Exit Smallpox. Enter Monkeypox.

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Smallpox is the only infectious disease ever to have been completely eradicated around the world.  With a 35-percent fatality rate, smallpox killed millions of people before it was stopped by a meticulous global vaccination program.

Now, a relative of smallpox is increasingly threatening humans.

Monkeypox is less severe than smallpox, with a 10 percent fatality rate.  But unlike smallpox, there is no cure or vaccine for monkeypox.  The first human cases were identified in 1970 in West Africa.

Monkeypox can spread from animals to humans, as well as between humans.  In 2003, 47 people in the Midwestern United States were infected.  The outbreak was traced to an exotic pet dealer, whose imported African animals infected prairie dogs that were later sold as pets.

And now, human cases of monkeypox are spiking.  Earlier this month, Nigeria confirmed its 38th case, up from nine only a week earlier.  More than a hundred people in total may be infected.

Type I interferons (a type of anti-viral protein) play an important role your cells’ defense against viral infections.  Spanish and German scientists studied how monkeypox and other viruses are able to block IFNs and prevent them from doing their protective work.  The researchers used an Agilent Bioanalyzer System to analyze the quality of RNA samples.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control use prairie dogs as a model in monkeypox virus research.  CDC scientists studied the use of analgesic therapy in prairie dogs for pain management.  They used an Agilent HPLC, autosampler, UV detector, column and OpenLab software to analyze plasma samples.

U.S. and Swiss researchers studied “signatures” in the human microbiome that are unique to ovarian cancer.  In the process, they discovered a unique signature that may indicate a heretofore uncharacterized human variant of monkeypox virus.  (NOTE: There have been no reports of pox virus association with ovarian cancer.)

They used Agilent SurePrint microarrays, a SureTag DNA labeling kit and a SureScan array scanner in their work.


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