Infectious Disease INSIGHTS


Mouse Bioassay Helps Contain Botulism Outbreak

Researchers from the Statens Serum Institut (State Serum Institute), Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU, Technical University of Denmark) and Fødevarestyrelsen (Danish Veterinary and Food Administration) recently identified the source of a botulism outbreak that affected nine people in June 2018. The affected people became ill after a dinner party in Sønderborg, Denmark. Botulism is a type of food poisoning caused by a common soil bacteria, Clostridium botulinum, which...

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Investigating HIV-associated Liver Disease in dual-Humanized TK-NOG Mice

As HIV-infected individuals live longer thanks to antiretroviral (ARV) therapies, chronic liver disease is becoming a major issue. Research into HIV-and ARV-induced hepatotoxicity has been limited due to the lack of relevant preclinical models. Humanized Mouse Models of HIV A recent study by Dagur et al. describes a novel method for studying the human liver in the context HIV-1 infection, using a dual reconstituted humanized mouse model...

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Flu on the Fly

Autumn, when leaves, pumpkin spice, and flu are in the air, is a time to evaluate animal models of influenza pathogenesis and developments in flu research and treatment. This is an introductory reference for influenza studies with a few tips and tricks for utilizing mouse models. Basics of Influenza Influenza has three major subtypes: A, B and C. Type A causes pandemic flu. It is further divided...

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Modeling Malaria with Humanization and Tissue Engineering

The fight against malaria is hampered by the lack of good animal models. The most dangerous malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, has a complex life cycle involving two hosts: mosquitoes and humans. In humans, the parasite has both a liver stage and a red blood cell stage. Because of its host species specificity, P. falciparum has been challenging to model in vivo, particularly during the liver stage. Humanized...

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Researchers Demonstrate Vaccine Mediated Protection Against Zika Virus Using Pregnant Mice

On July 13, 2017, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine published a paper titled, Vaccine Mediated Protection Against Zika Virus Induced Congenital Disease in the journal CELL1. In their study pregnant C57BL/6 mice vaccinated using an mRNA vaccine against the prM-E subunit of the virus and a live attenuated ZIKV-NS1_LAV were challenged with a pathogenic heterologous African ZIKV strain. The mice given a placebo developed high...

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It's Time for Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi2 It's easy to get excited about mild weather and the opportunity to relieve cabin fever by enjoying the great outdoors. I was not immune to the urge on February 24, 2017, when we had a record warm temperature of 73°F. I spent the day working in the yard cleaning up the winter debris. After a long day of work, I was in...

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Producing Neurological Symptoms in Mouse Model of Zika Virus

Severity of 2015 Outbreak Fuels Research Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus transmitted primarily through mosquito bites. It was first discovered in 1947, and outbreaks described from the 1960s through 1980s were associated with mild illness in affected humans. A Brazilian outbreak in 2015, however, has been associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome and other neurological disorders in infected humans, along with fetal abnormalities such as stillbirth and microcephaly....

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Animal Models for Zika Virus Infection

Researchers at the Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine published a paper demonstrating that Zika virus could be transmitted sexually. "In addition to transmission by mosquitoes," they report, "ZIKV can be detected in the seminal fluid of affected males for extended periods of time". They evaluated the consequences of infection in several strains of mice, including C57BL/6, congenic Rag1−/−, and congenic Axl−/−. They observed "persistence...

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Webinar: Humanized Mice in HIV Drug Discovery

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficient syndrome (AIDS) caused by HIV continue to impact approximately 36.7 million people worldwide. In the United States alone it is estimated that 50,000 new HIV infections occur each year, and that nearly one in eight HIV carriers are unaware of their status. Thanks to improvements in combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV is no longer a death sentence. But despite...

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Aging and the Immune Response to Influenza Infection

In a recent presentation at Taconic Biosciences, Dr. Laura Haynes, Professor at the Center on Aging, Department of Immunology at the UCONN School of Medicine, discussed how aging affects immunological responses. Her lab utilizes an influenza virus infection mouse model. Aging has dramatic effects on many body systems; almost every aspect of immune response is changed with aging including adaptive immune cells (T & B), spleen and...

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