• Predicting the spread of the Zika virus

    Countries that are well connected to Brazil have been at particularly high risk of importation of the Zika virus, according to researchers. However, subtropical and tropical countries with a history of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases have the greatest risk of the virus spreading once it arrives in the country.

  • Pennsylvania superbug infection could mean "the end of the road" for antibiotics: Researchers

    Researchers have, for the first time, found a person in the United States carrying a bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort. Top U.S. public health officials say this is alarming, and could mean “the end of the road” for antibiotics. Researchers say that the discovery “heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.”

  • view counter
  • New paper filter removes viruses from water

    More than 748 million people around the world lack access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. Water-borne infections are among the global causes for mortality, especially in children under age of five, and viruses are among the most notorious water-borne infectious microorganisms. They can be both extremely resistant to disinfection and difficult to remove by filtration due to their small size. Scientists have developed a simple paper sheet which can improve the quality of life for millions of people by removing resistant viruses from water.

  • Rapid detection of E. coli in water

    Tragedies like the E. coli outbreak in Ontario’s Walkerton in May 2000 could be averted today with a new invention by researchers at York University that can detect the deadly contaminant in drinking water early. Anew technology has cut down the time taken to detect E. coli from a few days to just a couple of hours.

  • Biodefense Panel welcomes key provision in defense authorization bill

    In October 2015, the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense found that insufficient federal coordination on strategy, budgeting, and policy; inadequate collaboration with other levels of government and the private sector; and lagging innovation in areas like biosurveillance and medical countermeasure development make the United States vulnerable to biological attacks and infectious disease outbreaks. The Panel welcomed the passing by the House of the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 4909, which includes a provision addressing one of the Panel’s most important recommendations.

  • A tool to help public health decisions on Zika virus to be cost-effective

    A new study presents a cost-effectiveness tool that can help guide decisions regarding resource allocation to fund interventions targeted at curtailing the ongoing Zika virus outbreak. Analyses using the tool suggest that proposed funds to combat Zika in the United States and other countries would be cost-effective, based on quantification of the serious health conditions associated with Zika infection.

  • Senate approves $1.1 billion to fight Zika virus

    The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-29 to allocate $1.1 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zia virus threat. The funds fall short of the White House’s request of $1.9 billion, but are significantly more than House Republicans’ $622 million anti-Zika proposal. The House will debate the measure on Wednesday.

  • NSF awards $1.7 million in rapid response grants to study Zika virus

    Zika, discovered in Uganda in 1947, has been documented since the 1950s along the equatorial belt from Africa to Asia. In 2014, the virus spread eastward to French Polynesia, and in 2015 to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean (including Puerto Rico) and South America, where the outbreak continues. To find new ways of halting the spread of Zika — fast becoming a major public health threat — the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Environmental Biology’s Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) Program has funded nine rapid response, or RAPID, grants totaling $1.7 million.

  • A new paper-based test for the Zika virus

    A new paper-based test developed at MIT and other institutions can diagnose Zika virus infection within a few hours. The test, which distinguishes Zika from the very similar dengue virus, can be stored at room temperature and read with a simple electronic reader, making it potentially practical for widespread use.

  • Israeli tech ready to take on Zika-carrying mosquito

    The mosquito-borne Zika virus, according to new reports, is even more dangerous than first believed. While better information about prevention has helped slow the rate of infection in some areas, the health community is still urgently searching for a vaccine or drug treatment. The world seeks a medical intervention, but Biofeed’s no-spray green product targets the insects directly.

  • Cellphone-sized device detects the Ebola virus quickly

    The worst of the recent Ebola epidemic is over, but the threat of future outbreaks lingers. Monitoring the virus requires laboratories with trained personnel, which limits how rapidly tests can be done. Now scientists report in ACS’ journal Analytical Chemistry a handheld instrument that detects Ebola quickly and could be used in remote locations.

  • Infectious outbreaks must be combatted strategically: Experts

    New funding is not enough to guarantee success against emerging infectious diseases around the world. Rather, good governance, a long-term technology investment strategy, and strong product management skills are essential. As momentum builds for an international effort to develop drugs and vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, experts examine U.S. biodefense programs to understand approaches that might work and developed a global strategy for countermeasure development.

  • Resistance-proof antiviral can treat many diseases

    Scientists and health officials are marshalling forces to fight Zika, the latest in a string of recent outbreaks. Many of these efforts target that virus specifically, but some researchers are looking for a broader approach. The new strategy aims to fight a wide range of viruses that appears to be safe in vivo and could evade a virus’s ability to develop resistance.

  • Congress’ inaction hobbles U.S. preparation for a major Zika virus outbreak: Experts

    Despite dire predictions that the Zika virus could affect much of the United States including large cities this summer, the country is unprepared, and the financial and moral consequences could be significant. Earlier this year, President Barack Obama requested $1.86 billion for surveillance, mosquito control, research and health services, but Congress has not approved the funding. In the absence of Congressional action, the president reallocated $589 million of designated Ebola funds to Zika preparedness, research and the creation of response teams. “The nation’s state of preparedness is compromised by Congress’s inaction on supplemental funding and the weak capacities and powers of states and localities,” two public health experts say.

  • Zika virus “scarier than we initially thought”: U.S. health officials

    Dr. Anne Schuchat from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Zika virus is more of a threat than previously thought. Speaking at a White House press conference, she said there was potential for the virus to spread to more U.S. states than experts first believed. “Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring. Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” she told reporters.