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MWV Episode 94 - TWiM #99: Careers in Biodefense
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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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Interesting Rhinovirus Study + Bonus Chicken Soup Recipe

This 2000 paper, published in Chest, shows that chicken soup is capable of inhibiting neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro, thus providing some evidence for the soup's traditional role as a home cure for respiratory infections.

Helpfully, the soup recipe used in the study is also included. And it ... 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

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

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

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

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 160: Moore tumor viruses

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Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, R... Read More

TWiV 149 Letters

John writes:


Re the letter you got about a Spanish version of TWIV: ASM already has a nice Spanish microbiology podcast, called Mundos de los Microbios. Your TWIM co-host Elio has been on that podcast at least once that I’ve heard. Perhaps you could p... 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

A new target for hepatitis C virus

When infection with hepatitis C virus goes from acute to chronic, severe liver disease may occur which requires organ transplantation. Nearly 200 million people are chronically infected with HCV, necessitating approaches to preventing and treating infections. No HCV vaccine is available, and cur... 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

XMRV and CFS – It’s not the end

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune published my reaction to the four papers on the retrovirus XMRV published this week in the journal Retrovirology. I was quoted as saying ”These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS”. I wish to retract this statement and explain my reason... 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

TWiV 112 Letters

Jennie writes:


I love your show very much and this is not my first comment. I load firewood and paint as I listen to you guys, thanks so much for the inspiration over what is becoming years. I'm not an audio learner, though my mind is quite stimulated by what I hear. ... 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

My virology course at Columbia University

The third annual installment of my virology course at Columbia University, Biology W3310, has begun, and all the lectures will be available online. Read More

Cryptic Life in the Antarctic Dry Valleys

Small Things Considered co-blogger Merry Youle has a post about the diversity of life in McKelvey Valley, a broad, glacially-carved pass just west of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. Her writing is inspired in part by a recent paper from the University of Hong Kong (See Read More

TWiV 156: Armed and targeted killer meta-analysis

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Hosts: Vincent RacanielloR... Read More

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