Evidence of exposure to a monkey virus possibly related to cancer has been found in the blood of North American zoo workers, according to a study in the December 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online. The virus, a polyomavirus known as simian virus 40 (SV40), has long been a subject of public health concern, in part because it has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, and some investigators have reported SV40 DNA in human tumors.
The authors, Eric A. Engels and coworkers at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, and The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, studied 254 zoo workers, 109 of whom handled primates extensively and the remainder not at all. An antibody assay showed that SV40 reactivity was more common among primate workers (23 percent) than among the other workers (10 percent). These low rates, which suggested absence of ongoing SV40 replication, contrasted with assay results showing 85 percent and 56 percent reactivity, respectively, for two other polyomaviruses, BK and JC, which are highly prevalent in humans and establish lifelong infection.
When the investigators used particles of SV40, BK, and JC to evaluate whether SV40-positive reactions were specific or represented cross-reacting antibody responses, only 14 of 29 subjects demonstrated specific reactivity. Engels and coworkers commented that this suggested that much of their SV40-positive results were probably due to BK or JC virus cross-reactivity.
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Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
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Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
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Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
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