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Multitasking May Be Achilles Heel for Hepatitis C

Despite its tiny genome, the hepatitis C virus packs a mean punch. The virus is a microcosm of efficiency, and each of its amino acids plays multiple roles in its survival and ability to sidestep attack. But new research from Rockefeller University suggests that this fancy footwork and multitask... Read More

Infectious disease research in US receives new funding

Immunological research focusing on dengue, malaria and tuberculosis will be supported by new grants from the US National Institutes of Health.

The research, to be conducted at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology in California, will focus on identifying epitopes – pieces of a v... Read More

Out of the salt mines: Microbial DNA, 419 million years old, with a twist

From a salt mine 1,200 feet beneath the earth's surface, a team led by a West Chester University scientist says it has extracted the oldest known samples of DNA - dated to a staggering 419 million years ago.

The genetic material, belonging to a kind of microbe called haloarchaea (hahlo-ar-KEY... Read More

Too-dilute disinfectant boosts bacteria resistance

Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium responsible for severe chest infections, can become tolerant to the commonly used mild disinfectant benzalkonium chloride. The bug develops mutations that enable it to expel the disinfectant. Worse still, tolerant strains can also shrug off ciprofloxacin, a fl... Read More

Ear Infections: New Thinking on What to Do

Parents who've ever suspected their youngster had an ear infection might have been inclined to call the doctor, schedule a visit and expect an antibiotics prescription.

That's been the ritual. But no more.

"Until eight or nine years ago, we'd treat each ear infection at diagnosis," said Dr... Read More

The year ahead: science

The year ahead is shaping up to be one long celebration for the world's oldest science academy. The Royal Society formed on a dreary night in London 350 years ago, when the acquisition of scientific knowledge was little more than a hobby for amateurs and polymaths. As part of the celebrations, w... Read More

Big little bug

So what's the big story of 2010 going to be? What's your best bet? Is it the third wave of the H1N1 virus, or the second wave of the financial collapse as a raft of commercial loans paper hits the fiscal rocks? Is it the continued rise of India and China as commercial superpowers, or is this the... Read More

Scientists turn DNA detectives to track spread of hospital superbugs

The genetic fingerprints of germs are to be mapped to open a new front in the battle against hospital superbugs.

Scientists have embarked on an ambitious project to read the complete genetic codes of pathogens taken from hundreds of people, so that DNA can be used to track the spread of infec... Read More

Virus, cancer drug extends life of animal model with aggressive brain tumor

When combined, a virus that targets cancer cells and a commonly used cancer drug have been found to significantly extend the life expectancy and shrink the tumor of rats carrying malignant gliomas, an aggressive brain tumor, say researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and McGill University in ... Read More

U.S. Reaction to Swine Flu: Apt and Lucky

Although it is too early to write the obituary for swine flu, medical experts, already assessing how the first pandemic in 40 years has been handled, have found that while luck played a part, a series of rapid but conservative decisions by federal officials worked out better than many had dared ... Read More

Wired's Top Ten Scientific Breakthroughs for 2009

From jellyfish stirring the oceans, to a new human ancestor, to new vaccines for dengue fever, these stories and 7 more made Wired's "list of kick-ass science in 2009." Read More

TWiV 64: Ten virology stories of 2009

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On episode #64 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, and Rich discuss ten compelling virology stories of 2009.

Host links Read More

Researchers make progress in battle against phragmites

University of Delaware researchers have uncovered a novel means of conquest employed by a common reed, Phragmites australis, which ranks as one of the world’s most invasive plants.

Phragmites is a problem in Nebraska rivers and streams, such as the Platte.

Last October, Platte Valley Weed ... Read More

France joins Europe flu vaccine sell-off

France has joined other European countries in selling off millions of its emergency swine flu vaccines after buying far more than it needed to fight the outbreak, the government said Sunday.

"We started with a plan for two-dose vaccinations but since one dose is sufficient we can start to re-... Read More

Bacteria can cause miscarriages in dogs

Q I was reading about the causes of miscarriage in dogs and a bacteria called Brucella was mentioned. I had heard of it in cattle but not in dogs, is it common and is it dangerous?

A Brucella canis is a bacterium that is a leading cause of infertility in the dog. In bitches, the first symptom... Read More

The clean hands mission

We have been warned to make sure we wash our hands properly to stop the spread of swine flu. The government's adverts show the disease spreading quickly by touch. Sneeze into your hands, they suggest, and you will leave highly infectious fingerprints everywhere you go. It is a scary prospect. Bu... Read More

A Scientist's Infectious Enthusiasm

In late 2007, during the early months of his faculty position at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Benjamin tenOever faced a wrinkle in his research plans. Experienced in looking at how cells respond to viruses, he'd set his sights on microRNA and how these small molecular segmen... Read More

Bacteria May Cause H1N1 Death Rate Increase

A bacterial coinfection with the H1N1 pandemic flu may explain the unusually high case fatality seen in Argentina earlier this year, researchers said.

Argentina had 137 deaths out of 3,056 cases between May 17 and July 16, representing a case fatality rate of 4.5%, according to Gustavo Palaci... Read More

Bacteria 'could tackle cocaine addiction'

The naturally-occurring bacterial enzyme Cocaine esterase, CocE, breaks down cocaine which reduced its addictive properties.

The discovery has been hailed as possible method of helping addicts get off the drug and could prevent deaths from overdose.

Scientists found the bacteria was only ... Read More

Study bolsters concerns that disinfectants create superbugs

Disinfectants, be they hand sanitizers or industrial-strength cleaners, present a hospital's first blockade against bacterial infection. But this same weapon may be helping create stronger microbial enemies: superbugs that are resistant to disinfectants and commonly used antibiotics, scientists ... Read More
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