Tag: Virology

Case of tick-borne relapsing fever in Mexico

Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever (TBRF) is a recurring fever caused by exposure to infected Borrelia bacteria. Several cases have been reported in Mexico, but the disease gets little attention. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases describe the details of an additional case of TBRF in Sonora, Mexico in 2012. On January 27, 2012, a

Sexual behavior may influence gut microbiome: Researchers say men who have sex with men have unique microbiomes, may impact immune system

A person’s sexual behavior could affect their microbiome and immune system, potentially elevating their risk of HIV infection, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The study was published last week in the journal PLOS Pathogens. The microbiome, a community of microbes in the gut, play a

Herpes viruses and tumors evolved to learn how to manipulate the same ancient RNA: Findings could have implications for drugs and insight into diseases like Alzheimer’s

Herpes viral infections use the ancient genetic material found in the human genome to proliferate, mimicking the same process tumors have been found to manipulate, Mount Sinai researchers have shown for the first time. These observations provide further insight about how herpes viruses can manipulate the immune system in ways that may drive neurodegenerative diseases

Lung neuropeptide exacerbates lethal influenza virus infection: Researchers find that neuropeptide Y (NPY) makes influenza worse when produced by lung immune cells

Severe influenza virus infection is characterized by a strong inflammatory response and profuse viral replication in lungs. These viruses, such as the notorious avian flu, have a high rate of death and to date there are no effective treatments. A research group led by National Institutes of Biomedical Innovation, Health and Nutrition (NIBIOHN) and Osaka

Discovery could neutralize West Nile virus

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and colleagues have isolated a human monoclonal antibody that can “neutralize” the West Nile virus and potentially prevent a leading cause of viral encephalitis (brain inflammation) in the United States. Their findings, reported this week in the journal Nature Microbiology, could lead to the first effective treatment for this

Synthetic DNA-delivered antibodies protect against Ebola in preclinical studies

Scientists at The Wistar Institute and collaborators have successfully engineered novel DNA-encoded monoclonal antibodies (DMAbs) targeting Zaire Ebolavirus that were effective in preclinical models. Study results, published online in Cell Reports, showed that DMAbs were expressed over a wide window of time and offered complete and long-term protection against lethal virus challenges. DMAbs may also

Potential assay artefacts in anti-malarial screening documented

Malaria remains an economic and health burden to the developing world. As plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, is acquiring rapid resistance against currently used drugs, identification of new classes of anti-malarials remains an urgent need. Potential anti-malarials include small molecules, peptides, antibodies or plant extracts with likely medicinal properties. These agents are often prepared

Viruses under the microscope

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects almost all of the human population, but only very few will show any symptoms during their lifetime: HHV-6 is one of the most widespread viruses among the population. Between 95 and 100 percent of healthy adults have antibodies to the virus which means that they have been infected at some

New technique reveals how Zika virus interacts inside our cells: Discovery could enable development of new anti-viral therapies

Scientists have developed a new technique that can determine how viruses interact with a host’s own RNA. As well as providing insight into how viruses direct the host cell to create new virus particles, this technique, published today in Nature Methods, could allow researchers to design artificial molecules capable of blocking the virus replication process

New antibody analysis accelerates rational vaccine design: Scripps Research study illuminates humoral immune response to experimental vaccines

A team at Scripps Research has come up with a faster way to analyze the outcome of experimental vaccines against HIV and other pathogens. Their new system lets scientists quickly assess the full spectrum of antibodies produced in an individual in response to a pathogen or vaccine and determine if these antibodies are likely to

Tickborne diseases are likely to increase, say NIAID officials

The incidence of tickborne infections in the United States has risen significantly within the past decade. It is imperative, therefore, that public health officials and scientists build a robust understanding of pathogenesis, design improved diagnostics, and develop preventive vaccines, according to a new commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine from leading scientists at

California Aedes mosquitoes capable of spreading Zika

Over the last five years, Zika virus has emerged as a significant global human health threat following outbreaks in South and Central America. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have shown that invasive mosquitoes in California — where cases of Zika in travelers have been a regular occurrence in recent years — are

Dogs can be a potential risk for future influenza pandemic

Dogs are a potential reservoir for a future influenza pandemic, according to a study published in the journal mBio. The study demonstrated that influenza virus can jump from pigs into canines and that influenza is becoming increasingly diverse in canines. “The majority of pandemics have been associated with pigs as an intermediate host between avian

Characteristics of microorganisms most likely to cause a global pandemic

Infectious disease preparedness work focuses predominantly on an historical list of pathogens derived from biological warfare agents, political considerations, and recent outbreaks. That fails to account for the most serious agents not currently known or without historical precedent, write scholars from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in a new report on the traits

Study challenges ‘shock and kill’ approach to eliminating HIV

Researchers have provided new insight into the cellular processes behind the ‘shock and kill’ approach to curing HIV, which they say challenges the effectiveness of the treatment. Their study, published in the journal eLife, suggests the need to explore alternative treatment strategies against HIV — a virus which 36.7 million people globally were living with

Smart phone as a faster infection detector: Portable reader is nearly perfect in finding 12 common viral and bacterial diseases

Washington State University researchers have developed a low-cost, portable laboratory on a phone that works nearly as well as clinical laboratories to detect common viral and bacterial infections. The work could lead to faster and lower-cost lab results for fast-moving viral and bacterial epidemics, especially in rural or lower-resource regions where laboratory equipment and medical