body cell 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Exactly 125 years after Louis Pasteur, the French microbiologist and chemist,
gave the vaccine that he and colleague Emile Roux had developed to a
nine-year-old boy who had been badly mauled by a rabid dog, the fatal viral
disease rabies has unfortunately not yet been wiped out. The last reported
Israeli death was about 20 years ago, when a soldier was bitten by a small
mammal in a tent and he was not vaccinated in time.
The vaccine is very
effective, but left in nature as oral vaccine on bait, it does not reach all
animals, and some dog (and cat) owners falsely believe that giving their pets
the vaccine just every few years rather than annually as required by law is
enough to protect them. In addition, rabid animals know no borders, and infected
mammals pass into the country especially from the north and the
There have been 17 cases of rabid animals – 11 of them dogs –
reported here since the beginning of the year, according to an article on the
subject in the latest Hebrew-language Israeli Journal of Family Practice. Some
of the dogs had been vaccinated in previous years, but not annually, thus they
were not protected, wrote Dr. Dalia Navot-Mintzer of Emek Medical Center in
Afula and Dr.
Bivana Hazan, an infectious disease expert at Clalit Health
Services in the North.
They wrote that the main way to fight rabies is to
increase public awareness of the disease, as well as to enforce laws requiring
dogs to be vaccinated. They cited the case of two puppies adopted by children
from an Arab village near Tiberias. As the young dogs were aggressive and even
bit people, they were abandoned in a forest nearby.
One was later found
and diagnosed in lab tests as rabid. The second – which was likely to be
infected as well – was never located.
They advised the public to contact
a veterinarian or the nearest district health office when somebody is bitten or
scratched by a mammal. Consult about any pet which dies from an unknown cause,
and don’t adopt a stray without first checking on its health and making sure it
is vaccinated, they wrote.
In addition to the injections given to someone
exposed to a rabid animal, there is also a preventive vaccine given to people
who work with dogs or wild animals, as well as lab workers who test for
rabies.HU AND SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY TEAM UP
The Hebrew University of
Jerusalem has been invited to join with other leading world universities to
participate in research centers in Singapore under the CREATE (Campus for
Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise) program. The National Research
Foundation of Singapore said HU’s research project will focus on cellular and
molecular mechanisms of inflammation.
The research aims to accelerate the
development of diagnostic/prognostic indicators and novel therapeutics for
common inflammatory diseases in Asia and elsewhere.
pharmaceutical companies are extremely interested in new therapies for
inflammatory diseases, and the strategy of this research program should lead to
translation of medical research into novel treatments. The research will be
carried out in collaboration with scientists at the National University of
Singapore (NUS) and other Israeli academic institutes.
collaborative research program will leverage on the existing strengths of both
HU and NUS. We see great strategic value in this research, given the increasing
prevalence of inflammatory diseases throughout the region,” said Prof. Ehud
Razin, former dean of the Hebrew University Medical Faculty and now head of the
HU team. “We expect our work to lead to scientific breakthroughs in
understanding and developing therapies for inflammatory diseases.”
president Tan Chorh Chuan said: “Discovery and evaluation of new treatments for
inflammatory diseases continue to be of critical importance. We are pleased to
partner with the Hebrew University under the CREATE program. With strong
commitment from both sides, we are confident that this collaboration will have a
major impact by addressing important research and medical needs, both in the
region and the world.”
BLOOD TEST FOR ABNORMAL CHROMOSOMES?
non-invasive blood test could replace invasive diagnostic techniques in early
pregnancy, according to researchers at the Maastricht University Medical Center
in the Netherlands. According to a UPI report, they are developing a simple
blood test capable of accurately detecting chromosomal abnormalities in a
developing fetus responsible for Down syndrome and other
Currently, the only way to make such determinations is
through amniocentesis or other invasive techniques that carry the risk of
triggering miscarriages, the release said.
Dr. Suzanna Frints, a clinical
geneticist at Maastricht, says molecular genetic probes can detect DNA belonging
to the fetus in blood samples taken from a pregnant woman. The simple blood test
could replace current diagnostic procedures, said Frints, who addressed the
annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in
“It is inexpensive compared to the costs of invasive prenatal
diagnosis, and could easily be implemented at low cost, between 30- 150 euros
[$35-$180] per kit per person, with a small apparatus in every hospital in the
world,” Frints said. Blood samples can be taken during routine prenatal visits.