Q&A: WHO's new Western Pacific director on vaccine hesitancy, UHC
Jenny Lei Ravelo
A hotspot for infectious diseases, the Asia and Pacific region is currently facing a measles outbreak in parts of the Philippines and a re-emergence of polio in Papua New Guinea. This is part of the reason Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the new regional director of the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific office, emphasizes preparedness as a key priority.
Scientists find antimalarial drug may be repurposed to treat Zika
In their search for a possible treatment for Zika virus infection, a team of Indian researchers has identified a viral protein that can be targeted by an already available antimalarial drug, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).Researchers hit upon the protein when they conducted a high throughput virtual screening of a library of drugs approved by America’s Food and Drugs Authority. Out of 1861 compounds in the library, five including HCQ appeared to be possible candidates for the treatment of Zika virus.
Plague's ground zero: personal details revealed for the first time
Dock worker Arthur Paine of Ferry Lane in Dawes Point has an unenviable claim to fame. The then 33-year-old's home became ground zero of the bubonic plague on January 19, 1900, when he became the first recorded case in NSW. Paine recovered without a black death, as the disease was often called, and was later compensated for the loss of income while he was in quarantine. But its second victim, a 48-year-old sail-maker called Thomas Dudley, wasn't so lucky, reveals a NSW public register of the plague's victims from 1900 to 1908. The register will be made public today for the first time in 110 years.
Genome structure of malaria parasites linked to virulence
An international research team led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, and the La Jolla Institute for Immunology has found that malaria parasite genomes are shaped by parasite-specific gene families, and that this genome organization strongly correlates with the parasite's virulence. The findings highlight the importance of spatial genome organization in gene regulation and the control of virulence in malaria parasites.
Bypassing U.S. regulators, Takeda takes its dengue shot to the tropics first
A new vaccine for the dengue virus is taking a potentially risky road to prevent the mosquito-borne disease that infects nearly 400 million people each year. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. plans to seek approval for the experimental vaccine first in countries where the virus is endemic, rather than starting with the United States or Europe, whose rigorous reviews are often used as a benchmark worldwide, company executives said.
RGUHS dengue research takes a beating, thanks to dip in case
Sunitha Rao R
A dengue-related research started by Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences to figure out bio-markers — which help identify the type of disease and its stages — is yet to see any progress. Reason: The study requires blood samples of 1,000 patients and the number of serious dengue cases was low in the state last year. RGUHS authorities said they have blood samples of only 371 dengue patients who have agreed to be part of the research, which can only be done with a minimum of 1,000 patients.
Medicines for Malaria Venture January newsletter
Oxford University signs universal flu vaccine development deal with US startup BWV
Developed by scientists at the University’s Department of Zoology the vaccine protects against all influenza strains by targeting parts of the virus that induce a protective immune response but are also limited in variability. The technology has the potential of providing life-long immunity against flu.
Opposing reactions in coenzyme A metabolism sensitize Mycobacterium tuberculosis to enzyme inhibition
Elaine Ballinger et al.,
Screening a chemical library revealed an amidino-urea compound called “8918” that kills Mtb, including drug-resistant clinical isolates. 8918 inhibits Mtb in mice and spares other bacteria, yeast, and mammalian cells.
Male birth control for the malaria parasite
Disrupting two genes involved in the preservation of RNA molecules inhibits the ability of the male form of the malaria parasite to mature and be transmitted from human blood into mosquitoes, interrupting a key stage in the parasite's life-cycle and cutting off an important step in the spread of the disease.