Viruses and pathogens

  • Rinderpest: how the world’s deadliest cattle plague was eradicated

    Rinderpest, the deadliest of cattle diseases, was declared vanquished in May 2011; after smallpox, it is only the second disease (and first livestock disease) ever to be eradicated from the earth; the insights gained from the eradication campaign may be applied to similar diseases that today ravage the livestock populations on which the livelihoods of one billion of the world’s poor depend; the lessons could also be applied to “zoonotic” diseases which are responsible for 2.4 billion cases of human illness and 2.2 million deaths per year


  • New synthesis devised for most useful, yet expensive, antimalarial drug

    In 2010 malaria caused an estimated 665,000 deaths, mostly among African children; now, chemists have developed a new synthesis for the world’s most useful antimalarial drug, artemisinin, giving hope that fully synthetic artemisinin may help reduce the cost of the live-saving drug in the future

  • University of Florida Clinical Toxicology Online Graduate Course. Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction. Arm yourself with knowledge.
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  • Near-instantaneous DNA analysis

    Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is an indispensible technique allowing researchers and clinicians to produce millions of copies from a single piece of DNA or RNA for use in genome sequencing, gene analysis, inheritable disease diagnosis, paternity testing, forensic identification, and the detection of infectious diseases; PCR for point-of-care, emergency-response, or widespread monitoring applications needs to be very fast — on the order of a few minutes; this has now been achieved

  • Antibiotic residues in sausage meat may promote pathogen survival

    Antibiotic residues in uncured pepperoni or salami meat are potent enough to weaken helpful bacteria that processors add to acidify the sausage to make it safe for consumption; sausage manufacturers commonly inoculate sausage meat with lactic-acid-producing bacteria; by killing the bacteria that produce lactic acid, antibiotic residues can allow pathogenic bacteria to proliferate

  • Bacteria in tap water traced to the water treatment process

    Most of the bacteria that remain in drinking water when it gets to the tap can be traced to filters used in the water treatment process, rather than to the aquifers or rivers where they originated; the findings could open the door to more sustainable water treatment processes that use fewer chemicals and, as a result, produce lower levels of byproducts that may pose health risks; eventually, the work could enable engineers to control the types of microbes in drinking water to improve human health

  • Researchers move a step closer toward universal flu vaccine and therapies

    Researchers describes three human antibodies that provide broad protection against Influenza B virus strains; the same team had previously reported finding broadly neutralizing antibodies against Influenza A strains; the work is a key step toward “universal” vaccine and therapies against flu

  • Deadly E. coli strain decoded

    The secret to the deadly 2011 E. coli outbreak in Germany has been decoded; the deadliest E. coli outbreak ever, which caused fifty-four deaths and sickened more than 3,800 people, was traced to a particularly virulent strain that researchers had never seen in an outbreak before

  • Demystifying viruses' copying mechanism allows new vaccines for elusive viruses

    Certain kinds of viruses such as those that cause the common cold, SARS, hepatitis, and encephalitis, copy themselves using a unique mechanism, according to researchers; the discovery sheds light on a previously identified, but never-before-understood region of an enzyme associated with the process of replicating genetic material

  • Poultry vaccines found to combine into new viruses

    Researchers found that two different vaccine viruses — used simultaneously to control the same condition in chickens — have combined to produce new infectious viruses, prompting early response from Australia’s veterinary medicines regulator

  • A world free of foot-and-mouth disease within sight

    The Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture have developed a novel vaccine for one of the seven strains of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), paving the way for the development of the others; FMD is one of the most economically devastating diseases in the world for those who raise cows, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, and other cloven-hoofed animals is foot-and-mouth disease

  • Improving malaria control and vaccine development

    Each year more than 250 million people worldwide contract malaria, and up to one million people die; malaria is particularly dangerous for children under five and pregnant women; Plasmodium falciparum is the most lethal of the four Plasmodium species, and is responsible for most clinical disease

  • Expanding the reach of an innovative virus-tracking software

    SUPRAMAP is a Web-based application which synthesizes large, diverse datasets so that researchers can better understand the spread of infectious diseases across hosts and geography; researchers have restructured this innovative tracking software to promote even wider use of the program around the world

  • Bacteria's strength in numbers challenged

    Scientists have opened the way for more accurate research into new ways to fight dangerous bacterial infections by proving a long-held theory about how bacteria communicate with each other

  • New plan would control deadly tsetse fly

    The tsetse fly is an African killer that spreads “sleeping sickness” disease among humans and animals and wipes out $4.5 billion in livestock every year; the tsetse, which feeds on the blood of vertebrate animals, lives in thirty-seven sub-Saharan countries and infects thousands of people and millions of cattle every year

  • Early detection of malaria saves lives

    The timely diagnosis of malaria maximizes the likelihood of successful, life-saving treatment; it also minimizes the chances that inappropriate therapy will be given, which would help combat the growing problem of drug resistant malaria