Archive for October 12th, 2013

Scientists find new botulinum toxin, withhold genetic details

12 October, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Scientists have discovered the first new type of botulinum toxin in 40 years, and in a highly unusual move, they are keeping the toxin’s genetic sequence data secret for now so that no one can make it in a lab before an effective antitoxin can be developed.

Until now, Clostridium botulinum was known to produce seven types of toxins, all of which cause paralysis by blocking neurotransmitters in humans and animals. The last one was discovered in 1970.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

What equine excreta!?  Really??  "We found a new botulinum toxin, but we won’t tell you what it is – but it can’t be neutralised by CDC antitoxins"??  Isn’t THAT enough information for your dedicated cave-dwelling biotechnologist to go out and look, via next-gen sequencing, for novel Clostridium strains??  Oh no – does what I’ve just written constitute a dangerous disclosure?  Should I censor myself??

Seriously, this pious "we have this cool new discovovery but can’t tell you what it is because nasty people may make it" mentality is just ridiculous.  What makes it MORE ridiculous is telling people about it at all in that case: no-one ever hear about reverse engineering, or simply going looking for something becaue you now know it’s there?

See on www.cidrap.umn.edu

Mammals Have Similar Virus-Killing Power [as] Seen In Plants

12 October, 2013

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Previous research has shown that plants and invertebrates use an immune response called the RNA interference(RNAi) pathway to build a weapon against a viral infection.

Two new studies from scientists at the University of California, Riverside have found that a similar pathway exists in mammals, but it is typically suppressed by viral proteins. The study researchers said if this suppression could be lifted, it would open the door to a completely new way to treat a viral infection.

In the studies, the scientists were able to remove the suppressor protein from the virus. This allowed laboratory mice to quickly eliminate an infection from the Nodamura virus from their system using the RNAi process, which dispatches small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to kill the disease.

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

I know of Shou-Wei Ding from many years ago, when he worked on the plant (and original) CMV and the 2b gene: it has long been suspected that mammals should be similar to their plant and insect cousins; it is heartening to see that in fact they are.

Of course, the mammal folk will now quickly cream all the kudos for this, and the Nobel will NOT go to a plant or insect virologist!

See on www.redorbit.com