Connect with us

Health

Antibody that ‘neutralises’ Zika virus identified

Published

on

zika-wefornews

WASHINGTON: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have identified a human antibody that may reduce Zika infection, paving way for a vaccine against the virus which is believed to cause serious birth defects in babies.

The antibody, called ZIKV-117, markedly reduced infection by the Zika in a mouse model and also protected the foetus in pregnant mice infected with the virus.

Zika is believed to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women.

Similar protection studies in primates are warranted, and if the findings hold up, ZIKV-177 could be developed as a protective antibody treatment for pregnant women at risk of Zika infection, the researchers concluded.

The findings may also aid efforts to develop an effective anti-Zika vaccine, said James Crowe Jr, from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the US.

“These naturally occurring human antibodies isolated from humans represent the first medical intervention that prevents Zika infection and damage to foetuses,” said Crowe.

“We’re excited because the data suggests we may have antibody treatments in hand that could be developed for use in pregnant women,” he said.

“The remarkable potency and breadth of inhibition by ZIKV-117 has great promise, as it was able to inhibit infection by strains from both Africa and America in cell culture and in animals, including during pregnancy,” said Michael S Diamond from Washington University.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has emerged as a global public health threat. In addition to its association with congenital birth defects, Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.

Since a major outbreak was reported in Brazil last year, Zika infections transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported throughout Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas.
Monoclonal antibodies are made from a single clone of B cells, a type of white blood cell, that have been fused to myeloma (cancer) cells to form fast-growing “hybridomas.”

This allows researchers to quickly generate large quantities of antibodies against specific viral targets.

For the study, researchers including Gopal Sapparapu, isolated antibodies from the blood of people who had been previously infected with the Zika virus in different parts of the world.

he antibodies reacted to the envelope or “E” protein on the surface of the virus.
The researchers then generated a variety of monoclonal antibodies. In cell culture studies, they identified one, ZIKV-117, which broadly neutralised several different strains of the virus.

In mice infected by the Zika virus, injection of the antibody markedly reduced disease and mortality, and reduced transmission from mother to foetus.

PTI

Health

Stem cells may help to stay strong in old age

Published

on

DC-stem-cells-and-cancer

London, Feb 25: Researchers have found how an unexpectedly high number of mutations in the stem cells of muscles impair cell regeneration.

As we grow older, our muscular function declines. So, according to the researchers, this discovery may result in new medication to build stronger muscles even when in old age.

For the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers investigated the number of mutations that accumulate in the muscle’s stem cells (satellite cells).

“What is most surprising is the high number of mutations. We have seen how a healthy 70-year-old has accumulated more than 1,000 mutations in each stem cell in the muscle, and that these mutations are not random but there are certain regions that are better protected,” said co-author Maria Eriksson, professor at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet.

The mutations occur during natural cell division, and the regions that are protected are those that are important for the function or survival of the cells. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to identify that this protection declines with age.

“We can demonstrate that this protection diminishes the older you become, indicating an impairment in the cell’s capacity to repair their DNA. And this is something we should be able to influence with new drugs,” said Eriksson.

The study was performed using single stem cells cultivated to provide sufficient DNA for whole genome sequencing.

“We achieved this in the skeletal muscle tissue, which is absolutely unique. We have also found that there is very little overlap of mutations, despite the cells being located close to each other, representing an extremely complex mutational burden,” the researcher noted.

IANS

Continue Reading

Health

Father’s stress linked to kids’ brain development

Published

on

Father stress kid

New York, Feb 17: Fathers, take note! Taking too much stress may affect the brain development of your kids, a new study has claimed.

According to the researchers, the stress changes the father’s sperm which can then alter the brain development of the child.

This new research provides a much better understanding of the key role that fathers play in the brain development of their kids, the researchers said.

Previously, the researchers including Tracy Bale at the University of Maryland School, found that adult male mice, experiencing chronic periods of mild stress, have offspring with a reduced response to stress; changes in stress reactivity have been linked to some neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and PTSD.

They isolated the mechanism of the reduced response; they found that the father’s sperm showed changes in a genetic material known as microRNA. MicroRNA are important because they play a key role in which genes become functional proteins.

Now, the researchers have unravelled new details about these microRNA changes.

In the male reproductive tract, the caput epididymis, the structure where sperm matures, releases tiny vesicles packed with microRNA that can fuse with sperm to change its cargo delivered to the egg, they said.

The caput epididymis responded to the father’s stress by altering the content of these vesicles, the researchers added.

The result of the study, presented at AAAS 2018 annual meeting in Austin, suggests that even mild environmental challenges can have a significant impact on the development and potentially the health of future offspring.

The researchers also noted that by learning more about links between a father’s exposure to stress and the risks of disease for his kid, we can better understand, detect, and prevent these disorders.

IANS

Continue Reading

Health

How asthma may affect your chances of pregnancy

Published

on

asthma

Sydney, Feb 16: Certain asthma medication, especially the “quick-acting” relievers, may affect women’s ability to conceive, warns a new study.

The study of more than 5,600 women showed that asthma patients who only use these short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women.

But those who use long-acting asthma preventers conceive as quickly as other women, said the study published in the European Respiratory Journal.

While the short-acting asthma relievers provide quick relief of symptoms, long-acting asthma preventers are used to control the condition instead of getting quick relief.

“This study shows that women using short-acting asthma relievers take longer to get pregnant,” said lead researcher Luke Grzeskowiak from the University of Adelaide in Australia.

“On the other hand, continued use of long-acting asthma preventers to control asthma seems to protect fertility and reduce the time it takes women with asthma to become pregnant. This could lead to a reduction in the need for fertility treatments,” Grzeskowiak said.

The results provide reassurance for asthmatic women that using inhaled corticosteroids to prevent symptoms does not appear to reduce fertility, he said.

The researchers examined the data of women expecting their first babies in the early stages of pregnancy.

The participants were from Australia, New Zealand, Britain and Ireland.

The researchers found no difference in fertility between women using long-acting asthma treatments and women without asthma.

Women using short-acting reliever medication (known as beta-agonists) took 20 per cent longer to conceive on average.

They were also 30 per cent more likely to have taken more than a year to conceive.

“As well as affecting the lungs, asthma could cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the uterus. It could also affect the health of eggs in the ovaries,” Grzeskowiak said.

“Inhaled corticosteroids suppress the immune system, whereas short-acting asthma treatments do not alter immune function. In women who are only using relievers it’s possible that while their asthma symptoms may improve inflammation may still be present in the lungs and other organs in the body,” he added.

-IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular