Will the 2018 flu vaccine be effective against the deadly virus?

Will the 2018 flu vaccine be effective against the deadly virus?

It is a high-stakes gamble with thousands of lives on the line. Yet twice a year, every year, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) bets on the flu — which virus types are likely to dominate in the coming season. On this basis, a vaccine is prepared months in advance. “We cannot say for sure which virus will be circulating,” said Wenqing Zhang, head of the WHO’s global influenza programme. “What we’re doing is based on the best possible surveillance information and analysis, and basically to bet, or to project,…

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Flu virus: Why this common germ will remain a threat to your health

Flu virus: Why this common germ will remain a threat to your health

On a March morning 100 years ago, a soldier in Kansas reported to the infirmary with fever, muscle aches, and a sore throat. By lunchtime, records state, dozens had joined him, stricken with what would become known as the Spanish Flu. Within months, the virus infected a third of the world’s population and killed as many as 100 million people. It could happen again. While the scale of the 1918-19 flu epidemic remains unparallelled, another pandemic is inevitable, experts say. Given the limitations of available drugs, flu-triggered respiratory diseases can…

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Dear moms-to-be, don’t fear Zika virus. A new vaccine can protect your unborn child

Dear moms-to-be, don’t fear Zika virus. A new vaccine can protect your unborn child

The Zika virus has got a lot of people worried. Many efforts are being made by researchers tominimise the transmission and effects of the virus. Pregnant women need to be especially careful as their healths and habits affect the child. Now, researchers have found that immunising women with a Zika vaccine during pregnancy can protect the transmission of virus from mother to her baby in utero. Researchers from the University of Texas’s medical branch at Galveston in the US found that the Zika vaccine can protect unborn child against infection and birth…

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Ducks Gassed in Thousands as France Fights Bird Flu Virus

Ducks Gassed in Thousands as France Fights Bird Flu Virus

Workers wearing masks and protective clothes gassed thousands of ducks in southwest France on Friday, in a massive cull that was ordered in an attempt to prevent a spread of the H5N8 bird flu virus. At one farm in the village of Latrille, in the heartland of duck and geese rearing country, 8,000 ducks were taken by hand and put in coloured metal containers where carbon dioxide was piped in to kill them, normally within seconds. In scenes reminiscent of apocalypse-themed movies, workers clad in head-to-toe protective suits, face-visors and…

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Bird Flu Hits Europe, France Raises Checks to Counter Virus

Bird Flu Hits Europe, France Raises Checks to Counter Virus

Several European countries have reported outbreaks of a severe strain of bird flu, the World Organisation for Animal Health said on Thursday, while France raised safety checks to counter the virus which can have a major impact on farmers. The World Health Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said Germany, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland had all officially reported the outbreaks, which concerned a particularly virulent strain affecting wild birds. France’s Agriculture Ministry added in a statement that the highly pathogenic H5N8 virus had been found in wild birds in Hungary, Poland,…

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Smoking may harm HIV patients more than the virus itself

Smoking may harm HIV patients more than the virus itself

Smoking may harm HIV patients more than the virus itself ( Ineke Kamps/Getty Images) Among people living with HIV who smoke cigarettes, smoking may shorten their lifespan more than HIV itself, warns a study by an Indian-origin researcher. “A person with HIV who consistently takes HIV medicines but smokes is much more likely to die of a smoking-related disease than of HIV itself,” explained study author Krishna P. Reddy of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The study suggests that making smoking cessation a priority and finding effective…

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Zika virus unlikely to infect same person twice

Zika virus unlikely to infect same person twice

You are unlikely to get Zika fever twice as new research bolsters the belief that people infected with the virus may not be susceptible to it again. “The research shows that infection provides excellent protection against reinfection,” said one of the researchers Stephen Higgs, Director of the Biosecurity Research Institute, at Kansas State University in the US. “This means people infected during this current epidemic will likely not be susceptible again. When a large proportion of the population is protected — known as herd immunity — the risk of future…

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Zika Virus Damage Can Mislead Parents, Experts Say

Zika Virus Damage Can Mislead Parents, Experts Say

The 2-month-old baby looks exceptional. She’s crawling forward at an age when most infants cannot even roll over. Another tiny infant sits straight up when her foot is tickled. Sometimes the parents are pleased, and see these behaviors as a sign that Zika may not have damaged their babies as badly as they feared. Alice Vitoria Gomes Bezerra, who has microcephaly, is held by her mother Nadja Cristina Gomes Bezerra in Recife, Brazil. Mario Tama / Getty Images But in fact, these reflexes are a sign of the profound mess…

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Protein that may ‘shock and kill’ HIV virus identified

Protein that may ‘shock and kill’ HIV virus identified

  Researchers have identified a protein that can potently force the latent human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) viruses out of hiding and poison them on their way out, leading to potential treatments for the deadly disease. The findings showed that galectin-9 — a human sugar-binding protein — reactivates latent HIV viruses and renders these infected cells visible to the immune system, in a process called the “shock and kill” HIV eradication strategy. Galectin-9 works by manipulating the sugars on the surface of HIV-infected cells to deliver the signals that force latent…

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HIV patients with undetectable virus unlikely to infect partner

HIV patients with undetectable virus unlikely to infect partner

This good news bolsters the role of HIV treatment as a form of prevention, said lead author Dr. Alison Rodger … Read More When drugs for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) suppress the virus in the blood to very low levels, patients are unlikely to infect their partners during condomless sex, suggests a new study. After following nearly 900 heterosexual and gay couples for an average of 16 months, researchers found no evidence that uninfected partners became infected after condomless sex with an HIV-positive partner with viral suppression. This good news…

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