What is Keystone virus? Zika’s Cousin has now infected the first human!!

Zika Virus Has a New Competitor

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Another mosquito-borne virus, the Keystone virus, might pose a risk to people, specifically those in Florida.

A confirmed human case of Keystone was recently reported in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Research author J. Glenn Morris suggested Keystone cases could be “fairly common in North Florida,” but he said this is the first confirmed case, possibly because patients are rarely tested for the virus.

Here’s what you should know about the Keystone virus:

When was it found?

The virus was first discovered in the Tampa Bay-area in 1964. Since then, animal cases (squirrels, raccoons and deer) have been found from Texas to the Chesapeake Bay.

How do you catch it?

The virus is transmitted by mosquito bites, usually bites from aedes atlanticus.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms might include a rash, mild fever and encephalitis, brain inflammation.

How many people have it?

University of Florida researchers recently said a 16-year-old boy was the first human case of the Keystone virus. The teen did not suffer from brain swelling, but did have a fever and rash. The case was identified because doctors thought the teen might be suffering from the Zika virus during a known outbreak. The laboratory tests they collected from him for Zika testing led them to the Keystone discovery. The Florida Department of Health told USA TODAY there was another recorded case of the virus in a young child from Sarasota in 1964.

Is it related to Zika?

The aedes atlanticus mosquito, a cousin to the Zika-spreading aedes aegypti mosquito, is most well-known for carrying the Keystone virus. Aedes infirmatus mosquitos as well as other aedes and culex species have also known to carry the virus, the Florida Department of Health said.

Is there a cure?

There’s no specific treatment plan for the virus in humans.

How can we prevent it?

The only known way to prevent the virus is to avoid mosquito bites. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, staying inside air-conditioned areas and using screens on windows and doors to prevent bites. In addition to these tips, the Florida Department of Health also suggests draining standing water, such as rainwater collected in garbage cans or pool covers.

Back in April, before the height of mosquito season, Bill Gates devoted a whole week of his blog, appropriately named ‘Mosquito week’, warning and educating people on the dangers of mosquitos.  This a great read to educate yourself and to learn about how a tiny African kingdom named Swaziland has developed a well-coordinated malaria program—including a robust surveillance and control system—that has helped reduce the number of cases in the country by more than 90 percent since 2002. Now, Swaziland aims to eliminate malaria entirely within its borders by 2020. (please see the gates notes link below to learn more)

What will the case be for the U.S.A. in 2020 and what will it look like since new cases are being discovered each year, bringing the number of mosquito species to over 3,000 in the world, of which 176 of them can be found in the United States.

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references;

Kyle Berard of Plasma MedResearch located in Boca Raton, FL

USA TODAY NETWORK Ashley May, USA TODAY Published June 25, 2018

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/Mosquito-Week-2018

https://www.gatesnotes.com/Health/Buzz-Kill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Rosy Outlook for Pregnancy & Lupus

Article Source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/878764

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There was a time when women diagnosed with lupus were cautioned against getting pregnant; the combination of lupus and pregnancy was thought to be too dangerous for mother and child. However, research by Jane Salmon, MD, a rheumatologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City, is now helping change this belief. By carefully risk-stratifying patients on the basis of clinical and biological markers, it seems that the vast majority of pregnant patients with lupus can be assured that their pregnancies will be uncomplicated. Medscape recently spoke to Dr Salmon about her work.

Medscape: Tell us a little about how you began studying pregnancy and lupus.

Dr Salmon: Patients with lupus tend to be young women in their reproductive years. Lupus generally presents between age 20 and 40 years, and 90% of the patients are women. Some of the first questions they often ask when they receive their diagnosis are, “Can I have children?” “Will my pregnancy be safe?” and “Will my children have lupus?”

In the 1980s, when I was training in rheumatology, the feeling was that pregnancy in lupus was dangerous. This wasn’t based on strong evidence, but on the rational concept that because lupus tends to be a disease of women, hormones may play a role in disease pathogenesis, and pregnancy is a state with high levels of female hormones (ie, estrogens, progesterone). Thus, it was anticipated that patients with lupus who become pregnant would have severe flares. And in fact, patients who become pregnant when their disease is active and not well-controlled often develop even more severe organ dysfunction. So there was clinical basis for the anxiety among the physicians, but perhaps it was applied too broadly.

Medscape: How has your research helped changed this way of thinking?

Dr Salmon: Patients asked for and deserve data around such an important question. They wanted the evidence that, in fact, this was true. And we wanted to identify the predictors of poor pregnancy outcomes and the mechanisms that caused damage to the placenta and the developing baby.

What is Multiple Myeloma?

From Janssen EMEA

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See link here.

Quest for new antibiotics gets first major funding from global partnership

A major global partnership aimed at fighting superbugs announced Thursday that it is investing up to $48 million in research projects, including potentially the first new classes of antibiotics in decades, to target the deadliest drug-resistant bacteria.

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The investments announced by CARB-X include $24 million in immediate funding for 11 companies. The firms can receive up to $24 million in additional payments over three years if they meet specific milestones.

The projects represent a broad range of approaches. Three companies are working on new classes of antibiotics, a significant development because the last class that made it to market was in 1984. Four companies are developing nontraditional therapeutics to boost the human immune response and disable pathogens’ ability to grow. Yet another company is pursuing a diagnostic imaging tool to identify the type of bacteria causing a lung infection within 60 seconds.

All the projects are in early stages of research, when risk of failure is high, officials said. CARB-X, which stands for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator, was launched in July to stimulate such critical early-stage work. Its goal is to jump-start drug development with money and access to expertise, supporting companies with promising antibiotic candidates so they can attract enough private or public investment to advance development and eventually win regulatory approval.

 

Funding comes from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Wellcome Trust, a London-based global biomedical research charity. CARB-X aims to invest $450 million over five years with the goal of speeding up preclinical discovery and development of at least 20 antibacterial products and moving at least two of them into human trials. The partnership, which also includes academic, industry and other nongovernmental organizations, was created as part of the U.S. and British governments’ calls for global efforts to tackle antibiotic resistance.

The projects announced Thursday were selected out of 168 applications that flooded in within the first four days that proposals were accepted.  “These projects hold exciting potential in the fight against the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” said Kevin Outterson, executive director of CARB-X and a law professor at Boston University, where the partnership is headquartered.

Everything about developing new antibiotics is difficult, he said. On the science side, that means finding a drug that only kills the bad bacteria, leaving good bacteria and the rest of human cells untouched. The economics for antibiotics also turn market incentives “upside down” because, unlike most new products that companies rush to sell, the best antibiotics need to kept on the shelf — to be used for  “last-ditch cases,” he said.

And because resistance will always develop, antibiotics are “the only drug class where we have to start all over every time we succeed,” Outterson said.

But interest has been strong. Additional funds are likely to be awarded later this year, and another 200 applications have already been received for the next cycle.

All the potential medicines under development in this first phase target Gram-negative bacteria, among the most dangerous types of superbugs because they are increasingly resistant to most available antibiotics. They include CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which U.S. health officials have dubbed “nightmare bacteria.”

These pathogens, which cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, and wound or surgical site infections, have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization as the greatest threat to human health. They have built-in defenses that include a double membrane barrier and a mechanism that expels drugs, such as antibiotics, from the cell.

 

Drug-resistant infections kill an estimated 700,000 people a year globally. The more antibiotics are used, the less effective they become as bacteria develop resistance to them. Scientists, doctors and other public health officials have increasingly warned that if antibiotic resistance continued at its current rate, routine infections eventually would be life-threatening ones. Common modern surgeries, such as knee replacements, could again become precarious.

Last month, the World Health Organization announced its first list of drug-resistant “priority pathogens” to guide and promote research and development of new drugs. Of the 40 antibiotics in clinical development in the United States, fewer than half have the potential to treat the pathogens identified by the WHO, said Allan Coukell, senior director of health programs at the Pew Charitable Trust’s antibiotic-resistance project.

Experts said they are excited by the research CARB-X is funding.

“It’s hitting the right targets for potential drug development,” said Kathy Talkington, director of Pew’s antibiotic-resistance project. “It’s covering a diverse portfolio of products. It addresses the need for novelty.”

Eight companies are based in the United States and three in the United Kingdom. The projects also will receive business and drug development support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and other partners.

Companies that are developing potentially new classes of antibiotics include San Diego-based Forge Therapeutics, which was awarded $4 million over 15 months to spur development of a small molecule product to target an enzyme found only in Gram-negative bacteria and essential for its growth.

Visterra Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., was awarded $3 million over 12 months to develop an antibody with a potent antimicrobial compound engineered to kill all strains of the deadly Pseudomonas bacteria, including multidrug-resistant strains, the company said.

And Proteus IRC, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, is receiving $640,000 over 21 months to develop its technology to rapidly visualize bacteria in the deepest part of the human lungs.

Read article here.

Fresh optimism has been injected in HIV/AIDS research

Kudos to Gilead Sciences, Inc.!!

A Durban based scientist has been awarded over two and a half million dollars to fund HIV/AIDS research.

Toxoplasmosis: Truth, Fiction, and Crazy Cat Ladies?

Perhaps a bit lengthy, but a great overview of toxoplasmosis and its misconceptions by Dr. Janet L. Swanson, Director of Shelter Medicine, Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine reviews. Well worth the time.

Zika: The Untold Story

Every pathogen has a history. Here is an excellent piece from NOVA on Zika’s origin and evolution.

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