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Ferreting out influenza H5N1

A laboratory in the Netherlands has identified a lethal influenza H5N1 virus strain that is transmitted among ferrets. These findings are under review by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to ensure that they do not constitute a threat to human health. Meanwhile both the... Read More

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.

“I would like to lose the language of warfa... Read More

MicroRNAs and Retroviral Integrity

Jamie Henzy, a postdoctoral researcher at Boston College, has authored a post on Small Things Considered that explores the shady world of the deltaretrovirus genus.

"Among retroviruses, the deltaretrovirus genus is something of a shady bunch, its members lurking in the shadows, causing troubl... Read More

Some Like It Very Hot

Russian scientists have now poured 60 tonnes of freon and kerosene down the four-kilometre bore hole that plunges through the ice above Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This will stop the hole freezing up during the long Antarctic winter. When summer comes, the Russian team will return to drill the la... Read More

TWiV 160: Moore tumor viruses



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Rich Condit... Read More

ASM General Meeting 2012: Your Topics, Your Votes, Your Choice

There are only 7 days left to submit your scientific presentation topic for ASM's General Meeting 2012 in San Francisco, June 16-19, and then vote and comment on your colleagues’ ideas. The people who submit the top 5 entries will receive a travel subsidy of $800 (or $1200 for international subm... Read More

Worse Fears Realized? Completely Drug Resistant TB has emerged in India

Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) was first encountered in 2006. Now as we enter 2012 we learn that a strain of MTB totally resistant (TDR) to all current antimicrobials has entered the Indian sub-continent . This new strain to India, TDR-MTB first emerged in ... Read More

Kids Have Little Protection from New Flu Virus

Children younger than 10 likely will be the most susceptible if a variant of the influenza A (H3N2) virus -- dubbed A (H3N2)v -- develops the ability to transmit easily among humans, researchers found.

Since August 2011, there have been 12 cases of infection with the variant -- which contains... Read More

Food preservation - Seven Wonders of the Microbe World (video)

How do microbes destroy the food that we eat and how has humankind sought out different ways of preserving foodstuffs?
Read More

Antarctic lake could reveal new life

Russian scientists said overnight a probe to a pristine lake deep under the ice of Antarctica could bring revelations on the evolution of the planet Earth and possibly even new life forms.

A Russian team drilled down to the surface of Lake Vostok, which is believed to have been covered by ice... Read More

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

From NPR's Science Friday:

'In 1887, Julius Petri invented a simple pair of nesting glass dishes, ideal for keeping specimens of growing bacteria sterile—the 'Petri dish.' Science historian Howard Markel recounts the history of this ubiquitous lab supply, and the serendipitous discovery of th... Read More

Slow-Motion Microbes Still Living off Dino-era "Lunch Box"

Buried under the seafloor for 86 million years, a bacterial community lives so slowly it's still surviving on a "lunch box" from dinosaur days, a new study says. (See marine-microbe pictures.)

It's been known since the 1990s that microbes can live trapped in ocean sediments for millions of ye... Read More

How medicine created a bacteria problem

On a warm afternoon in summer we were sitting in the lecture theatre, learning about germs. A microbiologist was showing us slides of enormously magnified bacteria (“God, this is like bug Imax!” said the girl behind me). The lecturer had a cold; he was coughing dramatically. After a prolonged bo... Read More

Aaron J. Shatkin, 77

Aaron J. Shatkin was well known for his work on reoviruses beginning in the 1960s in his laboratory at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, NJ and then at Rutgers University. He was among the first to appreciate that virus particles contained many different enzymes, such as RNA po... Read More

Ulcer bacteria may protect against diarrhea

People who harbor ulcer-causing bacteria in their stomachs may be protected against some diarrheal diseases, suggests a new study.

The bacterium, called Helicobacter pylori, is especially common throughout the developing world, but only causes symptoms in a minority of those it infects.

Pe... Read More

Small fragments of viral nucleic acid cross borders in monkey meat

The finding of viral nucleic acid sequences in illegally imported wildlife products has attracted the attention of the New York Times, which published an article entitled From the jungle to J.F.K., viruses cross borders in monkey meat. Read More

Microbiologist Uses Viruses to Fight Bacteria

After a decade of research, ContraFect Corporation, a small biotech company based in Yonkers, N.Y., is preparing to test bacteriophages—viruses that infect and destroy bacteria—in people as a potential alternative to overused antibiotics for treating and preventing bacterial infections. The firs... Read More

A Tale of Two Viruses: Why AIDS Was Pinned to HIV, but Chronic Fatigue Remains a Mystery

The detection of a new virus called XMRV in the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in 2009 raised hope that a long-sought cause of the disease, whose central characteristic is extreme tiredness that lasts for at least six months, had been finally found. But that hypothesis has... Read More

EP67 Protein May Prevent Flu By Boosting Immune System, Mouse Study Suggests

Scientists may have pinpointed a potential way to prevent the flu by identifying a protein that amps up the immune system, according to a new animal study.

The synthetic protein, called EP67, is able to trigger an immune response to the "threat" of the flu virus within a couple of hours in mi... Read More

Should Doctors Fire Their Anti-Vaccine Patients?

The anti-vaccination movement continues to grow, despite the retraction and thorough discrediting of the 1998 scientific study that spurred much of its growth. The stubborn persistence of anti-vaxxers shows how difficult it is to dispel misinformation once that information is out there, even af... Read More

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