• Researchers develop next generation antibiotics to combat drug-resistant "superbugs"

    Each year 90,000 people in the United States die of drug-resistant “superbugs” — bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a deadly form of staph infection resistant to normal antibiotics; certain bacterial strains include enzymes which help the bacteria to inactivate antibiotics — and a team of researchers are working on turning this powerful mechanism against the bacteria itself

  • Docs: drug-resistant superbug is "time bomb" requiring global response

    Researchers warn that the spread of a drug-resistant bacterial gene could herald the end of antibiotics; the bleak prediction follows his research into a drug-resistant bacterial gene called NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase 1, which was first identified in India; the bug was found attached to E.coli bacteria, but the enzyme can easily jump from one bacterium to another and experts fear it will start attaching itself to more dangerous diseases causing them to become resistant to antibiotics

  • 395 medicines and Vaccines in development to fight infectious diseases

    More than 9.5 million people worldwide die each year from infectious diseases; in the United States, two million drug-resistant infections are reported each year, causing great suffering and costing the health system up to $34 billion a year; America’s biopharmaceutical research companies this year have 395 new medicines and vaccines in the pipeline to fight infectious diseases. All 395 are in later stages of development, meaning in clinical trials or under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review

  • Japan reports its first case of NDM-1 superbug

    Japan reported the first case of NDM-1 “superbug”” infection; the case follows a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) last month calling on global health authorities to monitor the drug-resistant superbug that is believed to have spread from India

  • Nigeria faces nation-wide cholera threat

    Cholera, a water-borne disease, is highly contagious yet easily preventable with clean water and sanitation; in Nigeria, though, the government pays little attention to public health, medical care is poor; in many places access to toilets is rare and open-air sewers can easily flood; heavy seasonal rains and inadequate infrastructure have created ideal conditions for the disease outbreak

  • Genomic test developed to prevent bioterrorism

    Researchers are working on develop a genomic test that can quickly determine whether a disease outbreak is caused by a natural pathogen or one that was grown in a lab by terrorists; the test is designed to provide homeland security and public health officials with the tools they need quickly to determine how to respond to an outbreak

  • Texas A&M bioterrorism research may yield rabies cure

    Rabies infection is an unusual event in the United States, but it is a problem that kills more than 50,000 people around the world every year; the U.S. Department of Defense is funding research at Texas A&M on counter-measures to bioterrorism — but one of the most immediate outcomes of A&M’s research could be a cure for rabies

  • NDM-1 may herald the end of antibiotic era

    Researchers warn that the spread of a drug-resistant bacterial gene could herald the end of antibiotics; the bleak prediction follows his research into a drug-resistant bacterial gene called NDM-1, or New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase 1, which was first identified in India; researchers identified 143 cases of NDM-1 across India and Pakistan, but 37 — a surprisingly high figure — in the United Kingdom

  • Superbug found in British patients returning from treatment in Asia

    An antibiotic-resistant superbug has been found in British patients traveling to Asia for cosmetic surgery, cancer treatment, and transplants and returning to Britain for further care; the bug was found attached to E.coli bacteria, but the enzyme can easily jump from one bacterium to another and experts fear it will start attaching itself to more dangerous diseases causing them to become resistant to antibiotics; in Many Asian countries health standards in many Asian countries are poor and regulations are weak, and antibiotics are available to buy without prescription; this is thought to have encouraged resistance to develop as many infections are exposed to the drugs without being properly killed

  • Plum Island bio lab an inviting target for terrorists

    The bio lab on 840-acre Plum Island, a mile-and-a-half off Long Island’s Orient Point, is a Biosafety level 4 facility — the only type of research lab authorized to handle diseases that are communicable between humans and animals and for which there is no known cure; from a boat, terrorists armed with shoulder-fired rockets would have a clear shot, or a plane could dive into the laboratory, dispersing deadly germs into an area from Massachusetts to New York; DHS has decided to build a new lab in Kansas to replace the aging Plum Island center, but some local politicians object, citing the local jobs that would be lost

  • HHS seeks comments on bioterror select agents list

    The biennial review required by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 is under way; comments about biological agents or toxins that should be added or removed are due by 20 August

  • Vast cleanup of Plum Island land since 2000

    DHS plans to sell Plum Island and replace its bio-research facilities with a brand new BioLab in Manhattan, Kansas; documents show that since 2000 there have been extensive efforts to remove vast amounts of waste and contaminants — hundreds of tons of medical waste, contaminated soil, and other refuse — from the island

  • A first: plastic antibodies pass initial test

    Plastic antibodies, which mimic the proteins produced by the body’s immune system, were found to work in the bloodstream of a living animal; the discovery is an advance toward medical use of plastic particles custom tailored to fight an array of antigens

  • Workshop to evaluate threat of insect-based terrorism

    One way terrorists may use unleash a bioterror attack on U.S. population centers is by introducing pathogen-infected mosquitoes into an area, then let the insects pursue their deadly mission; many of the world’s most dangerous pathogens — Rift Valley, chikungunya fever, or Japanese encephalitis — already are transmitted by arthropods, the animal phylum that includes mosquitoes

  • Wisconsin researcher punished for unauthorized research on bioterror agent

    A university of Wisconsin researchers conducted unauthorized research on bioterror agent; the researcher developed antibiotic-resistant variants of brucellosis and tested them on mice; the University of Wisconsin was fined $40,000 by the National Institutes of Health, and the professor was ordered to stay out of a lab for five years