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For nearly 10 years, researchers with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) have been collaborating with Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., to develop an effective therapeutic agent against Ebola virus and other related viruses, called filoviruses.
A group of international researchers has found that environmental factors, like mode of delivery and duration of gestation, may affect how infants’ gut bacteria mature, and that rate is related to later body fat. The work, published in mBio this week, was conducted by epigenetics researchers from the EpiGen Consortium in collaboration with scientists at Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland.
During the course of the current West African outbreak of Ebola virus disease, the US Army has put troops, medical personnel, building and medical supplies on the ground to fight the epidemic. Now, another critical piece of the medical arsenal has been sent—genomic sequencing capabilities and viral geneticist Captain Jeffrey Kugelman to track genetic changes in the virus as they happen in real-time.
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 10:18

Cold Plasma Treatment Cuts Norovirus Germs

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When Günter Klein, head of the Institute of Food Quality and Food Safety at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover in Germany, and colleagues investigated a norovirus outbreak at a German military facility, they noticed something interesting. Although consumption of norovirus-contaminated salad caused the peak of the illnesses, virus also could be detected on several common surfaces tested, including a computer keyboard, a doorknob and a mail collection box.
Klebsiella pneumoniae estimated to be the third most common cause of hospital-acquired infections in the United States in a recent study, can cause a wide range of infections such as pneumonia, bacteremia, wound or surgical site infections and urinary tract infections. What’s more, K. pneumoniae is rapidly becoming resistant to all known antibiotics; resistant forms are considered an urgent threat to public health by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What scientists have known about the organism is that it secretes small molecules called siderophores that enable it to acquire iron from a host and fuel its spread. Siderophores are…
Aindrila Mukhopadhyay uses systems biology to study stress responses in bacteria, but these days phrases like ‘octane number,’ ‘C-5 hydrocarbons,’ and ‘fungible biofuel’ flow quickly and expertly from her mouth. As director of host engineering at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) in Emeryville, California, she collaborates with energy experts, chemists, and bioengineers at the forefront of research on renewable biofuels.
Martin Blaser, 66, and Glenn Webb, 72, often discuss aging on their long summer hikes up to the Continental Divide near Fraser, Colorado. Not their own, but rather that of the human population.
Paul Thomas was merely trying to develop a more reliable test for exposure to avian influenza viruses when he made a fairly startling finding: Seasonal flu vaccines may protect individuals not only against the strains of flu they contain but also against many additional types.
As a gastrointestinal surgeon and critical care specialist, John Alverdy has treated many patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) who have had very big operations, such as major organ reconstructions. “There is a race between making the patient better, fixing the bleeding, and how long they will be sick, exposed to dialysis or ventilators. The less time patients spend in there the better off they are.”
Friday, 19 September 2014 16:08

Gut Bacteria Can Prevent Foodborne Disease

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Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial enteritis in developed countries. But unlike with other enteric pathogens, the mechanisms used by the organism to cause disease are still widely unknown, says bacteriologist Hilpi Rautelin.
Thursday, 11 September 2014 16:05

Finding New Viruses in Snakes

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When Joseph DeRisi and colleagues published a paper in mBio two years ago identifying the first arenavirus in reptiles, it highlighted to him the need to look more broadly across veterinary species when searching for pathogens. Not only was the newly identified virus responsible for the development of a snake illness called inclusion body disease, which leads to severe digestion troubles and neurologic symptoms, but it also was related to Ebola virus.
Howard Shuman directs the Howard T. Ricketts Laboratory—a BSL-3 biocontainment lab operated by the University of Chicago in Lemont, Illinois named after the early 20th century physician researcher who discovered that ticks and lice were the vectors for Rocky Mountain spotted fever and typhus, respectively.
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 15:55

Diagnosing a 700-Year-Old Infection

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Shortly after Mark Pallen, PhD, and colleagues described recovering tuberculosis genomes from the lung tissue of a 215-year-old mummy from Hungary in the New England Journal of Medicine last summer, news of his ability to conduct metagenomic analyses on historical samples spread, and materials started to flow in.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014 15:51

Fecal Transplants Really Do Work

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Fecal microbiota transplantation might seem off-putting to the average person. But the technique has been successful in helping many patients recover from dangerous Clostridium difficile infections (CDI), and a study published in mBio® this week suggests why.
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 15:45

Virulent Fish Disease Linked to Asian Source

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A bacterium causing life-threatening disease among catfish farms in the southeastern United States is closely related to organisms found in diseased grass carp in China, a study published this week in mBio® has found, suggesting that the virulent U.S. fish epidemic emerged from an Asian source.
When influenza researcher Aeron Hurt heard that INACH, the Chilean Antarctic Institute, would be studying mite and tick infection in a group of Antarctic penguins, he had a thought: As long as the penguins were already being tested for those infections, might they also be examined for presence of avian influenza?
Thursday, 24 April 2014 15:35

Tracing the evolution of Bordetella pertussis

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Diving deep into the lineages of Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, an international team of researchers has traced the organism’s evolution over nearly a century. In a study in mBio® this week, they show how B. pertussis has adapted over time to elude vaccines.
Jo Handelsman likes to follow the bugs—especially those bacteria that might hide new forms of antibiotic resistance within. While the antibiotic resistance that shows up in clinical setting gets scads of attention from researchers, Handelsman’s team at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut wanted to investigate how new antibiotic resistance (AR) genes might make their way into human pathogens. In particular, in a study published this week in mBio®, they investigated an altogether different form of the farm-to-table movement.
A study in mBio® this week points to yet another reason to potentially be cautious about the man-made antimicrobial compound triclosan. The agent, commonly found in household soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, medical equipment and other materials, may be finding its way inside human noses, where it can promote the colonization of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria and predispose some people to infection.
In the 1970s, June Kwon-Chung was characterizing the life cycle of Cryptococcus neoformans, a fungus that causes a rare disease called cryptococcosis, which results in a fatal brain infection if left untreated. Looking at the fungal sexual spores under the microscope, she noticed two distinct forms—one round, the other shaped as fingerlike projections. She had a hunch she was observing two different species.