Disease experts say ‘superspreader’ patients could take the new coronavirus into SARS-like crisis territory
During the SARS crisis of 2003, it took only a handful of patients to infect a lot of people. Those people later became known as superspreaders, and they could be responsible for the spread of a new virus if left unchecked. [Carlos Jasso/AFP/Getty Images files]
Variola virus (smallpox)
Smallpox is considered to be a disease of antiquity, but was once the scourge of all mankind. It is a member of the poxviridae family, has a double stranded DNA and is ellipsoid-shaped with an outer envelope. The virus only infects humans and has one stable serotype.
This negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) showed recreated 1918 influenza virions that were collected from the supernatant of a 1918-infected Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cell culture 18 hours after infection.
In order to sequester these virions, the MDCK cells were spun down (centrifugation), and the 1918 virus present in the fluid was immediately fixed for negative staining.
Dr. Terrence Tumpey, one of the organization’s staff microbiologists and a member of the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID), recreated the 1918 influenza virus in order to identify the characteristics that made this organism such a deadly pathogen. Research efforts such as this, enables researchers to develop new vaccines and treatments for future pandemic influenza viruses.
The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus, killing more than 500,000 people in the United States, and up to 50 million worldwide. The possible source was a newly emerged virus from a swine or an avian host of a mutated H1N1 virus. Many people died within the first few days after infection, and others died of complications later. Nearly half of those who died were young, healthy adults. Influenza A (H1N1) viruses still circulate today after being introduced again into the human population in the 1970s.
Shark molecule may wipe out human viruses like hepatitis
Research could lead to an injection that will fortify certain organs from viruses and diseases.
Earlier this week, we introduced you to Mqondisi, the 17-year-old boy from Zimbabwe who is living with HIV.
Today, he marched with MSF to the White House in Washington D.C. calling on pharma and the U.S. government to stop undercutting affordable medicines so that we can scale up HIV treatment and stop the virus.
Just about wherever scientists look—deep within the earth, on grains of sand blown off of the Sahara Desert, under mile-thick layers of Antarctic ice—they find viruses. And when they look in familiar places, they find new ones. In 2009, Dana Willner, a biologist at San Diego State University, led a virus-hunting expedition into the human body. The scientists had ten people cough up sputum and spit it into a cup. Five of the people were sick with cystic fibrosis, and five were healthy. Out of that fluid, Willner and her team fished out fragments of DNA, which they compared to databases of the tens of millions of genes already known to science. Before Willner’s study, the lungs of healthy people were believed to be sterile. But Willner and her colleagues discovered that all their subjects, sick and healthy alike, carried viral menageries in their chests. On average, each person had 174 species of viruses in the lungs. But only 10 percent of those species bore any close kinship to any virus ever found before.
Rhinovirus infection is linked to about 70 percent of all asthma exacerbations with more than 50 percent of these patients requiring hospitalization. Furthermore, over 35 percent of patients with acute chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are hospitalized each year due to respiratory viruses including rhinovirus. A new antiviral drug to treat rhinovirus infections that is being developed by Melbourne company Biota Holdings, Ltd., is targeted for those with these existing conditions where the common cold is a serious threat to their health and could prove fatal. (via Futurity.org – Common cold in 3D may speed new drug)
Chip “Sees” in 3D to Diagnose HIV, Leukemia
Inexpensive, portable devices that can rapidly screen cells for leukemia or HIV may soon be possible thanks to a chip that can produce three-dimensional focusing of a stream of cells, according to researchers. “HIV is diagnosed based on counting CD4 cells,” says Tony Jun Huang, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics at Penn State. “Ninety percent of the diagnoses are done using flow cytometry.”
Huang and his colleagues designed a mass-producible device that can focus particles or cells in a single stream and performs three different optical assessments for each cell. They believe the device represents a major step toward low-cost flow cytometry chips for clinical diagnosis in hospitals, clinics and in the field.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Chip-Sees-in-3D-to-Diagnose-HIV-Leukemia-053112.aspx
This negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicts a number of filamentous Marburg virions, which had been cultured on Vero cell cultures, and purified on sucrose, rate-zonal gradients. Note the virus’s morphologic appearance with its characteristic “Shepherd’s Crook” shape; Magnified approximately 100,000x.
Marburg hemorrhagic fever is a rare, severe type of hemorrhagic fever which affects both humans and non-human primates. Caused by a genetically unique zoonotic (that is, animal-borne) RNA virus of the filovirus family, its recognition led to the creation of this virus family. The four species of Ebola virus are the only other known members of the filovirus family. Marburg virus was first recognized in 1967, when outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever occurred simultaneously in laboratories in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia).