Salivary Assay Developed for HIV Can Be Used To Detect Zika

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests. NYU/Sapna Parikh

Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests.
NYU/Sapna Parikh

Maite Sabalza Ph.D
Post Doctoral Associate
Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology
College of Dentistry, New York University
New York, NY 10010

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: With previous NIH funding we were able to develop an automated “dual assay” (able to detect both host antibodies and viral RNA) for HIV.

In relatively short time, we were able to migrate those findings into the new assay for ZIKA Virus. Continue reading

Repeated Less Serious Infections Do Not Affect Children’s School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student Department of Clinical Medicine - Psychosis Research Unit Aarhus University

Ole Köhler-Forsberg

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student
Department of Clinical Medicine – Psychosis Research Unit
Aarhus University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prior studies have demonstrated that serious illnesses, for example severe infections such as measles, rubella or meningitis, which we vaccinate against, affect the brain and thereby the child’s ability to learn. From this we know that illnesses and in particular infections to some degree have an influence on our brains.

In this study, we decided to look at how children perform following the less severe infections that many of them frequently experience during their childhood. After all, this is the largest group of children, but this has not been studied previously in such a large population.

Basically, we found that among 598,553 Danes born 1987-1997, the less severe infections treated with anti-infective agents during childhood did not affect the child´s ability to perform well in school, nonetheless whether 5, 10 or 15 prescriptions had been prescribed.

On the other hand, we found that children who had been admitted to hospital as a result of severe infections had a lower chance of completing 9th grade. The decisive factor is therefore the severity of the disease, but not necessarily the number of sick days.  

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New Vaccine Administered To Newborns Protects Against Rotavirus Gastroenteritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions set against a black background. Note the organism’s characteristic wheel-like appearance, which is visible when viewed under the electron microscope. It’s this morphology that gives the Rotavirus its name, which is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel". Rotaviruses are nonenveloped, double-shelled viruses, making them quite stable in the environment. CDC- PHIL collection: Illustrator: Alissa Eckert, MS

This illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions set against a black background. Note the organism’s characteristic wheel-like appearance, which is visible when viewed under the electron microscope. It’s this morphology that gives the Rotavirus its name, which is derived from the Latin rota, meaning “wheel”. Rotaviruses are nonenveloped, double-shelled viruses, making them quite stable in the environment.
CDC- PHIL collection: Illustrator: Alissa Eckert

Professor Julie Bines
Inaugural Victor and Loti Smorgon Professor of Paediatrics and Deputy Head of Department of Paediatrics University of Melbourne.
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the significance of Rotavirus infections?

Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child illness and death, and rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea. Globally rotaviruses cause approximately 215,000 deaths in children under five years. This disease doesn’t discriminate – it infects children worldwide under the age of five – irrespective of what environment you live in.

The rotavirus vaccines that are currently available work very well in places like Australia, the US and Europe but they don’t seem to work as well in low income settings in Africa and Asia where severe gastroenteritis is common and many children die.

In a world-first clinical trial conducted in Indonesia, the oral RV3-BB vaccine was administered to babies within their first five days of life. Current rotavirus vaccines can only be administered to children older than six weeks, which leaves newborn babies particularly vulnerable to rotavirus infection. In lower resource settings, birth is often the best contact between mother, baby and health services.

The oral RV3-BB vaccine was developed from the human neonatal rotavirus strain RV3 identified in the stool of healthy newborn babies. It does not naturally cause diarrhoea like other rotaviruses. The RV3-BB vaccine program aims to take advantage of the characteristics of this novel strain to target a birth dose vaccination strategy.  Continue reading

ZIKA: Mouse Study Finds Antioxidant Ebselen Reduces Risk of Sexual Transmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Image of a baby with microcephaly (left) compared to a normal baby (right). This is one of the potential effects of Zika virus. Signs of microcephaly may develop a few months after birth. Wikipedia image

Image of a baby with microcephaly (left) compared to a normal baby (right). This is one of the potential effects of Zika virus. Signs of microcephaly may develop a few months after birth.
Wikipedia image

Yogy Simanjuntak PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Institute of Biomedical Sciences
Academia Sinica, Taiwan 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite the low case fatality, Zika virus infection has been associated with microcephaly in infants and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Primarily transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes, Zika also can be sexually transmitted in humans. By August 2016, the sexual transmission of Zika had been documented in 11 countries worldwide and most of the cases were from male to female. Infectious Zika in semen has been reported. Moreover, unlike in serum or urine samples, Zika RNA can still be detected in semen up to 188 days after the onset of symptoms. In the absence of approved antiviral drugs or vaccines for Zika infection, preventing the disease transmission is critical.

We observed Zika progressively damaged testes by gaining access to testicular cells including sperm. Notably, Zika caused signs of increased testicular oxidative stress and inflammation, characterized by high levels of reactive oxygen species and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Our data indicate that these factors may contribute to testicular damage as well as successful sexual transmission of Zika; thus, we speculate antioxidants might display beneficial effects to alleviate these disease outcomes.

We found that antioxidant ebselen both alleviated testicular damage and prevented sexual transmission of Zika via sperm from infected male mice to uninfected female mice.

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Genetic Pathways Determine Susceptibility to Dengue Shock Syndrome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

CDC/ Frederick Murphy

This transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image depicts a number of round, Dengue virus particles that were revealed in this tissue specimen. CDC image

Luisa Pereira PhD
Institute for Research and Innovation in Health
University of Porto 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: By using admixture mapping along the genome in Thai cohorts, we were able to identify new candidate genes conferring protection/susceptibility to dengue fever. A very interesting result was that the set of genes differed with the dengue phenotype: genes coding proteins that may link to the virus, conditioning its entrance in the host cells and mobility therein were associated with the less severe phenotype; genes related with blood vessels permeability were associated with the dengue shock syndrome.  Continue reading

Opioids For Pain Can Exacerbate Pneumococcal Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew Wiese, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Health Policy Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Wiese

Andrew Wiese, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Health Policy
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: As opioid use has increased in the U.S., the safety of prescription opioids has come under further scrutiny.

In animal studies, use of certain opioids has been associated with increased susceptibility to bacterial infections, including infectious due to Streptococcus pneumoniae, the pathogen that causes invasive pneumococcal disease. Invasive pneumococcal disease includes bacteremia, meningitis, and invasive pneumonia, all of which are associated with high mortality. Although those associations have been well established in animal experiments, it is important to understand the risk of serious infections among humans taking prescription opioid analgesics.

We found that prescription opioid use is associated with a significantly increased risk for laboratory-confirmed invasive pneumococcal diseases, and that this association was strongest for opioids used at high doses, those classified as high potency and long-acting formulations.

The data also showed that opioids previously described as immunosuppressive in prior experimental studies conducted in animals had the strongest association with invasive pneumococcal diseases in humans. Continue reading

Shingles Can Occur At Chickenpox Vaccination Site in Healthy Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Depicted here, is a close-up of a maculopapular rash that was diagnosed as a crop of chickenpox lesions.

Depicted here, is a close-up of a maculopapular rash that was diagnosed as a crop of chickenpox lesions.
“Dew-drop on a rose petal pattern” CDC image

Hannah Song, BA
Medical studen
Harvard Medical School and
Jennifer T. Huang, MD
Division of Immunology, Dermatology Program
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Infection with the varicella-zoster virus leads to chickenpox, or primary varicella. The virus then lies dormant and can later reactivate as shingles, or herpes zoster.  Varicella-zoster vaccine is made of an attenuated live virus that prevents most people from getting chicken pox, but rarely can reactivate and cause shingles.

There were several pediatric patients who presented to our clinics with shingles/herpes zoster that was localized to one extremity. My hunch was that the extremity where the patients had shingles could be the same limb where they had received vaccination. We called the patient’s pediatricians because pediatricians typically document the extremity where the vaccination is given, and confirmed the theory that shingles in vaccinated children may be more likely to occur at the site of vaccination. Importantly, vaccination may modify the classic appearance of shingles, and you might see pink and red papules and pseudovesicles, rather than classic grouped fluid-filled vesicles on a red base.  Continue reading

Cochrane Reviews Efficacy of Vaccination To Prevent Flu In Healthy Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“#influenza” by J.S. Zolliker is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Vittorio Demicheli

Servizio Regionale di Riferimento per l’Epidemiologia
SSEpi-SeREMI, Azienda Sanitaria Locale ASL AL
Alessandria, Piemonte, Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: The consequences of influenza in adults are mainly time off work. Only vaccination of pregnant women is recommended internationally, while mass vaccination of healthy adults is still matter of debate.

The aim of this Cochrane Review is to assist informed decision making summarizing research that looks at the effects of immunizing healthy adults with influenza vaccines during influenza seasons.

The review process found 52 clinical trials of over 80,000 adults. Only around 15% of the included studies were well designed and conducted. We focused on reporting of results from 25 studies that looked at inactivated vaccines. Injected influenza vaccines probably have a small protective effect against influenza and influenza-like illness (ILI_ (moderate-certainty evidence), as 71 people would need to be vaccinated to avoid one influenza case, and 29 would need to be vaccinated to avoid one case of ILI. Vaccination may have little or no appreciable effect on hospitalizations (low-certainty evidence) or number of working days lost. Continue reading

Vaccination Against Yellow Fever Has Reduced Size of Outbreak

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

The yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, taking a bloodmeal. James Gathany - CDC - PHIL

The yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti, taking a bloodmeal.
James Gathany – CDC – PHIL

Dr. Daihai He
Assistant Professor
Department of Applied Mathematics
Hong Kong Polytechnic University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Yellow fever (YF) is a life-threatening mosquito-borne infection. The 2016-2017 Yellow fever outbreak in Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Uganda is the largest YF outbreak in decades. Vaccination is an effective measure to mitigate the YF outbreak. As a result, 30 million people have been vaccinated in DRC and Angola. 962 cases and 137 deaths were confirmed in these two countries. Suspected cases and deaths are 7334 and 498 respectively. The true effect of this large-scale vaccination campaign is unclear. Using mathematical modeling and statistical inference, we found that if the vaccination campaign was not implemented, the size of the outbreaks (in term of cases and deaths) could be 5-6 fold higher in Luanda province Angola, the hit-hardest region.

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Appendicitis: Some Patients Prefer Antibiotics to Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc D. Basson, MD, PhD, MBA Professor of Surgery, Pathology, and Biomedical Science Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences Grand Forks, ND 58202

Dr. Basson

Marc D. Basson, MD, PhD, MBA
Professor of Surgery, Pathology, and Biomedical Science
Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research
University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences
Grand Forks, ND 58202   

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are now several studies that describe the use of antibiotics without surgery to manage acute uncomplicated appendicitis.

This entails a prolonged treatment course and has a substantial rate of failure and recurrence, but in patients in whom it succeeds surgery can be avoided. Many surgeons resist offering this choice because they perceive it as substandard compared to surgery, which is rapid, and when it goes well (as it usually does) has no failure or recurrence rate. Instead of debating the statistics, we decided to ask people what they would prefer if they had appendicitis and why.

We found that about nine tenths of people would choose surgery, but about one tenth would choose antibiotics, with some subtle distinctions depending on the characteristics of the people we asked.  (For instance, surgeons, doctors in general, and people who knew someone who had previously had appendicitis were all a bit more likely to opt for surgery.)  Furthermore, we found that the key issue for most people was not the prolonged treatment course but the rates of failure and recurrence with antibiotics.

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