It’s a public health weekend here at Pandora Report as we check out stories on TB and Polio. We also have other stories you may have missed.
Have a great week and see you back here next weekend!
As one of the leading infectious disease killers, Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection, holds interest for scientists who disagree over the origins of the human disease. However, a new study in Nature Communications uses a cutting-edge approach called metagenomics to analyze corpses that were naturally mummified in a Hungarian crypt. Of 14 genomes found in eight of the corpses, researchers discovered that multiple strains were circulating in Hungary in the 18th century when these people died.
The Toronto Star—“‘All the historic genomes belonged to lineages that we see today,” said senior author Dr. Mark Pallen, a professor of microbial genomics at the University of Warwick. “So TB hasn’t changed much in 200 years … (and) it turns out that the most common ancestor of the Euro-American lineage that all our (tuberculosis) genomes belonged to dates back to late Roman times.’”
Tomorrow, April 12, is the 60th anniversary of when Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was declared to be effective. Today, as the world inches closer to full polio eradication, interesting news highlighted on “60 Minutes” looks at the polio virus’ ability to kill another lethal illness—Cancer. A genetically engineered strain of polio virus appears to thwart lethal brain cancer tumors.
The Huffington Post—“The modified polio virus seems to deactivate the cancer tumor’s ability to defeat immune capacities. Freed up, the immune system works at defeating the tumor. Miraculously, the immunotherapy workings spare healthy tissues, while killing cancer cells.”
Stories You May Have Missed
- A study in Annals of Virology indicates that Ebola antibodies were present in Liberia in 1982. The antibodies were found in 26 of 433 Liberians who were tested for Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fever viruses.
- Six agents are being removed from the bio-threat list: Coxiella burmetii, Rickettsia prowazekii, Bacillus anthracis Pasteur strain, and three organisms from the Brucella genus. The CDC issued the recommendation for removal in February.
- Dick Wolf loves to do “ripped from the headlines” episodes of Law and Order. This week, on SVU, he used a Jenny McCarthy look-alike and skewered the anti-vaccine movement. Can’t wait to watch!
- The first human trials of a monoclonal antibody for the Hendra virus have begun in Australia. First discovered in 1994, the Hendra virus causes fatalities in humans and horses as a rate of 60-75%. A vaccine for horses was developed in 2012.
- The National Pork Board has signed onto the White House’s action plan for combatting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The Pork Checkoff—funded by America’s 62,000 pig farmers—has pledged $1.2 billion for antimicrobial research antimicrobials over the next decade.
Image Credit: Pudelek