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Gene Therapy Seems Safe, May Help Control HIV

March 5, 2014 5:18 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Scientists have modified genes in the blood cells of HIV patients to help them resist the AIDS virus, and say the treatment seems safe and promising. The results give hope that this approach might one day free at least some people from needing medicines to keep HIV under control, a form of cure.

How Individual Staphylococcus Cells Adhere to Nanostructures Could Lead to New Ways to Thwart Infections

March 5, 2014 1:22 pm | News | Comments

The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus (S. aureus) is a common source of infections that occur after surgeries involving prosthetic joints and artificial heart valves. The grape-shaped microorganism adheres to medical equipment, and if it gets inside the body, it can cause a serious and even life-threatening illness called a Staph infection. The recent discovery of drug-resistant strains of S. aureus makes matters even worse.

Giant Virus Revived After More Than 30,000 Years

March 4, 2014 1:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Researchers have revived a giant virus more than 30,000 years old, recovered from the permafrost of northeast Siberia. The virus poses no threat to people. Although it is considered a giant when compared to other viruses, it is microscopic and infects amoebas.


Light Zaps Viruses: How Photosensitization Can Stop Viruses from Infecting Cells

March 4, 2014 11:55 am | News | Comments

A of researchers has found evidence that photosensitizing a virus's membrane covering can inhibit its ability to enter cells and potentially lead to the development of stronger, cheaper medications to fight a host of tough viruses. The UCLA AIDS Institute study is part of ongoing research on a compound called LJ001, a "broad-spectrum" antiviral that can attack a wide range of microbes.

Is West Nile Virus Coming to Your Town?

March 3, 2014 11:20 am | News | Comments

Since its introduction to the U.S. in 1999, West Nile virus has spread rapidly across North America, threatening wildlife populations and posing a serious health risk to humans. In 2012, there were more than 5,500 human cases of the disease reported in 48 states, the highest number in more than a decade. Now, a team of researchers has created a model to help predict where the disease may occur under future climate change.

Study of Antibody Evolution Charts Course Toward HIV Vaccine

March 3, 2014 10:58 am | News | Comments

In an advance for HIV vaccine research, a scientific team has discovered how the immune system makes a powerful antibody that blocks HIV infection of cells by targeting a site on the virus called V1V2. The new findings point the way toward a potentially more effective vaccine that would generate V1V2-directed HIV neutralizing antibodies.

Research Team Discovers Disease-Causing Bacteria in Dental Plaque Preserved for 1,000 Years

February 24, 2014 12:56 pm | News | Comments

When a University of Oklahoma researcher and an international team of experts analyzed the dental calculus or plaque from teeth preserved for 1,000 years, the results revealed human health and dietary information never seen before. The team discovered disease-causing bacteria in a German Medieval population, which is the same or very similar to inflammatory disease-causing bacteria in humans today.

Two New Weapons in the Battle Against Bacteria

February 14, 2014 1:21 pm | News | Comments

Proteases are vital proteins that serve for order within cells. They break apart other proteins, ensuring that these are properly synthesized and decomposed. Proteases are also responsible for the pathogenic effects of many kinds of bacteria. Now chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have discovered two hitherto unknown mechanisms of action that can be used to permanently disarm an important bacterial protease.


California Officials Warn of Measles Exposure

February 14, 2014 9:08 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

San Francisco Bay Area officials say a University of California, Berkeley, student infected with measles could have exposed thousands of others by attending classes and riding public transit. Public health officials said they confirmed that the student in his 20s was not vaccinated, and was likely infected with measles during a recent trip abroad.

US, 26 Countries Launch Effort to Fight Outbreaks

February 13, 2014 11:08 am | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. and 26 other nations are announcing a new collaboration to prevent and fight outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases before they spread around the globe. U.S. health officials say the Global Health Security Agenda is a priority because there are too many blind spots — countries that lack the health care necessary to sound the alarm when a new infection emerges.

Genetic Clues to TB-resistant Cattle

February 13, 2014 10:15 am | News | Comments

Scientists have identified genetic traits in cattle that might allow farmers to breed livestock with increased resistance to bovine tuberculosis (TB). The study, which compared the genetic code of TB-infected animals with that of disease-free cattle, could help to impact on a disease that leads to major economic losses worldwide.

Method for Delivering HIV-Fighting Antibodies Proven Even More Promising

February 11, 2014 11:55 am | Videos | Comments

In 2011, biologists at Caltech demonstrated a highly effective method for delivering HIV-fighting antibodies to mice—a treatment that protected the mice from infection by a laboratory strain of HIV delivered intravenously. Now the researchers, led by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, have shown that the same procedure is just as effective against a strain of HIV found in the real world, even when transmitted across mucosal surfaces.

Scientists Find Protein that Helps Bacteria Misdirect Immune System

February 10, 2014 12:54 pm | News | Comments

A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has discovered an unusual bacterial protein that attaches to virtually any antibody and prevents it from binding to its target. Protein M, as it is called, probably helps some bacteria evade the immune response and establish long-term infections.


Bacterial Fibers Critical to Human and Avian Infection

February 6, 2014 1:04 pm | News | Comments

Escherichia coli—a friendly and ubiquitous bacterial resident in the guts of humans and other animals—may occasionally colonize regions outside the intestines. There, it can have serious consequences for health, some of them, lethal.

Durable End to AIDS Will Require HIV Vaccine Development

February 6, 2014 12:58 pm | Videos | Comments

Broader global access to lifesaving antiretroviral therapies and wider implementation of proven HIV prevention strategies could potentially control and perhaps end the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, a safe and at least moderately effective HIV vaccine is needed to reach this goal more expeditiously and in a more sustainable way, according to a new commentary from Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the NIAID.

Trick that Aids Viral Infection Identified

January 31, 2014 12:34 pm | News | Comments

Scientists have identified a way some viruses protect themselves from the immune system’s efforts to stop infections, a finding that may make new approaches to treating viral infections possible. Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and elsewhere have found some viruses can block the immune system protein that checks for the identification badge.

NIST Cell Membrane Model Studied as Future Diagnostic Tool

January 31, 2014 12:06 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and in Lithuania have used a NIST-developed laboratory model of a simplified cell membrane to accurately detect and measure a protein associated with a serious gynecological disease, bacterial vaginosis (BV), at extraordinarily low concentrations.

A Detailed Look at HIV in Action

January 31, 2014 11:46 am | News | Comments

The human intestinal tract, or gut, is best known for its role in digestion. But this collection of organs also plays a prominent role in the immune system. In fact, it is one of the first parts of the body that is attacked in the early stages of an HIV infection. Knowing how the virus infects cells and accumulates in this area is critical to developing new therapies for the over 33 million people worldwide living with HIV.

Antibiotic ‘Smart Bomb’ Can Target Specific Strains of Bacteria

January 30, 2014 1:52 pm | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a de facto antibiotic “smart bomb” that can identify specific strains of bacteria and sever their DNA, eliminating the infection. The technique offers a potential approach to treat infections by multi-drug resistant bacteria.

Researchers Open Door to New HIV Therapy

January 29, 2014 1:06 pm | News | Comments

People infected with HIV can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the National Institutes of Health have instead focused on a fourth protein, Nef, that hijacks host proteins and is essential to HIV’s lethality.

Scientists Reveal Cause of One of the Most Devastating Pandemics in Human History

January 28, 2014 2:08 pm | Videos | Comments

An international team of scientists has discovered that two of the world’s most devastating plagues – the plague of Justinian and the Black Death, each responsible for killing as many as half the people in Europe—were caused by distinct strains of the same pathogen, one that faded out on its own, the other leading to worldwide spread and re-emergence in the late 1800s.

Want to Get the Flu? Volunteers Sneeze for Science

January 26, 2014 11:07 am | by Lauran Neergaard - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Forget being sneezed on: Government scientists are deliberately giving dozens of volunteers the flu by squirting the live virus straight up their noses. It may sound bizarre, but the rare type of research is a step in the quest for better flu vaccines. It turns out that how the body fends off influenza remains something of a mystery.

Stem Cells' Janus Faces

January 23, 2014 3:52 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Blogs | Comments

Stem cells are the most potent cells in the body. But they can also become, it seems increasingly clear, the most dangerous cells in the body--serving as a biological safe house for HIV. Indeed, the ability of HIV to linger in the body for decades may be due to the simple fact that stem cells live for decades...Then, of course, there's cancer.

Detecting Sickness by Smell

January 23, 2014 12:35 pm | News | Comments

A new study shows that humans are able to smell sickness in someone whose immune system is highly active within just a few hours of exposure to a toxin. The researchers say there is anecdotal and scientific evidence suggesting that diseases have particular smells.

Genome of Intestinal Disease Bacteria to be Sequenced

January 22, 2014 8:30 am | News | Comments

Researchers are set to decipher the genomes of a main bacterial cause of food poisoning, which results in over 21,000 hospital admissions and 100 deaths each year.                           

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