Infectious Diseases

08/19/2014 - 14:13

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite that invades one red blood cell after another. Little is known about this infection process because it happens so quickly, potentially explaining why there is currently no approved malaria vaccine. In a study published by Cell Press August 19th in the Biophysical Journal, researchers used a tool called laser optical tweezers to study interactions between the disease-causing parasite and red blood cells.

 

07/28/2014 - 10:36

A rare procedure occasionally performed during Jewish circumcisions that involves direct oral suction is a likely source of  herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) transmissions documented in infants between 1988 and 2012, a literature review conducted by Penn Medicine researchers and published online in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society found.  The reviewers, from Penn’s Center for Evidence-based Practice, identified 30 reported cases in New York, Canada and Israel.

 

06/29/2014 - 19:52

Recent years have witnessed an explosion in the levels of tuberculosis, making it the second biggest cause of death by infectious disease after HIV. A major reason behind this is the emergence of strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that are resistant to rifamycin family antibiotics such as rifampicin, the most effective tuberculosis antibiotic available. However, a breakthrough may be on the way in the fight against tuberculosis. A new study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry describes a modified rifampicin called 24-desmethylrifampicin, derived from a rifamycin analogue, which is strongly antibacterial against many rifampicin-resistant M. tuberculosis strains.

06/10/2014 - 20:30

Scientists have modified mosquitoes to produce sperm that will only create males, pioneering a fresh approach to eradicating malaria. In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists from Imperial College London have tested a new genetic method that distorts the sex ratio of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, the main transmitters of the malaria parasite, so that the female mosquitoes that bite and pass the disease to humans are no longer produced.

04/15/2014 - 14:43

It’s long been known that certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) cause cancer. Now, researchers at The Ohio State University have determined a new way that HPV might spark cancer development – by disrupting the human DNA sequence with repeating loops when the virus is inserted into host-cell DNA as it replicates.
illustration of cancer-causing genes being amplified.

 

04/10/2014 - 15:00

A major problem in eradicating HIV using combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) lies with the latent HIV pool that ‘hides’ in CD4 T cells, ready to replicate as soon as cART is interrupted. A new study led by researchers in  Gilead Sciences, Foster City, USA shows that the potent histone deacetylase inhibitor Romidepsin is effective in a ‘kick and kill’ approach to HIV.  This involves reactivating latent HIV to make it susceptible to cART. The study is published in PLoS Pathogens on April 10th 2014.