Archive for April, 2013

[Video] The Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education 2013

5 April, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Full length video of this great talk – make sure you watch this!

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

Virus Rules OK!  Thanks @AJCann.

See on www.microbiologybytes.com

A Brief History of Influenza

5 April, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

I am TRYING to write an eBook on influenza, which stubbornly refuses to be finished – as part of a sabbatical project, which finished in December 2010.  So, like my History of Virology, I am triall…

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

I will reprise this post, given a considerable recent spike in interest in it as the new H7N9 Shanghai bird flu starts.  Hopefully to fizzle out, but you never know….

Incidentally, I have an almost-finished iBook (for iPad) on influenza: the first five respondents to this post can trial it for free!

See on rybicki.wordpress.com

China culls birds as bird flu deaths mount | Reuters

5 April, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese authorities slaughtered over 20,000 birds on Friday at a poultry market in the financial hub Shanghai as the death toll from a new strain of bird flu mounted to six,…

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

"The gene sequences confirm that this is an avian virus, and that it is a low pathogenic form (meaning it is likely to cause mild disease in birds)," said Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist at Britain’s Imperial College London.

"But what the sequences also reveal is that there are some mammalian adapting mutations in some of the genes."

 

Sinister…but interesting that a LPAI should be so lethal in humans??

See on in.reuters.com

China closes markets, culls birds to curb H7N9 virus

5 April, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

SHANGHAI – Shanghai on Friday ordered the closure of all live poultry markets in the city and culled more than 20,000 birds to curb the spread of the H7N9 flu virus which has killed six people in China.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

And so it begins…hopefully NOT!

See on www.abs-cbnnews.com

Roadmap to an HIV Vaccine [maybe]

5 April, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Researchers track the evolution of HIV in a single patient to understand what drives the production of broadly neutralizing antibodies.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

So they say they have a strategy to mimic natural infection, where an arms race between generation of antibody binding site diveristy and Env epitopes results in increasingly good neutralising antibodies to Env – and that this could lead to a vaccine.

 

Um.  Yeeeessss…for a single patient, given that this is what they followed??  And now that they will follow other single patients, might they not show that each person’s responses evolve completely differently?

 

So this is good science – in fact, it is GREAT science.  However – right now that is all it is; like so much of HIV research, answering hypothesis-generated questions leads to more more hypotheses, and more good science, and more publications….BUT NO VACCINES.  In fact, the ONLY vaccines which have made it into Phase III clinical trial are nothing like what people seem to think will work, and only got there because the people who pushed for the trials pretty much ignored the basic scientists.

 

A potential flaw in the whole approach is looking at what NATURAL infections do.  That this may not be relevant is shown by the case of one of the most successful of recent vaccines, which is Human papillomavirus (HPV) VLPs, because the virus infects epithelial cells in a topical manner, is cleared by cell-mediated immune responses and elicits only weak antibody responses which are protective, whereas the vaccine is given via injection, and elicits very high neutralising antibody responses which are protective – but are of no use against established infections.

 

But the trains roll on, and new approaches keep getting unearthed, and maybe we will yet get efficacious HIV vaccines.

 

Maybe.

See on www.the-scientist.com