Showing posts with label viruses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label viruses. Show all posts

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Virus Hydrophobicity Can Help Purify Vaccines

We usually try to detect virus in our body, whenever we become ill. However, now with the development of medical field, some researchers have found out a new way for recognizing virus easily by looking at the external layers.

A virus has a very intricate structure. On surface area of all viruses, there are tiny knits of some proteins. And these are mainly responsible for the serious effect, created by virus after having an interaction with our cells or the favorable environment in the surrounding area. If there is any alteration in the series of protein, then the surface turns out to be hydrophobic. It means that the part may repel water, and as a result, a sticky substance is formed on the surface.

One of the members (Heldt) at chemical research department of Michigan University has stated something about the new innovations of the researchers. At present, many of the associates of this University are trying to have a concept on how the hydrophobicity on virus surface is to be applied for the improvement in the production of vaccines.

A comparison on a variety of results-

Heldt has also claimed that dealing with purification of vaccine means working on the interactions on surface. While there is a disintegration of all components, they may not be applied as a kind of remedy. In addition to it, identification and removal of viruses also have a direct relation with all these interactions. Such facts may be very useful to the experts to know the interactions of virus or germs with our cells. The good news is that Caryn Heldt as well as her associates has made a comparison of different computational and experimental techniques in order to know the chemistry of surface.

Hydrophobicity- How the researchers tried to identify it-

Hydrophobicity may be defined as a property, which is found in a molecule that seems to be repelled or resisted from water mass. As the hydrophobicity of virus is quite tough to determine, the associates of Heldt emphasize the use of hydrophobicity pattern. These experts have also evaluated the possible measurements of hydrophobicity on the basis of protein, present in virus. They have tested out the specimens with the application of two chromatography types. One is the blend of chemicals and another one is fluorescent tints, which cause the appearance of hydrophobic, gluey spots on surface of proteins. The main fact is that all measurements try to make out something, which is easily accessible.

According to Heldt, the capsid of virus is so big that it is intricate to do measurements. To clarify the issues, Heldt has explained that capsid refers to outer shell, which comprises sixty same types of proteins, such as, VP1, 2 or 3. Heldt along with other researchers has tested VP2 and its exposed areas. There is a good link among all the results. And it reveals that any virus, including PPV has hydrophobicity, which is easily assessable. After having a better understanding of these measurements, the researchers may be able to detect virus.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Singapore Confirms 41 Locally Transmitted Zika Virus Cases


The outbreak

About 41 cases of Zika virus were confirmed at Singapore which was likely transmitted locally. The health ministry stated that majority of those that were infected were not native workers, and all resided or laboured within the same area of the country. None of them had travelled to areas which were affected by Zika recently. While seven are still admitted in hospitals, thirty four patients have completely recovered from the disease.

Generally, Zika has moderate effects but has been related to many birth defects which can be severe. It is alleged of bringing about a condition known as microcephaly, which is condition where deformation is persistent and babies are born with smaller heads than usual. Zika is usually spread by vectors like mosquitoes, but under certain circumstances can be sexually transmitted as well. It was declared by the World Health Organization, commonly called as WHO as a universal public health emergency in the month of February.

The symptoms of Zika

  • The disease could rarely prove to be fatal. Usually out of five only one patient infected by the same may develop and show the symptoms 
  • The symptoms could be anything ranging from headaches, Pain in the joints, rashes, sore eyes or reddening of the eyes also sore eyes or simply a mild fever. 
  • Another rare symptom that is also linked to the infection is Guillain-Barre syndrome, which is an uncommon nervous system disorder, can cause short term paralysis 
  • As of now there has been no form of vaccination or drug developed against the infection by researchers, because of which the affected are instructed to get rest and to consume a great amount of fluids.
In May, Singapore announced it’s very first imported case of Zika. It was a local of 48 years of age who had recently made a trip to Brazil, the place where the outbreak began. As on Saturday, they declared that another Malaysian woman who was 37 years of age had been infected by the virus locally.

So far she is the only female case confirmed. Singapore stands as a home for a hug number of construction workers who are not native to the country, most of them originating from the Southern parts of Asia. Out of the 41 cased that were declared on Sunday, thirty six cases were of overseas workers who worked in the same construction area.

The work at that particular site had come to a halt after they found that the housekeeping was not acceptable with probable breeding habitats complementing to the breeding of mosquitoes. In a statement the ministry said that they could not eliminate or exclude further community spread, since many of those that have been tested positive also reside or work in various other parts of Singapore.

At the end it also added that they expect to recognize more such cases which are positive. All those providing medical services in Singapore have been forewarned to be more vigilant then needed and to instantly report to the health ministry if they find any symptoms associated with Zika.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Viruses 'More Dangerous in the Morning’

Morning sickness 

Studies conducted in University of Cambridge suggest that Viruses could be more hazardous when they come in contact with their victims in the morning. As published in PNAS, the findings showed that these viruses could be more successful up to 10 times if the infection began in the morning.

Tests with animals showed that an interrupted body clock which can be caused due to being jet lagged or working in shifts can always be prone to the infection. Scientists believe that these findings could lead to ways of ending pandemics. Unlike parasites and bacteria, viruses completely depend on taking over the mechanism inside the cells so as to replicate. However, these cells change vividly as a portion of a 24 hour cycle termed as the body clock.


For the study, mice were either exposed to influenza or herpes virus, which caused flue or a range of diseases including cold sores respectively. The viral intensities of those that were infected in the morning were 10 times more than those that were infected in the evening. After continuously trying to hijack the cells, the late viruses efforts were waning after all the labourers had gone home.

One of the researchers, Professor Akhilesh Reddy, spoke with BBC news website stating that there is a big difference. If the virus does not get all the mechanisms readily available, it may not get off the ground ever. Even a small amount of infection in the morning could propagate faster and take control of the body. He is certain that the results can help control an epidemic of diseases.

In a condition where a disease is prevailing over a country, staying indoors during the day could be important and save people from being infected. Further studies showed that the animal’s body clock being disrupted intended that they were being trapped in to a state that allowed the viruses to grow and spread. The first author, Dr Rachel Edgar said that this is an indication that people who work in shifts, that is, working during some nights and rest for some nights have a disturbed body clock, are susceptible to be infected to viral diseases.

Then they could be major applicants for receiving the yearly flu vaccinations. Only two types of viruses were used for the study. Yet the two very different one being a DNA virus while the other an RNA virus. Which directs the researchers to believe the morning threat may be a wide range principle that spreads across a large number of viruses.

The study was focused on a particular clock gene, Bmal1, which has its topmost activity in the noon in both, people and mice. Professor Reddy added that it is the link with this gene that is vital, since it is low early in the morning one could be liable to the infection. Interestingly, during the winter Bmal1 is less active, indicating that it may have a hand in the larger risk of infections at that particular time in the year.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Most Skin-Based Viruses are Totally Unknown to Science


Microbes Living On & Within Us – Good Health/Cause of Disease

Researchers together with the public are being aware that microbes living on and within us – `micro-biomes’, could be vital in maintenance of good health or the cause of disease. Skin resident bacteria by no means are an exception and they help to ward off dangerous infection as well as maintain good skin immunity together with wound healing but in certain situations could do the reverse.

A new study has observed that a majority of DNA viruses that have been found on human skin has not been described before. With the use of mapping techniques in isolating virus like particles from the skin swabs of 16 healthy participants, the team from the University of Pennsylvania discovered that about 95% of skin resident viruses seem to be uncharacterised, basically `viral dark matter’ wherein the presence is felt though the character seems to be uncertain.

According to Elizabeth A. Grice, senior author, PhD and an assistant professor of Dermatology at Penn Medicine commented that there is a need for better understanding of these viruses, considering their potential effects on the skin cells and the resident bacteria. Till now, comparatively less work has been done in this area in part due to the technical challenges involved.

Features of Viral Genetic Substance

A skin swab for instance, taken for the purpose of analysis would comprise of generally human and bacterial DNA with only a small amount of viral genetic material. Earlier mapping efforts utilised databases of known viral genes to identify some of the viral genetic material in all the bacteria and human DNA. However such approaches tend to overlook the viruses not classified in databases.

 With enhanced techniques in isolating virus like particles – VLPs, from the skin swabs and analysing very small quantity of genetic material, the research team were capable of aiming their sequence and analysis on viral DNA without totally depending on previously prevailing databases and made a breakthrough on analysing material afresh.

According to senior author, Elizabeth Grice, the team found that the material had features of viral genetic substance though no taxonomic classification.The most common infecting virus which was found by the researchers was the human papilloma virus that was connected to some kind of skin cancer. They also found that the viruses were location based.

Procedure Developed for DNA Sequence Analysis

Samples from forehead, palm, armpit and the other areas collected by the team for instance, revealed that viruses were more varied in areas which were occasionally exposed and covered like the wrinkle of an elbow. Moreover, the research also recognised a standard for investigations in the future studies of the normal, healthy skin virome together with a set of virus analysis tool which would now be made available to scientists for additional research in human viruses.

The University of Pennsylvania team conducting the research are now utilising the method in researching the variability of skin viruses as well as analysing virus response to issues like antibiotic use and ultraviolet radiation exposure.

Grice together with her colleagues also made available along with the paper’s supplemental information, the procedures they had developed for the DNA sequence analysis. She informed that it is freely available so that the people could do their own research or reproduce results.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Viruses are Alive, and They Share An Ancestor With Modern Cells


Viruses – Living Entities/Share Common Ancestor with Cells

Evolutionary biologist are on discussions that the viruses seem to belong to the tree of life, in the universe and have put a case forward for viruses sharing common ancestor with the other cells. The debate is that viruses should not qualify as living entities and that they are not `alive’ since they tend to lack a true metabolism and does not reproduce on their own.

Published in Scientific Advances, Arshan Nasir and Gustavo Caetano-Anolles’s paper – A phylogenomic data driven explorations of viral origins and evolution has challenged this. They state that `virus factories’ structures formed by various giant viruses within the cells they infect are cell-like organisms, strikingly familiar to several intracellular parasitic bacterial which also depend on host metabolism to reproduce’.

These types of bacteria are considered as living things though very simple and researchers claim that virus factories should be regarded as the true `self’ of a virus and the infectious virions to be considered as gametes which then go on to `fertilise’ other cells by infecting them. Taking this into account, viruses could be eligible to form the evolutionary tree of life and take their stand along with the cells.

Viruses Transform/Genetic Codes Change

Nasir and Caetano-Anolles had found the possibility to identify the ancestry as well as the evolution of viruses, describing `proto-virocells which harboured segmented RNA genomes and existed with the ancestors of modern cells. In order to learn more on how viruses could be related to cells, evolutionary biologist Gustavo Caetano-Anolles and Arshan Nasir compared the protein folds of 3,460 viruses with 1,620 cells.

Folds seems to be the basic structures which give proteins their complex shapes and the genetic codes of all cells and the viruses carry instructions for the various protein folds. Comparing them seems a good way of studying evolutionary history particular in viruses.

Most of the viruses often transform and their genetic codes change quickly which could cover the oldest genetic traces. However, protein folds keep their shapes even when their genetic codes seem to change. This makes them a good record of viruses and cells ancient evolutionary history.

True Self of Virus – Intracellular Virus Factory of Infected Cells

Viruses which were analysed by Caetano-Anolles and Nazir turned out to share 442 protein folds with the cells in the study. They also found 66 protein folds which were probably unique to viruses. It was what the biologist basically expected to discover when they compared two related organisms, with a large number of familiarities with a few variations to set the two organisms apart.

 As per Caetano-Anolles and Nasir these discoveries indicate a shared origin for cells and viruses. According to them to determine if the viruses could reproduce and have metabolism it is essential to look at the `virus factory within an infected cell instead of what in usually thought of as the body of a virus, particles known as virions which prevail outside cells, do not reproduce.

They write that the true self of a virus is the intracellular virus factory of infected cells and not the virion. An infected cell tends to reproduce by producing new virions which affect other cells in order to make new virus factories.

Caetano-Anolles and Nasir state that the process is similar to how conventional organisms produce gametes to fertilize other cells and reproduce. Infected cells also tend to produce proteins that fall in the category of production of new virions.