The increase in measles, a highly contagious scourge that had been nearly eradicated in many parts of the world, is concerning health officials. In Europe, measles had reached the highest levels in two decades. Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.
Food scientists from Cornell University have developed a test for rapid detection of E. coli in drinking water using genetically-engineered bacteriophages. It can be administered locally in hard-to-reach areas around the world and provides results within hours. Obtaining quick and accurate results is a current bottleneck in preventing infection and could save many.
An estimated 600,000 to 800,000 viral species could jump from animals to humans. Scientists are joining the Global Virome Project initiative in hope of identifying new potential pathogens and countering them before they become the next pandemic. This move from a reactive to a proactive approach aims to provide a safer future for all.
Research at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston showed that four viruses found in fish produce proteins similar to human hormones and react with cells similarly to insulin. The discovery suggests that micro-organisms could play a role in development of diabetes, as well as other autoimmune diseases and cancer.
The world’s first widespread human testing of a universal flu vaccine against influenza has begun in the UK. Rather than focusing on antibody production, the new vaccine stimulates the immune system to boost influenza-specific T-cells and aims to protect the elderly who are particularly susceptible.
Scientists have managed to completely eliminate the HIV virus in living mice using the revolutionary CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing technology. They have demonstrated how it excises the viral DNA from the host animal and prevents further infection, providing hope that it could one day benefit humans.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University successfully modified mosquitoes to render them highly resistant to dengue virus – a disease responsible for nearly 25,000 deaths each year. Their breakthrough could lead to even more resistant mosquitoes in the future, potentially ending the war on mosquito-transmitted diseases.
Scientists from leading immunology institutes joined forces and discovered a novel antibody that neutralized 98% of all tested HIV strains, including the ones resistant to most other types of antibodies.
The Zika news in the US and South America
Millions of Zika battling genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes are ready to be released in Florida, US, after the public vote of the November US elections was in favor of starting the test-trial in the area.
A unique viral strain deemed Pandoravirus was discovered that spans a staggering 1 µm in diameter, beating the previous record holder by two-fold. The viral giant also possesses the largest viral genome ever discovered, most of which cannot be traced back to any of the existing domains of life.