• Anthrax vaccine contract worth up to $1.25 billion over five years

    Emergent BioSolutions has been awarded a contract to supply the U.S. government with FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine; the 5-year contract a has a total value of up to $1.25 billion; the first 8.5 million doses will be delivered before the end of the year

  • Millions of yet-to-be-described viruses found in raw sewage

    There are roughly 1.8 million species of organisms on planet Earth, and each one is host to untold numbers of unique viruses, but only about 3,000 have been identified to date; a new study reveals a vast world of unseen viral diversity that exists right under our nose — in ordinary raw sewage, to be precise

  • Contaminated cantaloupe outbreak deadliest in decade

    The recent listeria outbreak that has sickened seventy-two people and killed as many as sixteen, is shaping up to be the deadliest U.S. food-borne disease outbreak in more than a decade

  • Elusive killer parasite being traced in Peru

    Chagas disease, primarily seen in South America, Central America, and Mexico, is the most deadly parasitic disease in the Americas; Penn epidemiological study takes snap shot of long-term Chagas disease outbreak

  • Mapping the spread of drug-resistant influenza

    The movie “Contagion” is not based on real events, but it is not science fiction, either: certain strains of influenza are becoming resistant to common treatments; a team of researchers map out how this phenomenon is happening globally

  • Budget cuts could hurt biodefense efforts

    With lawmakers struggling to reduce spending and cut the deficit, funding for government programs aimed at thwarting biological threats could face severe budget cuts; while the budget for overall civilian biodefense increased by 17 percent, that number is deceiving as federal agencies consolidated and combined several key programs under larger budget line item headings

  • Scientists "domesticate" -- and disarm -- malaria parasite

    Malaria is one of the Earth’s most notorious scourges, accounting for more than 250 million new cases — and one million deaths — each year, researchers have developed a novel technique to “tame” the malaria parasite by forcing it to depend on an external supply of a vital chemical; this could help to speed up drug development and provide the basis for the first effective vaccine against malaria

  • Lawmakers struggling to end critical medicine shortage

    Critical shortages for medicines needed in treating life-threatening illnesses have lawmakers and public health officials scrambling to find solutions; this year alone, a record high of more than 180 drugs crucial for treating childhood leukemia, breast and colon cancer, infections, and other diseases have been declared in short supply

  • Anthrax forensics help ID source of Haitian cholera outbreak

    Researchers have discovered the source of the deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti that killed more than 6,000 people and sickened 300,000; the study determined that Nepalese peacekeepers brought cholera to Haiti, when they came to assist the country’s rebuilding efforts following the massive earthquake in January 2010

  • How did the deadly plague bacterium develop?

    In a relatively short time — in evolutionary terms — a bacterium that causes mild stomach irritation evolved into a deadly pathogen responsible for the most devastating pandemics in human history; how did the mild-mannered Yersinia pseudotuberculosis become Yersinia pestis, more commonly known as the Plague? New study explains what happened — and sheds light on fighting deadly diseases

  • Experts anxious about appearance of a variant strain of Bird Flu

    Since 2003 H5N1 has killed or forced the culling of more than 400 million domestic poultry and caused an estimated $20 billion of economic damage across the globe before it was eliminated from most of the sixty-three countries infected at its peak in 2006; the UN health agency now calls for increased preparedness and surveillance against a re-emerging variant strain of H5N1

  • The malaria mosquito is disappearing – researchers wonder why

    The incidence of malaria in many African countries south of the Sahara is falling rapidly; a research group has discovered that the mosquito carrying the malaria parasite has practically disappeared from villages without organized mosquito control; there are several hypotheses about the cause of the decline, but without proper data researchers cannot say whether malaria is being eradicated or whether it is just resting up before returning with renewed vigor

  • Common bacterium stops mosquitoes from transmitting Dengue virus

    Strains of a bacterium commonly found in fruit flies can prevent the Aedes aegypti mosquito from transmitting the virus that causes dengue fever, researchers have found; the discovery could lead to a more effective way to control dengue worldwide

  • Overcoming dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria

    Scientists have successfully reengineered an important antibiotic to kill the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria; the compound could one day be used clinically to treat patients with life-threatening and highly resistant bacterial infections

  • Coriander oil tackles food poisoning and drug-resistant infections

    Coriander oil has been shown to be toxic to a broad range of harmful bacteria; its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology