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Scientists develop first mouse model to fight Zika virus

Gorkha Post



A team of researchers from the US have grown first animal model for testing immunizations and medications to battle Zika virus.

Scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch have been successful in coming up with the first mouse model that will accelerate Zika drug advancement.

Lead author Shannan Rossi said that there is a huge demand to screen antivirals that have been backlogged because we haven’t had a good way to test them.

“Without this model, we were really stagnant in our efforts to find new treatments. You can look for efficacy in cell cultures, but that tells you almost nothing about what’s going to happen when you test in a mouse or a human. This will help get those drug and vaccine candidates moving through the pipeline.”

This research has already yielded a few clues about the virus’ pathogenesis.

“Normally, creating a mouse model like this would take us several months, but the urgency of the situation propelled us into this rapid response, and we were able to put together our results in just three weeks,” Rossi said.

Rossi injected several genetically distinct varieties of laboratory mice with Zika virus isolated in Asia in 2010. The current epidemic in South America can be traced to the Asian Zika virus lineage, of which this strain is a member.

Normal mice did not develop disease after infection with Zika virus, the research team reported. Only when researchers injected mice that had been genetically altered to have a deficient innate immune response did the animals develop detectible disease.

Young mice of these strains are highly susceptible to infection. These mice became lethargic, lost weight and died within six days after infection. Older mice became ill, but did not always develop infection, and they ultimately recovered.

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The mouse model is available immediately for testing of antivirals and researcher Scott Weaver said that preliminary testing is already underway with an antiviral developed by another member of the UTMB team, Pei-Yong Shi, PhD, to treat dengue fever.

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Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk

IANS Indo Asian News Service




Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk. Representational Image

NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.

The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.

Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.

“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.

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The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.

“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.

Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.

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