News Releases

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July 2018

  • Broadly Acting Antibodies Found in Plasma of Ebola Survivors

    July 17, 2018

    Recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreaks, including the 2013-2016 epidemic that ravaged West Africa and the 2018 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlight the need for licensed treatments for this often-deadly disease. ZMapp, an experimental therapy comprising three monoclonal antibodies, has shown promise in a clinical trial, but it targets only one of the five known species of Ebola virus.

  • Imaging Technique Illuminates Immune Status of Monkeys with HIV-Like Virus

    July 12, 2018

    Findings from an animal study suggest that a non-invasive imaging technique could, with further development, become a useful tool to assess immune system recovery in people receiving treatment for HIV infection. Researchers used single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and a CD4-specific imaging probe to assess immune system changes throughout the bodies of macaques infected with SIV, a simian form of HIV, following initiation and interruption of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

  • NIAID Scientists Create 3D Structure of 1918 Influenza Virus-Like Particles

    July 11, 2018

    Virus-like particles (VLPs) are protein-based structures that mimic viruses and bind to antibodies. Because VLPs are not infectious, they show considerable promise as vaccine platforms for many viral diseases, including influenza. Realizing that fine details about influenza VLPs were scant, a team of researchers who specialize in visualizing molecular structures developed a 3D model based on the 1918 H1 pandemic influenza virus.

  • Natural Lipid Acts as Potent Anti-Inflammatory

    July 6, 2018

    National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a naturally occurring lipid—a waxy, fatty acid—used by a disease-causing bacterium to impair the host immune response and increase the chance of infection. Inadvertently, they also may have found a potent inflammation therapy against bacterial and viral diseases. 

  • Pregnancy Loss Occurs in 26 Percent of Zika-Infected Monkeys

    July 2, 2018

    Fetal death in utero occurred in more than one-fourth of monkeys infected in the laboratory with Zika virus in early pregnancy, according to new research published in Nature Medicine. The finding raises the concern that Zika virus-associated pregnancy loss in humans may be more common than currently thought, according to the study authors. 

June 2018

  • Early-Stage Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Vaccine Trial Begins

    June 14, 2018

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has launched a clinical trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The Phase 1 study will enroll a small group of healthy adult volunteers to examine the safety of an experimental intranasal vaccine and its ability to induce an immune response. The study is being conducted at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs).

  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis May be Due to Missing Protein

    June 6, 2018

    Scientists have discovered that the absence of a specific protein in cells lining the esophagus may cause inflammation and tissue damage in people with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).  EoE affects as many as 150,000 people in the United States, many of whom are children. People with EoE experience difficult or painful swallowing, vomiting and nutritional problems because an accumulation of immune cells called eosinophils scars the esophagus.

  • HIV Vaccine Elicits Antibodies in Animals that Neutralize Dozens of HIV Strains

    June 4, 2018

    An experimental vaccine regimen based on the structure of a vulnerable site on HIV elicited antibodies in mice, guinea pigs and monkeys that neutralize dozens of HIV strains from around the world. The findings were reported today in the journal Nature Medicine by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their colleagues. 

May 2018

  • NIH Scientists Show How Tularemia Bacteria Trick Cells to Cause Disease

    May 30, 2018

    Francisella tularensis is the bacterium that causes tularemia, a life-threatening disease spread to humans via contact with an infected animal or through mosquito, tick or deer fly bites.  As few as 10 viable bacteria can cause the disease, which has a death rate of up to 60 percent. Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases—part of the National Institutes of Health—have unraveled the process by which the bacteria cause disease. They found that F. tularensis tricks host cell mitochondria, which produce energy for the cell, in two different phases of infection. In the first eight hours of infection, the bacteria increase mitochondria function, which inhibits cell death and prevents the cell from mounting an inflammatory response to avoid an immune system attack. In the 24 hours after, the bacteria impair mitochondrial function, undergo explosive replication and spread. These basic science findings could play a role in developing effective treatment strategies, according to the researchers.

  • NIH Begins Testing Ebola Treatment in Early-Stage Trial

    May 23, 2018

    A first-in-human trial evaluating an experimental treatment for Ebola virus disease has begun at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Phase 1 clinical trial is examining the safety and tolerability of a single monoclonal antibody called mAb114, which was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of NIH, and their collaborators. Investigators aim to enroll between 18 and 30 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 60. The trial will not expose participants to Ebola virus.

  • NIH-Funded Researchers Identify Target for Chikungunya Treatment

    May 21, 2018

    Scientists have identified a molecule found on human cells and some animal cells that could be a useful target for drugs against chikungunya virus infection and related diseases, according to new research published in the journal Nature. A team led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis conducted the research, which was funded in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • Experimental MERS Treatments Enter Clinical Trial

    May 18, 2018

    Enrollment has begun in an early-stage clinical trial testing the safety of two human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) designed to treat people infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The trial is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is funded in part by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Department Health and Human Services. 

  • NIH Statement on HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, May 18, 2018

    May 18, 2018

    As a result of the many scientific research advances over 37 years, we now have highly effective methods of HIV treatment and prevention. These tools have allowed us to make important strides in reducing the burden of HIV in the United States and globally.

  • Microglia Are Key Defenders Against Prion Diseases

    May 17, 2018

    Prion diseases are slow degenerative brain diseases that occur in people and various other mammals. No vaccines or treatments are available, and these diseases are almost always fatal. Scientists have found little evidence of a protective immune response to prion infections. Further, microglia—brain cells usually involved in the first level of host defense against infections of the brain—have been thought to worsen these diseases by secreting toxic molecules that can damage nerve cells.

  • Despite Mutations in Makona Ebola Virus, Disease Consistent in Mice, Monkeys

    May 8, 2018

    Early during the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa, scientists speculated that the genetic diversity of the circulating Makona strain of virus (EBOV-Makona) would result in more severe disease and more transmissibility than prior strains. However, using two different animal models, National Institutes of Health scientists have determined that certain mutations stabilized early during the epidemic and did not alter Ebola disease presentation or outcome.

  • NIH Clinical Trial to Track Outcomes of Kidney Transplantation From HIV-Positive Donors to HIV-Positive Recipients

    May 7, 2018

    The first large-scale clinical trial to study kidney transplantations between people with HIV has begun at clinical centers across the United States. The HOPE in Action Multicenter Kidney Study will determine the safety of this practice by evaluating kidney recipients for potential transplant-related and HIV-related complications following surgery. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • NIAID-Sponsored Trial of a Universal Influenza Vaccine Begins

    May 4, 2018

    A Phase 2 clinical trial of an investigational universal influenza vaccine intended to protect against multiple strains of the virus has begun in the United States. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted at four U.S. sites that are part of the NIAID-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs).

  • Bacteria Therapy for Eczema Shows Promise in NIH Study

    May 3, 2018

    Topical treatment with live Roseomonas mucosa—a bacterium naturally present on the skin—was safe for adults and children with atopic dermatitis (eczema) and was associated with reduced disease severity, according to initial findings from an ongoing early-phase clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health. Preclinical work in a mouse model of atopic dermatitis had suggested that R. mucosa strains collected from healthy skin can relieve disease symptoms.

  • Essential Malaria Parasite Genes Revealed

    May 3, 2018

    Researchers have exploited a quirk in the genetic make-up of the deadly malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to create 38,000 mutant strains and then determine which of the organism’s genes are essential to its growth and survival. P. falciparum is responsible for about half of all malaria cases and 90 percent of all malaria deaths. New information about the parasite’s critical gene repertoire could help investigators prioritize targets for future antimalarial drug development.

  • NIH Statement on World Asthma Day 2018

    May 1, 2018

    On World Asthma Day 2018, the National Institutes of Health stands with people worldwide to renew our commitment to advance understanding of asthma and develop effective strategies to manage, treat and ultimately prevent the disease. A new three-minute NIH video provides a glimpse into the stories of patients and doctors who are working to advance research. Patients discuss the impact asthma has had on their lives, and investigators highlight promising areas of research and the critical role that clinical trial volunteers play in combatting the disease.  

April 2018

  • NIH Statement on World Malaria Day, April 25, 2018

    April 25, 2018

    Significant global progress has been made since 2000 to reduce the incidence and mortality of malaria. However, recent evidence suggests that the trend toward fewer malaria cases and deaths has stalled, or in some regions of the world, reversed course. As a global community, we cannot afford to cede the hard-fought gains in the battle to control and eliminate this devastating mosquito-borne disease.

  • NIH Study: No Chronic Wasting Disease Transmissibility in Macaques

    April 25, 2018

    Chronic wasting disease (CWD) did not cross the species barrier to infect cynomolgus macaque monkeys during a lengthy investigation by National Institutes of Health scientists exploring risks to humans. 

  • Epstein-Barr Virus Protein Can “Switch On” Risk Genes for Autoimmune Diseases

    April 16, 2018

    Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), the cause of infectious mononucleosis, has been associated with subsequent development of systemic lupus erythematosus and other chronic autoimmune illnesses, but the mechanisms behind this association have been unclear. Now, a novel computational method shows that a viral protein found in EBV-infected human cells may activate genes associated with increased risk for autoimmunity. Scientists supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases report their findings today in Nature Genetics.

  • Genetically Altered Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies Protect Monkeys from HIV-Like Virus

    April 16, 2018

    Two genetically modified broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) protected rhesus macaques from an HIV-like virus, report scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. After introducing genetic mutations into two potent HIV bNAbs, researchers prepared intravenous infusions of two bNAbs known as 3BNC117-LS and 10-1074-LS.

  • NIH Scientists Develop Macaque Model to Study Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever

    April 9, 2018

    Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a viral disease spread by ticks in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. Infection with CCHF virus is fatal in nearly one of every three cases. No specific treatments or vaccines for CCHF exist, primarily because a suitable animal model for studying the disease has not been available. Scientists have used mice to study CCHF but had to weaken their immune systems to cause infection. Studies in larger animals have not consistently replicated human disease.

  • Research Offers Clues for Improved Influenza Vaccine Design

    April 6, 2018

    Influenza vaccines that better target the influenza surface protein called neuraminidase (NA) could offer broad protection against various influenza virus strains and lessen the severity of illness, according to new research published in Cell. Current seasonal influenza vaccines mainly target a different, more abundant influenza surface protein called hemagglutinin (HA). However, because influenza vaccines offer varying and sometimes limited protection, scientists are exploring ways to improve vaccine effectiveness.

  • New Coronavirus Emerges From Bats in China, Devastates Young Swine

    April 4, 2018

    A newly identified coronavirus that killed nearly 25,000 piglets in 2016-17 in China emerged from horseshoe bats near the origin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which emerged in 2002 in the same bat species. The new virus is named swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV). It does not appear to infect people, unlike SARS-CoV which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774. No SARS-CoV cases have been identified since 2004. The study investigators identified SADS-CoV on four pig farms in China’s Guangdong Province.

March 2018

  • NIH Scientists Say Advanced Vaccines Could Limit Future Outbreaks

    March 22, 2018

    Novel vaccine technologies are critical to improving the public health response to infectious disease threats that continually emerge and re-emerge, according to scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. In a perspective in The Journal of the American Medical Association, the experts highlight innovations that could significantly shorten the typical decades-long vaccine development timeline.

  • NIH Statement on World Tuberculosis Day, March 24, 2018

    March 22, 2018

    In the 130 years since the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)—the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB)—at least 1 billion people have died from TB. That death toll is greater than the combined number of deaths from malaria, smallpox, HIV/AIDS, cholera, plague and influenza. Today, in commemoration of World TB Day, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), renews and reinvigorates its commitment to the research needed to end this ancient scourge. 

  • Islet Transplantation Improves Quality of Life for People with Hard-to-Control Type 1 Diabetes

    March 21, 2018

    Quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes who had frequent severe hypoglycemia—a potentially fatal low blood glucose (blood sugar) level—improved consistently and dramatically following transplantation of insulin-producing pancreatic islets, according to findings published online March 21 in Diabetes Care.

  • Newly Described Human Antibody Prevents Malaria in Mice

    March 19, 2018

    Scientists have discovered a human antibody that protected mice from infection with the deadliest malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. The research findings provide the basis for future testing in humans to determine if the antibody can provide short-term protection against malaria, and also may aid in vaccine design. Investigators at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, led the research with colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

  • H7N9 Influenza Vaccine Clinical Trials Begin

    March 15, 2018

    Two new clinical trials testing an experimental vaccine to prevent influenza caused by an H7N9 influenza virus are now enrolling volunteers at sites across the United States. The Phase 2 studies, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will test different dosages of the inactivated influenza vaccine candidate (called 2017 H7N9 IIV) as well as different vaccination schedules. The studies also will evaluate whether an adjuvant boosts the immune responses of people receiving the vaccine. 

  • NIH Scientists Describe Potential Antibody Approach for Treating Multidrug-Resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae

    March 13, 2018

    Researchers are developing a promising alternative to antibiotic treatment for infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. The approach uses antibodies to target the K. pneumoniae protective capsule polysaccharide, allowing immune system cells called neutrophils to attack and kill the bacteria. The early stage, in vitro research was conducted by scientists at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories and the New Jersey Medical School-Rutgers University.

  • NIH Experts Call for Transformative Research Approach to End Tuberculosis

    March 9, 2018

    A more intensive biomedical research approach is necessary to control and ultimately eliminate tuberculosis (TB), according to a perspective published in the March 2018 issue of The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. In the article, authors Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and Robert W.

  • NIAID Scientists Assess Transmission Risk of Familial Human Prion Diseases to Mice

    March 8, 2018

    Familial human prion diseases are passed within families and are associated with 34 known prion protein mutations. To determine whether three of the unstudied mutations are transmissible, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, exposed research mice to brain samples from three people who died from a familial prion disease. After observing the mice for about two years, they found two of the mutations, Y226X and G131V, are transmissible.

  • Monoclonal Antibodies Crucial to Fighting Emerging Infectious Diseases, Say NIAID Officials

    March 8, 2018

    Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)—preparations of a specific type of antibody designed to bind to a single target—have shown promise in the fight against cancer and autoimmune diseases. They also may play a critical role in future battles against emerging infectious disease outbreaks, according to a new article by scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

  • High Uptake and Use of Vaginal Ring for HIV Prevention Observed in Open-Label Study

    March 6, 2018

    Nearly 90 percent of participants in an open-label study of a vaginal ring infused with a drug to prevent HIV are using the monthly ring at least some of the time, according to an interim analysis of study data. In addition, the rate of HIV infection among participants in the open-label study, which has no placebo arm for comparison, is half of what might be expected in the absence of the ring, according to mathematical modeling that has significant limitations. 

  • One-Month Tuberculosis Prophylaxis as Effective as Nine-Month Regimen for People Living with HIV

    March 5, 2018

    A one-month antibiotic regimen to prevent active tuberculosis (TB) disease was at least as safe and effective as the standard nine-month therapy for people living with HIV, according to the results of a large international clinical trial. Adults and adolescents in the trial were more likely to complete the short-course regimen—consisting of daily doses of the antibiotics rifapentine and isoniazid for four weeks—than the standard nine-month regimen of daily isoniazid.

  • Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Treatment May Target Viral Reservoir in Monkeys

    March 4, 2018

    After receiving a course of antiretroviral therapy for their HIV-like infection, approximately half of a group of monkeys infused with a broadly neutralizing antibody to HIV combined with an immune stimulatory compound suppressed the virus for six months without additional treatment, according to scientists supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

February 2018

  • NIAID Unveils Strategic Plan for Developing a Universal Influenza Vaccine

    February 28, 2018

    Developing a universal influenza vaccine—a vaccine that can provide durable protection for all age groups against multiple influenza strains, including those that might cause a pandemic—is a priority for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. Writing in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, NIAID officials detail the institute’s new strategic plan for addressing the research areas essential to creating a safe and effective universal influenza vaccine.

  • U.S. Hospitals Testing Experimental Therapies to Prevent Two Common Bacterial Infections

    February 23, 2018

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is supporting U.S. clinical sites participating in two ongoing international Phase 2 clinical trials evaluating investigational antibody-based therapies aimed at preventing potentially antibiotic-resistant infections. By aligning the NIAID Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG) with a large international consortium leading the effort, the U.S. investigators hope to enroll 30 adult patients from 15 intensive care units in the trials.

  • NIH Study Will Assess Biomarker as Potential Indicator of Whether Lower Respiratory Tract Infections Improve with Antibacterial Treatment

    February 13, 2018

    A new clinical trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, aims to determine whether low blood levels of the protein procalcitonin can reliably indicate whether a person’s lower respiratory tract infection will improve with antibiotic treatment. 

  • NIH Scientists Adapt New Brain Disease Test for Parkinson’s, Dementia with Lewy Bodies

    February 9, 2018

    National Institutes of Health scientists developing a rapid, practical test for the early diagnosis of prion diseases have modified the assay to offer the possibility of improving early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. The group, led by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), tested 60 cerebral spinal fluid samples, including 12 from people with Parkinson’s disease, 17 from people with dementia with Lewy bodies, and 31 controls, including 16 of whom had Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Ebola Virus Infects Reproductive Organs in Monkeys

    February 8, 2018

    Ebola virus can infect the reproductive organs of male and female macaques, according to a study published in The American Journal of Pathology, suggesting that humans could be similarly infected. Prior studies of survivors of the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa have revealed sexual transmission of  Ebola virus, and that viral RNA (Ebola virus genetic material) can persist in semen following recovery.

January 2018

  • NIH Begins Large HIV Treatment Study in Pregnant Women

    January 24, 2018

    The National Institutes of Health has launched a large international study to compare the safety and efficacy of three antiretroviral treatment regimens for pregnant women living with HIV and the safety of these regimens for their infants. The study will evaluate the current preferred first-line regimen for pregnant women recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and two regimens containing newer antiretroviral drugs that are becoming more widely used.

  • Study Links Gut-Homing Protein Levels with HIV Infection Risk, Disease Progression

    January 24, 2018

    For the first time, scientists have shown a relationship between the proportion of key immune cells that display high levels of a gut-homing protein called alpha-4 beta-7 at the time of HIV infection and health outcomes. Previous research illustrated this relationship in monkeys infected with a simian form of HIV. 

  • 15 Years Later, PEPFAR Continues to Save Lives

    January 24, 2018

    Experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have penned a New England Journal of Medicine perspective recognizing the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for 15 years of implementing an innovative program to prevent, treat, and care for persons living with HIV and AIDS. The authors stress that continued support for the U.S.

  • Flu Infection Study Increases Understanding of Natural Immunity

    January 23, 2018

    People with higher levels of antibodies against the stem portion of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein have less viral shedding when they get the flu, but do not have fewer or less severe signs of illness, according to a new study published in mBio. HA sits on the surface of the influenza virus to help bind it to cells and features a head and stem region.

  • NIH Scientists Find Microbes on the Skin of Mice Promote Tissue Healing, Immunity

    January 18, 2018

    Beneficial bacteria on the skin of lab mice work with the animals’ immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research from scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. Researchers say untangling similar mechanisms in humans may improve approaches to managing skin wounds and treating other damaged tissues. The study was published online today in Cell.

  • NIH Study Supports Use of Short-Term HIV Treatment Interruption in Clinical Trials

    January 11, 2018

    A short-term pause in HIV treatment during a carefully monitored clinical trial does not lead to lasting expansion of the HIV reservoir nor cause irreversible damage to the immune system, new findings suggest. 

  • MERS Antibodies Produced in Cattle Safe, Treatment Well Tolerated in Phase 1 Trial

    January 9, 2018

    An experimental treatment developed from cattle plasma for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus infection shows broad potential, according to a small clinical trial led by National Institutes of Health scientists and their colleagues. The treatment, SAB-301, was safe and well tolerated by healthy volunteers, with only minor reactions documented.

  • Stem Cell Transplant for Severe Scleroderma Improves Survival, Quality of Life

    January 3, 2018

    New clinical trial findings show that a therapeutic regimen involving transplantation of a person’s own blood-forming stem cells can improve survival and quality of life for people with severe scleroderma, a life-threatening autoimmune disease. The regimen, known as myeloablative autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), includes chemotherapy and total body radiation to destroy the bone marrow followed by transplantation of the person’s own blood-forming stem cells to reconstitute the marrow and immune system.