Tuesday February 20, 2018

New lupus genes identified by Indian scientist

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New Delhi: 10 new lupus genes were identified by an international Indian-American team of scientists. These genes are associated with the autoimmune disease lupus-a debilitating condition where the body’s immune system becomes unbalanced and attack its own tissues.

Swapan Nath, a scientist at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation(OMRF), and his colleagues analysed more than 17,000 human DNA samples collected from the blood of volunteers across four countries- South Korea, China, Malaysia and Japan.

Nearly 4,500 samples had confirmed cases of lupus while the rest served as healthy controls for the research.

“We know lupus has a strong genetic basis but in order to better treat the disease, we have to identify those genes,” said Nath.

From that analysis, the researchers identified 10 distinct DNA sequence variants linked to lupus.

Lupus is a chronic, autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. Its signs and symptoms tend to last longer than six weeks and often for many years.

This disease has been affecting nearly five million people worldwide, according to the Lupus Foundation of America.

“These findings mark a significant advance in our knowledge base for lupus genes,” said Judith James, director of OMRF’s Autoimmune Disease Institute.

“For every gene we identify, it brings us closer to uncovering the trigger for this puzzling disease. It’s good news for researchers and patients alike,” he added.

One gene known as GTF2I, showed a high likelihood of being involved in the development of lupus according to the study.

“Its genetic effect appears to be higher than previously known lupus genes discovered from Asians, and we surmise that it now may be the predominant gene involved in lupus,” Nath noted in a paper published in the journal Nature Genetics.

The understanding of the disease and development of intervention therapies for patients based on their genetic makeup was identified as the ultimate goal by Nath.(IANS)

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Study: Partial Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Provides Protection

A full dose of yellow fever vaccine provides lifelong immunity. Researchers will continue to study how long people who received partial doses are protected

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Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Wikimedia Commons
Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Wikimedia Commons
  • Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease
  • Severe cases can cause jaundice and death, but most cases involve fever, muscle pain and vomiting
  • More than 350 people have become infected with yellow fever in Brazil since late last year

When stockpiles of yellow fever vaccine run low, partial doses are effective, according to a new study.

The report on the vaccine, which currently is in short supply, comes as officials in Brazil attempt to contain an outbreak with what they describe as the largest-ever mass vaccination campaign using partial doses.

Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease found in tropical Africa and South and Central America. Severe cases can cause jaundice and death, but most cases involve fever, muscle pain and vomiting.

Also Read: Tips That Will Help In Recovery From Surgery

Congo outbreak, experiment

During a major outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2016, the government aimed to prevent the disease from spreading in the capital, Kinshasa. Health officials launched a mass vaccination campaign targeting 7.6 million people.

But the outbreak had depleted vaccine stockpiles. Hoping to stretch the available supply, the World Health Organization reviewed the small number of available studies on using reduced doses and recommended using one-fifth of a dose per person.

It seemed to work.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers took blood samples from more than 700 people before and after they received the partial dose. In the new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly all of those vaccinated with the lower dose developed enough antibodies to the virus to prevent infection.

“That was the encouraging thing, that this can be done as a potential way — when there’s supply limitations on the vaccine — to help potentially control an outbreak,” said study co-author Erin Staples at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hundreds infected

More than 350 people have become infected with yellow fever in Brazil since late last year, and health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine.

Also Read: A spurt in Unneeded Medical Interventions for Healthy Pregnant Women: WHO Study

Staples says the new study is good news for controlling outbreaks like Brazil’s in the short term. But, she notes, “We still need some information about how long immunity will last.”

A full dose of yellow fever vaccine provides lifelong immunity. Researchers will continue to study how long people who received partial doses are protected. (VOA)