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New Vaccines May Help Thwart E. coli O157:H7

Immunizing calves with either of two forms of a vaccine newly developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists might reduce the spread of sometimes deadly Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacteria. The microbe can flourish in the animals' digestive tracts, yet doesn't cause them to show clini... Read More

How to Find Signs of Life on Mars

Certain environments on Earth that host life are very similar to places on Mars and other terrestrial planets, scientists have found. So if life can exist here, why not there?

Nora Noffke is a geobiologist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. She has found evidence of microbial li... Read More

Bad wine can produce ‘good’ energy

A bottle of spoiled wine could help cut your power bills, as American and Indian scientists have come up with a new technology that generates electricity by using the waste from improper fermentation. According to the scientists, the technology could provide a new and cost effective way to clean... Read More

Leprosy susceptibility genes reported

"Though leprosy is not common, the discoveries have significant ramifications for chronic infectious disorders and for host-pathogen interactions in other more prevalent mycobacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, said Edison Liu, M.D., Executive Director of GIS, one of the research institutes ... Read More

Can H1N1 Flu Bloggers Help Battle Pandemic Misinformation?

Simon Owens looks at the impact of bloggers on the dissemination of both good and bad information about swine-origin influenza H1N1. He spoke with Vincent Racaniello of virology blog (virology.ws), Mike Coston of Avian Flu Diary (http://afludiary.blogspot.com/), and Crawford Kilian of H5N1 blog ... Read More

Masterworks in Petri dishes

Einstein in E. coli, an apple tree grown from fungi and a fluorescent Mario are just some of the masterworks cast in agar jelly by creative microbiologists. Read More

Fake blood cells so agile they can carry drugs

You can't get blood from a stone, but it seems you can make imitation red blood cells from polymers.

Just like real blood cells the pretenders can squeeze through spaces much smaller than their own diameter and absorb and release substances to order, including oxygen.

They could be used to... Read More

H1N1 reveals weaknesses, report concludes

The swine flu pandemic may turn out to be less severe than many had feared, but the H1N1 virus has revealed disturbing weaknesses in the nation's defenses against public health emergencies, according to a new report.

The report, released Tuesday by the Trust for America's Health, a private no... Read More

In Holland, six die of Goat flu

While many countries in the world are still struggling with swine flu, a new epidemic of goat flu or Q-fever has struck the Netherlands.

Q-fever, caused by Coxiella burnetii bacteria, can be secreted into the milk, urine and feces of infected animals; the amniotic fluid and placenta of pregna... Read More

AZT inhibits XMRV

Xenotropic murine leukemia virus related virus (XMRV) has been implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Because XMRV is a retrovirus, it has been suggested that it might be susceptible to some of the many drugs available for treatment of AIDS. Of ten licensed compounds e... Read More

New Therapy May be Effective Against Bacterial Infections and Sepsis

A new study found that certain immune cells primarily associated with asthma and allergies may enhance innate immunity and improve clearance of bacterial infections and may be an effective new therapy against bacterial infections and sepsis in humans. The researchers from Oregon Health and Scie... Read More

Wall Street Journal story on hand sanitizer claims

This story discusses the issue of hand sanitizer claims and whether they are relevant to everyday life. Microbiologist Jason Tetro from the University of Ottawa CREM (@JATetro) is quoted. Read More

Bugs Inside: What Happens When the Microbes That Keep Us Healthy Disappear?

Bacteria, viruses and fungi have been primarily cast as the villains in the battle for better human health. But a growing community of researchers is sounding the warning that many of these microscopic guests are really ancient allies.

Having evolved along with the human species, most of the ... Read More

A Gazillion Tiny Avatars

As I mentioned last week, next year is to be the International Year of Biodiversity. So I thought I’d kick off the celebrations by looking at some of the funkiest beings on the planet: viruses.

Viruses have a bad reputation: in humans, they cause illnesses as varied as colds, flu, cervical ca... Read More

Triple-Drug Cocktail in the Works for Hepatitis C Therapy

People infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) face a long road of drug treatment that, in the best cases, can cure their infections and allow their livers to recover from HCV-associated liver disease, whose symptoms range from scarring and cancer to organ failure. Unfortunately, for nearly half o... Read More

Did You Hear the One About the Former Scientist?

A biologist walks into a comedy club...

Actually, the story begins earlier. A biologist who had abandoned academia and was working in San Francisco on contract as a computer programmer for Charles Schwab walked into a Laundromat ...

The former biologist was Tim Lee. After completing his un... Read More

Puzzling 'Dance' of Electricity-Producing Bacteria Near Energy Sources

The metal-metabolizing Shewanella oneidensis microbe does not just cling to metal in its environment, as previously thought. Instead, it harvests electrochemical energy obtained upon contact with the metal and swims furiously for a few minutes before landing again.

Electrokinesis is more than... Read More

Puzzling Movement of Electricity-Producing Bacteria

Bacteria dance the electric slide, officially named electrokinesis by the USC geobiologists who discovered the phenomenon.

Their study, published online today in PNAS Early Edition, describes what appears to be an entirely new bacterial behavior.

The metal-metabolizing Shewanella oneidensi... Read More

Kids' Swine flu shots recalled; not strong enough

Hundreds of thousands of swine flu shots for children have been recalled because tests indicate the vaccine doses lost some strength, government health officials said Tuesday.

The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur, were distributed across the country last month and most have already been used, ac... Read More

Mechanism Discovered by Which Body's Cells Encourage Tuberculosis Infection

Scientists have discovered a signaling pathway that tuberculosis bacteria use to coerce disease-fighting cells to switch allegiance and work on their behalf. Epithelial cells line the airways and other surfaces to protect and defend the body. Tuberculosis bacteria co-opt these epithelial cells i... Read More

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