Archive for March, 2012

US biosecurity board revises stance on mutant-flu studies

31 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Nature | Breaking News

 

The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) today recommended the publication of two controversial avian flu papers.

In December 2011, the board said that experimental details of the two studies should be redacted from any publications because of concerns that the information could be used in a bioterror attack. The board also feared that publishing the details would prompt more laboratories to work on the viruses, making an accidental release more likely.

New guidelines aim to prevent concerns about dual use being raised only at the eve of publication.

CDC/ Taronna Maines

Today, after a two-day meeting, the board decided to revise its earlier decision.

 

Viva!!

Via www.nature.com

Trade Secrets: Will work for cash : Trade Secrets

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Three years ago, at the 3rd Plant-Based Vaccines & Antibodies meeting in Verona , I proposed what I thought was a novel idea to move the field of “pharming” forward.  With Andres Wigdorovitz from Buenos Aires in Argentina, I suggested that companies in the USA and Europe could advance their recombinant plant-produced biologicals product development very significantly by investing in research groups in countries like Argentina and South Africa, where the science was essentially on par with northern countries, but personnel and facilities cost far less.

Via blogs.nature.com

PLoS Pathogens: Mutation and Selection of Prions

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Prion diseases, or transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), occur naturally in several species, including humans, cattle, sheep, and deer, and can be transmitted experimentally to many others. Typically, incubation times are relatively long, extending to 40 years or more in humans; however, after appearance of clinical symptoms, death mostly ensues within less than a year, as a consequence of neurodegeneration accompanied by accumulation of abnormal conformers of the host protein PrP. Natural transmission usually occurs perorally, as exemplified by the kuru epidemic among the Fore people of Papua New Guinea, attributed to cannibalistic practices; the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epizootic in the United Kingdom at the end of last century, caused by feeding of contaminated meat-and-bone meal to cattle; or the current epizootic of chronic wasting disease afflicting cervids in 19 states of the United States. Transmission of BSE prions to young humans gave rise to a limited outbreak of a novel illness, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), almost exclusively in the UK. Sporadic cases of prion disease occur at very low frequency in human populations (sCJD) and in cattle herds (atypical BSE), and are attributed to spontaneous generation of prions in the affected individuals. Finally, familial forms of human prion disease are linked to a variety of different, dominant mutations in the PRNP gene, and while afflicted families are rare, penetrance is very high.

 

Very nice review from an authority in the field.

Prion image courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

Via www.plospathogens.org

In Vitro Characterization of a Nineteenth-Century Therapy for Smallpox

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

In the nineteenth century, smallpox ravaged through the United States and Canada. At this time, a botanical preparation, derived from the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea, was proclaimed as being a successful therapy for smallpox infections.

 

Botanicals: the (partially) unexplored country.  Sometimes folk wisdom has pharmaceutical potential.

Via www.plosone.org

Virology Journal | Abstract | Hepatitis C virus-specific cellular immune responses in individuals with no evidence of infection

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

The detection of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-specific T cell responses in HCV-uninfected, presumably unexposed, subjects could be due to an underestimation of the frequency of spontaneously resolving infections, as most acute HCV infections are clinically silent.

Overall, 20% of presumably HCV-uninfected subject tested had detectable T-cell responses to the virus, a rate much higher than previous estimates of HCV prevalence in developed countries. This result would be consistent with unapparent primary HCV infections that either cleared spontaneously or remained undetected by conventional serological assays.

 

Interesting stuff – because undetected HCV infections have important corollaries, like increased incidence of transmission.

Image of HCV particles courtesy Russell Kightley Media

Via www.virologyj.com

Virology Journal | Abstract | Immune response to a potyvirus with exposed amino groups available for chemical conjugation

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

The amino terminus of the tobacco etch virus (TEV) capsid protein is located on the external surface of infectious TEV particles, as proposed by previous studies and an in silico model.  The epsilon amino groups on the exposed lysine residues are available for chemical conjugation to any given protein, and can thus act as antigen carriers. The availability of amino groups on the surfaces of TEV particles was determined and the immune response to TEV evaluated.

 

Plant viruses are creeping into use as nanoparticles…bionanophytovirus particles??

Via www.virologyj.com

MicrobiologyBytes » Blog Archive » Why do we get repeated colds?

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Although a number of different viruses cause “colds”, rhinoviruses are one of the most frequent sources. And although there are many serotypes of rhinovirus, they total number may not be enough to account for all the colds you get during your lifetime. A recent paper suggests that rhinoviruses are able to direct antibody responses away from the critical areas on the outside of the virus particle which give a neutralizing response towards internal regoins of the virus capsid not exposed to antibodies.

 

A-ha!  SO like flu, if you cut that bit off, antibody responses will be directed where they are supposed to be, to neutralise the damn thing – one of which is presently sneaking around my office suite, getting inexorably closer to me….

Via www.microbiologybytes.com

“Opposing views”: Cancer quackery versus…HIV/AIDS denialism : Respectful Insolence

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Since when did Opposing Views become NaturalNews.com? Anyone who’s read this blog for a while knows that NaturalNews.com is one of the wretchedest hives of scum and quackery anywhere on the Internet, surpassing even The Huffington Post.

 

Just what I like: someone not scared of beating irrational skeptics with a big stick.  Several times.

Via scienceblogs.com

Influenza animation – flu virus mechanism

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

Animation of the mechanism of an influenza virus and how Crucell’s antibodies target the HA1 proteins on the virus and prevent further spread of influenza.

 

Might be an advert, but it’s one of the nicest animations of flu virus entry and neutralisation that I’ve ever seen.  In fact, it’s the ONLY one!

Via www.youtube.com

Could swine flu vaccine cause narcolepsy? Scientists probe link between drug and increase in cases

30 March, 2012

Via Scoop.itVirology News

A Finnish study found that the incidence rate of narcolepsy among children and teenagers under the age of 17 shot up 17-fold after the vaccinations.

 

Now one has to add to that, that in China narcolepsy was seen associated with infection by the VIRUS – so maybe there’s something inherently strange with the virus surface (or other) proteins?

Via www.dailymail.co.uk


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