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Polio in India: going, going, gone?

Polio in India: going, going, gone? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

India, ravaged by polio like no other place on the planet, has seen only a single case this year, back in January. Although the global polio eradication effort is neither celebrating nor relenting, it may have already succeeded in eliminating polio from India.

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Liquefying virus uses one gene to make caterpillars climb to their doom

Liquefying virus uses one gene to make caterpillars climb to their doom | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

"It is dawn in a European forest, and gypsy moth caterpillars are looking for somewhere to hide. With early birds starting to rise, the caterpillars will spend the day in bark crevices or buried in soil. But one of them is behaving very strangely. While its peers head downwards, this one climbs upwards, to the very top of the highest leaves. It has come to die..."

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Is bacterial fatty acid synthesis a valid target for antibacterial drug discovery?

Is bacterial fatty acid synthesis a valid target for antibacterial drug discovery? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

The emergence of resistance against most current drugs emphasizes the need to develop new approaches to control bacterial pathogens, particularly Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial fatty acid synthesis is one such target that is being actively pursued by several research groups to develop anti-Staphylococcal agents. Recently, the wisdom of this approach has been challenged based on the ability of a Gram-positive bacterium to incorporate extracellular fatty acids and thus circumvent the inhibition of de novo fatty acid synthesis. The generality of this conclusion has been challenged, and there is enough diversity in the enzymes and regulation of fatty acid synthesis in bacteria to conclude that there is not a single organism that can be considered typical and representative of bacteria as a whole. We are left without a clear resolution to this ongoing debate and await new basic research to define the pathways for fatty acid uptake and that determine the biochemical and genetic mechanisms for the regulation of fatty acid synthesis in Gram-positive bacteria. These crucial experiments will determine whether diversity in the control of this important pathway accounts for the apparently different responses of Gram-positive bacteria to the inhibition of de novo fatty acid synthesis in presence of extracellular fatty acid supplements.

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FOOD TECHNOLOGIST's curator insight, June 22, 2013 10:15 PM

antibacterial drug discovery

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Microbiology blogs: a list of 20 great blogs for microbe lovers

Microbiology blogs: a list of 20 great blogs for microbe lovers | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Bertalan Meskó (@Berci) has compiled a list of microbiology blogs that you may find useful: Microbiology in the Blogosphere.

Envious, I decided to make my own list of microbiology blogs. After checking my Google Reader, I came up with a collection of 20 great blogs. I know there are many more out there, so please feel free to add a comment and suggest any microbiology blogs that may be missing from my list. So, here they come, in strict alphabetical order:

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Ignacio's comment, September 2, 2011 2:58 PM
Dear AJ,
let me share with you this new micro blog. I hope that it interested you.
Thanks,
Ignacio

http://microbioun.blogspot.com/
FOOD TECHNOLOGIST's curator insight, June 22, 2013 10:15 PM

20 great blogs for microbe lovers

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Anti-cancer virus shows promise

Anti-cancer virus shows promise | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Infection prevented further tumour growth in six patients for a time. However, the virus did not cure cancer. Patients were given only one dose of the virus as the trial was designed to test the safety of the virus.

link: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v477/n7362/abs/nature10358.html

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How cytomegalovirus evades the immune system

How cytomegalovirus evades the immune system | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

The human immune system is a large and complex beast, but in general it has two roles. Firstly, to prevent an infection from causing any harm and secondly to protect the body against a repeat attack. For many diseases protection against reinfection happens very efficiently, and this is the principle on which vaccines are based. By exposing your body to a non-harmful sample of the disease your immune system can built up resistance. For cytomegalovirus however the immune system seems mysteriously unable to protect against reinfection, which is a major problem for the design and development of working vaccines.

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Zooming In On the Cholera Tree of Life

Zooming In On the Cholera Tree of Life | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

The bacteria in Haiti was more closely related to strains in South Asia than ones from South America. So it was unlikely that cholera came to Haiti floating by water from a nearby country. The evolutionary tree led credence to idea that U.N. peacekeeping troops, some of whom came from Nepal, brought it with them by plane.

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Just What is the Brain-Eating “Amoeba” Naegleria fowleri?

Just What is the Brain-Eating “Amoeba” Naegleria fowleri? | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

In the press this week were reports (see here and here and here) that the brain-eating amoeba Naeglaria fowleri has killed three people this summer, as it does in a typical year. The only trouble is, Naeglaria isn’t a true amoeba...

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How a U.S. Court Case Explains Problems Eradicating Polio

How a U.S. Court Case Explains Problems Eradicating Polio | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Rejection of the vaccine spread so widely that polio-eradication progress in Africa not only halted, it reversed: The disease not only established itself more firmly in Kano, it leaked across borders to reinfect Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Sudan, Togo, Yemen, and the hajj to Saudi Arabia.

Years later, Kano remains a problematic polio hot spot — and it has still not fully accepted that the polio campaign is a humanitarian effort doing good. So many children have been held out from vaccinations that when Nigeria experienced the random bad luck of a vaccine-virus reversion to wild type in 2006, it created a nationwide epidemic. Last week, Kano authorities announced they were so concerned about polio’s persistence, they will jail the parents of any child who remains unimmunized. The lingering suspicion that polio vaccine will harm children is certainly due in part to lack of education, and to political manipulation. But it is also unquestionably due to the vivid memory of what happened the last time a foreign public health effort purported to help local children.

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Malaria is killing off sparrows and owls as mosquitoes invade

Malaria is killing off sparrows and owls as mosquitoes invade | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Sparrows, chaffinches, owls and nightingales are being killed off by an upsurge in avian malaria.
Experts say at least 30 species of British birds are affected and growing numbers are dying. They believe the tropical disease is on the rise because the mosquitoes that spread it have benefited from this country’s warmer and wetter climate.

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Trickles on Mars

Trickles on Mars | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
THERE is definitely water on Mars. That much has been known for years.

- and if there is liquid water, there will almost certainly be life. We are living on very exciting times :-)

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Antibiotics are good for more than killing

Antibiotics are good for more than killing | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
It’s somewhat ironic that the utility and usefulness of antibiotics as biological probes has remained strong since their initial discovery despite the decrease in clinical efficacy over the same time period and its scary to wonder if, with the decline in antibiotic development, we are also handcuffing our ability to further probe bacterial physiology.
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Anti-HIV drug made by GM plants begins trials in humans

Anti-HIV drug made by GM plants begins trials in humans | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
An antiviral drug synthesised by genetically modified plants is being tested on a small number of women in the UK to establish its safety, bringing closer the possibility of cheap modern medicines for the developing world.
The drug's developers hope it can be used to prevent HIV infection, but the real breakthrough is that the research demonstrates it is possible for similar molecules – known as monoclonal antibodies – to be produced relatively cheaply in plants to the high standards needed for their use in humans.
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Botulism outbreak in France

"The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has been made aware of eight cases of botulism in French adults in France. Five of these cases were confirmed in the Vaucluse region of southern France and three were in the Somme, in northern France. All of these cases are now being treated in hospital.

Botulism is a rare, but very serious, disease caused by botulinum toxin, which is a poison produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating food that has been contaminated with botulinum toxin as a result of it being improperly canned or preserved."

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Soil bacterium helps kill cancers

Soil bacterium helps kill cancers | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

A bacterium found in soil is a showing promise as a way of delivering cancer drugs into tumours.  Spores of the bacterium Clostridium sporogenes can grow within tumours because there is no oxygen.

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TB relative could be new vaccine

TB relative could be new vaccine | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

The only TB vaccine - the BCG jab - is not very effective. Mycobacterium tuberculosis cannot survive without its esx-3 genes but its relative, Mycobacterium smegmatis, can. Scientists deleted the genes from M. smegmatis and injected an otherwise deadly dose into mice. Within three days the mice had cleared the bacteria from the lungs and kidneys. 

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Bacteria: resisting antibiotics for at least 30,000 years

Bacteria: resisting antibiotics for at least 30,000 years | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

In 30,000-year-old samples of frozen soil, researchers have found a wide variety of antibiotic-resistant genes. They would have allowed ancient bacteria to shrug off many modern drugs such as tetracyclines, beta-lactams and vancomycin.  Vancomycin resistance is especially interesting. This drug has traditionally been used as weapon of last resort, a drug to use when all others have failed. When vancomycin-resistant bacteria first emerged in 1987, it was a surprising blow. Since then, resistant versions of more common bacteria, such as staph (VRSA) have reared their heads.

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Polio Returns to China

Polio Returns to China | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Very bad news from China, as reported by Xinhua and confirmed by the World Health Organization: For the first time in 12 years, polio paralysis has surfaced in China. Four children, the oldest 2 years old, were diagnosed with polio in mid-July.

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Defeating dengue by releasing mosquitoes with virus-blocking bacteria

How do you defeat an alliance of two parasites - dengue virus, and Aedes mosquitoes? You recruit the most successful parasite in the world - Wolbachia.

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Man jailed for 14 months for giving girlfriend genital herpes

Man jailed for 14 months for giving girlfriend genital herpes | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

A man 29-year-old admitted causing grievous bodily harm by giving the sexually transmitted infection to his then partner. But sexual health experts and charities have called the decision to imprison him ‘outrageous’. It is the first time anyone in the UK has been convicted for passing on herpes.

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Scientists engineer bacteria to kill others

Scientists engineer bacteria to kill others | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Scientists have found a new way of killing Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic species that thrives wherever humans are weak. It commonly infects hospital patients whose immune systems have taken a hit. It targets any tissue it can get a foothold on – lungs, bladders, guts – and it often causes fatal infections. To seek and destroy this threat, researchers used the common lab bacterium Escherichia coli as a sacrificial pawn.

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FOOD TECHNOLOGIST's curator insight, June 22, 2013 10:16 PM

Scientists engineer bacteria to kill others

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Human Cells a Chimera of Ancient Life

Human Cells a Chimera of Ancient Life | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it

Despite eons of mingling inside our cells, gene networks we’ve inherited from primitive, singled-celled ancestors have stayed separate. Our cells remain chimeras, a hybrid fusion of unrelated creatures. The genes date from an event 1.5 billion years ago, when two kinds of simple cells, neither having a nucleus or cellular membrane, shacked up and created an entirely new form of life: eukaryotes.

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FOOD TECHNOLOGIST's curator insight, June 22, 2013 10:17 PM

Chimera of Ancient Life

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(England) MRSA rates fall to record level

(England) MRSA rates fall to record level | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
MRSA rates in England have hit their lowest level since records began. The Health Protection Agency data showed there were 97 cases in the NHS in June - the first time the monthly figure has dropped below 100. Twenty-five hospital trusts have also been free of MRSA for a year.
Clostridium difficile figures are also falling - they are down by 16% compared to a year ago with 1,681 cases recorded in June.
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Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick

Antimicrobial Wipes and Soaps May Be Making You (and Society) Sick | MicrobiologyBytes | Scoop.it
There are some problems. One is the actual evidence, or just as often, lack thereof. Case in point: along with her colleagues, Allison Aiello recently surveyed all of the experimental or quasi-experimental studies on the effectiveness of different hand washing strategies. Aiello focused on studies that compared different strategies, for example the use of normal soap versus the use of antibiotic soap, in terms of their effect on the probability of developing gastrointestinal or respiratory illness. Our intuition is that antibiotic soaps and wipes should make everyone healthier. Aiello's results were something else entirely.
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