Zika virus’ risk to …: It’s deja vu

Lessons From Rubella Suggest Zika’s Impact Could Linger
March 23, 2016

As researchers try to figure out how much risk Zika virus poses to a fetus, Plotkin says it’s deja vu for folks who lived through that extensive rubella outbreak.

“It enabled the virologists, among them myself, to describe in detail what the virus was doing and to show beyond any doubt that the virus was infecting the fetus and causing the abnormalities,” says Plotkin.

rubella also pushed the federal government to create new programs for special education.

Metagenomics: crAssphage

A highly abundant bacteriophage discovered in the unknown sequences of human faecal metagenomes
Bas E. Dutilh, et al.
Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4498 Published  24 July 2014

Metagenomics, or sequencing of the genetic material from a complete microbial community, is a promising tool to discover novel microbes and viruses.
Viral metagenomes typically contain many unknown sequences.

Here we describe the discovery of a previously unidentified bacteriophage present in the majority of published human faecal metagenomes, which we refer to as crAssphage.
Its ~97 kbp genome is six times more abundant in publicly available metagenomes than all other known phages together; it comprises up to 90% and 22% of all reads in virus-like particle (VLP)-derived metagenomes and total community metagenomes, respectively; and it totals 1.68% of all human faecal metagenomic sequencing reads in the public databases.
The majority of crAssphage-encoded proteins match no known sequences in the database, which is why it was not detected before.
Using a new co-occurrence profiling approach, we predict a Bacteroides host for this phage, consistent with Bacteroides-related protein homologues and a unique carbohydrate-binding domain encoded in the phage genome.

Subject terms: Biological sciences


Zoster Sine Herpete

Herpesvirus infections of the nervous system
Donald H Gilden, et al.
Nature Clinical Practice Neurology (2007) 3, 82-94

VZV-associated viremia and lymphotropism have been documented during varicella, herpes zoster, PHN and zoster sine herpete, and even in normal healthy adults.

The detection of VZV DNA [40, 41] and VZV-specific proteins42 in blood MNCs of some patients with PHN and zoster sine herpete, [43, 44, 45] as well as in tissue of patients with chronic VZV ganglionitis, [46] might reflect low-level productive infection in ganglia—a hypothesis that is supported by favorable clinical responses in some PHN patients treated with antiviral agents. [47, 48]

After varicella, the varicella zoster virus (VZV) becomes latent in ganglia along the entire neuraxis; its reactivation can lead to herpes zoster, vasculopathy, myelitis, necrotizing retinitis or zoster sine herpete

see also:
Zoster sine herpete
It would be rash to ignore it
Neurology February 1, 2011   vol. 76  no. 5  416-417

6. Varicella-Zoster Virus Infection
Donald H. Gilden
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
2003. pp 10

A case of neuropathic brachioradial pruritus caused by cervical disc herniation http://www.nature.com/nrneurol/journal/v4/n6/full/ncpneuro0807.html

Molecular mechanisms of varicella zoster virus pathogenesis
Nature Reviews Microbiology 12, 197–210 (2014)

Emergence of H7N9 avian flu hints at broader threat

Samples taken from ducks in Chinese poultry markets revealed the presence of H7 influenza viruses.

Emergence of H7N9 avian flu hints at broader threat
21 August 2013

The H7N9 influenza virus did not emerge alone.
Researchers have traced the evolution of the deadly avian flu currently spreading in China, and have found evidence that it developed in parallel with a similar bird flu, H7N7, which can infect mammals.

… H7 avian viruses are constantly mixing and exchanging genetic material — a process known as reassortment — in Asian poultry markets. This raises the threat that H7N7 will reassort and become able to spread to humans.

Dolphin Deaths Alarm Scientists

Morbillivirus virion

Dolphin Deaths Alarm Scientists
August 17, 2013

… we do have some potential suspects. One of those is the morbillivirus and that was the causative agent, we feel, in the 1987 event. And that has been found in some of the animals to date.

Morbilli is a group or family of viruses and it includes things such as measles and distemper.

see also:


The structure and natural reservoirs of HeV.

The structure and natural reservoirs of Hendra virus (HeV).

Receptor-binding domains of spike proteins of emerging or re-emerging viruses as targets for development of antiviral vaccines
Shibo Jiang, et al.

A number of emerging and re-emerging viruses have caused epidemics or pandemics of infectious diseases leading to major devastations throughout human history.
Therefore, developing effective and safe vaccines against these viruses is clearly important for the protection of at-risk populations.
Our previous studies have shown that the receptor-binding domain (RBD) in the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is a key target for the development of SARS vaccines.

Viruses are hard to fossilize

Ancient Earth May Have Smelled Like Rotten Eggs 
May 03, 2013

Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write of finding fossils of bacteria-like organisms that lived nearly two billion years ago. Paleobiologist Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford explains that these ancient creatures belched hydrogen sulfide

the virus doesn’t have a rigid cell wall to protect it. It just invades other things that have cell walls. So it makes it much harder to see and much harder to fossilize.

iron sulfide or pyrite. People may know it as fool’s good.
And this is the product of hydrogen sulfide.

some very interesting glassy-looking rocks, which were rather black in color … the black meant that there was organic matter, that it was carbon, a bit like coal, … his friend confirmed that there were amazingly beautiful fossils inside.