Monday April 22, 2019

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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Avoid Smoking During Pregnancy To Prevent Premature Births

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known. 

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The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality. Pixabay

Expecting mothers, take note. As smoking during pregnancy is linked with negative health outcomes, a team of researchers has found that smoking cessation during pregnancy may reduce the risk of pre-term birth.

The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy.

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If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation. Pixabay

“Of concern, though, given the substantial benefits of smoking cessation during pregnancy is that the proportion of pre-pregnancy smokers who quit smoking during pregnancy has remained essentially stagnant since 2011,” said lead author Samir Soneji from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in the US.

For the study, the researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of more than 25 million pregnant women who gave birth to live neonates during a six-year period — measuring their smoking frequency three months prior to pregnancy and for each trimester during pregnancy.

The negative health impacts of cigarette smoking during pregnancy, including low birth weight, delayed intrauterine development, pre-term birth, infant mortality, and long-term developmental delays, are well known.

But the good news is that the proportion of women who start their pregnancy as smokers has been declining in recent years, the researchers said.

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The findings, published in the JAMA Network Open journal, showed that the probability of pre-term birth decreased with earlier smoking cessation in pregnancy — up to a 20 per cent relative decrease if cessation occurred at the beginning of pregnancy. Pixabay

However, the study also found that only about 25 per cent of women who smoked prior to pregnancy were able to quit throughout their pregnancy, and approximately 50 per cent of women who smoked during their pregnancy did so with high frequency (more than 10 cigarettes per day).

The researcher plans to look at quit rates and smoking intensity and their impact on the risk of infant mortality.

Also Read: How Netflix Binge-Watching Can Lead You The “Mean World Syndrome”

“Thankfully most premature babies end up doing well,” he said.

“But premature birth is strongly linked to infant mortality. If we determine quitting, and quitting early, reduces the risk of infant mortality, then that may speak to mothers even more saliently about the importance of smoking cessation,” he added. (IANS)