West Nile case confirmed in The Woodlands – Community Impact Newspaper

Lynn Aldrich, manager of environmental services for the township, said specific locations of where the sample was drawn from are not announced.

“We don’t want people to think it’s not in [their] neighborhood,” Aldrich said. “Just because we don’t catch mosquitoes in your neighborhood doesn’t mean they’re not there. We want everybody to take appropriate precautions.”

She also said announcement of specific areas are not mandated by the Attorney General.

The township and Montgomery County Mosquito Abatement team have initiated a response recommended by the TDSHS, which includes larviciding, spraying of select storm drains and targeting street spraying.

According to the township, no reports of human illnesses have been reported. The township is urging residents to protect themselves and families from mosquito bites.

The TDSHS reports that the risk of contracting the West Nile Virus is “very low.”

via West Nile case confirmed in The Woodlands – Community Impact Newspaper.


Malaria vaccine in A&M goats’ milk could save lives – Houston Chronicle

The vaccine currently is in a form that must be isolated, purified and injected, researchers said. A&M will send No. 21’s milk to GTC Biotherapeutics for continued testing and trials.

The Massachusetts-based firm originally developed the transgenic malaria vaccine, which proved effective in mice, said William Gavin, GTC vice president of farm operations and chief veterinarian.

The word “transgenic” means “transferring or having genes from another species.” To create the malaria vaccine, DNA coding for the malaria parasite is introduced into the goat genome linked to milk production. The new DNA switches on in the mammary gland only when the animal produces milk, according to GTC.

Stop-and-go funding

Although the vaccine was developed 10 years ago, research was put aside when funding was lost. It resumed when Reproductive Science Lab scientists working with the A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Texas Agrilife Research began a partnership with GTC in 2010. A&M hopes to find new funding.

via Malaria vaccine in A&M goats’ milk could save lives – Houston Chronicle.


Protein biomarkers could allow early detection of ‘deadly’ dengue fever

Researchers have developed the first precise predictive model to distinguish between dengue fever (DF) and its more severe form, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).

 

The breakthrough by researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch, could vastly reduce the disease’s mortality rate.

 

These studies could lead to a personalized approach to treatment of dengue fever.

 

“We have long known that dengue has many manifestations, from asymptomatic to a flu-like state to a life-threatening condition. If we could figure out early a patient’s susceptibility to the deadly form, we could save thousands of lives,” said lead author Dr. Allan Brasier, Director of UTMB’s Institute for Translational Sciences, with a multidisciplinary team of protein biochemists and bioinformatics specialists developing approaches to personalized medicine – work that will allow doctors to provide better individual diagnostics and treatments for common illnesses.

via Protein biomarkers could allow early detection of ‘deadly’ dengue fever.


Op-ed written by Dr. Peter Hotez published in the Houston Chronicle: School takes on ancient scourges | Sabin Vaccine Institute

Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine are determined to make a difference in the lives of 100 million people in these cities, and indeed all of the “bottom billion” – the world’s 1.4 billion poorest people – by fighting the diseases that help trap them in poverty, including hookworm, elephantiasis, river blindness, schistosomiasis, leprosy, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. To that end, we are establishing Baylor College of Medicine’s fourth school, the National School of Tropical Medicine, and moving the Sabin Vaccine Laboratories to the Feigin Center at Texas Children’s Hospital.

via Op-ed written by Dr. Peter Hotez published in the Houston Chronicle: School takes on ancient scourges | Sabin Vaccine Institute.


Bio: Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Dr. Hotez serves as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. He has served in membership or leadership roles with a multitude of professional organizations, including as a current member of the NIH Council of Councils. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

He currently serves as principal investigator for research grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Dutch government, and NIH, as well as co-principal investigator for a research grant from the Carlos Slim Health Institute.

via Bio: Peter J. Hotez, M.D., Ph.D. – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.


BCM, Texas Children’s announce recruitment of Dr. Peter Hotez and team in major advance to develop vaccines for world’s poor – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

The comprehensive initiative will include the establishment of the first national school of tropical medicine in the United States at BCM. Hotez will serve as the founding dean.

The entire Sabin Vaccine Institute vaccine development program will relocate to Texas Children’s and BCM. The Sabin Vaccine Institute’s advocacy and education programs will remain at the institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hotez will continue to serve as president.

The collaborative program represents a significant expansion of efforts to develop and test vaccines for a range of diseases affecting low-income populations in the United States and worldwide. One of the focuses nationally will be in South Texas.

via BCM, Texas Children’s announce recruitment of Dr. Peter Hotez and team in major advance to develop vaccines for world’s poor – Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.


UH engineers finding new ways to fight malaria with DOD grant

Jeffery Rimer and Peter Vekilov, both with the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering, recently were awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to create an entirely new platform for developing antimalarial drugs. Like existing antimalarial drugs, this new platform will target plasmodium, which is the parasite that causes malaria, by utilizing a quirk in the infection process.

Typically introduced into hosts through a mosquito bite, plasmodium enters a host’s red blood cells where it consumes the hemoglobin by breaking it down. However, one subunit of hemoglobin the parasite cannot use is heme, which is the part of the blood that helps transport oxygen to the other parts of the body. Left alone, heme is highly toxic – toxic enough, in fact, to kill the parasite and prevent an infection from taking hold.

via UH engineers finding new ways to fight malaria with DOD grant.