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Anti-HIV vaginal gel fails

A vaginal gel designed to block HIV infection during sex has failed in a trial of 9385 women.

The gel has been touted as a method of preventing HIV that could empower women whose male partners are unwilling to wear a condom.

"It very clearly doesn't work," says chief investigator Sheena Mc... Read More

Scientists use nanosensors for first time to measure cancer biomarkers in blood

A team led by Yale University researchers has used nanosensors to measure cancer biomarkers in whole blood for the first time. Their findings, which appear December 13 in the advanced online publication of Nature Nanotechnology, could dramatically simplify the way physicians test for biomarkers ... Read More

BMJ criticisms of Tamiflu questioned

Governments have been stockpiling the antiviral drug oseltamivir as a defence against pandemic flu. Now the medical journal BMJ has claimed there is insufficient evidence that the drug prevents serious complications of flu to warrant the policy. In a series of articles, it says the Swiss pharmac... Read More

Harvard Halts Construction of $1B Science Complex

Harvard University will "pause" construction of its $1 billion Allston Science Complex in Boston next spring upon completion of the current phase, President Drew Gilpin Faust announced in a letter this week to the university and Allston communities.

The action delays the university's plans to... Read More

DNA's guardian gene found in placozoans

A vital gene that defends us against cancer has been found in one of the simplest of animals – a flat, amoeba-like creature called a placozoan. The discovery shows that p53, sometimes described as the "guardian of the genome", has been around for over 1 billion years.

The Placozoa are among t... Read More

Biological passport to catch sports cheats

Athletes be warned: the way illegal doping is detected is on the cusp of a radical change.

On 2 December, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released guidelines on the long-awaited "athlete biological passport", a way to spot cheats by monitoring them for suspicious changes in normal physiol... Read More

Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1 Flu Infects Seven on Vietnamese Train

A cluster of seven people infected with a Tamiflu-resistant strain of pandemic H1N1 influenza has been identified by researchers in Vietnam and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The cases show the ability of Tamiflu-resistant pandemic H1N1 to spread among healthy people who are... Read More

Radiolab: What's Gotten In To You?

What's gotten into you? In this hour we explore nature's moochers - the good, the bad, and the hideous. We have stories of lethargic farmers, zombie cockroaches, and even mind-controlled humans (kinda, maybe). Could parasites be the shadowy hands that pull the strings of life?

Carl Zimmer pla... Read More

Parasites in the Brain

(Editor's note - this blog post complements an earlier one on the Small Things Considered blog; http://www.microbeworld.org/index.php?option=com_jlibrary&view=article&id=2040, it even uses the same picture. It's fascinating, so I hope you enjoy)

In 1896 Scientific American ran an editorial ti... Read More

New York Autopsies Show 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus Damages Entire Airway

In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, the virus can damage cells throughout the respiratory airway, much like the viruses that caused the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics, report researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

... Read More

NHLBI Funding $13.8M Study for TB Latency, Reactivation

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute will spend up to $11.5 million over four years on grants that use 'omics data and other systems biology approaches to develop computational models for use in studying lung response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and host-microbe reactions that cause dis... Read More

Bacteria provide new insights into human decision making

Scientists studying how bacteria under stress collectively weigh and initiate different survival strategies say they have gained new insights into how humans make strategic decisions that affect their health, wealth and the fate of others in society.

Their study, published this week in the ea... Read More

H1N1 fatalities top 10,000

Federal health officials said Thursday that almost 10,000 people had died of swine flu since April, a significant jump from mortality numbers released last month.

Officials also said that 50 million Americans, one sixth of the country, had caught the disease, and that 213,000 people had been ... Read More

TWiV 62: Persistence of West Nile virus



On episode #62 of the podcast This Week in Virology, Vincent, Dickson, and Alan discuss STEP HIV-1 vaccine failure caused by the adenovirus vector, presence of West Nile virus in kidneys for years after initi... Read More

H1N1 More Risky Than Seasonal Flu in Children with Sickle Cell Disease

Infection with the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, causes more life-threatening complications than seasonal flu in children with sickle cell disease, according to research from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. The findings, presented Dec. 7 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, ... Read More

UCLA researchers demonstrate that stem cells can be engineered to kill HIV

Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and colleagues have for the first time demonstrated that human blood stem cells can be engineered into cells that can target and kill HIV-infected cells — a process that potentially could be used against a range of chronic viral diseases.

The study, p... Read More

Scientists identify bacteria responsible for citrus greening

Greening, a devastating disease that threatens citrus crops worldwide, is almost certainly caused by one species of bacteria, not a combination of bacteria and viral pathogens.

That’s the conclusion reached by researchers at the University of Florida, who used genetic analysis to study the in... Read More

Let Kids Eat Dirt: Over-Cleanliness Linked to Heart Disease

In a long-term study published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B, U.S. researchers suggest that over-cleanliness could make babies more prone to inflammation later in life, and in turn raise the risk for stroke and heart disease.

Thomas McDade’s team studied more than 1,500 people in ... Read More

Bacteria Engineered to Turn Carbon Dioxide Into Liquid Fuel

Global climate change has prompted efforts to drastically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

In a new approach, researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have genetically modified a cyanobacterium to c... Read More

Fast Method for Preparing Flu Vaccine: Use Bioreactors Instead of Chicken Eggs

A shortage of flu vaccines may soon become a problem of the past. Researcher Manon Cox has developed an alternative process for producing large quantities of safe and effective vaccines at twice to four times the usual speed. The process is based on using cells in bioreactors instead of fertilis... Read More

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