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New method of sterilizing medical equipment - with a plasma bag

"The practice of sterilising surgical tools and devices has helped radically improve healthcare. Researchers in the Netherlands are trying a new method, using plasma to kill bacteria inside sealed containers.

But the old mainstay is a 130-year-old device called an autoclave, which is somethin... Read More

TWiV 60

Eric asked for “advice on how to bridge the gap between clinical medicine, public health, and virology research.” I asked Scott Hammer MD for his thoughts on this question. Here is Dr. Hammer’s response:


Hi Vincent:


Thanks for forwarding this comment. In response, I’d inform y... Read More

Gangs of Your Gut - A Microbiology Blockbuster Trilogy

YouTube user JohnnyElRady has created the following three-part microbiology blockbuster movie that is embedded below. It's a campy, low-budget, student production, but it's fun nonetheless. According to the YouTube description, the film was created by a group of 12 students in his MCB 3020 Class... Read More

Implanted vaccine attacks cancer

Several cancer vaccines that are delivered via injections or intravenous lines are in development. Another approach to a vaccine, however, is to implant a small disk containing cancer-fighting substances under the skin, according to researchers from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer ... Read More

Nearly 8,000 H1N1 flu deaths worldwide, WHO says

At least 7,826 people worldwide have died from laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic H1N1 influenza, an increase of more than 1,000 in the last week, but the actual number is probably much larger than that, the World Health Organization said today. Most countries have now stopped counting every... Read More

Vaccine-maker tries to assure patients H1N1 doses are safe

Forget the chicken. At vaccine-maker Sanofi Pasteur, it all starts with the egg -- millions of them each week. The mini vaccine factories will grow more than 75 million doses of H1N1 vaccine this year.

Earlier this month, the only company to make flu shots in the United States offered reporte... Read More

Aston University's Microbiology Roadshow (UK)

Here's a promo video for Aston University's microbiology course, "The World of Microbiology, Mastering the Invisible, Invincible, Treatable & Preventable," for school children that's funded by the Wellcome Trust. Aston University is located in Birmingham, UK. Read More

In 2008, HIV cases in the EU increased, while AIDS cases continued to decline (except in the Baltics)

HIV infections remain to be of major public health importance in Europe, with evidence of increasing transmission in several European countries. A total of 25,656 diagnosed cases of HIV infection were reported for 2008 by the countries of the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA) (d... Read More

Biological Basis of 'Bacterial Immune System' Discovered

Bacteria don't have easy lives. In addition to mammalian immune systems that besiege the bugs, they have natural enemies called bacteriophages, viruses that kill half the bacteria on Earth every two days.

Still, bacteria and another class of microorganisms called archaea (first discovered in ... Read More

Could seaweed farming prove a boon for biofuels?

Researchers at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. and the Seattle-based Bio Architecture Lab (BAL) have secured $9 million from the Department of Energy to explore seaweed's potential as a feedstock for biobutanol, an advanced biofuel.

Their venture appears to have largely cornered the current mar... Read More

Egypt confirms new human case of avian influenza A(H5N1)

The Ministry of Health of Egypt has reported a new confirmed human case of avian influenza A(H5N1).

The case is a 3 year-old male from Minia Governorate. His symptoms started on 21 November 2009.

He was admitted to hospital on 22 November and his condition is stable. Investigations into th... Read More

WHO suggests swine flu mutations do not warrant cause for alarm

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has informed WHO of a mutation detected in three H1N1 viruses. The viruses were isolated from the first two fatal cases of pandemic influenza in the country and one patient with severe illness.

Norwegian scientists have analysed samples from more than ... Read More

Public Domain Images of the H1N1 Influenza Virus

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has just published a page that offers several public domain images of the H1N1 virus and several 3D graphical representations of seasonal influenza virus. There is also an image of the CDC developed PCR diagnostic test to detect novel H1N1 virus. The images a... Read More

Scientists are poised to redefine underlying conditions in a more profound way based on individual immune response

Attending physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and professors at Harvard Medical School Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband, author an op-ed in the New York Times that considers why in the midst of an epidemic some people become severely ill and die while others remain unscathed.
... Read More

Knockouts in human cells point to pathogenic targets

Whitehead researchers have developed a new type of genetic screen for human cells to pinpoint specific genes and proteins used by pathogens, according to their paper in Science.

In most human cell cultures genes are present in two copies: one inherited from the father and one from the mother.... Read More

School closures can have a substantial impact on the spread of newly emerging infectious diseases

A survey carried out in eight European countries has shown that closing schools in the event of an infectious disease pandemic could have a significant role in reducing illness transmission.

Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases compared opportunities for infe... Read More

The Leopard and the Mouse: A Microbiologist's Take

The Small Things Considered blog has a post by Fred Neidhardt, F.G. Novy Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School at Ann Arbor, that looks at two photos snapped by 19-year-old Casey Gutteridge at the Santago Ra... Read More

How to Catch a Cold - A 1951 Walt Disney/Kleenex Production

A rare educational Disney animated short film from 1951 with a character called Common Sense who warns about the dangers of the common cold. Read More

Martian meteorite surrenders new secrets of possible life

Compelling new data that chemical and fossil evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars was carried to Earth in a Martian meteorite is being elevated to a higher plane by the same NASA team which made the initial discovery 13 years ago.

Sources tell Spaceflight Now that the new data are provi... Read More

Farmer Ants Fertilize Their Gardens With Bacteria

(editor's note - this is an update to a story we featured earlier at http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=1971)

Thanks to their vast underground fungus farms, leafcutter ants are one of Earth’s most successful species — and one secret of their agricultural... Read More

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