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Killer virus protein chews up RNA

Using X-rays, researchers have identified the structure of a key protein from Lassa virus, which infects 100,000 to 300,000 people every year in West Africa—and kills 5,000.

The structure reveals how the virus evades its host’s immune system, and how it hijacks infected cells’ vital machinery... Read More

Dispatches from the Future

Bacteria that fill in cracks in concrete, bacteria that feel empathy, probiotic bacterial sentinels as new antibiotics, bacteria that play sudoku, yeast that can live on mars, bacteria that produce enough light to read a book by, personalized cancer targeting viruses, engineering the bacteria th... Read More

Merck's HIV drug Isentress fails once-a-day study

Merck & Co said once-daily use of its HIV drug Isentress was less effective in a late-stage study than standard twice-daily dosing among patients that had not previously been treated for the virus that causes AIDS.

Based on the disappointing initial results, the U.S. drugmaker said on Monday... Read More

DNA trick throws ageing into reverse

A technique to keep the tips of your chromosomes healthy could reverse tissue ageing. The work, which was done in mice, is yet more evidence of a causal link between chromosome length and age-related disease.

Telomeres, the caps of DNA which protect the ends of chromosomes, shorten every time... Read More

Opisthocomus hoazin - The Flying Cow

Moselio Schaechter of Small Things Considered has authored a post about the work of Maria Dominguez-Bello of the University of Puerto Rico who has been studying Opisthocomus hoazin, a unique bird who is known to carry out a pre-gastric (ruminal) fermentation. Dominguez-Bello has been investigati... Read More

U.S. Orders Vast Review of Bioethics

President Obama on Wednesday ordered a vast review to ensure the ethical treatment of people who take part in research backed by the federal government.

His action is a response to the revelation this year that American scientists intentionally infected people at a Guatemalan mental hospital ... Read More

Britton Chance, Olympian and Biophysics Researcher, Dies at 97

Britton Chance, a biophysicist who did pioneering research on how living organisms produce and manage energy and helped develop diagnostic tools, like one for the detection of breast cancer, died on Nov. 16 in Philadelphia.

Dr. Chance, who was also a world-class yachtsman and won an Olympic ... Read More

Probiotics may have some benefits for kids

A leading medical group says there's some evidence that probiotics, or "good" bacteria, may have limited benefits for certain illnesses in children.

But the group says the science isn't yet strong enough to advocate infant formulas containing probiotics. And probiotics shouldn't be given to c... Read More

Bioluminescent E. coli leaves a glowing path in the bloodstream

Many urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be cleared up with a big bottle of cranberry juice, but when these infections go bad, they can be really, really bad. Uropathogenic E. coli is the leading cause of uncomplicated UTIs, and if left untreated it can proceed right up the urinary tract to the... Read More

Do flu shots help very young children? Here's what one study says

With flu season underway, flu shots are particularly important for very young children. A new study finds that vaccinations do help prevent babies from getting sick.

This study at Turku University in Turku, Finland, published Tuesday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases says the 2007-08 vaccine ... Read More

Seeking New Blood-Supply Test

Scientists are racing to develop tests for a retrovirus called XMRV, which could be used to determine if the blood supply is tainted and to assess how many people may be infected.

The impetus behind the drive is a paper published in the journal Science last year that reported a link between X... Read More

Researcher, monkeys sickened by same virus at UC Davis primate center

It's the stuff of doomsday movies: A new virus jumps from animals to people, with ominous possibilities.

At the California National Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis, last year, a newly identified form of virus devastated a monkey colony and sickened a researcher,... Read More

Glowing trees could light up city streets

Imagine taking a midnight stroll, your route lit by row upon row of trees glowing a ghostly blue. If work by a team of undergraduates at the University of Cambridge pans out, bioluminescent trees could one day be giving our streets this dreamlike look. The students have taken the first step on t... Read More

Fungus-Farming Ants First To Find Natural Pesticides

Leaf-cutter ants, which use leaves to raise a fungal crop to support a colony of millions, seem to have discovered farming long before humans evolved. They may also have beaten us to natural pesticides by a comfortable margin.

Although it's not possible to assign a date to the ants' latter di... Read More

Superantigens Could Be Behind Several Illnesses

Superantigens, the toxins produced by staphylococcus bacteria, are more complex than previously believed, reveals a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in an article published November 28 in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Their discovery shows that the body's imm... Read More

TWiV 109: Virología en México

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On episode #109 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent visits Mexico City and speaks with Rosa Maria del Angel and Ana Lorena Gutiérrez about virology in Mexico, and their work on dengue and ... Read More

HIV drug -- putting the new findings in perspective

HIV drugs given prophylactically can significantly reduce the risk of infection, a new clinical trial says. Those findings, announced Tuesday, have been the talk of the country for the past two days. Now comes the time to reflect on the findings.

Here's the original Los Angeles Times story "P... Read More

Officials Investigate Possible Miami Cholera Case

A suspected case of cholera has landed in Miami. The disease has killed some 2,000 people and put 30,000 others in hospitals in Haiti.

The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) confirms that a man fell ill with cholera-like symptoms Thanksgiving Day while on an American Airlines flight from Santo... Read More

Synthetic biology

Earlier this year, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute reported in the journal Science that they had designed and created a synthetic chromosome which they transplanted into a living cell. The living cell created new cells which are controlled only by the synthetic chromosome. The experi... Read More

Bugs can’t hide from the virus hunter

Dr. W. Ian Lipkin was spending the afternoon prowling his empire of viruses. The Center for Infection and Immunity, which he directs, occupies three floors of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. Rather than wait for the elevator, Lipkin ran up and down the back stairs to ... Read More
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