Novel Coronavirus is Well-adapted to Humans, Susceptible to Immunotherapy
The new coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East is well-adapted to infecting humans but could potentially be treated with immunotherapy. HCoV-EMC can penetrate the bronchial epithelium and evade the innate immune system as easily as a cold virus can, signs that HCoV-EMC is well-equipped for infecting human cells. The study also reveals that the virus is susceptible to treatment with interferons, immune proteins that have been used successfully to treat other viral diseases, opening a possible mode of treatment in the event of a large-scale outbreak. http://goo.gl/kaUpj
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Novel Coronavirus is Well-adapted to Humans, Susceptible to Immunotherapy
Pelagibacter ubique is the most successful member of a group of bacteria called SAR11, that jointly constitute about a third of the single-celled organisms in the ocean. But this is not P. ubique’s only claim to fame, for unlike almost every other known cellular creature, it and its relatives have seemed to be untroubled by viruses. But four viruses that parasitise P. ubique have now neen found, and one called HTVC010P was the commonest. It thus displaces its host as the likely winner of the most-common-living-thing prize.
Abundant SAR11 viruses in the ocean. (2013) Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature11921 http://goo.gl/iXVyF
2,016 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales were reported to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in 2012, the highest annual total since 1994. Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA, said: “Coverage of MMR is now at historically high levels but measles is highly infectious and can spread easily among communities that are poorly vaccinated, and can affect anyone who is susceptible, including toddlers in whom vaccination has been delayed. Older children who were not vaccinated at the routine age, who may now be teenagers, are at particular risk of becoming exposed, while at school for example. Measles continues to circulate in several European countries that are popular with holidaymakers. Measles is a highly infectious disease so the only way to prevent outbreaks is to make sure the UK has good uptake of the MMR vaccine, and that when cases are reported, immediate public health action is taken to target unvaccinated individuals in the vicinity as soon as possible.”
UK HPA: http://goo.gl/2Abgf
The Guardian: http://goo.gl/rnfRh
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is an important human pathogen which can cause severe neurological complications and death in children. The virus caused several outbreaks in the Asia-Pacific region during the past two decades and has been considered a significant public health problem in the post-poliovirus eradication era. Unlike poliovirus, there is no effective vaccine or approved antivirals against EV71. To explore anti-EV71 agents therefore is of vital importance. Several strategies have been employed to develop antivirals based on the molecular characteristics of the virus. Among these, some small molecules that were developed against human rhinoviruses and poliovirus are under evaluation. In this review, we discuss the recent development of such small molecules against EV71, known drug resistance and possible solutions to it, and animal models for evaluating the efficacy of these antivirals. Although further investigation is required for clinical applications of the existing candidates, the molecular mechanisms revealed for the inhibition of EV71 replication can be used for designing new molecules against this virus in the future. Virology Journal: http://goo.gl/UQ7b7
Exactly how hepatitis B virus causes liver cancer has been a mystery for a long time. It is clear that the X protein (HBx) has something to do with it, but exactly what mechanisms are involved? These are very different to other cancer-causing viruses.
Some recent studies have demonstrated that viruses alter the expression of microRNAs, non-coding RNA molecules that can block the expression of target genes. Researchers have just reported that miR-148a is repressed by HBx to promote growth and metastasis of liver cancer. In normal liver cells, miR-148a represses the expression of the oncogenic protein HPIP, but the hepatitis B virus prevents expression of miR-148a, leading to increased levels of HPIP and subsequent oncogenic transformation. This study demonstrates that a cancer-associated virus promotes carcinogenesis through direct manipulation of a microRNA.
Hepatitis B virus X protein represses miRNA-148a to enhance tumorigenesis: http://goo.gl/2HkK7
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been shown to be dysregulated in virus-related cancers; however, miRNA regulation of virus-related cancer development and progression remains poorly understood. Here, we report that miR-148a is repressed by hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein (HBx) to promote cancer growth and metastasis in a mouse model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Hematopoietic pre–B cell leukemia transcription factor–interacting protein (HPIP) is an important regulator of cancer cell growth. We used miRNA target prediction programs to identify miR-148a as a regulator of HPIP. Expression of miR-148a in hepatoma cells reduced HPIP expression, leading to repression of AKT and ERK and subsequent inhibition of mTOR through the AKT/ERK/FOXO4/ATF5 pathway. HBx has been shown to play a critical role in the molecular pathogenesis of HBV-related HCC. We found that HBx suppressed p53-mediated activation of miR-148a. Moreover, expression of miR-148a was downregulated in patients with HBV-related liver cancer and negatively correlated with HPIP, which was upregulated in patients with liver cancer. In cultured cells and a mouse xenograft model, miR-148a reduced the growth, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, invasion, and metastasis of HBx-expressing hepatocarcinoma cells through inhibition of HPIP-mediated mTOR signaling. Thus, miR-148a activation or HPIP inhibition may be a useful strategy for cancer treatment.
Not many people like drinking poo, even if it’s for health reasons. A few hundred C. difficile patients have been given stool infusions from healthy donors, often because they have run out of options. And it works – more than 90 percent make a full recovery. But drinking poo isn’t fun, so scientists have developed pseudo-poo. Think of it as rectal yoghurt if that helps. I wonder if it comes in strawberry flavour? See: http://goo.gl/1DquT
When I wrote about the high incidence of norovirus infections in the UK recently - http://goo.gl/TUdko – a commenter helpfully pointed to a paper published in Eurosurveillance on January 3 described a new variant of norovirus called Sydney 2012.
The UK HPA has now responded to this and says:
“Testing carried out when cases started to rise in October revealed a cocktail of different strains that were circulating including Sydney 2012 and another called New Orleans 2009, although no one strain was dominant. The latest testing of the most recent outbreaks, completed this week, has now shown that Sydney 2012 has overtaken all others to become the dominant strain.” http://goo.gl/dkxvb
Indications for worldwide increased norovirus activity associated with emergence of a new variant of genotype II.4, late 2012. http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20345
The advice remains the same – wash your hands!
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has an extensive repertoire of tricks that it uses to evade, manipulate, and subvert the human immune system. Perhaps most insidious is the virus’s ability to turn the immune system’s defensive tactics to its own advantage. For example, HIV-1 uses a type of immune cell, the dendritic cell (DC), to spread infection.
Mature DCs recognize sialic acid–containing glycolipids (gangliosides) present in the HIV’s lipid envelope. New research show that the sialic acid–containing molecule Siglec-1 promotes both virus uptake and transmission to T cells. Future work may point the way towards therapeutic interventions against HIV and viruses that use similar infection strategies.
PLOS Biology: http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001454
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For all the media attention on the UK norovirus “epidemic” over the past few weeks, current figures recently released by the UK Health Protection Agency (see: http://goo.gl/KLNhl ) suggest that this norovirus season (“”winter vomiting”) is not particularly unusual.
HPA update on seasonal norovirus activity: 2 January 2013: http://goo.gl/JC3Jf