Monday May 21, 2018

Is Ebola curable? New vaccine evokes robust antibody responses

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

There’s good news in the area of Ebola prevention. A preliminary human trial has found an experimental Ebola vaccine safe and it also evoked robust antibody responses.

The test for a vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV, which was conducted on 40 healthy adults was reported online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The prompt, dose-dependent production of high levels of antibodies following a single injection and the overall favourable safety profile of this vaccine make VSV-ZEBOV a promising candidate that might be particularly useful in outbreak interventions,” said one of the lead investigators Richard Davey from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in US.

According to the report, the volunteers accepted the vaccine well and the most common side effects of it were injection site pain and transient fever that was on and off between 12 to 36 hours after vaccination.

The experimental vaccine is based on a genetically modified and attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a virus that mainly affects cattle. In it, a gene for a VSV protein was replaced with a gene segment from a key protein in the Zaire species of the Ebola virus. However the vaccine does not contain the whole Ebola virus and therefore cannot infect vaccinated persons with Ebola.

An earlier study had stated that another experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology in China provoked immune response in recipients.

Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada developed the candidate vaccine. It was licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp. of Ames, Iowa, a company collaborating with Merck & Co. Inc., of Kenilworth, New Jersey in the US.

 

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How Chikungunya Virus Causes Arthritis Pain Decoded

Scientists have identified the molecular handle that chikungunya virus grabs to get inside cells and cause arthritis pain, a finding that could lead to ways to prevent or treat the disease as well as related viruses.

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Scientists have recovered oldest viral genomes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and found that the deadly virus has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.
Virus, Representative Image- Pixabay

Scientists have identified the molecular handle that chikungunya virus grabs to get inside cells and cause arthritis pain, a finding that could lead to ways to prevent or treat the disease as well as related viruses.

The study, conducted over mice, identified the protein on cells called Mxra8 that is needed for chikungunya virus to invade both human and mouse cells.

The virus uses Mxra8 protein as a handle to open a door into cells.

The handle, or receptor, is located on cells that build cartilage, muscle and bone. Joints are filled with such cells, which helps explain patients’ painful symptoms.

By creating decoy handles, the researchers showed that they could prevent the virus from grabbing that handle and thus reduce chikungunya infection and signs of arthritis.

“The name chikungunya comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania, and it means ‘to walk bent over.’ That’s how painful the arthritis can be,” said Michael S. Diamond, Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis, US.

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representational image. pixabay

“We now know how chikungunya gets into cells, and we may have found a way to block the infection. If the virus cannot get into the cell, it is unable to replicate and cause infection and disease,” Diamond added.

In the study, published in the journal Nature, the team deluged the virus with decoy handles, so that chikungunya would grab the decoy and be locked out of cells.

A day after infection, the level of virus in the mice’s ankles and calf muscles was between ten-fold and a hundred-fold lower in the animals that had been treated with Mxra8 proteins or blocking antibodies than those that received placebo, and the numbers remained lower over the next two days.

Also Read: Scientists Recover Oldest Virus Genome of HBV

In addition, three days after treatment, the mice that had received the protein exhibited much less swelling in their ankles than those that received the placebo.

The results suggest that a compound that blocks the virus from attaching to Mxra8 on the surface of cells could prevent or reduce arthritis. (IANS)

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