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Kawaoka paper published on aerosol transmission of H5 influenza virus in ferrets

One of two papers on avian influenza H5N1 virus that caused such a furor in the past six months was published today in the journal Nature. I have read it, and I can assure you that the results do not enable the construction of a deadly biological weapon. Instead, they illuminate important requir... Read More

TWiV 165 Letters

Justin writes:

Are you, Alan Dove and Prof. Racaniello, saying you think Mikovits and/or others on the Lombardi paper lied about the results or blinding? I think circumspection is a natural human reaction to the allegations of theft that have been made against Dr. Mik... Read More

Tiny snow-makers

The Judges' Choice for The Scientist magazine's 2011 Labby Multimedia Awards is this cute video on how microbes are essential for snow formation.

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Conserved amino acid markers from past influenza pandemic strains

A recent paper published on Biomedcenteral by Jonathan E Allen , Shea N Gardner , Elizabeth A Vitalis, and Tom R Slezak discovers that new genetic markers for human host-specificity and high lethality in influenza viruses were identified by considering combinations of amino acids conserved amon... Read More

TWiV 124 Letters

Norm writes:

First, I love your podcasts.

You guys are constantly grousing about the lack of research funding.

I was curious.

NIH, funding has risen every year since 2000, from $17B to the current $31B (supports 325,000 researchers)

NSF... Read More

TWiV 156: Armed and targeted killer meta-analysis

Unable to embed Rapid1Pixelout audio player. Please double check that:  1)You have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.  2)This web page does not have any fatal Javascript errors.  3)The audio-player.js file of Rapid1Pixelout has been included.

Hosts: Vincent RacanielloR... Read More

El podcast del Microbio Nº 217. La sepia y la bacteria (the squid and the bacteria)

El podcast del Microbio Nº217 describes the symbiosis between the squid Euprymna scolopes and the bacteria Vibrio fischeri.... Read More

David and Goliath: How one cytokine may take down influenza

Recent research has suggested a new method of flu prevention and treatment: the administration of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) to the lungs of mice significantly reduced flu symptoms and prevented mortality after a lethal dose of influenza virus. GM-CSF helps the bod... Read More

TWiV 146 Letters

Jonathan writes:

First and foremost, this and the podcast of the virology course lectures available on iTunes is a gift to the public. I am applying to medical school and I appreciate the material on a topic I did not have time to take but have had a long standing int... Read More

Automating the survey of protein locations: the trials and tribulations

An article by Alan Derman, Project Scientist in Joe Pogliano’s lab at the University of California at San Diego, published on the Small Things Considered blog presents a point-by-point analysis of a paper "Quantitative genome-scale analysis of protein localization in an asymmetric bacterium" pub... Read More

TWiV 143 Letters

Judi writes:

Hello People of TWIV!

Thanks for all the information you give and how you make me think. I really liked your discussions on TWIV 136 - exit XMRV, not as much for the science ( which was cool) but for the discussio... Read More

Is Vilyuisk encephalitis a viral disease?

A type of human encephalitis – an infection of the brain – has been known to affect the indigenous people living in the Sakha Republic of Russia since the mid-1800s. The available clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that the disease is caused by a pathogen, but proving this has been d... Read More

New Elsevier Slogan: “It’s All about The Benjamins”

Rich Condit found an article highly critical of the original Wakefield study (claiming a link between MMR vaccine and autism) which was published in the same issue of Lancet. He asked the publisher, Elsevier, to open up the article to non-subscribers so he could recommend it as a pick of the wee... Read More

Virophage, the virus eater

A second virophage has been identified. The name does not signify a virus that infects another virus – it means virus eater.
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TWiV 152: Viromes in the effluence of society

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Al... Read More

TWiV 180 Letters

Rohit writes:

Hi Dr Racaniello,

I am a long time listener of TWIV and really enjoy the informal scientific discussions. I listen to TWIV while working in the lab and am trying to catch up on TWIM and TWIP episodes too.

I have been dill... Read More

A mad cow in America

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

Are there viruses of arsenic-utilizing bacteria?

A salt-loving (halophilic) bacterium which can grow in medium containing arsenic instead of phosphorus has been selected from the microbial community of Mono Lake in California. Arsenic (As) is a chemical analog of phosphorus and is usually toxic because it can enter metabolic pathways in the pl... Read More

Ferreting out influenza H5N1

A laboratory in the Netherlands has identified a lethal influenza H5N1 virus strain that is transmitted among ferrets. These findings are under review by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) to ensure that they do not constitute a threat to human health. Meanwhile both the... Read More

The Human Lake

Science writer Carl Zimmer writes a masterful blog piece tracing the history of the study of ecosystems, from lakes to the human microbiome. Just one interesting fact: In their lifetimes, individual humans will produce about five elephants worth of microbes. Read More
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