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Including antibiotics in the list of the immaterial heritage of the UNESCO

Antibiotic resistance is increasing worldwide, and represents a dramatic threat for public health. Antibiotics are a common and universal good, a treasure that we must urgently protect. It is a duty for each citizen of the world. We intend to ask the UNESCO to include the antibiotics in the list... Read More

How vultures evolved to live on rotting, feces-covered meat (and what we can learn from them)

Have you thanked a vulture today? It turns out that they're getting rid of an awful lot of dangerous bacteria for us. According to new research published Tuesday in Nature Communications, the vulture has a gut designed to kill off the bacteria that thrive on the carrion they crave. When they cho... Read More

SA vaccine cuts bacteria to size

South Africa has shown the world that a vaccine against the strains of bacteria that can cause deadly meningitis and pneumonia in children works.

A study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, to coincide with world Pneumonia Day, records the country's success in reducing pne... Read More

Viruses as a Cure

When we talk about viruses, usually we focus on the suffering caused by Ebola, influenza and the like. But our bodies are home to trillions of viruses, and new research hints that some of them may actually be keeping us healthy.

“Viruses have gotten a bad rap,” said Ken Cadwell, an immunologi... Read More

Study Shows Bed Bugs Can Transmit Parasite that Causes Chagas Disease

The bed bug may be just as dangerous as its sinister cousin, the triatomine, or “kissing” bug. A new study from Penn Medicine researchers in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics demonstrated that bed bugs, like the triatomines, can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that ... Read More

Vaccine-resistant polio strain discovered

The global initiative to eradicate poliomyelitis through routine vaccination has helped reduce the number of cases by more than 99% in 30 years. However, major epidemics are still occurring today. Researchers have identified the virus responsible for deadly and recent outbreaks, and have sequenc... Read More

Delaying ART in Patients with HIV Reduces Likelihood of Restoring CD4 Counts

A larger percentage of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) achieved normalization of CD4+ T-cell counts when they started antiretroviral therapy (ART) within 12 months of the estimated dates of seroconversion (EDS) rather than later, according to a report published online by JAMA In... Read More

Worse Than The Bite

City dwellers across the U.S. might agree on one common enemy: bedbugs. But hey, not to worry, right? "Bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but bites can be very itchy and irritating." Or so says the New York City Department of Health. But that assertion may not be true. Because a new study... Read More

Biochemistry detective work: algae at night

Photosynthesis is probably the most well-known aspect of plant biochemistry. It enables plants, algae, and select bacteria to transform the energy from sunlight during the daytime into chemical energy in the form of sugars and starches (as well as oils and proteins), and it involves taking in ca... Read More

Why CRISPR Doesn't Work in E. coli

We received this query:

»I enjoyed the article on your blog 'Six Questions About CRISPRs' by Merry Youle. I am an ex-lambdologist, having quit phage lambda in the early 70s and moved to GM-plants. There is one thing about CRISPR that I do not understand: Why did lambdologists not find CRISPR?... Read More

Flu virus key machine: First complete view of structure revealed

Scientists looking to understand – and potentially thwart – the influenza virus now have a much more encompassing view, thanks to the first complete structure of one of the flu virus’ key machines. Knowing the structure allows researchers to finally understand how the machine works as a whole, a... Read More

Viral Switches Share a Shape

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other viruses—among them one that kills cancer cells.

That’s Seneca Valley v... Read More

Animals steal defenses from bacteria

It's a dog eat dog world, and bacteria have been living in it for a long time. It's of no surprise that bacteria have a sophisticated arsenal to compete with each other for valuable resources in the environment. In 2010, work led by University of Washington Department of Microbiology Associate P... Read More

Authorities Identify Highly Contagious Bird Flu Strain

Authorities found the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm in the central Netherlands, the same highly contagious strain as found this month in Germany and which has prompted massive poultry culls in Asia.

Dutch authorities on Sunday said they had found the H5N8 strain of bird flu at a p... Read More

Quest for hepatitis B treatment wins Emerging Researcher Award

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute researcher Dr Greg Ebert has won the Bupa Health Foundation Emerging Health Researcher Award 2014 for his work on developing a new therapy for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Chronic hepatitis B is a viral liver disease that affects 230,000 Australia... Read More

Microvores: A Game of Parasites

A Board Game with a Microbial Theme. Educational and Fun. Read More

New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

TWiM 92 Letters

Dave writes:


Laurene Mascola's distinctive voice and laugh has won my heart this month. I found that when TWiM came up for the third time in my playlist the last couple weeks, I kept listening just for a fix. She should be a star.


I'm glad you had a good reaso... Read More

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More

Peptic ulcer, cancer bacteria therapy discovery

A common ingredient in vegetable oils may help reduce infection with a bacterium that can cause stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, according to a study by UC San Diego scientists.

The ingredient, linolenic acid, killed the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in mice and reduced inflammation without ... Read More

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