Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Molecular evidence of Ebola Reston virus infection in Philippine bats

18 July, 2015

In 2008–09, evidence of Reston ebolavirus (RESTV) infection was found in domestic pigs and pig workers in the Philippines. With species of bats having been shown to be the cryptic reservoir of filoviruses elsewhere, the Philippine government, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, assembled a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team to investigate Philippine bats as the possible reservoir of RESTV.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.virologyj.com

I recall at the time of its discovery, thinking that the virus must have reservoir species back home in the East – and that the fact that no disease had ever been reported from there in humans, meant it was completely under the radar.

There was also the issue that the virus seemed to have been transmitted between monkeys in the Reston facility without any direct contact – and even between rooms, which would imply airborne transmission.

Which frightened the cr@p out of many people, and I am sure especially those primate centre workers who were found to be seropositive for the virus, in the absence of any symptoms – even though at teh time, unsanitary conditions and overcrowding were blamed (http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/ebola/ebolair.html).

It is still something that needs to be looked at seriously: is Ebola Reston more transmissible than Zaire, Sudan and the rest – and if so, why?

Those interested can pick up on what happened at the time, here on the Ebola information pages I ran for a while:

http://www.mcb.uct.ac.za/ebola/ebopage.htm

 

 

See on Scoop.itPlant Molecular Farming

Crystallising the tobacco mosaic virus

6 July, 2015

We saw last week how sulphur dioxide released from the Laki fissure system accounted for many deaths due to poisoning. We will stay with poisons this week as well, for virus has its roots in the Latin term for “poison”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.thehindu.com

Nice article – and from a newspaper in India, no less!  Adds to the history of virology in a very accessible way.

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Superbug threat prompts West to revisit Soviet-era virus therapy

4 July, 2015

Alarmed by rising resistance to antibiotics scientists and governments are taking a fresh look at bacteria-chomping viruses first isolated a century ago from the stools of patients recovering from

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.reuters.com

So nearly 100 years after Felix d’Herelle started championing phage therapy, the West is finally taking notice?  I’t actually way past time that they were taken seriously: the Eliava Institute in Georgia has nearly that long a history (d’Herelle influenced the founder to start their enormous collection of phages) of successful treatment of bacterial infections, but westerners have stayed wedded to increasingly ineffective antibiotics for the last 70-something years.

I know what I might work on in my old age….

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Creating more effective vaccines against flu virus

4 July, 2015

Flu vaccines can be something of a shot in the dark. Not only must they be given yearly, there’s no guarantee the strains against which they protect will be the ones circulating once the season arrives. New research by Rockefeller University scientists and their colleagues suggests it may be possible to harness a previously unknown mechanism within the immune system to create more effective and efficient vaccines against this ever-mutating virus.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.news-medical.net

So: antibody-antigen complexes work better than antigen alone – and sialylation of the antibody is important.  Vaccinology really is entering the 21st century!

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Inter-Seasonal Influenza is Characterized by Extended Virus Transmission and Persistence

26 June, 2015

Author Summary Human influenza virus commonly causes disease in the winter months of temperate countries, but exhibits more complex patterns in tropical localities. Most studies of this complex seasonality have only considered viruses sampled within the “normal” influenza season. To help reveal the drivers of influenza seasonality we utilized viruses sampled outside of the normal influenza season, focusing on Australia which is characterized by a wide range of climates. Using a phylogenetic a

Sourced through Scoop.it from: journals.plos.org

Nice piece of work: helps reinforce the notion that influenza doesn’t actually go away, especially in tropical and subtropical areas!

See on Scoop.itVirology and Bioinformatics from Virology.ca

New Zealand Stresses that It Is High Plains Virus Free, and the Virus Struggles with an Identity Crisis

19 June, 2015

High Plains virus (HPV), a tentative member of the genus Emaravirus, causes a potentially serious economic disease in cereals. Recently, in this journal, Tatineni et al. (1) mistakenly reported HPV as being present in New Zealand, citing the paper by Lebas et al. from 2005 (2). The 2005 report clearly states that New Zealand is HPV free in both the abstract and the introduction (2). To date, HPV is not known to occur in New Zealand. The Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand has very strict regulations in place to prevent the importation of unwanted organisms such as HPV. For example, the importation of Zea maysseeds must follow the requirements stated in Import Health Standard 155.02.05 (for seed for sowing) (3), which includes testing of HPV by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or PCR. The Tatineni et al. statement (1) will mislead regulatory officials of New Zealand’s trading partners who regularly monitor world microbe dynamics in the scientific literature. In fact, there are plant biosecurity actions in place (4) that directly affect New Zealand’s international trade when a regulated plant virus like HPV is reported as present.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: jvi.asm.org

Sigh…as a former plant virologist, I am very familiar with the potential confusion of acronyms of names of viruses that cause severe diseases in plants and in humans – like CMV for both cucumber mosaic and cytomegaloviruses, and AMV for alfalfa mosaic and avian myeloblastosis viruses.

However, this is the first time I have heard of another HPV – which, I will point out, is Human papillomavirus, and was named WAY before any High Plains virus was dreamt up.

I do wish the various branches and species of virologists would consult an authoritative source (like the ICTV Reports) before dreaming up acronyms.

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Move Over, Bacteria! Viruses Make Their Mark as Mutualistic Microbial Symbionts

3 June, 2015

Viruses are being redefined as more than just pathogens. They are also critical symbiotic partners in the health of their hosts. In some cases, viruses have fused with their hosts in symbiogenetic relationships. Mutualistic interactions are found in plant, insect, and mammalian viruses, as well as with eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes, and some interactions involve multiple players of the holobiont. With increased virus discovery, more mutualistic interactions are being described and more will undoubtedly be discovered.

 

Sourced through Scoop.it from: jvi.asm.org

Some day we may realise that this is the norm for viruses – and that what we thought we knew about viruses is simply the behaviour of a simplistic and destructive subset of them that we labelled "pathogens".

It is beyond question that all organisms on this planet have evolved in the midst of a cloud of viruses: they have certainly shaped the evolution of immune systems and responses, let alone having directly influenced our evolution in ways like conferring cell fusion ability on cells that become the placenta in mammals.

It should therefore come as no surprise that viruses are very often commensals and even symbiotes.  While we generally don’t understand just how we and our other cellular brethren might benefit from intimate association with viruses, I am sure that every new virome will shed light on this – as well as unearthing more and more of the biological dark matter that is viruses.

Nice one, Marilyn!

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Thimerosal: Clinical, epidemiologic and biochemical studies [a refutation]

12 May, 2015

“The culmination of the research that examines the effects of Thimerosal in humans indicates that it is a poison at minute levels with a plethora of deleterious consequences, even at the levels currently administered in vaccines.”

  

Source: www.sciencedirect.com

There is so much nonsense being written about vaccines, that it is necessary for responsible people to refute the nonsense wherever they see it.

Stephen Korsman, a clinical virologist of Groote Schuur Hospital and the SA National Health Laboratory Service, has done just this for this article.  My comments in square brackets:

"Disturbing.  1/7 authors had no [stated] conflict of interest.  The conflict of interest listed by the others was involvement in previous litigation.  Two of the authors are listed as being associated with CoMeD which promotes mercury-free drugs – surely that itself is a conflict of interest?  A company opposed to mercury?  They omit this affiliation from two authors – the first and last authors are affiliated to the “Institute of Chronic Illnesses, Inc” but in reality they are a father/son pair who run CoMeD with the other two.  So 4/7 authors run CoMeD – http://mercury-freedrugs.org/contactus.html  The “Institute for Chronic Illnesses, Inc” has the same physical address as CoMeD, so they’re probably the same people.

 

That indicates that this team has a significant agenda.  That doesn’t, however, mean that they cannot write a decently researched review article on their pet subject.  It just means their agenda may have introduced bias.  And judging by their history in the medical field, that bias may very well be real here too.

 

Mark Geier has his medical licence revoked for treating autism with leuprorelin, which seems to be a gnrh analogue of sorts.  They came up with this idea themselves.  Some useful reading: http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com/2011/05/charges-levied-against-mark-and-david.html  And there’s heaps more on Google about their history.  And Wikipedia, the source of all truth – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Geier

 

Judging by what Google says about them, they look very much like Wakefield (the MMR-autism guy) and Duesberg (the HIV denialist guy who converted Mbeki).  They could well be the few true believers amidst a large population of gullible fools, but I doubt it.  Wikipedia can be wrong, but in this case it seems to be on the same side as credible scientists.  Same for the Holocaust – there could very well be a huge conspiracy amongst historians to get us to believe a lie, but it probably did happen the way it’s laid out in history books.

 

Given the authors’ background and history of nonsense in this field, I’d believe the article only if I could get to the same conclusion by doing my own review, and I don’t think my competence would let me do that adequately, so I’d have to wait for scientists I trust (who, I admit, may be deluded idiots who reject the Geier family’s truth) to produce their own.

 

Lastly, the article says this was an “Invited critical review.”  I.e. the journal knew who they were and asked them to write about it.  Much like our medical students wanted to hear both sides of the lipid story.  When they get the anti-vaccine lobby in to teach the medical students so they get to hear both sides of the vaccine story, I’ll have a fit.

 

The flu vaccine we’ve been given doesn’t seem to contain thiomersal, but the package insert says it may contain formaldehyde. [And so? All this means is that there may be minuscule traces of active HCHO, as it is SO reactive that it will have covalently bound -NH2 groups on the flu proteins and been rendered unreactive and harmless.  And, as far as I know, NO modern vaccines contain thiomersal any more.  Thanks Stephen!!].

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Defeating HIV

4 May, 2015

Recent discoveries are spurring a renaissance in HIV vaccine research and development.

Source: www.the-scientist.com

This is an excellent article, by a long-time anti-HIV researcher and treatment / vaccine advocate.  He covers pretty much everything of recent relevance, and is pretty even-handed compared to the generally more rabid "Env only!" or "Adeno only!" crowds of bandwagon jumpers.

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Ebola virus mutating, scientists say

29 January, 2015

Scientists at the Institut Pasteur in France who are tracking the Ebola outbreak in Guinea say the virus has mutated.

Source: www.bbc.com

I would be surprised it there weren’t evidence by now of adaptation to humans: never in any previous outbreak of EHD [Ebola haemorrhagic disease] has the person-person chain of transmission been sustained for so long, meaning never before has there been the opportunity for human-specific adaptations to become established.

The article points out that on consequence of mutation may be that the virus becomes less virulent, leading to a greater incidence of asymptomatic infection – of which there is already evidence from previous outbreaks, and which has been implicated in the lessening incidence of transmission because of increasing herd immunity.

However, this same property might lead to increased transmission to the non-exposed, because of a lack of signs that contacts with the infected person(s) should be avoided – and for a disease as lethal as EHD, even a reduced mortality rate still means you should avoid it at all costs.

The idea of developing a modified live measles virus vaccine as an Ebola virus vaccine vector, which is what the Institut Pasteur is apparently doing, seems to be a very good one.  Measles is still a major potential problem in that part of the world, necessitating regular infant immunisations, and coupling anti-measles with an anti-Ebola vaccine in those countries is probably very good use of both a proven vaccine and existing EPI infrastructure.

 

See on Scoop.itVirology News


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