Pandemic risk has never been higher, experts warn | Learn how nonhuman primates advance infectious disease research and more | Mouse study: History of West Nile, dengue tied to severe Zika symptoms
April 5, 2017
FBR Smartbrief
Top Story
Pandemic risk has never been higher, experts warn
The chance of a global pandemic is greater now than at any time in history, experts say, citing seven factors: the burgeoning global population, particularly growing urban areas; human expansion into animal habitats; climate change; increased global travel; inadequate health care infrastructures in areas facing civil unrest; poor health care staffing in outbreak epicenters; and the spread of misinformation and fear via social media and the internet. Meanwhile, the Zika virus continues to be a concern for the CDC, which has launched a Zika education campaign ahead of this year's mosquito season.
CNN (4/5),  WCBS-TV (New York City) (4/4) 
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Learn how nonhuman primates advance infectious disease research and more
Research involving nonhuman primates is key to understanding infectious diseases. To get FBR's white paper and brochure, "The Critical Role of Nonhuman Primates in Medical Research" and "Lifesaving Benefits of Primate Research", go to
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Research Breakthroughs
Mouse study: History of West Nile, dengue tied to severe Zika symptoms
Mouse study: History of West Nile, dengue tied to severe Zika symptoms
(Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images)
Zika virus-infected mice were more likely to die or develop severe symptoms if they had previously been infected with dengue or West Nile virus, according to a study published in Science. Just 21% of the mice previously infected with dengue survived, compared with 93% of mice infected only with Zika, and the findings raise concerns that dengue vaccines could inadvertently make Zika infections more severe.
Reuters (3/30), (3/30) 
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Targeted treatment shows promise against autoimmune diseases
Degradable polymer particles loaded with myelin fragments and medication for injection directly into lymph nodes released signals that turned myelin-specific cells into regulatory T cells instead of inflammatory T cells, thus controlling multiple sclerosis instead of driving it, according to research presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. The injections restored the ability to move in paralyzed mice, and future studies will involve mice with diabetes as well as nonhuman primates.
Healthline (4/3) 
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Prodrug-liposome combo effective against lung cancer in mice
Vinblastine-N-oxide, a pharmacologically inactive compound that becomes active when metabolized by the body, slowed lung cancer progression in mouse models when delivered alone, but mice remained healthy and tumor-free when the prodrug was combined with a liposome. The researchers from the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy are now collaborating with the university's College of Veterinary Medicine to test the combination's safety and efficacy, as well as effects on other solid tumors, in dogs.
United Press International (4/4) 
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Young gut microbiota extend longevity of killifish
Mature killifish that ingested gut microbiota from young killifish were more active and lived significantly longer than a control group as well as killifish that consumed gut microbes from middle-aged killifish, according to study results posted on the preprint server. Geneticist Dario Valenzano speculated that age-related immune system changes may allow harmful microbes to outcompete more beneficial bacteria as animals age.
Nature (free content) (4/4) 
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Animal Health
Scientists increasingly explore reverse zoonosis
Zoonotic diseases are well documented and frequently studied, but reverse zoonosis, when pathogens pass from people to animals, is less well understood, although instances are increasing and scientists are paying attention. Reports in veterinary journals and other publications detail cases of people transmitting sometimes-deadly infections to animals such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, tuberculosis, influenza, cold viruses and more.
Medical News Today (3/30) 
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Cat study suggests children are at risk from residual flame retardants
Cat study suggests children are at risk from residual flame retardants.
Researchers reported in Environmental Science & Technology that they found high levels of brominated flame retardants in the blood of house cats, and the finding suggests that young children are also at risk. The known endocrine disruptors, found in textiles, electronics and furniture, have been linked to thyroid disease and persist in house dust.
HealthDay News (4/4) 
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Policy News
Proposal to cut NIH budget meets bipartisan opposition
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., and Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., both of whom serve on the House Appropriations Committee, expressed opposition to President Donald Trump's proposal to cut the NIH's budget by 18%. HHS Secretary Tom Price said 30% of grant funding is for indirect costs and could be reduced, but scientists say such cuts would harm their ability to conduct research.
The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (4/3),  STAT (tiered subscription model) (3/31) 
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FBR News
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The Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit dedicated to improving human and animal health by promoting public understanding and support for biomedical research. Our mission is to educate people about the essential role animal research plays in the quest for medical advancements, treatments and cures for both people and animals.
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