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Jun 10 2024 Ruhr University Bochum

If the virus incorporates host genetic segments into its genome, the infection may become chronic.

Why does Hepatitis E become chronic in some patients, and why do medications not work? To find out, an international research team led by scientists from Bochum observed a patient with chronic Hepatitis E infection over a year. Repeated sequencing of the virus RNA showed that the virus incorporated various parts of the host's messenger RNA into its genome. This resulted in a replication advantage, which may have contributed to the infection becoming chronic. The so-called insertion of host RNA can possibly predict the transition of an acute infection to a chronic condition." 

Dr. Daniel Todt, head of the Computational Virology research group, Department of Medical and Molecular Virology, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

The researchers report in the journal Nature Communications on June 6, 2024. Sequencing of the virus population

Around 20 million people worldwide contract Hepatitis E every year. Normally, the infection heals without consequences, but it can be life-threatening for pregnant women or people with suppressed immune systems. In some cases, it becomes chronic. There are no specific effective medications. The broad-spectrum antiviral drug Ribavirin is also used against Hepatitis E, but it does not always work.

How can the virus evade the immune system? Why does the infection become chronic and not heal? The researchers wanted to find out and analyzed for the first time all virus populations of a chronically infected patient over a period of more than a year. They examined more than 180 individual sequences from blood samples in detail. Replication in cell culture benefits from host RNA

"The Hepatitis E virus has a so-called hypervariable region in its genetic information, into which it can incorporate various RNA sequences from host cells," describes Daniel Todt. His team was able to show that the composition of this region changed massively during the observation period. Additionally, many different compositions occurred simultaneously. In cell culture experiments, it was shown that incorporating host RNA provided a replication advantage: The altered viruses could replicate better than others. "We assume that this is partly responsible for the infection becoming chronic and the therapy failing," says Daniel Todt. Related StoriesNew RNA therapy zilebesiran shows promise in lowering blood pressureEvaluating the efficacy of harmol in treating herpes simplex virus-induced keratitisAging affects immune response and virus dynamics in COVID-19 patients, study finds

The researchers examined the composition of the host RNA incorporated into the virus to determine if there were any common features characterizing the gene segments. "However, we could not detect any meaningful similarities," says Todt. The incorporated gene sequences are predominantly those that are very common in host cells, indicating a random selection.

"Possibly, during Hepatitis E infection, a race between the virus and the immune system occurs in the body," speculates Daniel Todt. If the virus manages to incorporate host RNA before the immune system successfully combats the infection, it may lead to a chronic course. "Host RNA in the viral genome could, in any case, serve as a biomarker in the acute phase of an infection, indicating early on that it is likely to become chronic."

The researchers plan to expand their studies to larger cohorts of patients. Funding

The work was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the junior research group "VirBio" and by the German Research Foundation. Further funding came from the Federal Ministry of Health, the German Centre for Infection Research and the National Institutes of Health. Source:

Ruhr University BochumJournal reference:

Wißing, M. H., et al. (2024). Genetic determinants of host- and virus-derived insertions for hepatitis E virus replication. Nature Communications. doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-49219-8.

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Justin Timberlake addresses ‘tough week’ at first concert since drink-driving arrest

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Justin Timberlake addresses 'tough week' at first concert since drink-driving arrest

Justin Timberlake has performed his first gig since his arrest for alleged drink-driving, telling the crowd it had been a “tough week”. 

The US star is currently on his The Forget Tomorrow World Tour and performed in Chicago on Friday night after being arrested earlier this week.

He told the screaming crowd: “We’ve been together through ups and downs, lefts and rights.

“It’s been a tough week, but you’re here and I’m here, and nothing can change this moment right now.”

The singer appeared emotional as he added: “I know sometimes I’m hard to love but you keep on loving me and I love you right back.”

Timberlake was in Long Island in New York state – having reportedly had dinner with friends – when he was pulled over by police in the early hours of Tuesday.

Officers said the 43-year-old had failed to pause at a stop sign and was seen not being able to stay in his lane.

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Timberlake’s car caught on CCTV

Timberlake was held overnight and formally charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) misdemeanour at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Tuesday morning before being released.

According to a source talking to Page Six, the officer who pulled Timberlake over “was so young that he didn’t even know” who the star was.

A second source told the celebrity news outlet that during the arrest, Timberlake said: “This is going to ruin the tour.”

Justin Timberlake.
Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters
Image:
Timberlake’s mugshot after his arrest. Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters

Timberlake, who rose to fame with boyband NSYNC before finding huge success as a solo artist with hits including Like I Love You, Cry Me A River, SexyBack and Mirrors, is due to perform in Chicago again on Saturday night.

Further shows are scheduled across the US, Canada and Europe between June and December.

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According to court documents filed about the star’s arrest, there was “a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage… emanating from his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot and he performed poorly on all standardised field sobriety tests”.

Timberlake also told officers he had one martini and was following some friends home, and refused to take a breath test.

His lawyer has said he is “looking forward to vigorously defending” the singer.

Timberlake’s next court date is scheduled for 26 July.

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US

Justin Timberlake addresses ‘tough week’ at first concert since drink-driving arrest

Published

on

By

Justin Timberlake addresses 'tough week' at first concert since drink-driving arrest

Justin Timberlake has performed his first gig since his arrest for alleged drink-driving, telling the crowd it had been a “tough week”. 

The US star is currently on his The Forget Tomorrow World Tour and performed in Chicago on Friday night after being arrested earlier this week.

He told the screaming crowd: “We’ve been together through ups and downs, lefts and rights.

“It’s been a tough week, but you’re here and I’m here, and nothing can change this moment right now.”

The singer appeared emotional as he added: “I know sometimes I’m hard to love but you keep on loving me and I love you right back.”

Timberlake was in Long Island in New York state – having reportedly had dinner with friends – when he was pulled over by police in the early hours of Tuesday.

Officers said the 43-year-old had failed to pause at a stop sign and was seen not being able to stay in his lane.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Timberlake’s car caught on CCTV

Timberlake was held overnight and formally charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) misdemeanour at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Tuesday morning before being released.

According to a source talking to Page Six, the officer who pulled Timberlake over “was so young that he didn’t even know” who the star was.

A second source told the celebrity news outlet that during the arrest, Timberlake said: “This is going to ruin the tour.”

Justin Timberlake.
Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters
Image:
Timberlake’s mugshot after his arrest. Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters

Timberlake, who rose to fame with boyband NSYNC before finding huge success as a solo artist with hits including Like I Love You, Cry Me A River, SexyBack and Mirrors, is due to perform in Chicago again on Saturday night.

Further shows are scheduled across the US, Canada and Europe between June and December.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
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Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

According to court documents filed about the star’s arrest, there was “a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage… emanating from his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot and he performed poorly on all standardised field sobriety tests”.

Timberlake also told officers he had one martini and was following some friends home, and refused to take a breath test.

His lawyer has said he is “looking forward to vigorously defending” the singer.

Timberlake’s next court date is scheduled for 26 July.

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US

Arkansas supermarket shooting leaves three dead and 10 wounded as gunman arrested

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Arkansas supermarket shooting leaves three dead and 10 wounded as gunman arrested

A supermarket shooting in Arkansas, US, has left three people dead and 10 others wounded.

Parked cars and shop windows were left riddled with bullet holes after a gunman opened fire on Friday, forcing bystanders to dive for cover.

Among the injured were two police officers who shot back at the gunman – before he was arrested.

The incident took place around 11.30am local time at the Mad Butcher supermarket in Fordyce – a city of just over 3,000 people located 65 miles south of Little Rock.

Colonel Mike Hagar, director of Arkansas State Police, told reporters: “It’s tragic, our hearts are broken”.

The gunman was identified by police as 44-year-old Travis Eugene Posey.

Posey was taken to jail and charged with three counts of murder.

Other charges are still pending and no court date has been set, according to the inmate roster.

Pic: AP
Image:
Police on the scene of the attack in the aftermath of the shooting. Pic: AP

Neither Posey’s, nor the officers’ injuries were life threatening, but among the others the injuries ranged from “not life-threatening to extremely critical”, Col Hagar said.

It wasn’t immediately clear what the motive for the shooting was, nor if it took place predominantly inside or outside the shop.

Roderick Rogers, a member of the city council, witnessed the attack.

He said he saw people fleeing for cover in all directions and added: “People were just jumping into cars to get to safety.”

Law enforcement officers work the scene of the shooting. Pic: AP
Image:
Law enforcement officers work the scene of the shooting. Pic: AP

Amiya Doherty said she was in her mum’s car in the car park of the shop when she heard what she thought were fireworks.

But she then saw a man holding a gun and firing and said she ducked out of view.

“I held my sister’s hand and I told her I love her,” Ms Doherty told Little Rock television station KATV.

Images from the scene showed a slew of bullet holes in the grocery store’s window, and spent shell casings strewn throughout the parking lot.

The shooting took place at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas. Pic: AP
Image:
The shooting took place at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Arkansas. Pic: AP

Arkansas governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she had been briefed on the shooting.

In a post on social media she added: “I am thankful to law enforcement and first responders for their quick and heroic action to save lives.

“My prayers are with the victims and all those impacted by this.”

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Read more from Sky News:
Hollywood legend Donald Sutherland has died
Shocking moment drunk driver ploughs into cyclists
Republican ‘sorry’ for repeatedly pouring water in colleague’s bag

The White House said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and his team will continue to keep him updated.

David Rodriguez, 58, had stopped at his local petrol station in the town when he heard what he thought were fireworks.

But he too saw people fleeing from the shop and one person lying on the ground.

“The police started to show up, and then there was massive gunfire and ambulances pulling up,” he said.

“The bullets were just flying.”

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