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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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Polio outbreak fears in war-ravaged Syria

Polio outbreak fears in war-ravaged Syria | Virology News | Scoop.it

Experts are concerned that polio may have made a return to war-torn Syria.

The World Health Organization says it has received reports of the first suspected outbreak in the country in 14 years.

Syrian's Ministry of Public Health is launching an urgent response, but experts fear the disease will be hard to control amid civil unrest.

Immunisation is almost impossible to carry out in regions under intense shellfire.

As a result, vaccination rates have been waning - from 95% in 2010 to an estimated 45% in 2013.

At least a third of the country's public hospitals are out of service, and in some areas, up to 70% of the health workforce has fled.

Outbreak risks have also increased due to overcrowding, poor sanitation and deterioration in water supply.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Such a tragedy if this happens - on top of the ongoing humanitarian disaster that is Syria.

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The growth of global immunisation

The growth of global immunisation | Virology News | Scoop.it

Immunisation has been one of the great success stories of global health. It is estimated to prevent the deaths of two to three million children each year. But another 1.5 million children still die from diseases that could be prevented by routine vaccines.

The eradication of smallpox in 1980 helped encourage global efforts to fight more diseases through immunisation. These maps chart the growth of global vaccine coverage from 1980 and show which countries are doing best - and worst - at protecting their population. The three vaccines illustrated combat five infections and have been chosen as they demonstrate varying levels of progress against several major diseases

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Seriously useful material for combatting vaccine denialism.

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Gretel Posadas's curator insight, October 22, 2013 4:09 AM
The growth of global #immunisation
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When the 'Spanish' influenza hit

When the 'Spanish' influenza hit | Virology News | Scoop.it
The word that it's time to get our flu shot brings to mind the dread ordeal of 1917-18, when the globe was convulsed by the worst epidemic in 500 years — worse than the ravages of smallpox, yellow fever, malaria, typhus, typhoid and all the rest of...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Nice historical account.

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Misconceptions about HPV vaccine explored

Misconceptions about HPV vaccine explored | Virology News | Scoop.it
Suspicions about sexual promiscuity and vaccine safety are explored in an article in the November issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, which dedicates a section of that issue to research concerning the human papillomavirus.
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Hepatitis B viruses in bats

Hepatitis B viruses in bats | Virology News | Scoop.it
The recent finding of HBV in bats raises the possibility of zoonotic introduction of the virus, and has implications for eradication of the disease.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Furry frikkin' mosquitoes, that's what they are...

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Disease: The Next Big One - New York Times

Disease: The Next Big One - New York Times | Virology News | Scoop.it
Disease: The Next Big One
New York Times
The reservoir host of Ebola virus is still unidentified — a lingering mystery — though bats again are suspected. And all of our influenzas (even the so-called swine flus) originate in wild aquatic birds.
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A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

Controversy over childhood vaccinations is an instance of what might be styled the “science communication problem”—the failure of compelling scientific evidence to resolve public dispute over risks and similar facts (1). This problem itself has been the focus of scientific study since the 1970s, when psychologists began to investigate the divergence between expert and public opinion on nuclear power. Indeed, the science of science communication that this body of work comprises can now be used not just to explain controversy over risk but also to predict, manage, and in theory avoid conditions likely to trigger it. The example of childhood vaccinations illustrates these points—and teaches an important practical lesson.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

It is indeed alarming that the public in developed countries should be increasingly anti-vaccination, when the situation in developing countries is so different.  I suppose it is because of their success that there is now such diminished risk in the wealthier parts of the world, that people (wrongly) start to assume there are greater risks from vaccination than from the diseases they protect against.

And wrongly, because while diseases like measles might be ALMOST eradicated in much of the world, any slip in coverage can result in its very rapid reintroduciton into places like the USA and the UK, where numbers of cases have been rising recently.

I suppose all we can do is try to convince those around us that the knee-jerk "vaccines are evil" responses of the dumber civilians are simply stupid - and that for everything our children receive vaccinations for, the risks of wild-type disease are still greater than vaccine complications.

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Scientists find new botulinum toxin, withhold genetic details

Scientists find new botulinum toxin, withhold genetic details | Virology News | Scoop.it

Scientists have discovered the first new type of botulinum toxin in 40 years, and in a highly unusual move, they are keeping the toxin's genetic sequence data secret for now so that no one can make it in a lab before an effective antitoxin can be developed.

Until now, Clostridium botulinum was known to produce seven types of toxins, all of which cause paralysis by blocking neurotransmitters in humans and animals. The last one was discovered in 1970.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

What equine excreta!?  Really??  "We found a new botulinum toxin, but we won't tell you what it is - but it can't be neutralised by CDC antitoxins"??  Isn't THAT enough information for your dedicated cave-dwelling biotechnologist to go out and look, via next-gen sequencing, for novel Clostridium strains??  Oh no - does what I've just written constitute a dangerous disclosure?  Should I censor myself??

Seriously, this pious "we have this cool new discovovery but can't tell you what it is because nasty people may make it" mentality is just ridiculous.  What makes it MORE ridiculous is telling people about it at all in that case: no-one ever hear about reverse engineering, or simply going looking for something becaue you now know it's there?

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Hajj pilgrimage could cause deadly Mers virus outbreak

Hajj pilgrimage could cause deadly Mers virus outbreak | Virology News | Scoop.it
With so many people gathering at the Grand Mosque, it is claimed that it could become a breeding ground for the debilitating Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Well, it's how poliovirus got spread around the world after its near-eradication - so vigilance is required.

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Better understanding of HIV epidemic through evolutionary lens

Better understanding of HIV epidemic through evolutionary lens | Virology News | Scoop.it
With the abundance of sequencing data, scientists can use ever more powerful evolutionary biology tools to pinpoint the transmission and death rates for epidemics such as HIV, which has remained elusive to a cure.
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Mammals Have Similar Virus-Killing Power [as] Seen In Plants

Mammals Have Similar Virus-Killing Power [as] Seen In Plants | Virology News | Scoop.it

Previous research has shown that plants and invertebrates use an immune response called the RNA interference(RNAi) pathway to build a weapon against a viral infection.

Two new studies from scientists at the University of California, Riverside have found that a similar pathway exists in mammals, but it is typically suppressed by viral proteins. The study researchers said if this suppression could be lifted, it would open the door to a completely new way to treat a viral infection.

In the studies, the scientists were able to remove the suppressor protein from the virus. This allowed laboratory mice to quickly eliminate an infection from the Nodamura virus from their system using the RNAi process, which dispatches small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to kill the disease.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I know of Shou-Wei Ding from many years ago, when he worked on the plant (and original) CMV and the 2b gene: it has long been suspected that mammals should be similar to their plant and insect cousins; it is heartening to see that in fact they are.

Of course, the mammal folk will now quickly cream all the kudos for this, and the Nobel will NOT go to a plant or insect virologist!

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Fouchier vs the Dutch government on influenza H5N1 research

Fouchier vs the Dutch government on influenza H5N1 research | Virology News | Scoop.it
A Dutch district court has denied an appeal by Erasmus Medical Center which claims that certain studies on influenza virus should not be subject to EU export rules.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Stupid, and short-sighted!  Letting bureaucracy stifle the free flow of information on things of serious global medical importance.

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Circovirus Linked to Death of Dogs

Circovirus Linked to Death of Dogs | Virology News | Scoop.it

Circovirus Linked to Death of Dogs
Pets are more than our best friends, they're family. So when word broke of a deadly new dog virus, it struck panic in pet owners across the country [USA].

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Interesting that a circovirus should suddenly pop up in dogs: the only pathogenic ones known are porcine circovirus 2 and beak and feather disease virus; having another emerge is unexpected.

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Hitchhiking virus confirms saga of ancient human migration

Hitchhiking virus confirms saga of ancient human migration | Virology News | Scoop.it
A study of the full genetic code of a common human virus offers a dramatic confirmation of the "out-of-Africa" pattern of human migration, which had previously been documented by anthropologists and studies of the human genome.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Q: What's the difference between love and herpes?

A: Herpes LASTS...for generations, it would appear!

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Empowering 500 Rwandan women living with HIV/AIDS

Empowering 500 Rwandan women living with HIV/AIDS | Virology News | Scoop.it
Over 50% of those infected by HIV/AIDS in Rwanda are women, many of whom were infected during the genocide through rape.
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The Business Case for Employee Flu Shots

The Business Case for Employee Flu Shots | Virology News | Scoop.it
This infographic, “Flu Vaccinations at Work,” covers the reasons why companies should invest in flu shots for their employees.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

LOVE a good infographic!

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20 years of Army research yields hope for malaria vaccine

20 years of Army research yields hope for malaria vaccine United States Army (press release) Results of the RTS,S phase III vaccine trial being conducted in Africa were presented at the 6th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria Pan-African Conference,...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

The USA military is involved in a surprising number of vaccine initiatives: HIV, dengue, malaria, flu...

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Bacteria-eating viruses aid war on superbugs

Bacteria-eating viruses aid war on superbugs | Virology News | Scoop.it

Since the discovery of the first antibiotic – penicillin – antibiotics have been heralded as the ‘silver bullets’ of medicine. They have saved countless lives and impacted on the well-being of humanity. This was beautifully illustrated in Michel Mosley’s TV series Pain Pus and Poison this week. But less than a century following their discovery, the future impact of antibiotics is dwindling at a pace that no one anticipated, with more and more bacteria out-smarting and ‘out-evolving’ these miracle drugs. This has re-energised the search for new treatments, such as phages. The key advantage of using phages over antibiotics lies in their specificity. A phage will infect and kill only a specific strain/species of bacteria. This is particularly important when treating conditions like C. difficile infections.

 

Phage infecting bacteria graphic from Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

I have a particular fondness for phages these days, seeing as I am helping discover an inordinate number of them, via next-gen sequencing of seawater - but I also think they may be one of the next best hopes to combat antibiotic resistant infections.

I love the lurid title of this post, BTW!

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Professor Ed Rybicki, Café Scientifique

Professor Ed Rybicki of the Dept of Molecular and Cellular Biology talks about "Vaccine Rapid Response: Is South Africa Ready?" The Café Scientifique session looks at how the nation would respond to an influenza pandemic, how to manage the spread of Middle East coronavirus to our country and how to make enough emergency response vaccines to protect all South Africans. He describes his work on virus vaccines for humans and animals made in plants. He is South Africa's most prominent molecular biotechnology patent holder. See more at http://www.rcips.uct.ac.za/innovation...

Ed Rybicki's insight:

No comment.  But I got into trouble with DST....

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MWV Episode 70 - Microbes After Hours - West Nile Virus from microbeworld on Vimeo


Via Chris Upton + helpers
Ed Rybicki's insight:
Great video introducing West Nile virus - OK, from an American point of view, but very useful.
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No serious adverse reactions to HPV vaccination

No serious adverse reactions to HPV vaccination | Virology News | Scoop.it

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and their Danish colleagues have monitored HPV-vaccinated girls via patient data registries in order to examine the incidence of a wide range of diseases and thus determine if there are any serious adverse effects of the vaccine. Their results show no significant increase of the examined diseases in the vaccinated girls relative to their unvaccinated peers.


The study included almost a million Swedish and Danish girls born between 1988 and 2000, and compared roughly 300,000 girls who had been HPV vaccinated with 700,000 who had not. All the girls were between 10 and 17 at time of vaccination, and the vaccines had been administered at some time between 2006 and 2010. The researchers then used patient registries in Denmark and Sweden to study the incidence of any serious adverse effects of the vaccine.


The researchers examined 53 different diagnoses requiring hospital or specialist care, including blood clots, neurological diseases, and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes. They found that none of these diseases were more common in the vaccinated group than in the unvaccinated group.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is important - if only to counter the anti-HPV vaccination hysteria that seems to be gathering momentum.

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THE FLU Movie Trailer

THE FLU Trailer. Release Date : August 2013 Join us on Facebook http://FB.com/FreshMovieTrailers More infos http://www.facebook.com/Asianmoviesnmore "The Flu...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Need some zombies with that...!!

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Man Flu Survivor Mug

Man Flu Survivor Mug | Virology News | Scoop.it
Standard sized mug. Capacity: 300 ml. (@iowct Two In One. http://t.co/0oQXycbw8o)
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Who could resist...B-)

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Incidence of asymptomatic human influenza A(H5N1) virus infection

Incidence of asymptomatic human influenza A(H5N1) virus infection | Virology News | Scoop.it
Recently two studies address the number of asymptomatic human infections with human influenza A(H5N1) virus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Very good review in Vincent Racaniello's blog: it has always been interesting to note that many influenza virus infections in humans are asymptomatic - otherwise it would not spread qite so well.  If the same is true of H5N1, than the pandemic threat could be greater than has been estiamted.

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Transport of the Influenza Virus Genome from Nucleus to Nucleus

Transport of the Influenza Virus Genome from Nucleus to Nucleus | Virology News | Scoop.it
The segmented genome of an influenza virus is encapsidated into ribonucleoprotein complexes (RNPs). Unusually among RNA viruses, influenza viruses replicate in the nucleus of an infected cell, and their RNPs must therefore recruit host factors to ensure transport across a number of cellular compartments during the course of an infection. Recent studies have shed new light on many of these processes, including the regulation of nuclear export, genome packaging, mechanisms of virion assembly and viral entry and, in particular, the identification of Rab11 on recycling endosomes as a key mediator of RNP transport and genome assembly. This review uses these recent gains in understanding to describe in detail the journey of an influenza A virus RNP from its synthesis in the nucleus through to its entry into the nucleus of a new host cell.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Good review!

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