The higher a person's immunity to dengue virus, the lower their risk of Zika infection, an international team of scientists reported in the journal Science. The study also provides evidence that Brazil's Zika epidemic has largely petered out because enough people acquired immunity to reduce the efficiency of transmission. The discovery relied on tests for dengue and Zika developed by IDM's Ernesto Marques and his team and patented by Pitt.
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - Robert Yee was as brilliant as he was modest. "One of the godfathers" of Pitt Public Health, Yee mentored hundreds of students and played a pivotal role as a researcher who made several "breakthrough" discoveries about bacteria.
ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Like Zika, infection with Rift Valley fever virus can go unnoticed during pregnancy, all the while doing irreparable - often lethal - harm to the fetus. The results of a new study underscore the importance of disease prevention for pregnant woment and set the stage for vaccine development.
MEDICAL RESEARCH - "HIV infection is a manageable disease with the advent and availability of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). But, when ART is interrupted, the virus quickly rebounds to high levels and again targets the immune system. Therefore, new immunotherapeutic treatments are sought to re-program the immune system to control the virus after ART interruption," said IDM's Tatiana Garcia-Bates.
THE NEW YORK TIMES - The mosquito-borne virus that causes Rift Valley fever may severely injure human fetuses if contracted by mothers during pregnancy, according to new research by IDM's Amy Hartman. "Zika caught everybody by surprise," said Hartman. "If doctors had known about Zika's birth effects, they could have done a lot more to protect pregnant women and babies. With Rift Valley fever, we're trying to get ahead of the curve."
The African Academy of Sciences elected IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega a fellow in recognition of his efforts to develop patient care, teaching, and research around epidemiology and infectious diseases in Africa. In addition, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa - which aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest - named him a member-elect.
JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Using samples from participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study, Garcia-Bates, Palma, Shen, Gambotto, Macatangay, Ferris, Rinaldo, and Mailliard showed that PD-1 activation plays a positive role in initiating the primary T cell response. But later blocking of that pathway can enhance the overall magnitude of the immune system’s ability to remember and respond to HIV.
WESA-FM - Research suggests the Rift Valley Fever can affect developing human fetuses. IDM's Amy Hartman, along with first author Cynthia McMillen who is an IDM postdoc, chose to study Rift Valley’s effects on pregnant rats, since humans and rats have similar placental structures. They found that 65 percent of pups born to infected rats died, even when the mother rats appeared healthy.
KDKA-AM - More than 30 years after HIV was uncovered there is still no AIDS vaccine, but IDM's Linda Frank, who heads the MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, says, “People who are uninfected can take anti-retrovirals to prevent them from getting HIV infected. This is so wonderful.” Frank says the new frontier in HIV treatment is in conjunction with diseases like hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and substance abuse.
POST GAZETTE - Allegheny County health officials are reporting progress in the fight against AIDS by reducing new HIV cases. A key part of this effort is education. The MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, led by Linda Frank, has been involved in efforts to fight AIDS for the past 30 years. The World AIDS Day 2018 conference “is about the new treatments and advancements to help us get to zero new cases,” says Frank.
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION INSIGHT - Jasmine Samal, Samantha Kelly, Ali Na-Shatal, Abdallah Elhakiem, Antu Das, Ming Ding, Anwesha Sanyal, Phalguni Gupta, Kevin Melody, Brad Roland, Watfa Ahmed, Aala Zakir, and Moses Bility developed a potentially novel human immune system–humanized mouse model.
UPMC HEALTH NEWS – In the late 1990s, new and highly potent anti-HIV drugs emerged— including protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors—which could for the first time control HIV infection. For this 1998 World AIDS Day, Pitt IDM AIDS researcher Charles Rinaldo and the late Bridget Murtagh of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force address transmission, drug resistance, and the radically prescient question of whether HIV could be cured.
IDM's DERRICK MATTHEWS explains Pitt Public Health's work on HIV/AIDS and where we are today. "If you're a black gay man in the U.S., you have a one in two change in your lifetime of becoming HIV positive…short of the cure that we’re looking for, the biology is way ahead of the social implementation science."
IDM's DERRICK MATTHEWS demystifies infectious diseases and microbiology with a basic overview of the fields, how they are practiced, and how disease is spread.