Puerto Rico health officials have reported almost 20,000 confirmed cases of Zika virus infection, including 1,706 among pregnant women. Zika infections have resulted in 150 hospitalizations and 48 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome.
Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Missouri and the nonprofit Saving Sight will honor 19 eye tissue donors during the Rose Parade on Jan. 2. The Donate Life Rose Parade float will carry roses and personal messages dedicated to the donors.
A Phase I trial of the Zika vaccine that was developed by the NIH began Tuesday with the inoculation of 18 volunteers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of three sites where the vaccine will be tested. The primary goal of the trial is to determine the vaccine's effect on the body and if it will trigger the production of antibodies against the Zika virus.
The US is giving $19.8 million to Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda for the research and development of a Zika vaccine. The grant will be funded through the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said that the CDC plans to provide seven laboratory technicians to help handle the backlog of Zika tests, which have so far been given to 2,262 pregnant women, and the state Department of Health has acquired more lab equipment to reduce the processing times for the tests. However, Scott said more help is needed to keep up with the demand for testing and he has requested additional resources.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that the area where the Zika virus is being transmitted in Miami Beach has grown to about 4.5 square miles. The state will spend an additional $10 million on mosquito control, laboratory testing and Zika prevention kits.
Preliminary results of new Brazilian research show 13 of the 32 infants with microcephaly tested positive for Zika virus infection, while none of 62 controls without microcephaly was infected, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Researchers also found that 41% of the infants with microcephaly had the Zika infection in their blood or cerebrospinal fluid, and 84% of those with microcephaly had low birth weight.
A 64-year-old Australian man is reportedly the first person to undergo a novel stem cell treatment to test the therapy's efficacy for Parkinson's disease as part of a clinical trial. The five-hour procedure, the first of its kind, was performed at Australia's Royal Melbourne Hospital and involved injecting stem cells derived from an unfertilized egg into sections of the brain affected by the illness.
Scientists at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Japan say they used major histocompatibility complex matching to successfully transplant reprogrammed monkey stem cells into the eyes of other monkeys without the need for immunosuppressant drugs. The transplanted retinal pigment cells grown from monkey-induced pluripotent stem cells survived without rejection for at least six months in MHC-matched monkeys but were quickly rejected in nonmatched monkeys, the researchers reported in Stem Cell Reports.
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Save the Date for AATB's 2017 QDSW!
AATB's 2017 Quality and Donor Suitability Workshop will be held May 8-10, 2017, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis. This workshop will be educational and interactive, providing attendees with a better understanding of not only significant steps involved with donor screening, but also effective practices in implementing a quality program.