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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
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