The UK has partnered with US, Israeli and Chinese experts to conduct research on infectious diseases' evolution and transmission and will donate $10.2 million for the joint research project. The project will be led by the UK Research and Innovation's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and will look at interactions between infectious diseases and humans, wildlife and domesticated plants and animals.
A study in the journal Nature describes how scientists are developing chimeric antigen receptor T cells that can remove fibroblasts that cause cardiac fibrosis. Fibroblast activation protein was identified for the targeted cells, and tests in mice resulted in improved heart function and reduced fibrosis.
CDC officials reported that the number of measles cases in the US reached 1,241 across 31 states as of Sept. 5, the highest number since 1992. The seven new cases reported last week is the lowest number so far this year, indicating the outbreak has slowed, officials said.
Although researchers have made strides in the fight against HIV, experts say the most effective tool in their arsenal would be a vaccine, and although there is no vaccine available today, clinical trials are in the works. HIV has proved challenging in vaccine development in part because it is prone to mutation, but a trial scheduled to start this fall will evaluate a vaccine that contains a variety of genetic sequences derived from multiple viral strains.
Twelve additional Ebola infections in the Democratic Republic of Congo have brought the total number of cases in the ongoing outbreak to 3,081, including 2,064 deaths. The DRC is working with its global public health partners to implement new infection prevention and control activities in an effort to mitigate the risk of healthcare-acquired infections.
A study in the Journal of Hepatology explored the efficacy of resistance-guided retreatment for hepatitis C virus in patients who did not respond to NS5A inhibitor treatments and developed resistance-associated substitutions. A regimen consisting of sofosbuvir, an NS5A inhibitor and ribavirin for 24 weeks was associated with a nearly 90% sustained virologic response rate among the 332-patient population, and the authors said most patients with HCV genotype 3 were cured.
A new technique is being developed by NASA for forecasting Myanmar's malaria outbreaks as new drug-resistant strains emerge in Southeast Asia. Meteorological data is provided by satellites, and researchers combine that information with socioeconomic field data to enable risk modeling.
Two variants of the apolipoprotein L1 gene are associated with greater risk for chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease among African Americans giving or receiving a kidney, and interest in APO-L1 gene testing in clinical practice is growing. "We don't mandate testing, but we encourage a discussion about testing because we think it helps stratify risk," said Barry Freedman, principal investigator of the APO-L1 Long-Term Kidney Transplantation Outcomes Network study.
A review conducted by 41 global health specialists and commissioned by The Lancet calls for an international commitment to end malaria by 2050 supported by increased funding from governments, better use of existing tools such as bed nets and the development of new technology including vaccines. "We must ... challenge ourselves with ambitious targets and commit to the bold action needed to meet them," said Richard Feachem of the Global Health Group at the University of California at San Francisco, a co-chair of the review group.
The US Agency for International Development has pledged an additional humanitarian aid package of $21 million for the Democratic Republic of Congo to support treatment and prevention of Ebola virus infection, which would bring total USAID funding to nearly $158 million. The pledge will also support preparation in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan.