Immunology

A natural product secreted by a soil bacterium may lead to a new drug to treat tuberculosis, report scientists in a new study. 

Pyridomycin, a natural antibiotic produced by the bacterium Dactylosporangium fulvum, has been shown to be active against many of the drug-resistant types of the tuberculosis bacterium that no longer respond to treatment with the front-line drug isoniazid.
According to WHO, "Although it is a vaccine-preventable disease, rabies still poses a significant public health problem in many countries in Asia and Africa where 95% of human deaths occur even though safe, effective vaccines for both human and veterinary use exist." 

Researchers have found that a human monoclonal antibody developed by MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) protected chimpanzees from hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in a dose-dependent manner.

The study was conducted at Texas Biomed's Southwest National Primate Research Center.  Chimpanzees are the only species other than humans that can be infected by HCV and therefore the results from this study were critical in the development of the monoclonal antibody.  

I am white. I am liberal. I went to a good college, but some might argue that I didn't get a good education. Certainly I like to study science to this day. Let me tell a medical story I went through which might be germane to a blog by Hank, "Celiac: The Trendy Disease For Rich White People". 


I have always been liberal about eating, as in I eat anything. I was skeptical about all food allergies. I also have insulin dependent diabetes. That is a disease that can kill you any day, but I am approaching my thirtieth year.
Are you white and a little resentful that black people get their own cool disease, sickle cell anemia?  There is good news for you. Celiac disease is all the latest rage and you can be any color at all and claim it.

How do you know if you are gluten intolerant?  Elaborate assays?  DNA? At least a blood sample?  Nope, you just have to give up wheat and say you feel better and you are allowed to claim you have it. And proponents have even scarier numbers - they claim 97 percent of the people who have Celiac disease don't know they have it, so their ranks are really much bigger.
The anti-vaccination culture is making headway. CDC has reported 17 outbreaks and 222 measles cases from 211, mostly in unvaccinated people - the highest since 1996.

To identify areas of under-vaccination for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases, state and local health departments monitor compliance with school immunization requirements using annual school vaccination assessment reports, supported as a CDC immunization funding objective for the 64 grantees, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia (DC), five cities, and eight other reporting areas. CDC also monitors progress toward meeting Healthy People 2020 objectives  for the vaccination of children entering kindergarten.
Our immune systems are funny things. An American traveling to Taiwan, for example, might be warned to get a hepatitis vaccine - unless they grew up on a farm. Rabies is even scarier.  If you are bitten by an unknown animal, it requires a series of painful injections because if clinical disease sets in, it is usually fatal.
Right now, we protect people and animals against diseases by inoculating them with vaccines based on real infectious agents - but that brings risk of reinfection and the expense of cultivating and handling deadly viruses and bacteria.

The future may mean DNA vaccines, basically cutting out the biological middleman. 
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections doubled at U.S. academic medical centers between 2003 and 2008, according to a new report published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

MRSA infections, which cannot be treated with antibiotics related to penicillin, have become common since the late 1990s. These infections can affect any part of the body, including the skin, blood stream, joints, bones, and lungs.  The findings run counter to a recent CDC study that found MRSA cases in hospitals were declining. The CDC study looked only at cases of invasive MRSA—infections found in the blood, spinal fluid, or deep tissue. It excluded infections of the skin, which the new study includes.
Could a new bag squash a new bug?

A new medical bag designed to replace ‘outdated and unsafe’ portable medical bags could transform treatment around the world, says its manufacturer.  A study found a third of its outdated predecessors carry the MRSA bug.  In 2008, East Riding of Yorkshire (NHS ERY) introduced the first of its Neighbourhood Care Teams (NCT) to enable patients with long-term illnesses to receive treatment at home. NCTs now provide over 450,000 patient contacts each year.