Complex Insight - Understanding our world
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Complex Insight  - Understanding our world
News and notes on complex systems in life sciences, engineering, education and government
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Zika DNA Vaccine Proven Safe 

Zika DNA Vaccine Proven Safe  | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Results are in from the first phase 1 clinical trial for a Zika vaccine, and they are very promising. A new generation DNA-based Zika vaccine, developed by Wistar scientists in collaboration with Inovio Pharmaceuticals and GeneOne Life Science, was found to be safe and well tolerated by all study participants and was able to elicit an immune response against Zika, opening the door to further and larger trials to move this vaccine forward. 


Via Integrated DNA Technologies
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Very welcome news regarding initial ZIka virus trials.
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Conquering HIV’s capsid | July 31, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 31 | Chemical & Engineering News

Conquering HIV’s capsid | July 31, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 31 | Chemical & Engineering News | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
First potential new novel  treatment for HIV in 10 years leverages the geometry of the HIV Capsid
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Africa health: Rotavirus vaccine could save 500,000 children a year

Africa health: Rotavirus vaccine could save 500,000 children a year | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The Indian vaccine, which protects against gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus, was tested in Niger.

Via Ed Rybicki, Chris Upton + helpers
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As if we need a reminder on the importance of vaccinations. 
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Zika virus evolution and spread in the Americas

One hundred and ten Zika virus genomes from ten countries and territories involved in the Zika virus epidemic reveal rapid expansion of the epidemic within Brazil and multiple introductions to other regions.

 

Zika virus evolution and spread in the Americas
Hayden C. Metsky, et al.

Nature 546, 411–415 (15 June 2017) doi:10.1038/nature22402


Via Complexity Digest
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Influenza: A viral world war

Influenza: A viral world war | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The 1918 influenza pandemic probably infected one-third of the world's population at the time — 500 million people. It killed between 50 million and 100 million; by contrast, Second World War deaths numbered around 60 million. Why is this catastrophe

Via Ed Rybicki, Chris Upton + helpers
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Forests and human health

Forests and human health | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

This 2009 publication from the FAO’s Forestry and Forest Products Division highlights why emerging infectious diseases are considered to be among today’s major challenges to science, global health and human development. Rapid changes associated with globalization, especially the rapidly increasing ease of transport, are mixing people, domestic animals, wildlife and plants, along with their parasites and pathogens, at a frequency and in combinations that are unprecedented.

ComplexInsight's insight:

This prescient report from the FAO in 2009 highlights why research on EIDs, particularly that involving the ecological epidemiology of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases associated with forests, needs to be integrated with forest resource management and planning and healthcare management planning. This report along with related publications from FAO are essential reading for anyone modeling ecological change and disease impact. Very much worth reading.

 
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Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say | Al Jazeera America

Deforestation, development may be driving Ebola outbreaks, experts say | Al Jazeera America | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
As humans transform ecosystems and come into closer contact with animals, scientists fear more viral epidemics
ComplexInsight's insight:

After publishing the link to the paper on ebola antibodies in fruitbats in Bangladesh - wespeculated and were asked regarding deforestation impact - this is a good overview article discussing some of the current discussion points.

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Why HIV Virions Have Low Numbers of Envelope Spikes: Implications for Vaccine Development

Why HIV Virions Have Low Numbers of Envelope Spikes: Implications for Vaccine Development | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
From molecules to physiology
ComplexInsight's insight:

Interesting paper on structural protien envelope spikes in HIV related viruses and their relation to autoimmune response and implications for vaccine development by John Schiller and Bryce Chackerian. 

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A World Cup Visitor: Polio from Africa in Brazil | Science Blogs | WIRED

A World Cup Visitor: Polio from Africa in Brazil | Science Blogs | WIRED | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The World Health Organization announced on Monday that a polio sample was collected in March at Viracopos International Airport in Campinas, which is about 60 miles outside Sao Paulo, and is where many of the World Cup teams have been landing. The agency said no cases of polio have been identified and there is no evidence the disease has been transmitted.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Another awesome article by Maryn Mckenna, highlighting the interconnectedness of our health ecossystem as polio virus from Afric is found in a Brazilian sewer. The possible vector - visitors for the world cup. Article very worth reading.

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Cellular traffic control system mapped for the first time

Cellular traffic control system mapped for the first time | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Cells regulate the uptake of nutrients and messenger cargos and their transport within the cell. This process is known as endocytosis and membrane traffic. Different cargos dock onto substrate specific receptors on the cell membrane. Special proteins such as kinases, GTPases and coats, activate specific entry routes and trigger the uptake of the receptors into the cell. For their uptake, the receptors and docked cargos become enclosed by the cell membrane. In the next steps, the membrane invaginates and becomes constricted. The resulting vesicle is guided via several distinct stations, cellular organelles, to its final destination in the cell.

 

For her study, Dr. Prisca Liberali, senior scientist in the team of Professor Lucas Pelkmans, sequentially switched off 1200 human genes. Using automated high-throughput light microscopy and computer vision, she could monitor and compare 13 distinct transport paths involving distinct receptors and cellular organelles. Precise quantifications of thousands of single cells identified the genes required for the different transport routes. Surprisingly, sets of transport routes are co-regulated and coordinated in specific ways by different programs of regulatory control.

 

Subsequently, Dr. Liberali calculated the hierarchical order within the genetic network and thereby identified the regulatory topology of cellular transport. "The transport into the cell and within the cells proceeds analogously to the cargo transport within a city" describes the scientist. "Like in a city, the traffic on the routes within a cell and their intersections is tightly regulated by traffic lights and signs to guide the cargo flow."

 

Thanks to this unique quantitative map, the fine regulatory details of transport paths and processes within a cells could be mapped for the first time. Particularly the genes that encode for these traffic lights and switches are often de-regulated in disease. With this map, it is now possible to predict how this leads to traffic jams in the cells, causing the disease phenotype. Alternatively, since many drugs have been developed to target these traffic lights and switches, the map can be used to come up with possible drug combinations to target unwanted traffic, such as viruses, to the waste disposal system of the cell.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, burkesquires
ComplexInsight's insight:

Mapping the fine regulatory details of transport paths and processes within cells is key to understanding gene and protein functions, cancer, viral interactions and potential treatments.  Interesting read.

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Viruses affect an African flamingo population by killing their bacterial food source

Viruses affect an African flamingo population by killing their bacterial food source | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Trophic cascade effects occur when a food web is disrupted by loss or significant reduction of one or more of its members. In East African Rift Valley lakes, the Lesser Flamingo is on top of a short food chain. At irregular intervals, the dominance of their most important food source, the cyanobacterium Arthrospira fusiformis, is interrupted. Bacteriophages are known as potentially controlling photoautotrophic bacterioplankton. In Lake Nakuru (Kenya), we found the highest abundance of suspended viruses ever recorded in a natural aquatic system. We document that cyanophage infection and the related breakdown of A. fusiformis biomass led to a dramatic reduction in flamingo abundance. This documents that virus infection at the very base of a food chain can affect, in a bottom-up cascade, the distribution of end consumers. We anticipate this as an important example for virus-mediated cascading effects, potentially occurring also in various other aquatic food webs.


Via Chris Upton + helpers, Ed Rybicki
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HIV-like virus 'cleared in monkeys'

HIV-like virus 'cleared in monkeys' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Scientists have tested a vaccine that appears to be effective against the primate equivalent of HIV.
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Bird flu 'passed between humans'

Bird flu 'passed between humans' | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Researchers have reported the first case of human-to-human transmission of the new bird flu that has emerged in China.
ComplexInsight's insight:

First recorded case of human to human transmission of  H7N9 is being reported by BBC following publication of research findings and an editorial in the British Medical Journal. However the case does not mean the virus can easily spread between humans and according to DrJames Rudge of the London School of Hygiene and Triopical Medicine  the occurance is is not suprising since limited transmission has been seen in other bird flu viruses such as H5N1. 

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New antibody attacks 99% of HIV strains

New antibody attacks 99% of HIV strains | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
It will enter clinical trials to prevent and treat the infection next year.
ComplexInsight's insight:
This possibly the most promising news in HIV treatment research in over a decade. A research collaboration between the US National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical company Sanofi has produced a new antibody for treatment of AIDS. Developed from three "broadly neutralising antibodies", that a small number of patients develop in response to HIV infection, the new antibody has been shown to be effective to 99% of HIV strains in vitro tests with monkeys. Human trials start next year. to see the BBC article click the picture. To see the full paper - see here http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2017/09/22/science.aan8630
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Host and viral traits predict zoonotic spillover from mammals

The majority of human emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, with viruses that originate in wild mammals of particular concern (for example, HIV, Ebola and SARS). Understanding patterns of viral diversity in wildlife and determinants of successful cross-species transmission, or spillover, are therefore key goals for pandemic surveillance programs. However, few analytical tools exist to identify which host species are likely to harbour the next human virus, or which viruses can cross species boundaries. Here we conduct a comprehensive analysis of mammalian host–virus relationships and show that both the total number of viruses that infect a given species and the proportion likely to be zoonotic are predictable. After controlling for research effort, the proportion of zoonotic viruses per species is predicted by phylogenetic relatedness to humans, host taxonomy and human population within a species range—which may reflect human–wildlife contact. We demonstrate that bats harbour a significantly higher proportion of zoonotic viruses than all other mammalian orders. We also identify the taxa and geographic regions with the largest estimated number of ‘missing viruses’ and ‘missing zoonoses’ and therefore of highest value for future surveillance. We then show that phylogenetic host breadth and other viral traits are significant predictors of zoonotic potential, providing a novel framework to assess if a newly discovered mammalian virus could infect people.

Via Ed Rybicki, Chris Upton + helpers
ComplexInsight's insight:
Understanding zoonotic potential will be key to health planning and epidemic prevention in the 21st century.  This paper has key insights such as major hosts (bats) and key geographic zones for observation. If you are involved in health planning or disease modeling - very worthwhile reading.
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Viral vectors travel longer distances than previously thought

Viral vectors travel longer distances than previously thought | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Gene transfer is seen as a hopeful therapy for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients. The approach involves using harmless laboratory-produced viruses to introduce important genes into the brain cells. In a study on mice

Via Gilbert C FAURE, Kenzibit
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The Types Of Cancer You Can Get From HPV

The Types Of Cancer You Can Get From HPV | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
New study suggests HPV-related genital infection can cause cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancers.

Via Kenzibit
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So It Turns Out There's A Lot We Don't Know About Ebola

So It Turns Out There's A Lot We Don't Know About Ebola | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
New data on survivors shows a range of health problems, from loss of vision to arthritis. It's making researchers realize they need to learn more about how the virus affects the human body.

Via Julia Paoli
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Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea: Where Ecology Meets Economy

Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea: Where Ecology Meets Economy | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

The precise factors that result in an Ebola virus outbreak remain unknown, but a broad examination of the complex and interwoven ecology and socioeconomics may help us better understand what has already happened and be on the lookout for what might happen next, including determining regions and populations at risk. Although the focus is often on the rapidity and efficacy of the short-term international response, attention to these admittedly challenging underlying factors will be required for long-term prevention and control.

 
ComplexInsight's insight:

As terrifying and tragic the current Ebola outbreak is - informed discussion on sources, vectors and the interplay of ecology and socioeconomics will be at the heart of finding long term solutions.

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Ebola Virus Antibodies in Fruit Bats, Bangladesh - Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Ebola Virus Antibodies in Fruit Bats, Bangladesh - Volume 19, Number 2—February 2013 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
To determine geographic range for Ebola virus, we tested 276 bats in Bangladesh. Five (3.5%) bats were positive for antibodies against Ebola Zaire and Reston viruses; no virus was detected by PCR. These bats might be a reservoir for Ebola or Ebola-like viruses, and extend the range of filoviruses to mainland Asia.
ComplexInsight's insight:

As evidence builds that fruit bats may be a vector for the recent ebola outbreak in Western Africa - I was reminded of this paper in CDC's EID journal which found 5 out of 276 (3.5%) tested bats in Bangladesh had antibodies to Ebola. It would be interesting to map ebola outbreaks against natural migration and deforestation paths and see if there is any correlation and to see how other regional antibody presence tests indicate migration as well. The original paper and the EID journal in general are well worth reading. Click image or headling to read more.

 

 

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Canada to give WHO Ebola vaccine

Canada to give WHO Ebola vaccine | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Following the WHO decision that it was ethical to use untested drugs on Ebola patients if it gave them a possibility of recovery, Canada says it will donate up to 1,000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help battle the disease's outbreak in West Africa.

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Quantitative Temporal Viromics: An Approach to Investigate Host-Pathogen Interaction: Cell

Quantitative Temporal Viromics: An Approach to Investigate Host-Pathogen Interaction: Cell | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

A systematic quantitative analysis of temporal changes in host and viral proteins throughout the course of a productive infection could provide dynamic insights into virus-host interaction. We developed a proteomic technique called “quantitative temporal viromics” (QTV), which employs multiplexed tandem-mass-tag-based mass spectrometry. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is not only an important pathogen but a paradigm of viral immune evasion. QTV detailed how HCMV orchestrates the expression of >8,000 cellular proteins, including 1,200 cell-surface proteins to manipulate signaling pathways and counterintrinsic, innate, and adaptive immune defenses. QTV predicted natural killer and T cell ligands, as well as 29 viral proteins present at the cell surface, potential therapeutic targets. Temporal profiles of >80% of HCMV canonical genes and 14 noncanonical HCMV open reading frames were defined. QTV is a powerful method that can yield important insights into viral infection and is applicable to any virus with a robust in vitro model.


Via burkesquires
ComplexInsight's insight:

Understanding protein change during virus-host interaction offers opportunities for new diagnostics, treatments and clear understanding of how specific viruses interact and manipulate signalling pathways and immune defenses. QTV offers a lot of promise for researchers and practitioners.

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Smallpox: Last refuge of an ultimate killer

Smallpox: Last refuge of an ultimate killer | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
If a virus killed millions, why keep it alive? Two places on Earth guard the last vials of smallpox, but Rachel Nuwer finds that they may not be there for long
ComplexInsight's insight:

Good article from the BBC on Smallpox before the World Health Assembly debate destroying the remaining stores at CDC and Vector.

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Decoding viral puzzles

Decoding viral puzzles | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
The genome of viruses is usually enclosed inside a shell called capsid. Capsids have unique mechanic properties: they have to be resistant and at the same time capable of dissolving in order to release the genome into the infected cell.

Via Ed Rybicki
ComplexInsight's insight:

interesting paper looking at capsid mechanisms. 

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Ed Rybicki's curator insight, December 11, 2013 1:16 AM

Love that structural stuf....

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Camels could be deadly virus source

Camels could be deadly virus source | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Dromedary camels could be responsible for passing to humans the deadly Mers coronavirus that emerged last year, research suggests.
ComplexInsight's insight:

Scientists looking for the vector for  Mers coronavirus, published a study  in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases appear to have found a candidate vector. After testing for antibodies in blood samples taken from livestock animals, including camels, sheep, goats and cows, from a number of different countries the team found low levels of antibodies in 15 out of 105 camels from the Canary Islands and high levels in each of the 50 camels tested in Oman.  Scientists still need to isolate or sequence the virus from an infected animal to be definite but these findings will help direct new research.

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