Targeting NA to protect against lethal avian flu infection

Sohini Roy
January 22, 2020

Asian lineage avian influenza virus (H7N9) is a subtype of influenza virus that can infect humans following exposure to live, infected poultry. There have been several outbreaks since the first reported case in China in 2013, and the mortality rate is as high as 39 percent. Although person-to-person transmission of the virus is unlikely, influenza viruses are constantly evolving into new strains. Therefore, there is a constant threat of emergence of more pathogenic and resistant viruses with the ability to trigger a worldwide pandemic outbreak.

Genetically engineered mosquitoes resist spreading any form of dengue

Kelly Servick
January 16, 2020

Recover from dengue once, and you’re not necessarily free and clear. The mosquito-borne disease marked by fever, rash, and debilitating pain results from any of four genetically distinct versions of the dengue virus. Previously infected people who get hit with a second of these “serotypes” can face more severe, even life-threatening symptoms. Now, by endowing a line of mosquitoes with an antibody against the virus, researchers have for the first time made insects that—at least in lab tests—appear unable to spread any form of the disease.

Highly Cited Researchers 2019

January 6, 2020

According to a Web of Science analysis, Dr. Ivelin Georgiev is one of 2019's most cited researchers in the world!  This distinction recognizes researchers with multiple top 1% cited papers in their field.   Read more at bit.ly/33cN1zJ.    

Towards a universal flu vaccine

September 30, 2019

Flu shots can be hard to sell to the public. Even a run-of-the-mill influenza infection can be debilitating to otherwise healthy people, and lethal to those who are elderly or frail, so vaccinations are important. The problem is that flu vaccines deliver inconsistent performance. “In a good season, we’re up to 60% effectiveness, but in bad, mismatched years it can be as low as 10% or 20%,” says Barney Graham, deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center at the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Partnership to help bring Zika virus therapy to clinic

September 30, 2019

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are partnering with the Dutch biopharmaceutical firm Batavia Biosciences and Nashville-based IDBiologics to bring to the clinic a highly potent Zika virus neutralizing antibody they isolated three years ago. The mosquito-borne Zika virus is believed to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women. Currently there is no way to prevent Zika virus infection or its aftermath.

VUMC partners with Batavia to move promising Zika antibody therapy closer to the clinic

September 9, 2019

Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) are partnering with the Dutch biopharmaceutical firm Batavia Biosciences and Nashville-based IDBiologics to bring to the clinic a highly potent Zika virus neutralizing antibody they isolated three years ago. The mosquito-borne Zika virus is believed to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women. Currently there is no way to prevent Zika virus infection or its aftermath.

Laura Powell receives scholarship for the Keystone conference

March 20, 2019

Laura Powell has been awarded a Keystone Symposia Future of Science Fund scholarship to attend the upcoming meeting on Positive-Strand RNA Viruses, Jun 9 - Jun 13, 2019, in INEC, Killarney Convention Centre in Killarney, Co. Kerry.  Congrats Laura!

Can synthetic biology help Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers develop therapeutic antibodies in only 90 days?

March 11, 2019

It seems as though every year there is another story of a virus rampaging through Africa, Asia, or even the Americas. And each time another Ebola outbreak occurs or the flu virus mutates in surprising ways, the conversation about global pandemic preparedness is rekindled. Borders are closed. Flights and cruise ships are cancelled. Images of quarantine tents and healthcare workers in space-like suits fill the news outlets.

First RNA-Delivered Antibody Set to Enter Clinical Trials

February 21, 2019

A monoclonal antibody against the chikungunya virus developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the first monoclonal antibody encoded by messenger RNA to enter a clinical trial. Moderna Inc., a biotechnology firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that is focused on developing mRNA-based vaccines and therapeutics, announced the clinical trial earlier this month.