• QAnon-ers’ Magic Cure for Coronavirus: Just Drink Bleach!

    QAnon, a fervently pro-Trump conspiracy theory which started with a series of online posts in October 2017 from an anonymous figure called “Q,” imagines a world where Donald Trump is engaged in a secret and noble war with a cabal of pedophile-cannibals in the Democratic Party, the finance industry, Hollywood, and the “deep state.” Will Sommer writes as the global death toll from an alarming new coronavirus surged this week, promoters of the QAnon conspiracy theory were urging their fans to ward off the illness by purchasing and drinking dangerous bleach.

  • Three More Novel Coronavirus Cases Reported in U.S.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Sunday that its testing has confirmed three more Wuhan-linked novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases, two in California and one in Arizona, raising the national total to five.

  • At Least Ten Chinese Cities on Lockdown; 830 Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

    The Chinese National Health Commission said Friday that there are 830 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus countrywide, while at least 25 people have died. At least 10 cities, and at least 33 million people, have been put on lockdown. Airports around the world have begun screening travelers for the coronavirus.

  • It Is Now 100 Seconds to Midnight

    The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now closer to midnight than ever in its history. The Bulletin cites worsening nuclear threat, lack of climate action, and rise of “cyber-enabled disinformation campaigns” in moving the clock hand. December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”

  • Outbreaks of Lethal Diseases Like Ebola and the Wuhan Coronavirus Happen Regularly. The U.S. Government Just Cut Funding for the Hospitals that Deal with Them

    The U.S. response to the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis has been to create a “tiered” hospital approach to the treatment of epidemics: Saskia Popescu writes that the expectations are that frontline facilities should be able to quickly identify and isolate potential patients and transfer them to an assessment or treatment hospital if necessary. But “many dangerous pathogens, including the disease now spreading in China, can be treated at run-of-the mill hospitals in the United States,” she writes. “The next epidemic could start with a patient checking in at a local urgent care clinic. Congress needs to ask if its current plan for special pathogen response prepares the country for that. It’s likely the answer is no.”

  • First Novel Coronavirus Case Detected in U.S.

    In rapidly escalating developments with the spread of the Wuhan-linked novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday the first U.S. case, involving a man who got sick after returning to Washington state from Wuhan and contacted medical authorities.

  • Edible “Security Tag” Protects Drugs from Counterfeit

    Manufacturing prescription drugs with distinct markings, colors, shapes or packaging isn’t enough to protect them from counterfeiting, DEA reports have shown. Researchers are aiming to stump counterfeiters with an edible “security tag” embedded into medicine. To imitate the drug, a counterfeiter would have to uncrack a complicated puzzle of patterns not fully visible to the naked eye.

  • New Agents to Fight Multidrug-Resistant Germs

    Resistance to antibiotics is on the rise worldwide. Fraunhofer scientists have joined forces with partners in the Phage4Cure project to explore alternatives to antibiotics. One objective is to vanquish multidrug-resistant pathogens with viruses called bacteriophages. Another is to see these phages approved to treat the dreaded hospital germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the most frequent bacterial cause of pneumonia.

  • Antibiotic-Resistant E coli Found in U.S. Veterinary Hospital

    Animals treated in Philadelphia veterinary hospital were found to be infected with a antibiotic-resistant strain of E coli. In the United States, the gene has been detected in only a few human bacterial infections, and never in companion animals. Only a handful of cases in dogs have been reported worldwide.

  • Scary Fact: Vaccination Rates are Falling in Some States

    When Peter J. Hotez moved from Boston to Texas to become the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, he was surprised to discover the how many children in Texas and other Western states are not vaccinated owing to various exemptions. “In the past year, Europe has been inundated with measles, including dozens of deaths, due to large declines in vaccine coverage. I’m concerned the U.S. could suffer a similar fate,” he writes.

  • Novel Coronavirus in China's Outbreak

    As suspected, a novel coronavirus has been identified in some patients who are part of a cluster of unexplained pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. Experts say that the identification of what now appears to be a third novel coronavirus that can cause serious human disease in the last 20 years signals a paradigm shift for coronaviruses.

  • DRC Measles Deaths Top 6,000

    Deaths in a massive measles outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have now topped 6,000, prompting a call from the World Health Organization (WHO) for more funding to curb the spread of the disease.

  • New Technique to Transform Anti-Venom Production

    Snake bites kill more than 120,000 people a year, more than a third of them in India. About 400,000 lose limbs after amputations become necessary to prevent the spread of the venom. The number of people bitten by snakes is increasing as a result of more people living near areas which are snake habitats, but the production of venom antidotes has not changed much since anti-venom was first produced in 1896. Scientists are ready to transform the production of anti-venom after mapping the DNA of the Indian cobra for the first time.

  • Questions Swirl over China's Unexplained Pneumonia Outbreak

    Investigations are still under way to identify the pathogen involved in an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China, as local health officials announced Sunday fifteen more cases and said tests have ruled out severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

  • Tackling the Problem of Antimicrobial Resistance

    The CDC recently announced in its latest report that each year 2.8 million Americans are infected with a drug-resistant organism, and that 35,000 of them would later die. The antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is not new, though, and the problem has been growing for decades, but now it seems that we’re starting to truly take it seriously.