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News - 2015

Researchers propose a better method for selecting yearly flu vaccine
UTMB Newsroom, Dec. 21, 2015

A team of experts, including scientists from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, is proposing a more effective way of selecting the seasonal influenza vaccine and has potentially identified a novel influenza virus.

In a paper published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Microbiology a multidisciplinary team argues a new bioinformatics approach could be a better tool for selecting the needed flu vaccines than the currently used physlogenetic analyses based on homology. This type of analysis looks at genetic changes of closely related influenza strains and is currently used to monitor virus evolution.

UTMB researchers help discover simple, affordable diagnostic kit for chikungunya
UTMB Newsroom, Oct. 26, 2015

A novel and affordable diagnostic test for chikungunya will soon be available thanks to the work of researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in partnership with a commercial lab. Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne illness that while not often deadly causes severe, incapacitating and often chronic joint pain, is spreading throughout the Americas. It can be difficult to diagnose and most tests available now are expensive and challenging to develop.

Chikungunya is moving fast, but so are researchers in the field
UTMB Newsroom, Oct. 15, 2015

Chikungunya is quickly spreading throughout the world. This article describes the wealth of knowledge that researchers have gained about chikungunya. The article highlights the promising vaccines against chikungunya infection that UTMB’s Scott Weaver is developing.

UTMB researchers devise vaccine that provides long-term protection against Chagas disease
UTMB Newsroom, May 7, 2015

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have successfully tested a vaccine for Chagas disease, which is widespread in Latin America but is beginning to show up in the U.S. – including the Houston area.

The UTMB researchers have published the first report demonstrating that a prospective vaccine against T. cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease, can provide long-lasting immunity in an animal model. These findings are published in the May 7 edition of PLOS Pathogens.

UTMB researchers develop Ebola treatment effective three days after infection
UTMB Newsroom, May 7, 2015

Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., have successfully developed a post-exposure treatment that is effective against a specific strain of the Ebola virus that killed thousands of people in West Africa.

The study results, in the April 22 edition of the journal Nature, demonstrated that the treatment is the first to be shown effective against the new Makona outbreak strain of Ebola in animals that were infected with the virus and exhibited symptoms of the disease.

As Ebola epidemic begins to slow, trials of drugs and vaccines speed up
JAMA, Feb. 11, 2015

As local and international public health officials work to end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, efforts to develop therapies and vaccines against the virus are ramping up. The ongoing epidemic has sparked an unprecedented level of multinational cooperation to speed clinical trials of potential therapeutics and vaccines. Several interventions for Ebola currently entering early-phase clinical trials were developed years ago, said UTMB’s Thomas Geisbert. But until the current large-scale, multicountry outbreak that began in 2013, there wasn’t a sense of urgency or much funding for clinical trials. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Geisbert. “It really was the outbreak that pushed things to the forefront.”