Researchers Identify New Target for Ebola Drugs

Washington, D.C. - May 26, 2015 - A new study has demonstrated that a protein called Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) is critical for the Ebola virus to infect a host. The study, published in the May/June issue of mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests that drugs that block NPC1 could be used to treat this deadly disease.

Can Humans Get Norovirus From Their Dogs?

Washington, D.C. - April 10, 2015 - Human norovirus may infect our canine companions, according to research published online April 1 in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. That raises the possibility of dog-to-human transmission, said first author Sarah Caddy, VetMB, PhD, MRCVS, a veterinarian and PhD student at the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College, London, UK. Norovirus is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What We Know and Don’t Know About Ebola Virus Transmission in Humans

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL - February 19, 2015 – A new comprehensive analysis from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, involving leading International Ebola researchers, examines what is known about transmission of the Ebola virus and cautions that the public health community should not rule out the possibility of respiratory transmission. Prior to the current Ebola epidemic in West Africa there have been only 24 reported Ebola outbreaks with approximately 2,400 cases reported over the previous 39 years. Evidence suggests that direct patient contact and contact with infectious body fluids are the primary modes for Ebola virus transmission, however, this evidence is based on a limited number of studies.

MRSA Can Linger in Homes, Spreading Among its Inhabitants

Washington, DC – March 10, 2015 – Households can serve as a reservoir for transmitting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), according to a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Once the bacteria enters a home, it can linger for years, spreading from person to person and evolving genetically to become unique to that household.

Mutant Bacteria That Keep On Growing

WASHINGTON, DC – February 17, 2015 - The typical Escherichia coli, the laboratory rat of microbiology, is a tiny 1-2 thousandths of a millimeter long. Now, by blocking cell division, two researchers at Concordia University in Montreal have grown E. coli that stretch three quarters of a millimeter. That’s up to 750 times their normal length. The research has potential applications in nanoscale industry, and may lead to a better understanding of how pathogens work. The study is published ahead of print on February 17 in the Journal of Bacteriology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Novel Fungus Accumulates Critical Element for Green Energy from Mine Drainage, Industrial Waste

Washington, DC - February 20, 2015 - Japanese investigators have demonstrated that a novel fungus can bioaccumulate the industrially important “rare earth” element, dysprosium, used in the magnets of generators and motors, as well as in smart phones and other electronics, and high technology, generally from mine drainage and industrial liquid waste. This discovery could lead to recycling dysprosium from these wastes, said first author, Takumi Horiike, researcher in the Rare Metal Bioresearch Center at Shibaura Institute of Technology, Saitama, Japan. The research was published ahead of print on February 20 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

HPV Vaccine Highly Effective Against Multiple Cancer-Causing Strains

Washington, DC - February 13, 2015 - According to a multinational clinical trial involving nearly 20,000 young women, the human papilloma virus vaccine, Cervarix, not only has the potential to prevent cervical cancer, but was effective against other common cancer-causing human papillomaviruses, aside from just the two HPV types, 16 and 18, which are responsible for about 70 percent of all cases. That effectiveness endured for the study’s entire follow-up, of up to four years. The research was published February 4 in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

New Compound Protects 100 Percent of Ferrets, Mice, from H5N1

Washington, DC - March 4, 2015 - Since 2003, the H5N1 influenza virus, more commonly known as the bird flu, has been responsible for the deaths of millions of chickens and ducks and has infected more than 650 people, leading to a 60 percent mortality rate for the latter. Luckily, this virus has yet to achieve human-to-human transmission, but a small number of mutations could change that, resulting in a pandemic. Now a team of investigators from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, and MacroGenics have developed an antibody which has proven 100 percent protective against the virus in two species of animal models. The research is published ahead of print February 11, in the Journal of Virology, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology.

Could Proteins From Frog Skin Be a Source Of A New Class of Antibiotics?

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11, 2015 -- With minor tinkering, a peptide—a tiny protein—from the skin of a frog could be fashioned into a novel antibiotic that would lack the toxic byproducts of some more conventional drugs. More importantly, such peptides would represent a new class of antibiotics, at a time when new classes are sorely needed as resistance rises among existing classes. The research was published online, 26 January 2015, in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.