Saturday May 26, 2018

Video on Zika Virus: Many questions remain unanswered

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Zika virus
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– Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada
Watch this latest video on Zika virus.

Last year, it was Ebola virus that causes a global alarm and anxiety. Now it is Zika virus.

The World Health Organization is scrambling to address this virus that’s spreading rapidly through Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to birth defects and, in adults, to a type of paralysis. Experts have lots of unanswered questions, as do ordinary citizens who spoke to VOA. More from health reporter Carol Pearson…

Thus, it emerges that this is causing alarm in Latin America. Many cases of newborn babies born with micro-cephaly (with the smaller size of the head) have been attributed to this virus.

But wait a minute!

Scientists say, they are not yet sure whether Zika virus is to be directly blamed for causing micro-cephaly (causal relationship) or is it something else (other factors) that are playing a role.

Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. Thus, avoiding mosquito-bite is the way to prevent it. This virus can also be transmitted through sex.

Here is an update from Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the areas/countries affected by Zika Virus (as of February 2016):

  • Prior to 2015, such virus outbreaks occurred in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands.
  • In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed virus infections in Brazil.
  • Currently, outbreaks are occurring in many countries.
  • Zika virus will continue to spread and it will be difficult to determine how and where the virus will spread over time.
  • India has not seen any case of this virus as yet. In the USA, about 52 cases of travel -associated Zika virus have been reported. No locally acquired case has been reported as yet.
  • This video is brought to you by NewsGram in collaboration with Voice of America.
  • The author is a Chicago based board certified Neonatologist and editor-in-chief of NewsGram.
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Copyright 2016 NewsGram

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How Chikungunya Virus Causes Arthritis Pain Decoded

Scientists have identified the molecular handle that chikungunya virus grabs to get inside cells and cause arthritis pain, a finding that could lead to ways to prevent or treat the disease as well as related viruses.

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Scientists have recovered oldest viral genomes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and found that the deadly virus has been circulating in Europe for at least 7,000 years.
Virus, Representative Image- Pixabay

Scientists have identified the molecular handle that chikungunya virus grabs to get inside cells and cause arthritis pain, a finding that could lead to ways to prevent or treat the disease as well as related viruses.

The study, conducted over mice, identified the protein on cells called Mxra8 that is needed for chikungunya virus to invade both human and mouse cells.

The virus uses Mxra8 protein as a handle to open a door into cells.

The handle, or receptor, is located on cells that build cartilage, muscle and bone. Joints are filled with such cells, which helps explain patients’ painful symptoms.

By creating decoy handles, the researchers showed that they could prevent the virus from grabbing that handle and thus reduce chikungunya infection and signs of arthritis.

“The name chikungunya comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania, and it means ‘to walk bent over.’ That’s how painful the arthritis can be,” said Michael S. Diamond, Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis, US.

mosquitoes
representational image. pixabay

“We now know how chikungunya gets into cells, and we may have found a way to block the infection. If the virus cannot get into the cell, it is unable to replicate and cause infection and disease,” Diamond added.

In the study, published in the journal Nature, the team deluged the virus with decoy handles, so that chikungunya would grab the decoy and be locked out of cells.

A day after infection, the level of virus in the mice’s ankles and calf muscles was between ten-fold and a hundred-fold lower in the animals that had been treated with Mxra8 proteins or blocking antibodies than those that received placebo, and the numbers remained lower over the next two days.

Also Read: Scientists Recover Oldest Virus Genome of HBV

In addition, three days after treatment, the mice that had received the protein exhibited much less swelling in their ankles than those that received the placebo.

The results suggest that a compound that blocks the virus from attaching to Mxra8 on the surface of cells could prevent or reduce arthritis. (IANS)

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