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Archives Of Infectious Disease Blog From Medicineworld.Org


September 25, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Bacterial Protein To Treat Intestinal Parasites

Bacterial Protein To Treat Intestinal Parasites Adult hookworm attached to intestine. Credit: Richard Bungiro, Yale
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Yale University have discovered that a natural protein produced by Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium sprayed on crops by organic farmers to reduce insect damage, is highly effective at treating hookworm infections in laboratory animals.

Their discovery, detailed in this week's early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could pave the way for the development of more effective therapys for hookworm and other soil-transmitted nematode infections, which are a major global health problem in developing countries. A number of of the nearly two billion people worldwide infected with these intestinal parasites are children, who are at particular risk for anemia, malnutrition and delayed growth.

The UCSD-Yale team observed that a protein produced by the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, given orally to laboratory hamsters infected with hookworms was as effective in eliminating the parasites, curing anemia and restoring weight gain in the hamsters as mebendazole, one of the drugs currently recommended to treat infections in humans. The researchers also discovered that this protein, called Cry5B, targets both developing, or larval, stages and adult parasites, as well as impairs the excretion of eggs by female worms.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 15, 2006, 1:37 PM CT

Genetic Susceptibility For Viral Encephalitis

Genetic Susceptibility For Viral Encephalitis Herpes virus
The study is being published September 14 in Science X-Press, an advanced, online edition of the journal Science.

In the study, the scientists suggest that herpes simplex encephalitis may reflect a single gene immunodeficiency that confers susceptibility to herpes simplex virus, an idea that contrasts with the prevailing scientific theory of how genes work to make people vulnerable to infections. These new findings, the study added, may apply to other infectious diseases as well.

In the study, researchers focused on blood cells from two French children with a deficiency for UNC-93B, an endoplasmic reticulum protein involved in the recognition of pathogens. When infected with herpes simplex virus-1, the UNC-93B-deficient cells were unable to produce natural interferons alpha, beta, and gamma (IFNs -?/? and -?). Interferons are produced by the immune system to fight infections and tumors.

This deficiency resulted in high rates of herpes simplex virus-1 proliferation and cell death. Assuming these findings extend to neurons, they provide a plausible mechanism for herpes simplex encephalitis.

"We and our colleagues have identified recessive UNC-93B deficiency as a genetic etiology of herpes simplex encephalitis in otherwise healthy patients," said Professor Bruce Beutler, M.D., one of three Scripps Research researchers who contributed to the study. "The discovery of this genetic cause for herpes simplex encephalitis not only broadens our understanding of these types of immunodeficiencies, but also has important therapeutic implications-some of these patients could benefit from recombinant interferon alpha (IFN-?) therapy, just as patients with low levels of naturally occurring interferon gamma (IFN-?) benefit from a similar life-saving approach".........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 14, 2006, 8:28 PM CT

Existing vaccine facilities can handle flu pandemic

Existing vaccine facilities can handle flu pandemic
The most cost effective and quickest way to respond to a flu pandemic within the next five years is to use existing facilities to make vaccines from cell cultures, new research suggests.

In a study led by University of Michigan professor of chemical and biomedical engineering Henry Wang and doctoral student Lyle Lash, scientists examined the economics of producing egg versus cell culture vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic. They observed that training personnel to make cell culture vaccines in existing facilities is the only way to make enough doses to cover the United States in a short time without requiring huge capital investments to build new dedicated flu vaccine cell culture facilities.

The study builds upon research presented last year at the American Chemical Society National Meeting. This research will be also be presented at ACS in the "Economics of Biopharmaceutical Processes" session at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The research presented last year focused on how the use of existing cell culture facilities and other vaccine development and manufacturing changes can cut down the time to respond to a pandemic.

Currently, flu vaccines are made from hen eggs, but in light of a possible pandemic and ongoing shortages even during normal flu season, the government and private corporations have been scrambling for new and faster ways to make a flu vaccine. Some options include building new and bigger facilities or to retrofit existing facilities.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 9:56 PM CT

Viruses Switch Grip To Gain Upper Hand

Viruses Switch Grip To Gain Upper Hand Mavis Agbandje-McKenna (left), a structural biologist at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute, and UF research scientist Hyun-Joo
Carbohydrates can be attractive, particularly when they come packaged in candy bars or never-ending bowls of pasta.

Even viruses - those bits of occasionally harmful genetic material enclosed in shells of protein and fat - crave carbs. Except viruses aren't seeking a taste treat. They want to latch onto the carbohydrates that protrude from the surface of our cells and mount an invasion.

By changing which carbohydrates they attach to, viruses are able to infect cells more efficiently - a finding that may prove valuable to researchers seeking ways to fight cancer or brain diseases, say University of Florida scientists writing in the current Journal of Biological Chemistry. The discovery also helps explain how flu and other viruses are able to stay a step ahead of the body's own versatile immune system.

"If you think about the flu virus, a few simple amino acid changes can be the difference between a virus your body can defend against and one that will make you sick," said Mavis Agbandje-McKenna, Ph.D., an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the UF College of Medicine and senior author of the paper. "It seems structural juxtapositions of amino acids play a role in determining how viruses recognize cells and whether the viruses are harmful".........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 9:43 PM CT

Origin Of Deadly Fever Outbreak

Origin Of Deadly Fever Outbreak
Bats or other cave dwelling animals may have been responsible for the deadly 19982000 outbreak of Marburg hemorrhagic fever among gold miners in the.

Democratic Republic of the Congo, as per an article in the Aug. 31, 2006, issue of the New.

England Journal of Medicine.

Daniel G. Bausch, associate professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University School.

of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and an international team of scientists identified.

multiple genetic variants of the virus in the outbreak, meaning the fever may have been spread directly to humans by the host animals.

Marburg hemorrhagic fever, a severe filovirus-caused disease correlation to Ebola, was first identified in European research facilities in 1967 after outbreaks traced to infected monkeys.

imported from Uganda. Only a few sporadic cases were reported until the 19982000 outbreak.

in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The team recorded a fatality rate of 83 percent for that outbreak. Young male miners comprised 52 percent of the cases, suggesting that exposure in underground mines was a factor in the spread of the disease. The discovery of multiple different genetic variants of the virus indicates that the two-year outbreak was fueled by repeated new introductions of the virus into humans from the primary reservoir, rather than simply a single introduction followed by person-to-person spread.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 13, 2006, 4:19 AM CT

Fighting Diarrhea In Kids

Fighting Diarrhea In Kids
University of Leicester researchers are heading a worldwide research project which could revolutionise the diagnosis and therapy of diarrhoea in children in developing countries.

The four-year project, the results of which are now being piloted in four hospitals in India, will offer a means of identifying the two most deadly forms of the disease quickly, cheaply and with little training necessary for practitioners.

The implications for improving children's health could be enormous. Diarrhoea is a major killer in developing countries. World Health Organisation statistics indicate that more than 2 million people die each year from the effects of diarrhoea, most of them children under five years old.

Diarrhoea is caused by a range of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms, and is commonly spread by contaminated water and poor sanitation. Two particular bacteria , enteropathogenic E.coli (EPEC), which causes a persistent infection lasting more than 14 days, and Shigella, the cause of dysentery - are the most deadly in terms of killing children. They cause only 20% of cases of diarrhoea but result in 60% of deaths. It is these two killers - EPEC and Shigella - that the Leicester-led project is targeting.

Peter Williams, Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Genetics, and Leicester colleagues Uta Praekelt and Marie Singer, are working with researchers at the Robert Koch Institute in Gera number of and Anna University in Chennai India, and with doctors at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, and at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


September 11, 2006, 10:24 PM CT

Allocating HIV drugs to South African cities

Allocating HIV drugs to South African cities
The most effective way to control the AIDS pandemic in hard-hit South Africa would be to concentrate the allocation of scarce antiretroviral drugs in urban areas. This, however, would not be the most ethical approach, as per an innovative new study from the UCLA AIDS Institute.

The article is scheduled to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online Early Edition http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0609689103 during the week of Sept. 11-15.

Using data from the KwaZulu-Natal province for their parameters, scientists from UCLA and the University of California, San Francisco, devised a mathematical model to predict the impact of drug allocation strategies that the South African government is implementing to treat 500,000 people by 2008. These data included birth rates, natural death rates and death rates stemming from AIDS.

They looked at three drug allocation strategies: one that would allocate antiretroviral drugs only to the city of Durban and two making them available in both urban and rural areas.

Of those, the Durban-only strategy would be the most effective in preventing new infections, reducing them by up to 46 percent -- amounting to preventing an additional 15,000 infections by 2008 -- compared with the two strategies that would include both urban and rural areas. The strategy also would avert the greatest number of deaths from AIDS and generate the least amount of drug resistance.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 11, 2006, 8:25 PM CT

Insights For Antibiotic Drug Development

Insights For Antibiotic Drug Development
University of Minnesota and University of Michigan scientists have discovered a new method of developing antibiotics, an important step in fighting the growing number of drug-resistant infections.

In two articles reported in the current online issue of Nature Chemical Biology, scientists describe an approach that is more efficient--and environmentally friendly--in developing new antibiotics, those needed to kill the increasing number of infections resistant to multiple drugs.

"We're striving to create new drugs that can have a positive impact on the growing threat of infectious diseases," says Robert Fecik, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and one of the lead authors of the study. "This type of research can help us make new antibiotic molecules".

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called antibiotic resistance one of the world's most pressing public health problems. Once only found in hospitals, these "superbugs" are now being found in community settings, including schools, nursing homes, and locker rooms.

These infections don't respond to common antibiotics such as erythromycin, which belong to a ring-shaped class of antibiotics called macrolides.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 6, 2006, 9:37 PM CT

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria And Muscle Infections

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria And Muscle Infections
Scientists in Houston, Texas have found two bacterial muscle infections common in tropical countries becoming more frequent occurrences along with the emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), as per a research studyreported in the Oct. 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, now available online.

Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, is a common bacterium found on the skin or in the nose of a quarter to a third of all people. Commonly harmless, staph can cause skin infections such as pimples and boils and, less frequently, serious infections of surgical wounds or the bloodstream, and pneumonia. For years, infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus have been treated by inexpensive antibiotics in the penicillin and cephalosporin family.

Some years ago, strains resistant to these drugs, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) appeared in hospitalized patients. Recently, however, newer forms of MRSA began to strike healthy people who have not been recently hospitalized or undergone invasive medical procedures. These community-acquired strains appear to be readily transmitted from person to person and can cause serious skin and soft tissue infections as well as invasive infections such as bone or joint infections or pneumonia. Failure by physicians to suspect this kind of drug-resistant staph can lead to therapy with the wrong antibiotic.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


September 6, 2006, 5:08 AM CT

Viruses can jump between primates and humans

Viruses can jump between primates and humans
Viruses that jump the species barrier between monkeys and humans can harm both people and animals, and we should take steps to reduce the risk of virus transmission. That's the message running through the recent issue of the American Journal of Primatology, a special issue on disease risk analysis edited by a primate expert at the University of Washington.

The special issue covers a range of topics, including an estimate of the viral transmission risk for visitors to a monkey temple in Indonesia, and a study showing how methods to limit contact between monkeys and humans can reduce the risk of transmission between the species. Other scientists describe how human viruses infecting monkeys and apes can wreak havoc on those animals' populations.

"Viruses are already jumping the species barrier and affecting both people and animals, and there is the potential for much worse," explained Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel, a research scientist in the Division of International Programs at the UW's Washington National Primate Research Center and guest editor for the journal's special issue. "It's particularly cause for concern in Asia, where people and monkeys have so much interaction, and there has been little research done on this topic."

Researchers think that HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, started out as simian immunodeficiency virus (or SIV), and jumped to humans decades ago when African bush meat hunters became infected by the monkeys they were hunting for food. Other viruses, like influenza, have also jumped species barriers with frightening results.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston have found a genetic marker that may identify individuals at greater risk for life-threatening infection from the West Nile virus. Results of the study are reported in the Nov. 15 print edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases.

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