Mousepox

Mousepox

 

an infectious disease of white mice characterized by edema and gangrene; in some cases the extremities fall off. Mousepox occurs in Europe, Asia, and the United States. The causative agent is a DNA virus from the poxvirus group. The source of the causative agent is diseased white mice. The virus is excreted with pieces of skin, saliva, feces, and urine. Infection takes place through injured skin, the intestinal tract, and respiratory passages.

If the course of the disease is acute, the mice die with no visible symptoms within three to 14 days. Sometimes the skin of the legs, ears, tail, and eyelids is affected. If the course is chronic, the animals suffer edema and gangrene, the extremities fall off, and rounded stumps form. No effective treatment of the disease is known. Prevention involves checking the management of laboratory animals. If the disease occurs, all the animals of the infected group are destroyed.

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Ramshaw, "Expression of Mouse Interleukin-4 by a Recombinant Ectromelia Virus Suppresses Cytolytic Lymphocyte Responses and Overcomes Genetic Resistance to Mousepox," Journal of Virology 75, no.
Thomas Douglas and Julian Savulescu explain that the important implication of this experiment is that application of the mousepox experiment to smallpox could render smallpox vaccine-resistant, potentially resulting-in a terminal pandemic that could devastate humanity.
One example of this lack of expertise is an article published in the Journal of Virology documenting the creation of a potent mousepox strain that killed mice normally resistant to the virus.
The Australian mousepox case highlights an important point: Other than warning of the dangers their discovery posed, there was little Jackson and Ramshaw could have done to make their concerns effective.
In the first study, researchers from Australia inserted the mouse IL-4 gene into the mousepox virus with the aim of sterilizing the mice as a means of pest control.
15 March 2010 - Denmark-based biotechnology company Bavarian Nordic A/S (CPH: BAVA) said today it has published additional data demonstrating that mice could be protected from a lethal infection with mousepox, a closely related virus to smallpox in man, by treating the animals with a single vaccination with IMVAMUNE three days after the animals had received the lethal infection.
The possibility that researchers could genetically manipulate the natural enemies of non-native species to kill them faster and better, thus protecting the "natural" environment, attracted public notice in 2001, when a team of virologists, seeking to control non-native rodents in Australia, announced that it had had added an interleukin-4 gene, which suppresses the immune response, to ectromelia or mousepox virus.
One alarming example of such federally funded research reported in the October, 2003, issue of New Scientist, is the creation of "an extremely deadly form of mousepox, a relative of the smallpox virus, through genetic engineering.
Drawn from material presented at the Novartis Foundation Symposium entitled "Decoding the Genomic Control of Immune Reactions" held in Canberra in March 2006, this collection covers transcriptional regulatory networks in macrophages, molecular pathways and their role in human disease, specifying the patterns of immune cell migration, human monogenic disorders and their relationship with specific infections, the genetic control of susceptibility to a strain of tuberculosis, disorders resulting from defective LAT signalosomes, smallpox and mousepox, strategies for phenotype detection and subsequent mapping and cloning, genetic control of host-pathogen interactions, systems genetics, and regulation of the immune system.
In the first, Australian researchers found that a genetically engineered strain of mousepox killed mice that would have been resistant (because of natural immunity or vaccination) to ordinary strains of mousepox.
Specific detection of mousepox virus by polymerase chain reaction.