• Cocktail of bacteria-killing viruses prevents cholera infection in animal models

    Oral administration of viruses that specifically target cholera bacteria prevents infection and cholera-like symptoms in animal model experiments. The findings are the first to demonstrate the potential efficacy of bacteria-killing viruses—known as bacteriophages, or phages—as an orally administered preventive therapy against an acute gastrointestinal bacterial disease.

  • Stopping human-made droughts and floods before they start

    Alberta’s rivers are a main source of water for irrigated agriculture in Canada’s Prairie provinces. But climate change and increased human interference mean that the flow of these headwaters is under threat. This could have major implications for Canadian gross domestic product, and even global food security.

  • What caused the Flint water crisis

    Flint, Michigan, continues to grapple with the public health crisis that unfolded as lead levels in its tap water spiked to alarming levels. Now the scientists who helped uncover the crisis have tested galvanized iron pipes extracted from the “ground zero” house. They confirm that the lead that had accumulated on the interior surface of the pipes was the most likely source of the lead contamination.

  • Do Americans want to buy ‘smart’ guns?

    “Smart gun” refers to firearms that include some sort of safety device designed to make sure that the gun can be fired only by an authorized user. These safety devices include fingerprint recognition, wearable “tags” that a gun can recognize and other similar features. Smart guns are not yet widely available on the market. But would Americans actually buy smart guns? We need more studies with larger, nationally representative samples and more detailed questions about smart guns. However, my study sheds light on how subgroups of Americans feel about the issue. Not all gun owners or nonowners feel the same way about smart guns. Support is not evenly divided by political party. American attitudes toward smart guns are complex and do not necessarily follow the patterns we might expect.

  • Engineering mosquitoes to fight Zika

    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded a $1 million grant to Michigan State University to fight the Zika virus in Mexico. The funding will be used by Zhiyong Xi, MSU associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, to build a mosquito factory in Yucatan, Mexico. The facility will be modeled after a similar facility in Guangzhou, China which Xi leads in partnership with Sun Yat-sen University.

  • Bioterrorism poses catastrophic threat to U.S. agriculture

    The agriculture sector in the U.S. is a $1 trillion business and employs approximately 9.2 percent of American workers. In 2012, domestic animal agriculture – livestock and poultry production – generated approximately 1.8 million jobs, $346 billion in total economic output and $60 billion in household income. Experts are calling better understanding of the threats to agriculture posed by biological agents which can inflict catastrophic consequences on the U.S. population and economy.

  • World still “grossly underprepared” for infectious disease outbreaks

    The world remains “grossly underprepared” for outbreaks of infectious disease, which are likely to become more frequent in the coming decades, warn a team of international experts. They reviewed reports on the recent Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and say better preparedness and a faster, more coordinated response could have prevented most of the 11,000 deaths directly attributed to Ebola and also the broader economic, social, and health crises that ensued. “We will not be ready for the next outbreak without deeper and more comprehensive change,” they conclude.

  • New material helps fight against hospital-acquired infections

    Researchers have developed a new light-activated antimicrobial material for use in the fight against the most common hospital infections. Specifically, the new material is a molybdenum complex that has never been used before in antimicrobial photodynamic therapy (PDT).

  • U.S. harvests to suffer from climate change

    Some of the most important crops risk substantial damage from rising temperatures. To better assess how climate change caused by human greenhouse gas emissions will likely impact wheat, maize and soybean, an international team of scientists now ran an unprecedentedly comprehensive set of computer simulations of U.S. crop yields. The simulations were shown to reproduce the observed strong reduction in past crop yields induced by high temperatures, thereby confirming that they capture one main mechanism for future projections.

  • Drug-resistant “nightmare bacteria” can diversify, spread

    A family of highly drug-resistant and potentially deadly bacteria may be spreading more widely — and more stealthily — than previously thought. CRE, which tend to spread in hospitals and long-term care facilities, cause an estimated 9,300 infections and 600 deaths in the United States each year, according to the DCD.

  • Nevada woman killed by superbug resistant to every known antibiotic

    A 70-yer old woman in Nevada has died after a superbug which infected her proved resistant to every available type of antibiotic. The woman was already infected in India, where she had an extended stay, and was hospitalized there several times. She returned to Nevada in August 2016. She was admitted to a hospital shortly after her return, but died a month later after treatment with twenty-six different antibiotics was futile.

  • Old antibiotics, new tools to combat bio agents

    More than 100 antibiotic compounds have been discovered since Alexander Fleming invented penicillin in 1928, but none within the past thirty years. Now a joint venture is exploring a new class of tetracycline that could combat biological threats to our warfighters.

  • Influenza: The search for a universal vaccine

    No one wants to catch the flu, and the best line of defense is the seasonal influenza vaccine. But producing an effective annual flu shot relies on accurately predicting which flu strains are most likely to infect the population in any given season. It requires the coordination of multiple health centers around the globe as the virus travels from region to region. Once epidemiologists settle on target flu strains, vaccine production shifts into high gear; it takes approximately six months to generate the more than 150 million injectible doses necessary for the American population. With current technology, there may never be a “one and done” flu shot. And epidemiological surveillance will always be necessary. However, it is not inconceivable that we can move from a once-per-year model to a once-every-10-years approach, and we may be within just a few years of being there.

  • Ground-breaking discovery for world food security

    Researchers have made a discovery that could help conquer the greatest threat to global food security – pests and diseases in plants. The researchers say this could be a game-changer for crop protection. “In agriculture, the need for new control agents grows each year, driven by demand for greater production, the effects of climate change, community and regulatory demands, and toxicity and pesticide resistance,” one researcher said.

  • New framework needed for estimating the social cost of carbon: Report

    To estimate the social cost of carbon dioxide for use in regulatory impact analyses, the federal government should use a new framework that would strengthen the scientific basis, provide greater transparency, and improve characterization of the uncertainties of the estimates, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences. The report also identifies a number of near- and longer-term improvements that should be made for calculating the social cost of carbon.