Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Press release] Genetic changes in Ebola virus could impede potential treatments

Thinking of my Liberia FB friends. One I met (he is a nurse) in 2009 while doing service projects in Liberia. He is a dean of a college near the capital (Monrovia)…while school is out, he is working with Doctors Without Borders in Monrovia.
Another is a former student of mine (1980/81…when I was a Peace Corps volunteer. He is now a Methodist deacon, in Ganta, the second largest city in Liberia. Ganta is 10 miles up the road from where I volunteered. Back in 2009, he recognized me in front of the church in Ganta, where we did some volunteer projects!
Third person is a health screener in Kpain, where I was a Peace Corps volunteer. He put in a FB friend request. He is from Nigeria.
These three men are among my heroes. They are doing so much with so little. Reaffirmed my belief that Liberians are resilient and creative.

USAMRIID Logo

USAMRIID Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Genetic changes in Ebola virus could impede potential treatments

 

Ebola Pathenogensis

Ebola Pathenogensis (Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

 

From the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases 20 January 2015 press release

 

Scientists studying the genetic makeup of the Ebola virus currently circulating in West Africa have identified several mutations that could have implications for developing effective drugs to fight the virus.

In today’s online edition of the journal mBio, senior author Gustavo F. Palacios, Ph.D., and colleagues describe the “genomic drift,” or natural evolution of the virus, and how it may interrupt the action of potential therapies designed to target the virus’s genetic sequence.

According to Palacios, who directs the Center for Genome Sciences at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), three types of genetic sequence-based treatments are being evaluated during the current outbreak: monoclonal antibody, small-interfering RNA (siRNA), and phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer (PMO) drugs. All were developed using Ebola virus strains from two smaller outbreaks that occurred in 1976 and 1995.

January 23, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Press release] How long can Ebola live? No one really knows — ScienceDaily

How long can Ebola live? No one really knows

December 10, 2014

How Long Can Ebola Live?

Pitt researcher publishes article showing that the literature is lacking, receives NSF grant to conduct further study
Contact:

Cara Masset

412-624-4361

Cell: 412-316-7508

PITTSBURGH—The Ebola virus travels from person to person through direct contact with infected body fluids. But how long can the virus survive on glass surfaces or countertops? How long can it live in wastewater when liquid wastes from a patient end up in the sewage system? In an article published Dec. 9 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, Kyle Bibby of the University of Pittsburgh reviews the latest research to find answers to these questions.

HeKyle BibbyKyle Bibby and his co-investigators didn’t find many answers.

“The World Health Organization has been saying you can put (human waste) in pit latrines or ordinary sanitary sewers and that the virus then dies,” says Bibby, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “But the literature lacks evidence that it does. They may be right, but the evidence isn’t there.”

Bibby and colleagues from Pitt and Drexel University explain that knowing how long the deadly pathogen survives on surfaces, in water, or in liquid droplets is critical to developing effective disinfection practices to prevent the spread of the disease. Currently, the World Health Organization guidelines recommend to hospitals and health clinics that liquid wastes from patients be flushed down the toilet or disposed of in a latrine. However, Ebola research labs that use patients’ liquid waste are supposed to disinfect the waste before it enters the sewage system. Bibby’s team set out to determine what research can and can’t tell us about these practices.

The researchers scoured scientific papers for data on how long the virus can live in the environment. They found a dearth of published studies on the matter. That means no one knows for sure whether the virus can survive on a surface and cause infection or how long it remains active in water, wastewater, or sludge. The team concluded that Ebola’s persistence outside the body needs more careful investigation.

To that end, Bibby recently won a $110,000 National Science Foundation grant to explore the issue. His team will identify surrogate viruses that are physiologically similar to Ebola and study their survival rates in water and wastewater. The findings of this study will inform water treatment and waste-handling procedures in a timely manner while research on the Ebola virus is still being conducted.

December 12, 2014 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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