Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) have discovered a quick new way that mosquitoes can pass West Nile virus to each other. The new study challenges fundamental assumptions about the virus transmission cycle and may help explain why it spread so rapidly across North America despite experts predictions that it would progress more slowly or even die out. In the conventional understanding of West Nile transmission, mosquitoes acquire the virus when they bite birds with high levels of virus (or "high viremia.") in their blood. Those levels are reached several days after the birds are initially infected by other mosquitoes. But experiments at UTMB show that when infected and uninfected mosquitoes feed simultaneously on previously uninfected laboratory mice, the virus can pass from mosquito to mosquito within an hour.
"We were amazed to see that it could happen," said UTMB associate professor Stephen Higgs, lead author of a paper on the discovery that will be published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of June 6. "It is basically a brand-new component of the virus life cycle."
In the paper, Higgs and his co-authors--UTMB graduate student Bradley S. Schneider, senior research associate Dana Vanlandingham, research assistant Kimberly A. Klingler and Ernest A. Gould of the United Kingdoms Centre for Ecology and Hydrology--note that although such "non-viremic transmission" (that is, transmission before virus can be detected in the blood) has been observed in cases involving viruses transmitted by ticks, it has never before been documented in a virus carried by mosquitoes.
Jim Kelly | EurekAlert!
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
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