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Burke on overdose deaths in Pittsburgh declining sharply

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PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW - "At this point, I'm not confident it is a permanent change for the good or if we're just returning to the expected curve," Dean Donald Burke said. "In our paper in Science a few months ago, we showed overdoses from all drugs, not just opioids, have been growing exponentially for 40 years. Occasionally it speeds up and slows down, but the growth curve always snapped back."   

Burke talks to The Economist about charting "the death curve"

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THE ECONOMIST - Charting overdose deaths shows an exponential curve increasing at a constant clip of 7.6% per year. Some modellers argue that the death curve might even continue its acceleration. “Anyone who tells me otherwise has to show me why that curve should bend now when it hasn’t in the face of the war on drugs and the rise and fall of other drugs,” says Dean Donald Burke.  

Nachega finds drug-resistant TB cured with new approaches in conflict-affected region

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INFECTION CONTROL TODAY - A high proportion of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis cases can be cured in conflict-affected communities with molecular diagnostics, shorter treatment periods, and socioeconomic incentives, according to the results of a large, long-term study in the Democratic Republic of Congo led by IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega.   

Hartman among researchers trying to prevent virus more dangerous than Zika (video)

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WPXI - Pitt researchers are looking to lessons learned about Zika when preparing for the possibility of Rift Valley Fever virus, noting that it's important to develop therapies and vaccines now. "We saw the ffects of Zika when it got into a larger population and so our work highlights the need to really do more investigation into what would happen in pregnant women infected with [Rift Valley] virus," said IDM's Amy Hartman, who also pointed out ... 

Opioid overdose deaths likely to keep rising, Burke weighs in

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HERALD-MAIL MEDIA - Many Americans who were first exposed to opiates by prescription have continued to misuse the drugs over many years. Until these people either are treated or die of overdoses, they form a "reservoir" of potential victims for the spiraling epidemic, said Dean Donald S. Burke.   

Marques finds prior dengue infection protects against Zika

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The higher a person's immunity to dengue virus, the lower their risk of Zika infection, an international team of scientists reported in the journal Science. The study also provides evidence that Brazil's Zika epidemic has largely petered out because enough people acquired immunity to reduce the efficiency of transmission. The discovery relied on tests for dengue and Zika developed by IDM's Ernesto Marques and his team and patented by Pitt.   

Obituary: Robert B. Yee, 'godfather' of Pitt Public Health

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PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE - Robert Yee was as brilliant as he was modest. "One of the godfathers" of Pitt Public Health, Yee mentored hundreds of students and played a pivotal role as a researcher who made several "breakthrough" discoveries about bacteria.   

Pitt Public Health study uncovers why Rift Valley fever is catastrophic to developing fetuses

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ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Like Zika, infection with Rift Valley fever virus can go unnoticed during pregnancy, all the while doing irreparable - often lethal - harm to the fetus. The results of a new study underscore the importance of disease prevention for pregnant woment and set the stage for vaccine development.   

Garcia-Bates says timing of immunotherapy crucial to outcomes

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MEDICAL RESEARCH - "HIV infection is a manageable disease with the advent and availability of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). But, when ART is interrupted, the virus quickly rebounds to high levels and again targets the immune system. Therefore, new immunotherapeutic treatments are sought to re-program the immune system to control the virus after ART interruption," said IDM's Tatiana Garcia-Bates.   

Hartman researches virus even more dangerous than Zika to pregnant women

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THE NEW YORK TIMES - The mosquito-borne virus that causes Rift Valley fever may severely injure human fetuses if contracted by mothers during pregnancy, according to new research by IDM's Amy Hartman. "Zika caught everybody by surprise," said Hartman. "If doctors had known about Zika's birth effects, they could have done a lot more to protect pregnant women and babies. With Rift Valley fever, we're trying to get ahead of the curve."  

Nachega recognized by African Science Institutions

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The African Academy of Sciences elected IDM and EPI's Jean Nachega a fellow in recognition of his efforts to develop patient care, teaching, and research around epidemiology and infectious diseases in Africa. In addition, the Academy of Sciences of South Africa - which aims to provide evidence-based scientific advice on issues of public interest - named him a member-elect.  

Contrasting roles of the PD-1 signaling pathway in dendritic cell-mediated induction and regulation of HIV-1-specific effector T cell functions

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JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Using samples from participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study, Garcia-Bates, Palma, Shen, Gambotto, Macatangay, Ferris, Rinaldo, and Mailliard showed that PD-1 activation plays a positive role in initiating the primary T cell response. But later blocking of that pathway can enhance the overall magnitude of the immune system’s ability to remember and respond to HIV.   

Hartman and team study tropical mosquito-borne virus linked to miscarriage, stillbirth in animals

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WESA-FM - Research suggests the Rift Valley Fever can affect developing human fetuses. IDM's Amy Hartman, along with first author Cynthia McMillen who is an IDM postdoc, chose to study Rift Valley’s effects on pregnant rats, since humans and rats have similar placental structures. They found that 65 percent of pups born to infected rats died, even when the mother rats appeared healthy.   

Frank on why, after more than 30 years, there is still no vaccine for HIV

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KDKA-AM - More than 30 years after HIV was uncovered there is still no AIDS vaccine, but IDM's Linda Frank, who heads the MidAtlantic AIDS Education and Training Center, says, “People who are uninfected can take anti-retrovirals to prevent them from getting HIV infected. This is so wonderful.” Frank says the new frontier in HIV treatment is in conjunction with diseases like hepatitis, sexually transmitted disease, and substance abuse.  

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Recent IDM Publications

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Rubio publishes thesis in Antimicrobial Agents and Therapy 

Rubio publishes thesis in Antimicrobial Agents and Therapy

Abigail Rubio (IDM '20) recently published In vitro Susceptibility of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa following Treatment-emergent Resistance to Ceftolozane-tazobactam, comparing the in vitro susceptibility of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates 34 collected before and af... (04/20/2021)

Zika-related adverse outcomes in a cohort of pregnant women with rash in Pernambuco, Brazil 

Zika-related adverse outcomes in a cohort of pregnant women with rash in Pernambuco, Brazil

Multiple authors on behalf of the Microcephaly Epidemic Research Group, including IDM's Ernesto Marques, found the frequency of microcephaly in their results is consistent with previous studies. In addition, as children were evaluated at a later age and repeatedly by different groups of specialists... (03/19/2021)

SARS-CoV-2 infection of African green monkeys results in mild respiratory disease discernible by PET/CT imaging and shedding of infectious virus from both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts 

SARS-CoV-2 infection of African green monkeys results in mild respiratory disease discernible by PET/CT imaging and shedding of infectious virus from both respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts

Amy L. Hartman, Sham Nambulli, Cynthia M. McMillen, Alexander G. White, Natasha Louise Tilston-Lunel, Joseph R. Albe, Emily Cottle, Matthew D. Dunn, L. James Frye, Theron H. Gilliland, Emily L. Olsen, Katherine J. O’Malley, Madeline M. Schwarz, Jaime A. Tomko, Reagan C. Walker, Mengying Xia, Matthe... (11/17/2020)

Rapid 3D Enhanced Resolution Microscopy Reveals Diversity in Dendritic Spinule Dynamics, Regulation, and Function 

Rapid 3D Enhanced Resolution Microscopy Reveals Diversity in Dendritic Spinule Dynamics, Regulation, and Function

Colleen R. Zaccard, Lauren Shapiro, Maria D. Martin-de-Saavedra, Christopher Pratt, Kristoffer Myczek, Amy Song, Marc P. Forrest, Peter Penzes Dendritic spinules are thin protrusions, formed by neuronal spines, not adequately resolved by diffraction-limited light microscopy, which has limit... (11/17/2020)
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Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States 

Prevalence and correlates of prep awareness and use among black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) in the United States

AIDS AND BEHAVIOR - Friedman, MR, Sang, JM, Bukowski, LA, Chandler, CJ, Egan, JE, Eaton, LA, Matthews, DD, Ho, K, Raymond, HF, & Stall, R. found that PrEP awareness campaigns tailored for black men who have sex with men and women (MSMW), concomitant with STI-to-PrEP interventions, will facilitate g... (10/14/2019)
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Contrasting roles of the PD-1 signaling pathway in dendritic cell-mediated induction and regulation of HIV-1-specific effector T cell functions 

Contrasting roles of the PD-1 signaling pathway in dendritic cell-mediated induction and regulation of HIV-1-specific effector T cell functions

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY - Using samples from participants in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort study, Garcia-Bates, Palma, Shen, Gambotto, Macatangay, Ferris, Rinaldo, and Mailliard showed that PD-1 activation plays a positive role in initiating the primary T cell response. But later blocking of that pathway... (12/13/2018)

Development of antibody biomarkers of long term and recent dengue virus infections 

Development of antibody biomarkers of long term and recent dengue virus infections

JOURNAL OF VIROLOGICAL METHODS - BURKE, MARQUES, and colleagues discuss anti-dengue NS1-specific IgG and IgG3 as potential biomarkers of long-term and recent (less than 6 months) DENV infections, respectively.  (06/14/2018)

Tradition and innovation in development of a Zika vaccine 

Tradition and innovation in development of a Zika vaccine

THE LANCET - MARQUES and BURKE comment about two Zika vaccines in clinical development and describe the challenges ahead. (06/14/2018)