Sunday May 20, 2018

Chinese scientists develop Ebola vaccine; new drug found safe in early human trials

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Scientist of the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin Can Sino Biotechnology, have developed a new Ebola virus vaccine which will have lasting immunity. This vaccine has been found to be safe in the first phase, one trial based on the 2014 strain of the virus.

Until now, all tested Ebola virus vaccines have been based on the virus strain from the Zaire outbreak in 1976.

“On the basis of our findings, we believe that the Ebola vaccine we assessed has some potential,” said researcher Fengcai Zhu from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Prevention and Control in China.

“A significant advantage of this type of vaccine is that stable and much easier to store or transport in tropical areas with inadequate cold-chain capacity, such as Africa,” Zhu added.

For the trial, 120 healthy Chinese adults were randomly assigned in equal numbers to receive placebo, a low dose, or high dose of the vaccine.

The researchers found that 28 days after vaccination, 38 out of 40 participants in the low-dose group and all 40 of those in the high-dose group had a positive immune response to the vaccine, with participants in the high-dose group producing higher quantities of antibodies than those in the low-dose group.

However, the researchers are not sure if this vaccine will be the perfect vaccine to fight Ebola virus.
“Whether this candidate vaccine could become a final vaccine for widespread use against Ebola outbreaks is still uncertain, because of the issues of HIV-1 acquisition rates and the pre-existing immunity, especially in west Africa,” Zhu noted.

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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.

mosquitoes
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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