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Documents reveal leaks and spills at (Canadian) national virus lab

It sits smack in the centre of downtown Winnipeg and contains some of the world's deadliest pathogens behind air-tight walls and biosafety cabinets.

But new documents reveal Canada's National Microbiology Lab isn't immune to leaks, spills and failures in restricted areas where lethal organism... Read More

A ‘test and treat’ approach to fighting HIV

A promising new way to prevent the spread of HIV is being tested in Botswana on a group of people who are being exposed to a particularly vicious strain of the virus. They are now being treated with strong antiretroviral drugs.

The “test and treat’’ approach is not primarily intended to ward ... Read More

Anadys study results show little difference between hepatitis C drug, placebo

Development-stage drug developer Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc. said late Wednesday its developing hepatitis C drug was only slightly more effective at treating the virus than placebo in a midstage study.

The company's shares plunged 46 cents, or 20 percent, to $1.85 in premarket trading.

Aft... Read More

Hyping H1N1: Did It Create A Dangerous Flu Fatigue?

With the World Health Organization warning yet again this week that the H1N1 virus has yet to reach its peak, a flu season that's milder than average hardly seems that way. Now, the nearly yearlong coverage of H1N1 has left some worried that future influenza outbreaks will be met with ambivalent... Read More

XMRV not detected in Dutch chronic fatigue patients

The suggestion that the retrovirus XMRV is the etiologic agent of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) arose from a study in which the virus was found in 68 of 101 US patients. The virus was not detected in two independent studies of 186 and 170 CFS patients in the United Kingdom. A new Dutch study ha... Read More

Campylobacter Bacteria in Cattle Manure May Survive Composting

Contrary to popular belief, some disease causing bacteria may actually survive the composting process. Researchers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada report in the February 2010 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology that campylobacter bacteria in cattle manure can surviv... Read More

Sci-Tech Today: Paper Diagnostics for Health

Alex Fiorentino describes how the Whitesides lab at Harvard is developing sophisticated medical diagnostic devices that are lightweight, disposable, cost pennies to make, and operate without power. They're made out of paper. Read More

Meat Industry Defends Antibiotic Use

Top meat industry groups held briefings on Capitol Hill Tuesday defending the use of antibiotics as a critical tool for animal health.

The briefings come two weeks after CBS Evening News with Katie Couric broadcast a two-part series criticizing the widespread use of antibiotics in food animal... Read More

Tiny ear listens to hidden worlds

A micro-ear could soon help scientists eavesdrop on tiny events just like microscopes make them visible.

Initially, researchers will use it to snoop on cells as they go about their daily business. It may allow researchers to listen to how a drug disrupts micro-organisms, in the same way as a ... Read More

Getting a flu vaccine from tobacco plants

Here's an idea: Rehabilitate the tobacco plant by using it to make flu vaccine. (This may sound like a double-whammy nightmare for anyone who believes that vaccines are killing us all and GMOs are killing us all, but let's put that aside and examine what the scientists are doing, and why.)

Fi... Read More

Long-Reigning Microbe Controlling Ocean Nitrogen Shares the Throne

Marine scientists long believed that a microbe called Trichodesmium, a member of a group called the cyanobacteria, reigned over the ocean's nitrogen budget.

New research results reported online February 25 in a paper in Science Express show that Trichodesmium may have to share its nitrogen-f... Read More

Disease gene blocker sneaks past cell defences

Snippets of RNA that switch off disease-causing genes can now slip into cells unaided. This could help efforts to use RNA interference (RNAi) to treat diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

For a gene to be expressed as a protein, it must first be copied into messenger RNA (mRNA). RNAi blocks ... Read More

Less hand-wringing over state of science journalism

A recent article published in the Columbia Journalism Review mulls over the state of science journalism and expresses hope that the future is online. The article actually singles out the MicrobeWorld-related blog Small Things Considered by Elio Schaechter and Merry Youle among several others as ... Read More

Emerging tick-borne disease

Stories of environmental damage and their consequences always seem to take place far away and in another country, usually a tropical one with lush rainforests and poison dart frogs.

In fact, similar stories starring familiar animals are unfolding all the time in our own backyards — including ... Read More

UNL Research Looks to Break the Mold with Lactic Acid Bacteria

We've all experienced it. You take a lid off a bowl in the refrigerator and find those leftovers you had planned to eat covered in a disgusting white fuzzy substance. Or you reach for a slice of bread and see it has turned green.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers are working to find ... Read More

End Polio Now

Yesterday the Wrigley Building in Chicago was officially lit with Rotary International's 'End Polio Now' pledge - as was the Pyramid of Khafre in Egypt and the Obelisk in Buenos Aires. These iconic landmarks and others will provide a dramatic backdrop for an equally dramatic message: End Polio N... Read More

Virology Art: Doilies

Artist Laura Splan has created some cool doilies using viral patterns:

'The design of each doily is based on the structure of a different virus. I begin with a digital image of the virus, which I then base a design on in a graphics editor. The design is then imported into computerized embroid... Read More

Widening Use of Silver Microbicides Raises Several Sets of Concerns

Silver is an age-old, effective microbicide, but one whose commercial use is growing way too rapidly, says Samuel Luoma of the University of California, Davis. Consumer products, including socks, underwear, towels, toothbrushes, paper towels, teddy bears, combs for pets, and food containers, are... Read More

Virus hybridization could create pandemic bird flu

Genetic interactions between avian H5N1 influenza and human seasonal influenza viruses have the potential to create hybrid strains combining the virulence of bird flu with the pandemic ability of H1N1, according to a new study.

In laboratory experiments in mice, a single gene segment from a h... Read More

NIH, FDA Start $6.8M 'Microscope to Marketplace' Effort

The National Institutes of Health and the US Food and Drug Administration today unveiled a new joint effort aimed at developing ways to translate new biomedical discoveries through regulation and into pharmacies and hospitals.

Focused on advancing and intertwining translational and regulatory... Read More

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