The second of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past year was published today in the journal Science. I have carefully read the paper by Fouchier and colleagues, and I assure you that it does not enable the production of a deadly biological weapon. The resu... Read More
India has been free of polio for over one year. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering that just 30 years ago the country recorded 200,000 cases of the disease annually, or one every three minutes. With polio endemic in two neighboring countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and in the mo... Read More
Life in a high-pressured environment with practically nothing to eat might be ok for high-fashion models, but it’s an unlikely lifestyle choice for a single cell whose usual overriding goal is to become two cells. Yet the largest living ecosystem on Earth—the deep biosphere—is comprised of micro... Read More
A collection of links to blogs and podcasts that either focus entirely on microbes or partially on microbes. Other suggestions wanted. Read More
Vincent and Dickson
Vincent Racaniello accepts the Peter Wildy Prize for Microbiology Education, awarded annually by the Society for General Microbiology for an outstanding contribution to microbiology education. Filmed at the Dublin Convention Centre in Dublin, Ireland. Read More
Hello TWiV Doctors,
Two short things:
1. You probably already heard the TWiV shout-out you got on NPR's Morning Edition on Friday, March 30th. It's here: Read More
What up Doc's?
I'm writing to voice my complete disagreement with the sentiments of Sven Urban, in his letter on TWIP 38, that you as hosts are prone to engage in a ‘degree of banter which is distracting'.
I'm sure Dickson does not mind being ant... Read More
thank you all for sharing your knowledge in such a comprehensible manner. Thank you also for your stand against bureaucratic censorship in the H5N1 research, and your win. I have two questions. Is H5N1 a highly specific test for a human ge... Read More
Hello Vincent and Team TWIV,
I love Virology, and it is with much chagrin that I admit I have only recently started listening to TWIV. However I have tried to mend the error of my ways by: 1) proselytizing the benefits (keeping up-to-date with and... Read More
A dairy cow in California is the fourth known American case of mad cow disease, which is caused by prions, infectious agents composed only of protein (the story hit the press the day after my lecture on this type of illness). Unlike viruses, prions have no nucleic acid and no protective coat. Bu... Read More
Jamie Henzy, a postdoctoral researcher at Boston College, has authored a post on Small Things Considered that explores the shady world of the deltaretrovirus genus.
"Among retroviruses, the deltaretrovirus genus is something of a shady bunch, its members lurking in the shadows, causing troubl... Read More
This past February I was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting Company on the topic of the Fouchier and Kawaoka experiments on avian influenza virus H5N1. The video, Building the Perfect Bug, has been released by Journeyman Pictures and includes interviews with S.T. Lai, Laurie Garrett, Mic... Read More
Small Things Considered
Ron Fouchier has discussed his influenza H5N1 transmission experiments in ferrets at an ASM Biodefense Conference, clarifying several assumptions about the transmissibility of the virus in this animal model. Read More
Nearly four months ago I stood at the front of a crowded classroom at Columbia University and began teaching the third year of my undergraduate virology course. Twice a week we discussed the basic principles of virology, including how virions are built, how they replicate, and how they cause dis... Read More