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Poliovirus silently (and not so silently) spreads

Poliovirus has been found in sewage in Israel. The virus detected is not vaccine-derived poliovirus; it is wild-type 1 poliovirus, the strain that occurs naturally in the wild and which the World Health Organization is trying very hard to eradicate from the planet. Read More

Engineering adenoviruses for gene therapy

This is a movie by David Bella, Ph.D., at the University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research showing the results of an analysis of Adenovirus binding to blood coagulation factor X, performed in collaboration with Professor Andrew H Baker in the University of Glasgow.

The animation was creat... Read More

An unexpected benefit of inactivated poliovirus vaccine

The polio eradication and endgame strategic plan announced by the World Health Organization in 2014 includes at least one dose of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV). Since 1988, when WHO announced the polio eradication plan, it had relied exclusively on the use of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV)... Read More

A virus that melts sea stars

Sea stars are lovely marine invertebrates with a round central body connected to multiple radiating legs (photo credit). In the past year millions of sea stars in the west coast waters of North America have melted into piles of slime and ossicles. Sea star associated densovirus might be the caus... Read More

Programmed Cell Death Activates Latent Herpesviruses

Researchers have found that apoptosis, a natural process of programmed cell death, can reactivate latent herpesviruses in the dying cell. The results of their research, which could have broad clinical significance since many cancer chemotherapies cause apoptosis, was published ahead of print in ... Read More

Interactive Handwashing Advice

Pharmaceutical experts NSF DBA have created an interactive guide to hand washing.
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American Academy of Microbiology's new FAQ: West Nile Virus, July 2013

Where does the virus come from? How is it spread? Can we predict when and where outbreaks will occur? What factors determine how sick a person will become if they are infected with West Nile virus?

To help answer the many questions people have about this multi-faceted virus, the American Acad... Read More

Treating hepatitis C by blocking a cellular microRNA

Miravirsen is a drug that binds to and blocks the function of a cellular microRNA called miR-122 that is required for the replication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Treatment of chimpanzees chronically infected with HCV with this drug leads to suppression of viral replication. The results of a phas... Read More

De-discovering pathogens: Viral contamination strikes again

Do you remember the retrovirus XMRV, initially implicated as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, and later shown to be a murine virus that contaminated human cells grown in mice? Another virus thought to be associated with human disease has recently been shown to be a contaminant, derived fro... Read More

Human Microbiome Report & Infographic

The human microbiome, the collection of trillions of microbes living in and on the human body, is not random, and scientists believe that it plays a role in many basic life processes. As science continues to explore and better understand the role of the human microbiome. A new report from the Am... Read More

The Forgotten Woman Who Made Microbiology Possible

Read about Angelina Fanny Hesse, an unsung heroine of microbiology who helped make the isolation of bacteria possible in this Popular Science blog post by Christina Agapakis:

"In the earliest days of microbiology, scientists were stumped about how to isolate bacteria. That is, until the fami... Read More

Using Routine Surveillance Data to Estimate the Epidemic Potential of Emerging Zoonoses: Application to the Emergence of US Swine Origin Influenza A H3N2v Virus

A simple new method better assesses the risks posed by emerging zoonotic viruses (those transmissible from animals to humans), according to a study published in PLOS Medicine this week. Dr. Simon Cauchemez and colleagues from Imperial College London in the UK and the Centers for Disease Control ... Read More

The wall of polio

The Polio Wall of Fame is a set of fifteen sculptured busts of 17 individuals who made important contributions to understanding and preventing poliomyelitis. The busts are mounted on an exterior wall of Founder’s Hall at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation in Warm Springs, Ge... Read More

A few reminiscences on Hilary Koprowski

Virologist Hilary Koprowski died on 11 April 2013 at the age of 96. His main accomplishments are nicely summarized in the New York Times, but for a more comprehensive overview of his life, I highly recommend his biography Listen to the Music by Roger Vaughan. I did not have many opportunities to... Read More

Under the Microscope and the new science blog network by PopSci

Popular Science has just launched a new science blogging network with 13 blogs. Among them are two that have a focus on microbiology, Under the Microscope by JA Tetro and Our Modern Plague by Brooke Borel. Each blog has an inaugural post that outlines the author's vision for future subject matte... Read More

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and viruses and my ice bucket challenge

Many people have a new awareness of the disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, thanks to the Ice Bucket Challenge initiated by the ALS Association. Fewer might know that retroviruses have been proposed to play a role in the development of the disease. Read More

BacterioFiles 190 - Bacteriophages Bust Biofilm Beacons

This episode: Engineered phages can both kill bacteria and disrupt their communications!


(14.8 MB, 16.2 minutes)


Show notes: 
Journal Paper


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Poliovirus escapes antibodies

Antigenic variation is a hallmark of influenza virus that allows the virus to evade host defenses. Consequently influenza vaccines need to be reformulated frequently to keep up with changing viruses. In contrast, antigenic variation is not a hallmark of poliovirus – the same poliovirus vaccines ... Read More

The Secret and the Solution: Michael Schmidt, Ph.D., on the Antimicrobial Properties of Copper at TEDxCharleston

Michael Schimdt, Ph.D., Professor and Vice Chairman of Microbiology and Immunology, Director, Office of Special Programs, Medical University of South Carolina, gives a TEDx talk in Charleston, SC, about the antimicrobial properties of copper and how this mineral may significantly reduce hospital... Read More

Discover Your Inner Scientist: Wolbachia In Nashville 2013

A CNN iReport about an integrative lab series known as the Wolbachia in Nashville includes area high school students from School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt with the purpose of bringing real-world scientific research on microbes into high school biology classes. Angela Eeds, director with... Read More
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