In the news / Viruses

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An inflammatory protein may play a part against the spread of sexually transmitted genital herpes virus in the nervous system, a new study says. The findings could help lead to improved treatment of herpes, according to the researchers at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix.
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Scientists lead by The BIO5 Institute's Dr. Michael Worobey at the University of Arizona were able to extract from the tissue a nearly complete genetic sequence of an HIV virus — the oldest nearly full-length genetic code for an HIV-1 virus recovered thus far, and one that supports the theory that the virus that causes AIDS began to transmit among people within the first decade or two of the 20th century.
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An interdisciplinary team led by Associate Professor at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix and BIO5 member Dr. Melissa Herbst-Kralovetz, completed a first-of-its-kind study that could aid in the treatment, diagnosis and prevention of cervical cancer by identifying cervicovaginal metabolic signatures, or “fingerprints,” that distinguish patients with HPV, pre-cancerous cervical conditions and cancer.
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The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, has identified a polio-like virus as a potential cause of an outbreak of a disease known as Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a crippling condition that causes muscle weakness and paralysis usually among children. Dr. Bonnie LaFleur, UA Professor of Biostatistics and BIO5 member, aided in data analysis for the study.
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The BIO5 Institute's Dr. Michael Worobey has reconstructed the genome of the Spanish Flu from century old blood samples. The University of Arizona scientist had connected with a man named Jim Cox. And Cox just so happened to have in his possession a collection of human tissue slides had handed down through the generations. Those slides, it turns out, could now help rewrite the history of the 1918 Spanish flu — altering our understanding of when it began and how it spread.
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In an effort to find novel ways of boosting the immune systems of aging adults, UA scientists, including BIO5's Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, co-director of the UA Center on Aging, have found that the virus cytomegalovirus (CMV) appears to strengthen the body's immune defenses.
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The most common strain of flu currently affecting people in Arizona, known as H3N2, is linked to a strain that children were exposed to in 1968, according to Dr. Michael Worobey, Microbiome Associate Director at the BIO5 Institute.
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The year you were born might predict how you’ll respond to this year’s flu—and how well you’d fair in a flu pandemic. Scientists, including BIO5 researcher researcher Dr. Michael Worobey, have found a clear link between flu susceptibility and bird flu viruses; that connection has been easier to trace because humans aren't regularly exposed to them.
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UA researchers are working to re-engineer mosquitoes to resist infectious diseases. Associate professor in the UA's Department of Entomology Dr. Michael Riehle, is trying to engineer an insect that's resistant to malaria and other diseases.
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To combat treatment-resistant flu viruses, UA College of Pharmacy and BIO5 Institute researchers are developing new and effective treatments. Dr. Jun Wang and his team have been working to combat the evolution of multi drug-resistant flu viruses.
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Dr. Judith Brown, BIO5 member and plant sciences professor, has been named an American Association Advancement of Science Fellow. The election is based on her distinguished efforts toward "pioneering international work on emergent plant viruses, and for distinguished contributions to research on plant-pathogen-vector interactions including functional genomics of vector-mediated pathogen transmission."
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By looking at an aging mouse's response to West Nile virus, BIO5 member Dr. Michael Kuhns and his research team have discovered that their immune system's T-Cells work differently, not simply decline, as they age. Understanding this, Dr. Kuhns hopes research will improve efforts to tailor vaccines for the elderly.
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BIO5 researcher Dr. Anita Koshy has received two grants to study how Toxoplasma infection affects the brain's immune response, and also how it manipulates the neurons with which the parasite interacts.
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The curiosity of public health student Bre Eder led to an internship with BIO5's Felicia Goodrum focused on creating awareness of the cytomegalovirus, its potentially devastating effects, and tips on prevention.