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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - May 17, 2017) - VANC Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX VENTURE:VANC)(OTCQB:NUVPD) ("VANC" or the "Company"), a pharmaceutical company focused on the Canadian generic drug and over-the-counter (the "OTC") markets, announces today it has entered into a Canada-wide distribution agreement for INSTI® HIV-1/HIV-2 Antibody Test (INSTI). "We are very pleased to have acquired the Canadian distribution rights to INSTI," commented Bob Rai, CEO. "We are bringing to the pharmacist's counter a rapid (less than one minute) point-of-care diagnostic for HIV allowing customers to rapidly access their information and we will be working with provincial pharmacist associations to finalize pre and post-test counselling guidelines," concluded Mr. Rai. The INSTI® HIV-1/HIV-2 Antibody Test is a single use, rapid, flow-through in vitro qualitative immunoassay for the detection of antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 and Type 2 in human whole blood, finger stick blood, serum or plasma. The assay is packaged as a kit containing the test device and three solution bottles with support materials for finger stick collection (lancet, pipette and alcohol swab). "According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, one in five people whom are HIV positive are unaware of their status. Moreover with successful treatment available for HIV positive patients, diagnosis is the only barrier to both living a healthy life and preventing further spread of the virus," commented David Hall, Chairman of VANC. "We are delighted to be bringing the INSTI test to Canadians through the Canadian pharmacy industry. Ease of access to INSTI should lessen the number of undiagnosed HIV-positive patients in Canada," concluded Mr. Hall. "It is the stated goal of VANC to bring technology to the pharmacist's counter that directly benefit both the patient and the pharmacist's business", stated Bob Rai, CEO. "We believe that pharmacists are an underutilized part of the Canadian medical system and with a combination of technology, quality generic and over-the-counter medicines, VANC can help increase the utilization of Canadian pharmacists in our health care system. Access to tests like INSTI and our previously announced Health Tab acquisition are prime examples of our focus," concluded Mr. Rai. "As a pharmacist and current healthcare executive, Bob Rai has been an advocate for testing walk in customers with the INSTI HIV test and we are proud to support him and VANC in reaching populations that may not otherwise get tested. Pharmacist-led testing has proven to be an effective way for people to learn their HIV status and we believe VANC is well-equipped to distribute INSTI throughout Canada into this progressive segment of the market", stated Livleen Veslemes, bioLytical's Chief Operating Officer. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves VANC's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. VANC generally uses words such as "outlook," "will," "could," "would," "might," "remains," "to be," "plans," "believes," "may," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "estimate," "future," "plan," "positioned," "potential," "project," "remain," "scheduled," "set to," "subject to," "upcoming," and similar expressions to help identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to VANC as of the date of this release, and VANC assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of VANC and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves VANC's expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. VANC generally uses words such as "outlook," "will," "could," "would," "might," "remains," "to be," "plans," "believes," "may," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "estimate," "future," "plan," "positioned," "potential," "project," "remain," "scheduled," "set to," "subject to," "upcoming," and similar expressions to help identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to VANC as of the date of this release, and VANC assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of VANC and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond its control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

May 18, 2017 -- (BRONX, NY) -- After analyzing the blood of a survivor of the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak, a team of scientists from academia, industry and the government has discovered the first natural human antibodies that can neutralize and protect animals against all three major disease-causing ebolaviruses. The findings, published online today in the journal Cell, could lead to the first broadly effective ebolavirus therapies and vaccines. Ebolaviruses infections are usually severe, and often fatal. There are no vaccines or treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating these viruses. Some two dozen ebolavirus outbreaks have occurred since 1976, when the first outbreak was documented in villages along the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). The largest outbreak in history -- the 2013-16 Western African epidemic -- caused more than 11,000 deaths and infected more than 29,000 people. Monoclonal antibodies, which bind to and neutralize specific pathogens and toxins, have emerged as one of the most promising treatments for Ebola patients. A critical problem, however, is that most antibody therapies target just one specific ebolavirus. For example, the most advanced therapy -- ZMappTM, a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies -- is specific for Ebola virus (formerly known as "Ebola Zaire"), but doesn't work against two related ebolaviruses (Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus) that have also caused major outbreaks. "Since it's impossible to predict which of these agents will cause the next epidemic, it would be ideal to develop a single therapy that could treat or prevent infection caused by any known ebolavirus," says study co-leader Zachary A. Bornholdt, Ph.D., director of antibody discovery at Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. "Our discovery and characterization of broadly neutralizing human antibodies is an important step toward that goal," adds study co-leader, Kartik Chandran, Ph.D. , professor of microbiology & immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The study was also co-led by John M. Dye, Ph.D., chief of viral immunology at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). In earlier research, Dr. Bornholdt and Laura M. Walker, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Adimab, LLC, isolated 349 distinct monoclonal antibodies from a survivor of the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic. In the current study, the multi-institutional research team found that two of those 349 antibodies, known as ADI-15878 and ADI-15742, potently neutralized infection by all five known ebolaviruses in tissue culture. Both antibodies were able to protect animals (mice and ferrets) that had been exposed to a lethal dose of the three major agents: Ebola virus, Bundibugyo virus and Sudan virus. Follow-up studies showed that the two antibodies isolated from the Ebola patient work by interfering with a critical step in the process by which ebolaviruses infect cells and then multiply inside them. The two antibodies encounter the virus while it's still in the bloodstream, and bind to glycoproteins (proteins to which carbohydrate chains are attached) that project from its surface. The virus, with its hitchhiking antibodies still bound to it, then attaches to a cell and enters the lysosome -- a membrane-bound structure within the cell that is filled with enzymes for digesting foreign and cellular components. The virus must then fuse with the lysosome membrane to escape into the host cell's cytoplasm, where it can multiply. However, the antibodies prevent the virus from breaking out of its lysosomal "prison," thus stopping infection in its tracks. "Knowing precisely where the antibodies attach to the glycoprotein molecules and when and how they act to neutralize ebolaviruses, we can begin to craft broadly effective immunotherapies," says Dr. Dye. "That knowledge has already allowed us to create a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies that we are testing in larger animal models for possible use in treating infected patients," adds Dr. Bornholdt. The researchers also pinpointed the human genes that are the likely source of the immune cells that produce the two antibodies. These and other findings could help speed the development of vaccines to prevent ebolavirus infection. "We'd like to synthesize vaccine immunogens [proteins that trigger antibody production] that can elicit the same types of broadly protective antibodies in people," says Dr. Chandran. The study is titled "Antibodies from a human survivor define sites of vulnerability for broad protection against ebolaviruses." Other Einstein researchers include co-first author Anna Z. Wec, M.S., Elisabeth K. Nyakatura, Ph.D., Jens Maximilian Fels, Rohit K. Jangra, Ph.D., M.V.Sc., B.V.Sc. & A.H., and Jonathan R. Lai, Ph.D. Additional contributors are co-first author Andrew S. Herbert, Ph.D., Rebekah M. James, and Russell R. Bakken, of USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, MD; Shihua He, Ph.D., Marc-Antoine de La Vega, Wenjun Zhu, Ph.D., and Xiangguo Qiu, M.D., of National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada and University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada; Charles D. Murin, Ph.D., Hannah L. Turner, and Andrew B. Ward, Ph.D. of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA; Eileen Goodwin of Adimab, LLC, Lebanon, NH; and Dafna M. Abelson and Larry Zeitlin, Ph.D. of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., San Diego, CA. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (U19 AI109762), JSTO- Defense Threat Reduction Agency (CB4088 and HDTRA1-13-C-0018), and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The authors declare no financial conflicts of interest. Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Einstein is home to 717 M.D. students, 166 Ph.D. students, 103 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2016, Einstein received more than $160 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and view us on YouTube . Mapp Biopharmaceutical develops monoclonal antibody products for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, focusing on unmet needs in global health and biodefense. The company has advanced two anti-viral antibody-based therapeutics into clinical trials, including a Phase 2 trial of ZMappTM in patients with Ebola Virus Disease. For more information, visit http://www. About U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) USAMRIID's mission is to provide leading edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions-vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information-that benefit both military personnel and civilians. The Institute plays a key role as the lead military medical research laboratory for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. For more information, visit http://www. .


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Monoclonal antibodies, which bind to and neutralize specific pathogens and toxins, have emerged as one of the most promising treatments for Ebola patients. A critical problem, however, is that most antibody therapies target just one specific ebolavirus. For example, the most advanced therapy—ZMappTM, a cocktail of three monoclonal antibodies—is specific for Ebola virus (formerly known as "Ebola Zaire"), but doesn't work against two related ebolaviruses (Sudan virus and Bundibugyo virus) that have also caused major outbreaks. "Since it's impossible to predict which of these agents will cause the next epidemic, it would be ideal to develop a single therapy that could treat or prevent infection caused by any known ebolavirus," says study co-leader Zachary A. Bornholdt, Ph.D., director of antibody discovery at Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. "Our discovery and characterization of broadly neutralizing human antibodies is an important step toward that goal," adds study co-leader, Kartik Chandran, Ph.D., professor of microbiology & immunology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The study was also co-led by John M. Dye, Ph.D., chief of viral immunology at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). In earlier research, Dr. Bornholdt and Laura M. Walker, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Adimab, LLC, isolated 349 distinct monoclonal antibodies from a survivor of the 2013-16 Ebola epidemic. In the current study, the multi-institutional research team found that two of those 349 antibodies, known as ADI-15878 and ADI-15742, potently neutralized infection by all five known ebolaviruses in tissue culture. Both antibodies were also able to protect animals (mice and ferrets) that had been exposed to a lethal dose of the three major agents: Ebola virus, Bundibugyo virus and Sudan virus. Follow-up studies showed that the two antibodies isolated from the Ebola patient work by interfering with a critical step in the process by which ebolaviruses infect cells and then multiply inside them. The two antibodies encounter the virus while it's still in the bloodstream, and bind to glycoproteins (proteins to which carbohydrate chains are attached) that project from its surface. The virus, with its hitchhiking antibodies still bound to it, then attaches to a cell and enters the lysosome— a membrane-bound structure within the cell that is filled with enzymes for digesting foreign and cellular components. The virus must then fuse with the lysosome membrane to escape into the host cell's cytoplasm, where it can multiply. However, the antibodies prevent the virus from breaking out of its lysosomal "prison," thus stopping infection in its tracks. "Knowing precisely where the antibodies attach to the glycoprotein molecules and when and how they act to neutralize ebolaviruses, we can begin to craft broadly effective immunotherapies," says Dr. Dye. "That knowledge has already allowed us to create a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies that we are testing in larger animal models for possible use in treating infected patients," adds Dr. Bornholdt. Dr. Chandran explains more about the findings in this video at http://www.einstein.yu.edu/gadgets/video/dcpa/?video=kartik-chandran-ebola The researchers also pinpointed the human genes that are the likely source of the immune cells that produce the two antibodies. These and other findings could help speed the development of vaccines to prevent ebolavirus infection. "We'd like to synthesize vaccine immunogens [proteins that trigger antibody production] that can elicit the same types of broadly protective antibodies in people," says Dr. Chandran. The study is titled "Antibodies from a human survivor define sites of vulnerability for broad protection against ebolaviruses." Other Einstein researchers include co-first author Anna Z. Wec, M.S., Elisabeth K. Nyakatura, Ph.D., Jens Maximilian Fels, Rohit K. Jangra, Ph.D., M.V.Sc., B.V.Sc. & A.H., and Jonathan R. Lai, Ph.D. Additional contributors are co-first author Andrew S. Herbert, Ph.D., Rebekah M. James, and Russell R. Bakken, of USAMRIID, Fort Detrick, MD; Shihua He, Ph.D., Marc-Antoine de La Vega, Wenjun Zhu, Ph.D., and Xiangguo Qiu, M.D., of National Microbiology Laboratory, Public Health Agency of Canada and University of Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada; Charles D. Murin, Ph.D., Hannah L. Turner, and Andrew B. Ward, Ph.D. of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA; Eileen Goodwin of Adimab, LLC, Lebanon, NH; and Dafna M. Abelson and Larry Zeitlin, Ph.D. of Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., San Diego, CA. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (U19 AI109762), JSTO- Defense Threat Reduction Agency (CB4088 and HDTRA1-13-C-0018), and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The authors declare no financial conflicts of interest. Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Einstein is home to 717 M.D. students, 166 Ph.D. students, 103 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2016, Einstein received more than $160 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and view us on YouTube. Mapp Biopharmaceutical develops monoclonal antibody products for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, focusing on unmet needs in global health and biodefense. The company has advanced two anti-viral antibody-based therapeutics into clinical trials, including a Phase 2 trial of ZMappTM in patients with Ebola Virus Disease. For more information, visit www.mappbio.com About U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) USAMRIID's mission is to provide leading edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions-vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information-that benefit both military personnel and civilians. The Institute plays a key role as the lead military medical research laboratory for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. For more information, visit www.usamriid.army.mil To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/researchers-discover-first-human-antibodies-that-work-against-all-ebolaviruses-300460154.html


The team of investigators immunized a macaque with a special cocktail of engineered proteins mimicking the surface glycoproteins of ebolaviruses to induce broadly protective responses.  The scientists then screened immune cells of the vaccinated animal to specifically isolate those monoclonal antibodies that reacted to multiple ebolaviruses.  After searching through millions of immune cells, a cross-reactive antibody (CA45) was isolated that was able to neutralize cellular infection by all pathogenic ebolaviruses. CA45, when given to already infected rodents at the peak of their disease, was able to protect the animals from the otherwise lethal infection.  The scientists then combined CA45 with another antibody they discovered previously and demonstrated that the combination showed superior activity, protecting mice, guinea pigs and ferrets from infections with Ebola, Sudan, and Bundibugyo viruses with almost no sign of disease. This is the first time a therapeutic agent has been able to fully protect animals against all three pathogenic ebolaviruses. The glycoprotein (GP) on the surface of the ebolavirus is responsible for entry into the cells.  The entry process involves first interaction with the cell surface followed by transport to specialized cellular compartments called endosomes where GP interacts with its cellular receptor.  Finally the GP mediates the last step of entry, the fusion of the viral and endosomal membrane that allows the virus to release its content into the cells.  Using a variety of methods the team identified the specific region of ebolavirus GP that is attacked by CA45.  This region is within the so-called fusion loop that mediates fusion of the viral and endosomal membrane.  The site attacked by CA45 has a remarkably similar structure in the GP of various ebolaviruses, explaining its ability to cross protect against multiple viruses.  Recently similar broadly neutralizing antibodies targeting the fusion domain of HIV and influenza have been discovered indicating that this region is a key site of vulnerability for these viruses. The fact that such a broadly protective antibody was elicited by immunization with an engineered vaccine suggests the feasibility of developing a vaccine protective against multiple ebolaviruses.  "With every new antibody we learn a little more about this virus and how it can be attacked," says Dr. M. Javad Aman of Integrated BioTherapeutics and a senior author on the paper.  He went on to say "We are carefully analyzing this information to devise strategies to make a single vaccine effective against all ebolaviruses-- such a vaccine may be entirely within reach now." "We are on our way to designing novel vaccines and immunotherapeutics for broader protection against all pathogenic ebolaviruses, with the insights we have been gaining," says Dr. Yuxing Li, Associate Professor of IBBR and the co-corresponding author of the paper. The paper is titled "Immunization-elicited Broadly Protective Antibody Reveals Ebolavirus Fusion Loop as a Site of Vulnerability." In addition to Drs. Li and Aman and the co-first authors Drs. Xuelian Zhao and Katie A. Howell, contributors include Shihua He, Jennifer M. Brannan, Anna Z. Wec, Edgar Davidson, Hannah L. Turner, Chi-I Chiang, Lin Lei, J. Maximilian Fels, Hong Vu, Sergey Shulenin, Ashley N. Turonis, Ana I. Kuehne, Guodong Liu, Mi Ta, Yimeng Wang, Christopher Sundling, Yongli Xiao, Jennifer S. Spence, Benjamin J. Doranz, Frederick W. Holtsberg, Andrew B. Ward, Kartik Chandran, John M. Dye, and Xiangguo Qiu. This work was supported by a contract (HDTRA1-13-C-0015) from US Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and NIAID/NIH grants R43AI124765, R01AI126587, U19AI109762, Intramural Research Award from IBBR, University of Maryland, NIAID contract HHSN272201400058C, JSTO-DTRA project CB4077, and also partially supported by Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). IBT is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery of novel vaccines and therapies for emerging infectious diseases with a pipeline that includes promising product candidates for bacterial and viral infections including unique pan-filovirus immunotherapeutics and vaccines, vaccines for Staphylococcal infections, and a variety of other product candidates for emerging viruses.  Located in Rockville, MD, IBT has a close working relationship with United States Government agencies including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH). National Cancer Research Institute (NCI), Department of Defense (DOD), United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infection Diseases (USAMRIID) as well as many biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and academic laboratories.  For more information, visit www.integratedbiotherapeutics.com. About the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) IBBR is a University System of Maryland joint research enterprise among the University of Maryland College Park, the University of Maryland Baltimore, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.  With a long-standing scientific focus on structure-function relationships of biomolecules, genetic systems, and applications, e.g., vaccines, therapeutics, drug delivery technologies, and biomanufacturing, IBBR's mission is to leverage its unique capabilities and infrastructure to marshal innovative technologies and expertise across its partnering institutions, to foster integrated, cross-disciplinary team approaches to scientific research and education, and to pursue translational programs and projects aimed at advancing innovations to commercialization in real world applications. The Institute also serves to expand the economic base of science and technology in the state of Maryland and at the national level. For more information visit http://www.ibbr.umd.edu/ USAMRIID's mission is to provide leading edge medical capabilities to deter and defend against current and emerging biological threat agents. Research conducted at USAMRIID leads to medical solutions-vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information-that benefit both military personnel and civilians. The Institute plays a key role as the lead military medical research laboratory for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Joint Science and Technology Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. USAMRIID is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. For more information, visit www.usamriid.army.mil Albert Einstein College of Medicine is one of the nation's premier centers for research, medical education and clinical investigation. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Einstein is home to 717 M.D. students, 166 Ph.D. students, 103 students in the combined M.D./Ph.D. program, and 278 postdoctoral research fellows. The College of Medicine has more than 1,900 full-time faculty members located on the main campus and at its clinical affiliates. In 2016, Einstein received more than $160 million in awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes the funding of major research centers at Einstein in aging, intellectual development disorders, diabetes, cancer, clinical and translational research, liver disease, and AIDS. Other areas where the College of Medicine is concentrating its efforts include developmental brain research, neuroscience, cardiac disease, and initiatives to reduce and eliminate ethnic and racial health disparities. Its partnership with Montefiore, the University Hospital and academic medical center for Einstein, advances clinical and translational research to accelerate the pace at which new discoveries become the treatments and therapies that benefit patients. Einstein runs one of the largest residency and fellowship training programs in the medical and dental professions in the United States through Montefiore and an affiliation network involving hospitals and medical centers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and on Long Island. For more information, please visit www.einstein.yu.edu. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/immunization-elicited-antibody-shows-universal-protection-against-multiple-ebolaviruses-300459398.html


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has awarded a new CA$3.99 million grant to Gary Kobinger of Université Laval for work on a vaccine to prevent HIV infection. This three-year grant supports a scientific collaboration between Kobinger and the Design and Development Lab, a state-of-the-art research facility in Brooklyn, New York, operated by the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). Led by Kobinger and IAVI's Chris Parks, the respective Canadian and U.S. research teams aim to improve upon a promising HIV vaccine candidate designed by Parks, with the goal of advancing the candidate to clinical testing in human volunteers. "We are encouraged by this support of Gary Kobinger's work and the prospects of his collaboration with IAVI's Design and Development Lab," said Mark Feinberg, IAVI CEO. "The innovative work of the Kobinger lab provides a great illustration of how creative and insightful science can advance the global response to emerging infectious diseases, and exemplifies ways in which the benefits of research progress in one disease area can be translated to another, in this case, from an understanding of how to develop an effective Ebola vaccine to the ongoing search for an AIDS vaccine." Using a modified animal virus called Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) that does not cause disease in humans, the IAVI vaccine candidate delivers copies of a protein taken from HIV's surface. Once inside the body, the protein stimulates protective immune defenses against HIV infection. Studies in animals to date have yielded encouraging results. Kobinger's team will further modify the IAVI candidate vaccine for greater efficacy and clinical testing. An expert in the Ebola virus, Kobinger helped develop the Ebola (rVSV-ZEBOV) vaccine, which to date has proven the most effective at preventing Ebola infection, and which also uses a VSV backbone. "While there is still much work to be done, progress is being made towards finding a vaccine that will protect and eventually eliminate HIV/AIDS, one of the most serious health threats of our time," said Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director, Institute of Infection and Immunity, CIHR. In 2016, more than 2 million people were newly infected with HIV around the world. Though antiretroviral treatment has prolonged life for millions, scientists concur that discovering a vaccine against HIV is the only way to end the AIDS epidemic. By combining their expertise, CIHR and IAVI hope to advance the field of HIV vaccine discovery and to build a more efficient vaccine-development model that can potentially be replicated in other disease areas. Gary Kobinger is world-renowned for his work on the Ebola vaccine and treatment of those affected by the disease. More recently, while Chief of Special Pathogens with the Public Health Agency of Canada's microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg, Kobinger garnered international attention for his efforts to develop a treatment and vaccine against the Zika virus. ABOUT IAVI: Founded in 1996, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) is a nonprofit organization working to accelerate development of broadly effective AIDS vaccines accessible to all. IAVI works with partners in 25 countries to research, design and develop promising vaccine candidates. We collaborate with governments, partner with pharmaceutical and bio-tech companies, universities, hospitals and civil society organizations, and conduct and support research in North America, Europe, Africa, and India. We strengthen the expertise and infrastructure to fight HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicenter of today's epidemic. And we advocate for policies, financing and environments that drive the fastest possible development of AIDS vaccines. Our vision is a world without AIDS, and that world has a vaccine. IAVI's work is made possible by generous support from many donors including: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark; Irish Aid; the Ministry of Finance of Japan in partnership with The World Bank; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands; the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD); the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The full list of IAVI donors is available at http://www. .


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.sciencemag.org

It might all just be a big coincidence. But scientists and public health officials are investigating whether pigs are somehow involved in the Ebola outbreak now underway in a remote region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). If so, it would add a new—but not totally unexpected—chapter to the virus's turbulent history. Scientists' interest stems from two data points. An epidemiological investigation has indicated that the first person to fall sick was a hunter who had come into contact with a wild boar carcass. And 84 pigs have recently died in eight villages in Nambwa, the epicenter of the current outbreak, according to a report issued yesterday by the DRC's Ministry of Health. Researchers have taken samples from those animals, according to the report, which says a "protocol for investigation of unusual deaths reported in pigs is under development.” “I’m doubtful that the pigs actually carry Ebola, but we have to test them,” says epidemiologist Fabian Leendertz of the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, who has been consulted by the Institute of National Biomedical Research in Kinshasa about the potential link. Indeed, pigs in the DRC frequently die from other pathogens; the country often has outbreaks of African swine fever, which has a very high mortality rate. “Ebola is not even the prime suspect,” says Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist from the University of California, Los Angeles, who has worked in the DRC for 15 years and is there now. Still, a role for pigs would not come as a complete scientific shock. In 2009, researchers reported in Science that they had isolated an Ebola strain called Reston from pigs in the Philippines that were suffering from a severe respiratory syndrome. Ebola Reston has never been found to cause human disease, but the study found that some pig farmers had antibodies to the virus as well, suggesting that they had been in contact with it. In 2011, a team by virologist Gary Kobinger of the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg reported that Ebola Zaire—the strain implicated in the current outbreak as well as the massive West African epidemic—could sicken pigs in the lab as well, and that the virus transmitted easily between pigs housed in the same cubicle. "This observation raises the possibility that pigs are capable of shedding relatively high viral loads into the environment," the researchers wrote. A year later, the group reported that pigs could also pass on Ebola Zaire to monkeys through aerosol. That suggested they might be able to transmit it to humans as well—but nobody knows if that has ever happened. Most Ebola outbreaks are believed to start when a human comes into contact with a bat or a primate infected with the virus. The Ministry of Health (MoH) report notes that Kobinger has arrived in the country with “new reagents.” ScienceInsider could not reach Kobinger for comment. If so many pigs in the Nambwa area were infected with Ebola, you'd expect to see more human cases, says Vincent Munster, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Hamilton, Montana, who's also preparing a mission to the DRC. "That said, one needs to remain open," Munster says. "This surely warrants a more thorough investigation." The first patient or "index case" was a hunter aged 45 who died; his case has been confirmed as Ebola. Both Leendertz and Rimoin say they were told that he had contact with a boar before falling ill. But Rimoin stresses that he may have been in contact with other species as well. Wild pigs are scavengers, and one possibility is that a wild boar was infected through contact with an ape carcass and passed the infection on to the hunter, Leendertz says. Domestic pigs might then have picked up the infection from humans. That is at least as likely as the opposite possibility: that Ebola has spread in domestic pigs and the animals passed it on to humans. “You can still draw the arrows in either direction,” Leendertz says. To find a "smoking gun” that links pigs to this outbreak, Rimoin says, researchers would need to find Ebola viruses in pigs and show that the genetic sequence closely matched the one in humans. No virus has yet been sequenced from the two confirmed human cases. The outbreak is in Bas-Uélé province in the northeast of the country; investigating it has been very difficult because the area is so remote. Only two of several dozen human samples so far have tested positive for the virus, and no healthcare workers have fallen ill—which is odd in Ebola outbreaks. There are currently three "probable" and 37 "suspected" cases in seven villages, and four apparently related deaths. Nearly 300 contacts of cases are being monitored. Meanwhile, an ethics committee in the DRC yesterday approved a clinical study of an Ebola vaccine that might be able to end the outbreak more quickly. The vaccine, produced by Merck, showed promising results during the epidemic in a Guinea study, but remains unlicensed, which is why it can only be used in a formal trial. If the DRC government decides to deploy the vaccine—in addition to standard containment efforts already underway—the trial will be run jointly by MoH and Epicentre, the research arm of Doctors Without Borders.


News Article | June 1, 2017
Site: www.sciencenews.org

Bacteria in the vagina affect whether a drug stops an HIV infection or is itself stopped cold. A vaginal gel containing tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug used to treat HIV infection, was three times as effective at preventing HIV in women who had healthy vaginal bacterial communities as it was in women with a less beneficial mix. The finding may help explain why the effectiveness of these gels has varied in trials, researchers report in the June 2 Science. “The vaginal microbiota is yet another variable that we have to take into account when we are thinking about why one intervention does or doesn’t work,” says clinical scientist Khalil Ghanem of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who coauthored a commentary accompanying the study. For women, one strategy to prevent HIV infection is to apply medicated vaginal gels before and after sex. But results have been mixed regarding how well the gels work. The hit-or-miss effectiveness can partly be explained by some patients not taking the medication as prescribed. But study coauthor Adam Burgener, a microbiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada in Winnipeg, wondered if there might also be a biological explanation. The main residents of a healthy vaginal microbial community, or microbiota, are Lactobacillus species. The bacteria produce lactic acid, making the vaginal tract more acidic and possibly “less hospitable for potential pathogenic organisms,” Ghanem says. To examine the effect of the vaginal microbiota on tenofovir, Burgener and colleagues turned to a previous trial of South African women, which showed that the drug reduced HIV infections by 39 percent. During that trial, samples of vaginal mucus were taken. In the new study, the researchers measured bacterial proteins in 688 of those samples to determine the bacteria in the women’s vaginas when the samples were collected. Just over 400 women’s vaginal microbiota mainly had Lactobacillus species; the microbiota of the other 281 women were dominated by non-Lactobacillus species, such as Gardnerella vaginalis. Within those two groups were women who had used tenofovir vaginal gel and those who had used a non-medicated gel as a placebo. In the Lactobacillus-dominant group, the incidence of HIV was 61 percent lower in women using the medicated gel compared with those using the placebo gel. But in the non-Lactobacillus dominant group, it was only 18 percent lower. There was no appreciable difference in the consistency of the gel’s reported use between the two groups, the researchers note. “Women with Lactobacillus had three times more protection offered by the gel,” Burgener says. “That’s a pretty remarkable difference in the efficacy of a drug.” Looking at a random subset of 270 of the samples, the researchers found that the vaginal gel drug levels were lower in the mucus from the non-Lactobacillus group. So, in a test tube, they mixed a laboratory strain of G. vaginalis with tenofovir. After four hours, the amount of tenofovir in the tube had decreased by 50 percent. In a similar experiment with two Lactobacillus species, the amount of the drug remained about the same. It appears that the G. vaginalis bacteria “gobbled up the drug and depleted it,” Burgener says. It’s known that microbes in the gut can impact the metabolism of medications, says clinical scientist and commentary coauthor Susan Tuddenham of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “This study tells us that when we are thinking about vaginally delivered medications, we may need to think about the vaginal microbiome as well.” The work also shows that women closely following directions for vaginal medications “could be doing everything right and still not getting the full benefit of that medication,” Ghanem says.


Pelletier C.,Public Health Agency of Canada
Chronic diseases and injuries in Canada | Year: 2012

"Diabetes in Canada: facts and figures from a public health perspective" is the first comprehensive diabetes surveillance report published by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The report aims to support public health professionals and organizations in developing effective, evidence-based public health policies and programs to prevent and manage diabetes and its complications. The report, developed in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, the Canadian Diabetes Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, CNIB, Health Canada and the academic community, uses data from national health surveys and vital statistics, as well as population-based administrative data from the Canadian Chronic Disease Surveillance System (CCDSS). For the first time, the CCDSS contains data from all 13 Canadian jurisdictions. Using CCDSS data representing cases of diagnosed diabetes among Canadians aged one year and older, Diabetes in Canada presents prevalence and incidence national rates from the fiscal year 2008/2009 and national trends from 1998/1999 onwards. The report also outlines sub-populations at higher risk, ways of reducing the risks of developing the disease and its complications, and estimates of related economic costs. In addition, it contains sections on specific populations, including children and youth and First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.


Four authoritative reviews of active smoking and breast cancer have been published since 2000, but only one considered data after 2002 and conclusions varied. Three reviews of secondhand smoke (SHS) and breast cancer (2004-2006) each came to different conclusions. With 30 new studies since 2002, further review was deemed desirable. An Expert Panel was convened by four Canadian agencies, the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to comprehensively examine the weight of evidence from epidemiological and toxicological studies and understanding of biological mechanisms regarding the relationship between tobacco smoke and breast cancer. This article summarises the panel's full report (http://www.otru.org/pdf/special/expert_panel_tobacco_breast_cancer.pdf). There are 20 known or suspected mammary carcinogens in tobacco smoke, and recognised biological mechanisms that explain how exposure to these carcinogens could lead to breast cancer. Results from the nine cohort studies reporting exposure metrics more detailed than ever/never and ex/current smoker show that early age of smoking commencement, higher pack-years and longer duration of smoking increase breast cancer risk 15% to 40%. Three meta-analyses report 35% to 50% increases in breast cancer risk for long-term smokers with N-acetyltransferase 2 gene (NAT2) slow acetylation genotypes. The active smoking evidence bolsters support for three meta-analyses that each reported about a 65% increase in premenopausal breast cancer risk among never smokers exposed to SHS. The Panel concluded that: 1) the association between active smoking and breast cancer is consistent with causality and 2) the association between SHS and breast cancer among younger, primarily premenopausal women who have never smoked is consistent with causality.


Ulanova M.,Lakehead University | Tsang R.S.W.,Public Health Agency of Canada
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Haemophilus influenzae, particularly H influenzae serotype b (Hib), is an important pathogen that causes serious diseases like meningitis and septicaemia. Since the introduction of Hib conjugate vaccines in the 1990s, the epidemiology of invasive H influenzae disease has changed substantially, with most infections now caused by non-Hib strains. We discuss the importance of H influenzae serotype a (Hia) as a cause of serious morbidity and mortality and its global epidemiology, clinical presentation, microbiology, immunology, prevention, and control. Much like Hib, the capsule of Hia is an important virulence factor contributing to the development of invasive disease. Molecular typing of Hia has identified distinct clonal groups, with some linked to severe disease and high case-fatality rates. Similarities between Hia and Hib capsules, their clinical presentation, and immunology of infection suggest that a bivalent Hia-Hib capsular polysaccharide-protein conjugate vaccine could offer protection against these two important serotypes of H influenzae. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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