Thursday May 24, 2018

Are you safe? Swine Flu virus mutates in India, becomes more lethal, says MIT study

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Image: MIT
Image: MIT

By Newsgram Staff Writer

The deadly swine flu virus has become even more lethal in India as it has mutated, a report by two Indian- American researchers at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering has shown.

Contradicting reports from Indian health officials claiming that the H1N1 virus has not changed since it emerged in 2009, the MIT report says that the virus has undergone two crucial mutations in the hemagglutinin protein that are known to make the virus more virulent.

The researchers said that very little scientific data is available on the virus, and stressed on the need for better surveillance to track the outbreak and to help scientists to determine how to respond to this influenza variant.

‘We need to understand the pathology and the severity, rather than simply relying on anecdotal information.’ Ram Sasisekharan, one of the researchers said.

The virus killed more than 18,000 people worldwide between 2009 and 2012.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Research Foundation through the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, and the Skolkovo Foundation.

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A One-Shot Nanoparticle Vaccine for Polio is Developed by MIT scientists

A novel single-shot nanoparticle vaccine developed by MIT researchers could assist efforts to eradicate polio worldwide. Currently, two to four polio vaccine injections are required to build up immunity, and because of the difficulty in reaching children in remote areas, the disease still prevails.

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vaccine, wikimedia

A novel single-shot nanoparticle vaccine developed by MIT researchers could assist efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.

Currently, two to four polio vaccine injections are required to build up immunity, and because of the difficulty in reaching children in remote areas, the disease still prevails.

The novel vaccine delivers multiple doses in just one injection to prevent the paralysis caused by the polio virus.

“Having a one-shot vaccine that can elicit full protection could be very valuable in being able to achieve eradication,” said Ana Jaklenec, a research scientist at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Cambridge, US.

“Children in some of these hard-to-reach developing world locations tend to not get the full series of shots necessary for protection. The goal is to ensure that everyone globally is immunized,” Jaklenec added, in a paper appearing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To create a single-injection vaccine, the team encapsulated the inactivated polio vaccine in a biodegradable polymer known as PLGA.

polio
An Afghan child looks on as a health worker administers polio vaccine .

This polymer can be designed to degrade after a certain period of time, allowing the researchers to control when the vaccine is released.

The researchers designed particles that would deliver an initial burst at the time of injection, followed by a second release about 25 days later.

They injected the particles into rats, and found that the blood samples from rats immunised with the single-injection particle vaccine had an antibody response against polio virus just as strong as, or stronger than, antibodies from rats that received two injections of Salk polio vaccine — the first polio vaccine, developed in the 1950s.

Furthermore, the researchers said that they could design vaccines that deliver more than two doses, each a month apart and hope to soon be able to test the vaccines in clinical trials.

Also Read: Parents More Worried About the Vaccines Rather Than the Disease

They are also working to apply this approach to create stable, single-injection vaccines for other viruses such as Ebola and HIV. (IANS)

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