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December 2017

Zika Remains a Research and Public Health Challenge, Say NIAID Scientists

December 21, 2017

Since 2016, when Zika was declared by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency of international concern, the virus has become established in more than 80 countries, infected millions of people, and left many babies with birth defects (collectively called congenital Zika syndrome).

Omalizumab Improves Efficacy of Oral Immunotherapy for Multiple Food Allergies

December 11, 2017

Combining a 16-week initial course of the medication omalizumab with oral immunotherapy (OIT) greatly improves the efficacy of OIT for children with allergies to multiple foods, new clinical trial findings show. After 36 weeks, more than 80 percent of children who received omalizumab and OIT could safely consume two-gram portions of at least two foods to which they were allergic, compared with only a third of children who received placebo and OIT. 

Gene-Based Zika Vaccine is Safe and Immunogenic in Healthy Adults

December 04, 2017

Results from two Phase 1 clinical trials show an experimental Zika vaccine developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is safe and induces an immune response in healthy adults. The findings will be published on Dec. 4 in The Lancet. NIAID is currently leading an international effort to evaluate the investigational vaccine in a Phase 2/2b safety and efficacy trial.

A Zika virus researcher pipets samples at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center lab.

Trials Show Inactivated Zika Virus Vaccine Is Safe and Immunogenic

December 04, 2017

The investigational Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) vaccine was well-tolerated and induced an immune response in participants, according to initial results from three Phase 1 clinical trials. Scientists at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), part of the U.S. Department of Defense, are developing the vaccine as well as leading one of the trials. WRAIR also is co-funding the trials together with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The results will appear on Dec. 4 in The Lancet.

Zika virus particles

NIH Statement on World AIDS Day 2017

December 01, 2017

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Maureen M. Goodenow, Ph.D., Director, Office of AIDS Research

November 2017

NIH Launches HIV Prevention Trial of Long-Acting Injectable Medication in Sexually Active Women

November 30, 2017

The first large-scale clinical trial of a long-acting injectable medication for HIV prevention in sexually active women has begun. The study in southern and eastern Africa will examine whether a long-acting form of the investigational anti-HIV drug cabotegravir injected once every eight weeks can safely protect women at risk for HIV infection. The only drug regimen currently licensed for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is the anti-HIV medication Truvada taken daily as an oral tablet. The U.S.

NIH and Partners Launch HIV Vaccine Efficacy Study

November 30, 2017

The National Institutes of Health and partners have launched a large clinical trial to assess whether an experimental HIV vaccine regimen is safe and able to prevent HIV infection. The new Phase 2b proof-of-concept study, called Imbokodo, aims to enroll 2,600 HIV-negative women in sub-Saharan Africa. Of 1.8 million new HIV infections worldwide in 2016, 43 percent occurred in eastern and southern Africa, with women and girls disproportionately affected.

Combination HIV Prevention Reduces New Infections by 42 Percent in Ugandan District

November 29, 2017

A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine provides real-world evidence that implementing a combination of proven HIV prevention measures across communities can substantially reduce new HIV infections in a population.

Investigators found that HIV incidence dropped by 42 percent among nearly 18,000 people in Rakai District, Uganda, during a seven-year period in which the rates of HIV treatment and voluntary medical male circumcision increased significantly.

Research assistant draws blood from study participant for HIV testing

Fighting the Flu, Year after Year

November 29, 2017

A discussion of the vaccine challenges and opportunities that accompany the yearly fight against influenza from NIAID.

A person receives a flu shot

NIAID Scientists Link Cases of Unexplained Anaphylaxis to Red Meat Allergy

November 28, 2017

While rare, some people experience recurrent episodes of anaphylaxis—a life-threatening allergic reaction that causes symptoms such as the constriction of airways and a dangerous drop in blood pressure—for which the triggers are never identified. Recently, researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, found that some patients’ seemingly inexplicable anaphylaxis was actually caused by an uncommon allergy to a molecule found naturally in red meat.

An adult female Lone Star tick climbs on a plant. Bites from the juvenile form of this species, sometimes called seed ticks, are linked to the development of red meat allergy.

NIH Scientists and Collaborators Find Infectious Prion Protein in Skin of CJD Patients

November 22, 2017

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and collaborators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have detected abnormal prion protein in the skin of nearly two dozen people who died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). The scientists also exposed a dozen healthy mice to skin extracts from two of the CJD patients, and all developed prion disease.

 Brain of patient who died from sporadic sCJD appears nearly identical to brain of a mouse inoculated with infectious prions taken from the skin of patients who died from sCJD

Three Decades of Responding to Infectious Disease Outbreaks

November 14, 2017

Soon after his appointment in 1984 as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., testified before Congress showing a world map annotated with a single emerging infectious disease threat, HIV/AIDS.

Map showing global examples of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases

Cell Phone-Based Microscope Leads to Possible Strategy for Treating River Blindness

November 08, 2017

River blindness, or onchocerciasis, is a disease caused by a parasitic worm found primarily in Africa. The worm (Onchocerca volvulus) is transmitted to humans as immature larvae through bites of infected black flies. Symptoms of infection include intense itching and skin nodules. Left untreated, infections in the eye can cause vision impairment that leads to blindness. Mass distribution of ivermectin is currently used to treat onchocerciasis. However, this treatment can be fatal when a person has high blood levels of another filarial worm, Loa loa.

Adult Loa loa worm

October 2017

Experts Outline Pathway to a Universal Influenza Vaccine

October 17, 2017

Scientists and clinicians from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the California Institute of Technology discuss key considerations for developing a universal influenza vaccine in a meeting report appearing in the October 17 issue of Immunity. The report summarizes discussions from a workshop NIAID held June 28-29, 2017, in Rockville, Maryland, entitled, “Pathway to a Universal Influenza Vaccine.” The workshop brought together U.S.

H1N1 Influenza Virus Particles

Experimental Ebola Vaccines Elicit Year-Long Immune Response

October 11, 2017

NIH reports that a clinical trial in Liberia shows two candidate Ebola vaccines pose no major safety concerns and can elicit immune responses.

A volunteer receives an injection in the PREVAIL Ebola vaccine clinical trial in Liberia.

Durable End to the HIV/AIDS Pandemic Likely Will Require an HIV Vaccine

October 09, 2017

Despite remarkable gains in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection, development of an effective HIV vaccine likely will be necessary to achieve a durable end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. 

Monoclonal Antibodies Against Zika Show Promise in Monkey Study

October 05, 2017

Using blood samples from an individual previously infected with Zika virus, scientists funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, have developed an antibody-based Zika virus therapeutic that protected monkeys from infection.

Zika virus particles

Multiple Research Approaches Are Key to Pandemic Preparedness, NIAID Officials Say

October 04, 2017

Preparedness in the face of major disease outbreaks can save thousands of lives: Rapid deployment of effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines may even stop the disease from potentially exploding into a pandemic. A new article by Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues examines the multifaceted nature of effective preparedness and the particular role that biomedical research plays.

September 2017

Disease Resistance Successfully Spread from Modified to Wild Mosquitoes

September 28, 2017

Using genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to reduce or prevent the spread of infectious diseases is a new but rapidly expanding field of investigation. Among the challenges researchers face is ensuring that GM mosquitoes can compete and mate with their wild counterparts so the desired modification is preserved and spread in the wild population. Investigators at Johns Hopkins University have engineered GM mosquitoes to have an altered microbiota that suppresses human malaria-causing parasites.

Anopheles gambiae mosquito

Three-in-One Antibody Protects Monkeys from HIV-Like Virus

September 20, 2017

A three-pronged antibody made in the laboratory protected monkeys from infection with two strains of SHIV, a monkey form of HIV, better than individual natural antibodies from which the engineered antibody is derived, researchers report in Science today.

Diagram of the “three-in-one” HIV antibody. Each segment binds to a different critical site on the virus. 

Exposure to Pet and Pest Allergens During Infancy Linked to Reduced Asthma Risk

September 19, 2017

Children exposed to high indoor levels of pet or pest allergens during infancy have a lower risk of developing asthma by 7 years old, NIH research reveals.

Zika Virus Selectively Infects and Kills Glioblastoma Cells in Mice

September 05, 2017

The Zika virus (ZIKV) may infect and kill a specific type of brain cancer cells while leaving normal adult brain tissue minimally affected, according to a new study supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In the paper, published online on September 5 in The Journal of Experimental Medicine, researchers describe the impact of ZIKV on glioblastoma cells in both human tissue samples and mice.

Transmission electron microscope image of negative-stained, Fortaleza-strain Zika virus, isolated from a microcephaly case in Brazil

August 2017

NIAID Scientists Illuminate Mechanism of Increased Cardiovascular Risks with HIV

August 30, 2017

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have expanded the understanding of how chronic inflammation and persistent immune activation associated with HIV infection drive cardiovascular disease risk in people living with HIV. People living with HIV are up to twice as likely to experience heart attacks, strokes and other forms of cardiovascular disease as people who do not have the virus, even when HIV infection is well-controlled with the use of antiretroviral therapy. 

Scientists Develop Infection Model for Tick-borne Flaviviruses

August 22, 2017

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus.  Powassan virus was implicated in the death of a New York man earlier this year. The unusual model involves culturing organs taken from Ixodes scapularis ticks and then infecting those organ cultures with flaviviruses, according to researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Langat virus infection (bright green) in the tick midgut (black) is shown at six days after infection in this fluorescence image

NIH Herpesvirus Study in Mice Leads to Discovery of Potential Broad-Spectrum Antiviral

August 15, 2017

NIH scientists studying how EZH2/1 regulated herpes simplex virus infection unexpectedly found that inhibiting EZH2/1 suppressed viral infection.

Image of  herpes simplex virus infection being suppressed in cells