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Go back to the enewsletter Chinas landscapes are

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletterChina’s landscapes are vast, its history and monuments epic. Complex and energetic – this country must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.And the Yangtze River, the world’s third longest river at 6280 kilometres is its symbolic lifeline. Flowing from Tibet to Shanghai, and cutting through the dramatic mountains of the Yangtze River basin, the river’s fortunes are inextricably entwined with those of the country itself. Historically, the Yangtze served as a divider between northern and southern China, a natural barrier against invaders, and a waterway for transport and commerce. Today, the river basin is the country’s heartland, home to 500 million people – a tenth of the world’s population.There’s no better way to soak up the beauty of China’s heartland than embarking upon a voyage down the Yangtze to explore this immense waterway. River cruise specialist, Sanctuary Retreats, offers a range of Yangtze cruises aboard the luxuriously appointed Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in partnership with various operators including APT, Abercrombie & Kent and Wendy Wu Tours.Boutique cruisingAccording to Michael McCall, Sanctuary Retreats’ Director of Sales Australia, NZ & Asia the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer sets a new standard of cruising in China. Says McCall, “We’re passionate about making our client’s travels as memorable as possible. Which is why we believe small is especially beautiful.”Carrying a maximum of just 124 passengers, compared to the 300 or more favoured by other operators, guests aboard the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer are assured a more intimate experience – and with a far more personalised touch. And with one crewmember for every guest – the highest ratio along the Yangtze, McCall says, “the on-board atmosphere is more private club than cruise ship.”Luxurious designAuthentic charm, unrivalled comfort and meticulous attention to detail are hallmarks of life on-board the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer. Nowhere is this quality more evident than in the vessel’s elegant 38 deluxe cabins and 20 fully serviced luxury suites. Amongst the largest on the river, all feature private balconies and floor to ceiling picture windows, ensuring guests wake up to dramatic views every day. Throw in bespoke 24-hour room service and complimentary Wi-Fi, and the experience is hard to beat, says McCall.World class cuisineOf course China is also celebrated for its cuisine. The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer’s Dynasty Dining Room, features a delectable East meets West menu, with expertly crafted dishes capturing the very best of continental classics and local flavours. Says McCall “The farewell dinner aboard each sailing provides the ultimate flourish, with guests treated to a traditional Chinese banquet – the perfect occasion to feast on some of the mouth-watering specialities characteristic of this alluring Asian corner.“Me time”The leisurely pace of a Yangtze cruise naturally lends itself to relaxation, and the Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is the ideal place to unwind. According to McCall, the onboard spa features six treatment rooms offering an indulgent menu of options to ensure guests look and feel their best, while an adjoining state of the art fitness centre helps them reenergise.“Passengers can also dip into our onboard programme of free activities spanning everything from traditional performances and lectures and morning tai chi sessions to Chinese medicine master classes, calligraphy lessons and dumpling making, with something guaranteed to entertain guests of every age.Special offerIf you have ever harboured the idea of sailing down China’s mighty Yangtze River, now is definitely the time to book. Take advantage of Sanctuary Retreats’ extended Early Booking Offer. Book and pay in full three months before any 2017 sailing and receive a 25 per cent discount and a free cabin upgrade for bookings made for the shoulder and high seasons and a 10 per cent discount for bookings made in the peak season.Great savingsShoulder season: 12 – 30 March 2017, 1 June – 7 September 2017.Priced from US $2025 per couple per cruise twin share, normally $2700 (save from US $675 per couple).High season: 2 – 27 April 2017, 2 – 16 November 2017.Priced from US $2805 per couple per cruise twin share, normally $3740 (save from US $935 per couple).Peak season: 30 April – 28 May 2017, 10 September – 29 October 2016.Priced from US$3564 per couple per cruise twin share, normally $3960 (save from US $396 per couple).Go back to the e-newsletterlast_img read more

Unique experimental vaccine against Zika virus proves powerful in mice

first_imgAug 6 2018A uniquely designed experimental vaccine against Zika virus has proven powerful in mice, new research has found.A team led by researchers at The Ohio State University has developed and tested a vaccine that employs an uncommon two-pronged approach to fighting the virus, which is spread by mosquitos and is most serious for pregnant women and their fetuses.The single-dose vaccine, carrying the genes for two or three Zika proteins, proved effective in triggering an immune response that prevented later infection by Zika virus, according to the study, which appears in the journal Nature Communications.”In this study, the vaccine was potent, safe and highly effective, at least in the short term. There’s a long way to go, but we think this is a promising candidate for a human vaccine,” said Jianrong Li, an Ohio State professor of veterinary biosciences who led the study and developed the vaccine platform.Babies born to Zika-infected mothers are sometimes born with a birth defect called microcephaly. Other complications include miscarriage, stillbirth and other birth defects. Research also suggests that a small percentage of people infected with the virus can contract Guillain-Barre syndrome, which affects the nervous system.There’s no vaccine available currently – though some are in clinical trials – and the only protection against Zika are preventative measures such as insect repellant, staying indoors and wearing long sleeves and pants.Shan-Lu Liu, a study co-author and director of Ohio State’s Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program, said the experimental vaccine holds particular promise because it appears to afford an adequate immune response with one dose. In hard-to-reach and resource-poor areas, that becomes especially valuable, he said.When this study began, the Ohio State team wondered if a novel approach to vaccination might prove effective against the virus – one in which they targeted a protective immune response by expressing two or three Zika proteins.As a vehicle for the Zika proteins, they looked to vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV, which is a foot-and-mouth disease in cattle. The weakened form of the virus is harmless in humans and mice. VSV has been used in other vaccines, including a successful Ebola vaccine which has been used in preventing outbreaks in humans in Africa.”It’s a good platform for human vaccines, because people don’t have any antibodies against it and that allows VSV to successfully transport the vaccine without being stopped by the immune system,” said study co-author Mark Peeples, a pediatrics professor at Ohio State and researcher at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.Related StoriesHPV vaccine has led to a dramatic reduction in cervical cancer rates, but Africa is lagging behindNew shingles vaccine reduces outbreaks of painful rash among stem cell transplant patientsVirus killing protein could be the real antiviral hero finds studyIn general, vaccines work by delivering harmless amounts of the target virus proteins to the bloodstream, allowing the body to build up immune responses that will provide protection in the event of subsequent exposure to the virus. Li’s work has been focused on weakening VSV so that it doesn’t cause any problems and then inserting genes from other viruses to make powerful vaccines, said Peeples, who first encouraged Li to consider applying his vaccine platform to Zika.In the experimental vaccine, VSV acts as a vehicle to deliver the genes for two or three key proteins from the Zika virus, carrying them into the mouse and expressing them inside some of the cells in the mouse so that the immune system could respond and build up a defense against Zika.”The addition of NS1 protein is an innovative approach for a vaccine – it’s a protein that is made after the Zika virus infects a cell. It’s what this bug uses to replicate itself once it’s inside the host,” said Prosper Boyaka, a study co-author and Ohio State professor of veterinary biosciences.The study included experiments in mice with severely compromised immune systems – a necessary step to make sure that mice could get sick after infection with Zika virus. When the vaccinated mice were exposed to Zika virus, their weak immune systems fought it off swiftly and efficiently, convincing the research team that their design had worked.Without using the immunocompromised animals, the researchers would not have known how safe and effective the vaccine was, Peeples said.The early success with this vaccine has encouraged this team to use the same approach to fight other related viruses, including Dengue fever, the researchers said.The researchers also looked at the response to a vaccine with just the unique NS1 gene inserted into VSV and for the first time established that it offered partial protection all on its own, confirming its value in the vaccine, Boyaka said.”We are very excited to find that VSV-based Zika vaccine is highly promising in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised mice”, said Anzhong Li, who is the first author of the paper and a graduate student in Jianrong Li’s laboratory. Anzhong Li recently presented these findings at a scientific conference in Italy.”Really, the next big question is ‘Will this be protective in humans?’ ” Peeples said.Source: https://news.osu.edu/novel-vaccine-approach-proves-powerful-against-zika-virus/last_img read more