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  1. #1

    Default anyone else see this?

    Israelis discover cure for bee colony collapse-associated virus

    By Rachel Neiman
    September 22, 2008
    It is a real-life nightmare scenario that makes any horror movie pale by comparison. The honeybees are in trouble and, by extension, so is the human race. Last winter, over 36 percent of the US bee colonies collapsed, affecting honey production, but more significantly, affecting the one-third of all food production that requires pollination - from fruits and nuts, to the dairy and beef cows that feed on alfalfa.

    Now, an Israeli-US company Beeologics is taking rapid measures to bring to market a proprietary anti-viral agent that promises to alleviate the effects of the virus strongly associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), with full-scale FDA trials commencing next month.

    So far 60,000 hives are committed and Beeologics aims to have 100,000 hives enlisted in the trial which will run in several locations in the US from October to February. The season is critical, Eyal Ben-Chanoch, CEO of Beeologics, tells ISRAEL21c, because the bee keeping industry cycle follows the seasons of the bees which strengthen in spring, and summer and naturally weaken during fall and winter.

    Vanishing bees
    CCD is characterized by the mysterious and inexplicable loss of worker bees in managed honeybee colonies. There is often still honey in the hive, and a few immature bees, but the adult bees have vanished. It was first noticed as a problem in the winter of 2006/7, when beekeepers began reporting losses of 30 to 90 percent of their hives, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    Since then, the crisis has grown. Last winter, a survey by the US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Services (USDA-ARS) and Apiary inspectors showed that 36% of America's 2.4 million hives were lost to CCD. The survey covered almost 20% of America's 1,500 commercial beekeepers, and suggested an increase of 11% over the losses of 2007, and 40% over the losses of 2006. Similar losses are being reported in Italy, Spain, Greece, the UK, and other countries across Europe.

    There is much at stake. "Today it's not about honey but about pollination," says Ben-Chanoch. Pollination using managed honeybees is a critical element in modern agriculture; more than 130 crops in the US require pollination, with an annual crop value of $15 billion.

    The cause of CCD is still unclear. Some are convinced it is connected to the Varroa bee mite, others suspect a single cell parasite, or a virus. Some even blame pesticides or cellphones. None of these suspected causes bear up to close scrutiny, according to Ben-Chanoch.

    "So far, there is no solution because no one has even come to an agreement as to what the problem is," adds Nitzan Paldi, chief technology officer of Beeologics.

    One virus strongly associated with CCD, however, is Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV). Identified by Hebrew University of Jerusalem plant virologist Prof. Ilan Sela in 2004, the virus causes honeybees to suffer from shivering wings, followed by paralysis and death outside the hive. In 2007, the journal Science published research by a prestigious team of US scientists and researchers that found a significant connection between IAPV and CCD in honeybees.

    A contagious virus
    At Beeologics, scientists are convinced that IAPV is the primary cause of CCD. "If you look how the disease spreads, it's very reminiscent of flu. Flu also starts in the fall and hits hard in the winter, the same is true of this bee virus," explains Paldi. "It's very contagious like a flu. In our opinion, we have something that's interacting very strongly with the environment to cause CCD. It could be interacting with pesticides, with improper nutrition, general stress - but that's not what's killing the bees. What's killing them is a virus and we believe that virus is IAPV."

    Using the Science article as validation, in the summer of 2007, the company's founding research team - Sela, biochemist Dr. Eitan Glick and doctoral student Eyal Maori - began work to develop an affordable cure for the virus.

    They turned to a longtime collaborator, plant virologist Dr. Gal Yarden who was previously CEO of publicly traded Bio-Oz Biotechnologies and to Paldi, an expert in bee pollination and an experienced entrepreneur. Beeologics was founded as a commercial entity in October last year with the help of Ben-Chanoch, an Israeli-American serial entrepreneur based in Florida.

    Beeologics' solution, Remebee, utilizes a mechanism called RNA interference (RNAi, also known as gene silencing) a mechanism that inhibits or hinders gene _expression. "The technology is based on naturally occurring biological agents. Conceptually, we're introducing the factor that prompts the silencing response," Paldi tells ISRAEL21c. "We didn't invent gene silencing. However, as far as we know we are among the first to use it commercially on non-humans."

    According to the company, the patent-pending Remebee provides protection from IAPV and other bee viruses. The technology is potentially applicable to all bee viruses, precludes the possibility of virus breaking resistance, is non-toxic and leaves no residues in either honeybees or their honey.

    Successful trials
    Initial trials on 100 hives were conducted in Florida from March to June. The trials were designed, managed and monitored by Dr. Jamie Ellis from the Entomology department at the University of Florida, with collaboration of the USDA-ARS in Fort Pierce, Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture, Apiary Inspection Service.

    Remebee is delivered to the colony via regular feeding processes. Laboratory and field trials demonstrated that feeding IAPV specific RNA prior to virus inoculation dramatically improved bee-to-brood ratio and honey yield compared with bees inoculated with IAPV only.

    Beeologics has now applied for FDA approval for Remebee and has partnered with all major US and international institutions working on the CCD problem, including leading US beekeepers Dave Mendez and Dave Hackenberg, the man who alerted the media to CCD after losing 90% of his bees in 2006.

    "Hackenberg provided us the hives and the bees for the trials in Pennsylvania as did Mendez in Florida," says Ben-Chanoch. "It was a great sacrifice because these beekeepers were already hurting -- these hive were planned for revenue generation and the replacement cost for this size of fully populated hive is substantial."

    The company is also in the process of establishing European partnerships, following successful presentations this summer before the World Health Organization and major bee conferences.

    Ben-Chanoch hopes that Remebee will just be the start for Beeologics. The businessman who founded GreenOvation Labs, a Florida-based business accelerator for innovative biotech technologies in 2007, hopes the company will become the 'go to' company for bee health.

    While it's primary focus is Remebee and solving the current CCD crisis, Beeologics' wider focus is developing a full line of products for bee health, starting with RemebeePro, a multi-viral agent; and RemebeePlus, a feeding supplement based on natural ingredients.

  2. #2
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    Default Yes I saw it

    I still don't think it's ONE THING but wish us all well

  3. #3
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    lewisberry, Pa, usa
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    Default

    So is this CCD only from a viral situation? I know Hackenburg has been touting pesticides as the culprit. But now, he has donated hives to this viral study. Is one thing feeding off the other? Or has Dave changed his stance?

    Here is an upcoming program with Dave as the speaker. I was told it focused on chemicals and pesticides.

    Now I don't know what to think... I've heard from day one that it is pesticides.

    http://www.ecostudies.org/events.html
    Last edited by BjornBee; 09-24-2008 at 08:28 PM.

  4. #4
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    Feb 2007
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    los angeles, ca
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    109

    Wink

    More Chemicals More Chemicals More Chemicals.Also all these Chemicals are going into the water table.I read recently were all these Pharmacy Drugs people take are showing up in the drinking water.I think the Cure is worse than the Affliction.I think when you treat your bees feed them corn syrup move them many times feed them pollen substitute you should not be supprised by there Demise.Treating for mites has made resistant mites weak bees and polluted wax and honey.I choose to go the other way.I use no treatments of any kind use starter strips,I go to great lengths to let the bees survive or succumb on ther own.All my bees are captured swarms,or cut outs.I have good results.I know beekeepers who treat and have hives die.What the heck I have fewer hives die by not treating my bees and useing small and natural cell.
    kirkobeeo
    I like bugs

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Loganville, GA
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    Default

    You know how it works Bjorn. We don't need to change our life styles anymore, just take a pill!!!

    Everything will be just fine.........
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kirk-o View Post
    I read recently were all these Pharmacy Drugs people take are showing up in the drinking water.
    It's more than just this. Turns out in some places the fish downstream of wastewater treatment plant discharges are predominantly one sex (can't remember which one), due to either the drugs or the water temperature or both, which really screws up their reproduction rate.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  7. #7
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    Jan 2008
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    creek county oklahoma
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    Default

    This is very interesting. Do you have a reference to any of their published research about this drug? The article didn't really go into detail about what is nor the mechanism.

    I don't even know if IAPV is an RNA virus or a DNA virus, or what it does once it gets inside the bee.

    This may be like the many "cure for cancer" articles that show up in the press, with a medical writer that doesn't really grasp the science, and practical application, if any, many years away.

  8. #8
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    Default Beeologics' solution, Remebee, utilizes a mechanism called RNA interference

    Is this the same procedure use for human cancer ?
    Perhaps so.
    Just a thought.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  9. #9
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    Default "Hackenberg provided us the hives and the bees for the trials in Pennsylvania .

    Go David H.
    Thank you for your help.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  10. #10
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    Perkasie, PA
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    Default I normally avoid rants but...

    "Hackenberg provided us the hives and the bees for the trials in Pennsylvania as did Mendez in Florida," says Ben-Chanoch. "It was a great sacrifice because these beekeepers were already hurting -- these hive were planned for revenue generation and the replacement cost for this size of fully populated hive is substantial."

    1) weak and dying hives
    2) he runs fully depreciated equipment
    3) I smell money rather than science
    4) Is it about science, opinions or marketable products?
    5) agriculture in general and beekeeping specifically is already awash in snake oil

  11. #11
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BjornBee View Post

    Now I don't know what to think... I've heard from day one that it is pesticides.

    http://www.ecostudies.org/events.html
    Ouch..I feel Ocham's razor cutting deep

  12. #12
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    Default

    I am also very interested in the proposed mechanism of Remebee from Beeologics. It is difficult for me to believe that ingested RNAi's can target cells infected with IAPV. If anyone finds a scientific paper that describes Remebee mode of action please pass it along. I already understand RNAi technology but simply don't know how it is supposed to work through ingestion.

  13. #13
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    College Station, Texas
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    Default

    aspera writes:
    5) agriculture in general and beekeeping specifically is already awash in snake oil

    tecumseh:
    yessss.....

  14. #14
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    Oct 2001
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    Mason, MI, USA
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    Default

    I have found no other contributions to support this in any journels that I get.
    Clint
    Clinton Bemrose<br />just South of Lansing Michigan<br />Beekeeping since 1964

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