first_img Jul 22, 2005, CIDRAP News story on virulence of strain in 2003 US monkeypox outbreak See also: Finally, the study’s authors described their use of a T-cell quantification method for diagnosis. T cells that retain memory of a specific virus will release antiviral factors (interferon-gamma and tumor necrosis factor–alpha) upon reexposure to the virus. By immunostaining against these factors, it is possible to count relative numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that specifically react to the tested virus. The researchers measured the responses of T cells isolated from vaccinia-immune, monkeypox-infected, and naive subjects. They found that CD8+ cell counts could distinguish between people recently exposed to orthopoxviruses (through monkeypox infection) and those with old exposure from a vaccination or no exposure at all. However, one of the three people who developed no clinical monkeypox symptoms fell below the threshold for recent exposure by this test. In the new article, the authors outline three methods of detecting monkeypox and vaccinia immune response. They first examined whole, killed vaccinia and monkeypox cells using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing. With this technique, they found that people who had never received the smallpox vaccine had very low (<100 ELISA units [EU]) antibody levels. People who received the vaccine but were not exposed to monkeypox had higher vaccinia titers (100-4,400 EU) and a monkeypox-vaccinia antibody ratio of 1:1, indicating only the effects of antibody cross-reactivity rather than monkeypox-specific antibodies. Finally, people infected with monkeypox but never vaccinated against smallpox had high levels of monkeypox antibodies compared with vaccinia antibodies. Aug 11, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Researchers have identified three people whose previous smallpox vaccinations may have protected them from monkeypox during the 2003 US outbreak. Despite exposure to monkeypox-infected prairie dogs in Wisconsin, these three subjects did not show any clinical signs of the disease. New laboratory results suggest that they developed antibodies to the monkeypox virus but never developed the disease because of their prior smallpox vaccinations. Prior to 1972, approximately 50% of people in the United States received smallpox vaccinations. In 1979, smallpox was declared eradicated, and currently the only known stocks of the virus are at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Russian State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology, Koltsovo, Novosibirsk Region, Russian Federation. However, some experts suspect that additional stocks may still exist and could be used in a bioterrorist attack. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Because current laboratory techniques cannot distinguish readily between monkeypox and vaccinia antibodies, the authors developed a second ELISA test using specific protein fragments. The compared the genomes of the monkeypox and vaccinia viruses and selected proteins present only in monkeypox. Several of these gene products showed promise as potential diagnostic tools for monkeypox diagnosis. Aug 19, 2003, CIDRAP News story on earlier research by Slifka group [includes link to abstract of study, which was published online Aug 17] Of the eight people who were exposed to both vaccinia (though a prior smallpox vaccination) and monkeypox (through contact with infected prairie dogs), three never developed any clinical symptoms of the disease, though they had high antibody levels indicative of recent orthopoxvirus exposure. These results raised the possibility of persistent immunity following smallpox vaccination in the distant past. Other possibilities for the scenario exist as well, as evidenced by a recent study regarding possible low virulence of the monkeypox virus in the 2003 US outbreak (see below). Second, they point to the utility of the new laboratory techniques in diagnosing monkeypox infections in Africa. They speculated that the techniques presented in the article could ease the problem of diagnosis in an area where outbreaks are frequent, saying "An advantage of using the immunologic assays described here is that a positive diagnosis can be made retrospectively because of persisting immunity."center_img Finally, the authors emphasized the importance of this further evidence of persistent smallpox immunity in the US population over age 35. “The main (albeit speculative) point of this current study, ” the authors emphasized, “is that our findings . . . show that some level of protective immunity probably exists in contemporary subjects who have received smallpox vaccination in the distant past.” Such immunity could prove critical in limiting fatalities from an intentional release of smallpox. Vaccina, the virus used in smallpox vaccines, and the monkeypox virus are closely related members of the viral orthopox family. The authors of a Nature Medicine report published online Aug 7 suggest that antibodies to vaccinia were sufficiently cross-reactive to protect these people from monkeypox. The study’s senior author, Mark Slifka, told the Associated Press that their findings could be beneficial in the event of a smallpox bioterrorist attack. Editor’s note: This article was revised Aug 15, 2005, to include additional information regarding earlier related research. Assessing the level of immunity in the US population has been a subject of great interest in recent years. A prior study by Slifka’s group measured antibody levels in people years after smallpox vaccination and found that antibodies and T-cell responses may persist for as long as 75 years after vaccination. However, some experts found flaws with the authors’ interpretation of their results (see links below), and it has so far proven impossible to verify whether the levels of antibodies measured in vaccinated people would protect them in the case of smallpox exposure. The recent monkeypox outbreak provided a rare opportunity to study the persistence of immunity, as antibodies against vaccinia are cross-reactive to monkeypox. Hammarlund E, Lewis MW, Carter SV, et al. Multiple diagnostic techniques identify previously vaccinated individuals with protective immunity against monkeypox. Nat Med 2005 (published online Aug 7) [Abstract] Aug 21, 2003, CIDRAP News story on critique of Aug 17, 2003, study Jul 10, 2003, CIDRAP News story on monkeypox outbreak The authors highlighted three important ramifications of their findings. First, they described how “our diagnostic approaches confirmed monkeypox infection in individuals whose infections were previously listed as probable or suspect.” Though these people showed clinically indicative signs of the disease, their serologic testing came back negative or equivocal. Retrospective testing using whole-cell ELISA, T-cell immunostaining, and/or peptide ELISA was able to confirm the exposure. Sep 12, 2003, CIDRAP News story in which Slifka et al rebut critique abovelast_img read more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: | @mark_cooperjr Commentscenter_img Erica Morrow’s struggles this season come at the most inopportune time for both herself and Syracuse.She entered the season as the Orange’s star player and the heir apparent to Nicole Michael. But she is just fourth on SU in scoring this year at 10 points per game. The struggles put a damper on Morrow’s final season.And the down year is also putting a damper on SU’s chances of getting back to the NCAA Tournament.‘I knew it was going to be tough,’ Morrow said. ‘But I never thought it was going to be this tough.’Morrow and Tasha Harris are the only players on this year’s team who have experienced an NCAA Tournament game in a Syracuse uniform. But entering a year in which expectations were arguably as high as ever for the program, the Orange finds itself in the same position it did last year: on the bubble.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s a phrase no one wants to hear. But in reality, SU and its head coach Quentin Hillsman are as much on the cusp of its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history as it is on its way to a third straight National Invitation Tournament bid. Syracuse (17-7, 5-6 Big East) plays Louisville (16-9, 7-4) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, in a game that could go a long way toward punching SU’s ticket to either tournament.‘Coach is talking about he wants to get 8-8,’ SU guard Iasia Hemingway said. ‘So if we can get 8-8, I think we will definitely be in a great position.’To reach that mark, Syracuse will need to rely on Morrow. Statistically, though, this season has been her worst in her four years at SU. She is averaging a career low in points per game, and although she is playing more point guard, her assist total has not improved much.There have been some high points — her season-high 27 points led SU to a win over then-No. 6 Ohio State. But there have been far more low points — her scoreless outing against Rutgers on Feb. 6 being just one of a few. She missed a game earlier in the season due to an injury, and she left Syracuse’s win Saturday against Villanova with a thumb injury.With Morrow out, Hillsman used only six players in the second half of what became a 21-point Syracuse victory. With his starting point guard out, Harris ran the point for the full 20 minutes of the second half.Hillsman said after the game that Morrow would be ready to go Wednesday. And judging by the lack of substitutions in the Villanova game, she will be needed.‘Erica jammed her thumb, nothing major,’ Hillsman said. ‘She hurt it the other day in practice, actually, and just kind of reaggravated it when she jammed it.’When Morrow thinks back on her SU career, she said it is almost like she took her freshman year for granted. The Syracuse program made such a jump in that season — winning 10 Big East games, almost winning an NCAA Tournament game — and at the time, it seemed like the Orange was a program rising exponentially.But that rise has stalled for the past two seasons with two NIT appearances.The two talented freshmen along for the ride in 2008 have grown up and become the leaders. They haven’t yet done what their elders did three years ago, though. And Morrow said that makes her respect the seniors on the 2008 team even more.‘We took it for granted a lot, their hard jobs, because we (were) kind of young kids, running around and just transitioning from high school to college,’ Morrow said. ‘But you definitely understand more, so the little tidbits they were trying to give you or little advice they were trying to give you back then, now.’Morrow said when trying to mentor the freshmen and sophomores on this year’s team, she has to keep thinking back to when she was a freshman. She brushed off the teaching points the seniors in 2008 had for her.In these final five regular-season games, though, she hopes the young players listen to what the now well-traveled veteran has to say.‘It definitely has been a mix of emotions,’ Morrow said. ‘Coach is, he’s on us, and he understands the urgency. And I think we do, as players, understand how urgent it is for us right now to get more wins.’mcooperj@syr.edulast_img read more