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Evidence-based antibiotic usage

New recommendation encourages physicians to prescribe _antibacterials_ instead of antibiotics for bacterial infections. This recommendation is based on compelling evidence that the word "antibiotic" confuses almost everyone, including some doctors. The confusion leads to strong patient demands... Read More

Interview of Cave Microbiologist, Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham (aka Ann)

Dr. Naowarat Cheeptham, is a famous cave microbiologist. Dr. Cheeptham has been fascinated with the world of biology since she was out catching butterflies as a child with her father in her native country, Thailand. Her interest in microbiology developed while studying at Chiang Mai University ... Read More

Reducing antibiotic requests from patients with viral infections

For anyone interested in Antibiotic Awareness Week, a big part of the story is that patients (or their parents) demand antibacterials even for viral infections. And doctors often comply, just to get rid of them (the patients, that is). This high-resolution PDF can be printed out for waiting ro... Read More

MOOC: Pandemics and new viral infections (in Spanish)

New Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) in Spanish about Pandemics and new viral infections.

This is a mini online open course about basic concepts of virus and pandemics. We answer questions as what is a virus?, how a virus multiplies inside a cell?, what is a pandemic?, why appear new influe... Read More

10 fun facts about antibiotics

This poster has ten (10) mildly interesting facts about antibiotics, just in case you needed a poster or handout for Antibiotic Awareness Week (Nov 18-24, 2013). You can download PDF at "source" URL, above. Please feel free to share this graphic with your students, classmates, colleagues, frien... Read More

Influenza A viruses in bats

It is well known that aquatic birds are a major reservoir of influenza A viruses, and that pandemic human influenza virus strains of the past century derive viral genes from this pool. The recent discovery of two new influenza A viruses in bats suggests that this species may constitute another r... Read More

Antibiotics work against viruses

Got your attention, eh? This page discusses why so many people believe that antibiotics kill viruses, and what you can do about that myth. Actually, it's not even a myth ... antibiotics DO work against viruses. The problem is that the word "antibiotics" is redefined by some to be a synonym of... Read More

The neuraminidase of influenza virus

The influenza virus particle is made up of the viral RNA genome wrapped in a lipid membrane (illustrated). The membrane, or envelope, contains three different kinds of viral proteins. The hemagglutinin molecule (HA, blue) attaches to cell receptors and initiates the process of virus entry into c... Read More

To combat the overuse of antibacterials, stop using the absolutely terrible word, "antibiotic"

There are many reasons why bacteria evolve resistance to antibacterials, but one of the preventable reasons is the over-prescription of antibacterials to patients who don't have bacterial infections. But how to get people to stop asking for antibacterials? My suggestion is to stop using the wor... Read More

The Walking Dead offers teachable moment about antivirals vs antibacterials

If you teach students about viruses and bacteria, recent episodes of The Walking Dead have been using the term "antibiotic" to stand for antivirals. Since students are probably watching the show, it might be a good time to highlight the mistake. I summarized the issues at the associated URL (ht... Read More

John Holland, 83

Virologist John Holland passed away on 11 October 2013. I asked former members of his laboratory for their thoughts on his career and what he meant to them. Read More

Bat SARS-like coronavirus that infects human cells

The SARS pandemic of 2002-2003 is believed to have been caused by a bat coronavirus (CoV) that first infected a civet and then was passed on to humans. The isolation of a new SARS-like coronavirus from bats suggests that the virus could have directly infected humans. Read More

Virus-induced fever might change bacteria from commensal to pathogen

Neisseria meningitidis may cause septicemia (bacteria in the blood) and meningitis (infection of the membrane surrounding the brain), but the bacterium colonizes the nasopharynx in 10-20% of the human population without causing disease. Although understanding how the bacterium changes from a com... Read More

World Polio Day

As a virologist who has worked on poliovirus since 1979, I would be remiss if I did not note that today, 24 October, is World Polio Day. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine a... Read More

Hepatitis B viruses in bats

Hepatitis B virus (HBV, illustrated) is a substantial human pathogen. WHO estimates that there are now 240,000,000 individuals chronically infected with HBV worldwide, of which 25% will die from chronic liver disease or hepatocellular carcinoma. The hepatitis B virus vaccine is highly effective ... 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

A saga of HeLa cells

We have been using HeLa cells in my laboratory since 1982, when I arrived at Columbia University Medical Center fresh from postdoctoral work with David Baltimore at MIT. I brought with me a line of HeLa cells and used them for 30 years for our research on viruses. Here is a story of how we lost ... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 138 - Slime Sustains Sidekick Pseudomonas

This episode: Slime mold cells carry bacteria with them, some for food and some for chemical warfare!


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Download Episode&n... Read More

Oral bacteria resulting from poor dental hygiene shows a potential association with Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers examined samples from the brains of patients with and without dementia and found lipopolysaccharide, a component of Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral bacterium, in four out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease brain samples.

“This clearly shows that there is an association between oral bacte... Read More

Stability of MERS Under Different Environmental Conditions (research)

The stability of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was determined at 20°C – 40% relative humidity (RH); 30°C – 30% RH and 30°C – 80% RH. MERS-CoV was more stable at low temperature/low humidity conditions and could still be recovered after 48 hours. During aerosolisation of... Read More

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