The virus used in the vaccine that helped eradicate smallpox is now working its magic on liver cancer. A genetically engineered version of the vaccinia virus has trebled the average survival time of people with a severe form of liver cancer, with only mild, flu-like side effects.
Thirty p... Read More
Hi Vince and Dick!
Has anyone volunteered to do transcripts for TWIP? I love this show, and I'd love to be able to contribute in some way. Forgive me if transcripts already exist and I'm just not finding them on the website. If no one is already... Read More
Poliovirus has made the cover of Time magazine. The Time cover image for the 14 January 2013 issue is a model of poliovirus bound to a soluble form of its cellular receptor, CD155. I was part of the team that solved the structure of this complex in 2000, together with the laboratories of Jim Hog... Read More
Almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States will develop shingles during their lifetime. Despite the approval and recommendation by the FDA of a shingles vaccine for adults over 50, only 16% of American seniors over 60 are vaccinated. Vaccinations are even lower for those aged 50-60. A... Read More
The influenza virus genome consists of eight negative sense RNA segments. The segmentation allows efficient genetic exchange among influenza viruses co-infecting the same cell. But this strategy has its costs, namely, that each virion has to ensure that all eight segments are specifically pack... Read More
Hawaii has several official state symbols, including a flower, a song and a flag, but some say that's not enough.
"Missing from this group of symbols is an official state microbe," Rep. James Tokioka wrote in a bill proposing to add a microbe to the list.
Hawaii House members considered th... Read More
A tiny molecular machine used by bacteria to kill attacking viruses could change the way that scientists edit the DNA of plants, animals and fungi, revolutionizing genetic engineering. The protein, called Cas9, is quite simply a way to more accurately cut a piece of DNA.
“This could significa... Read More
Anyone still laboring under the mistaken assumption that genes are the most important factor in determining destiny should take a look at research that is being reported in this week’s Science about a particular strain of mice that have a genetic predisposition to develop type 1 diabetes. It tur... Read More
A new type of microbe has been found at a lake buried under Antarctica's thick ice, according to news reports. The find may unveil clues of the surrounding environment in the lake, according to scientists.
The bacteria, said to be only 86 percent similar to other types known to exist on Earth... Read More
Harvard University is home to some of the world’s finest virologists. But apparently they do not communicate with the writers at Harvard Magazine, where a botched story on the avian H5N1 influenza virus has just been published. Read More
The search for a cure for deadly infectious disease like Tuberculosis has led a researcher for the US deep underwater.
Brian Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is collecting actinomycete bacteria from water throughout... Read More
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has initiated a quest for alternatives to conventional antibiotics. One potential alternative is PlyC, a potent enzyme that kills the bacteria that causes strep throat and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. PlyC operates by locking onto the surface of a... Read More
Deans of public health schools in the United States have sent a letter to President Obama, in which they criticize the use of a vaccination campaign by the Central Intelligence Agency in Pakistan to hunt for Osama bin Laden. I wonder if he will reply. Read More
Poliovirus recently made the cover of Time magazine. Prompted by a reader question, I searched the Time archive to find out if there have been other virology-themed covers. I found fifteen in all, depicting poliovirus (3), herpesvirus (1), HIV/AIDS (4), influenza (5), and SARS coronavirus (2) (I... Read More
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing in the U.S. of the first mass spectrometer system for automated identification of bacteria and yeasts that are known to cause serious illness in humans. The VITEK MS can identify 193 different microorganisms and can perform up to 192 ... Read More
The discovery of new viruses that appear to be spread around the world's oceans hints at a war waging between such viruses and their prey: an abundant group of bacteria.
The bacteria, collectively known as SAR11, are the most abundant organisms known to inhabit seawater.
"They are everywhere... Read More