Jail strike over cuts

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NATION -

PRISON of­fi­cers across NSW are strik­ing over job cuts and un­safe work­ing con­di­tions, with their union claim­ing lives are at risk.

The in­dus­trial ac­tion kicked off at Long Bay jail yes­ter­day morn­ing, and by mid­day, the Pub­lic Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion es­ti­mated up to 900 staff had walked off the job.

The PSA’s Prison Of­fi­cers Vo­ca­tional Branch chair Ni­cole Jess warned the num­ber may reach 4000 as staff at Goul­burn, Ber­rima, Sil­ver­wa­ter and Dill­wynia pris­ons held stop-work meet­ings and be­gan to strike. SCI­EN­TISTS have dis­cov­ered that a large pop­u­la­tion of cells, once dis­carded as the “bad ap­ples” of the im­mune sys­tem, could ac­tu­ally be the body’s se­cret weapon against dis­eases like HIV.

For the past three decades health au­thor­i­ties thought that an­ti­bod­ies known as B cells – a type of im­mune cell – had no pur­pose and were ac­tu­ally dan­ger­ous, caus­ing auto-im­mune disor­ders. Be­cause of this, the “harm­ful an­ti­bod­ies” ap­peared to have been si­lenced.

But it turns out they may not be so use­less and detri­men­tal af­ter all, im­mu­nol­o­gist and molec­u­lar ge­neti­cist Pro­fes­sor Chris Good­now says.

In a world first, sci­en­tists at Syd­ney’s Gar­van In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Re­search have shown in mouse mod­els that B cells can pro­vide cru­cial pro­tec­tion against in­vad­ing and harm­ful mi­crobes pro­duced by viruses.

Pro­fes­sor Good­now, who co-led the re­search with As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Daniel Christ, says the new find­ings mark a ma­jor step in the un­der­stand­ing of how the im­mune sys­tem works to fight dis­ease.

He says it will change cur­rent think­ing about how the im­mune sys­tem pro­vides pro­tec­tion.

“We once thought that harm­ful an­ti­bod­ies were dis­carded by the body – like a few bad ap­ples in the bar­rel – and no one had any idea that you could start with a ‘bad’ an­ti­body and make it good,” Pro­fes­sor Good­now said.

The study is pub­lished in lead­ing jour­nal Sci­ence. Re­searchers tracked the move­ment of B cells over time us­ing mice vac­ci­nated with a for­eign threat. Ini­tially, the B cells binded to good “self” proteins but over time in­creas­ingly started bind­ing to the for­eign proteins to neu­tralise them, ex­plained the pa­per’s first au­thor Deb­o­rah Bur­nett.

It’s hoped this new un­der­stand­ing could lead to the de­vel­op­ment of vac­cines for HIV and other dis­eases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.