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U.S. Ebola researchers plead for access to virus samples

Scientists across the United States say they cannot obtain samples of Ebola, complicating efforts to understand how the virus is mutating and develop new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.

The problems reflect growing caution by regulators and transport companies about handling Ebola as well as... Read More

BacterioFiles 190 - Bacteriophages Bust Biofilm Beacons

This episode: Engineered phages can both kill bacteria and disrupt their communications!


(14.8 MB, 16.2 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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Microbiome Studies Contaminated By Sequencing Supplies

Non-sterile lab reagents and DNA extraction kits add their own assortment of DNA to microbiome samples.

In this age of cheap DNA technology, scientists are sequencing every sample they can get their hands on. They've ID'd the microbes in mosquito guts, coral mucus and frog skin; in polar ice;... Read More

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Natural genetic variation in a protective antiviral enzyme holds promise for new therapies.

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the c... Read More

Targeting key cells for a dengue virus infection model

Dengue virus infects hundreds of millions of people living in tropical countries every year. Transmitted via mosquito bites, the virus typically causes fever, but may also lead to potentially fatal organ failure. The development of mouse models of dengue virus infection could hasten an effective... Read More

Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe

Behind the hellish Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa lies an agent that fittingly embodies the mad contradictions of a nightmare. It is alive yet dead, simple yet complex, mindless yet prophetic, seemingly able to anticipate our every move.

For scientists who study the evolution and behavio... Read More

HIV virulence depends on where virus inserts itself in host DNA

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can insert itself at different locations in the DNA of its human host – and this specific integration site determines how quickly the disease progresses, report researchers at KU Leuven’s Laboratory for Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy. Their study was p... Read More

Crowdsourcing To Solve Microbe Mysteries

Scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes from waters as far apart as Sydney’s Botany Bay and the Amazon River in Brazil, with the help of an international team of volunteers sharing their spare computer capacity to create a research “supercomputer”.

The project, co... Read More

Virus Sleuths Chip Away At Ebola Mysteries

Vincent Racaniello, who studies viruses at Columbia University, says Ebola has recently become his obsession.

"I find myself reading incessantly about Ebola when I should be doing other things," says Racaniello, host of the online show This Week in Virology, which has devoted several recent p... Read More

TWiV 312: She sells B cells

The TWiVbolans discuss the finding that human noroviruses, major causes of gastroenteritis, can for the first time be propagated in B cell cultures, with the help of enteric bacteria.


Hosts:  Read More

This Device Diagnoses Hundreds of Diseases Using a Single Drop of Blood

The digital health revolution is still stuck.

Tech giants are jumping into the fray with fitness offerings like Apple Health and Google Fit, but there’s still not much in the way of, well, actual medicine. The Fitbits and Jawbones of the world measure users’ steps and heart rate, but they don... Read More

New paper identifies virus devastating sea stars on Pacific Coast

Museum biological collections are the records of life on Earth and as such, they are frequently used to investigate serious environmental issues. When public health officials were concerned about the levels of mercury in fish and birds, for example, scientists studied museum specimens to assess ... Read More

Legionella outbreaks of Alcoy may have multiple sources

A genomic analysis has been carried out of Legionella pneumophila strains of 13 legionellosis outbreaks produced in Alcoy during the period from 1999 to 2010. Legionella pneumophila is a strictly environmental pathogen, an opportunistic bacterium that inhabits aquatic and soil environments, spre... Read More

Ebola Exacerbates West Africa’s Poverty Crisis

The virus spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has led to food shortages and neglect of other devastating tropical illnesses.

When Ebola came to Dorcas's home on the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, the virus spared no one. Her mother brought it home from the clinic where she w... Read More

More attention to measles, vaccine experts urge

Doctors and public health authorities need to renew their attention to measles, researchers from Emory Vaccine Center urge in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Because of its high level of contagiousness, measles is the indicator disease for weaknesses of an immunization p... Read More

Koala chlamydia vaccine trial raises hope

Australian scientists say they have successfully tested a vaccine aimed at protecting wild koalas from chlamydia.

The disease has ravaged the native marsupial, which is under increasing threat.

Microbiologists in Queensland now hope to protect some of the remaining population after success... Read More

Ancient Viruses Lurk In Frozen Caribou Poo

A careful examination of frozen caribou poop has turned up two never-before-seen viruses.

The viruses are hundreds of years old: One of them probably infected plants the caribous ate. The other may have infected insects that buzzed around the animals.

The findings prove viruses can survive... Read More

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

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

TWiM #92: Flying bioflims

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloMichael Schmidt, ... Read More

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