A new University of Maryland-led study finds that 'sex' between the virus responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic ( H1N1 ) and a common type of avian flu virus (H9N2) can produce offspring - new combined flu viruses - with the potential for creating a new influenza pandemic. Of course, viruses don't actually have sex, but University of Maryland Virologist Daniel Perez, who directed the new study, says new pandemic viruses are formed mainly through a process called reassortment, which can best be described as viral sexual reproduction. "In reassortment, two viruses enter the same cell; their genetic material is mixed; and new genetically distinct viruses emerge, " explains Perez, an associate professor in the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Maryland Campus. According to Perez and his colleagues many factors are involved in the viability of new viruses that result from reassortment, but the most important is the compatibility of their two sets of viral genes to work together to form functional offspring.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals Demonstrates Positive Immune Responses In Phase I Clinical Trial Of SynCon trade; H5N1 Influenza Vaccine
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: INO), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, announced today that significant T cell and antibody responses were generated in its Phase I clinical study of VGX-3400X, a SynCon™ DNA vaccine for the prevention of avian H5N1 influenza delivered using intramuscular (IM) electroporation. These results were presented at DNA Vaccines 2011, hosted in San Diego by the International Society of DNA Vaccines, by Dr. Niranjan Sardesai, Inovio's Sr. VP, Research and Development. In conjunction with these results, Inovio has launched a second Phase I clinical study as part of its universal influenza vaccine program. This trial will assess a multi-subtype SynCon vaccine for H1N1 and H5N1 influenza using its skin-targeted intradermal (ID) electroporator.
Genes May Determine Susceptibility to H5N1 Avian Influenza A Virus Infection A new study found genetic variations in mice affect their susceptibility to and severity of H5N1 avian influenza A virus infection suggesting that humans who contract the virus may be genetically predisposed. The researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, VA Medical Center and MidSouth Center for Biodefense and Security, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee report their findings in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Virology. Over the last 10 years, highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza A has spread from Southeast Asia into Europe and Africa killing millions of chickens and ducks along the way. It has also infected tigers, cats, dogs and humans often resulting in death.
In 2005 the bird or avian flu was no joke. Charles Hensley, however, has been arrested for pushing medications in 2005 and marketing the illegal drug Vira 38, not approved by the FDA or in Hong Kong for that matter, which was supposedly able to prevent symptoms of the deadly outbreak that gripped the globe. Hensley has pleaded not guilty. His trial is set to begin in late July, and could face up to 20 years in prison. Millions of birds had been culled to prevent the spread of the disease, but by the middle of 2005, some 50 people had died from bird flu. Given fears that the virus would mutate to a more contagious form, experts continued to warn of the potential for a full-blown pandemic, much like the 1918 flu epidemic. It seems this is when Hensley saw an opportunity. In November 2005, the U.
Campylobacter Bacteria in Cattle Manure May Survive Composting Contrary to popular belief, some disease causing bacteria may actually survive the composting process. Researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada report in the February 2010 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology that campylobacter bacteria in cattle manure can survive composting and persist for long periods in the final product. Campylobacter bacteria are the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the developed world. They are frequently shed by beef cattle in manure and although the impact on human health is undetermined there appears to be a link in areas such as Alberta, Canada where cases of human campylobacteriosis are extremely common and the cattle density is high. Composting is described as a process in which organic matter in manure is stabilized through water loss, nutrient transmission, alteration of physical structure, elimination of weed seeds, and the inactivation of coliform bacteria, protozoan cysts and oocysts and viruses.