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Holy water dispenser combats spread of swine flu

Luciano Marabese, an Italian inventor has combined his Catholic faith and ingenuity to create the electronic terracotta holy water dispenser. It functions like an automatic soap dispenser in public lavatories - a churchgoer waves his or her hand under a sensor and the machine spurts out holy wat... Read More

EU Clears Prodesse’s H1N1 Test

Prodesse’s molecular diagnostic test for H1N1 swine flu infections has been cleared by EU regulators for commercialization in Europe.

The firm, which recently became a subsidiary of Gen-Probe, received the CE Mark clearance for its ProFlu-ST assay as a diagnostic to differentiate among influe... Read More

CDC: Swine flu has sickened 22 million in 6 months

Government health officials say swine flu has sickened about 22 million Americans since April.

They say about 4,000 have died, including 540 children.

The startling new figures — about four times higher than previous death estimates — don’t mean swine flu has suddenly gotten worse. Instead... Read More

Common cold may hold off swine flu

A virus that causes the common cold may be saving people from swine flu. If this intriguing idea turns out to be true, it would explain why swine flu's autumn wave has been slow to take off in some countries and point to new ways to fight flu.

"It is really surprising that there has not been ... Read More

Government-developed honeybees are equipped with a keen sniffing ability to root out a deadly parasite

"In an effort to stem a massive bee die-off, government scientists have developed a population of honeybees that can root out a main culprit in the epidemic -- a parasite that feeds on pupae in nests and spreads viruses within hives.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists hope the p... Read More

Swine flu: One killer virus, three key questions

ED note - this is a very well thought-out piece from Nature that serves as a great overview of the H1N1 virus and pandemic.

As the world mobilizes against the H1N1 flu pandemic, researchers are working to answer pressing questions about the virus. Brendan Maher visited pathologists at the US... Read More

Where Germs Hide

Which items have the most germs?

CBS News correspondent Kelly Wallace reported that scientists now say it's the things we use most that harbor the most germs, and the more germs, the more likely viruses are present.

Just where are these germ factories?

Dr. Charles Gerba -- also known as... Read More

Bacteria in intestines play role key role in weight gain, study finds

A high-fat, high-sugar diet does more than pump calories into your body. It also alters the composition of bacteria in your intestines, making it easier to gain weight and harder to lose it, research in mice suggests. And the changeover can happen in as little as 24 hours, according to a report ... Read More

The deep-sea crab that eats trees

Deep under the ocean, there is a species of crab that eats trees.

The crab survives by eating wood that has sunk to the ocean floor, comprising trunks and leaves swept into the sea, as well as the odd shipwreck.

Inside the stomach of the crab, also called a squat lobster, are bacteria and ... Read More

CDC now says 4,000 swine flu deaths in US

Federal health officials now say that 4,000 or more Americans likely have died from swine flu — about four times the estimate they've been using.

The new, higher figure was first reported by The New York Times. It includes deaths caused by complications related to swine flu, including pneumon... Read More

New Explanation For Nature's Hardiest Life Form

Got food poisoning? The cause might be bacterial spores, en extremely hardy survival form of bacteria, a nightmare for health care and the food industry and an enigma for scientists. Spore-forming bacteria, present almost everywhere in our environment, can also cause serious infectious diseases,... Read More

Small Things Considered Wins Big at PRNews’ 2009 Nonprofit Awards

Small Things Considered, a microbiology blog published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), has been honored with a non-profit public relations award from PR News for best blog. The awards were announced at a luncheon held in Washington, DC, on November 3, 2009.

“I feel honored an... Read More

China’s Tough Measures on Flu Appear to Be Effective

Few farmers in this southern Chinese village gave much thought to the swine flu epidemic that had begun spreading rapidly in the United States early this summer until police sealed its 100 residents off from the outside world for about a week. It turned out that a visitor from California had sho... Read More

In The War Between The Sexes, The One With The Closest Fungal Relationship Wins

The war between the sexes has been fought on many fronts throughout time -- from humans to birds to insects, the animal kingdom is replete with species involved in their own skirmishes. A recent study by Dr. Sarah Eppley and colleagues at Portland State University published in the November issue... Read More

Mildred Cohn, Biochemist, Is Dead at 96

Mildred Cohn, a biochemist who overcame religious and sex discrimination to advance the study of metabolic processes, research that contributed to the development of medical technologies like M.R.I.’s, died on Oct. 12 in Philadelphia. She was 96.

The University of Pennsylvania announced her d... Read More

Water purifiers for the poor fail to prove their worth

Many of the systems intended to provide clean water for families in some of the world's poorest communities may not work.

That's the conclusion of Paul Hunter, a microbiologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, who has assessed past studies of the effectiveness of household wat... Read More

Scientists explain binding action of 2 key HIV antibodies; could lead to new vaccine design

A very close and detailed study of how the most robust antibodies work to block the HIV virus as it seeks entry into healthy cells has revealed a new direction for researchers hoping to design an effective vaccine.

"Our study clearly showed that we've been overlooking a very important compone... Read More

Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life

E.T. phone Rome. Four hundred years after it locked up Galileo for challenging the view that the Earth was the center of the universe, the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church.

"The questions of life'... Read More

Travel Secrets of Ulcer Causing Bacteria Revealed

A team from Boston University, MIT, and Harvard discovered how the H. pylori bacteria penetrate the stomach mucus to cause ulcers in the lining.

H. pylori secretes the enzyme urease, which interacts with urea in the stomach to produce ammonia--the ammonia is what neutralizes the acids in the ... Read More

A remarkable diversity of bone-eating worms

The females of the recently discovered Osedax marine worms feast on submerged bones via a complex relationship with symbiotic bacteria, and they are turning out to be far more diverse and widespread than scientists expected. Californian researchers investigating the genetic history of Osedax wor... Read More

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