Why is there such widespread fear of avian H5N1 influenza virus?
Why did Paul Keim, chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) say “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one”. What lead Donald McNeil, writing about H5N1 in the New Yor... Read More
Having upped my daily dose of podcasts I stumbled upon This Week In Science. The latest show (http://www.twis.org/audio/2010/03/09/438/) they mentioned something that probably comes within your sphere of interest, namely the fin... Read More
I hear from many readers that they routinely get the flu vaccine every year, yet they often contract the disease. I usually tell them that the vaccine is not perfect: it doesn’t protect everyone who gets it. Now we have the numbers to back up this statement, and they are not pretty.
Gentlemen, I think you'll find that Dylan Thomas was Welsh, not Irish. Though you are of course correct on his penchant for writing and
Dear TWiV Doctors,
I have one question and one co... Read More
Maybe you’ve heard the term "biodegradable." It basically means something capable of being broken apart into simpler substances by natural biological processes.
But what are these biological processes that break some things down? Why do some things biodegrade more readily than other... Read More
When was the last time you washed your hands? Did you use soap? What have you done since you washed? Have you eaten, put your fingers in your mouth or touched someone else?
Observations in public restrooms have revealed that only about 68 percent of Americans wash up before leaving. Y... Read More
There are three main types of archaea: the crenarchaeota (kren-are-key-oh-ta), which are characterized by their ability to tolerate extremes in temperature and acidity. The euryarchaeota (you-ree-are-key-oh-ta), which include methane-producers and salt-lovers; and the korarchaeota (core-are-key-... Read More
Listening to the most recent Republican, I mean Tea Party, presidential debate, I was quite upset (for many reasons), but one of which was to listen to how Michelle Bachmann characterized the HPV vaccine as a "dangerous government injecti... Read More
The retrovirus XMRV arose during passage of a human prostate tumor in nude mice. The genomes of these mice contain two different proviral DNAs related to XMRV, pre-XMRV-1 and pre-XMRV-2, that recombined to produce XMRV that has been isolated from humans. Two other prostate cancer cell lines also... Read More
The fatality rate for human infections with avian influenza H5N1 is widely quoted at >50%, based on the number of deaths among the fewer than 600 cases confirmed by the World Health Organization. Wang, Parides, and Palese suggest that this number is an overestimate. Read More
Welkin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Blogger for Small Things Considered, ponders the "fossil record" of viruses:
"As a scientist fascinated with the evolutionary interplay between viruses and their hosts, I admi... Read More