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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine and Health

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: First Use of Oral Cholera Vaccine, Studying Ebola Minigenomes, A New Anti-Leishmanial Drug Candidate, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Zou C-G, Tu Q, Niu J, Ji X-L, Zhang K-Q (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(10): e1003660. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003660
Zou C-G, Tu Q, Niu J, Ji X-L, Zhang K-Q (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(10): e1003660. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003660

Two safe and effective oral cholera vaccines are recommended by the World Health Organization for cholera prevention and control; however, concerns about the acceptability, potential diversion of resources, cost and feasibility of implementing timely campaigns has discouraged their use. Francisco Luquero and colleagues examine the use of one of the oral cholera vaccines, Shanchol, by MSF staff working during the 2012 cholera outbreak in Guinea and how it fits into existing outbreak response strategies.

Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis typically involves the use of toxic antimonials, but the distinctive mode of action of defensis with low susceptibility to resistance and low toxicity to mammalian cells makes them suitable candidates for anti-leishmanial agents. In this study, Sara Dabirian and colleagues used rHNP-1 against both the promistagote and amastigote forms of L. major.

In 2002 the WHO began recommending praziquantel treatment for pregnant women infected with the blood fluke S. mansoni, but limited information was available about the effect of treatment on their offspring. Robert Tweyongyere and colleagues conducted a study in the Entebbe peninsula region around Lake Victoria in Uganda to examine what effects praziquantel treatment has on susceptibility to S. mansoni in the children born to women given this drug while pregnant.

The following new articles are publishing in PLOS Pathogens this week:

Dental caries is among the most prevalent human diseases. It results from the complex interactions between the microbial species adhering to the tooth surface, with dietary, salivary, and genetic influences. For decades, Streptococcus mutans has been assumed to be the pathogen responsible. However, recent research discussed in the Pearl by Mary Ann Jabra-Rizk and colleagues implicates Candida albicans as a co-conspirator.

Before the Ebola virus glycoprotein is expressed on the viral surface, its RNA must be edited by the viral polymerase, resulting in insertion of a non-templated nucleotide into the mRNA. Heinz Feldmann and colleagues have developed Ebola minigenomes that can undergo RNA editing and be studied outside of a biosafety level 4 laboratory. Theirs and future insights into the RNA editing mechanism might eventually lead to drugs against the virus.

The epidermis acts as a physical barrier and represents a first line of defense against injury and infection in most animals. Working in Caenorhabditis elegans, Chen-Gang Zou, Ke-Qin Zhang and colleagues report that the DAF16/FOXO transcription factor in the epidermis is required for survival after fungal infection and physical damage and suggest that the associated signaling pathway might be a target for the treatment of epidermal damage.

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