About viruses and viral disease
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:55:16 +0000
How Firestone controlled Ebola virus disease in Liberia
When the first case of Ebola virus infection was detected at the Firestone Liberia, Inc. rubber tree plantation in March of this year, the company needed to prevent the virus from spreading among their 8,500 employees. The company established an incident management system, developed procedures for early detection of infection, enforced infection control guidelines, and […]
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:55:16 +0000
Can Ebola virus infect via the skin?
I received this question about Ebola virus infection via email: Can you become infected if infected droplet lands on your skin even if there is no abrasion on the skin? I am now hearing this, which surprises me. The virus can enter through the actual skin and does not need mucus membrane to enter? The […]
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:31:41 +0000
TWiV 307: Ebola aetiology
On episode #307 of the science show This Week in Virology, Tara Smith joins the TWiEBOVsters to discuss the Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa, spread of the disease to and within the US, transmission of the virus, and much more. You can find TWiV #307 at www.twiv.tv.
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:02:18 +0000
The quarantine period for Ebola virus
WHO and CDC recommend that individuals who are potentially infected with Ebola virus should be quarantined for 21 days. Where does this number come from? Charles Haas at Drexel University asked the same question, and provides an answer. The quarantine period for an infectious disease is based on the incubation period, the time before symptoms of an infection appear. For Ebola virus, […]
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:41:21 +0000
WHO assessment of experimental Ebola virus vaccines
The World Health Organization held a conference to assess the status of testing and eventual licensing of two candidate Ebola virus vaccines. The agenda and list of participants and the final report are available. I was interested in the following list of key expected milestones: October 2014: Mechanisms for evaluating and sharing data in real time must be […]
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 19:04:19 +0000
Would we have an Ebola virus vaccine if not for NIH cuts?
Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, believes that we would have an Ebola virus vaccine if not for the past ten years of flat budgets for life science research: NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, […]
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:24:43 +0000
Enterovirus D68 infections in North America
An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by enterovirus D68 began in August of this year with clusters of cases in Missouri and Illinois. Since then 691 infections have been confirmed in 46 states in the US. The number of confirmed infections is likely to increase in the coming weeks, as CDC has developed a more rapid diagnostic […]
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:13:18 +0000
Combination antiviral therapy for hepatitis C
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of a single pill containing two different antiviral drugs for the treatment for hepatitis C. It is the first combination pill approved for the disease, and also the first treatment that does not contain interferon or ribavirin. The new hepatitis C drug, called Harvoni, is a mixture […]
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:49:52 +0000
New Yorkers like their science from scientists
I cannot pass up the opportunity to point out this wonderful quote by Ginia Ballafante in her NY Times piece, Fear of Vaccines Goes Viral. The article starts by noting an article on plummeting vaccination rates in Los Angeles: The piece had the virtue of offering New Yorkers yet another opportunity to feel smugly superior to […]
Sun, 12 Oct 2014 14:33:50 +0000
Small Things Considered
A blog for sharing appreciation of the width and depth of microbes and microbial activities on this planet.
Two More Questions about CRISPRs
by Merry Youle | Over the past eight years, step-by-step, researchers have established a basic understanding of the CRISPR defenses against foreign DNA so widely used by both bacteria and archaea. We related the early story on STC in 2008 and commented on six additional questions...
TWiM #89: Microbial Handoffs
Vincent, Michele, and Michael discuss how a gene from bacteria protects a tick from plant cyanide poisoning, and enhanced transmission of Streptococcus pneumoniae by influenza virus co-infection in mice.
Fine Reading: Trans-kingdom Cross TalkSmall RNAs on the Move
by Elio | We have lived with the discovery of small RNAs as regulatory molecules for nearly 30 years, so for most readers of this blog this is old hat. But some of us oldsters are still reeling from the novelty and importance of the findings. It seems odd that a subject of this significance, one that has so many ramifications, should have been...
Chromosome Organization the Pseudomonas Way, Part2
by Christoph Weigel | Over the last twenty years, molecular biologists developed and refined a downright cute method to study bacterial chromosome organization in live cells. Briefly, a cluster of binding sites for a DNA-binding protein is introduced at a chosen locus of a bacterial chromosome via genetic engineering (=cloning). A plasmid is introduced with the gene...
Pictures Considered #20. Phages Attach by Their Tail
by Elio | In the early 1950’s it wasn’t clear yet if phages attach to bacteria via their head (sperm-like) or by their tail (syringe-like). Sounds simple but images showing both modes had been produced. In 1953, T. F. Anderson, one of the pioneers in the use of the electron microscope in microbiology…
To Retract or Not to Retract… That’s the Question
In the previous post I discussed  that editors of Science asked for the retraction of a paper linking XMRV retrovirus to ME/CFS. The decision of the editors was based on the failure of at least 10 other studies to confirm these findings and on growing support that the results were caused by contamination. When the authors refused […]
Tue, 07 Jun 2011 13:34:25 +0000
Science Asks to Retract the XMRV-CFS Paper, it Should Never Have Accepted in the First Place.
Wow! Breaking! As reported in WSJ earlier this week , editors of the journal Science asked Mikovits and her co-authors to voluntary retract their 2009 Science paper . In this paper Mikovits and colleagues of the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI) and the Cleveland Clinic, reported the presence of xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells […]
Thu, 02 Jun 2011 21:34:34 +0000
Does the NHI/FDA Paper Confirm XMRV in CFS? Well, Ditch the MR and Scratch the X… and… you’ve got MLV.
The long awaited paper that would ‘solve’ the controversies about the presence of Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus-related virus (XMRV) in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) was finally published in PNAS last week . The study, a joint effort of the NIH and the FDA, was withheld, on request of the authors , because it contradicted […]
Mon, 30 Aug 2010 03:32:21 +0000