Friday December 14, 2018

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.
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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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“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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Viral Outbreak In Pediatric Facility Takes Another Person

Over the past decade, severe illness and death from type 7 adenovirus have been reported in the United States

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Police cruisers are parked near the entrance of the Wanaque Center for Nursing And Rehabilitation in Haskell, N.J., where New Jersey health officials have confirmed 28 cases of adenovirus. VOA

A 10th person died amid a viral outbreak at a pediatric care center while a different strain of the virus was found at another facility in the state, New Jersey health officials said Thursday.

The state Health Department confirmed in a statement that the “medically fragile child” at the Wanaque Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation had the adenovirus infection.

There have been 28 cases associated with the respiratory virus at the center, where the affected children had severely compromised immune systems. One of those who died was a young adult.

“The loss of these young lives is heartbreaking, and our thoughts are with the families who are affected,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said in a statement.

 

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AdenoVirus

 

The state also said there were four confirmed adeno virus cases among pediatric patients at Voorhees Pediatric Facility, near Philadelphia, but preliminary tests have ruled out it’s the same strain affecting Wanaque.

The department said it’s working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor the illness and announced earlier this week that infection control teams were being sent to New Jersey’s four long-term pediatric centers to help with training.

Officials have said there is not a wider public health concern stemming from the outbreak.

New patients are not being admitted at Wanaque.

The department also said Thursday that the illness was last detected on Tuesday. The previous date had been Monday. But, the department said, that’s not a surprise since the disease has a long incubation period of up to two weeks.

The outbreak won’t be considered over until four weeks without a new illness goes by.

New Jersey, Virus
Ten children have died as a result of a severe viral outbreak in the ventilator unit of a long-term care center in Wanaque.

Little risk, usually

Adenovirus usually poses little risk for healthy people. It can cause mild cold or flu symptoms, and some strains also cause diarrhea and pink eye.

The virus strain found in the Wanaque rehab center outbreak is called type 7 and is among the more potent types. It sometimes causes more serious respiratory illness, especially among those with weak immune systems.

Elnahal had earlier said all the cases of the outbreak occurred in a respiratory, or ventilator, unit. The department has since said one staff member became ill but has recovered.

The identities of those who died and the affected patients have not been disclosed.

Also Read: Paralysis Causing Illness In Children Baffles Doctors

Over the past decade, severe illness and death from type 7 adenovirus have been reported in the United States, according to the CDC, but it’s unclear how many have died from it.

The CDC cited a 2001 scientific paper that reported a 1998 outbreak of type 7 at a facility in Chicago that left eight patients dead. The paper said civilian outbreaks were not frequently reported because of a lack of lab resources. (VOA)