• New way to clean contaminated groundwater

    A team of researchers has helped discover a new chemical method to immobilize uranium in contaminated groundwater, which could lead to more precise and successful water remediation efforts at former nuclear sites. Uranium is present in contaminated groundwater at various sites in the United States as a legacy of Cold War-era processing and waste disposal activities associated with nuclear materials production.

  • Zika virus “scarier than we initially thought”: U.S. health officials

    Dr. Anne Schuchat from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Zika virus is more of a threat than previously thought. Speaking at a White House press conference, she said there was potential for the virus to spread to more U.S. states than experts first believed. “Most of what we’ve learned is not reassuring. Everything we look at with this virus seems to be a bit scarier than we initially thought,” she told reporters.

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  • Novel alignment-free sequence descriptors in Zika virus characterization

    The recent epidemic of Zika virus infections in South and Latin America has raised serious concerns on its ramifications for the population in the Americas and spread of the virus worldwide. Researchers explain their research on computer-assisted approaches toward surveillance and consequent design of drugs and vaccines to combat the growth and spread of the Zika virus.

  • Limited awareness or concern about Zika virus in U.S.

    A recent survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that three-quarters of Americans who have heard at least a little about the Zika virus are aware that the virus is linked to birth defects in babies born to infected mothers. However, the survey found that most Americans are unclear about the availability of tests to diagnose Zika and whether or not preventative vaccines and effective medicines exist to treat it.

  • Soil’s carbon storage could help limit impact of climate change

    Soils currently lock away around 2.4 trillion tons of greenhouse gases, which are stored underground as stable organic matter. Researchers say the world’s soils could store an extra eight billion tons of greenhouse gases, helping to limit the impacts of climate change. Growing crops with deeper root systems, using charcoal-based composts, and applying sustainable agriculture practices could help soils retain the equivalent of around four-fifths of annual emissions released by the burning of fossils fuels, the researchers say.

  • Oil, gas wastewater disposal pollutes surface water, harm waterways

    Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations combine directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to release natural gas and oil from underground rock. This process results in in water pollution which may increase endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in surface and ground water, exposing populations living near these operations to increased risk of disease. High levels of EDC activity were found in the surface water near a hydraulic fracturing wastewater disposal facility in West Virginia. Approximately 36,000 of these disposal wells are currently in operation across the United States.

  • Paper-based test to help prevent food poisoning

    The foodborne bacteria Salmonella alone led to nearly 20,000 hospitalizations and almost 400 deaths in 2013. Economists estimate that the treatment of all these patients and the related productivity losses cost more than $3 billion annually. And those numbers account for just one of the fifteen pathogens responsible for most of the food poisoning cases. Scientists have developed a simple, paper-based test that could help detect pathogens hitchhiking on food before they reach store shelves, restaurants and, most importantly, our stomachs.

  • 2010 Maryland food poisoning outbreak traced to Asian strain of seafood pathogen

    V. parahaemolyticusis the most important cause of seafood poisoning in the United States. Approximately 4,500 cases occur annually in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases has risen in recent years, possibly do to the warming climate.

  • Starvation is only one crop breeding cycle away

    Global population growth, urbanization, and a changing climate mean staple food crops will need to achieve much higher yields in the near future. New research proposes genetic engineering solutions to improve photosynthetic efficiency of food crops, boosting yield under higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels. Because it can take twenty to thirty years of breeding and product development efforts before new crops are available to farmers, those efforts must start now.

  • Efficient alternative for Ebola screening program for travelers

    As of 31 January 2016, a total of 28,639 cases and 11,316 deaths have been attributed to Ebola, figures that are assumed to significantly underestimate the actual scope of the 2014 Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever outbreak in West Africa. In the United States, there were also two imported cases and two locally acquired cases reported in September-October 2014. Researchers offer an alternative policy for Ebola entry screening at airports in the United States. “Security measures implemented after 9/11 taught us a lot about what not to do,” one of the researchers say. “We learned that finding the one person who intends to do harm out of several million passengers is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.”

  • Ebola no longer a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”: WHO

    On Tuesday the WHO officials met to consider the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, and to decide whether the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and whether the current Temporary Recommendations should be extended, rescinded, or revised. WHOconcluded that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the temporary recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated.

  • Plum Island may be turned into a national park rather than sold to developers

    Members of the New York and Connecticut congressional delegations announced on Friday a plan to launch a study of Plum Island’s natural and historic resources, saying the plan is one step toward halting the sale of the island to developers. In 2009 DHS said the island would be sold to developers to help fund the new BioLab Level 4 on the campus of Kansas State University, which is set to open in 2022.

  • Ebola no longer a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”: WHO

    On Tuesday the WHO officials met to consider the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, and to decide whether the event continues to constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and whether the current Temporary Recommendations should be extended, rescinded, or revised. WHOconcluded that Ebola transmission in West Africa no longer constitutes an extraordinary event, that the risk of international spread is now low, and that countries currently have the capacity to respond rapidly to new virus emergences. Accordingly, the Ebola situation in West Africa no longer constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and the temporary recommendations adopted in response should now be terminated.

  • Protecting soldiers from emerging infectious diseases

    Emerging infectious diseases that the U.S. military could encounter around the globe, particularly those found in tropical settings such as dengue, Burkholderia melioidosis, and malaria, are often difficult to distinguish by their clinical characteristics alone. Scientists from the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) held a two-day meeting earlier this month to discuss progress and goals for a joint biosurveillance project which aims to develop novel point of need (PON) diagnostics to identify pathogens that cause acute febrile illnesses and threaten global and public health.

  • New biotechnology improves crop performance

    With the world’s population exploding to well over seven billion, feeding the human race is getting even more challenging. Increasing the yield from crops such as wheat, maize, rice and barley, is paramount to growing enough food. In addition, crop production is now affected by stressors such as drought, climate change, and the salinization of fields — presenting obstacles to our future food supply. Rsearchers have discovered a way to enhance a plant’s tolerance to stress, which in turn improves how it uses water and nutrients from the soil. These improvements increase plant biomass and yield.