Research News

28 Mar 2018

On the track of a universal Influenza vaccine: feedbacks on the latest trends

Sophie Valkenburg, principal investigator at HKU-Pasteur, and her colleagues from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and the department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis publish a comprehensive review on the hope provided by the next-generation Influenza vaccines relying on T cells.

Sophie Valkenburg, HKU-Pasteur Research Pole

Using T cells to improve the limitations of current Influenza vaccines is definitely promising. However, before achieving a universal Influenza vaccine that harness the power of these immune cells, a myriad of questions remain to be addressed: which T cells are needed to fight the infection, and how, when and where to use this cells to unleash their therapeutic potential?

Find out more in the review published in Vaccines, a MDPI open-acces journal.

Harnessing the Power of T Cells: The Promising Hope for a Universal Influenza Vaccine
E. Bridie Clemens, Carolien van de Sandt, Sook San Wong, Linda M. Wakim and Sophie A. Valkenburg
Vaccines 2018, 6(2), 18; doi:10.3390/vaccines6020018

20 Mar 2018

Is MERS-CoV a threat for Africa?

The Middle Respiratory Syndrom coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a virus circulating in dromaderies, a common animal of the Arabian Pensinsula and also found in great numbers in many countries of the African continent. The virus has crossed from dromaderies to humans in the Arabian Peninsula, but this hasn't been observed in any African countries (imported and nosocomial infections only). Why?

Malik Peiris, co-director of HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and his colleagues united in a large international collaboration tackle this issue. In PNAS, they report the first evidences of genetic and phenotypic differences between the viruses of the 2 geographical areas, contributing to answer the question.

The viral respiratory disease was first identified in humans in 2012, in Saudi Arabia. Since then, more than 2,100 people have been infected with MERS-CoV, of whom 813 have died. WHO classifies the virus as one of the 10 priority emerging diseases given its potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficient treatments or vaccines.

© CIRAD, S. Cognet

Learn more about the publication in the press release from CIRAD, the French centre for agricultural and development research involved in the study.

You can also read our story "MERS on the radar at HKU-Pasteur Research Pole" that comes back to 3 years of research on the coronavirus, or read Malik's interview on the occasion of his election to the US National Academy of Sciences.

The publication:

MERS coronaviruses from camels in Africa exhibit region-dependent genetic diversity
Chu DKW, Hui KPY, Perera RAPM, Miguel E, Niemeyer D, Zhao J, Channappanavar R, Dudas G, Oladipo JO, Traoré A, Fassi-Fihri O, Ali A, Demissié GF, Muth D, Chan MCW, Nicholls JM, Meyerholz DK, Kuranga SA, Mamo G, Zhou Z, So RTY, Hemida MG, Webby RJ, Roger F, Rambaut A, Poon LLM, Perlman S, Drosten C, Chevalier V, Peiris M.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 5. pii: 201718769. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1718769115.

08 Mar 2018

Where to look for novel therapeutical targets against Flaviviruses?

Read Tami Zhang, Iolanthe Lan and Sumana Sanyal review in Frontiers in Microbiology, "Modulation of Lipid Droplet Metabolism - A Potential Target for Therapeutic Intervention in Flaviviridae Infections“ available for all to read online. 

Lipid droplets (LDs) are endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-related dynamic organelles that store and regulate fatty acids and neutral lipids. They play a central role in cellular energy storage, lipid metabolism and cellular homeostasis. It has become evident that viruses have co-evolved in order to exploit host lipid metabolic pathways.
This is especially characteristic of the Flaviviridae family, including hepatitis C virus (HCV) and several flaviviruses. Devoid of an appropriate lipid biosynthetic machinery of their own, these single-strand positive-sense RNA viruses can induce dramatic changes in host metabolic pathways to establish a favorable environment for viral multiplication and acquire essential components to facilitate their assembly and traffic.
Here we have reviewed the current knowledge on the intracellular life cycle of those from the Flaviviridae family, with particular emphasis on HCV and dengue virus (DENV), and their association with the biosynthesis and metabolism of LDs, with the aim to identify potential antiviral targets for development of novel therapeutic interventions.

Keywords: lipid droplet, lipid metabolism, HCV, flavivirus, dengue

The publication is available here.