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David Morganstern, Jake Miller
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October 20, 2016: Lab Animal
John Howard, Vladimir Murashov, Paul Schulte
Synthetic biology is an emerging interdisciplinary field of biotechnology that involves applying the principles of engineering and chemical design to biological systems. Biosafety professionals have done an excellent job in addressing research laboratory safety as synthetic biology and gene editing have emerged from the larger field of biotechnology. Despite these efforts, risks posed by synthetic biology are of increasing concern as research procedures scale up to industrial processes in the larger bioeconomy...
October 18, 2016: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Mitchell K Monninger, Chrystal A Nguessan, Candace D Blancett, Kathleen A Kuehl, Cynthia A Rossi, Scott P Olschner, Priscilla L Williams, Steven L Goodman, Mei G Sun
Transmission electron microscopy can be used to observe the ultrastructure of viruses and other microbial pathogens with nanometer resolution. In a transmission electron microscope (TEM), the image is created by passing an electron beam through a specimen with contrast generated by electron scattering from dense elements in the specimen. Viruses do not normally contain dense elements, so a negative stain that places dense heavy metal salts around the sample is added to create a dark border. To prepare a virus sample for a negative stain transmission electron microscopy, a virus suspension is applied to a TEM grid specimen support, which is a 3mm diameter fragile specimen screen coated with a few nanometers of plastic film...
October 14, 2016: Journal of Virological Methods
Nicola Logan, William G Dundon, Adama Diallo, Michael D Baron, M James Nyarobi, Sarah Cleaveland, Julius Keyyu, Robert Fyumagwa, Margaret J Hosie, Brian J Willett
The measurement of virus-specific neutralising antibodies represents the "gold-standard" for diagnostic serology. For animal morbilliviruses, such as peste des petits ruminants (PPRV) or rinderpest virus (RPV), live virus-based neutralisation tests require high-level biocontainment to prevent the accidental escape of the infectious agents. In this study, we describe the adaptation of a replication-defective vesicular stomatitis virus (VSVΔG) based pseudotyping system for the measurement of neutralising antibodies against animal morbilliviruses...
October 11, 2016: Vaccine
Anna J Simon, Andrew D Ellington
Synthetically engineered organisms hold promise for a broad range of medical, environmental, and industrial applications. Organisms can potentially be designed, for example, for the inexpensive and environmentally benign synthesis of pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals, for the cleanup of environmental pollutants, and potentially even for biomedical applications such as the targeting of specific diseases or tissues. However, the use of synthetically engineered organisms comes with several reasonable safety concerns, one of which is that the organisms or their genes could escape their intended habitats and cause environmental disruption...
2016: F1000Research
Anja Kuthning, Patrick Durkin, Stefan Oehm, Michael G Hoesl, Nediljko Budisa, Roderich D Süssmuth
Genetic code engineering that enables reassignment of genetic codons to non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs) is a powerful strategy for enhancing ribosomally synthesized peptides and proteins with functions not commonly found in Nature. Here we report the expression of a ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide (RiPP), the 32-mer lantibiotic lichenicidin with a canonical tryptophan (Trp) residue replaced by the ncAA L-β-(thieno[3,2-b]pyrrolyl)alanine ([3,2]Tpa) which does not sustain cell growth in the culture...
2016: Scientific Reports
J H Leibler, K Dalton, A Pekosz, G C Gray, E K Silbergeld
While technological advances in animal husbandry have facilitated increases in global meat production, the high density and geographic concentration of food animal production facilities pose risks of infectious disease transmission. The scale of the 2014-2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 outbreak in the United States demonstrates the challenges in achieving pathogen control within and around industrial animal facilities using existing technologies. We discuss gaps in current practice in two specific systems within these facilities - ventilation and waste management - which are under-recognized as important drivers of microbial porosity...
September 4, 2016: Zoonoses and Public Health
Kenneth B Yeh, Martin Adams, Paul D Stamper, Debanjana Dasgupta, Roger Hewson, Charles D Buck, Allen L Richards, John Hay
Strategic laboratory planning in limited resource areas is essential for addressing global health security issues. Establishing a national reference laboratory, especially one with BSL-3 or -4 biocontainment facilities, requires a heavy investment of resources, a multisectoral approach, and commitments from multiple stakeholders. We make the case for donor organizations and recipient partners to develop a comprehensive laboratory operations roadmap that addresses factors such as mission and roles, engaging national and political support, securing financial support, defining stakeholder involvement, fostering partnerships, and building trust...
September 2016: Health Security
C Wang, C E Stanciu, C J Ehrhardt, V K Yadavalli
Manipulation of viable Yersinia pestis (etiologic agent of plague) in the laboratory usually necessitates elevated biosafety and biocontainment procedures, even with avirulent or vaccine strains. To facilitate downstream biochemical or physical analyses in a Biosafety Level 1 laboratory environment, effective inactivation without affecting its intrinsic properties is critical. Here, we report on the morphological and biochemical changes to Y. pestis surfaces following four different fixation methods that render the cells nonviable...
September 2016: Journal of Microscopy
Carlos G Acevedo-Rocha, Nediljko Budisa
Biology is an analytical and informational science that is becoming increasingly dependent on chemical synthesis. One example is the high-throughput and low-cost synthesis of DNA, which is a foundation for the research field of synthetic biology (SB). The aim of SB is to provide biotechnological solutions to health, energy and environmental issues as well as unsustainable manufacturing processes in the frame of naturally existing chemical building blocks. Xenobiology (XB) goes a step further by implementing non-natural building blocks in living cells...
September 2016: Microbial Biotechnology
Kristen L Burkhalter, Brad J Biggerstaff, Kalanthe Horiuchi, Harry M Savage
We evaluated the ability of the Rapid Analyte Measurement Platform (RAMP(®)) mosquito-grinding buffer to inactivate West Nile virus (WNV) by subjecting WNV-positive samples ground in RAMP buffer to incubation intervals ranging from 5 min to 60 min. At each time point an aliquot was removed and serially diluted in bovine albumin (BA)-1 cell culture media to stop the inactivation process by RAMP buffer. Each BA-1 sample was tested for viable virus using Vero 6-well cell culture plaque assay and observed for plaques...
June 2016: Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Mark Mimee, Robert J Citorik, Timothy K Lu
The microbial community that lives on and in the human body exerts a major impact on human health, from metabolism to immunity. In order to leverage the close associations between microbes and their host, development of therapeutics targeting the microbiota has surged in recent years. Here, we discuss current additive and subtractive strategies to manipulate the microbiota, focusing on bacteria engineered to produce therapeutic payloads, consortia of natural organisms and selective antimicrobials. Further, we present challenges faced by the community in the development of microbiome therapeutics, including designing microbial therapies that are adapted for specific geographies in the body, stable colonization with microbial therapies, discovery of clinically relevant biosensors, robustness of engineered synthetic gene circuits and addressing safety and biocontainment concerns...
May 5, 2016: Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews
D Martin, J Howard, B Agarwal, Y Rajalingam, B Athan, S Bhagani, I Cropley, S Hopkins, S Mepham, A Rodger, S Warren, M Jacobs
The recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has required the treatment of affected patients in the NHS system within the UK. Managing patients with a confirmed viral haemorrhagic fever requires a thorough understanding of treatment options within the confines of an effective biocontainment setting. The Royal Free Hospital High Level Isolation Unit (HLIU) in London, is a purpose built facility that allows healthcare workers to safely treat patients with highly contagious diseases. This HLIU uses Trexler isolator tents to prevent the spread of infection from patients to healthcare workers...
May 2016: British Journal of Anaesthesia
I Gomoiu, E Chatzitheodoridis, S Vadrucci, I Walther, R Cojoc
In this study we investigated the security of a spaceflight experiment from two points of view: spreading of dried fungal spores placed on the different wafers and their viability during short and long term missions on the International Space Station (ISS). Microscopic characteristics of spores from dried spores samples were investigated, as well as the morphology of the colonies obtained from spores that survived during mission. The selected fungal species were: Aspergillus niger, Cladosporium herbarum, Ulocladium chartarum, and Basipetospora halophila...
April 22, 2016: Origins of Life and Evolution of the Biosphere
Nathan I Johns, Tomasz Blazejewski, Antonio Lc Gomes, Harris H Wang
Advances in synthetic biology to build microbes with defined and controllable properties are enabling new approaches to design and program multispecies communities. This emerging field of synthetic ecology will be important for many areas of biotechnology, bioenergy and bioremediation. This endeavor draws upon knowledge from synthetic biology, systems biology, microbial ecology and evolution. Fully realizing the potential of this discipline requires the development of new strategies to control the intercellular interactions, spatiotemporal coordination, robustness, stability and biocontainment of synthetic microbial communities...
June 2016: Current Opinion in Microbiology
Luis Martínez-Sobrido, Benson Yee Hin Cheng, Juan Carlos de la Torre
Several arenavirus cause hemorrhagic fever disease in humans and pose a significant public health problem in their endemic regions. To date, no licensed vaccines are available to combat human arenavirus infections, and anti-arenaviral drug therapy is limited to an off-label use of ribavirin that is only partially effective. The development of arenavirus reverse genetics approaches provides investigators with a novel and powerful approach for the investigation of the arenavirus molecular and cell biology. The use of cell-based minigenome systems has allowed examining the cis- and trans-acting factors involved in arenavirus replication and transcription and the identification of novel anti-arenaviral drug targets without requiring the use of live forms of arenaviruses...
2016: Methods in Molecular Biology
Elaine Haddock, Friederike Feldmann, Heinz Feldmann
Reliable inactivation of specimens before removal from high-level biocontainment is crucial for safe operation. To evaluate efficacy of methods of chemical inactivation, we compared in vitro and in vivo approaches using Ebola virus as a surrogate pathogen. Consequently, we have established parameters and protocols leading to reliable and effective inactivation.
July 2016: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Brandon H Gilroyed, Cheyenne Conrad, Xiying Hao, Tim A McAllister, Kim Stanford, Tim Reuter
Composting can be an effective means of biodegrading livestock mortalities in emergency disposal situations, such as disease outbreaks. Within the past decade, our knowledge detailing composting has increased substantially. However, research data linking the environmental impact of composting to atmospheric and terrestrial systems are limited. We investigated composting efficacy, greenhouse gas emissions, and leachate properties from two static compost piles, each containing 16 cattle mortalities, built with either beef manure (BM) or wood shavings (WS) as envelope material...
March 2016: Journal of Environmental Quality
Brian T Garibaldi, Gabor D Kelen, Roy G Brower, Gregory Bova, Neysa Ernst, Mallory Reimers, Ronald Langlotz, Anatoly Gimburg, Michael Iati, Christopher Smith, Sally MacConnell, Hailey James, John J Lewin, Polly Trexler, Meredith A Black, Chelsea Lynch, William Clarke, Mark A Marzinke, Lori J Sokoll, Karen C Carroll, Nicole M Parish, Kim Dionne, Elizabeth L D Biddison, Howard S Gwon, Lauren Sauer, Peter Hill, Scott M Newton, Margaret R Garrett, Redonda G Miller, Trish M Perl, Lisa L Maragakis
In response to the 2014-2015 Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine created a biocontainment unit to care for patients infected with Ebola virus and other high-consequence pathogens. The unit team examined published literature and guidelines, visited two existing U.S. biocontainment units, and contacted national and international experts to inform the design of the physical structure and patient care activities of the unit. The resulting four-bed unit allows for unidirectional flow of providers and materials and has ample space for donning and doffing personal protective equipment...
May 2016: Annals of the American Thoracic Society
Erum Khan, Nayla Ahmed, Khalid R Temsamani, Atef El-Gendy, Murray Cohen, Ariba Hasan, Hilliard Gastfriend, Jennifer Cole
INTRODUCTION: The objectives of this study were to identify and assess the impact of capacity-building biosafety initiatives and programs that have taken place in the broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region between 2001 and 2013, to highlight gaps that require further development, and to suggest sustainable ways to build cooperative regional biosafety opportunities. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted with two aspects (1) thorough desktop review of literature for all biosafety/biosecurity-related activities in the study countries, such as seminars, conferences, workshops, policy documents, technology transfer, sustained scientific endeavors between countries, etc...
2016: Frontiers in Public Health
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