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PLOS BLOGS Speaking of Medicine

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Chagas in North America, T Cells, Antibodies and Protective Immunity Against Dengue, a Closer Look at Bat-transmitted Viruses, and More

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

Arnott A, Mueller I, Ramsland PA, Siba PM, Reeder JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2506. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002506
Arnott A, Mueller I, Ramsland PA, Siba PM, Reeder JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2506. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002506

The poorest people living in the Mexico and the U.S. are silently suffering under a heavy burden of Chagas disease, with pregnant women disproportionately affected. Peter Hotez and colleagues discuss how many lives can be saved with greater access to the treatments available today, while knowing the fate of tomorrow’s patients rests on increasing investments in research to develop new technologies to treat and diagnose Chagas disease, as well as improving scientific cooperation between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other key countries.

Vaccines are an essential component of global malaria control and elimination campaigns, but the diversity of malaria antigens is thought to be a major cause of vaccine failure. In this study, Alicia Arnott and colleagues investigate the global diversity of the P. vivax vaccine candidate, Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (PvAMA1), to determine the feasibility of designing a globally effective PvAMA1 vaccine and to determine which region of PvAMA1 is targeted by host immune responses, in order to identify the most promising candidates.

Plateau and Nasarawa states in central Nigeria are especially hard-hit by lymphatic filariasis (LF), with up to 4 million threatened by this disease. In this paper, Abel Eigege and colleagues describe the effects of eight years of annual MDA and the 2010 distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets by the Nigerian Ministry of Health and its Carter Center partners. The study concluded that MDA and insecticide treated bed nets work together to halt the transmission of LF.

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

Zoonoses are infections that are naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans and vice-versa. Bats are increasingly recognized as a source of zoonotic agents, most of which seem not to harm the hosts. In their Pearl, James Wynne and Lin-Fa Wang focus on bat viruses that have caused zoonotic disease outbreaks in humans and domestic animals. They also highlight questions about the interactions between bat viruses and their flying mammalian hosts.

Defective genomes arise when the viral polymerases lose processivity during virus replication at high titers. Working with Sendai and influenza viruses in mice, Carolina López and colleagues show that defective viral genomes accumulate during acute viral respiratory infections. They are a primary source of danger signals that initiate the host immune response, and can trigger this response even in the absence of type I interferon signaling.

Studying a dengue vaccine candidate in mice, Sujan Shresta and colleagues evaluate the relative contributions of T cells and antibodies to protective immunity. They show that in isolation and at certain concentrations, the antibody component of a protective vaccine-induced immune response, but not the T cell component, can exacerbate dengue disease. This suggests that protective and safe immunity needs to involve both components.

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