Mosquito gut bacteria may inhibit malaria parasite, researchers say
BALTIMORE, Md. Bacteria in the gut of a mosquito may inhibit infection of Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria in humans, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Scientists with the Bloomberg School’s Malaria Research Institute found that removing these bacteria, or microbial flora, with antibiotics made the mosquitoes more susceptible to Plasmodium infection because of a lack of immune stimulation. Their study is published in the May 8, edition of the journal PLoS Pathogens.
“Our study suggests that the microbial flora of mosquitoes is stimulating immune activity that protects the mosquito from Plasmodium infection,” stated George Dimopoulos, senior author of the study and associate professor with Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “The same immune factors that are needed to control the mosquito’s infection from the microbes are also defending against the malaria parasite Plasmodium. … The interplay between bacteria and the mosquito’s immune system may have significant implications for the transmission of malaria in the field where mosquitoes may be exposed to different types of bacteria in different regions. Theoretically, these bacteria could be introduced to the mosquitoes to boost their immunity to the malaria parasite and make them resistant and incapable of spreading the disease. Our current research aims at identifying those bacteria that trigger the strongest mosquito immune defense against the malaria parasite.”
Malaria kills more than one million people worldwide each year; the majority of deaths are among children living in Africa.
FDA grants clearance of market, sale of new allergy-friendly latex condom
WILMINGTON, Del. Vystar and Alatech Healthcare on Friday announced that the Food and Drug Administration granted 510(k) clearance to market and sell Alatech’s Envy condom manufactured with Vytex Natural Rubber Latex.
The Envy condom will be the first consumer medical product available in the U.S. made from Vystar’s patented Vytex NRL, which has less than 2 micrograms/dm2, virtually undetectable levels, of the antigenic proteins that can cause an allergic response, while retaining and improving upon all the desirable qualities of latex.
The Envy condom will carry labeling that will reflect the lowest antigenic protein content currently available in a natural rubber latex medical device in the U.S. Natural rubber latex contains more than 200 proteins, similar to other natural plant materials, of which 13 are known allergens. The Vytex NRL process was created to significantly reduce these known proteins. Vystar’s business model is to assist all manufacturers in marketing the Vytex component of their products.
Alatech will market and sell the Envy NRL condom to retailers and through other distribution channels, and expects the product to be available to consumers in the coming months.
American Red Cross survey: Adults are worried about swine flu, taking precaution
WASHINGTON One-in-three Americans are worried about the H1N1 outbreak, but more than half of the people are paying extra attention to good hygiene and preparedness as a way of protecting themselves from the virus, according to a poll released Wednesday by the American Red Cross.
The survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, taken May 1 to 4, shows that four-out-of-five of those surveyed reported that they are following the flu story very or fairly closely, and 36% said they were either very worried (8%) or somewhat worried (28%) about this flu virus.
But the flu outbreak has prompted people to take more steps to prevent the spread of the virus, with 55% saying they are paying extra attention to proper hand washing; 48% covering their coughs more, and 41% disinfecting surfaces more. In addition, more than one in three have used hand sanitizers more and made an extra effort to avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes.
“This swine flu virus continues to have the potential to spread throughout the U.S.,” stated Scott Conner, SVP American Red Cross Preparedness and Health and Safety Services. “Families, businesses and organizations should continue to follow good public health practices and to review and update their preparedness plans. … Even if this version of the swine flu virus is not as dangerous as initially feared, public health officials worry that it could come back in a more severe form later this year. The Red Cross believes that prudent preparedness steps now can help keep families healthy throughout the year.”
The survey did show that 11% said someone in the household had gone to work or school when they had the seasonal flu, and 22% indicated that they have gone to school or work within five days of having flu symptoms.
Two-in-five are misguided about flu shots as 39% incorrectly believe that a seasonal flu shot offers some protection from H1N1.