• People with substance-use disorder are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, becoming seriously ill

    A new study by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston suggests that people with substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse respiratory effects of COVID-19, especially those using drugs that impair the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The findings are currently available in Psychiatric Services.

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    UTMB leading new international centers for anticipating and countering infectious diseases

    The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is in the unique position to have been awarded funding to launch 2 of the 10 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-supported Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). The Coordinating Research on Emerging Arboviral Threats Encompassing the Neotropics (CREATE-NEO) center (1 U01 AI151807-01) led by Dr. Nikos Vasilakis and the West African Center of Emerging Infectious Diseases (WAC-EID; 1 U01 AI151801-01) led by Dr. Scott Weaver will coordinate efforts with the other NIAID funded centers around the globe where emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks are likely to occur. Multidisciplinary teams of investigators will conduct pathogen/host/vector surveillance, study pathogen transmission, pathogenesis and immunologic responses in the host, and will develop reagents and diagnostic assays for improved detection for important emerging pathogens and their vectors.

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    Why doesn’t Ebola cause disease in bats, as it does in people?

    A new study by researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston uncovered new information on why the Ebola virus can live within bats without causing them harm, while the same virus wreaks deadly havoc to people. This study is now available in Cell Reports.

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    $6.3 million grant renews UTMB's Pepper Center

    A specialized research center at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston that helps older adults has received a $6.3 million renewal of its grant from the National Institute on Aging. The Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at UTMB has been continually funded since 2000.

  • Mosquito Image from CDC

    Researchers uncovered the Zika virus mutation responsible for quick spread, birth defects

    A multidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered a Zika virus mutation that may be responsible for the explosive viral transmission in 2015/2016 and for the cause of microcephaly (babies with small heads) born to infected pregnant women. The study is currently available in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences.

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    Zika virus hijacks the host cell’s own defense mechanism to cause disease

    How did Zika virus acquire the ability to infect the brain and reproductive tissue to cause its characteristic disease? The answer may lie in a newly observed ability of the virus to use a host cell’s own defense mechanisms as a disguise. A team from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have published new research that shows the Zika virus evolved to use a host cellular enzyme for its own invasion, potentially explaining the mechanism by which the virus efficiently infects the brain and reproductive tissues, a potential explanation for how the Zika virus causes congenital neurological disorders like microcephaly, found in the newborns of infected mothers.