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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Killer Pig Virus Wipes Out More Than 10 Percent Of [US] Hogs

Killer Pig Virus Wipes Out More Than 10 Percent Of [US] Hogs | Virology News | Scoop.it

The killer stalking U.S. hog farms is known as PEDv, a malady that in less than a year has wiped out more than 10 percent of the nation's pig population and helped send retail pork prices to record highs. The highly contagious Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is puzzling scientists searching for its origins and its cure and leaving farmers devastated in ways that go beyond financial losses.

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CDC: Vaccines Help Millions

CDC: Vaccines Help Millions | Virology News | Scoop.it
A 20-year-long US immunization program will prevent more than 700,000 deaths and 300 million illnesses in coming years, according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Vaccines for Children program (VFC), which provides vaccines to kids whose families cannot afford them, was launched in 1994 in response to a spike in deadly measles cases in the United States. Now, 20 years later, officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that the program will save some 732,000 participants, as well as prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 322 million illnesses.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

A bit sad that the US has become a developing country.

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South Africa honours its heroes - including a virologist!

South Africa honours its heroes - including a virologist! | Virology News | Scoop.it
Order of Mapungubwe

This recognises South Africans who have accomplished excellence and exceptional achievement to the benefit of South Africa and beyond.

 

The award in silver will be bestowed on professors Ismail Mohamed (posthumous), Simon Schaaf, Barry Schoub.....

Read more: http://www.southafrica.info/about/people/orders-170414.htm#.U10xp62Sy1A#ixzz306av5L00

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Very well deserved, to a very distinguished medical virologist!  Can't think how we missed it on first publication.

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Your Future Flu Vaccines Could Be Grown Inside a Tobacco Plant

Your Future Flu Vaccines Could Be Grown Inside a Tobacco Plant | Virology News | Scoop.it
Finally, some good news about tobacco and your health. No, there is no nicotine involved, but there will be lots and lots of virus-like particles. Tobacco plants could be one of the fastest and most effective ways of making the seasonal flu vaccine—much faster than the current method using chicken eggs.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Viva!!

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GEN | News Highlights: DNA: Past to the Present

GEN | News Highlights: DNA: Past to the Present | Virology News | Scoop.it
GEN created this timeline in honor of "DNA Day" to illustrate how our knowledge of the hereditary molecule is based on the work of intellectual giants.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Great resource!

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The day they discovered the AIDS virus

Thirty years ago, in a hasty and ill-timed press conference, health officials unveiled one of the most important discoveries in medical history.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

This is a timely and very even-handed recap of the history of the discovery of HIV - which I lived through as a young scientist and supervisor, avidly devouring any and all information we could get on the subject, little realising that South Africa would soon become the world's most infected country.

 

And still it goes on.

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Gardasil® 2-dose schedule approved in the EU for children aged from 9 to 13 years

Gardasil® 2-dose schedule approved in the EU for children aged from 9 to 13 years | Virology News | Scoop.it
April 3, 2014

Sanofi Pasteur MSD announced today that the European Commission has granted marketing authorisation for a 2-dose schedule at 0 and 6 months in children aged from 9 to 13 years for its quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Gardasil® is the only quadrivalent HPV vaccine and is indicated in adolescent girls and boys to help protect against cervical cancer, vulvar and vaginal precancers as well as genital warts.

“We are delighted to offer this alternative 2-dose schedule which could help to extend HPV vaccine coverage and increase uptake. It is based on data showing that 2 doses elicited an immune response in adolescents, comparable to that of 3 doses in young women, to the four HPV types – 6, 11, 16 and 18 – included in Gardasil®”, said Dr Fiona Thomas, UK Medical Director for Sanofi Pasteur MSD.

The approval of a Gardasil® vaccine 2-dose schedule follows the positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted in February, based on a Canadian study performed by Dobson et al. It demonstrated that the 2-dose 0, 6 month schedule in 9-13 year-old girls elicited an immune response comparable/non-inferior to that of 3 doses in the 16-26 year-old women, the population where quadrivalent vaccine efficacy has been shown. These results were sustained at 36 months of follow-up.

 

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Self-Administration of Flu Vaccine with a Patch May be Feasible

Self-Administration of Flu Vaccine with a Patch May be Feasible | Virology News | Scoop.it

The annual ritual of visiting a doctor’s office or health clinic to receive a flu shot may soon be outdated, thanks to the findings of a new study published in the journal Vaccine.

The research, which involved nearly 100 people recruited in the metropolitan Atlanta area, found that test subjects could successfully apply a prototype vaccine patch to themselves. That suggests the self-administration of vaccines with microneedle patches may one day be feasible, potentially reducing administration costs and relieving an annual burden on health care professionals.

The study also suggested that the use of vaccine patches might increase the rate at which the population is vaccinated against influenza. After comparing simulated vaccine administration using a patch and by conventional injection, the percentage of test subjects who said they’d be vaccinated grew from 46 percent to 65 percent.

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Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea

Researchers identify a new variant of Ebola virus in Guinea | Virology News | Scoop.it
In a new article, researchers have published their initial findings on the characteristics of the Ebola virus discovered in Guinea. Initial virological investigations enabled them to identify Zaire ebolavirus as the pathogen responsible for this epidemic.

Via Kenzibit
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Cervical cancer vaccines: will our best hopes be realized?

Cervical cancer vaccines: will our best hopes be realized? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Guest contributor Vivien Tsu is director of PATH’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Project and associate director of our Reproductive Health Program.
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HPV test should replace Pap test as first screen for cervical cancer

HPV test should replace Pap test as first screen for cervical cancer | Virology News | Scoop.it
Toronto Star HPV test should replace Pap test as first screen for cervical cancer, experts say Toronto Star HPV testing should replace the Pap smear as the first screening procedure for cervical cancer for women over 30, recommends Cancer Care...
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Putin's aversion to the West is causing HIV/AIDS to explode in Russia

Putin's aversion to the West is causing HIV/AIDS to explode in Russia | Virology News | Scoop.it
New HIV infections in Russia are growing at alarming rates, while the Kremlin shows little interest in seriously addressing the country's HIV/AIDS problem.
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WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 120

WHO: Ebola Death Toll Tops 120 | Virology News | Scoop.it

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the death toll from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is up to at least 121.

WHO says health ministries in Guinea, Liberia and other affected countries have reported about 200 confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

The vast majority of victims are in Guinea, where officials have reported 168 cases, including 108 deaths. Liberia reports 13 deaths from the disease.

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Should we be worried about the MERS virus?

Should we be worried about the MERS virus? | Virology News | Scoop.it
Health officials on alert as cases rise in Saudi Arabia and threaten to spread across region.

Saudi Arabia has announced more cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The rise in patients - more than 100 in the last two weeks - worries medical authorities in the kingdom and around the world.

Egypt on Saturday announced its first case of MERS. The patient had recently returned from Riyadh.

MERS was first reported in the Middle East in 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, which killed about 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. MERS can cause fever and pneumonia, and can lead to death.

The World Health Organisation is monitoring the rise in MERS cases in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh says it has invited five leading vaccine makers to help combat the virus.

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New Anellovirus in a patient with fatal fever?

New Anellovirus in a patient with fatal fever? | Virology News | Scoop.it

Abstract: Torque teno virus (TTV) has been found to be prevalent world-wide in healthy populations and in patients with various diseases, but its etiological role has not yet been determined. Using highthroughput unbiased sequencing to screen for viruses in the serum of a patient with persistent high fever who died of suspected viral infection and prolonged weakness, we identified the complete genome sequence of a TTV (isolate Hebei-1). The genome of TTV-Hebei-1 is 3649 bp in length, encoding four putative open reading frames, and it has a G+C content of 49%. Genomic comparison and a search revealed that the assembled genome of TTV-Hebei-1 represented a novel isolate, with a genome sequence that was highly heterologous to the sequences of other reported TTV strains. A phylogenetic tree constructed using the complete genome sequence showed that TTV-Hebei-1 and an uncharacterized Taiwanese strain, TW53A37, constitute a new TTV genotype. The patient was strongly suspected of carrying a viral infection and died eventually without any other possible causes being apparent. No virus other than the novel TTV was identified in his serum sample. Although a direct causal link between the novel TTV genotype infection and the patient’s disease could not be confirmed, the findings suggest that surveillance of this novel TTV genotype is necessary and that its role in disease deserves to be explored.

 
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UCT building named after Nobel laureate

UCT building named after Nobel laureate | Virology News | Scoop.it

A family man, who enjoyed solving problems and had a great sense of humour.

 

These were words Emeritus Professor Kit Vaughan used to describe the Nobel laureate at the naming of Allan Cormack House. Cormack, a nuclear physicist who studied and worked at UCT before immigrating to the US, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1979 for his contribution to the development of computed tomography or CT scanner.

 

The building named after him houses UCT's Department of Research and Innovation among others.

 

His youngest daughter Jean Cormack was present at the naming ceremony hosted by UCT registrar Hugh Amoore. Cormack, who was born in Cape Town but lives in America, was visiting her South African cousin, Jo Prentice, whose mother Amy was Allan Cormack's sister. She said she was honoured that the university had chosen to remember her father in this way.

 

Vaughan, who won the 2010 UCT Book Award for his biography of Allan Cormack, Imagining the Elephant, quoted from Cormack's acceptance speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize together with Godfrey Hounsfield: "There is irony in this award since neither Hounsfield nor I is a physician. In fact it is not much of an exaggeration to say that what Hounsfield and I know about medicine and physiology could be written on a small prescription form."

 

Vaughan noted that the speech perfectly illustrated Cormack's "self-deprecating humour and genuine humility". He donated a copy of his book to the occupants of Allan Cormack House adding that he trusts that the occupants "will take the time to find out more about the man after whom (their) building is named".

 

Story by Abigail Calata. Image by Michael Hammond.


Via UCT Research Office News
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Antiretroviral dose reduction: good for patients and rollout

Of the 35 million people living with HIV, almost a third are already on antiretroviral therapy, and the current aim is to increase substantially the number of people on medication during the next 5—10 years.  WHO recommends a regimen of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor efavirenz, and the nucleotide and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors tenofovir and lamivudine (or emtricitabine), as the preferred primary fixed-drug combination treatment.  
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How To Make A HIV Vaccine - maybe!

How To Make A HIV Vaccine - maybe! | Virology News | Scoop.it

This week marked 30 years since the public announcement that the cause of AIDS had been discovered. But how close are we to defeating HIV? And what sort of vaccine will help us to do this? Well there are a number of different approaches to the creation of a HIV vaccine, some of which look to stop patients from contracting HIV when exposed to the virus, others are looking for a therapeutic vaccine that will act at the very least as a functional cure for HIV+ patients.

Here are some of the different techniques being employed in the development of a HIV vaccine and some of the vaccines that have come out of them.

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Icelandic Penis Museum Documentary

Icelandic Penis Museum Documentary | Virology News | Scoop.it

A documentary about the Icelandic Penis Museum will be released in the USA next week. The movie is called The Final Member. Watch the trailer below!

The documentary is directed by two Canadians, Jonah Bekhor and Zach Math - who stayed in Iceland for a while to make the movie. The movie was actually shown in RIFF (Reykjavík Internaitonal Film Festival) last year but film distribution company, Drafthouse, bought all rights to the movie in North America. 

The movie tells the story of Sigurður Hjartarson, the founder of the Icelandic Phallological Museum - and his search for the final member for the museum, the human penis. The movie also follows the two men who wanted to donate their penises to the museum, Icelandic Páll Arason and American Tom who named his penis Elmo.

Ed Rybicki's insight:

Viruses.  And other things B-)

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Researchers Discover New Target for Dengue Virus Vaccine

Researchers Discover New Target for Dengue Virus Vaccine | Virology News | Scoop.it
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Creating a vaccine that protects people from all four types of dengue virus has frustrated scientists for decades. But researchers at the University of North Carolina have discovered a new target for human antibodies that could hold the key to a vaccine for the world’s most widespread mosquito-borne disease: dengue virus.

Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that after primary infection most human antibodies that neutralize the virus bind to the hinge region....

Also, de Silva and Baric’s research could be translated into other fields in need of vaccines. “The general idea is that a complex protein-interaction site can now be moved from one virus to another,” de Silva said. For instance, an epitope from a virus like hepatitis C could be moved onto the live virus used in the measles vaccine. This new chimeric virus would simultaneously offer people protection against hepatitis C and measles. 

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Researchers develop method to deliver vaccines directly to lymph nodes - Vaccine Nation : Vaccine Nation

Researchers develop method to deliver vaccines directly to lymph nodes - Vaccine Nation : Vaccine Nation | Virology News | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a system for precisely delivering anti-inflammatory drugs to immune cells gone out of control, while sparing their well-behaved counterparts. Their findings were published online Feb. 23 in Nature Nanotechnology.

The system uses nanoparticles made of tiny bits of protein designed to bind to unique receptors found only on neutrophils, a type of immune cell engaged in detrimental acute and chronic inflammatory responses.

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Iceland – a hotbed for bird flu viruses

Iceland – a hotbed for bird flu viruses | Virology News | Scoop.it
Scientists at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with American and Icelandic colleagues, demonstrated that bird flu viruses from both continental Europe and North-America, as well as mixed virus strains are found in wild birds in Iceland.

Via Chris Upton + helpers
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Immunization program in UK has reduced HPV infections in young women

Immunization program in UK has reduced HPV infections in young women | Virology News | Scoop.it

 Immunization program in UK has reduced HPV infections in young women

Each year around 2,000-2,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in England, the most common cancer in women under 35.

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Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic

Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic | Virology News | Scoop.it
Nasal Spray Holds Hope in Fighting Flu Epidemic
New York Times
Scottish and American scientists have found a new way to prevent flu infections that could, in theory, be used to fight an epidemic long before a vaccine is ready.
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Two shots of HPV vaccine against cervical cancer enough, says WHO

Two shots of HPV vaccine against cervical cancer enough, says WHO | Virology News | Scoop.it
New vaccines against the virus which triggers most cervical cancers will protect young girls after two doses, rather than the three in the current schedule, enabling GAVI to reach more in the developing world where most cases occur (Two shots of HPV...
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