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Virus-surveillance tech can cut H1N1 flu diagnosis time

A $20 chip can cut the time it takes to distinguish swine flu—aka the H1N1 influenza A virus—from days to hours, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. The company, InDevR plans to give away about 25 of its IntelliChip Readers (which normally cost $3,900 and scan t... Read More

Yeast in Space

The New York Times outlines NASA's plan for an experiment with yeast and antifungal drugs aboard Pharmasat, a nano satellite that will orbit the Earth and radio back data to researchers.

Previous experiments on the space shuttle and the International Space Station indicate that some organisms... Read More

Creating the seed stock for the Influenza A H1N1 vaccine

An interesting read on how labs create vaccines for viruses. In this case the article mostly focuses on a facility in Westchester, NY who is working fast on a vaccine for swine flu (H1N1).

"the process involves repeated rounds of injecting the two types of virus into eggs, and sorting and pur... Read More

CDC offers handwashing flyer for distribution

The link in the source field above will download the CDC's handwashing flyer which they just pushed out for public distribution in response to concerns about H1N1 (Swine Flu). Read More

Afghanistan's Only Pig Quarantined In Flu Fear

This is an absurd story but is humorous nonetheless. It looks like Afghanistan has succumbed to Swine Flu fears and has quarantined it's nation's only pig, a gift from China that resides in Kabul's Zoo.

Afghanistan's only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo wh... Read More

Mundo de los Microbios - Episodio 1

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10 Genes, Furiously Evolving

This is a great article by Carl Zimmer in the NY Times (@carlzimmer on Twitter) about the evolution process of viruses.

"Some viruses use DNA, like we do, to encode their genes. Others, like the influenza virus, use single-strand RNA. But viruses all have one thing in common, said Roland Wolk... Read More

World's Largest, Unique Virus Photographed for First Time

These images are amazing and beautiful.

From Wired - "A virus so large and strange that it’s redefined the very concept of a virus has been photographed for the first time. It’s even weirder than expected." Read More

Help Spread the Flu (and learn about viruses at the same time)

The Welcome Trust has funded an interactive Flash game that can be played on the web that teaches young people how the flu is spread. You start off as a flu virus and the goal is to infect others. Along the way, you get educational information about viruses. Here are some of the instructions: Y... Read More

Bacteria that inspires artificial photosynthetic systems discovered

An international team of scientists has determined the structure of the chlorophyll molecules in green bacteria that are responsible for harvesting light energy.

The team’s results could one day be used to build artificial photosynthetic systems such as those that convert solar energy to elec... Read More

Bonnie Bassler on the secret, social lives of bacteria

This recent talk at TED by Bonnie Bassler on bacterial communication (aka quorum sensing) was a viral hit among the science geeks on Twitter. It is a very educational and well thought out presentation that is great for personal viewing or showing in the classroom. It's a must watch! Read More

Disrupting Quorum Sensing

An interesting article on the challenges facing researchers who are developing the second generation of antibiotics. "Quorum sensing is now known to be widespread in the bacterial world, and many researchers hope to develop ways to disrupt it. Kim Janda, a chemical biologist at the Scripps Resea... Read More

Common Sense Advice for People Concerned About H1N1 (Swine Flu)

The New York Times has published a nice FAQ ,if you will, about H1N1 and what the general public should keep in mind in terms of worry, protection and symptoms. The article also talks about what public health response is feasible and should be expected. Read More

CDC Audio/MP3 Public Service Announcements for H1N1 (Swine Flu)

The CDC has provided and updated MP3s of three H1N1/swine flu-related PSAs for broadcasters, radio stations or the public to use. The latest versions now use the name Influenza A/H1N1 as opposed to swine flu. Hopefully this won't confuse people. Read More

Swine Flu Portraits from Mexico City

Freelance photographer Nicola “Okin” Frioli has taken a collection of photographs/portraits of people wearing surgical masks in Mexico City. It's an interesting art project that looks at the impact swine flu has on the city's residents. Read More

Food-Borne Outbreaks: Keeping Lettuce and Other Fresh Produce Clean

The convenience of fresh-cut produce, which includes packaged lettuces, has greatly increased sales despite multiple foodborne outbreaks associated with these products. To reduce these risks, strict hygiene programs and sanitizers are used for decontamination once the food is harvested. Preventi... Read More

Swine Flu spreads throughout most of US

Swine flu has spread to 30 U.S. states and the number of countries with confirmed cases jumped to 20 from two in little more than a week. The expansion comes as Mexico’s president said his nation is winning the battle against the virus and may return to normal this week. Read More

WHO head indicates full flu pandemic to be declared

The World Health Organization is likely to raise its flu alert to the top of its six-point scale and declare a pandemic, its director-general indicated in an interview published on Monday.

In remarks setting the scene for another alert increase, but without saying when, WHO chief Margaret Cha... Read More

Influenza A (H1N1) aka Swine Flu Virus

Under a plate magnification of 37,800X, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicted the A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1) virus, while in the virus’ first developmental passage through a chicken egg. Read More

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Lately, we have seen commercials that promote striking the balance of "good bugs" in our own gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. Our local grocery likely has a variety of colorfully packaged yogurts boasting "live and active cultures." These products are designed to keep the good microflora happy and ... Read More
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