Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists confirm new virus responsible for deaths of transplant recipients in Australia

08.02.2008
Establishes high throughput genetic sequencing as powerful tool for pathogen discovery; technology enables improvements in screening for transplant safety

In the first application of high throughput DNA sequencing technology to investigate an infectious disease outbreak, scientists from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIRDL) in Melbourne, Australia, the Centers for Disease Control and 454 Life Sciences link the discovery of a new arenavirus to the deaths of three transplant recipients who received organs from a single donor in Victoria, Australia in April 2007. The full findings are published in the March 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and are now online.

After failing to implicate an agent using other methods including culture, PCR and viral microarrays, RNA from the transplanted liver and kidneys was analyzed using rapid sequencing technology established by 454 Life Sciences and bioinformatics algorithms developed at Columbia. Examination of tens or thousands of sequences yielded 14 that resembled arenaviruses at the protein level. Thereafter, the team cultured the virus, characterized it by electron microscopy and developed specific molecular and antibody assays for infection. The presence of virus in multiple organs, IgM antibodies in the organ donor and increasing titer of antibody in a recipient were used to implicate the virus as the cause of disease. The arenavirus lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) has been implicated in a small number of cases of disease transmission by organ transplantation, however, the newly discovered virus, which may be a new strain of LCMV, is sufficiently different that it could not be detected using existing screening methods.

“High throughput sequencing and methods for cloning nucleic acids of microbial agents directly from clinical samples offer powerful tools for pathogen surveillance and discovery,” stated W. Ian Lipkin, MD, John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and Professor of Neurology and Pathology at Columbia University and director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School of Public Health. He added, “As globalization of travel and trade brings new infectious agents into new contexts, speed and accuracy of pathogen identification are increasingly important when it can alter treatment, assist in containment of an outbreak, or, as in this case, enable improvements in screening that will enhance the safety of transplantation.”

Last spring, scientists from the Victorian Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory contacted Dr. Lipkin after their initial state-of-the-art investigation into the cause of the transplant patient deaths failed to turn up leads. Dr. Lipkin and his team built on their work, utilizing tools for pathogen surveillance and discovery developed at Columbia and 454 Life Sciences.

"The small pieces of viral genetic material recovered through this powerful high throughput sequencing method were used to design specific tests for detecting the virus in clinical samples and enabling detailed characterization.” said Gustavo Palacios, PhD, first author of the paper and assistant professor in the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Mailman School. Surveys at Columbia and the VIRDL revealed that viral RNA was present in a total of 22 out of 30 samples of tissue, blood, or cerebrospinal fluid from all three recipients, and the sequencing was identical in all samples, which is consistent with the introduction of a single virus into all transplant recipients. PCR surveys of other stored plasma specimens from solid organ transplant recipients in the same city and timeframe not linked to the cluster, revealed no evidence of infection with this pathogen. Sherif Zaki and colleagues at the CDC demonstrated the presence of the viral proteins in organs of recipients using antibodies to LCMV, and provided the first pictures of the virus by electron microscopy.

Dr. Lipkin and his team have demonstrated that this technology can be employed to address a wide variety of suspected infectious disease outbreaks. Examples of the successful application of molecular technologies in infectious diseases include the identification of Borna disease virus, Hepatitis C virus, West Nile virus, and SARS coronavirus, among others.

Randee Sacks Levine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.columbia.edu

Further reports about: Discovery Infectious Lipkin Organ Pathogen Samples Sequencing Viral transplant

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>