Monkey malaria breakthrough offers cure for relapsing malaria
A breakthrough in monkey malaria research by two University of Otago scientists could help scientists diagnose and treat a relapsing form of human malaria. Dr. Adelina Chua and Jessica Ong have cracked an in vitro method for culturing a monkey malaria parasite which is closely related to the relapsing vivax parasite. "We can't culture vivax malaria, but now we can culture its almost identical sister species which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to develop and rapidly test new antimalarials," Ms Ong, a doctoral candidate from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, explains.
FDA Approves New Treatment for Highly Drug-Resistant Forms of Tuberculosis
Pretomanid, a novel compound developed by the non-profit organization TB Alliance, was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) today for treating some of the most drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB). TB, in all forms, must be treated with a combination of drugs; the most drug-sensitive forms of TB require six months of treatment using four anti-TB drugs. Treatment of XDR-TB or treatment-intolerant/non-responsive MDR-TB has historically been lengthy and complex; most XDR-TB patients currently take a combination of as many as eight antibiotics, some involving daily injections, for 18 months or longer. Prior to recent introduction of new drugs for drug-resistant TB, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported estimates for treatment success rates of XDR-TB therapy at approximately 34 percent and about 55 percent for MDR-TB therapy. Pretomanid is only the third new anti-TB drug approved for use by FDA in more than 40 years, as well as the first to be developed and registered by a not-for-profit organization.
Pacific Health Ministers address health consequences of a changing climate
The health impacts of a changing climate were a focus of last week’s 13th Pacific Health Ministers Meeting, with ministers acknowledging the ‘climate crisis’, and endorsing a roadmap to address climate-related threats to safe drinking water, sufficient food, resilient health infrastructure, and secure shelter in the Pacific. Health security - an essential requirement in one of the most disaster-prone regions - was also a key focus, with ministers committing to develop and fund national health security action plans to fill gaps in emergency preparedness and response capacities, and sustain gains already made.
Dengue fever kills 48, infects over 10,700 people in Myanmar
10,757 people were infected by Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) across Myanmar in the past seven months, according to a release from the Public Health Department under the Ministry of Health and Sports on Wednesday. As of July 27, Ayeyarwady region registered highest numbers of DHF infection cases with 1,974 cases and five deaths, followed by Yangon region with 1,788 cases and 15 deaths, the department's figures said.
CEPI announces support for fourth Nipah virus vaccine
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Public Health Vaccines (PHV), LLC, have announced a partnership agreement worth up to $43.6 million to support the development and manufacturing of a Nipah virus vaccine. The vaccine uses a weakened version of the recombinant vesicular stomatitis (rVSV) that expresses a Nipah virus protein on its surface, which prompts protection against the virus. CEPI was founded in the wake of West Africa's Ebola outbreak as a novel way to fund and speed the development of new vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, especially Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), Nipah virus, and Lassa virus. CEPI has so far committed to investing $456 million in vaccine development.
Mosquito spit glands’ hold key to curbing malaria, study shows
Johns Hopkins Medicine
In an effort to define precisely the location of the parasite bottleneck, scientists say they have discovered that the parasites are stopped by a roadblock along the escape route in the insect's spit glands, a barrier that could potentially serve as a novel target for preventing or reducing malarial infection.
Animal influenza virus infections in humans: a commentary
Laura K. Borkenhagen, et al.,
Here we review evidence for influenza A viruses (IAVs) moving from swine, avian, feline, equine, and canine species to infect humans. The aggregated data point to industrialized swine farming as the most likely source of future pandemic viruses, yet IAV surveillance on such farms is remarkably sparse. Collaborative partnerships with human medical researchers could aid in efforts to mitigate emerging virus threats by offering new surveillance and diagnostic technologies to livestock farming industries.
Warning to New Zealand travellers over dengue fever outbreaks
The Ministry of Health is warning New Zealanders embarking on tropical holidays to "fight the bite", amid outbreaks of mosquito-borne dengue fever in Bangladesh and Philippines. Fourty-seven people were diagnosed with dengue fever in New Zealand in May and June after travelling overseas, marking an increase of 14 people compared with the same months last year. Half of those people had travelled to Fiji, with others having visited Indonesia, the Cook Islands, Malaysia, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vietnam. Director of Public Health Carolyn McElnay urged travellers to cover up and take precautions to avoid being bitten.
Nordic researchers: A quarter of the world's population at risk of developing tuberculosis
A new study from Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University, Denmark, has shown that probably 1 in 4 people in the world carry the tuberculosis bacterium in the body. The researchers have reviewed 88 scientific studies from 36 different countries, and on the basis of this epidemiological evidence they have estimated a prevalence also in those countries where no studies are available, additionally they have calculated the approximate total global prevalence. It has previously been estimated that somewhere between one-third and one-fourth have latent tuberculosis, but the new study, which is based on tests from 351,811 individuals, indicates that it is between one-fifth and one-fourth, depending on the test method used.
MMV July Newsletter
Representatives from the 2018 Project of the Year team discuss the discovery and validation of PfKRS1, an important and exciting novel biological target.