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Petitdemange C.,Paris-Sorbonne University | Wauquier N.,Paris-Sorbonne University | Wauquier N.,Metabiota | Vieillard V.,Paris-Sorbonne University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | Year: 2015

After several decades of epidemiologic silence, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has recently re-emerged, causing explosive outbreaks and reaching the 5 continents. Transmitted through the bite of Aedes species mosquitoes, CHIKV is responsible for an acute febrile illness accompanied by several characteristic symptoms, including cutaneous rash, myalgia, and arthralgia, with the latter sometimes persisting for months or years. Although CHIKV has previously been known as a relatively benign disease, more recent epidemic events have brought waves of increased morbidity and fatality, leading it to become a serious public health problem. The host's immune response plays a crucial role in controlling the infection, but it might also contribute to the promotion of viral spread and immunopathology. This review focuses on the immune responses to CHIKV in human subjects with an emphasis on early antiviral immune responses. We assess recent developments in the understanding of their possible Janus-faced effects in the control of viral infection and pathogenesis. Although preventive vaccination and specific therapies are yet to be developed, exploring this interesting model of virus-host interactions might have a strong effect on the design of novel therapeutic options to minimize immunopathology without impairing beneficial host defenses. © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Source

Le Flohic G.,Center International Of Recherches Medicales Of Franceville | Porphyre V.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Barbazan P.,Institute Of Recherche Pour Le Developpement | Gonzalez J.-P.,Center International Of Recherches Medicales Of Franceville | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2013

The Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), an arthropod-born Flavivirus, is the major cause of viral encephalitis, responsible for 10,000-15,000 deaths each year, yet is a neglected tropical disease. Since the JEV distribution area has been large and continuously extending toward new Asian and Australasian regions, it is considered an emerging and reemerging pathogen. Despite large effective immunization campaigns, Japanese encephalitis remains a disease of global health concern. JEV zoonotic transmission cycles may be either wild or domestic: the first involves wading birds as wild amplifying hosts; the second involves pigs as the main domestic amplifying hosts. Culex mosquito species, especially Cx. tritaeniorhynchus, are the main competent vectors. Although five JEV genotypes circulate, neither clear-cut genotype-phenotype relationship nor clear variations in genotype fitness to hosts or vectors have been identified. Instead, the molecular epidemiology appears highly dependent on vectors, hosts' biology, and on a set of environmental factors. At global scale, climate, land cover, and land use, otherwise strongly dependent on human activities, affect the abundance of JEV vectors, and of wild and domestic hosts. Chiefly, the increase of rice-cultivated surface, intensively used by wading birds, and of pig production in Asia has provided a high availability of resources to mosquito vectors, enhancing the JEV maintenance, amplification, and transmission. At fine scale, the characteristics (density, size, spatial arrangement) of three landscape elements (paddy fields, pig farms, human habitations) facilitate or impede movement of vectors, then determine how the JEV interacts with hosts and vectors and ultimately the infection risk to humans. If the JEV is introduced in a favorable landscape, either by live infected animals or by vectors, then the virus can emerge and become a major threat for human health. Multidisciplinary research is essential to shed light on the biological mechanisms involved in the emergence, spread, reemergence, and genotypic changes of JEV. © 2013 Le Flohic et al. Source

Schoepp R.J.,U.S. Army | Rossi C.A.,U.S. Army | Khan S.H.,Kenema Government Hospital | Goba A.,Kenema Government Hospital | Fair J.N.,Metabiota
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Sierra Leone in West Africa is in a Lassa fever- hyperendemic region that also includes Guinea and Liberia. Each year, suspected Lassa fever cases result in submission of ≈500-700 samples to the Kenema Government Hospital Lassa Diagnostic Laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone. Generally only 30%-40% of samples tested are positive for Lassa virus (LASV) antigen and/or LASVspecific IgM; thus, 60%-70% of these patients have acute diseases of unknown origin. To investigate what other arthropod- borne and hemorrhagic fever viral diseases might cause serious illness in this region and mimic Lassa fever, we tested patient serum samples that were negative for malaria parasites and LASV. Using IgM-capture ELISAs, we evaluated samples for antibodies to arthropod-borne and other hemorrhagic fever viruses. Approximately 25% of LASV-negative patients had IgM to dengue, West Nile, yellow fever, Rift Valley fever, chikungunya, Ebola, and Marburg viruses but not to Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. Source

News Article | January 20, 2015
Site: news.metabiota.com

Metabiota Pulls In $30 Million In Funding To Help Predict The Global Spread Of Disease Disease outbreak prediction startup Metabiota has raised $30 million in Series A funding to help build out its offerings to government organizations and insurers on a global scale. The San Francisco startup uses computer modeling to predict and prevent disease outbreaks in populations throughout the world, including Africa and Asia. It does this by collecting data from various communities and regional clinics to map out where a disease might strike next. Metabiota technology has played a fundamental role in helping the Sierra Leone government stem Ebola outbreaks in the country. READ MORE… A group of virus hunters in San Francisco may be closer to changing the way insurers, companies and countries deal with the risk of another Ebola outbreak. Their company, Metabiota Inc., uses a staff of epidemiologists and researchers in 20 countries to provide forecasts and data on outbreaks. Most of its clients are U.S. READ MORE… Mikiko Senga, a WHO epidemiologist specializing in emerging diseases was sent to Kenema, Sierra Leone in early June 2014 to gather data about the Ebola outbreak. There she found herself trying to make sense of information coming in a variety of ways, from bits of paper, blood samples, hospital records, and soon realised she was facing an outbreak about to catch fire. She called for help and, with colleagues who came to support her, set about developing ways to document and understand the size and nature of the Ebola outbreak racing through the district. Here is her story. Read More… Nathan Wolfe: On the Hunt for New Viruses Having spent years living in Africa, at times trekking through the forest to work with hunters exposed to animal diseases, he’s not particularly squeamish about being near dangerous viruses. “Most people who go into my business aren’t germaphobes,” he says with a laugh. Sitting at home in his colorful San Francisco living room, what most worries him are “the things that haven’t appeared yet,” he says. “If there was something that kept me up at night, it likely would be an agent that had the capacity to spread, with the symptoms only coming sometime later.” READ MORE… Five Year Final Report | UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine | One Health Institute The appearance and spread of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola virus disease (EVD), and pandemic influenza, have had profound global health impacts and adverse ramifications for human livelihoods and broader scale economics. The lives lost and financial consequences have illustrated our vulnerability to the emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases and the disappearing boundaries between the developing and developed world. READ MORE… Metabiota Awarded Funding By European Commission To Help in Fight Against Ebola SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ – Metabiota Inc., announced today that the European Commission (EC) has awarded funding to the Company to work with European and Canadian collaborators on an advanced project aimed at validating both a highly sensitive diagnostic test and an extremely promising treatment for Ebola virus disease (EVD), which will help decrease the number of deaths and prevent further spread of the disease. Funding is based on a grant through The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation - Horizon 2020, the largest EC Research and Innovation Programme, with nearly €80 billion of available funding over the next seven years. Metabiota is the first U.S. subcontractor to be selected by the EC for an important endeavor of this nature.  READ MORE… LONG BEFORE THE EBOLA OUTBREAK BEGAN, THE METABIOTA TEAM WAS THERE The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the first Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic of West Africa and is, historically, the largest outbreak, with more than 10,000 infected by the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone (according to the World Health Organization-WHO). To date, over 5,000 people have died, and the outbreak continues to grow at an alarming rate. READ MORE… The real way to control Ebola is to stop the fear and misunderstanding It was with heavy hearts that we learned Tuesday of the death of our colleague and friend Dr. Sheik Hummar Khan. Dr. Khan devoted his life to controlling hemorrhagic fever viruses, like the Ebola virus that brought his life to a brutally short end. His loss adds to the mounting numbers of our colleagues who have been taken by the current West African Ebola outbreak: Alex Moigboi, Iye Gborie, Mbalu Fonnie, Sahr Niokor. They were brave people who died in the service of their communities and their countries. Three other health workers are now positive for Ebola. We pray that they recover from this deadly disease.  Read More…

News Article | March 20, 2014
Site: venturebeat.com

Metabiota, a company that monitors viral disease threats around the world, just landed $2.38 million in funding, according to a recent SEC filing. The company, known by the more explicit name the Global Viral Forecasting Inc. until July 2012, was founded by Nathan Wolfe, a daring virologist who almost died of malaria collecting data in Africa. His audacity landed him on TIME magazine’s 2011 TIME 100 list. Wolfe’s company specializes in tracking global diseases on a microscopic level. Metabiota is led by doctors, medical researchers, and anthropologists; and the specialist influence is clear from the get-go. The company’s namesake is a microbiological term referring to a stable relationship between a group of hosts and the microbes that inhabit them. The health-tech company’s highest profile works include working with USAID on the PREDICT project alongside a consortium of other health organizations, using big data to seek out emerging diseases among animals in hopes of preventing their spread among humans after the outbreak of the H1N1 virus in 2009. As part of the PREDICT project, they also help to respond to outbreaks and educate residents in viral areas about the diseases they face. As health-related startups spring up left and right in personal fitness and chronic-disease tracking, Metabiota has carved out its niche by bringing big data analysis to the global health sector. This for-profit company also has a not-for-profit branch called Global Viral, which focuses on the education aspect of the organizations’ three-pronged approach to disease containment. Metabiota and Global Viral started out as a non-profit in 2008 with seed funding from Google and the Skoll Foundation. Currently, Metabiota has offices in San Francisco; Washington, D.C.; and Guangzhou, China, as well as outposts for data collection in other parts of Asia and Africa. Metabiota spokesperson Ash Casselman declined to comment on the funding.

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