Extra Credit:Dan T. Stinchcomb Seminar

Dan Stinchcomb spoke about mosquito born tropical diseases, more specifically Dengue Fever. Half of the worlds population is at risk of being exposed to Dengue Fever and there has been a rise in reports of Dengue Fever in tropical urban communities. It is also showing up in more northern and southern regions due to global warming.

Stinchcomb next explained how the disease affects people. The first time that a person is infected with Dengue they will become very sick, however if they survive and come into contact again with Dengue than they have no response to it, since they have developed antibodies to fight the familiar virus. The problem is that there is four different types of Dengue viruses and if a person who has been exposed to the first Dengue virus and becomes sick with the second virus than there is a higher change of infection. There is one vaccine that was approved and still many others in the making. The one vaccine that was approved is called CYD vaccine. CYD was made by taking part of the Yellow Fever vaccine and manipulating it to target the Dengue virus. CYD protects against all four of the viruses, which is good, the downside is that it doesn’t protect against each vaccine equally. The next virus is one the Stinchcomb is working on and its called TDV vaccine.  This was made with the Dengue 2 virus and was effective at neutralizing antibodies response and has gone through phase I and II of testing. Phase I tested to ensure that the vaccine was safe, while phase II focused on how the vaccine effected different age groups.

I really enjoyed this seminar, not only because it was interesting to learn about the spread of diseases and how their vaccines are made but also because it brings awareness to these disease that are such a big problem in tropical parts of the world, which is very important. This talk really relates to what we did in Lab 9 for our antibiotic susceptibility testings. The seminar goes into detail about how disease fighting medicines are created, even though one is focusing on viruses while the lab focused on bacteria. One question I did have was with the first vaccine, CYD, if it wasn’t completely effective than why did it get approved for use? Was it just being pushed through because a vaccine is really needed or does the FDA requirements need to be set to a higher standard?

Extra Credit: Dan Stinchcomb Seminar

Dan Stinchcomb, a researcher at the Infectious Disease Research Institute in Seattle, gave his seminar on the “Development of Vaccines for Mosquito-borne Tropical Diseases”. Although the thought of tropical disease seems irrelevant to those living in Fairbanks, global warming makes the idea  of Alaskan and tropical-type mosquitoes interacting a very real possibility.

The tropical diseases Dan Stinchcomb discussed are terrible. The first, Dengue fever, threatens about half of the world’s population. It causes severe bone and muscular pain. Fortunately, extensive efforts are being made to find a safe and effective vaccine readily available to suffering areas. One vaccine, already available for production and sale, is somewhat still ineffective at completely eliminating the disease. This is because a vaccine produced for the Dengue virus must protect from all four strains. If someone is exposed to one strain of the Dengue virus, they have a high likelihood of getting another type of the virus  along with its debilitating effects. Dan Stinchcomb worked with Takeda on a TDV vaccine for this disease. This live-attenuated vaccine is still in the process of being approved, as making it through all of the phases and onto the market is an extensive project. A company interested in producing a vaccine must show safety of vaccine in each phase in order to make it to the next, however long that takes. Their goal is to show that the test subjects’ titers show tetravalent immune responses. So far the Takeda vaccine is seeing faster and broader immune responses than the Sanofi vaccine did.

He then went on to talk about a variety of other diseases and how the development of their diagnostic and therapeutic vaccines were progressing. The diseases he talked about was the West Nile, which is carried from bird to mosquito to bird and occasionally to a human (dead-end host), Chikungunya disease (very similar to the Dengue virus but it has higher morbidity and lower mortality), and the Zika virus. The Zika virus is somewhat recent but serious outbreak and disease that can cause Microcephaly and other Congenital Zika symptoms (CZS). They are working very hard to develop a vaccine before more cases of neurological birth defects are reported.

This talk pertained extensively to the Virus lecture we had; it was really interesting to see the power that such a small organism can have. It was also very cool to see and hear about the efforts being done to combat the effects of viruses.

One question I had was how could someone get involved in this career field? It sounds like a really interesting job!

Dan Stinchcomb XC Seminar

Summary

Dr. Stinchcomb started with an overview of Dengue Fever. This virus can escalate into hemorrhagic fever and is found in sub-tropical regions. Significantly, exposure to one type of Dengue can increase risk to the other kinds. This poses a challenge in creating an effective vaccine for the disease. Vaccine candidates for this disease were discussed. One example was CYD which neutralized all 4 Dengue types but did not protect equally among all which could cause long term problems. TDV, another vaccine candidate, is significant for evoking cellular responses. Throughout the lecture, there were descriptions of trial methodologies and how vaccine efficacy was tested with safety in mind. Dr. Stinchcomb mentioned an overview of what work IDRI is focusing on and what is expected in the future. One such project is vaccines for West Nile Virus. Birds act as a reservoir for this disease and humans can be infected from mosquitos. One vaccine suggestion for this virus is to target the viral envelope. Next, there was discussion about Chikungunya Disease. This disease is concerning as there has been rapid spread since 2005 due to a mutation causing greater transmission ability. The lead vaccine here is a mimicry of the entire quaternary structure of the virus. Lastly, Zika virus was discussed. It was interesting to hear some of the background of this disease and how it became a public health issue. Dr. S. presented IDRI’s work with creating a vaccine for Zika that has a platform that could be replicated for other purposes.

Thoughts

I enjoyed this lecture. I think that public health, especially pertaining to infection disease is a critical global issue. It was also interesting to get a look at vaccines from not only an academic perspective but also an industry perspective. This lecture was closely associated with the virology unit in class. The discussion of vaccines was just an extension and more detailed version of what was talked about in class. Specifically, the way in which vaccines are developed and how the structure of viral targets play a role. It was very eye-opening and saddening when Dr. S. mentioned all of the defects that have been identified with Zika. It makes sense that the threat has caused such an explosion of candidate vaccines for the disease. Dr. S. also introduced the idea of RNA vaccines. I was interested in this idea and I would like to know how the challenge of RNA instability could be overcome to make this style of vaccines more feasible?

Dan Stinchcomb Extra Credit

Summary:
Dan Stinchcomb works with infectious diseases and this lecture focused on multiple viruses assosciated with mosquito vectors and multiple hosts, as well as vaccine research for the mentioned viruses. The first virus he mentioned was Dengue which can be very debilitating to the person who is infected. There are four different Dengue viruses and each of them respond to vaccines differently. Different vaccine trials were administered to populations of people between the ages of 21-45 in Dengue ridden areas in order to study the potentcy and effectiveness of the vaccines on the four Dengue Viruses before they were administered to younger and younger age groups. There was one newer vaccine administered that was faster and more effective at developing a broader immune response to the viruses.
West Nile was another briefly metioned virus in which the vectors were avian and mosquitos were hosts. However, West Nile in humans was contracted via avian vectors, and not by mosquitos (at least, that is how I understood it). He said West Nile Virus originated in the West Nile of Uganda and that humans are dead end hosts that cannot spread the virus from person to person.
There were two other viruses discussed along with Zika. Zika has actually been around for a long time. People originially thought it looked most similar to the Yellow Fever Virus, but it is more closely related to West Nile.
In the end, research in vaccines for viruses of all types, including RNA viruses, is an ever growing field, especially since humans are a new vector to emerging diseases.

How it relates to class:
We have discussed viruses in class, and I am pretty sure there was even brief mention of the Zika virus.

Critique:
I really enjoyed this seminar lecture. It was rather interesting overall. I found Dengue fever viruses the most intriguing because I never realized there were four different viruses. I also did not know that if you were to be exposed to Dengue 1 virus, your body will develop antibodies for that virus. If that same person is exposed to Dengue 2 virus, they have a worse time trying to develop effective antibodies. I actually found the entire lecture intriguing and most of the material in the lecture was new to me.

Extra Credit: Dan Stinchcomb

Dan Stinchcomb’s seminar was about his work with vaccines and vaccine companies. He has done work with many for- and non-profit organizations to research vaccines for popular diseases, including the current company he is working for, IDRI. Stinchcomb focuses his lecture on the details of working with tropical mosquito spread viruses and working on vaccines for these popular diseases effecting thousands of people. He talks about the details of developing vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Chikungunya Disease, and Zika virus, and discuses his research working with the diseases and their genomes, and trying to increase immunogenicity to fight the diseases. Stinchcomb talks  about the work necessary to take a vaccine from research, to testing, and then to production, and goes into detail about the steps that are necessary to take in each phase of the vaccine production process.

Dan Stinchcomb starts his lecture asking about why tropical mosquito transmitted diseases could be relevant to people in Alaska, and I believe that the information he shared with us very relevant because of our large mosquito population and we should always be aware of the risks. Since our weather is changing here in the arctic being knowledgeable of any new diseases that could make there way up here is going to become more important. All of the diseases he referenced in his talk are well known, and infect so many people every year, the work being done to combat this epidemic needs to be known and supported. In class and lab we have been talking about antibiotic susceptibility and resistance, and how one may be able to attack a disease or virus to make it susceptible to antibiotics. Dan Stinchcomb gave us a real life example of how somebody can research and take steps to fighting a disease.

Dan Stinchcomb Extra Credit

Vaccines are essential for combating various diseases, yet there are still a lot of diseases that still need a vaccine. Dan Stinchcomb has been involved with the creation of vaccines for various diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya, and zika. Stinchcomb highlighted that vaccines are designed to initiate an antibody response to help build immunity to the specific virus. He also mentioned RNA vaccines and how these vaccines are a lot easier to administer than DNA vaccines.

Overall, Dan Stinchcomb’s presentation was interesting and thought-provoking. Viruses are an issue that a lot of people care about because of how detrimental they can be to the human population and how quickly viruses can spread now. The main defense that people have against viruses are immune responses and vaccines are critical when it comes to encouraging the immune response and preventing infection. This seminar relates with what we have learned in class because we had an introduction to viruses and their different replication cycles; basically how viruses work. Knowing the mechanisms behind how viruses attack a person’s immune system can make a vaccine more effective in combating that virus. Something that popped into my mind was how will new technology help with the creation of vaccines? Will they be able to be produced at a faster rate while an epidemic occurs? Will new and more advanced technology lead to a better understanding of rapidly-evolving viruses and create more efficient vaccines?

Extra Credit: Dan Stinchcomb Seminar

Dan Stinchcomb lecture was titled “Development of Vaccines for Mosquito Borne Tropical Diseases”. He talked about different viruses and how they can spread rapidly and how human density favors the emergence of new viral pathogens. He mentioned Dengue fever, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya disease, Zika Virus and how they worked to develop effective vaccines for these diseases. He went through the distribution of the disseases and the cause and effect and how we could work to prevent them, mostly talking about vaccines. He gave a lot of information on the development of vaccines, trial methods, safety, etc. he also talked about IDRI and the promise of RNA vaccines.

I thought it was a really good seminar, although some parts of his lecture was very technical, i did understand most of what he was talking about, and i think it is a very important topic. This connects closely to the virology proportion of our class, although his lecture went more in depth than what we did in class. Is RNA vaccines the future? Can they (in the future) replace the other vaccines that we have today?

Dan Stinchcomb Seminar

Summary:

Dr. Stinchcomb talked about various diseases and the development of effective vaccines for them. Dengue’s was developed from a pre-existent vaccine for Yellow fever, but it caused many problems since it caused secondary infections and it only protected against some strains. Trial methods were also discussed (safety, durability, etc). He discussed IDRI, the laboratory he works in, that creates and tests vaccines for many major diseases. West Nile disease was also mentioned – together with Chikungunya and Zika. For each virus, the symptoms, the distribution, the general structure and genome were examined, in connection to the vaccine development and human trial methods.

Reflection, Connections, Questions:

Diseases such as Dengue and Zika are not very well known in developed countries, but they are becoming more common because of global travel and climate change. The availability of vaccines for exotic diseases is a critical tool for the prevention of worldwide outbreaks. This lecture was very detailed and technical; even though I am taking a Virology course, I did not understand everything that was mentioned during the lecture.

This lecture connects to the Virology portion of the class, but it definitely goes much more in depth than we did. It was still very interesting to see how vaccines are created  and tested before being commercially distributed. I wonder how they make the jump from computer models and laboratory animals to human trials, and what other methods other than RNA could be used to create vaccines for these diseases.

Developing vaccines for mosquito-borne viral diseases by Dan Stinchcomb

Dan Stinchcomb recently joined the Infectious Disease Research Institution that employs over a hundred of scientists (39 of them have PhD per Dan). Dan launched at least three different projects there already: vaccine against tuberculosis are being tested in phase 2 (checking if the reoccurrence of the disease will be prevented); working on West Nile vaccine; and developing RNA vaccines. West Nile virus was first discovered in 1937. Birds are the reservoir for this virus which can be transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite. In 2002, the West Nile disease was first registered on the territory of the United States in NY and spread with birds throughout the country in 2003-2004 with a peak in 2006 and 2012-2013, so the U.S. needs a vaccine against this disease.

Dan lectured the audience on Dengue fever, Chikungunya disease, Zika virus, and introduced to RNA vaccines potential.

Dengue fever affects about 390 million people per year. It is a mosquito-borne infection and cause by the virus that has 4 strains (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4). This disease mostly occurs in urban communities in tropical climate. The challenge in creating a vaccine against this disease is in that this vaccine must protect against all four types of virus, otherwise, it will increase the chance of the individual to get the Dengue fever via other virus strains and the disease will be severe with a lot of complications. Currently, there is one vaccine Yellow Fever/Dengue chimera by NiAiD, Takeda in phase 3 testing. This vaccine protects equally against all four virus types but still a bit low on DENV-2; the vaccine provides a good protection to individual that was exposed to Dengue fever in the past. The vaccine is not so effective in individual that was never exposed to the disease; the danger is in getting secondary infection and increased risk of hospitalization.

Another vaccine against Dengue fever is TVD by Takeda: live-attenuated tetravalent Dengue vaccine (DENV-2 based and recombinant). Dan is currently working on the development of this vaccine as well. The vaccine is in second phase of its development. So far, this vaccine is well tolerated in multiple age groups in Dengue epidemic counties. Prior moving forward, this vaccine will have to go through second phase again and confirm all results achieved in earlier experiments.

Chikungunya disease is caused by a virus that has two transmission cycles and is spread between wild primates and arboreal Aedes mosquitoes (sylvanic cycle); second cycle (urban) involves transmission in human-mosquito-human and has a higher mortality. The development of a vaccine against this disease is taking a lot of time and needs candidates for this research process. The Chikungunya disease originated in Africa and was spreading around the world since 2005. The problem is in protein mutation and lead to higher transmission rates. In U.S., this disease is spread within Gulf states. The NiH VLP vaccine is just starting phase 2.

Zika virus first was isolated from a monkey in 1947 in Zika forest in Uganda. There were numerous cases reported in 2007; epidemic in French Polynesia in 2013-2014. This disease is transmitted by arthropods, and can have perinatal transmission, sexual transmission, and via blood transfusion.

RNA vaccines have several advantages such as rapid response to global epidemics and they are easier to deliver that DNA vaccines. There is a good potential but also several challenges such as vaccine being unstable, and it is difficult to introduce the vaccine to the cells.

It was a knowledgeable lecture. The information provided makes you concerned about safety and health in the world where the virus can be simply transferred by birds. The question I’ve asked was about tips on safety and vaccines required prior visiting Africa as there were a lot of summer programs for students available there. The students were advised to be cautious with water, have long-sleeve shirts available, and mosquito repellent. There is also vaccination available but vaccines requirenments differ depending on the country the student will be going to. But overall, the internship in Africa is a great opportunity for the career growth.