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Virus

— Medical

Brazil starts screening transfusion blood for Zika virus

As the mosquito-borne Zira virus monopolizes the attention of Brazil's government and media, adding to the burden of the dengue epidemic, researchers are offering a method to blood banks that wish to screen transfusion blood for pregnant women and in cases of intrauterine transfusion. There is a suspicion that Zika could cause foeatuses to develop microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with small heads and brains.

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— Medical

Exposé of flu's cell hijacking tactics could stop viruses taking hold

It's not easy for bird flu to migrate to humans, but once there it can have wreak considerable havoc, with consequences that include death. For the first time scientists have zeroed in on the very narrow pathway that allows the passage of this type A influenza virus from birds to mammals, a discovery they say could one day enable them to shut the gate on the flu virus altogether.

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— Medical

New compound triggers immune response to range of RNA viruses, including Ebola and hep C

Though important advances have been made in treating RNA virus infections such as hepatitis C and influenza, a broad spectrum antiviral drug that throws a blanket over all of them, including more deadly variants like Ebola, has remained out of reach. Scientists are now reporting the discovery of a drug-like molecule that could be used to combat all RNA viruses, by triggering an innate immune response that suppresses and controls the infections.

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— Medical

One-step urine test to simplify diagnosis of hepatitis C

According to the World Health Organization, somewhere between 130 and 150 million people around the globe suffer from chronic hepatitis C infection. As the virus is usually asymptomatic it can go undetected in its early stages, giving rise to complications such as liver damage and cirrhosis. Screening for the virus is possible, but is neither straightforward nor widely accessible, as it involves taking a blood sample and two separate lab tests. But researchers have now developed a one-step test that can detect hepatitis C using only a urine sample, promising to boost the availability of diagnosis and efforts to curb the virus around the world.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Ebola vaccine shown to be 100 percent effective in field trials

Ebola is one of the most frightening viruses of modern times and the recent outbreak in West Africa sparked a worldwide effort to contain it. Though it is far from under control in much of the region, there is a glimmer of hope as the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that in trials, a vaccine called VSV-EBOV has proven to be 100 percent effective in protecting individuals.

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— Medical

MIT designs 10-minute ebola test

Researchers from MIT claim to have developed an easy-to-use blood test that can be applied in the field, allowing for the screening of multiple diseases at once. The test is said to provide results in around 10 minutes, and could be instrumental in stopping the epidemic spread of fatal diseases such as Ebola. Read More
— Robotics

Xenex updates protocols for germ-zapping robots in response to Ebola threat

Dealing with highly infectious diseases like Ebola is often like a logic problem. Disinfecting rooms is hard enough, but what about protective suits? True, they greatly reduce the chances of infection, but getting them off can bring the risk straight back again if the suit isn't decontaminated first. Xenex has created protocols that conform to those of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its a line of robots that use UV lamps that to decontaminate hospital rooms and protective clothing exposed to the Ebola virus. Read More
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