Bacteria-killing viruses: an army of disease-fighters within us?

Ever wonder why we make snot? Mucus lines our respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, acting as a sticky glue that traps unwanted substances before they can get into the body. However, research from Jeremy Barr’s lab in Melbourne, Australia has shown that there might be a lot more to the story of snot. Barr and his team have found that mucus contains a far higher concentration … Continue reading Bacteria-killing viruses: an army of disease-fighters within us?

A DNA-based view reveals hidden Zika spread

by Colin O’Leary figures by Rebecca Clements News of viral epidemics spreads faster than the viruses themselves. Once the virus arrives, how do we determine where it came from? How do scientists monitor the arrival and spread beyond keeping track of the number of cases at a given time? Instead of sifting through medical records in search of the first infected person—the elusive “patient zero”—studying the … Continue reading A DNA-based view reveals hidden Zika spread

It’s Going Viral: (Re)-emerging viruses and epidemics in our increasingly global world

by Apurva Govande figures by Anna Maurer Viruses and the globe In a hidden part of our world exists the vastly diverse microscopic universe. This micro-universe exerts a great amount of influence on our lives via minuscule, unseen molecular packages like viruses. Viruses are tiny structures made of protein that can contain DNA or RNA (the more unstable cousin of DNA) to produce more viruses after infecting … Continue reading It’s Going Viral: (Re)-emerging viruses and epidemics in our increasingly global world

Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

With the warm weather of summer quickly approaching, a common enemy known as the mosquito will soon make a reappearance. Mosquitoes are more than just an irritation. In many areas of the world, mosquitoes are also carriers of infectious diseases such as malaria and the Zika virus. While the mosquito is a  major problem to many, scientists at Microsoft Research are attempting to exploit some … Continue reading Mosquitos: Friend or Foe? Possible use of mosquitos in modern epidemiology

Ebola Virus

Virus Beware: Ebola Vaccine Successfully Developed

2016 was a tumultuous year in many respects, but it ended with a major victory against Ebola hemorrhagic fever.  Ebola’s most recent outbreak ravaged West Africa from 2013 to 2016, killing roughly two out of every five patients and tens of thousands of people in total.  Treatment options are limited once the disease takes hold, so researchers have been pursuing a vaccine that protects against … Continue reading Virus Beware: Ebola Vaccine Successfully Developed

HIV-Infected T Cell

Genetic Evidence Exonerates HIV’s “Patient Zero”

Gaeten Dugas, the man who received the title “Patient Zero” for supposedly bringing HIV/AIDS into the United States, has been cleared.  Dugas was a Canadian flight attendant who contracted and died of AIDS soon after the disease first appeared in the US.  The book And the Band Played On paints a sinister picture of his role in the early AIDS epidemic, leading many to suspect … Continue reading Genetic Evidence Exonerates HIV’s “Patient Zero”

Oncolytic viruses- A one of a kind FDA approval

by Nishita Parnandi figures by Krissy Lyon One of the biggest challenges in treating cancer is to specifically target the cancerous site in a tissue without killing the surrounding normal cells. The use of oncolytic viruses is a new cancer treatment that is excellent at achieving just that. An oncolytic virus named ImlygicTM manufactured by Amgen recently received the stamp of approval from the FDA … Continue reading Oncolytic viruses- A one of a kind FDA approval