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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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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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Blip.fm - Listen to free music

Blip.fm - Listen to free music | Virology News | Scoop.it
Listen to free music played by retroidraver. Search for free music to stream. Create your own free internet radio station.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I named a UCT FM radio show I hosted "Retroid Raving" nearly 20 years ago - and I have kept to the formula I evolved then, with Blip.fm.  That is, unashamedly retro rock, with a 70s flavour.

 

And no, this has nothing to do with viruses, except for the name.

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Moratorium on using live rinderpest virus lifted for approved research

Moratorium on using live rinderpest virus lifted for approved research | Virology News | Scoop.it
Benefits of future research should be carefully balanced against potential risks

Paris, 10 July 2013 – A moratorium on using live rinderpest virus for approved research has been lifted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The moratorium followed the adoption of a Resolution in May 2011 by all OIE Member Countries that urged members to forbid the manipulation of rinderpest virus containing material unless approved by the Veterinary Authority and by FAO and OIE.

The two organizations have now put in place strict criteria and procedures to follow in order to obtain official approval for any research proposals using rinderpest virus and rinderpest virus-containing materials. One of the most crucial requirements is that the research should have significant potential to improve food security by reducing the risk of a reoccurrence of the disease. This procedure replaces an earlier complete ban on handling the virus.

Rinderpest was formally declared eradicated in 2011, but stocks of rinderpest virus continue to exist in laboratories. In June 2012, a moratorium on handling the virus was imposed after an FAO-OIE survey found that the virus continues to be held in more than 40 laboratories worldwide, in some cases under inadequate levels of biosecurity and biosafety.

When rinderpest was officially eradicated, FAO and OIE member countries committed themselves to forbid the manipulation of rinderpest virus-containing material unless approved by the national veterinary authority as well as by FAO and OIE.

 

Paramyxovirus EM courtesy of Linda Stannard

Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is an interesting sequel to the eradication of wild rinderpest virus, which I have covered in some detail here on ViroBlogy: see here (http://rybicki.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/rinderpest-gone-but-not-forgotten-yet/) and here (http://rybicki.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/deliberate-extinction-now-for-number-3/).

The article covers an interesting prospect: that it may be possible to use attenuated, safe vaccines against the related peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) not only to protect against any resurgence of rinderpest, but also to eradicate this rather nasty virus.  

Which is, apparently, spreading at rather an alarming rate, and is an obstacle to small ruminant production (http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/resources/documents/AH/PPR_flyer.pdf).

So maybe this is "Now for Number 4!" time.

 

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Top 15 HIV/AIDS Myths Believed by Many Leading to Misconception of the Most ...

Top 15 HIV/AIDS Myths Believed by Many Leading to Misconception of the Most ... | Virology News | Scoop.it
Top 15 HIV/AIDS Myths Believed by Many Leading to Misconception of the Most ...
International Business Times AU
HIV/AIDS has no cure known to date and WHO recommends early treatment for patients to prevent spreading the disease.
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WHO/Europe | Viral hepatitis requires more attention in the WHO European Region

WHO/Europe | Viral hepatitis requires more attention in the WHO European Region | Virology News | Scoop.it
Viral hepatitis affects millions of people in the WHO European Region. Types B and C cause the main burden of disease, and kill over 120 000 people in Europe every year. Urgent action is needed to address this neglected epidemic.
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CSI: Virology

CSI: Virology | Virology News | Scoop.it
The best mysteries are ones where the reader, if they are following along carefully, can figure out the answer to the problem as the lead characters do.  

If you read science blogs and love evolution, then you know exactly where this is headed:

Molecular evolution in court: analysis of a large hepatitis C virus outbreak from an evolving source.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Heh, heh: nice little piece on forensic epidemiology.

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Innovation Nation

Innovation Nation | Virology News | Scoop.it
Already a world leader in high-tech entrepreneurship, Israel is now flexing its biotech muscles.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

" A federal incubator program offers fledgling entrepreneurs, even those with just an idea, seed money of $425,000 to $680,000, to be paid back only upon the company’s success"


Daaaaaaaamn...!  Compare THAT to SA!  TIA / DST could seriously take a lesson from them.  


Reminds of the Demotivational poster that has an eagle soaring high above snow-covered mountains, with the caption: "Great leaders are like eagles: we have neither of them here".  My version: "Biotech funding is like bald eagles: we have neither of them..."

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Virus Tracker - Zombies!!

Virus Tracker - Zombies!! | Virology News | Scoop.it

Virus Tracker is an educational game that simulates the spread of a virus and the critical role of vaccination in combating a disease outbreak. Players start out infected with the Virus Tracker Zombie Virus, and can return to a Human state by getting vaccinated via interaction with other players. Vaccinated players can seek out and vaccinate infected players, earning points and game standings. But beware, Zombie Virus mutations are a constant threat, and the vaccine for one mutation will not protect you from subsequent mutations. It is important to pay attention to game notifications and obtain the latest vaccines as they are released, before succumbing to the latest mutation!

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Zombies...on your mobile device...oh, yes!

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H5N1 vaccines in humans

H5N1 vaccines in humans | Virology News | Scoop.it
Highlights

 

2 Doses of unadjuvanted vaccine are necessary to elicit robust antibody titers.

Oil-in-water adjuvants permit antigen sparing.

Antibody titers decline rapidly but can be boosted with additional doses of vaccine.

High titers of antibody are associated with cross-reactivity against other clades.

Prime-boost strategies elicit a robust immune response.

 

 

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Thanks @MicrobeTweets!

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Close Relative of Human Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bat, South Africa

Close Relative of Human Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bat, South Africa | Virology News | Scoop.it

The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002–03 and the subsequent implication of bats as reservoir hosts of the causative agent, a coronavirus (CoV), prompted numerous studies of bats and the viruses they harbor. A novel clade 2c betacoronavirus, termed Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)–CoV, was recently identified as the causative agent of a severe respiratory disease that is mainly affecting humans on the Arabian Peninsula (1). Extending on previous work (2), we described European Pipistrellus bat–derived CoVs that are closely related to MERS-CoV (3). We now report the identification of a South Africa bat derived CoV that has an even closer phylogenetic relationship with MERS-CoV.

 

Coronavirus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is interesting and timely work - for which notice, thanks Stephen Korsman! - out of various labs in South Africa and elsewhere.

This almost certainly means that, as with paramyxoviruses in bats, there are a LOT of CoVs out there with the potential to infect other mammals - including humans.

Of course, this one should be the REAL SARSCoV - for "South African respiratory syndrome virus".  Which would make all the jokes about the SA Revenue Services being viral even more pointed.

 
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Giant Pandoravirus is 1,000 times larger than influenca virus and contains 2556 genes

Giant Pandoravirus is 1,000 times larger than influenca virus and contains 2556 genes | Virology News | Scoop.it

Giant viruses turn out to be everywhere. It was the very giant-ness of giant viruses that allowed them to be overlooked for so long. Scientists first discovered viruses in the late 1800s when they were puzzled by a disease that beset tobacco plants. They mashed up wilted tobacco leaves with water and passed the mixture through fine porcelain filters that trapped bacteria and fungi. The clear liquid could still make healthy tobacco leaves sick. The Dutch botanist Martinus Beijerinck dubbed it “a contagious living fluid.”

 

In the 1930s, the invention of powerful microscopes finally allowed scientists to see viruses. They found that viruses were unlike ordinary cells: they didn’t generate their own fuel; they didn’t grow or divide. Instead, viruses invaded cells, hijacking their biochemistry to make new copies of themselves. Being small and simple seemed like part of the viral way of life, allowing them to replicate fast.

 

It wasn’t until 2003 that a team of French researchers discovered the first giant virus. They had been puzzling over sphere-shaped objects that were the size of bacteria but contained no bacterial DNA. Eventually they realized that they were looking at a monstrously oversized virus, containing 979 genes, much less than the newly discovered Pandoravirus.

 

Those first giant viruses were isolated from amoebae living in water from a cooling tower. Once scientists realized that viruses could be so large, they changed their search parameters and started finding other species in all manner of places, from swamps to rivers to contact lens fluid.

 

And along the way the biggest viruses got bigger. In 2011, Dr. Claverie and his colleagues set a new record with megaviruses, a type of giant virus with 1,120 genes they discovered in sea water off the coast of Chile. They then dug into the sediment below that sea water and discovered pandoravirsues, with more than twice as many genes.

 

Dr. Claverie speculates that pandoraviruses and other giant viruses evolved from free-living microbes that branched off from other life several billion years ago. “The type of cells they may have evolved from may have disappeared,” he said.

 

The idea that giant viruses represent separate branches on the tree of life is a controversial one that many other experts aren’t ready to embrace. “They provide no evidence for that notion, so it seems a distraction to me,” said T. Martin Embley, a professor of evolutionary molecular biology at Newcastle University.

 

Despite those reservations, Dr. Embley and other researchers hail pandoraviruses as an important discovery. “I think it’s wonderful that such crazy and divergent lifeforms continue to be discovered,” said Tom Williams, Dr. Embley’s colleague at Newcastle University.

 

The new study also drives home the fact that giant viruses are far from rare. Shortly after discovering pandoraviruses in sea floor sediment, Dr. Claverie and his colleagues found them in water from a lake in Australia, 10,000 miles away. “It definitely indicates that they must not be rare at all,” said Dr. Claverie.

 

Giant viruses may be so common, in fact, that they may be hiding inside of us, too. In a paper published online on July 2 in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, French researchers offered evidence that giant viruses dwell in healthy people. They isolated a new giant virus from blood donated by a healthy volunteer, and then found antibodies and other signs of the virus in four other donors.

 

Giant viruses may lurk harmlessly in our bodies, invading the amoebae we harbor. Whether they can make us sick is an open question. “I don’t believe we have the proof at the moment that these viruses could infect humans,” said Dr. Claverie.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Chris Upton + helpers
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Tomas Moravec's comment, July 23, 2013 4:14 AM
It is surprising how these large gyus avoided discovery for such a long time.
Ed Rybicki's comment, July 23, 2013 4:17 AM
Well, if they look like bacteria, and we are still finding new exemplars of those...
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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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GM crops don’t kill kids. Opposing them does

It was over harlequin ducks that we bonded. Ten years ago, at a meeting in Monterey, California, to (RT @ARossP: Anti-GMO activism is the same thing as anti-vaccine activism: foolishness with a body count.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Ja, boet....

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A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA

A Race to Save the Orange by Altering Its DNA | Virology News | Scoop.it
Growers turned to genetics in hopes of building a tougher orange tree. But would the public accept genetically modified food?
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Well, if they still want oranges...or bananas, possibly.

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Sympathy for the devil: Sir Mick at 70

Sir Mick Jagger has just turned 70. The Rolling Stones lead singer, more corporate icon that culturally relevant at this point, keeps bounding across elaborate stage sets across the world, despite his advanced age.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not quite viral - but I do like the Rolling Stones!

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HIV campaign gets golden touch - eNCA

HIV campaign gets golden touch - eNCA | Virology News | Scoop.it
eNCA
HIV campaign gets golden touch
eNCA
PRETORIA - South African-born Hollywood actress Charlize Theron has met with President Jacob Zuma to discuss the strides being made in the fight against HIV/Aids.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Shar-leez The-ron in action again.  What could they POSSIBLY have talked about, given his belief that showers can prevent HIV infection?

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HPV Vaccination Rate: 'We're Dropping The Ball,' CDC Director Says

HPV Vaccination Rate: 'We're Dropping The Ball,' CDC Director Says | Virology News | Scoop.it
By Yasmeen Abutaleb WASHINGTON, July 25 (Reuters) - Only slightly more than half of U.S. girls aged 13 to 17 had been vaccinated against a virus that can cause cervical and other cancers last year, and a top U.S.
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Rabies Virus Hid in Organ Donor, Surfaced in Recipient

Rabies Virus Hid in Organ Donor, Surfaced in Recipient | Virology News | Scoop.it
A Maryland man who died from rabies after receiving a kidney from an infected donor is the eighth known victim of rabies-tainted solid organ transplants, according to new report.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Oh, great - ANOTHER thing to have to test transplant organs for!  Maybe some chip-based universal screen test is in order?

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Poliovirus silently (and not so silently) spreads

Poliovirus silently (and not so silently) spreads | Virology News | Scoop.it
Poliovirus has been found in sewage in Israel. The virus detected is not vaccine-derived poliovirus; it is wild-type 1 poliovirus.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Sinister...and something I hadn't appreciated; that use of killed poliovirus vaccines does NOT prevent intestinal infection with live polio - it just prevents further spread, to nervous tissue for example.  Meaning vaccinated people who are protected from disease can still spread wild-type virus.

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Risk of Human-to-Human Spread of Deadly New Bird Flu Virus Higher Than Previously Thought: Scientific American

Risk of Human-to-Human Spread of Deadly New Bird Flu Virus Higher Than Previously Thought: Scientific American | Virology News | Scoop.it
Mounting evidence suggests lethal H7N9 bird flu poses “worrisome” threat

Before this year the H7N9 bird flu virus linked to 133 human infections and 43 deaths was never seen in people. All the available evidence suggests that an effective biological barrier apparently kept a pandemic at bay—humans only contracted the novel virus via direct contact with poultry or environments such as live bird markets rather than by human-to-human transmission. New analysis from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), however, suggests that the virus is closer to becoming a disease transmitted among humans than previously thought.

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Antibiotic treatment expands the resistance reservoir and ecological network of the phage metagenome

Antibiotic treatment expands the resistance reservoir and ecological network of the phage metagenome | Virology News | Scoop.it

The mammalian gut ecosystem has considerable influence on host physiology1, 2, 3, 4, but the mechanisms that sustain this complex environment in the face of different stresses remain obscure. Perturbations to the gut ecosystem, such as through antibiotic treatment or diet, are at present interpreted at the level of bacterial phylogeny5, 6, 7. Less is known about the contributions of the abundant population of phages to this ecological network. Here we explore the phageome as a potential genetic reservoir for bacterial adaptation by sequencing murine faecal phage populations following antibiotic perturbation. We show that antibiotic treatment leads to the enrichment of phage-encoded genes that confer resistance via disparate mechanisms to the administered drug, as well as genes that confer resistance to antibiotics unrelated to the administered drug, and we demonstrate experimentally that phages from treated mice provide aerobically cultured naive microbiota with increased resistance. Systems-wide analyses uncovered post-treatment phage-encoded processes related to host colonization and growth adaptation, indicating that the phageome becomes broadly enriched for functionally beneficial genes under stress-related conditions. We also show that antibiotic treatment expands the interactions between phage and bacterial species, leading to a more highly connected phage–bacterial network for gene exchange. Our work implicates the phageome in the emergence of multidrug resistance, and indicates that the adaptive capacity of the phageome may represent a community-based mechanism for protecting the gut microflora, preserving its functional robustness during antibiotic stress.

  T4 phage graphic by Russell Kightley Media
Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is a fascinating finding, for a number of reasons: however, most importantly it means that the "phageome" - or bacterial virus metagenome in your gut - is a reservoir of genes that can confer survival advantage(s) on your microbial population when this population is stressed.

For example, by antibiotic therapy.

This alters our concept and understanding of phage-bacteria interactions quite significantly, as it can no longer be understood as a simple "predator/prey" relationship.  Rather, and while phages still regulate bacterial numbers by simply killing them, they also act as stewards or gamekeepers, by making it possible for bacteria to survive adverse events.

Quite a concept that: the virus as conserver!

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Medical Virology of Hepatitis B: how it began and where we are now?

Infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) may lead to acute or chronic hepatitis. HBV infections were previously much more frequent but there are still 240 million chronic HBV carriers today and ca. 620,000 die per year from the late sequelae liver cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatitis B was recognized as a disease in ancient times, but its etiologic agent was only recently identified. The first clue in unraveling this mystery was the discovery of an enigmatic serum protein named Australia antigen 50 years ago by Baruch Blumberg. Some years later this was recognized to be the HBV surface antigen (HBsAg). Detection of HBsAg allowed for the first time screening of inapparently infected blood donors for a dangerous pathogen. The need to diagnose clinically silent HBV infections was a strong driving force in the development of modern virus diagnostics. HBsAg was the first infection marker to be assayed with a highly sensitive radio immune assay. HBV itself was among the first viruses to be detected by assay of its DNA genome and IgM antibodies against the HBV core antigen were the first to be selectively detected by the anti-mu capture assay. The cloning and sequencing of the HBV genome in 1978 paved the way to understand the viral life cycle, and allowed development of efficient vaccines and drugs. Today's hepatitis B vaccine was the first vaccine produced by gene technology. Among the problems that still remain today are the inability to achieve a complete cure of chronic HBV infections, the recognition of occult HBV infections, their potential reactivation and the incomplete protection against escape mutants and heterologous HBV genotypes by HBV vaccines.

 
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Not only "...the first vaccine produced by gene technology", but the first virus-like particle vaccine, and the first anti-cancer vaccine.

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