Navigation Links
BUSM faculty author commentary on the global challenges of emerging viral infections

(Boston) Paul Duprex, PhD, and Elke Mhlberger, PhD, both associate professors of microbiology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), recently co-authored a commentary about viruses for Microbiology Today, the monthly publication of the Society of General Microbiology, which is the largest microbiological society in Europe. The article focuses on the history of viruses and vaccines and gives their perspective on what is necessary to evolve to the next era of virology research.

The ability to grow cells from humans and other animals in the laboratory helped researchers generate vaccines against a range of viruses such as measles, chickenpox and hepatitis A and B, all of which were developed by Maurice Hilleman in the 1950s. A seminal moment in vaccinology occurred in 1979 when the World Health Organization formally announced the eradication of smallpox, which, said the authors, was a result of an unprecedented collaboration between governments, donors, industry and health professionals.

Recent advances in molecular biology, which allow the complete genome sequence of a virus to be determined alongside huge strides in synthetic biology, now permits researchers to create viruses in the laboratory, even if they only have access to the genomic DNA sequence. The authors argue that this means it is no longer possible to formally eradicate a virus from the globe and that elimination for circulation is a much more attractive goal. Moreover, the authors argue that "emerging and re-emerging viruses will be a continuing threat to human health because of their amazing potential to adapt to their current hosts, to switch to new hosts and to evolve strategies to escape antiviral measures," highlighting the increased risks of naturally occurring infections or bioterrorism attacks.

"Viruses can be manipulated in many ways, including the replacement and addition of extra genes, and genomes have been both split and rearranged in previously unimaginable ways," said the authors. They also make the claim that there needs to be a more clear understanding between the how viruses develop and become more or less virulent. That understanding, said the authors, will lead to a paradigm shift in vaccinology, "from simple to targeted isolation; from empirical to rational attenuation and from non-specific to tissue-targeted vaccination."

"Emerging viruses are not restricted to the developing world and stark lessons and significant economic costs are associated with the to-this-day-unexplained introduction of West Nile virus into the US," said the authors. "This crystallizes why these emerging pathogens matter from both public health and economic standpoints."

The authors underscore the importance of global collaboration among virology researchers as they continue to confront emerging pathogens and develop novel ways to treat viruses.

"A long overdue renaissance in vaccinology has commenced, and it is with anticipation and excitement that we wait to see progress in the next decade," said the authors in closing.


Contact: Jenny Eriksen
Boston University Medical Center

Related biology news :

1. 6 LSU College of Science faculty named AAAS Fellows
2. 3 WUSTL faculty named AAAS Fellows
3. Nature honors outstanding faculty mentor
4. UC Riverside faculty member joins elite group of entomologists
5. JHSPH faculty tackles immune system differences between the sexes
6. $400,000 NRC grant to develop nuclear engineering faculty at Clemson
7. UMCES fisheries biologist Dr. David Secor receives USM Regents Faculty Award for research
8. U of I faculty assist in evaluating US food security programs
9. St. Jude faculty member named American Association for the Advancement of Science 2009 Fellow
10. 2 UNH faculty receive $1.4M in CAREER grants from NSF
11. Iowa State faculty attract $4.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... Nov. 19, 2015  Although some 350 companies are ... by a few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include ... of the market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular ... World Market for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... is still controlled by one company and only a ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... , November 18, 2015 ... has published a new market report titled  Gesture Recognition ... and Forecast, 2015 - 2021. According to the report, the global ... and is anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, ... North America dominated the ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris , ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, a ... fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface de ... passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, un ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 ... the global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The ... to result in lower margins but higher volume ... With increased capacity and scale, however, margins in ... Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Worcester, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... need to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper ... Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... announced today that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation ... Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject to ... exercised on November 23, 2015, which will result ... After giving effect to the issuance of such ...
Breaking Biology Technology: