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TWiP 17 Letters

Bjorn writes:

Hi Vincent and Dickson,

I want to correct a statement you made in the trypanosomes episode. Apolipoprotein L-I in human blood kills only the subspecies Trypanosoma brucei brucei, whereas the East African subspecies Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and the... Read More

TWiP 17: Entamoeba histolytica

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Vincent and Dickson continue their discussion of protozoan parasites that cause diarrhea with a review of amebic dysentery caused by Entamoeba histolytica.

Download <... Read More

Rabies Alert for Travelers to Africa and Asia

Public health officials have issued a rabies warning to American travelers after a 42-year-old psychiatrist from Virginia died from exposure to a rabid dog while he was jogging in India.

It was one of seven cases of rabies acquired abroad from 2000 to 2009, out of 31 human cases in the Unit... Read More

National Institutes of Health Licenses Its Patent on a New Drug for AIDS

In a move that gave official American backing to the controversial idea of a “patent pool,” the National Institutes of Health last week became the first entity to license its patent on a new AIDS drug to an entity loosely affiliated with the World Health Organization.

The rights to the N.I.H... Read More

How fungal spores achieve zero drag

Drafting cyclists have nothing on spore-spewing fungi. Using an aerodynamic technique, a fungus can reduce drag on its spores—sending them high and far.

One fungus, the destructive Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, spews thousands of spores nearly simultaneously to form a plume that reduces drag to n... Read More

Identifying Enzymes to Explode Superbugs

With the worrying rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA, scientists from a wide range of disciplines are teaming up to identify alternative therapies to keep them at bay.

One long-considered solution is the use of lytic enzymes which attack bacteria by piercing their cell walls. Ly... Read More

Protecting embryos against microbes

Headed by the Kiel zoologist Professor Thomas Bosch, a team of scientists from Germany and Russia succeeded in deciphering the mechanisms, for the first time, with which embryos of the freshwater polyp Hydra protect themselves against bacterial colonization. The paper is published this week in t... Read More

Chemists fold DNA into Möbius strips

Möbius strips are special loops that only have one continuous side. Now we've built the smallest Möbius strips ever - out of DNA. Here you can see the nanometer-sized DNA loops, folded like origami.

The ability to create complex structures on the tiniest of scales is one of the great challeng... Read More

Measles Vaccine, 1960

The first scientific description of measles dates from the ninth century, and the disease was first mentioned in The New-York Daily Times on Oct. 14, 1851, when the newspaper was not yet one month old.

A front-page “Weekly Report of Deaths” that day noted that the disease had killed two peo... Read More

British scientists search for alien life in Earth's atmosphere

Scientists, who are set to launch a mission to search for bacteria, believe they could be close to discovering alien life forms much closer to home - on the outer fringes of Earth's atmosphere.

British scientists, working with the European Space Agency, would launch a balloon carrying instrum... Read More

The Claim: A Soap-and-Water Rinse Gets Produce Cleanest

The prospect of ingesting pesticides and other contaminants can make supermarket produce seem less than appetizing. Buying organic lowers the risk, but is no guarantee against food-borne pathogens.

Scientists have found some effective household measures that can eliminate germs and pesticid... Read More

Michigan's Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak worst in 30 years

More cases of Eastern equine encephalitis have been reported in horses in Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture told the Kalamazoo Gazette that through Thursday there have been 130 cases this year. Officials have called this year's outbreak the worst in 30 years. Read More

Study suggests voluntary HIV screening should be implemented on a population-wide basis in France

In France, roughly 40,000 HIV-infected persons are unaware of their HIV infection. Although previous studies have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of routine HIV screening in the United States, differences in both the epidemiology of infection and HIV testing behaviors warrant a setting-specific... Read More

Horizontal gene transfer in microbes much more frequent than previoulsy thought

Virus-like particles called gene transfer agents (GTAs) are produced by alpha-proteobacteria and pass from one microbe to another, taking random pieces of genetic material up to 1,000 bases long with them. The high frequency with which this has been found to occur may provide a mechanism by whic... Read More

Frogs on verge of dying out in parts of Britain due to disease

Common frogs, which are the most widespread species of frog in Britain, have suffered declines of around 80 per cent in the areas worst hit by the disease, known as ranavirus.

Research by biologists at the Zoological Society of London also fear that the virus could be having an equally devast... Read More

Mere Visual Perception of Other People’s Disease Symptoms Facilitates a More Aggressive Immune Response


An experiment (N = 28) tested the hypothesis that the mere visual perception of disease-connoting cues promotes a more aggressive immune response. Participants were exposed either to photographs depicting symptoms of infectious disease or to photographs depicting guns. After incubati... Read More

Major Funding To Study Prevention Of Drug-Resistant Staph Infections

A UC Irvine infectious disease specialist has received a three-year, $10 million grant to explore the effectiveness of new methods to prevent staph infections in people who harbor MRSA bacteria when they're discharged from the hospital.

The UCI study, led by Dr. Susan Huang - medical directo... Read More

Identification Of A New Bacterial Foe In Cystic Fibrosis

Exacerbations in cystic fibrosis (CF) may be linked to chronic infection with a bacterium called Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, which was previously thought to simply colonize the CF lung. The finding that chronic infection with S. maltophilia is independently linked with an increased risk of ex... Read More

TWiV 101 Letters

Russ writes:

I think this image from www.3d4medical.com is great!

This is a cool app for the iPad. This would make a great pick of the week


Julian writes:<... Read More

TWiV 101: Sizing up adenovirus

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On episode #101 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Alan, Rich, Dickson, and Hamish review the three-dimensional structure of adenovirus, and the role of adenovirus type 36 in obesity. Read More

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