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Moving to Zika Virus

I have worked on polio virus in my laboratory at Columbia University for 35 years. When that virus is eradicated--perhaps in the next few years--we will have to destroy all of our virus stocks. When that happens, I can either go home, or find another virus.

When Zika virus stepped into the w... Read More

Reducing infectious malaria parasites in donated blood could help prevent transmission

A technique for reducing the number of infectious malaria parasites in whole blood could significantly reduce the number of cases of transmission of malaria through blood transfusion, according to a collaboration between researchers in Cambridge, UK, and Kumasi, Ghana. Read More

Cause of Maryland Food Poisoning Outbreak Traced to Asia

Washington, DC – April 6, 2016 – Vibrio parahaemolyticus caused an outbreak of food poisoning in Maryland in 2010. The pathogen strain sequenced from patients proved to be the same strain as one of those found in raw oysters from local restaurants, strong evidence that the oysters were the sourc... Read More

A virus-like particle vaccine against RSV is safe and effective in mice

Pneumonia remains a serious worldwide problem, especially among the young, elderly, and immunocompromised. Over 900,000 children die each year due to the disease, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common viral cause (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b bein... Read More

Pandemic E. coli strain H30 cloaks its stealth strategies

The difficulty in subduing the pandemic strain of drug-resistant E. coli, called H30, may go beyond patient vulnerability or antibiotic resistance. This form of the disease-pathogen may have an intrinsic ability to cause persistent, harmful, even deadly infections. Read More

Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans

A new study suggests that Neanderthals across Europe may well have been infected with diseases carried out of Africa by waves of anatomically modern humans, or Homo sapiens. As both were species of hominin, it would have been easier for pathogens to jump populations, say researchers. This might ... Read More

Typhoid toxin increases host survival and promotes asymptomatic infection

Genotoxins damage the genetic material in cells and can cause mutations and cancer. Some bacteria code for and produce genotoxins. A study published on April 7th in PLOS Pathogens reports the surprising finding that one of them, typhoid toxin, actually increases survival of the infected host and... Read More

Antibodies to dengue virus enhance infection by Zika virus

It has been speculated that the development of neurological disease and fetal abnormalities after Zika virus infection may be due to the presence of antibodies against other flaviruses that enhance disease. In support of this hypothesis, it has been shown that antibodies to dengue virus enhance... Read More

NIH launches large clinical trials of antibody-based HIV prevention

Enrollment has begun in the first of two multinational clinical trials of an intravenously delivered investigational antibody for preventing HIV infection. Known as the AMP Studies, for antibody-mediated prevention, the trials will test whether giving people an investigational anti-HIV antibody ... Read More

How Vibrio cholerae is attracted by bile revealed

A group of researchers from Osaka University, Hosei University, and Nagoya University have revealed the molecular mechanism that Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, is attracted by bile. This group has also successfully detected the ligand binding to the bacteria chemoreceptor in ... Read More

Canadian innovation for killing mosquito eggs could help Zika fight

Toronto, Canada - With Canadian Government funding, a team of innovators from Canada and Mexico have successfully tested a low cost, environmentally-friendly way of destroying the eggs of the mosquito genus that spreads dengue, and likely spreading the Zika virus. Read More

An Earth Day Shout-out to Microbes

So another Earth Day has come and gone. How did you spend yours? If you spent the entire day asleep, you used about half a kilogram of oxygen. Since I assume that you are alive and kicking, you probably consumed more oxygen than that. If you went about your normal business during the day, you pr... Read More

Cellphone-sized device quickly detects the Ebola virus

The worst of the recent Ebola epidemic is over, but the threat of future outbreaks lingers. Monitoring the virus requires laboratories with trained personnel, which limits how rapidly tests can be done. Now scientists report in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry a handheld instrument that detects... Read More

Researchers discover potential treatment for sepsis and other responses to infection

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai say that tiny doses of a cancer drug may stop the raging, uncontrollable immune response to infection that leads to sepsis and kills up to 500,000 people a year in the U.S. The new drug treatment may also benefit millions of people world... Read More

Stilton Cheese, Alexis de Toqueville, and turning ASM into the Tesla of Scientific Societies

“Stefano, you seem like a smart person. Can I ask you why you decided to take a job with a scientific society?” I had just helped myself to a slice of a very sharp Stilton cheese, after a wonderful dinner supported by wonderful wine. All of a sudden the Stilton seemed even sharper. The question ... Read More

How E. coli could help tackle those sweet cravings

The study researchers found that placing a small, detoxified amount of E. coli in the guts of mice led to an increase in levels of leptin - known as the "satiety hormone."

Within 7 days of the increase, the number of sweet taste receptors on the rodents' tongues reduced, diminishing their ap... Read More

HIV infection prematurely ages humans by an average of 5 years

Thanks to combination antiretroviral therapy, many people with HIV can be expected to live decades after being infected. Yet doctors have observed that these patients often show signs of premature aging. Now a study published April 21 in Molecular Cell has applied a highly accurate biomarker to ... Read More

New mouse model to aid testing of Zika vaccine, therapeutics

A research team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has established a mouse model for testing of vaccines and therapeutics to battle Zika virus. Read More

Why flu is worse in eldery ?

Death from influenza virus in older people may be primarily caused by a damaging immune response to flu and not by the virus itself, new research suggests.

Ninety percent of the deaths attributed to flu each year worldwide occur in people aged 65 and older. To understand why older adults are ... Read More

A Microbial Ocean Feast: Who Ate What?

Single-celled organisms called bacterioplankton spend their lives drifting in open ocean, visible to the naked eye only en masse. But don't be fooled by their slight size: These minuscule critters play a hefty role in the carbon cycle. Heterotrophic microbes, by some estimates, process half of t... Read More
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