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The Rise of Genomic Superspreaders

One hundred million years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than today and vast inland seas stretched across entire continents. The land was dominated by charismatic megafauna that would one day serve as inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World. This period is commonly... Read More

How hosts recognize bacteria

We are surrounded by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. The fact that we nevertheless do not fall prey to infections is thanks to certain cellular sensor molecules such as toll-like receptors (TLR), which recognize the molecular structure of pathogens and intercede by ensuring an often comp... Read More

Bacterial Vaginosis Is Associated with Higher Risk of Female-to-Male Transmission of HIV

An investigation led by UCSF has found that the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission is increased three fold for women with bacterial vaginosis, a common disorder in which the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted.

The new research assessed the association between bacterial... Read More

What Happened to Our Friendly Enterococci?

Enterococci had been generally regarded as benign commensals, a part of our healthy intestinal microbiota. They were even invited in, being used as probiotics. But then, in the late 1970s, the first multiple drug-resistant strains appeared, and vancomycin-resistant strains followed in 1981. In r... Read More

Study Shows First N.C. Case of Feral Pig Exposure to Nasty Bacteria

A North Carolina State University study shows that, for the first time since testing began several years ago, feral pigs in North Carolina have tested positive for Brucella suis, an important and harmful bacteria that can be transmitted to people.

The bacteria are transmitted to humans by uns... Read More

Influenza H5N1 virus versus ferrets, round two

The second of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past year was published today in the journal Science. I have carefully read the paper by Fouchier and colleagues, and I assure you that it does not enable the production of a deadly biological weapon. The resu... Read More

Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of th... Read More

Princeton University researchers develop tooth attachment that detects bacteria

It may not be the latest style in bovine bling, but researchers at Princeton University say a golden tattoo attached to a cow’s tooth could one day tell you something about your health.

The remote sensing device has the ability to detect a single bacterium, and to demonstrate, scientists at P... Read More

Milestones in the Effort to Eradicate Polio [Timeline]

Advances in the 1950s and 1960s, including unprecedented cooperation between Soviet and U.S. scientists, allowed polio to be eradicated throughout the Americas by 1994 and all of Europe in 1998. Eliminating the crippling scourge has been more difficult, however, in some parts of Africa and Asia.... Read More

HPV Vaccine Reduces Infection, Even in Unvaccinated: Evidence of 'Herd' Protection

The HPV vaccine not only has resulted in a decrease in human papillomavirus infection in immunized teens but also in teens who were not immunized.

The study is believed to be the first to show a substantial decrease in HPV infection in a community setting as well as herd protection -- a decre... Read More

Can India remain polio-free?

India has been free of polio for over one year. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering that just 30 years ago the country recorded 200,000 cases of the disease annually, or one every three minutes. With polio endemic in two neighboring countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in the mo... Read More

Selection-driven Gene Loss in Bacteria

Bacterial genomes differ dramatically in size: from 140Kb to 13Mb (those numbers might be off now...please let me know if something has broken the record. Yes, I know the lower estimate can change based on semantics, but there are a bunch in that range). Although we have some clues as to how sel... Read More

Millions of diabetics could die of tuberculosis

A third of the world’s human population is infected with a dormant tuberculosis bacteria, primarily people living in developing countries. The bacteria presents a lifelong TB risk. Recent research out of the University of Copenhagen demonstrates that the risk of tuberculosis breaking out is four... Read More

Scientists Discover New Trigger for Immense North Atlantic Plankton Bloom

Across the horizon and miles out to sea toward the north, the Atlantic Ocean's own spring and summer ritual is unfolding: the blooming of countless microscopic plant plankton, or phytoplankton.

In what's known as the North Atlantic Bloom, an immense number of phytoplankton burst into color, f... Read More

Tooth protection from the sea

A team of dentists and scientists from Newcastle University are developing a new product from a marine microbe to protect dentures, teeth and gums from bacteria in the mouth.

They are using an enzyme isolated from a marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis found on the surface of seaweed which... Read More

A world free of 1 of the most virulent animal diseases?

One of the most economically devastating diseases in the world for those who raise cows, sheep, pigs, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed animals is foot and mouth Disease (FMD). This incredibly contagious and fast-spreading disease causes fever, blisters on the feet and mouth (hence the name), ... Read More

A third dose of MMR is safe but do we really need one?

It was recently reported - at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases 15th Annual Conference on Vaccine Research - that the rate of adverse effects from a third dose of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is the same as those of the second dose. This was conducted as part of a C... Read More

So how does Respiratory Syncytial Virus infect your lungs?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus is an extremely common infection in humans. Generally in healthy adults there is little or no disease but in infants or the elderly this lung infection can often be fatal and we do not yet have a vaccine. Over at Rule of 6ix, I ask a couple of questions to the first a... Read More

NTU scientists invent superbug killers

The superbugs have met their match.

Conceived at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), it comes in the form of a coating which has a magnetic-like feature that attracts bacteria and kills them without the need for antibiotics.

The killer coating, which has shown to destroy 99 per cent of... Read More

Researcher seeks to understand link between obesity, flu severity

The recent H1N1 flu pandemic was found to be particularly dangerous to obese people, and a Wayne State University researcher is looking for clues as to why.

Emily Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has begun... Read More
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