Professor Jiang Gu, Peking University, Beijing, China and colleagues studied post-mortem tissues of two adults – one man and one pregnant woman, and also tested the dead fetus of the dead woman. They investigated how H5N1 – an emerging infectious disease which causes respiratory symptoms and a high fatality rate – affects different organs in the body.
The authors say: “A pandemic outbreak of human infection with avian H5N1 currently poses a potentially serious health threat worldwide…little is known about the specific effects in organs and cells targeted by the virus.”
The researchers detected viral genetic material and antigens in the lungs, certain cells in the trachea, the T cells of the lymph node, neurons in the brain, and in cells of the placenta. Viral genetic material was also detected in the intestinal mucosa, but no H5N1 viral antigens were found there. In the fetus, both viral genetic material and antigens were found in the lungs, circulating cells of the immune system and in cells of the liver.
They conclude: “This study has shown the capacity for human vertical transmission of the H5N1 virus…[this] warrants careful investigation, since maternal infections with common human influenza virus are generally thought not to infect the fetus.”
They add: “We have shown that H5N1 virus spreads beyond the lungs…these newly obtained data are important in the clinical, pathological and epidemiological investigation of human H5N1 infection, and have implications for public-health and health care providers.”
In an accompanying Comment, Dr Wai Fu Ng, Department of Pathology, Yan Chai Hospital, Hong Kong, China and Dr Ka Fai To, Ki ka Shing Institute of Health Science, Hong Kong, China say: “Speculation about the fate of the fetus if the mother survived is interesting. With the development of antibodies in the mother and their transplacental crossing into the fetus, pathological lesions in the fetus may result.”
They conclude by analysing the techniques used by Gu and colleagues, saying: “Correlation with viral culture to confirm productive viral replication is needed and is absent from Gu’s report. Reproduction of these studies, including experimental models, is awaited.”
Tony Kirby | alfa
The genes are not to blame
20.07.2018 | Technische Universität München
Targeting headaches and tumors with nano-submarines
20.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences