The situation is extraordinary: there have only ever been four declarations of public health emergencies of international concern in the past and now there are two at the same time.
Researchers have carried out the first comprehensive survey of viruses found within different types of cancer. An international team systematically investigated the DNA found within more than 2,600 tumor samples from patients with 38 different types of cancer. They discovered traces of viruses in 13% of the samples studied, and also further identified some of the mechanisms that viruses use to trigger carcinogenic mutations.
Army scientists working with partners from industry and academia have developed an experimental treatment that protects animals from Sudan virus, which is closely related to Ebola. Their work is published online today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Aphids, small sap-sucking insects, are virus carriers responsible for significant economic losses in many crops worldwide. Many aphids form symbiotic and mutualistic relationships with viruses, an aspect of plant disease that has not been well explored.
The first ever treatment for preventing a group of viruses from causing potentially lethal infections has been tested in a phase I clinical trial, and was found to be safe and able to neutralize the viruses, according to results from 40 patients published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. The trial was conducted in healthy participants and further trials will be needed to demonstrate its efficacy in infected patients.
The invention of vaccines for disease prevention is often cited as one of the miracles of modern medicine. New research from Simon Fraser University suggests that tailoring vaccines based on geography and other factors could substantially reduce overall rates of bacterial disease.
New research has found that rates of disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae could be substantially reduced by changing our approach to vaccination. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Simon Fraser University in Canada and Imperial College London combined genomic data, models of bacterial evolution and predictive modelling to identify how vaccines could be optimised for specific age groups, geographic regions and communities of bacteria.
By figuring out how a common virus hides from the immune system, scientists have identified a potential vaccine to prevent sometimes deadly respiratory infections in humans.
As well as sequencing the whole genome of coronavirus 2019-nCoV, the Institut Pasteur continued to work on the samples taken from the first confirmed cases. The quality of these initial samples enabled rapid cell-culture isolation of the new virus. The Institut Pasteur's scientists now have access to the virus responsible for the infection. The isolation of the virus paves the way for new diagnostic, therapeutic and prophylactic approaches.
On January 24, 2020, the French Ministry of Health confirmed the first three cases of patients affected by the Wuhan coronavirus. On January 29, 2020, the Institut Pasteur, which is responsible for monitoring respiratory viruses in France, sequenced the whole genome of the coronavirus known as '2019-nCoV', becoming the first institution in Europe to sequence the virus since the start of the outbreak.