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Without swift influx of substantial aid, Ebola epidemic in Africa poised to explode

The Ebola virus disease epidemic already devastating swaths of West Africa will likely get far worse in the coming weeks and months unless international commitments are significantly and immediately increased, new research led by Yale researchers predicts.

The findings are published in the Oc... Read More

Viral-research moratorium called too broad

Us government ban on research into enhanced pathogens also affects flu surveillance and vaccine work.

US researchers are worried that a temporary government ban on 'gain-of-function' experiments that boost the infectious properties of dangerous viruses may also cover less-extreme forms of the... Read More

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe—may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infecti... Read More

Lessons from the ‘Spanish Flu,’ Nearly 100 Years Later

Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of “the mother of all pandemics” could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.

Siddharth Chandra, director of MSU’s Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU’s James Madison Colle... Read More

Fecal Transplanters Fish Out Key Ingredient

These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More

CDC Announces Active Post-Arrival Monitoring for Travelers from Impacted Countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that public health authorities will begin active post-arrival monitoring of travelers whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. These travelers are now arriving to the United States at one of five airports where e... Read More

Bacteria are more promiscuous than expected, since plasmids invade unexpectedly diverse fraction of soil bacteria

Conjugal plasmids provide microbes with full complements of new genes. Conjugal plasmid transfer is deemed responsible for the rapid spread of antibiotic resistance among microbes. While broad host range plasmids are known to confer transfer abilities to diverse hosts in pure culture, the extent... Read More

A recent study of biofilm formation in an archaeon revealed a fascinating form of social motility

A study of biofilm formation in the model haloarchaeal species Haloferax volcanii has led to the observation of a fascinating example of coordinated social motility (and of cellular differentiation and gene transfer). Haloferax volcanii was first isolated from Dead Sea sediment in 1975, but was ... Read More

Middle-Aged Adults Were More Susceptible to the Flu Last Year because of a New Viral Mutation

A team of scientists, led by researchers at The Wistar Institute, has identified a possible explanation for why middle-aged adults were hit especially hard by the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2013-2014 influenza season. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci... Read More

Shaking up cell biology: Researchers focus in on decades-old mitochondrial mystery

Elvis did it, Michael Jackson did it, and so do the mitochondria in our cells. They shake. While Elvis and Michael shook for decades before loud and appreciative audiences, mitochondrial oscillations have quietly bewildered scientists for more than 40 years.

Now, a team of scientists at Natio... Read More

Antibiotics may help Salmonella spread in infected animals, scientists learn

Some people infected with pathogens spread their germs to others while remaining symptom-free themselves. Now, investigators at the Stanford University School of Medicine believe they may know why.

When the scientists gave oral antibiotics to mice infected with Salmonella typhimurium, a bacte... Read More

Dear Colleague Letter on the Ebola Virus

Dear Colleague,

In light of the recent emergence of the lethal Ebola virus in the US, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is accepting proposals to conduct non-medical, non-clinical care research that can be used immediately to better understand how to model and understand the spread of Ebo... Read More

BacterioFiles 187 - Bacteria Bolster Bedbug Biotin

This episode: Some Wolbachia bacteria produce vitamin B7 for their insect hosts!


(7.1 MB, 7.75 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires

Physicists report that they've used a new imaging technique, electrostatic force microscopy, to resolve the biological debate with evidence from physics, showing that electric charges do indeed propagate along microbial nanowires just as they do in carbon nanotubes, a highly conductive human-mad... Read More

Tick protein does the trick to fight infection

A protein in ticks that protects them against the cold could inspire a new class of antibiotics for humans, according to a Yale University study.

Scientists discovered that IAFGP, an antifreeze protein in ticks that kicks in during winter, also fights infection. Synthesizing such a protein ma... Read More

Major step forward in understanding of viruses as scientists unlock exact structure of Hep A virus

Scientists have announced that for the first time, they have determined the precise atomic structure of the Hepatitis A virus. In an unprecedented step forward, a team of scientists from Beijing and Oxford have been able to map the exact construction of Hepatitis A, down to the individual atoms.... Read More

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

On July 20 a man who was ill flew on commercial planes from the heart of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. That man became Nigeria's first Ebola case—the index patient. In a matter of weeks some 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease (with one a... Read More

Two More Questions about CRISPRs

Over the past eight years, step-by-step, researchers have established a basic understanding of the CRISPR defenses against foreign DNA so widely used by both bacteria and archaea. We related the early story on STC in 2008 and commented on six additional questions in 2011. Still, questions remain... Read More

TWiV 307: Ebola aetiology

Tara Smith joins the TWiEBOVsters to discuss the Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa, spread of the disease to and within the US, transmission of the virus, and much more.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Ebola fears: Airline contacts 800 passengers; Belize blocks travel

Take no chances. Leave no stone unturned. Fueled by Ebola fears, these common axioms are driving policy and action -- at times to hefty measures.

This week, a Central American country closed its borders to anyone who has been anywhere near the disease. And an airline scrambled to inform hundr... Read More

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