Multiple Sclerosis Antibody May Be Linked to JC Virus Infection
Multiple sclerosis patients taking Natalizumab showed an increase in the number of cases of the neurodegenerative John Cunningham virus (JCV). JCV can cause a fatal brain disease. Natalizumab is a monoclonal antibody that prevents immune cells from entering the brain by targetting the alpha-4-integrin protein, and has shown strong benefits for multiple sclerosis patients. The problem discussed in this study explains that those with multiple sclerosis taking natalizumab had anti-JCV antibody titers at high levels, indicating a greater presence of the virus. This puts multiple sclerosis patients taking natulizumab at a higher risk of developing the brain disease. The author stated that it is important to understand that this is only a correlation, and must be further investigated before an interaction is confirmed.
Cross Reactive Antibodies Against Ebola
Scientists have isolated cross reactive anti-Ebola virus antibodies which have proven to work as an effective treatment in test species. The paper published in Cell explains that blood samples were taken from survivors of the 2007 Ebola outbreak. From these samples, seven antibodies able to neutralize 3 different species of Ebola were isolated. Of these seven, 2 of them proved to be effective treatments against Ebola virus in host mice. Moreover, when both cross reactive antibodies were tested simultaneously, host guinea pigs exhibited complete resistance to the Z. Ebola virus strain. While a typical vaccine will introduce a virus particle for your immune system so that it may “learn” to bind to it, this vaccine differs. Instead, this vaccine consists of antibodies which will readily bind to the active Ebola virus, allowing the immune system to attack as soon as the antibodies spread throughout the body. This makes the vaccine effective for active treatment of infected patients and as short term immunity for those working with the patients, but does not provide a long term resistance as many other vaccines are intended to do. This Ebola vaccine may prove to be an effective method of controlling infection in the future.
“Heroes of CRISPR” Patent Dispute
Cell Magazine recently published a paper by Eric Landler of the Broad Institue of MIT and Harvard titled “The Heroes of CRISPR” as a brief history of the important events leading to what we know about CRISPR today. Complications with the article’s publication began when Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkley commented on the PubMed article “the description of my lab’s research and our interactions with other investigators is factually incorrect, was not checked by the author and was not agreed to by me prior to publication,” on January 17th. Two days later, Emmanuelle Charpentier commented on the article as well, saying “the author did not ask me to check statements regarding me or my lab,” just as Doudna had reported. On top of these cases of poor fact checking, Landler also failed to report a potential conflict of interest. The Scientist published more on the discussion of The Heroes of CRISPR here.