Scientists hope an end to the Aids epidemic could be in sight after eight years long study found men whose HIV infection was fully suppressed by antiretroviral drugs had no chance of infecting their partner. Not a single one of the HIV-negative men contracted the virus from their partner. The success of the medicine is notable and raises hope. If everyone with HIV were fully treated, there would be no further infections.
A new gene therapy approach developed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has cured infants born with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID-X1), known as “Bubble Boy” disease. The patients recovered with fully functioning immune systems and started producing immune cells, including T cells, B cells, and natural killer (NK) cells. The researchers achieved that by hijacking the HIV virus to replace the mutated gene, called IL2RG, with a corrected copy.
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.