he said....

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