University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research

Government of Alberta / Flickr

This flu season has been particularly severe, with the Allegheny County Health Department reporting that last week three people died from flu complications; 260 people have been hospitalized. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

People living with HIV are living longer lives, thanks to medical advancements and wider availability of antiretroviral drugs. This means age-related diseases are now manifesting in these patients with previously unknown effects.

University of Pittsburgh researcher Ivona Pandrea said people living with HIV are twice as likely to develop heart disease, due to a protein that triggers blood clotting and inflammation even after the HIV is treated.

NIAID / Flickr

 When the word “bioterrorism” comes up in conversation, an anthrax-laced envelope might come to mind. But what about terrorists utilizing mosquitos to spread a virus?

That’s the type of bio-warfare the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research is focusing on fighting.

A $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense, allows researchers to accelerate the development of drugs and vaccines against alphaviruses, a group of about 30 different viruses that are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes.

You might not have ever heard of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) — it only affects five to 30 people in the United States annually — but it kills about half the people it infects, doesn’t have a cure and is becoming more common.

That’s according to William Klimstra, who, along with other University of Pittsburgh researchers, has made a major discovery that could lead to possible treatment for and prevention against the mosquito-borne virus.