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Zika from sex, the byway but not the highway

Can Zika virus be sexually transmitted? Perhaps in very rare cases, but the main mode of transmission is certainly via mosquitoes. That’s why I’ve shamelessly stolen a quote on this topic from Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University: Mosquito transmission is the highway, whereas sexual tr... Read More

Getting closer to understanding Zika virus, one genome at a time

Several papers published in Genome Announcements recently describe the sequences of new Zika virus isolates. Scientists have known the genomic sequence of at least one Zika virus isolate since 2007, but continue to publish newly isolated strains. What is the importance of these additional sequen... Read More

Scientists prove key aspect of evolutionary theory

Evolutionary theory predicts that pairs of chromosomes within asexual organisms will evolve independently of each other and become increasingly different over time in a phenomenon called the 'Meselson effect.' Researchers from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated the Meselson effect for t... Read More

Antibodies to dengue virus enhance infection by Zika virus

It has been speculated that the development of neurological disease and fetal abnormalities after Zika virus infection may be due to the presence of antibodies against other flaviruses that enhance disease. In support of this hypothesis, it has been shown that antibodies to dengue virus enhance... Read More

Systems study of climate change effects, large and small

If there is a problem built for a systems-based research approach, climate change – with its complex carbon and nitrogen cycles, numerous species involvement, and interaction of geographical zones – would be an excellent candidate. Concurrent with the launch of the systems-based microbial resear... Read More

Ancient clay remedy proves its antibacterial powers in the lab

Near Kisameet Bay on the central coast of British Columbia sits a deposit of clay that covers 5 acres and spans a depth up to 42 feet in places. This vast smear formed 10,000 years ago as glacial melt filled a granite basin and fine minerals silted out.

The ancient clay likely holds secrets t... Read More

Meta-analysis of urine pre-analytic practice reveals need for rigorous studies

Evidence-based medicine is the approach used by doctors to make rational clinical decisions based on rigorous, well-controlled studies. By minimizing hunches, gut feelings, and anecdotal evidence, physicians and patients can follow recommendations that are most likely to have a positive outcome.... Read More

Antibiotic stewardship - a community effort

As we highlighted in our previous blog, antibiotic stewardship – the careful use of appropriate antibiotic administration – can have positive effects. A small change from a difference in clinical lab reporting led to less drug use, which led to fewer drug-resistant infections. When we think of a... Read More

Targeting the gut microbiome to fight heart disease

Is the way to treat heart disease through a person's stomach? According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers have found that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause ... Read More

MERS research yields surprising finding

In 2015, an unexpectedly large outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in South Korea had a disastrous impact on the whole country and highlighted scientists limited knowledge of this virus. Now, new research into this outbreak has revealed some very surprising findin... Read More

The switch from trivalent to bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine: Will it lead to polio?

In four months, 155 countries will together switch from using trivalent to bivalent oral poliovirus vaccine. Will this change lead to more cases of poliomyelitis? Read More

Induction of Acinetobacter baumannii natural competence

Bacteria acquire and spread genetic information through several means. Some bacteria form a long, thin tube called a pilus, mediating transfer of DNA by direct cell-to-cell contact, in a process known as conjugation. Some bacterial take up environmental DNA and incorporate it into their existing... Read More

The dual role of GALNT3 during influenza infection

Feeling under the weather? Are you congested, maybe having a hard time breathing, especially at night? Don’t worry – this is your body’s natural response to an infection. Mucus production is generally regarded as antimicrobial – it traps particles like virions before they can infect nearby host ... Read More

TWiP 112: A NOD to a tricky helminth

The TWiP trio solve the case of the Woman from Washington Heights, and reveal how helminth infection protects mice deficient in the Crohn's disease gene NOD2 from intestinal disease by inhibiting colonization with an inflammatory bacterial species.


Hosts:  Read More

A new vaccine has developed by Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Wednesday his country had developed a vaccine for the Ebola virus which has killed thousands of people in west Africa.

But Putin, who is famed for his talent for headline-grabbing announcements, did not give any name for the vaccine, nor did he say how... Read More

Diversity and Activity of Communities Inhabiting Plastic Debris in the North Pacific Gyre

Marine plastic debris is a growing concern that has captured the general public’s attention. While the negative impacts of plastic debris on oceanic macrobiota, including mammals and birds, are well documented, little is known about its influence on smaller marine residents, including microbes t... Read More

TWiM 131: Mice behaving badly

Michael and Vincent present Spotlights, brief reviews of classic papers in the Journal of Bacteriology, and explain how a single bacterial species can reverse autism-like social deficits in the offspring of obese mice.


Hosts: Vinc... Read More

ASM holds Zika press conference

Tomorrow begins a Special President’s Edition ASM Conference, hosted by the American Society for Microbiology in collaboration with the American Society for Virology. The conference, “What Does the Biology of Flaviviruses Tell Us About Zika: The Importance of Fundamental Virus Biology” highlight... Read More

What does the structure reveal about a colony collapse disorder-associated virus

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) has caused such a profound drop in honeybee populations that even the U.S. Congress is addressing the issue: Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has proposed the Pollinator Recovery Act to preserve pollinator habitat. The rapid decline in these important pollinators af... Read More

A virus-like particle vaccine against RSV is safe and effective in mice

Pneumonia remains a serious worldwide problem, especially among the young, elderly, and immunocompromised. Over 900,000 children die each year due to the disease, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common viral cause (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b bein... Read More
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