Researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.
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This article was first published in 2013 on the website for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.
Many plants do not want to be eaten. They avoid this fate by producing deadly toxins and carcinogenic poisons, such as those associated with the aptly named poison ivy, poison sumac... Read More
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans on October 24 to produce millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015.
Hundreds of thousands of doses should be available to help affected countries before the end of June, the WHO said at the conclusion of a meeti... Read More
This episode: Gut bacteria in Mojave desert woodrats help them detoxify and eat toxic creosote bushes!
(10 MB, 10.8 minutes)
Tom talks with Vincent about viral central nervous system infections of global importance, Ebola virus, and running the fastest marathon dressed as a doctor.
Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the... Read More
Just like those of humans, insect guts are full of microbes, and the microbiota can influence the insect's ability to transmit diseases. A new study reports that a bacterium isolated from the gut of an Aedes mosquito can reduce infection of mosquitoes by malaria parasites and dengue virus. The b... Read More
A new study is helping to rewrite Ebola’s family history.
The research shows that filoviruses — a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong — are at least 16-23 million years old.
Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutio... Read More
Viruses cannot multiply without cellular machinery. Although extensive research into how pathogens invade cells has been conducted for a number of viruses, we do not fully understand how the shell of a virus is cracked open during the onset of infection thus releasing the viral genome. An ETH Zu... Read More
The Ebola virus disease epidemic already devastating swaths of West Africa will likely get far worse in the coming weeks and months unless international commitments are significantly and immediately increased, new research led by Yale researchers predicts.
The findings are published in the Oc... Read More
I have received many questions about whether immunizing with Reston virus could protect against infection with Ebola virus. Usually the question comes together with the statement ‘because Reston virus does not cause disease in humans’. I can think of two reasons why a Reston virus vaccine is not... Read More
Us government ban on research into enhanced pathogens also affects flu surveillance and vaccine work.
US researchers are worried that a temporary government ban on 'gain-of-function' experiments that boost the infectious properties of dangerous viruses may also cover less-extreme forms of the... Read More
Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe—may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infecti... Read More
Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of “the mother of all pandemics” could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.
Siddharth Chandra, director of MSU’s Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU’s James Madison Colle... Read More
Scanning electron micrograph of Borrelia hermsii, the causative agent of relapsing fever, interacting with red blood cells.
Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Read More
These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More
Ebola is transmitted from person to person through direct contact with the body or with body fluids of an infected person. Ebola virus is NOT a respiratory virus and is NOT transmitted through the air. It is not a gastrointestinal virus either, so it is NOT generally transmitted via water or foo... Read More
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. These travelers are now arriving to the United States at one of five airports where e... Read More
Conjugal plasmids provide microbes with full complements of new genes. Conjugal plasmid transfer is deemed responsible for the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance among microbes. While broad host range plasmids are known to confer transfer abilities to diverse hosts in pure culture, the extent... Read More