Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Genetic Engineering-Based Therapies for Infectious Diseases

Gene therapy is in a golden age and more and more physicians and laypeople are growing aware of it. There have been stories about it, including on the AAPS Blog, and it’s most obvious application is to correct genetic defects within the human genome. This means genes encoding proteins that we need, where an abnormal or absent protein causes disease. The classic case is an enzyme deficiency. If someone lacks any normal copies of a gene for a certain enzyme, the enzyme is not produced, but gene therapy inserts the needed gene into the patient’s cells. With hemophilia B, for instance, lack of one enzyme disrupts a long pathway of biochemical reactions, leading to inadequate blood clotting. But clinical trials on gene therapy show that clotting can be normalized in such patients by inserting a working copy of the gene for the missing enzyme into the stem cells of the patient’s bone marrow.

shutterstock_509084095There are numerous other examples of gene therapy showing promise, including for infectious conditions, which might not be an obvious gene therapy application on first thought. After all, there are hundreds of antibacterial drugs on the market, numerous agents against parasites, a bunch of antiviral agents, and the list of effective vaccines keeps getting longer. Whereas infectious diseases used to be the way that most people died in developed countries, that’s not the case anymore. So why talk about gene therapy for infectious disease?

The answer is that certain infectious agents are not as vulnerable to conventional pharmaceutical tactics. Some viruses, bacteria, and protozoa have evolved tricks enabling them to hide in certain tissues, often laying dormant and striking over and over again, often killing the patient. An example is human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which actually integrates its own genome into that of a patient’s own cells. Using a combination of therapies that attack HIV in different ways, the virus can be kept in check. So an HIV patient today can live for many decades, but the virus is still there in the patient’s cells, ready to kill if the therapy ever stops. Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection, but a particularly tough one. In fact, it’s the most common cause of death in HIV patients whose condition progresses to AIDS.

Then there is malaria, where the causative agent is neither bacterial nor viral, but protozoan. The lifecycle of the malaria parasite, called Plasmodium, is complex. It has forms that live in red blood cells, and (for some species) hide in the liver for many years, even if the ones in red blood cells are destroyed by anti-malaria drugs.

Various gene therapy tactics are coming online to combat these infections. One promising tactic depends on findings published recently in the online journal PLOS ONE showing a particular strain can infect certain ape species, and not others, by taking advantage of cell characteristics particular to the species. A CRISPR-based gene therapy might be designed to delete parts of the HIV genome that enable the species-specific tricks, even after the HIV has incorporated its genome into the patient’s. Furthermore, there are people who, due to a genetic deficiency, lack certain protein receptors on special blood cells called T lymphocytes. Normally, HIV requires these receptors in order to penetrate the cells, so the genetically deficient people are resistant to HIV. Gene therapies under development might transfer the “deficiency” to other people, thereby rendering them resistant to the virus. Gene therapy must be delivered inside tiny carrier particles, called vectors. Quite ironically, one of the best suited vectors is an HIV virus itself, altered to deliver the therapeutic payload into a patient’s cells, instead of the usual HIV content.

When it comes to TB and malaria, the strategy here is to perform gene therapy on the genome of the causative organism itself, rather than on the genome of the patient. With malaria, for instance, a Yale University study suggests that special RNA strands called morpholino oligomers could be employed to alter the gene expression of Plasmodium falciparum, the species of Plasmodium that is most problematic. Finally, there is an idea in the works, potentially applicable to all of these conditions, to use gene therapy to enhance the human immune system by delivering genes to help immune cells make particular antibodies.

Although the rate of deaths attributed to infectious diseases declined (at a very low rate) between 1990 and 2010, emerging pathogens continue to plague humanity. Being prepared with front-line defense mechanisms, such as gene therapy, is a critical step toward outpacing virulent infectious diseases. Source:

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Experts gathering at San Antonio, USA on November 14-15, 2018 for the World Conference on Bacteriology and Infectious Diseases , where one of the important topic Genetic Engineering-Based Therapies for Infectious Diseases are  also going to discussed by the experts from different countries. And so register now before the slots are booked and avail your early bird discounts

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Saturday, 7 July 2018

Good and Bad Bacteria

Bacteria aren’t all bad, in fact you couldn’t survive without some bacteria!  Good bacteria in your gut, probiotics like GI Jake, help digest your food and fight invading microbes.  Good bacteria are used in making some of the dairy products you like to eat and also some types of medicinesBacteria are some of the best decomposers – they break down dead and decaying organic matter, from leaves to insects.  Best of all, bacteria are being used to clean up oil spills to keep your environment healthy too.

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Friday, 6 July 2018

Infection: Bacterial or Viral?

A common misconception amongst lay people is that bacterial and viral infections are the same, that in fact one is just another term meaning the other. This erroneous belief stems from the similarities between bacteria and viruses, and leads to a false sense of the impact each can have.
To be sure, both bacterial infections and viral infections are quite capable of quickly reaching epidemic or pandemic proportions, as witnessed by the great bacterial plagues of medieval times, the Black Death being the best known, or the disastrous Spanish flu viral outbreak of the early 20th century, both of which were responsible for considerable death and suffering.


Bacteria are amongst the smallest living organisms, in fact they are only single celled, and are too small to actually reproduce, so they divide into two instead, although this technique is remarkably efficient allowing bacteria to quickly increase their numbers with every generation doubling in size. Bacterial infections are therefore very difficult to fight once they reach a critical mass and the human immune system quickly needs external help in the form of antibacterial medication.


Viruses, whilst being smaller than bacteria, are not in fact living organisms, they are instead just genetic material that requires a human or other living host to allow them to multiply. Viruses attach themselves to existing cells in body damaging them in the process, and also using the cell to reproduce and so infect other cells. Because they co-opt cells into reproducing the virus, growth can be slower than bacterial infection.
Being living microorganisms, bacteria are able to survive without a host, they simply need conditions to be right for continued survival, and can quite easily survive on surfaces, inside bedding and furniture, on doorknobs, faucets, elevator control panels, keyboards, phones, and so small we don’t see them. To prevent transmission, regular cleaning and disinfecting is important, especially in a hospital.
Viruses are not living organisms, and as such are not able to live for long outside a host, although this does not mean that surfaces or soft items are safe. Most viral genetic tissue is capable of lying dormant outside a host for a short time, in the case of the flu virus as much as three or four days. Disinfecting areas contaminated by viruses is an effective method of control.

Bacterial and viral infections are both very capable of spreading very efficiently from person to person thru sneezing, saliva, bodily fluids, or direct contact and are easily confused for one another. However, there are some fundamental differences, most particularly, that being living organisms bacteria are in a state of continual evolution, and are able to develop resistance to antibiotic medications.

New virus strains also appear regularly, but they don’t have any ability to develop resistance, and treatment usually involves letting the virus run its course, although in serious cases antiviral medications may be prescribed.

A further difference between bacterial infection vs viral infection is the possibility of vaccination against many viral infections, something that until recently hasn’t always been possible against bacterial infections.

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


Did you know that you're mostly a microbe? There are more microbial cells in your body than your own cells. Microbes are found everywhere: in and on your body, in streams and rocks, on your smartphone screen, and in your food. Despite their bad reputation, microbes are mostly beneficial or have a neutral effect on our lives.
Microbiology is the scientific study of these microorganisms. Microorganisms are those organisms that are too small to see with the naked eye and include things like bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
An electron microscope image of a Bacteriophage virus
Microbiologists study these organisms using tools, like microscopes, genetics, and culturing. Microscopes allow scientists to magnify microbial cells that are otherwise too small to see. Genetics and molecular biology help scientists understand the evolutionary relationships between microbes and their habitats.
Culturing is the term used to describe growing microbes, usually combined with tests to see what the microbes like to eat or what conditions they can live in. If you've ever seen a petri dish, you've seen a common place where microbes are cultivated.
A petri dish with bacterial colonies growing on the growth medium.
Petri dish
Most of the microbes, or bacteria, in your body are meant to be there and are called resident bacteria. These bacteria that are well-established residents of your body, especially the skin and gut. They are your first line of defense against potentially dangerous transient bacteria, meaning temporary bacteria that you might pick up from touching a door handle or being near someone who sneezes. The resident bacteria can usually out-compete the transient bacteria, preventing them from settling in and causing an infection.
So, how else do microbes help us? The next time you enjoy cheese, sausage, and beer at a party, be aware that many of the foods and drinks we enjoy are not possible without microbes. Dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, have been made for centuries with microbes to lengthen the lifetime of milk. The process of fermentation is carried out by microbes and gives these items their characteristic taste, odor, and texture. Beer and wine also use microbes (in this case, yeasts) to produce the alcohol in those beverages.
Bacterial cells help change milk to yogurt using fermentation to give it the characteristic thick texture and tart taste.
Despite all the good microbes do, when we hear news stories about microbes, it is usually about pathogens. Pathogens are the invading microbes in our bodies that make us sick. It is usually our immune system's reaction to the foreign microbial invaders that give us the crummy symptoms, like a fever or stomachache.
Infections from pathogenic bacteria can sometimes clear up on their own, or with help from antibiotics. Antibiotics are the various medicines that fight bacteria by damaging proteins, the cell wall, or carrying out other damaging attacks on bacteria. A bad side to antibiotics is that they can rarely tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. With antibiotics both resident and transient bacteria are damaged, and while it will help clear up an infection, it might also give you a bad stomachache .source:
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Monday, 2 July 2018

Experts Gathering at San Antonio, USA for the World Conference on Bacteriology and Infectious Diseases

USA which is also know as America or United States consists of 50 states, five major self governing territories and a federal district.San Antonio is one of the popular tourist place in USA. The Alamo Mission in San Antonio which is located in downtown, is the top tourist attraction and hence it is often called Alamo City. It is also called the River city because the River Walk which meanders through the Downtown area, is the second most attraction of the city. The Downtown Area also features San Fernando Cathedral, The Majestic Theatre, Hemisfair, La Villita, Market Square, the Spanish Palace of the governor, and the historic Menger Hotel. The Fairmount Hotel, built in 1906 and San Antonio's second oldest hotel, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. The city has one of the largest marine life park in the world called Sea world. It has amusement parks which include Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Splashtown and Morgan Wonderland, a theme park for children with special needs. Kiddie Park, featuring old-fashioned amusement rides for children. To make it a better place to visit it has many museum, Historical Park, Botanical Garden and also theatres.

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