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TWiV 112 Letters

Jennie writes:

I love your show very much and this is not my first comment. I load firewood and paint as I listen to you guys, thanks so much for the inspiration over what is becoming years. I'm not an audio learner, though my mind is quite stimulated by what I hear. ... Read More

FDA clears Novavax trial for anti-viral vaccine

Novavax Inc said the U.S. health regulator has given its clearance for an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine to prevent respiratory syncytial virus infection, sending its shares up 7 percent in premarket trade.

In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had put the trial on hold ... Read More

Vaccinating pregnant women reduced newborn influenza hospitalizations

Influenza vaccine administered during pregnancy was 91.5% effective in preventing hospitalizations among infant offspring younger than 6 months, new research shows.

Marietta Vázquez, MD, and colleagues from the Yale University School of Medicine conducted a matched case-control study to deter... Read More

Southern Sudan Battles Worst Kala Azar Outbreak in Eight Years, MSF Says

Southern Sudan is battling to contain the biggest outbreak of the kala azar disease in the region in eight years as it moves toward a Jan. 9 referendum on independence, Medecins Sans Frontieres said.

The severity of the outbreak is just one symptom of the wider medical humanitarian crisis fac... Read More

Vaccine takes sting out of shingles virus

Shingles belong on a house, not your body.

The debilitating and often long-lasting virus -- which triggers shooting pain and a rash around the chest, arm or legs -- is mostly preventable, thanks to a vaccine recommended for all adults 60 and older. Still, nearly 1 million American adults end ... Read More

Researchers Select Microbes to Improve Chocolate

It may seem hard to imagine improving on the world's best chocolates, but that is the goal of a team of microbiologists from the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. Raw cocoa beans have an astringent, unpleasant taste, and must be cured—which involves fermenting the beans—prior to drying and r... Read More

Boosted Vaccine Tops in H1N1 Trial

An adjuvanted split-virion vaccine against the pandemic H1N1 flu out-performed a whole-virion vaccine without the adjuvant, researchers reported.

In a head-to-head test - the first to compare two commercially available flu vaccines -- immune response was faster and more robust for the adjuvan... Read More

Haiti: Cholera Vaccine Pilot Program Recommended

There is enough approved cholera vaccine stockpiled in the world to vaccinate only 50,000 people, a panel of cholera experts convened by the Pan American Health Organization said Friday. Given the shortage, the panel recommended starting a pilot program in Haiti to test vaccination strategies an... Read More

Rise in Oxygen Drove Evolution of Animal Life 550 Million Years Ago

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) at the University of Oxford have uncovered a clue that may help to explain why the earliest evidence of complex multicellular animal life appears around 550 million years ago, when atmospheric oxygen levels ... Read More

Special report: The cost of a malaria-free world

Joe Cohen, a scientist tantalizingly close to delivering the world's first malaria vaccine, is on the stump.

After 23 years of painstaking laboratory work and a program of major trials in seven countries, the 67-year-old biologist says the clinical case for the vaccine is almost proved. It's ... Read More

Parasitic worms paint warning colours on their hosts using glowing bacteria

A robin flying over a field sees a juicy caterpillar on a leaf. It dives in for a closer look but it notices something strange: this larva is bright red and glowing slightly. Red means danger – this caterpillar is probably toxic and is best avoided. The robin leaves; the caterpillar apparently l... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº144. Microbial Macthmakers (Las "Celestinas" microbianas)

El Podcast del Microbio" Nº 144 is based in Merry Youle's post "Microbial Matchmakers" published in the blog "Small Thing C... Read More

Mundo de los Microbios - Episodio 72

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A continuación: Bacterias que hibernan, el tracto gastrointestinal infantil como ecosistema microbiano, y parásitos y comunidades de plantas.

Bacterias que hibernan

L... Read More

Top 100 Stories of 2010 #19: Ocean Ooze Teems With Life

The ocean bottom is one of the 
world’s most important yet enigmatic ecosystems, covered in a thick sludge rich with bacteria that consume and recycle dead algae and animal feces. Somehow those bacteria get the essential oxygen they need to digest, even though very little of it should be able to... Read More

Why Humans Are More Sensitive to Certain Viruses: Primate Immune System Differences Identified

The greater susceptibility of humans to certain infectious diseases when compared to other primates could be explained by species-specific changes in immune signaling pathways, a University of Chicago study finds. The first genome-wide, functional comparison of genes regulated by the innate immu... Read More

DIY Biotech Hacker Space Opens in NYC

On the top floor of an old bank converted into an artist collective, just past prop design for Bjork's next music video, the do-it-yourself biotechnology revolution has begun.

A cadre of science entrepreneurs recently opened Genspace, the world's first government-compliant community biotech l... Read More

Arsenic Life Form Scientist Answers Critics

With brush-fire speed, Felisa Wolfe-Simon and colleagues of buggy arsenic-eating fame found themselves bogged down in a blogosphere-fueled debate.

After force-feeding phosphorus-loving bacteria an arsenic-only diet and discovering that the bugs didn’t die, Wolfe-Simon and colleagues concluded... Read More

Gadget tracks day in the life of flu

When it comes to infectious disease, who and how many get inoculated isn’t as important as knowing how people interact with each other—whether they’re vaccinated or not.

In order to follow and better understand how viruses spread through real-life social networks, a group of researchers used ... Read More

A Blast of Cold Plasma Kills Drug-Resistant Bacteria

Cold plasma torches could be a new way to treat drug-resistant infections and heal wounds more quickly, according to new research. The plasma interferes with microbial DNA without harming human tissue, scientists say.

A 10-minute treatment with a low-temperature plasma jet killed about 90 per... Read More

U.S. Bioethics Commission Gives Green Light to Synthetic Biology

The president’s bioethics commission says there is no need to temporarily halt research or to impose new regulations on the controversial new field known as synthetic biology.

In a report being issued Thursday, the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues says that at prese... Read More
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