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New York: In a first, researchers have discovered therapeutics that have successfully protected and treated mice infected with the virus that causes the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).


In the current MERS outbreak, around 180 people have been infected by the deadly virus in South Korea, and nearly 30 have died.

“Though early, this is very exciting and has real potential to help MERS patients,” said lead researcher Matthew Frieman, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).

The virus has killed more than 400 people since it was first discovered three years ago in Saudi Arabia.

In the study, the researchers found that two antibodies, REGN3051 and REGN3048, showed an ability to neutralize the virus.

“We hope that clinical study will progress on these two antibodies to see whether they can eventually be used to help humans infected with the virus,” Frieman pointed out.

This research, done in collaboration with Regeneron, a biopharmaceutical company based in Tarrytown, New York, used several of the company’s proprietary technologies to search for and validate effective antibodies targeting the virus.

MERS was first discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. It appears that the disease spread to humans from camels, who may themselves been infected by bats.

Research has shown that it is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS); both are caused by Coronaviruses, both cause respiratory problems, and both are often fatal.

The paper also announced the development a novel strain of mice that can be infected with MERS.

“This new mouse model will significantly boost our ability to study potential treatments and help scientists to understand how the virus causes disease in people,” Frieman said.

The study appeared in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

(IANS)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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