Snakebite at first glance does not seem to be a problem, which should concern a modern human. Despite numerous achievements in the field of pharmacology, it is however among the most neglected diseases of our era.
Grim statistics provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) show that, each year, 5 million bites occur, leading to 150,000 deaths and a striking 400,000 amputations. The lucky ones who manage to avoid a deadly outcome of snakebite envenoming are often mentally and physically scarred for life.
Microbes have been present on planet Earth longer than us, humans, and they become our life companions from the moment we are born. They are building, protecting and feeding our bodies.
Viruses, small infectious agents that replicate only inside the living cells of other organisms, have been around for billions of years. They can infect all types of life forms, from microorganisms, plants and animals to humans. It has been estimated that there are 10 to the power of 31 viruses on Earth, but humans don’t just live in a viral world, we are also part virus ourselves. Viruses actually comprise up to the 8% of the human genome and these so called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) represent ancient viral infections that became integrated into the human genome.
For years, the cornerstones of cancer treatment have been surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. And now excitement is growing for immunotherapy-therapies that harness the power of a patient’s immune system to combat their disease.
Recent drug discoveries promise new treatments and cures for many diseases. However, getting a drug to work, not only in experiments with cells in the lab, but also in the human body, is difficult. One challenge? Getting past the body’s line of defense, the immune system, which fights foreign invaders that make it into the body.
A discovery which may lead to the elimination of Ebola infections was published in Nature Chemistry a few days ago. The investigators reported that giant fullerene system inhibits the cell infection by an artificial Ebola virus.
A group of Slovenian researchers have discovered how the receptor of the immune system TLR4 (Toll-like receptor 4) works in rheumatoid arthritis. The receptor plays an important role in many diseases, including cancer.
How Can Our State of Mind Influence Our Body’s Defense System?