Influenza A is the virus responsible for the Spanish Flu pandemic, which wiped out 3-5% of the human population in the early 20th century. The annual influenza outbreak occurs in the autumn and winter, although it is not normally deadly for healthy adults. There is currently no vaccine providing permanent protection against influenza A because the virus mutates and changes so often, requiring a yearly … Continue reading The Actual Master of Disguise: The Flu
Infectious diseases — including HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria — are a leading cause of death worldwide, particularly in low income countries and among young children. A new study found that the vaccines aimed to prevent many of the world’s most deadly diseases may not be developed any time soon. The study, funded by the Gates Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, focused on 538 … Continue reading Vaccines for World’s Most Deadly Infectious Diseases Unlikely
Glioblastoma is one of the most deadly brain cancers because it is nearly impossible to destroy the cause of the cancer: cancerous stem cells. However, scientists are using Zika’s preference for stem cells to target and eliminate the cancerous stem cells in adults. The preliminary study shows the viability of this method, but more thorough research and a PR campaign may be necessary before Zika treatments for brain cancer can become standard protocol. Continue reading Could Zika become a treatment for brain cancer?
Thierry Work and a team of wildlife disease researchers are manufacturing reptile skin in the hopes of saving endangered turtles. A virus, ChHV5, has been infecting endangered green sea turtles, causing tumors to grown on the their skin and inside their bodies. The infection eventually weakens the immune system, and leads to death. Studying this virus proved incredibly difficult. Traditional methods of growing viruses to study ChHV5 in the lab … Continue reading Scientists Grow Turtle Skin to Study New Virus
A medical team at Johns Hopkins University genetically engineered a common cold virus to deposit a gene when injected into the human eye. This gene codes for a protein that binds to VEGF, another protein whose activity in old age contributes to vision loss (a disease called AMD or wet AMD). This small clinical study’s preliminary results show that just one small dose is potent enough to improve a patient’s vision loss. Continue reading Genetically engineered viruses: a medicine of the future
Scientists have estimated that there are 10 to the power of 31 viruses on Earth, but humans don’t just live in a viral world, we are also part virus ourselves. 8% of the human genome is derived from viruses and these endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) represent ancient viral infections that became integrated into the human genome. Scientists had previously known the importance of a specific ERV … Continue reading A Turncoat Virus: Remnants of ancient viral infections bolster the immune response to current viruses
The Zika virus has lately been a global focus due to its connection to deformities in newborns. A recent report by the CDC has bolstered the suspicion that Zika is sexually transmittable from men to women, which was previously only supported by a handful of reports, and viral tests of an infected man’s semen. The CDC is advising that “people returning from Zika-infected areas use condoms or abstain from sex for the duration of their partner’s pregnancy.” Continue reading Sexual Transmission of Zika Possible from Men to Women
by Nathan Schauer figures by Daniel Utter Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently transformed from a relatively unknown tropical disease to a worldwide public health emergency. This crisis is due to emerging evidence that ZIKV causes microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), two neuronal disorders with severe symptoms. By now, SITN and others have reported that ZIKV may be linked to these two disorders, but the process … Continue reading Can scientists prove that Zika virus causes microcephaly?
A common treatment for blood cancers, such as leukemia, is to replace damaged, cancerous bone marrow with donated healthy marrow. Marrow is the flexible tissue in your bones that contains stem cells that give rise to all the blood and immune cells in the body. When marrow comes from a donor, the donor’s and the recipient’s blood and tissue types must directly match. If not, … Continue reading Rabbit virus sinks teeth into cancer, aids bone marrow transplants
by Joseph Timpona We often think of viruses as foreign invaders– microscopic agents intent on making us sick before spreading to the next victim. However, some viruses become enduring guests by hitchhiking a permanent ride in our genomes. In fact, scientists think that these special types of viruses, known as retroviruses, may have inadvertently allowed for the development of placental mammals including humans. Retroviruses Retroviruses … Continue reading Repurposing virus proteins for a positive role in the placenta