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Topical news snippets about viruses that affect people.  And other things. Like Led Zeppelin. And zombies B-)
Curated by Ed Rybicki
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In Memoriam - Hilary Koprowski

In Memoriam - Hilary Koprowski | Virology News | Scoop.it
Hilary Koprowski: A Renaissance scientist

Hilary Koprowski died on the 11th of April 2013 at the age of 96 from respiratory complications...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

I met him a few times - he endeared himself to me as he was one of the only people who knew how to pronounce my name without me telling him - and he was a MOST impressive man.  Productive to the end, and right into new technologies such as plant production as well.  We will miss him.

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Is this the reason why RV144 HIV ‘Thai trial’ didn’t protect more participants?

Is this the reason why RV144 HIV ‘Thai trial’ didn’t protect more participants? | Virology News | Scoop.it

The RV144 ‘Thai trial’ of an HIV vaccine candidate resulted in an unprecedented 31% protection rate among participants – a

result that sparked something of a revival in the HIV vaccine field. Despite this encouraging result, the protection rate was still considered to be too low for the vaccine to be useful. Since then, many HIV vaccines have come and gone – with the NIAID’s HVTN 505 trial being the latest casualty in the drive to stem the HIV pandemic. However, researchers at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute have published researched inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (May 6th 2013) which pinpoints a previously unknown interaction between IgA and IgG antibodies as the cause of a lack of response to the RV144 vaccine.

 

Killer T-cell graphic by Russell Kightely Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

VERY interesting, if true: IgA - supposedly the Ab of choice for mucosal surface protection - interfering with IgG, and stopping killer T / NK cells from binding and killing infected cells?

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Roadmap to an HIV Vaccine [maybe]

Roadmap to an HIV Vaccine [maybe] | Virology News | Scoop.it
Researchers track the evolution of HIV in a single patient to understand what drives the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

So they say they have a strategy to mimic natural infection, where an arms race between generation of antibody binding site diveristy and Env epitopes results in increasingly good neutralising antibodies to Env - and that this could lead to a vaccine.

 

Um.  Yeeeessss...for a single patient, given that this is what they followed??  And now that they will follow other single patients, might they not show that each person's responses evolve completely differently?

 

So this is good science - in fact, it is GREAT science.  However - right now that is all it is; like so much of HIV research, answering hypothesis-generated questions leads to more more hypotheses, and more good science, and more publications....BUT NO VACCINES.  In fact, the ONLY vaccines which have made it into Phase III clinical trial are nothing like what people seem to think will work, and only got there because the people who pushed for the trials pretty much ignored the basic scientists.

 

A potential flaw in the whole approach is looking at what NATURAL infections do.  That this may not be relevant is shown by the case of one of the most successful of recent vaccines, which is Human papillomavirus (HPV) VLPs.  The virus infects epithelial cells in a topical manner, is cleared by cell-mediated immune responses and elicits only weak antibody responses which are protective, whereas the vaccine is given via injection, and elicits very high neutralising antibody responses which are protective - but are of no use against established infections.

 

But the trains roll on, and new approaches keep getting unearthed, and maybe we will yet get efficacious HIV vaccines.

 

Maybe.

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Key TB vaccine trial fails; more waiting in the wings - Reuters

Key TB vaccine trial fails; more waiting in the wings - Reuters | Virology News | Scoop.it

NPR (blog) Key TB vaccine trial fails; more waiting in the wings Reuters CHICAGO (Reuters) - A highly anticipated study of the first new tuberculosis vaccine in 90 years showed it offered no added benefit over the current vaccine ...

Ed Rybicki's insight:

And that's the way it SHOULD be: a whole pipeline of stuff waiting to go into people.

Unlike the South African HIV vaccine development effort....

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Billions of dollars later and still no Aids vaccine - Times LIVE

Billions of dollars later and still no Aids vaccine - Times LIVE | Virology News | Scoop.it
Latest news from South Africa, World, Politics, Entertainment and Lifestyle. The home of The Times and Sunday Times newspaper. (The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8-billion in the past decade with no real results.
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Beause of rampant band-wagon jumping and some ignoring of basic lessons from other lentiviruses...the Ad5 bandwagon was especially noticeable; it will be interesting to see what the new wagon will be, now that this has come to a grinding halt.  Poxviruses, anyone?

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Ineffective – HIV Vaccine Trial Discontinued

Ineffective – HIV Vaccine Trial Discontinued | Virology News | Scoop.it

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has announced that it will halt its HVTN 505 HIV vaccine

trial due to a perceived lack of efficacy. A scheduled review by an independent data and safety monitoring board found that the vaccine regimen neither prevented HIV infection nor reduced viral load in vaccine recipients who became infected with HIV.

The announcement will come as a blow to those hoping the HVTN 505 would be an effective intervention to stem the HIV pandemic.

 

HIV particle graphic by Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki's insight:

And another one bites the dust...not only not effective, but suspected of increasing infection rates.  VERY sad!

 

I am beginning to think that adenoviruses are simply useless when it comes to vectoring HIV genes for vaccine purposes.

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Catholic board reconsidering HPV vaccine - Alberta Daily Herald Tribune

Catholic board reconsidering HPV vaccine - Alberta Daily Herald Tribune | Virology News | Scoop.it
Catholic board reconsidering HPV vaccine Alberta Daily Herald Tribune AHS Grande Prairie estimated that only 20-25% of students in Catholic schools receive the HPV vaccine at the Health Unit, compared with 95% of students in the public board, who...
Ed Rybicki's insight:

Don't Catholics get HPV?  Just like they can't get HIV? Really, the churches need to get their heads around the fact that people do not follow their doctrines very well.

burkesquires's comment, March 21, 2013 10:34 PM
Hi Ed...sadly I suspect that some Catholics do get HPV as well as HIV. But following your logic a rule or guideline should exist only if people follow it? That sounds like relativism at it worst. your logic we should do away with all laws that are not followed...hmmm. If you would like to understand better what the Church teaches I would be glad to try to help in that endeavor.
Ed Rybicki's comment, March 25, 2013 5:36 AM
I am a SERIOUSLY well-schooled ex-Catholic - so I will decline your offer. What I really would like to see is the Catholic Church take cognisance of the fact that their teachings around reproduction and the inhibition of it are completely out of touch with the modern world - and promote the use of infection control agents like condoms.
Aliveritas's curator insight, April 13, 2013 1:28 AM

Really?