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A viral mashup in snakes

If you know anything about snakes you might be familiar with snake inclusion body disease, or IBD. This transmissible and fatal disease affects snakes of a variety of species but has been best studied in boas. The name comes from the presence of large masses (inclusions) in the cytoplasm of cell... 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

TWiV 172 Letters

Greg writes:


Dear TWiV,


The epidemiology episode with Michael Walsh was great. I loved the philosophical detour into counterfactual statements, time travel, and the meaning of causation. TWiV may indeed be viral, but from listening to it I fee... Read More

Preparing for the Flu: A Childcare Communications Toolkit

The CDC has just published "Preparing for the Flu: A Communication Toolkit for Child Care and Early Childhood Programs." A .pdf document that provides information and communication resources to help center-based and home-based child care programs, Head Start programs, and other early childhood p... 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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Baruch S. Blumberg, MD, 1925-2011

Glenn Rall, a virologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center, sent me the following note:

Baruch S. Blumberg, Nobel Laureate in 1976 for discovery of Hepatitis B (and the eventual development of the vaccine, which probably has saved hundreds of thousands of lives since its introduction), died this pas... Read More

TWiV 152: Viromes in the effluence of society

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 Racaniello, Al... Read More

A spike for piercing the cell membrane

Some viruses that infect bacteria (bacteriophages) deliver their DNA into the host cell with an amazing injection machine. The tailed bacteriophages (such as T4, illustrated) store their DNA in a capsid attached to a long tail tube that is surrounded by a sheath. At the bottom of the tube is a b... Read More

XMRV is a recombinant virus from mice

The novel human retrovirus XMRV has been associated with prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. The nucleotide sequence of XMRV isolated from humans indicates that the virus is nearly identical with XMRV produced from a human prostate tumor cell line called 22Rv1. This cell line was deriv... Read More

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 90 Letters

Eric writes:


Hi Vincent,


After 86 episodes of TWiV, I am still loving every minute of the podcast and I am constantly impressed with how much I learn. For example, I have been mentoring an undergraduate student in the lab and we have had a rough two week stret... Read More

India polio-free for one year

A year has passed since the last reported case of poliomyelitis in India, which occurred on 13 January 2011 in a two year old girl in Howrah, West Bengal. Read More

TWiV 140 Letters

from @Lafrenchfille on Twitter:


French listen to your very cool podcast. So I can confirm, "Mimi" is french !


Peter writes:


Regarding the podcasting advice from the fellow in Israel.


Explain st... 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 159 Letters

Jenny writes:


Hi Vince and the rest of the TWIV-cast!


You might have come across this news already, but it would be interesting to hear the TWIV gang's take on this study done by Fouchier's group from the Netherlands.


Read More

The Rise of Community-Associated MRSA

This teleconference is sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and will review the history and importance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with a primary focus on the emergence of community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA). The phenotypic and molecular identification of ... Read More

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

XMRV, prostate cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome

Robert H. Silverman, one of the authors on the study implicating the new human retrovirus XMRV as an etiologic agent of chronic fatigue syndrome, has written an excellent review article on the current status of research on the virus. The article is behind a paywall at Nature Reviews Urology, so ... Read More

TWiV 115 Letters

Vinayaka writes:


Some additional info that I gathered on viruses on the verge of elimination (may or may not be new to you):


It appears that the next virus on the list of FAO to eradicate is PPR virus ( Read More

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