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DNA vaccine shows promising, long-term results against Ebola virus

DNA vaccine shows promising, long-term results against Ebola virus

Health
Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A synthetic DNA vaccine is showing immediate and long-term promising results against the Ebola virus in preclinical animal research. Scientists at The Wistar Institute Vaccine and Immunotherapy Centers designed optimized synthetic DNA vaccine candidates that target a virus surface protein called glycoprotein. The findings were published Wednesday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. The Zaire Ebolavirus infection causes a severe hemorrhagic fever with a 50 percent fatality rate. Ebola, which is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, first appeared in 1976 in what is now, Nzara, South Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. "Synthetic non-viral based DNA technology allows for rapid vac...
HIV genome helps determine antibodies formed in people with the virus

HIV genome helps determine antibodies formed in people with the virus

Health
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Researchers found that HIV itself plays a major role in determining which antibodies are formed in people, which may be important for developing a vaccine against it. A Swiss research team led by the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich has been searching for the factors that play a role in these antibodies' production. Their findings were published Monday in the journal Nature. HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, spreads through certain body fluids that attack the body's immune system, including T cells. Over time, these infections take advantage of a weak immune system and become acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Previously identified factors that played a role in the body's immune response were: the virus load and the diversit...
CRISPR gene editing possible without using a virus, scientists say

CRISPR gene editing possible without using a virus, scientists say

Health
July 12 (UPI) -- Scientists have figured out a way to use genetically reprogram human immune cells without using viruses to insert DNA, as the CRISPR method of gene editing has traditionally required. In a study published recently in Nature, researchers at the University of California San Francisco show a new CRISPR technique involving T cells could help develop new and safer treatments for cancer, autoimmunity and rare inherited disorders. "This is a rapid, flexible method that can be used to alter, enhance, and reprogram T cells so we can give them the specificity we want to destroy cancer, recognize infections, or tamp down the excessive immune response seen in autoimmune disease," senior author Dr. Alex Marson, associate professor of microbiology and immunology, said in a press relea...
What is the deadly Nipah virus?

What is the deadly Nipah virus?

Health
A deadly virus that spreads to humans from contact with infected bats, pigs or other people has in its latest outbreak killed 17 of 18 people confirmed to be infected and has led to the quarantine of 1,400 people in their homes. The new outbreak of the Nipah virus in the state of Kerala in southern India began just a few weeks ago. What is the Nipah virus? It is a zoonotic virus, which means it is spread from animals to humans and infects both. Nipah likes to live in fruit bats, its natural host. How does one get infected with Nipah? The virus can spread to humans who come into direct contact with infected bats, pigs or other infected people, the World Health Organization says. The spread of Nipah to humans from close contact with infected pigs -- that were infected by bats -- has o...
Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Congo announces 6 new confirmed cases of Ebola virus

Health
Congo's health ministry announced six new confirmed Ebola cases and two new suspected cases Tuesday as vaccinations entered a second day in an effort to contain the deadly virus in a city of more than 1 million. Dozens of health workers in the northwestern provincial capital, Mbandaka, have received vaccinations amid expectations that some will be deployed to the rural epicenter of the epidemic. Front-line workers are especially at risk of contracting the virus, which spreads in contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, including the dead. "In the next five days 100 people must be vaccinated, including 70 health professionals," Health Minister Oly Ilunga said. "The priority of the government is to ensure that all these brave health professionals can do their job safely." Congo's...