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Nanocrystalline cellulose modified into an efficient viral inhibitor

April 15, 2014 11:38 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Finland have succeeded in creating a surface on nano-sized cellulose crystals that imitates a biological structure. The surface adsorbs viruses and disables them, preventing their spread into cells. The results could prove useful in the development of antiviral ointments and surfaces.

Fighting cancer with lasers and nanoballoons that pop

April 3, 2014 9:11 am | by University at Buffalo | News | Comments

Chemotherapeutic drugs excel at fighting cancer, but they're not so efficient at getting where...

Phage “cocktail” wipes out 99% of E. coli in meat, spinach

April 1, 2014 3:24 pm | by Natalie van Hoose, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Bacteriophages are viruses that target and kill...

Nano-paper filter can remove viruses

March 31, 2014 12:49 pm | by Linda Koffmar, Uppsala Univ. | News | Comments

Researchers in Sweden have designed a paper filter...

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Past HIV vaccine trials reveal new path to success

March 20, 2014 8:05 am | News | Comments

A multinational research team led by Duke Medicine scientists has identified a subclass of antibodies associated with an effective immune response to an HIV vaccine. The finding helps explain why a combination of two vaccines was able to show some effect, when one vaccine alone did not. The study also provides key insights that could aid development of new vaccines.

Study: Pfizer vaccine cuts pneumonia in elderly

March 12, 2014 6:22 pm | by Linda A. Johnson - AP Business Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Pfizer Inc. said Wednesday that its blockbuster vaccine against pneumonia, blood and other infections met its goal of preventing illness in vulnerable elderly patients in a huge study required by U.S. regulators. The New York-based company's Prevnar 13 protects against 13 strains of pneumococcal disease, which can cause painful children's ear infections, pneumonia and life-threatening bloodstream infections.

Self-administration of flu vaccine with a patch may be feasible

February 26, 2014 2:17 pm | by John Toon, Georgia Institute of Technology | News | Comments

The annual ritual of visiting a doctor’s office or health clinic to receive a flu shot may soon be outdated, thanks to the findings of a new study. The research, which involved nearly 100 people recruited in the metropolitan Atlanta area, found that test subjects could successfully apply a prototype vaccine patch to themselves.

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Polio-like disease appears in California children

February 25, 2014 2:09 am | by Martha Mendoza - AP National Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

An extremely rare, polio-like disease has appeared in more than a dozen California children within the past year and paralyzed one or more of each child's arms or legs, Stanford Univ. researchers say, but public health officials haven't identified any common causes connecting the cases.

Flu season waning; younger adults hit hardest

February 20, 2014 2:09 pm | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

As the flu season winds down, health officials say it wasn't as bad as last year and the vaccine worked better. But younger adults were hit harder because of a surge of swine flu. Overall, hospitalization rates for the flu are only about half what they were last winter. It has been a fairly mild season for the elderly—usually the most vulnerable group to flu and its complications.

Hitchhiking vaccines boost immunity

February 18, 2014 8:04 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Many vaccines consist of a killed or disabled version of a virus. However, for certain diseases, this type of vaccine is ineffective, or just too risky. An alternative, safer approach is a vaccine made of small fragments of proteins produced by a disease-causing virus or bacterium. This has worked for some diseases, but in many cases these vaccines don’t provoke a strong enough response. Until now.

More Hope for a HIV-1 Vaccine

February 10, 2014 9:15 am | by Lindsay Hock, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

On the eve of the 25th World AIDS Day (December 2014), President Barack Obama expressed hope to our nation, proclaiming that an “AIDS-free generation is within our reach.” During his speech, Obama expressed how our nation has made significant strides toward strengthening scientific investments, building effective HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs and bringing together public and private stakeholders.

Method for delivering HIV-fighting antibodies proven promising

February 10, 2014 8:32 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier, Caltech | News | Comments

In 2011, biologists at Caltech demonstrated a highly effective method for delivering HIV-fighting antibodies to mice—a treatment that protected the mice from infection by a laboratory strain of HIV delivered intravenously. Now the researchers have shown that the same procedure is just as effective against a strain of HIV found in the real world, even when transmitted across mucosal surfaces.

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Tricky protein may help HIV vaccine development

January 13, 2014 3:48 pm | News | Comments

Duke Univ. scientists have taken aim at what may be an Achilles' heel of the HIV virus. Combining expertise in biochemistry, immunology and advanced computation, researchers at Duke have determined the structure of a key part of the HIV envelope protein, the gp41 membrane proximal external region (MPER), which previously eluded detailed structural description.

On-demand vaccines possible with engineered nanoparticles

January 8, 2014 8:02 am | News | Comments

Vaccines combat diseases and protect populations from outbreaks, but the life-saving technology leaves room for improvement. Vaccines usually are made en masse in centralized locations far removed from where they will be used. They are expensive to ship and keep refrigerated and they tend to have short shelf lives. However, Univ. of Washington engineers have developed hope for on-demand vaccines.

New nanotechnology “traps” viruses before they infect host cells

January 7, 2014 9:57 am | News | Comments

Developed by a team of researchers in Massachusetts and California, “nanotraps” are nanoparticles that act as viral traps using specific molecules found naturally within the human body. Initial testing on the treatments, which each use tiny, non-toxic particles that can be injected, inhaled, or eaten, has shown them to be effective and safe against a multitude of strains of disease.

Drug blocks HIV in lab study, human tests planned

December 20, 2013 12:59 am | by Malcolm Ritter, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Can an experimental drug developed to treat epilepsy block the AIDS virus? A preliminary lab study suggests it's possible, and researchers are eager to try it in people. When tested in human tissues in the laboratory, the drug "works beautifully" to prevent HIV from destroying key cells of the immune system.

A Distant Hope

December 10, 2013 3:00 pm | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

In early March, in a rural Mississippi hospital, an infant was born to an HIV-infected mother. The chances of an infant contracting HIV from an infected mother not receiving antiretroviral treatment is around 25% in the U.S., and this child was on the wrong end of that statistic. Dr. Deborah Persaud, a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center HIV expert, knew that meant this baby would only have a 50% chance of living past the age of nine years.

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New findings reveal protein structure in rubella virus

December 10, 2013 11:21 am | News | Comments

Researchers have determined the structure of the rubella virus capsid protein, which is central to the virus's ability to assemble into an infectious particle and to infect humans. Although a successful vaccine is available to protect against rubella virus infection, the discovery could aid efforts to develop vaccines and antiviral drugs to treat related infections.

Whooping cough shot cuts illness, maybe not spread

November 25, 2013 3:47 pm | by MIKE STOBBE - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

A government study offers a new theory on why the whooping cough vaccine doesn't seem to be working as well as expected. The research suggests that while the vaccine may keep people from getting sick, it doesn't prevent them from spreading whooping cough—also known as pertussis—to others.

Scientists find powerful tool for genetic engineering

November 22, 2013 10:54 am | News | Comments

Viruses can not only cause illnesses in humans, they also infect bacteria. Bacteria protect themselves with a kind of immune system that detects and “chops up” foreign DNA. Scientists have now shown that the dual-RNA guided enzyme Cas9 which is involved in the process has developed independently in various strains of bacteria. This enhances the potential of exploiting the bacterial immune system for genome engineering.

Princeton to give students meningitis B vaccine

November 19, 2013 10:27 am | by GEOFF MULVIHILL - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Princeton Univ. officials decided Monday to make available a meningitis vaccine that hasn't been approved in the U.S. to stop the spread of the sometimes deadly disease on campus. The university said doses of the vaccine for the type B meningococcal bacteria are to be available in December for undergraduate students, graduate students who live in dorms and employees who have sickle cell disease.

Chemist discovers new way to stabilize proteins

November 19, 2013 9:29 am | News | Comments

A Univ. of Connecticut research team has found a way to stabilize hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier protein in the blood, a discovery that could lead to the development of stable vaccines and affordable artificial blood substitutes. The team’s approach involves wrapping the polymer poly(acrylic acid) around hemoglobin, protecting it from the intense heat used in sterilization and allowing it to maintain its biological function.

Princeton considers meningitis vaccine

November 18, 2013 6:00 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Princeton Univ. officials are deciding whether to give students a meningitis vaccine that hasn't been approved in the U.S. to stop the spread of the disease. A decision could be made as early as Monday. The Food and Drug Administration last week approved importing Bexsero for possible use on Princeton's campus.

Researchers manipulate virus to create possible new cancer treatment

November 11, 2013 3:01 pm | by Elizabeth K. Gardner, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have successfully eliminated the native infection preferences of a Sindbis virus engineered to target and kill cancer cells, a milestone in the manipulation of this promising viral vector. The achievement also demonstrates the ability to use methods of manipulation previously only applied to proteins.

Merck says HPV vaccine works against more strains

November 4, 2013 12:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Merck said Monday that its new human papillomavirus vaccine was about 97% effective in blocking precancerous lesions caused by strains of the virus that are not stopped by Merck's vaccine Gardasil. Merck & Co. said it expects to file for marketing approval of the new vaccine, which is designated V503, before the end of 2013.

HIV-like virus suppressed in monkey experiment

October 30, 2013 2:00 pm | by MALCOLM RITTER - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Doctors may one day be able to control a patient's HIV infection in a new way: injecting swarms of germ-fighting antibodies, two new studies suggest. In monkeys, that strategy sharply reduced blood levels of a cousin of HIV. The results also gave tantalizing hints that someday the tactic might help destroy the AIDS virus in its hiding places in the body, something current drugs cannot do.

Artificial protein mimics a part of the HIV outer coat

October 23, 2013 8:35 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists has created an artificial protein coupled with a sugar molecule that mimics a key site on the outer coat of HIV where antibodies can bind to neutralize a wide variety of HIV strains. The finding provides a potential new strategy in vaccine development to elicit the broadly neutralizing antibodies considered essential for long-lasting protection from the ever-changing HIV virus.

Nanoparticle vaccine offers better protection

September 26, 2013 7:39 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Many viruses infect humans through mucosal surfaces. To help fight these viruses, scientists are working on vaccines that can establish a defense at mucosal surfaces. Vaccines can be delivered to the lungs via an aerosol spray, but are often cleared away before they can provoke an immune response. To overcome that, engineers have developed a new type of nanoparticle that protects the vaccine long enough to generate a strong immune response.

Study explores barriers to HIV vaccine response

September 23, 2013 11:38 am | News | Comments

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute discovered that an antibody that binds and neutralizes HIV likely also targets the body’s own “self” proteins. This finding could complicate the development of HIV vaccines designed to elicit this protective antibody, called 4E10, and others like it, as doing so might be dangerous or inefficient.

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