Zika Virus Transmittable Through Sex; Unclear Risk From Saliva, Urine

Zika Virus Transmittable Through Sex; Unclear Risk From Saliva; Urine

The first case of Zika virus contracted in the continental U.S. was reported earlier this week, not through mosquito contact, but through sexual contact. After returning to Texas from Venezuela, an infected person apparently transmitted Zika to a partner through sex. The CDC has since issued recommendations for preventing sexual transmission, whether or not pregnancy is involved. Meanwhile, a research team in Brazil has announced that it has detected active Zika virus in both saliva and urine. It’s unclear whether the disease is actually contagious through these routes, but some experts have suggested that pregnant women in affected regions avoid kissing people other than their partners. Whether this is actually necessary remains to be seen.




Interactive Robotic Device

REAplan A Medical Interactive Robotic Device Obtains CE Mark

Axinesis announced today that its innovative medical interactive robotic device, REAPlan, dedicated to the rehabilitation of impaired upper limbs of stroke patients and cerebral palsy children, has received CE mark approval according to Directive 93/42/EEC on medical devices.





Zika Virus

NIH Announced Its Research Priorities on How Zika Virus Affects Pregnancy

The National Institutes of Health today announced its research priorities for studies to investigate how Zika virus infection affects reproduction, pregnancy and the developing fetus.  Zika virus currently is circulating in about 30 countries and territories (link is external), notably in Latin America and the Caribbean. The virus has been linked to a spike in cases of microcephaly (link is external)— an abnormally small head resulting from an underdeveloped and/or damaged brain — among newborn babies.


NIH researchers have identified a DNA methylation signature in tumor DNA common to five types of cancer. The signature results from a chemical modification of DNA called methylation, which can control the expression of genes like a dimmer on a light switch. They hope this finding will spur development of a blood test that can be used to diagnose a variety of cancers at early stages.

NIH Researchers Identify a DNA Signature Shared by Five Types of Cancer

National Institutes of Health researchers have identified a striking signature in tumor DNA that occurs in five different types of cancer. They also found evidence that this methylation signature may be present in many more types of cancer. The specific signature results from a chemical modification of DNA called methylation, which can control the expression of genes like a dimmer on a light switch. Higher amounts of DNA methylation (hypermethylation), like that found by the researchers in some tumor DNA, decreases a gene’s activity. Based on this advance, the researchers hope to spur development of a blood test that can be used to diagnose a variety of cancers at early stages, when treatments can be most effective. The study appeared Feb. 5, 2016, in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics.