Author: PLOS Medicine

Introducing a New Look for the Journal Homepages

Today sees the launch of our re-vamped homepages for PLOS Medicine, PLOS Pathogens and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. They’ve been designed to give easy access to all recently published work, and to better incorporate some of the beautiful images that accompany PLOS articles.

Take a look and see what you think:

www.plosmedicine.org

www.plospathogens.org

www.plosntds.org

 

2014-07-29 16_30_08-Medicine mock up

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Promoting Scientific Publications from Authors Overseas

PLOS NTDs Deputy Editor Daniel Bausch reflects on a Manuscript Writing Workshop recently conducted in Lima, Peru.

On February 19, 2014, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene held a manuscript writing workshop in Lima, Peru, as part of the annual Peru satellite meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).  Amy Morrison and I, both PLOS NTDs Deputy Editors living and working in Peru, discussed our approach to writing, reviewing, and editing scientific manuscripts with a group of about 200 young Peruvian scientists.

Audience of the NTDs and ASTMH Writing Workshop. Image Credit Roxana Lescano

Audience of the NTDs and ASTMH Writing Workshop. Image Credit Roxana Lescano

Some of the obstacles to publication from authors overseas are obvious, such as the language barrier in a scientific world presently dominated by English. Others are more subtle, and perhaps more universal. How do you get started? What journal do you choose? What happens if you get rejected? The intimidation of young writers (naively thinking that peer-review is a perfect system!) was palpable. Amy and I did our best to go through the various steps of writing, submission and review. I think it helped for the young scientists to see that people who write and review and edit manuscripts are just “real people.” No intimidation necessary. Amy and I probably learned as much as the attendees; going through each step (how do you write the Abstract? the Intro? the Methods?), we often discovered that we had slightly different approaches and pointers to offer.


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Tackling Cholera in Haiti: A Multi-Faceted Approach

The PLOS medical journals reflect on Haiti’s cholera epidemic, and the value of moving forward with an emphasis on holistic practice and research.

Image Credit: FMSC, Flickr

Image Credit: FMSC, Flickr

Almost three years ago, in May of 2011, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases published a Viewpoints piece, Meeting Cholera’s Challenge to Haiti and the World: A Joint Statement on Cholera Prevention and Care, which urged the development of a “comprehensive, integrated strategy” in response to Haiti’s 2010 cholera epidemic. The Pan American Health Organization estimates that the outbreak now includes over 650,000 survivors and 8,100 fatal cases. Indeed, the epidemic has had enormous repercussions for a nation already facing the effects of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

At PLOS, research and opinion from across the medical journals, and this blog, have grappled with the issues raised by that first joint statement. The topics have ranged from an investigation of mass vaccination feasibility to an analysis of Haiti’s water-borne bacteria, and each article has helped to build an important new knowledge base. Though the task of ending cholera in Haiti remains daunting, this knowledge ensures that future efforts can be faster, more thorough, and ultimately, more successful.
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Celebrating World Water Day with a good WASH

Attribution:  Flickr, Diganta Talukdar

Attribution: Flickr, Diganta Talukdar

This coming Saturday marks the 22nd year that the United Nations General Assembly has recognized March 22nd as World Water Day. In observation of this special day, we would like to take a look back at a few of the articles PLOS Medicine, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens have published on the importance of clean water to human health.
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Category: General, WASH | Tagged , | 1 Comment

This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: NTDs and the End fo the UN MDG, Understanding Defense Mechanisms at the Maternal-fetal Interface, Low-cost Field Microscopy, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

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Guillet J, Hallier M, Felden B (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(12): e1003767. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003767

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015, and there is currently much debate, discussion and jostling for position regarding what should replace them. The results of which is likely to prove extremely important for determining the global health budget over the coming decades. Here James Smith and Michelle Taylor discuss the history of NTDs in the context of the sixth MDG goal (to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases), as well as the case for including them in the post-2015 agenda.

Resource constraints prevent adequate surveillance of neglected diseases such as rabies in developing countries, leading to a poor understanding of the disease burden and limited evidence with which to design effective control measures. Using a low cost mobile phone-based system, Syed Mohammad Asad Zaidi and colleagues carried out a prospective surveillance of dog bites and rabies in Pakistan by screening all patients presenting to nine emergency rooms in eight cities over a two-year period.

A host pro-inflammatory immune response is widely believed to contribute to the clinical complications that occur in some patients with dengue. Synthetic glucocorticoids, immunomodulatory agents commonly used in medicine, have been suggested as a therapy for dengue. Here Nguyen Thi Hanh Tien and colleagues report on immunological changes occurring during prednisolone therapy with a view to understanding the lack of clinical benefit by glucocorticoid therapy and to guide future intervention strategies for dengue.

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS Pathogens:

To coordinate the expression of genes involved in its growth and survival, S. aureus uses, among other factors, around 250 regulatory RNAs. In their review, Brice Felden and colleagues provide an inventory of those RNAS and discuss what is known about their functions in stress response, metabolism, and virulence.

Isabel Gordo and colleagues have devised an experimental system to observe and study the evolution of bacteria in response to encounters with cells of the mammalian immune system. They found that in less than 500 generations, originally commensal E. coli became more resistant to being killed by macrophages and acquired the ability to cause disease in mice.

Interested in the innate defense mechanisms at the maternal-fetal interface, Anna Bakardjiev and colleagues adopted a system of differentiated murine trophoblast stem cells to be able to study placental defenses. They report on some unique properties of the syncytium that forms the placental barrier, and on how those affect susceptibility to bacterial infection.

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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: New Insights Into P. vivax Genome, How Viruses Protect Themselves Against RNA Decay Machinery, Imaging Schisotosomiasis Eggs with Cell Phone Cameras, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Hester J, Chan ER, Menard D, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Barnwell J, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(12): e2569. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002569

Hester J, Chan ER, Menard D, Mercereau-Puijalon O, Barnwell J, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(12): e2569. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002569

P. vivax malaria is poorly understood as the parasite is difficult to study in vitro. In this study James Hester and colleagues use sequence data generated from a field isolate to reconstruct long DNA sequences without relying on the reference genome, revealing many P. vivax DNA sequences that are absent from the reference genome and contain 792 predicted genes. One of these novel genes encodes a predicted protein similar to known Plasmodium proteins involved in red blood cell invasion.

There is a need to develop diagnostic methods for parasitic infections specifically designed for use in resource-deficient situations, and with the proliferation of mobile phones, data transfer networks and digital imaging the stage is set for a new era of field microscopy. Here Ewert Linder and colleagues aim to show, as proof of concept, that it is possible to achieve point-of-care diagnostics by an inexpensive mini-microscope for direct visualization on a display and remote diagnostics by computer vision.
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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: NTD Elimination in a Shifting Policy Landscape, the Biology of Microbial Amyloids, Duplication of the Duffy Binding Protein Gene in P. vivax Strains

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Hufnagel DA, Tükel Ç, Chapman MR (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(11): e1003740. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003740

Hufnagel DA, Tükel Ç, Chapman MR (2013). PLoS Pathog 9(11): e1003740. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003740

The concept of NTDs was established in the aftermath of the Millennium Development Goals. Here, Dr. Peter Hotez summarizes the emergence of several new post-2010 global health documents and policies, and how they may alter the way we frame the world’s major NTDs since they were first highlighted. These documents include a new Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 that identifies visceral leishmaniasis and foodborne trematode infections as priority diseases, a London Declaration for access to essential medicines, and a 2013 World Health Assembly resolution on NTDs.

Over the past five years, researchers are reporting with increasing frequency that Duffy-negative individuals are infected with P. vivax, raising new questions as to how P. vivax infects the red blood cells when the Duffy blood group antigen is not available. In this paper Didier Menard and colleagues show that the parasite’s Duffy binding protein gene has been duplicated in multiple P. vivax strains, especially at high prevalence in Madagascar.
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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: How IT Can Benefit NTDs Control, Type 1 Interferon’s Protection Mechanism, the Improbable Transmission of T. cruzi to Humans, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Andrianaivoarimanana V, Kreppel K, Elissa N, Duplantier J-M, Carniel E, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(11): e2382. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002382

Andrianaivoarimanana V, Kreppel K, Elissa N, Duplantier J-M, Carniel E, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(11): e2382. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002382

In resource-limited settings, the use of IT in healthcare is emerging as it has in recent decades in the West, and a number of efforts are focusing on the use of IT in the control of NTDs. But IT efforts in NTDs lack critical components to maximize human interaction, which is the basis of recent progress in the broader IT community. In this paper, Rajesh Gupta and Paul Wise explore how specific IT products and efforts in the private sector could be adapted for control of NTDs.

Like malaria and dengue, Chagas is transmitted by blood-feeding insects; but unlike those diseases its transmission is through the insects’ feces, not injection into the blood stream. This inefficient process makes estimating the probability of infection difficult. Using mathematical models integrating data on vectors and humans collected across Latin America, Pierre Nouvellet, Eric Dumonteil and Sébastien Gourbière estimated that, for several vector species, transmission occurs in 1 over 900-4000 contacts with infected insects.
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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: Chagas in North America, T Cells, Antibodies and Protective Immunity Against Dengue, a Closer Look at Bat-transmitted Viruses, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Arnott A, Mueller I, Ramsland PA, Siba PM, Reeder JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2506. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002506

Arnott A, Mueller I, Ramsland PA, Siba PM, Reeder JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2506. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002506

The poorest people living in the Mexico and the U.S. are silently suffering under a heavy burden of Chagas disease, with pregnant women disproportionately affected. Peter Hotez and colleagues discuss how many lives can be saved with greater access to the treatments available today, while knowing the fate of tomorrow’s patients rests on increasing investments in research to develop new technologies to treat and diagnose Chagas disease, as well as improving scientific cooperation between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and other key countries.

Vaccines are an essential component of global malaria control and elimination campaigns, but the diversity of malaria antigens is thought to be a major cause of vaccine failure. In this study, Alicia Arnott and colleagues investigate the global diversity of the P. vivax vaccine candidate, Apical Membrane Antigen 1 (PvAMA1), to determine the feasibility of designing a globally effective PvAMA1 vaccine and to determine which region of PvAMA1 is targeted by host immune responses, in order to identify the most promising candidates.
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This Week in PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens: a Focus on Aspergillus fumicatus, the Genetics of Mokola Virus, Fruit Flies’ Robust Immune System, and More

The following new articles are publishing this week in PLOS NTDs:

Soares Magalhães RJ, Fançony C, Gamboa D, Langa AJ, Sousa-Figueiredo JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2321. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002321

Soares Magalhães RJ, Fançony C, Gamboa D, Langa AJ, Sousa-Figueiredo JC, et al. (2013). PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7(10): e2321. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002321

In contrast to all other known virus species in the genus Lyssavirus of the family Rhabdoviridae, Mokola virus is unique in that it appears to be exclusive to Africa and its reservoir host has not yet been identified. As only limited sequence information is available Joe Kgaladi and colleagues set out with this study to significantly contribute to the understanding of the genetic diversity and relatedness of Mokola viruses.

Improved understanding of the differential diagnosis of endemic Treponematoses is needed to inform clinical practice and to ensure the best outcome for a new global initiative for the eradication of yaws, bejel and pinta. Here, Oriol Mitjà and colleagues review the dilemmas in the diagnosis of endemic Treponematoses, and advances in the discovery of new diagnostic tools.
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