Posts Tagged ‘research’

Moratorium on using live rinderpest virus lifted for approved research

30 July, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Benefits of future research should be carefully balanced against potential risks

Paris, 10 July 2013 – A moratorium on using live rinderpest virus for approved research has been lifted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The moratorium followed the adoption of a Resolution in May 2011 by all OIE Member Countries that urged members to forbid the manipulation of rinderpest virus containing material unless approved by the Veterinary Authority and by FAO and OIE.

The two organizations have now put in place strict criteria and procedures to follow in order to obtain official approval for any research proposals using rinderpest virus and rinderpest virus-containing materials. One of the most crucial requirements is that the research should have significant potential to improve food security by reducing the risk of a reoccurrence of the disease. This procedure replaces an earlier complete ban on handling the virus.

Rinderpest was formally declared eradicated in 2011, but stocks of rinderpest virus continue to exist in laboratories. In June 2012, a moratorium on handling the virus was imposed after an FAO-OIE survey found that the virus continues to be held in more than 40 laboratories worldwide, in some cases under inadequate levels of biosecurity and biosafety.

When rinderpest was officially eradicated, FAO and OIE member countries committed themselves to forbid the manipulation of rinderpest virus-containing material unless approved by the national veterinary authority as well as by FAO and OIE.

Paramyxovirus EM courtesy of Linda Stannard

Thanks to Len Bracher for alerting me to this.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

This is an interesting sequel to the eradication of wild rinderpest virus, which I have covered in some detail here on ViroBlogy: see here (http://rybicki.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/rinderpest-gone-but-not-forgotten-yet/) and here (http://rybicki.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/deliberate-extinction-now-for-number-3/).

The article covers an interesting prospect: that it may be possible to use attenuated, safe vaccines against the related peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) not only to protect against any resurgence of rinderpest, but also to eradicate this rather nasty virus.

Which is, apparently, spreading at rather an alarming rate, and is an obstacle to small ruminant production (http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/resources/documents/AH/PPR_flyer.pdf).

So maybe this is “Now for Number 4!” time.

See on www.oie.int

Painting With Viruses

21 May, 2008

Suhail Rafudeen should be a virologist…B-)  Here’s another piece of treasure from his Web trawling:

Public release date: 20-May-2008

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Scientists ‘paint’ viruses to track their fate in the body New study in the FASEB Journal describes a molecular ‘painting’ method to colors the culprit

Bethesda, MD-Biologists from Austria and Singapore developed a technique that adds a new twist on the relationship between biology and art. In an article recently published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) and scheduled for the August 2008 print issue, these researchers describe how they were able to coat-or paint-viruses with proteins. This breakthrough should give a much-needed boost to the efficiency of some forms of gene therapy, help track and treat viral disease and evolution, improve the efficiency of vaccines, and ultimately allow health care professionals track the movement of viral infections within the body. Specifically, the new method should make it easier to track and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, hepatitis C, and dengue fever. And because viruses can also be used to introduce biotechnology drugs and replacement genes, and act as vaccines, this research should lead to new treatments for cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic and inherited disorders.

“This technology should provide a new tool for the treatment of many diseases,” said Brian Salmons, one of scientists who co-authored the study. “Even if you are working with a virus that is unknown or poorly characterized, it is still possible to modify or paint it. This is very interesting for emerging diseases.”

In the article, Salmons and colleagues explain how they mixed purified proteins (glycosylphophatidylinositol anchor proteins) with lipid membranes to make it possible to bind these proteins to the outer “skin” (the lipid envelope) of viruses. Even with the new paint job, the viruses remained infectious. While the experiment only involved one type of protein and two types of viral vectors, Salmons says the technique could be expanded and used to apply “paint” made up of other proteins, dyes, and a variety of unique markers.

“Biology and art converge daily: people paint their nails, color their hair, and tattoo their skin,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Now this convergence has entered a new dimension as painted viruses permit scientists to track, cure and prevent disease.”

I think Dr Weissman may have an exciting life outside of science…B-)  But seriously, this is a VERY useful development: keeping viruses infectious while being able to track them, even in real time, and show where different viruses infecting the same cells end up…the possibilities expand as you think of them.

Truly little nanomachines, viruses: and now you can specify the colour.


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