Virology News
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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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Like I said....

New Scientist February 25
"If half the energy that went into seeing bioterrorists behind every Petri dish was expended on overcoming these obstacles, the squabble over publishing H5N1 research would become what it should be: purely academic."
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FluPhone app to track epidemics

FluPhone app to track epidemics | Virology News | Scoop.it
A mobile phone app could help monitor the way infectious diseases turn into epidemics, Cambridge researchers say.

...


Via Elsevier Microbiol*
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The tale of xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus

In 2006, a new retrovirus was isolated from prostate cancer patient tissue. Named xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV), this was potentially the third class of retrovirus to be pathogenic in humans. XMRV made a more dramatic impact on the wider scientific community, and indeed the media, in 2009 when it was reported to be present in a remarkably high proportion of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome as well as a significant, albeit smaller, proportion of healthy controls. The apparent strong link to disease and the fear of a previously unknown retrovirus circulating in the general population lead to a surge in XMRV research. Subsequent studies failed to find an association of XMRV with disease and, in most cases, failed to find the virus in human samples. In 2011, the case against XMRV and human disease strengthened, ending with several decisive publications revealing the origin of the virus and demonstrating contamination of samples. In this review, we outline the passage of research on XMRV and its potential association with disease from its isolation to the present day, where we find ourselves at the end of a turbulent story.

 

Good review on a very contentious topic

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Inovio announces positive animal response in SynCon anti-HPV study

Inovio announces positive animal response in SynCon anti-HPV study | Virology News | Scoop.it
Inovio Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:INO) said Monday its SynCon vaccine induced a positive T-Cell immune response in mice with diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11, broadening the company's reach with the synthetic vaccine.
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NIH-funded studies show benefits of immediate antiretroviral treatment for HIV-infected infants | Science Codex

NIH-funded studies show benefits of immediate antiretroviral treatment for HIV-infected infants | Science Codex | Virology News | Scoop.it

Study results presented today by Mark Cotton, M.D., Ph.D., of Stellenbosch University in South Africa, showed that infants could safely stop ART after 1 to 2 years and continue to fare significantly better than those infants in whom the initiation of therapy was delayed until signs of illness or a weakened immune system appeared. Importantly, very few infants who received immediate ART had significant disease progression or died after treatment was stopped.

 

News from our neighbours: good one, Mark C!

 

Picture courtesy Russell Kightley Media

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Mutant H5N1 Virus Stirs Biosafety Debate

Mutant H5N1 Virus Stirs Biosafety Debate | Virology News | Scoop.it
While research on the lab-altered H5N1 virus that can be transmitted between mammals in laboratories is put on hold, scientists are debating how to balance biosecurity with the need for research that could help thwart a pandemic.

 

The issue: What biosafety containment level (BSL) should be used for the viruses?
The levels range from BSL-1 to BSL-4, which are designated in ascending order by degree of protection provided to lab personnel, the environment and the community. Biosafety levels apply to labs dealing with infectious microbes.
Currently, studies with these viruses, which were engineered to spread via respiratory droplets between ferrets, are being done at BSL-3 or higher facilities. However, Canada has already moved to institute the highest level of biosafety containment research for these viruses....

 

Meanwhile, farmers in Indonesia and Vietnam continue to breathe 'em in....

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Medicago Inc And Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Enter Into Vaccine Alliance

Medicago Inc And Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Enter Into Vaccine Alliance | Virology News | Scoop.it
Medicago Inc. has entered into a strategic alliance with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation to develop and commercialize at least three new vaccines together.

 

Under this first agreement to develop a Rotavirus Like Particle (RLP) vaccine target, MTPC will have the option to license the RLP vaccine target and assume global development, regulatory and commercialization responsibilities while Medicago will be eligible to receive up to a total of C$33 million (approximately US$33 million) in upfront and milestone payments as well as royalties on future sales of the RLP product.

 

Going green - the right thing to do!

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H5N2 avian flu strikes Taiwan: COA

H5N2 avian flu strikes Taiwan: COA | Virology News | Scoop.it
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan has reported its first outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza, with almost 58,000 chickens culled in two farms, agricultural authorities confirmed yesterday.
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PLoS Pathogens: Short ORF-Dependent Ribosome Shunting Operates in an RNA Picorna-Like Virus and a DNA Pararetrovirus that Cause Rice Tungro Disease

PLoS Pathogens: Short ORF-Dependent Ribosome Shunting Operates in an RNA Picorna-Like Virus and a DNA Pararetrovirus that Cause Rice Tungro Disease | Virology News | Scoop.it

"We conclude that RTSV and RTBV have developed a similar, sORF-dependent shunt mechanism possibly to adapt to the host translation system and/or coordinate their life cycles. Given that sORF-dependent shunting also operates in a pararetrovirus Cauliflower mosaic virus and likely in other pararetroviruses that possess a conserved shunt configuration in their leaders it is tempting to propose that RTSV may have acquired shunt cis-elements from RTBV during their co-existence."

 

Fascinating: horizontal genetic element transfer among VERY dissimilar viruses sharing the same niche

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HealthMap | Flu Near You

HealthMap | Flu Near You | Virology News | Scoop.it
Do you have it in you? Join the Flu Near You project to help track flu activity in the United States.

 

Citizen bioinformatics...B-)

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Microneedle vaccine patch boosts flu protection through robust skin cell immune response

Recent research found that microneedle vaccine patches are more effective at delivering protection against influenza virus in mice than subcutaneous or intramuscular inoculation.

 

Again, intelligent use of the largest organ of immunity of the human body - the skin

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Amateur Biologists Are New Fear in Making a Mutant Flu Virus

Amateur Biologists Are New Fear in Making a Mutant Flu Virus | Virology News | Scoop.it
Scientists are sharply divided over how easy it might be to make a virulent form of the bird flu virus.

 

Really?  Anyone who actually understands just how much training it takes to do the kind of mol biol AND virus culture AND animal experiments, thinks it would be easy for amateurs to make mutant flu viruses?  Scare mongering continues...!

AJCann's comment, March 6, 2012 4:38 AM
Sigh.
AJCann's comment, March 6, 2012 10:46 AM
To be fair, if you read right to the end of the article, Zimmer eventually gets round to that.
Ed Rybicki's comment, March 6, 2012 10:48 AM
...after he scare-mongered. Gratuitously. Glow-in-the-dark E colis do not a plague virus make.
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MicrobeWorld - Video from the H5N1 Research Discussion at ASMBiodefense

MicrobeWorld - Video from the H5N1 Research Discussion at ASMBiodefense | Virology News | Scoop.it
Video from the discussion of NSABB’s publication recommendations for the NIH-funded research on the transmissibility of H5N1 at ASMBiodefense conference.
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"The Virus Planet" -- A Hidden Universe that would Reach Out 100 Million Light Years (Today's Most Popular)

"The Virus Planet" -- A Hidden Universe that would Reach Out 100 Million Light Years (Today's Most Popular) | Virology News | Scoop.it
In the invisible, parallel world of Earth's they kill half the bacteria in the ocean every day, and invade a microbe host 10 trillion times a second around the world.

 

I like telling people that if you put all the viruses in the world's oceans end to end, it would stretch for 160 million light years - further than the next galactic CLUSTER, let alone galaxy.


Via Elsevier Microbiol*
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To beat a virus, find its ‘pocket factor’ - Futurity.org

To beat a virus, find its ‘pocket factor’ - Futurity.org | Virology News | Scoop.it

PURDUE (US) — New details about the structure of a virus that causes brain swelling and paralysis in children may lead to antiviral drugs.

 

Full story at http://www.futurity.org/health-medicine/to-beat-a-virus-find-its-%E2%80%98pocket-factor%E2%80%99/


Via Elsevier Microbiol*
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Psoriasis Linked to Protection from HIV-1: Scientific American Podcast

Psoriasis Linked to Protection from HIV-1: Scientific American Podcast | Virology News | Scoop.it

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease—the immune system mistakenly attacks its own body, causing red, itchy, scaly patches on the skin. But there may be a hidden upside. People with psoriasis are more likely to have gene variants that protect them against the effects of HIV-1.

Researchers had noticed that some psoriasis patients had the same gene variants as people known as "HIV-1 controllers." Such people have HIV-1, but they naturally maintain low levels of the virus and generally do not develop any obvious symptoms of AIDS.

 

Interesting trade-off...!

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Most Android anti-virus products don't work, tests find - msnbc.com

Most Android anti-virus products don't work, tests find - msnbc.com | Virology News | Scoop.it
msnbc.comMost Android anti-virus products don't work, tests findmsnbc.comAn independent IT security firm deemed nearly two-thirds of Android anti-virus scanning software "not yet suitable for use as reliable products." Out of 41 different Android...

 

Yet more reasons to have an iPad...B-)

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PLoS ONE: Kinetics of Proton Transport into Influenza Virions by the Viral M2 Channel

PLoS ONE: Kinetics of Proton Transport into Influenza Virions by the Viral M2 Channel | Virology News | Scoop.it

M2 protein of influenza A viruses is a tetrameric transmembrane proton channel, which has essential functions both early and late in the virus infectious cycle. Previous studies of proton transport by M2 have been limited to measurements outside the context of the virus particle. We have developed an in vitro fluorescence-based assay to monitor internal acidification of individual virions triggered to undergo membrane fusion. We show that rimantadine, an inhibitor of M2 proton conductance, blocks the acidification-dependent dissipation of fluorescence from a pH-sensitive virus-content probe. Fusion-pore formation usually follows internal acidification but does not require it. The rate of internal virion acidification increases with external proton concentration and saturates with a pKm of ~4.7. The rate of proton transport through a single, fully protonated M2 channel is approximately 100 to 400 protons per second. The saturating proton-concentration dependence and the low rate of internal virion acidification derived from authentic virions support a transporter model for the mechanism of proton transfer.

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More patients relapse in Gilead hepatitis C trial

More patients relapse in Gilead hepatitis C trial | Virology News | Scoop.it
(Reuters) - Two more patients in a 10-patient segment of a mid-stage trial testing Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental hepatitis C drug GS-7977 had the virus return within four weeks of treatment, researchers...
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Private cancer treatment news: HPV tests in cervical cancer treatment

HPV tests should be incorporated into cervical cancer treatment programmes: Get the latest cancer treatment news at Private Healthcare UK.
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GMO Pundit a.k.a. David Tribe: Natural GMOs Part 112. Conventional corn is a GMO with a new piece of DNA that has been inserted some 23000 years ago.

In seeking to better understand how teosinte gave rise to corn, a scientific team has pinpointed one of the key genetic changes that paved the way for corn's domestication. As reported today (Sept. 25) on the Nature Genetics website, a major change occurred about 23,000 years ago, when a small piece of DNA — a jumping gene known as Hopscotch — inserted itself into the control region of a teosinte gene that affects plant architecture. This case is among the first to show that a jumping gene can cause alterations in gene expression that impact evolution.

 

It is to love: Ma Nature as GMO engineer

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Next generation dengue vaccines: A review of candidates in preclinical development 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.07.017 : Vaccine | ScienceDirect.com

Dengue represents a major public health problem of growing global importance. In the absence of specific dengue therapeutics, strategies for disease control have increasingly focused on the development of dengue vaccines. While a licensed dengue vaccine is not yet available, several vaccine candidates are currently being evaluated in clinical trials and are described in detail in accompanying articles. In addition, there are a large variety of candidates in preclinical development, which are based on diverse technologies, ensuring a continued influx of innovation into the development pipeline. Potentially, some of the current preclinical candidates may become next generation dengue vaccines with superior product profiles. This review provides an overview of the various technological approaches to dengue vaccine development and specifically focuses on candidates in preclinical development.

 

And the special issue on dengue vaccines of which this is a part is well worth a visit.

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Inovio's SynCon vaccine for head & neck, HPV-related cancers induces robust T-cell immune response in mice

Inovio's SynCon vaccine for head & neck, HPV-related cancers induces robust T-cell immune response in mice | Virology News | Scoop.it
Inovio's SynCon vaccine for head & neck, HPV-related cancers induces robust T-cell immune response in mice...
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Bulawayo24 NEWS | People 'healed' of HIV-AIDS after visiting Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua

Bulawayo24 NEWS | People 'healed' of HIV-AIDS after visiting Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua | Virology News | Scoop.it

Warning: bullshit alert....

 

HUNDREDS of people from across Africa have said they were healed of HIV/AIDS after visiting Nigerian Prophet TB Joshua.

In testimonies beamed live on Emmanuel TV on Sunday, three of the many Christians showed the world their HIV tests which changed from positive to negative after being prayed for by Prophet TB Joshua.

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Cuba to test new AIDS vaccine on humans

Cuba to test new AIDS vaccine on humans | Virology News | Scoop.it

HAVANA — Cuba's top biotech teams have successfully tested a new AIDS vaccine on mice, and are ready to soon begin human testing, a leading researcher told a biotechnology conference in Havana on Monday.
"The new AIDS trial vaccine already was tested successfully (on mice) and now we are preparing a very small, tightly controlled phase one clinical trial" with HIV-positive patients who are not in the advanced stages of disease, researcher Enrique Iglesias said.

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