TWiV 424: FLERVergnügen

Trudy joins the the TWiVlords to discuss new tests for detecting prions in the blood, and evidence showing that foamy retroviruses originated in the seas with their jawed vertebrate hosts at least 450 million years ago. You can find TWiV #424 at, or listen below. [powerpress url=”″] Click arrow to play Download TWiV 424 (67 MB .mp3, …

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A blood test for prion disease

A sensitive and specific blood test has been developed that could be used to limit the risk of transmission of prion disease through the blood supply (link to papers one and two). Prion diseases, also known as spongiform encephalopathies, are uniformly fatal, chronic degenerative neurological diseases caused by misfolding of a cellular protein, PrPC. Transmissible …

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Prion contamination in the emergency room

Here is a follow-up to last week’s article that described a case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in a Texas resident caused by ingestion of BSE-contaminated beef 14 years ago. A 59 year old male patient was admitted to the trauma unit in Lancaster, PA with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. There was substantial bleeding and brain tissue extrusion …

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A case of prion disease acquired from contaminated beef

Spongiform encephalopathies are neurodegenerative diseases caused by misfolding of normal cellular prion proteins. A 2014 case of variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob prion disease in the United States was probably caused by eating beef from animals with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. Human spongiform encephalopathies are placed into three groups: infectious, familial or genetic, and sporadic, distinguished by how the disease …

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