Computer-designed proteins are under construction to fight the flu. Researchers are demonstrating that proteins found in nature, but that do not normally bind the flu, can be engineered to act as broad-spectrum antiviral agents against a variety of flu virus strains, including H1N1 pandemic infl... Read More
The mysterious deaths of millions of bats in the United States and Canada over the past several years were caused by a fungus that hitchhiked from Europe, scientists reported Monday.
Experts had suspected that an invasive species was to blame for the die-off from "white nose syndrome." Now th... Read More
Pirates used to say that “dead men tell no tales.” Of course, the buccaneers had never heard of the polymerase chain reaction. Dead men turn out to be loaded with information if you can get your hands on them — or better yet, on small preserved pieces.
The genomics revolution, two decades old... Read More
Forget needles in haystacks. Try finding the tip of a needle in a virus. Scientists have long known that a group of viruses called bacteriophages have a knack for infiltrating bacteria and that some begin their attack with a protein spike. But the tip of this spike is so small that no one knew w... Read More
Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts.
The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step toward... Read More
A North Carolina State University study shows that, for the first time since testing began several years ago, feral pigs in North Carolina have tested positive for Brucella suis, an important and harmful bacteria that can be transmitted to people.
The bacteria are transmitted to humans by uns... Read More
Respiratory Syncytial Virus is an extremely common infection in humans. Generally in healthy adults there is little or no disease but in infants or the elderly this lung infection can often be fatal and we do not yet have a vaccine. Over at Rule of 6ix, I ask a couple of questions to the first a... Read More
Small Things Considered
Understanding what happens to a soybean root hair system infected by symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, could go a long way toward using this symbiosis to redesign plants and improve crop yields, benefitting both food and biofuel production. Because of their exte... Read More
Ron Fouchier has discussed his influenza H5N1 transmission experiments in ferrets at an ASM Biodefense Conference, clarifying several assumptions about the transmissibility of the virus in this animal model. Read More
Nearly four months ago I stood at the front of a crowded classroom at Columbia University and began teaching the third year of my undergraduate virology course. Twice a week we discussed the basic principles of virology, including how virions are built, how they replicate, and how they cause dis... Read More
Mak Saito, a biogeochemist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has been selected for a Marine Microbiology Initiative (MMI) investigator award by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Saito is one of 16 scientists from 14 different institutions who will receive funds from a total of up to ... 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
Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, a subsidiary of Mass. Eye and Ear and affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have found for the first time that a bacterial pathogen can literally mow down protective molecules, known as mucins, on mucus membranes to enter and infect a part of t... Read More
In a worrisome finding, an ongoing survey at Sassoon hospital reveals that three per cent of bacterial infections in samples collected from patients over the past two-three months show total resistance to antibiotics.
Th study showed that three per cent of microbiologically confirmed infectio... Read More
This episode: A virus influences the competition between two species of parasitoid wasp!
It has long been known that viruses, in addition to their own genomes, encapsidate extraneous nucleic acids. Although this phenomenon has been verified in the prokaryotic world, in eukaryotes, the significance of these alternative nucleic acids could just be trivial, or, quite possibly evolutio... Read More