Friday September 21, 2018

New HIV vaccine candidate may generate immune response: Study

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Washington: An experimental vaccine candidate may have the potential to stimulate the immune system to block HIV infection, according to new research.Symptoms_of_acute_HIV_infection

The findings may represent a leap forward in the effort to develop a vaccine against HIV, which has so far struggled to elicit antibodies that can effectively fight off different strains of the virus, according to three papers published on Thursday in the US journals Cell and Science.

“The results are pretty spectacular,” said Dennis Burton of the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), who led one of the studies, Xinhua reported.

Currently, many vaccines use a dead or inactive version of the disease-causing microbe itself to trigger antibody production, but immunisations with “native” HIV proteins are ineffective in triggering an effective immune response, due to HIV’s ability to evade detection from the immune system and mutate rapidly into new strains.

This challenge has led many researchers to believe that a successful AIDS vaccine will need to consist of a series of related but slightly different proteins called immunogens (substances that induce a specific immune response) to train the body to produce broadly neutralising antibodies, a special class of immune system molecules that can bind to and neutralise a wide range of globally occurring HIV variants.

In the new studies, the researchers tested one of these potential proteins, an immunogen called eOD-GT8 60mer, which would bind to and activate B cells needed to fight HIV.

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Using a technique called B cell sorting, the researchers showed that immunisation with eOD-GT8 60mer caused two different mouse models to produce antibody “precursors”, which have some of the traits necessary to recognise and block HIV infection.

This suggested that eOD-GT8 60mer could be a good candidate to serve as the first in a series of immunisations against HIV, the researchers said.

The US National Institutes of Health has funded the research. (IANS)

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Zimbabwe Government Aid in The Cholera Outbreak By Pledging Money

In 2008 and 2009, a cholera epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people.

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Zimbabwe, Cholera
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa talks to one of the cholera victims on Sept. 19, 2018 in Glen View’s Harare, epicenter of the waterborne disease. VOA

Zimbabwe’s president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, says his government will assist municipalities struggling to fight a cholera outbreak that has killed 32 people and affected more than 3,000 during the past three weeks.

After visiting the epicenter of the cholera outbreak in Harare, President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to help the Harare City Council with financial assistance and called on the corporate world to donate toward fighting the epidemic.

“We are raising money, which has been coming in daily, so that we fix the burst pipes at Morton Jeffery Waterworks and the Central Business District, as well as the suburbs… we have been told that most of these pipes are old and are bursting at any given time, so we have found some well-wishers who are helping us. We will continue to support the Harare City Council In its programs meant to sanitize Harare, because the council does not have enough powers to be doing all the work alone,” he said.

Zimbabwe Cholera
On Sept. 16, 2018, a vegetable vendor in Harare says she refuses to leave her business as she has no other sources of income with Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate said to be around 85 percent. VOA

Nearby, David Shonhiwa, a vendor in Glen View, the suburban epicenter of Harare’s cholera epidemic, says there have been improvements in the area’s hygiene since cholera was detected, but more are needed.

“The situation is better now. We have been receiving clean water and we got buckets, but it has not been possible for everyone to get something because there are difficulties which others have been encountering,” he said.

Zimbabwe Cholera
Sirak Gebrehiwot, United Nations spokesperson in Zimbabwe, says his organization has deployed three emergency situations specialists to access the situation. VOA

 

Tuesday, a U.N. spokesperson in Zimbabwe, Sirak Gebrehiwot, said a U.N. emergency response fund may be activated as the cholera outbreak spreads to other parts of the country.

“In light of the appeal announced by the government of Zimbabwe to respond to the cholera, the U.N. has scaled up its support,” said Gebrehiwot. “The regional office of the U.N. Humanitarian Affairs has already deployed three U.N. emergency humanitarian specialists in the ongoing response. This is in addition to our colleagues from UNICEF and the WHO, are already engaged on the ground in this emergency response.”

Also Read: Video- Zimbabwe’s Newly Appointed President Calls For Unity

In 2008 and 2009, a cholera epidemic killed nearly 5,000 people. It only stopped after international organizations such as USAID, Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross and U.N. agencies including UNICEF and the World Health Organization provided medicine and water treatment chemicals. (VOA)