18 Jul

KU Leuven scientists develop new vaccine against Zika virus

first_imgReviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 19 2018Scientists at the KU Leuven Rega Institute in Belgium have developed a new vaccine against the Zika virus. This vaccine should prevent the virus from causing microcephaly and other serious conditions in unborn babies.In 2015 and 2016, the world was shocked by the sudden and massive outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin America. “The Zika virus is transmitted by the tiger mosquito and, in most cases, the patient experiences no or only mild symptoms,” says Professor Johan Neyts.”But when a pregnant woman contracts the virus, this can affect the brain development of the foetus. It can lead to microcephaly – whereby the infant has a smaller-than-average head – but also mental and other severe health issues”The outbreak of the virus in Latin America is currently under control. However, the virus remains present – in Latin America as well as in other areas with tiger mosquitoes – and there can be a new outbreak at any time. Therefore, scientists across the world are looking for an effective vaccine.Based on the yellow fever vaccineRelated StoriesNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsScripps CHAVD wins $129 million NIH grant to advance new HIV vaccine approachGeorgia State researcher wins $3.26 million federal grant to develop universal flu vaccineIt now appears that Professor Neyts, Dr Kai Dallmeier and their team have developed such a vaccine. “To do so, we made use of the yellow fever vaccine. The yellow fever virus is closely related to the Zika virus and is transmitted by the same mosquito. The vaccine is very safe and offers lifelong protection.””We replaced a piece of the genetic information of the yellow fever vaccine with the corresponding code of the Zika virus. To engineer the vaccine, we used a new technology that we’d developed earlier in our lab and that makes it possible to produce the vaccine in fermenters instead of in fertilized chicken eggs. Another important advantage is that the vaccine remains stable, even at high temperatures. This makes a world of difference for a vaccine that is also intended for use in the most remote corners of tropical and subtropical areas.””Together with the University of Liège, we then explored whether the vaccine was effective in pregnant mice. The vaccine was administered to female mice and, when these mice were a few days pregnant, the Zika virus was injected into their placenta. The pups of vaccinated mothers developed normally and the virus also couldn’t be found in their brains or other organs.”This complete protection is remarkable, says Kai Dallmeier. “We now intend to further develop the vaccine, which could then be used to quickly and effectively vaccinate the population in case of a new outbreak of the Zika virus. This should prevent a lot of suffering.”Source: https://nieuws.kuleuven.be/en/content/2018/game-over-for-zika-ku-leuven-researchers-develop-promising-vaccinelast_img read more

18 Jul

New approach to destroy HIV reservoirs

first_img Source:https://www.pasteur.fr/en/home/press-area/press-documents/aids-approach-targeting-hiv-reservoirs Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 21 2018Current HIV treatments need to be taken for life by those infected as antiretroviral therapy is unable to eliminate viral reservoirs lurking in immune cells. Institut Pasteur scientists have identified the characteristics of CD4 T lymphocytes that are preferentially infected by the virus – it is their metabolic (or energy-producing) activity1 that enables the virus to multiply. Thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors, the researchers have managed to destroy these infected cells, or “reservoirs”, ex vivo. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism on December 20, 2018.Current HIV treatments need to be taken for life by those infected as antiretroviral therapy is unable to eliminate viral reservoirs lurking in immune cells. Institut Pasteur scientists have identified the characteristics of CD4 T lymphocytes that are preferentially infected by the virus – it is their metabolic (or energy-producing) activity[1] that enables the virus to multiply. Thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors, the researchers have managed to destroy these infected cells, or “reservoirs”, ex vivo. Their findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism on December 20, 2018.Related StoriesAlcohol reduction associated with improved viral suppression in women living with HIVHIV persists in spinal fluid even after long-term treatment and is linked to cognitive deficitsPrevalence of anal cancer precursors is higher in women living with HIV than previously reportedThe antiretroviral treatment used today is designed to block HIV infection but it is not able to eliminate the virus from the body. The virus remains in reservoirs – the CD4 T lymphocyte immune cells, the main targets of HIV. However, the virus does not infect all types of CD4 cell and until now the reason for this was not well known. In this study, scientists from the HIV, Inflammation and Persistence Unit at the Institut Pasteur and colleagues have identified the characteristics of the different CD4 subpopulations, which are associated with HIV infection.The more the CD4 cells are differentiated, or experienced, the more they need to produce energy to perform their function. Experiments have shown that it is the metabolic activity of the cell, and in particular its glucose consumption, that plays a key role in susceptibility to HIV infection. The virus primarily targets cells with high metabolic activity. To multiply, it hijacks the energy and products provided by the cell.This requirement constitutes a weakness for the virus and could be exploited to tackle infected cells. Scientists succeeded in blocking the infection ex vivo thanks to metabolic activity inhibitors that have already been investigated in cancer research.”We have observed ex vivo that, thanks to certain metabolic inhibitors, the virus is no longer able to infect cells and amplification is halted in reservoirs of patients receiving antiretroviral treatment.”Asier Saez-Cirion, coordinator of the studyThis research opens new ways towards possible remission through the elimination of reservoir cells. The next research phase will involve assessing the potential of these metabolic inhibitors in vivo.​​last_img read more

18 Jul

Foxconn wants to tap 7 million gallons of water a day

Foxconn Technology Group wants to tap 7 million gallons of water a day from Lake Michigan to meet its needs. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further Citation: Foxconn wants to tap 7 million gallons of water a day (2018, January 29) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-foxconn-million-gallons-day.html © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Foxconn to announce location of Wisconsin plant Wednesday The city of Racine asked the state Department of Natural Resources for permission Monday to divert water from the lake primarily to serve the planned display panel factory and campus.The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the permission is needed under an interstate agreement that guides water use in eight states that border the Great Lakes.Under the compact, all water shipped out must be returned to Lake Michigan minus what’s lost to evaporation or what’s incorporated into Foxconn’s manufacturing process.The Taiwanese company says it could invest up to $10 billion on the display panel factory that could employ up to 13,000 people. read more

17 Jul

Farmers livelihood is in pathetic condition DMK

first_imgNEW DELHI: Attacking the government in the Lok Sabha, the opposition DMK Tuesday said the condition of the farmers in the country is pathetic. Party Member S S Palanimanickam said farmers are lagging behind every other profession in the country. “BJP said that they would be doubling the income of farmers but they are only repeating the same slogan because there is a big gap between their saying and action,” he said. The member was participating in the discussion on demand for grants for department of agriculture and farmers’ welfare, and rural Development Ministry. “I am sure that in the next election also, you will be repeating the same slogan. We were expecting loan waiver but that did not happened…You are just giving peanuts to farmers,” he said. On the PM Kisan Yojna, under which the government gives Rs 6000 per annum to farmers, he said that this is a small amount. He suggested that if the government wants to double farmers income they need to give special importance to sectors like dairy, poultry and fishery. “They should get remunerative prices,” he said. Ramapati Ram Tripathi (BJP) said the Budget mainly focuses on village people and farmers. The Budget would also help in doubling the income of farmers. “Rs 6,000 is not a small amount and this will help small farmers in crucial times. They do not have to approach moneylenders now,” he said, adding the amount is helping them in buying seeds and urea. For urea, farmers do not have to stand in queues due to the steps taken by the government, he said. Download The Times of India News App for Latest India News.XStart your day smart with stories curated specially for youlast_img read more