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Where Does the Ebola Virus Hide Between Outbreaks?

           

Photo by Steve Babuljak

ucsf.edu - by Samantha Ancona Esselmann, Samantha Hindle and Ben Mansky - October 24, 2017

Joe DeRisi, PhD, is a master detective of infectious diseases. No matter how obscure or complex, he says he’ll take on the challenge because “it could lead to new biology that we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.”

That's precisely what happened when he stumbled on a clue to cracking the decades-long search for the place – or creature – where the Ebola virus hides between deadly outbreaks. . . .

 . . . In 2009, DeRisi began studying an incurable disease that was killing reptiles raised in captivity, a disease that caused strange neurological symptoms ranging from vomiting to uncontrollable contortions. They found the culprit – a previously undescribed arenavirus – and uncovered something surprising: the Arenavirus’s glycoprotein, a viral “access badge” to the secure insides of a cell, actually belonged to the Ebola virus.

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Is It Possible to Predict the Next Pandemic?

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse

           

A livestock market in India - Omar Sobhani / Reuters

Large initiatives are underway to pinpoint the next big viral threats—but some virologists believe the task is too hard.

theatlantic.com - by Ed Yong - October 25, 2017

It’s been two years since an epidemic of Zika began in Brazil, three since the largest Ebola outbreak in history erupted in West Africa, eight since a pandemic of H1N1 flu swept the world, and almost a hundred since a different H1N1 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. Those viruses were all known, but no one knew when or where they’d trigger epidemics. Other diseases, like SARS, MERS, and HIV, emerged out of the blue.

Sick of being perpetually caught off guard, some scientists want to fully catalogue all viral threats, and predict which are likely to cause tomorrow’s outbreaks.

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Ebola May Linger in Men's Semen for More Than 2 Years

Particles of Ebola virus (Zaire) obtained from cell culture fluid.  Credit: Elena Ryabchikova, Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Ebola Virus RNA Detection in Semen More than Two Years After Resolution of Acute Ebola Virus Infection

livescience.com - by Tia Ghose - August 1, 2017

Ebola may linger in men's semen for more than two years, a new study suggests.

What's more, at least one man who survived Ebola and then tested negative for the presence of the virus in his semen later tested positive, the new study found.

The findings raise questions about how long Ebola can linger in special immune hideouts in the body.

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For the first time, a new strain of bird flu was transmitted human-to-human. This is highly unusual–and could be the first sign of new global pandemic.

           

Avian flu surveillance efforts. Credit: Province of British Columbia

CLICK HERE - A suspected person‑to‑person transmission of avian influenza A (H7N9)

undispatch.com - Alanna Shaikh, MPH  - May 26, 2017

 . . . a Chinese medical journal reported a human-to-human transmission of H7N9. H7N9, as mentioned, has a mortality rate of about 40%. Its impact on humans has been mitigated by the fact that it only spreads from birds. Family members can care for each other without fear.

Last week, though, China reported a case of H7N9 that appears to have spread person to person, not bird to person. The infected patient had no contact with birds or live bird markets, and he had no underlying medical condition. He was a healthy 62-year-old man, who helped a family member hospitalized with H7N9 to use the bathroom. Genetic analysis of the infecting virus indicates that he was infected with the same strain of virus that infected his family member.

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Liberia - 9 Persons Die Mysteriously In Sinoe County

gnnliberia.com - by Cholo Brooks - April 25, 2017

Police in Sinoe County, southeastern Liberia, are investigation the mysterious death of nine persons after a repass of one late Edwin Dunbar, former Proprietor of One Family Entertainment Center who died few weeks ago in Greenville following a 2-night wake keeping.

According to our contact, those who died mysteriously include five females and four males, our contact said specimens from the nine deceased have been taken to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for testing to establish the actual cause of death.

As a result of this terrible incident, officers of the Liberia National Police have been deployed in the streets of Greenville using mega phones and requesting those who ate the repass to report themselves.

Our contact said the strange and disturbing situation has created panic among citizens of the County, with others leaving for their towns and villages for fear of the unexpected.

County Health Officer John Logan when asked by our contact to speak on this prevailing situation, as to what is responsible for the mysterious deaths declined to comment on the issue.

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Huge Genome Study Dissects Ebola Outbreak's Spread

NSAID / Flickr

CLICK HERE - Nature - Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

cidrap.umn.edu - Lisa Schnirring - April 14, 2017

The largest genome sample ever analyzed for a human epidemic reveals that the West Africa epidemic unfolded with small, overlapping outbreaks as the virus spread over short distances and that urban settings amplified the spread.

Meanwhile, another study harnessed different advanced scientific tools in the blood of a single sick patient to detail gene-level response during infection.

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CLICK HERE - Science Translational Medicine - Longitudinal peripheral blood transcriptional analysis of a patient with severe Ebola virus disease

 

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International Research Effort Reveals Major Insights Into Spread of West African Ebola Epidemic

news-medical.net - April 12, 2017

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - Nature - Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic

An international effort to analyze the entire database of Ebola virus genomes from the 2013-2016 West African epidemic reveals insights into factors that sped or slowed the rampage and calls for using real-time sequencing and data-sharing to contain future viral disease outbreaks.

Published today in the journal Nature, the analysis found that the epidemic unfolded in small, overlapping outbreaks with surprisingly few infected travelers sparking new outbreaks elsewhere, each case representing a missed opportunity to break the transmission chain and end the epidemic sooner.

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ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - A big-picture look at the world’s worst Ebola epidemic

 

 

 

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Blocking TLR4 Pathway May Help Control Ebola Infection

Boston University scientists curbed the host response to Ebola infection by inhibiting TLR4 in macrophages. (CDC Global CC BY 2.0)

CLICK HERE - Virology - Ebolaviruses associated with differential pathogenicity induce distinct host responses in human macrophages

fiercebiotech.com - by Amirah Al Idrus - March 23, 2017

The Ebola virus causes a disease that is often fatal, in part by infecting white blood cells called macrophages and disrupting their immune response. Boston University scientists found that using drugs that block the protein TLR4 can suppress this response and potentially control infection.

Macrophages are responsible for detecting and destroying pathogens, but the Ebola virus activates them through the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway, causing an inappropriate immune response. The Ebola-infected macrophages end up producing excess cytokines and chemokines—proteins that promote inflammation and worsen the disease.

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Tiny Genetic Change Lets Bird Flu Leap to Humans

           

At least six provinces have reported human cases of H7N9 influenza this year, according to Chinese state media - Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Nature Communications - An NS-segment exonic splicing enhancer regulates influenza A virus replication in mammalian cells

bbc.com - March 21, 2017

A change in just a single genetic "letter" of the flu virus allows bird flu to pass to humans, according to scientists.

Monitoring birds for viruses that carry the change could provide early warning of risk to people, they say . . .

 . . . The change in a single nucleotide (a building block of RNA) allows the H7N9 virus to infect human cells as well as birds, say Prof Honglin Chen and colleagues.

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