Tagged: WCG Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 1:02 pm on September 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , New science, WCG   

    From WCG: “Supercharging Environmental and Climate Change Research” 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)

    10 Jul 2017 {Just popped up in social media.]

    Summary
    IBM invites scientists to apply for grants of supercomputing power through World Community Grid, meteorological data from The Weather Company, and IBM Cloud storage to support their environmental and climate change research projects.

    World Community Grid supports research that tackles our planet’s most pressing challenges, including environmental issues. That’s why we’re pleased to announce a new partnership with The Weather Company (an IBM business) and IBM Cloud to provide free technology and data for environmental and climate change projects.

    Environmental scientists have long been warning the public about the effects of climate change, and many researchers attribute events such as this summer’s record temperatures in western Europe and the worst drought since the 1940s in parts of Africa to climate change caused by humankind’s activities. The future consequences of climate change could include rising sea levels, potential crop loss, and harsh economic consequences throughout the world. And as funding for scientific research shrinks in many countries, the gap between what scientists must discover–how to mitigate or adapt to climate change–and their resources for such discovery is growing ever wider.

    Thanks to the contributions of volunteers all over the globe, World Community Grid is ready to address that gap. Since 2004, our research partners have completed the equivalent of thousands of years of work in just a few years, including enabling advances in environmental science.

    For example, scientists at Harvard University used World Community Grid to run the Clean Energy Project [see below], the world’s largest quantum chemistry experiment with the goal of identifying new materials for solar energy. In just a few years, they analyzed millions of chemical compounds to predict their efficiency at converting sunlight into electricity. Their discovery of thousands of promising compounds could advance the development of cheap, flexible solar cell materials that we hope will be used worldwide to reduce carbon emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change.

    Other environmental research projects conducted with help from World Community Grid have included new water filtration technology [see below], watershed preservation and crop sustainability.

    That’s why we’re pleased to announce that IBM is inviting scientists around the world to apply for grants of supercomputing power from World Community Grid, meteorological data from The Weather Company, and IBM Cloud storage to support their climate change or environmental research projects. Up to five of the most promising environmental and climate-related research projects will be supported. This support, technology, and data can support many potential areas of inquiry, such as impacts on fresh water resources, predicting migration patterns, and developing models to improve crop resilience.

    Proposals for projects will be evaluated for scientific merit, potential to contribute to the global community’s understanding of specific climate and environmental challenges and development of effective strategies to mitigate them, and the capacity of the research team to manage a sustained research project. And like all other World Community Grid projects, researchers who receive these resources must agree to abide by our open data policy by publicly releasing the data from their collaboration with us.

    Scientists from around the world can apply at http://climate.worldcommunitygrid.org, with a first round deadline of September 15.

    There’s still time to mitigate or adapt to the effects of climate change, and scientific research will continue to play a crucial role in how our planet addresses this crisis. We hope you will join us by giving your computers the ability to work around the clock for science.

    Scientists Apply Here.

    See the full article here.

    Ways to access the blog:
    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com
    http://facebook.com/sciencesprings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

    Advertisements
     
  • richardmitnick 2:30 pm on August 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Digital Trends, WCG   

    From Digital Trends via WCG: “Lend researchers computing power and they’ll use it to study your microbiome” 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)

    1

    Digital Trends

    2
    No image caption or credit

    Conducting millions of experiments in the name of science takes a lot of processing power, but little old you can actually contribute.

    Who better to study what lives inside you than, well, you? IBM certainly agrees, and now, the company has teamed up with the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, Massachusetts General Hospital, the University of California San Diego, and the Flatiron Institute to form the Microbiome Immunity Project. It’s described as an IBM-facilitated citizen science project that will take advantage of the “surplus processing power on volunteers’ computers to conduct millions of virtual experiments on behalf of the researchers.” The goal? To map the three million bacterial genes found in your microbiome — which is to say, the bacteria that lives in and on you.

    The hope is that this collective science experiment will help scientists gain a deeper understanding of the microbiome’s interaction with our own biochemistry, and thereby examine how these interactions could affect certain diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. These afflictions already plague hundreds of millions of individuals around the world, but a microbiome study holds out the hope of improved treatment and possibly prevention, of these diseases.

    So why haven’t these studies been done before? The problem with conducting this experiment on your own (or on anyone’s own), is that it would require massive supercomputing processing power. And while a single supercomputer might have trouble dealing with so much data, a whole lot of normal computers could do the trick. As such, IBM is actually crowdsourcing computing power by way of IBM’s World Community Grid.

    “This type of research on the human microbiome, on this scale, has not been done before,” said Dr. Ramnik Xavier, Institute member and co-director of the infectious disease and microbiome program. “It’s only possible with massive computational power.”

    To participate, you need only to download a secure software program [BOINC]that will automatically sense when your computer can offer spare processing power. In those times, IBM will tap your machine to run virtual experiments on behalf of the scientists. The data that comes out of these millions of experiments from across the country will ultimately be analyzed by the project’s team. And in keeping with the crowdsourcing theme, this data will be made publicly available to other scientists, hopefully improving our capacity to treat autoimmune diseases.

    As Dr. Rob Knight, Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego noted, “By harnessing the efforts of volunteers, we can do something that exceeds the scale of what we have access to by a factor of thousands. For the first time, we’re bringing a comprehensive structural biology picture to the whole microbiome, rather than solving structures one at a time in a piecemeal fashion.”

    See the full article here.

    Ways to access the blog:
    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com
    http://facebook.com/sciencesprings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

     
  • richardmitnick 11:09 am on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Computing for Clean Water project, , WCG   

    From WCG: “New Lab at Tsinghua University Created to Work on Computing for Clean Water Project Findings” 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)

    25 Jul 2017
    The Computing for Clean Water team

    Summary
    Dr. Ming Ma, one of the original members of the Computing for Clean Water research team, has created his own lab at Tsinghua University. Dr. Ma and his team continue to analyze the data generated by the project. Learn more about their current work and plans for the future in this update.

    Background

    The Computing for Clean Water project was created to provide deeper insight on the molecular scale flow of water through a novel class of filter materials. Thanks to the millions of virtual experiments that the team was able to run on World Community Grid, they discovered conditions under which water can pass through tiny carbon nanotubes much more efficiently. This groundbreaking understanding of a fundamental physical process could help improve access to clean water for millions of people through more efficient water filtration and desalination, and also may have applications in clean energy and medicine.

    1
    The team at Tsinghua University includes (left to right) Ming Ma, Kunqi Wang, Wei Cao, and Jin Wang. Not pictured: Yao Cheng

    A Growing Team

    It has been one year since the main team member, Dr. Ming Ma, returned to Tsinghua University, China, after doing research at University College London and Tel Aviv University. During the past year, as an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Ma recruited four new researchers as members of the team with the help from Prof. Quanshui Zheng, the leader of the Computing for Clean Water team. The new team members include one postdoc, Dr. Wei Cao; and three PhD students: Jin Wang, Kunqi Wang, and Yao Cheng.

    Next Steps

    The team is now working on two main tasks. The first task is to improve the algorithm used in the previous study (see the reference below) by incorporating new techniques developed during the last three years, and to implement them into LAMMPS, a molecular dynamics software. The second task is to investigate new systems with the algorithm being developed. With these tasks finished, the team wishes to bring new, interesting information into the volunteer computing community.

    We thank everyone who supported Computing for Clean Water, and hope to work with you again in the near future.

    Reference

    M. Ma, F. Grey, L.M. Shen, M. Urbakh, S. Wu, J.Z. Liu, Y.L. Liu, Q.S. Zheng, Water transport inside carbon nanotubes mediated by phonon-induced oscillating friction, Nature Nanotech., 10 (2015) 692-695

    See the full article here.

    Ways to access the blog:
    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com
    http://facebook.com/sciencesprings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

     
  • richardmitnick 1:19 pm on July 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , The Olson Laboratory, WCG   

    From FAAH at WCG: “FightAIDS@Home Targeting a Key HIV Protein” 

    FAAH
    FightAIDS@home

    By: The FightAIDS@Home research team
    15 Jun 2017

    Summary
    FightAIDS@Home researchers restarted the first phase of the project at the end of 2016, and in just a few months, they have completed approximately 46 percent of their projected work on World Community Grid. Read about their progress on finding compounds that could stop HIV from replicating.

    Background

    FightAIDS@Home is searching for possible compounds to target the protein shell of HIV (called a capsid), which protects the virus. Currently, there are no approved drugs that target this protein shell.

    The virtual docking techniques used in Phase 1 are an approximation of the potential effectiveness of promising compounds. Phase 2 of FightAIDS@Home uses a different simulation method to double-check and further refine the virtual screening results that are generated in Phase 1.

    The research team is examining a library of approximately 1.6 million commercially available compounds to find promising treatment prospects. The team estimates that they will need to carry out roughly 621 million docking computations on World Community Grid to thoroughly test each potential compound. With the help of many volunteers who are supporting this project, they’ve already completed 46 percent of their goal.

    You can keep up with the research team’s progress on their website, which includes frequent updates on their experiments and progress.

    Please read below for a detailed look at the technical aspects of their recent work.

    Insilico search for novel drugs targeting the HIV-1 mature capsid protein

    The importance of the capsid protein

    The capsid protein (CA) plays crucial roles in the HIV replication cycle1. After viral and host cell membrane fusion, the capsid core is released into the cytoplasm. This core, which corresponds to the assembly of ~1200 capsid proteins, contains and protects viral RNA and proteins from degradation. Reverse transcription occurs in the core in a process which is tightly connected to the capsid core disassembly. This leads to the import of the cDNA viral genome into the host cell’s nucleus, where it is integrated into the host DNA to finalize the infection.

    To date, no drugs targeting CA are approved for clinical use. With the goal of identifying novel active molecules which destabilize the capsid core, we set up a high throughput virtual screening (VS) campaign in collaboration with World Community Grid as part of the FightAIDS@Home (FA@H) project.

    1
    Figure 1: PDB 4xfx, the hexamer structure of the native HIV-1 mature capsid protein. (Credit: Pierrick Craveur)

    Targeted structures

    The main target of the docking calculations was the recently solved structure of the CA hexameric assembly2. Four pockets of interest were selected at the surface of the hexamer in order to perform focused dockings, mainly at the CA-CA dimer interfaces. Structural variability surrounding these pockets was analyzed by comparing this X-ray structure from the PDB (4xfx, see Figure 1), and the two full capsid core models assembled by Schulten’s lab3 (3j3q and 3j3y, see Figure 2). Based on that, 36 different conformations were selected as targets for the VS, including the X-ray structure and structures from the models. Each target was set as full rigid and also with a specific combination of residue side chains defined as flexible.

    2
    Figure 2: The 2 models of the capsid core assembly. (Credit: Pierrick Craveur)

    An extended library of ~1.6 million commercially available compounds was used for the screening. Replicate computations were performed for each docking experiment in order to assess the consistency of the results. In total ~621 million docking computations will be performed on World Community Grid. For the time being, ~46% of the computation is completed, with an ending date estimated at the end of 2017 if the computation does not increase in speed. However, in one month we will be able to propose to our collaborators from the HIVE Center a selection of compounds (focusing one of the four pockets) for experimental binding and infectivity assays.

    Other information

    Dedicated web pages (see http://fightaidsathome.scripps.edu/Capsid/index.html) were developed to inform the public and the World Community Grid volunteers as the project advances. The pages contain an overview of the project, details on targets and the selection process, a description of the compound library, an hourly updated status of the computations, and a “people” section where volunteers can appear in the page to be fully part of the project.

    An automatic pipeline has been developed in order to constantly post-process the docking results received from World Community Grid. These post computations involve the High Performance Computing (HPC) cluster from The Scripps Research Institute, and are mainly related to the identification of the interactions between drug candidates and the CA protein. The pipeline ends in filling a MySQL database, which will be made public as soon as it will be stable. In details, 3.3TB of compressed data are estimated to be received from World Community Grid, and 1TB to be generated after post-processing.

    Our team from The Scripps Research Institute of San Diego, which includes Dr. Pierrick Craveur, Dr. Stefano Forli, and Prof. Arthur Olson, really appreciates the essential support this project receives from World Community Grid volunteers around the globe.

    References [Sorry, no links]

    Campbell, E. M. & Hope, T. J. HIV-1 capsid: the multifaceted key player in HIV-1 infection. Nat Rev Microbiol 13, 471-483, doi:10.1038/nrmicro3503 (2015).
    PDB 4xfx : Gres AT, Kirby KA, KewalRamani VN, Tanner JJ, Pornillos O, Sarafianos SG. X-Ray Structures of Native HIV-1 Capsid Protein Reveal Conformational Variability. Science (New York, NY). 2015;349(6243):99-103.
    PDB 3j3q & 3j3y : Zhao G, Perilla JR, Yufenyuy EL, et al. Mature HIV-1 capsid structure by cryo-electron microscopy and all-atom molecular dynamics. Nature. 2013;497(7451):643-646.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FightAIDS@Home is a project run by the Olson Laboratory that uses distributed computing to contribute your computer’s idle resources to accelerate research into new drug therapies for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. FightAIDS@Home made history in September 2000 when it became the first biomedical Internet-based grid computing project. FightAIDS@Home was started with Scott Kurowski, founder of Entropia. People all around the World continue to donate their home computer’s idle cycles to running our AutoDock software on HIV-1 protease inhibitor docking problems. With the generous assistance of IBM, we joined World Community Grid in late 2005, and launched FightAIDS@Home on World Community Grid on 21 November, 2005.

    How do I join the FightAIDS@Home Project?

    All you need to do is download and install the free client software. Once you have done this, your computer is then automatically put to work and you can continue using your computer as usual.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:43 pm on June 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy Lead Researcher Releases Two New Open Data Tools, , WCG   

    From Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy at WCG: “Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy Lead Researcher Releases Two New Open Data Tools’ 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)

    29 Jun 2017

    Summary
    In this letter to volunteers, Dr. Alessandra Carbone, the principal investigator for the Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy project, announces the release of two new open access tools which can accelerate the work of researchers who investigate protein interactions.

    1
    The image above is a rendering of a protein structure with three interaction binding sites (in the center, blue/orange/yellow) and its potential partners. Circles represent the level of binding affinity of the protein complexes. The figure illustrates the complexity of the general problem of “protein partners identification” treated in the Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy – Phase 2 project, where potential partners need to be identified and selected within a very large space of interactions.

    Dear volunteers for the Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy (Phase 2) project,

    I am writing to update you on the analysis of the dataset of docking conformations produced by the Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy (HCMD2) project. The project’s goal was to investigate protein-protein interactions for more than 2,200 proteins whose structures are known, with a particular focus on those proteins that play a role in neuromuscular diseases.

    The complete cross-docking dataset containing these protein-protein interactions is under analysis. For this, we are using the various computational tools that we developed in parallel with the calculations run on World Community Grid.

    JET2 Viewer: A Repository of Protein Interfaces

    We have built a database of protein interfaces for the scientific community. This database, called JET2, is a milestone for the identification of protein partners. Why is this important? The analysis of the HCMD1 and HCMD2 data highlights that a precise description of protein interfaces is crucial in discriminating protein partners, and the database produces a highly accurate set of such predictions. Improvement is still necessary, but the results are already very accurate.

    We are now concentrating on extracting useful information relating to muscular dystrophy from the JET2 dataset that your support helped to construct. As you know, progress in research is slow, but we are making definite advances and expect that the methodological approach used in HCMD2 will be very successful in the large-scale identification of protein partners at protein-residue-level resolution! (A protein-residue is a portion of a protein.*)

    BIS2Analyzer: A Server to Help Our Data Analysis

    We have released a server, called BIS2Analyzer, to help identify signals of interaction based on coevolution analysis within proteins or between protein partners. This server, which is also openly accessible to the scientific community, is important because it can help to identify signals of protein interaction. It was useful to reconstruct the first protein-protein interaction network for viruses (see the reference below on the reconstruction of the network for the Hepatitis C Virus).

    Thanking you again strongly for your contributions. I shall keep you updated on our results. Be assured that we are making progress, thanks to your support!

    Best regards,

    Alessandra

    JET2Viewer:

    H. Ripoche, E. Laine, N. Ceres, A. Carbone. JET2 Viewer: a database of predicted multiple, possibly overlapping, protein-protein interaction sites for PDB structures, Nucleic Acids Research (2016) doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw1053
    E.Laine, A.Carbone. The local geometry and evolutionary conservation of protein surfaces reveal the multiple recognition patches in protein-protein interactions, PLoS Computational Biology, 11(12), e1004580, 2015.

    BIS2Analyzer:

    F. Oteri, F. Nadalin, R. Champeimont, A. Carbone, BIS2Analyzer: a server for co-evolution analysis of conserved protein families, Nucleic Acids Research, 2017.
    R. Champeimont, E. Laine, S.-W. Hu, F. Penin, A. Carbone, Coevolution analysis of Hepatitis C virus genome to identify the structural and functional dependency network of viral proteins, Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 6:26401, 2016.

    *Note: ”Residue-level” means that we not only identify whether protein P is partner of protein Q (yes/no answer), but in which position they interact—identifying which residue of protein P likely interacts with which residue of protein Q.

    See the full article here.

    Ways to access the blog:
    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com
    http://facebook.com/sciencesprings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

     
  • richardmitnick 5:26 am on June 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , WCG   

    From Scripps: “Scientists Jump Hurdle in HIV Vaccine Design” 

    Scripps
    Scripps Research Institute

    June 19, 2017 issue
    Madeline McCurry-Schmidt

    1
    The new study shows the structure of an important HIV protein, called the envelope glycoprotein, on a common strain of the virus. (Image courtesy Javier Guenaga.)

    Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made another important advance in HIV vaccine design. The development was possible thanks to previous studies at TSRI showing the structures of a protein on HIV’s surface, called the envelope glycoprotein. The scientists used these structures to design a mimic of the viral protein from a different HIV subtype, subtype C, which is responsible for the majority of infections worldwide.

    The new immunogen is now part of a growing library of TSRI-designed immunogens that could one day be combined in a vaccine to combat many strains of HIV.

    “All of this research is going toward finding combinations of immunogens to aid in protecting people against HIV infection,” said TSRI Professor Ian Wilson, Hanson Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at TSRI.

    The research, published recently in the journal Immunity, was led by Wilson and TSRI Professor of Immunology Richard Wyatt, who also serves as Director of Viral Immunology for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Neutralizing Antibody Center at TSRI.

    The new study was published alongside a second study in Immunity, led by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, which showed that the vaccine candidate developed in the TSRI-led study can elicit neutralizing antibodies in non-human primates.

    “Together, the two studies reiterate how structure-based immunogen design can advance vaccine development,” said Wyatt.

    Solving the Clade C Structure

    HIV mutates rapidly, so there are countless strains of HIV circulating around the world. Of these strains, scientists tend to focus on the most common threats, called clades A, B and C.

    Like a flu vaccine, an effective HIV vaccine needs to protect against multiple strains, so researchers are designing a set of immunogens that can be given sequentially or as a cocktail to people so their immune systems can prepare for whatever strain they come up against.

    In 2013, TSRI scientists, led by Wilson and TSRI Associate Professor Andrew Ward, determined the structure of a clade A envelope glycoprotein, which recognizes host cells and contains the machinery that HIV uses to fuse with cells. Because this is the only antibody target on the surface of HIV, an effective HIV vaccine will have to trigger the body to produce antibodies to neutralize the virus by blocking these activities.

    Building on the previous original research, the scientists in the new study set out to solve the structure of the clade C glycoprotein and enable the immune system to fight clade C viruses.

    “Clade C is the most common subtype of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa and India,” explained study co-first author Javier Guenaga, an IAVI collaborator working at TSRI. “Clade C HIV strains are responsible for the majority of infections worldwide.”

    The scientists faced a big challenge: the clade C envelope glycoprotein is notoriously unstable, and the molecules are prone to falling apart.

    Guenaga needed the molecules to stay together as a trimer so his co-author Fernando Garces could get a clear image of the clade C glycoprotein’s trimeric structure. To solve this problem, Guenaga re-engineered the glycoprotein and strengthened the interactions between the molecules. “We reinforced the structure to get the soluble molecule to assemble as it is on the viral surface,” Guenaga said.

    The project took patience, but it paid off. “Despite all the engineering employed to produce a stable clade C protein, these crystals (of clade C protein) were grown in very challenging conditions at 4 degrees Celsius and it took the diffraction of multiple crystals to generate a complete dataset, as they showed high sensitivity to radiation damage,” said Garces. “Altogether, this highlights the tremendous effort made by the team in order to make available the molecular architecture of this very important immunogen.”

    With these efforts, the glycoprotein could then stay together in solution the same way it remains together on the virus itself. The researchers then captured a high-resolution image of the glycoprotein using a technique called x-ray crystallography.

    The researchers finally had a map of the clade C glycoprotein.

    Vaccine Candidate Shows Promise

    In a companion study, the scientists worked with a team at the Karolinska Institute to test an immunogen based on Guenaga’s findings. The immunogen was engineered to appear on the surface of a large molecule called a liposome—creating a sort of viral mimic, like a mugshot of the virus.

    This vaccine candidate indeed prompted the immune system to produce antibodies that neutralized the corresponding clade C HIV strain when tested in non-human primates.

    “That was great to see,” said Guenaga. “This study showed that the immunogens we made are not artificial molecules—these are actually relevant for protecting against HIV in the real world.”

    In addition to Wyatt, Wilson and Guenaga, the study, “Glycine substitution at helix-to-coil transitions facilitates the structural determination of a stabilized subtype C HIV envelope glycoprotein,” included co-first author Fernando Garces, Natalia de Val, Viktoriya Dubrovskaya and Brett Higgins of TSRI; Robyn L. Stanfield of TSRI and IAVI; Barbara Carrette of IAVI; and Andrew Ward of TSRI, IAVI and the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology & Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) at TSRI.

    This work was supported by the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center and Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD; grants OPP1084519 and OPP1115782), CHAVI-ID (grant UM1 AI00663) and the National Institutes of Health (grants P01 HIVRAD AI104722, R56 AI084817 and U54 GM094586).

    See the full article here .

    YOU CAN HELP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR EASY CHAIR.

    The Fight AIDS at home (FAAH@home) Phase II project is now running at World Community Grid (WCG) From Scripps Research Institute.


    Scripps

    FAAH Phase II

    WCG runs on your home computer or tablet on software from Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing [BOINC]. Many other scientific projects run on BOINC software.Visit WCG or BOINC, download and install the software, then at WCG attach to the FAAH@home Phase II project. You will be joining tens of thousands of other “crunchers” processing computational data and saving the scientists literally thousands of hours of work at no real cost to you.


    My BOINC

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), one of the world’s largest, private, non-profit research organizations, stands at the forefront of basic biomedical science, a vital segment of medical research that seeks to comprehend the most fundamental processes of life. Over the last decades, the institute has established a lengthy track record of major contributions to the betterment of health and the human condition.

    The institute — which is located on campuses in La Jolla, California, and Jupiter, Florida — has become internationally recognized for its research into immunology, molecular and cellular biology, chemistry, neurosciences, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, virology, and synthetic vaccine development. Particularly significant is the institute’s study of the basic structure and design of biological molecules; in this arena TSRI is among a handful of the world’s leading centers.

    The institute’s educational programs are also first rate. TSRI’s Graduate Program is consistently ranked among the best in the nation in its fields of biology and chemistry.

     
  • richardmitnick 1:43 pm on June 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Caren Cooper, , WCG,   

    From NC State via WCG: Women in STEM: “Leadership in Public Science: Meet Caren Cooper” Revised and Improved 

    NC State bloc

    North Carolina State University


    Presented by World Community Grid

    June 7, 2017
    Matt Shipman

    This is one in a series of five Q&As with the members of NC State’s Leadership in Public Science faculty cluster. Read more about the cluster.

    Caren Cooper wrote the book on citizen science. Literally. That made her a natural fit for NC State’s Leadership in Public Science effort.

    Cooper is an ecologist whose work involves collaborating with bird lovers to learn more about wildlife and ecosystems in urban, suburban and rural environments. She is assistant head of the biodiversity research lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a research associate professor in NC State’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources. She came to Raleigh from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, but it was a bit of a homecoming; Cooper got her undergrad degree at NC State.

    As for her book, citizen science is right there in the title: Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery. You can also see Cooper talk about citizen science and its relationship to public science by checking out her TEDx talk online.

    1
    Caren Cooper

    Learn about what Cooper is working on.

    What does your research focus on?

    I’m interested in a variety of natural processes and human behaviors related to environmental change. I value and use citizen science approaches to investigate natural-human systems and map environmental changes and disparities. I enjoy exploring the potential of citizen science to manage natural resources and to bring varied hobby groups into citizen science, like birders, nest box monitors, duck hunters, pigeon fanciers, etc.

    What does “public science” mean to you, and how does it factor into your work?

    To me, public science refers to science that is transparent, out in the open and accessible to all. I think of citizen science as networks of volunteers helping to advance knowledge and public scientists as professionals building and tending those networks and helping people make meaning of the collective information.

    I think successful public scientists must be familiar with the teamwork of designing and implementing citizen science, public communication of science in many forms and open science practices from the start of a research project to its completion and again with the next iteration. Citizen science often looks like it is simply people volunteering in service to science, but in a public science context, it is really about bridging the gap between science and society to make sure that science is in service to humanity.

    What drew you to public science in the first place?

    When I became a scientist, I liked to do all parts of scientific research myself. That’s how I defined being a scientist: someone who can carry out research independently. My husband and I started a family while I was pursing my Ph.D. Field work became difficult, and my priorities shifted.

    I was drawn to citizen science at first because it was a way for birdwatchers to collect all the data that I would ever need. Unexpectedly, it also sparked my interest in the social sciences, science communication and open science. I found it puzzling as to why scientists regarded citizen science poorly and typically failed to recognize its many contributions.

    At first I was bothered by the lack of acknowledging lay expertise and the efforts and abilities of volunteers. Then I became bothered by the lack of acknowledging the limits of scientific inquiry — there are some big questions that scientists can’t answer by working alone. Citizen science is a social movement among volunteers within science, which I find fascinating and exciting. Public science is a movement among professionals to support citizen science and other forms of public engagement in science, while also supporting the engagement of scientists with the public and in the public sphere.

    What sort of public science projects are you working on at NC State?

    I’m helping develop SciStarter.com as a central hub for people to find and participate in citizen science projects around the world. We are also designing SciStarter with tools to help projects become more sustainable by sharing resources related to recruitment, retention and communication with volunteer communities. With SciStarter, we will also help advance understanding of the design and outcomes of citizen science.

    I run a citizen science project called Sparrow Swap, which partners with volunteers who monitor nest boxes and view house sparrows as a pest species. They collect house sparrow eggs according to one of four protocol options and donate those eggs to the collections at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, where my lab is based. We use the eggs to study geographic variation in eggshell patterns and color, and to determine whether eggshells can be used as a biological tool for identifying and mapping environmental contaminants. Volunteers also collect data on the effectiveness of different management options, including swapping in egg replicas (which we paint at the museum) for real eggs and hopefully reducing house sparrow reproduction and their disturbance of native nesting birds. We are developing an online interactive guide to the basics of wildlife management principles.

    We are soon launching Sound Around Town in partnership with other universities to support soundscape studies led by the National Park Service (NPS). In Sound Around Town, volunteers will be able to borrow sound recording equipment from their local library and deploy the equipment in their backyards to provide soundscape data to the NPS. They will also use our listening app to ground-truth the recordings and provide information on their feelings and perceptions of each type of sound they identify. Though the equipment loans through libraries will be available only in select cities, we hope volunteers across the country will use the listening app in many urban and residential soundscapes. I’m interested in disparities among communities in noise pollution, which is a combination of actual soundscapes and perceptions of sounds.

    We are also starting to explore the potential of a citizen science project related to finding feather-degrading bacteria.

    As a public science cluster, in collaboration with the libraries, we want to make NC State a citizen science campus in which students campuswide have abundant opportunities to do citizen science as part of their campus life.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NC State campus

    NC State was founded with a purpose: to create economic, societal and intellectual prosperity for the people of North Carolina and the country. We began as a land-grant institution teaching the agricultural and mechanical arts. Today, we’re a pre-eminent research enterprise that excels in science, technology, engineering, math, design, the humanities and social sciences, textiles and veterinary medicine.

    NC State students, faculty and staff take problems in hand and work with industry, government and nonprofit partners to solve them. Our 34,000-plus high-performing students apply what they learn in the real world by conducting research, working in internships and co-ops, and performing acts of world-changing service. That experiential education ensures they leave here ready to lead the workforce, confident in the knowledge that NC State consistently rates as one of the best values in higher education.

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

     
  • richardmitnick 7:58 pm on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Antibodies from Ebola survivor could lead to treatments and vaccines, , , , , , WCG   

    From NIH: “Antibodies from Ebola survivor could lead to treatments and vaccines” 

    National Institutes of Health

    June 6, 2017
    Harrison Wein, Ph.D.

    1
    Colorized scanning electron micrograph of filamentous Ebola virus particles (green) attached to and budding from an infected cell (blue) (25,000x magnification).NIAID

    The 2013-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa highlighted the need for an effective treatment or vaccine. Researchers have been making progress on several fronts, but many scientific and logistical challenges loom.

    Viruses from three of the five known ebolavirus species (Zaire, Sudan, and Bundibugyo) have caused large outbreaks in humans, and the other two (Reston and Tai Forest) cause severe disease in primates. The related Marburg and Ravn viruses also cause similar hemorrhagic fevers and serious outcomes in people. An ideal approach would target many, if not all, of the viruses in this family, called filoviruses.

    Scientists have searched for insights from natural antibodies, molecules produced by the immune system that bind to a specific substance, such as an invading virus. Antibodies recognize small, often unique, portions of viruses. Researchers previously discovered an antibody from a mouse that recognizes a common region among multiple ebolavirus species. The antibody proved protective in mouse models of infection.

    A team of academic, industry, and government scientists set out to find similar broadly protective human antibodies. The group was led by Dr. John M. Dye at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Kartik Chandran at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Dr. Zachary A. Bornholdt at Mapp Biopharmaceutical, Inc. Their work was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). Results appeared in Cell on May 18, 2017.

    The researchers surveyed 349 antibodies derived from the blood of one survivor of the West African Ebola outbreak, which was caused by the Zaire strain of ebolavirus. They searched for antibodies that could neutralize all five ebolavirus species. Two that they found of interest were called ADI-15878 and ADI-15742. Both protected human cells in the laboratory from becoming infected with the three ebolaviruses that cause outbreaks in humans. Neither, however, protected against the more distantly related filoviruses Lloviu or Marburg.

    In animal models of ebolavirus infection, the antibodies protected mice from the Zaire and Sudan ebolaviruses and ferrets from Bundibugyo ebolavirus. However, in ferrets treated with ADI-15742, the researchers found that the virus had developed a mutation that enabled it to escape the antibody’s effects.

    Further study showed that the antibodies recognize a section of a protein found on the surface of ebolaviruses called the GP fusion loop, which is critical for infection. The antibodies don’t prevent the viruses from being engulfed by cells. Rather, they are taken up along with the virus particles and neutralize the viruses as they are being processed within the cell.

    “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,” Bornholdt says. While much work still needs to be done, the identification of this vulnerable shared region on the surface of ebolaviruses is an important step toward creating effective treatments or vaccines.

    See the full article here .

    You can Help Stamp Out EBOLA.

    This WCG project runs at Scripps Institute


    Scripps

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Visit World Community Grid (WCG). Download and install the BOINC software on which it runs. Attach to the Outsmart Ebola Together project. This will allow WCG to use your computer’s free CPU cycles to process computational data for the project.


    While you are at WCG and BOINC, check out the other very worthwhile projects running on this software. All project results are “open source”, free for the use of scientists world while to advance health and other issues of mankind.

    MyBOINC

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:19 pm on May 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , WCG   

    From Help Fight Childhood Cancer at WCG: “Help Fight Childhood Cancer Project Researchers Publish a Paper” 

    New WCG Logo

    WCGLarge

    World Community Grid (WCG)

    6 Jun 2016
    Represented 5.16.17

    Summary
    The Help Fight Childhood Cancer project searched for a cure for a particular childhood cancer. The researchers have found that some of the promising compounds they identified also show an antidepressant capability.

    Lay Summary:

    The Help Fight Childhood Cancer project researchers have published a paper on serendipitous results they found from the drug candidate search run on World Community Grid. The project originally searched for candidate compounds that targeted specific proteins to help cure a childhood brain cancer called neuroblastoma. Some of the targeted proteins are also involved in several psychological disorders. They have found that some of the identified compounds show an antidepressant capability. Furthermore, additional research might lead to potential treatments for Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The paper was published in the journal Neurochemistry International.

    Paper title: Effects of novel small compounds targeting TrkB on neuronal cell survival and depression-like behavior

    Authors: Mayu Fukuda, Atsushi Takotori, Yohko Nakamura, Akiko Suganami, Tyuji Hoshino, Yutaka Tamura, Akira Nakagawara

    Technical Abstract:

    Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its high affinity receptor tyrosine kinase receptor B (TrkB) are involved in neuronal survival, maintenance, differentiation and synaptic plasticity. Deficiency of BDNF was reported to be associated with psychological disorders such as depression. Hence we examined proliferative effect of 11 candidate TrkB agonistic compounds in TrkB-expressing SH-SY5Y cells, via a hypothesis that some candidate compounds identified in our previous in silico screening for a small molecule targeting the BDNF binding domain of TrkB should activate TrkB signaling. In the present study, two promising compounds, 48 and 56, were identified and subsequently assessed for their ability to induce TrkB phosphorylation in vitro and in vivo. Likewise those seen in BDNF, the compounds mediated TrkB phosphorylation was blocked by the Trk inhibitor, K252a. Since BDNF-TrkB signaling deficiency is associated with the pathogenesis of depression and reactivation of this signaling by antidepressants is a cause of the pathogenic state recovery, the compounds were subjected to the assessment for forced swim test, which is a mouse model of depression. We found that compound 48 significantly reduced mouse immobility time compared with the control vehicle injection, suggesting the confirmation of hypothetical antidepressant-like efficacy of 48 compound in vivo. Thus, our present study demonstrated that compound 48, selected through in silico screening, is a novel activator of TrkB signaling and a potential antidepressant molecule.

    Click here to see the paper’s abstract online.

    See the full article here.

    Ways to access the blog:
    https://sciencesprings.wordpress.com
    http://facebook.com/sciencesprings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.
    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    World Community Grid (WCG) brings people together from across the globe to create the largest non-profit computing grid benefiting humanity. It does this by pooling surplus computer processing power. We believe that innovation combined with visionary scientific research and large-scale volunteerism can help make the planet smarter. Our success depends on like-minded individuals – like you.”
    WCG projects run on BOINC software from UC Berkeley.
    BOINCLarge

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing.

    BOINC WallPaper

    CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE? YOU BET!!

    My BOINC
    MyBOINC
    “Download and install secure, free software that captures your computer’s spare power when it is on, but idle. You will then be a World Community Grid volunteer. It’s that simple!” You can download the software at either WCG or BOINC.

    Please visit the project pages-

    FightAIDS@home Phase II

    FAAH Phase II
    OpenZika

    Rutgers Open Zika

    Help Stop TB
    WCG Help Stop TB
    Outsmart Ebola together

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Mapping Cancer Markers
    mappingcancermarkers2

    Uncovering Genome Mysteries
    Uncovering Genome Mysteries

    Say No to Schistosoma

    GO Fight Against Malaria

    Drug Search for Leishmaniasis

    Computing for Clean Water

    The Clean Energy Project

    Discovering Dengue Drugs – Together

    Help Cure Muscular Dystrophy

    Help Fight Childhood Cancer

    Help Conquer Cancer

    Human Proteome Folding

    FightAIDS@Home

    faah-1-new-screen-saver

    faah-1-new

    World Community Grid is a social initiative of IBM Corporation
    IBM Corporation
    ibm

    IBM – Smarter Planet
    sp

     
  • richardmitnick 12:13 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , WCG, You can Help Stamp Out EBOLA   

    From Nature: “Ebola vaccine could get first real-world test in emerging outbreak” 

    Nature Mag
    Nature

    12 May 2017
    Amy Maxmen

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo has reported nine suspected cases of infection in recent weeks.

    1
    The most recent Ebola epidemic, in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, killed more than 11,000 people. Jane Hahn/Washington Post

    An outbreak of the Ebola virus has emerged in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the World Health Organization (WHO) said on 12 May.

    3
    Ebola virus virion. Created by GC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.
    Source Public Health Image Library, #10816

    Congolese authorities have reported nine suspected cases of Ebola infection in the past three weeks; the WHO has confirmed one, and tests are pending on others. Now health officials are considering whether to deploy an experimental Ebola vaccine against the outbreak, for the first time since the WHO gave it preliminary approval in April.

    The aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders) is discussing a potential vaccination campaign with the Congolese government, an MSF spokesperson says.

    2

    That would require the approval of the WHO, which has not decided whether to call on the approved experimental vaccine or others in development, says WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević. Still, he says, “we are taking this [outbreak] seriously because Ebola is always serious”. The most recent outbreak of the virus, in West Africa from 2014 to 2016, killed 11,325 people; there have been several known outbreaks in the DRC, but none has been as severe as the West African one.

    There are now 12 candidate Ebola vaccines in development. None is yet approved for sale, in part because the candidates were not ready for testing until the West African Ebola crisis was on the wane. But on 27 April, the WHO’s advisory group on immunization recommended that an experimental vaccine called rVSV-SEBOV be deployed promptly should an Ebola outbreak arise.

    Developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada and licensed by the drug companies NewLink Genetics of Ames, Iowa, and Merck of Kenilworth, New Jersey, rVSV-ZEBOV showed promise in a study published in The Lancet last December1. The trial included 11,841 people in Guinea in 2015, near the end of the Ebola outbreak there. None of the 5,837 people who received the vaccine had developed the disease ten days after vaccination. But there were 23 cases among the thousands of other people included in the trial.

    A look ahead

    The deployment of rVSV-ZEBOV may be warranted in the DRC, because the vaccine is based on the Zaire strain of Ebola — the same strain that is driving the current outbreak, says Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If public-health authorities decide to proceed, there is a supply of rVSV-ZEBPV at the ready: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, signed an agreement with Merck in 2016 to purchase 300,000 doses of vaccine for use in future outbreaks.

    Historically, outbreaks in the DRC have never approached the unprecedented severity of the West Africa epidemic. The most recent Ebola outbreak in the DRC occurred in the Bas-Uele province — the site of the current episode — and killed 49 people over 3 months. The gap in severity is due in part to the DRC’s infrastructure and geography. Whereas people, and the viruses they carry, travel fluidly between Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, rough roads impede movement in many parts of the DRC. This means that outbreaks there kill people, but fizzle out without spreading very far.

    The DRC also benefits from Ebola expertise that its doctors and researchers have built up over the years. Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum, director-general of the National Institute for Biomedical Research in Kinshasa, is well known among Ebola experts for curbing the DRC’s first outbreak, in 1976, and many thereafter. He works to engage affected communities immediately, to build their trust in medical teams and to help them understand the importance of not touching others in checking the spread of the virus.

    Muyembe-Tamfum “is probably out there already”, says David Heymann, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He recalls how Muyembe-Tamfum — who could not be reached for comment — helped to contain past outbreaks by telling village chiefs that Ebola was an evil spirit, which passes to people when they touch the infected. “Muyembe talks with people in a way that they will understand quickly,” Heymann says. “He does whatever he believes is effective, and it is.”

    References
    See the full article for references with links.

    See the full article here .

    You can Help Stamp Out EBOLA.

    This WCG project runs at Scripps Institute

    Scripps

    Outsmart Ebola Together

    Visit World Community Grid (WCG). Download and install the BOINC software on which it runs. Attach to the Outsmart Ebola Together project. This will allow WCG to use your computer’s free CPU cycles to process computational data for the project.

    While you are at WCG and BOINC, check out the other very worthwhile projects running on this software. All project results are “open source”, free for the use of scientists world while to advance health and other issues of mankind.

    MyBOINC

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science and technology on the basis of its originality, importance, interdisciplinary interest, timeliness, accessibility, elegance and surprising conclusions. Nature also provides rapid, authoritative, insightful and arresting news and interpretation of topical and coming trends affecting science, scientists and the wider public.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
%d bloggers like this: