Evening Ebola Update, Sat, 5/2/15: African ‘CDC’ w/o sufficient funds & staff/Fate of Mideast science post Arab Spring/How EBOV enters host cells   Leave a comment

5/2/15

Dear Colleagues:

l.  Nature 23 April has and Editorial re: the newly set up pan-continental African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC).  This organization established by the African Union (AU) will not be modeled after the U.S. CDC, but after the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).  The U.S. CDC is massive in budget and staff and has in-house laboratories; the ECDC has no in-house labs, small staff and budget, and acts as coordinator of research labs and national health bodies in the event of an infectious epidemic.  The ACDC will have a small budget and only 11 staff members (including 5 epidemiologists).  Yet the ACDC is supposed to prevent and treat epidemics and strengthen health systems and do national risk assessments.  Experts say the ACDC needs 40x it current budget and 6x its current staff to do these tasks.  The AU will need to find the money to make the ACDC a success.  (RGL: The U.S. Congress funded HHS with much more money than needed to prevent and treat EBOV in the U.S; ACDC would be a good recipient for some of that money.)  See the Nature editorial at: http://www.nature.com/news/highway-to-health-1.17362. 

2.  NPR News May 1st reports on a CDC warning that condoms should be used for all sex with a male EBOV survivor.  The EBOV lasts longer than thought in semen of male survivors.  See:  http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2015/05/01/403600464/a-man-said-to-be-ebola-free-could-still-infect-a-partner-during-sex

3.  PLoS Pathogens 30 April has posted a review article by Moller-Tank, et. al. from the Gene Therapy Center at University of North Carolina on the entry of EBOV into host cells.  The diagrams are well described and make most of the article useful to a non-viral researcher.  Here is the legend for Figure 3:

Fig 3. Steps of Ebola Virus Entry.

(A) Cell surface receptors bind EBOV particles through interactions with either virion-associated phosphatidylserine or viral glycoprotein glycans. (B) Virus is internalized through ruffling of the plasma membrane and macropinocytosis. (C) During trafficking through endosomes, the EBOV glycoprotein is cleaved by proteases that remove the mucin-like domain (MLD) and glycan cap, exposing the receptor binding domain (RBD). Shown is a stepwise removal of those sequences, although in the cell these cleavage events may occur concurrently. (D) The RBD interacts with NPC1 in the late endosome/lysosome. (E) Binding of the NPC1 C-loop by the glycoprotein is followed by one or more triggers that release the fusion loop, allowing for its insertion into the target membrane. Subsequent transition of the EBOV GP into a six helix bundle results in the host and viral membranes being brought together, leading to fusion. (F) Release of the viral nucleoprotein into the cytoplasm prior to the initiation of virus replication.

doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004731.g003″

See: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004731

4.  Nature 29 April has a report on the fate of science in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria since the Arab Spring.  Tunisia has fared much better than the other two countries.  Obtaining materials and international collaboration is a major problem for young scientists in all these countries.  See: http://www.nature.com/news/science-in-turmoil-after-the-arab-spring-1.17428?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20150430

5.  Nature 29 April has an interview with a Hong Kong researcher on the situation for science in Hong Kong compared to mainland China.  See: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v520/n7549_supp/full/520S37a.html?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20150430

RGL, MD

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Posted May 2, 2015 by levittrg in Uncategorized

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