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Ebola Puts Focus on Drugs Made in Tobacco Plants

August 15, 2014 2:22 am | by Malcolm Ritter - AP Science Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

It's an eye-catching angle in the story of an experimental treatment for Ebola: The drug comes from tobacco plants that were turned into living pharmaceutical factories. Using plants this way — sometimes called "pharming" — can produce complex and valuable proteins for medicines.

NewLink Genetics: Ready to Test Ebola Vaccine

August 14, 2014 10:22 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An Iowa drug developer says it has enough doses of a possible vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus to launch an initial round of human testing. NewLink Genetics Chief Financial Officer Gordon Link says the timing of the trials is uncertain, but the company is receiving help from a number of sources to speed up the process.

Sierra Leone: Another Top Doctor Dies from Ebola

August 13, 2014 9:21 am | by Clarence Roy-Macaulay and Maria Cheng - Associted Press - Associted Press | News | Comments

A leading physician in Sierra Leone's fight against Ebola has died from the disease, an official said Wednesday, as it emerged that another top doctor had been considered to receive an experimental drug but did not get it and later died.    

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An Easier Way to Manipulate Malaria Genes

August 12, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria, has proven notoriously resistant to scientists’ efforts to study its genetics. It can take up to a year to determine the function of a single gene, which has slowed efforts to develop new, more targeted drugs and vaccines.

Priest Dies of Ebola; UN Debates Treatment Ethics

August 12, 2014 8:21 am | by Maria Cheng and Ciaran Giles - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A Spanish missionary priest being treated for Ebola died Tuesday in a Madrid hospital amid a worldwide debate over who should get experimental Ebola treatments. After holding a teleconference with medical experts around the world, the WHO declared it is ethical to use unproven Ebola drugs and vaccines in the current outbreak.

Like Cling Wrap, New Biomaterial Can Coat Burn Wounds and Block Infection

August 11, 2014 2:01 pm | News | Comments

Wrapping wound dressings around fingers and toes can be tricky, but for burn victims, guarding them against infection is critical. Today, scientists are reporting the development of novel, ultrathin coatings called nanosheets that can cling to the body’s most difficult-to-protect contours and keep bacteria at bay.

WHO: Ebola Outbreak is a Public Health Emergency

August 8, 2014 3:21 am | by Maria Cheng - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread. The WHO announced the Ebola outbreak — the largest and longest in history — is worrying enough to merit being declared an international health emergency. WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

FDA Warns of Infection-causing Tattoo Inks

August 7, 2014 3:23 am | by Mary Clare Jalonick - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Thinking about getting inked? Check the bottle first. The Food and Drug Administration is warning tattoo parlors, their customers and those buying at-home tattoo kits that not all tattoo ink is safe.               

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Creating New Immune Systems for HIV Patients

August 5, 2014 2:52 pm | by Cynthia Fox | Blogs | Comments

There is good news in attempts to halt HIV by growing, in patients, new immune systems lacking a gene that led to the first—and only—cured HIV patient. Using hematopoietic (blood) stem cells possessing a CCR5 gene mutation that blocks CD4 T cell entry of HIV, Calimmune—led by Nobel Laureate David Baltimore—has, for one year, safely begun growing new immune systems in patients.

Study Predicts Hepatitis C Will Become a Rare Disease in 22 Years

August 5, 2014 2:06 pm | News | Comments

Effective new drugs and screening would make hepatitis C a rare disease by 2036, according to a computer simulation conducted by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Obesity Paradox in Survival from Sepsis

August 5, 2014 1:51 pm | News | Comments

University of Michigan Health System researchers revealed an obesity paradox among older Americans suffering from sepsis. In a study of 1,404 Medicare beneficiaries, heavier patients were more likely to survive the life-threatening infection that can lead to a stay in a hospital’s intensive care unit.

Smart Bacteria Help Each Other Survive

August 5, 2014 1:47 pm | News | Comments

The body’s assailants are cleverer than previously thought. New research from Lund University in Sweden shows for the first time how bacteria in the airways can help each other replenish vital iron. The bacteria thereby increase their chances of survival, which can happen at the expense of the person’s health.

Toledo Mayor Lifts Water Ban

August 4, 2014 10:22 am | by John Seewer - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

A water ban that had hundreds of thousands of people in Ohio and Michigan scrambling for drinking water has been lifted, Toledo's mayor announced Monday.                           

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Ebola Vaccine Not Far Away

August 4, 2014 9:22 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The nation's top infectious disease official says there's hope that a vaccine against Ebola will be available as early as next July. Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says such a preventive vaccine has been successfully tested with monkeys.

Molecule Enhances Copper’s Lethal Punch Against Microbes

July 31, 2014 3:11 pm | News | Comments

Harnessing a natural process in the body that pumps lethal doses of copper to fungi and bacteria shows promise as a new way to kill infectious microbes, a team of scientists report.                   

Dissolvable Fabric Loaded with Medicine Might Offer Faster Protection Against HIV

July 31, 2014 9:27 am | News | Comments

University of Washington bioengineers have discovered a potentially faster way to deliver a topical drug that protects women from contracting HIV. Their method spins the drug into silk-like fibers that quickly dissolve when in contact with moisture, releasing higher doses of the drug than possible with other topical materials such as gels or creams.

Officials: Little Risk of Ebola Outbreak in U.S.

July 29, 2014 8:21 am | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

U.S. health officials are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa but say the risk of the deadly germ spreading to the United States is remote. The Centers for Disease Control on Monday sent a health alert to U.S. doctors about the outbreak.   

Scientists ID New Mechanism of Drug Resistance

July 28, 2014 11:24 am | News | Comments

Microorganisms can evade treatment by acquiring mutations in the genes targeted by antibiotics or antifungal drugs. Now, a new study has shown that microorganisms can use a temporary silencing of drug targets to gain the benefits of drug resistance without the commitment.

Nigeria Death Shows Ebola Can Spread by Air Travel

July 28, 2014 8:21 am | by Heather Murdock - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world's deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa's largest city with 21 million people.            

Fist Bumps Less Germy Than Handshakes

July 28, 2014 12:15 am | by Mike Stobbe - AP Medical Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to something with his fondness for fist bumps. The familiar knocking of knuckles spreads only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does, researchers report.

Powerful HIV Antibodies May Require Assist from Second Antibody to Develop

July 25, 2014 1:40 pm | News | Comments

One strategy for developing a highly effective HIV vaccine is to learn how some HIV-infected people naturally develop antibodies that can stop a high percentage of global HIV strains from infecting human cells in the laboratory. These so-called broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) develop too late to help infected people overcome the virus.

China Lifts Quarantine in Plague City

July 24, 2014 1:20 am | News | Comments

A nine-day quarantine imposed on parts of a northern Chinese city where a man there died of bubonic plague has been lifted, China's official news agency reported Thursday.                       

Head of Troubled CDC Anthrax Lab Resigns

July 23, 2014 1:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Health officials say that the head of the government lab which potentially exposed workers to live anthrax has resigned. Michael Farrell was head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lab since 2009.            

Parts of Chinese City Sealed for Bubonic Plague

July 22, 2014 11:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Parts of a northern Chinese city have been quarantined after state media said a man there died of bubonic plague. The Chinese news agency Xinhua said Tuesday that 151 people were under observation in the city of Yumen in Gansu province after authorities determined they had come in contact with a man who had died of the plague July 16.

Potential New Flu Drugs Target Immune Response, Not Virus

July 22, 2014 2:59 pm | News | Comments

The seriousness of disease often results from the strength of immune response, rather than with the virus, itself. Turning down that response, rather than attacking the virus, might be a better way to reduce that severity. Researchers have taken the first step in doing that for the H7N9 influenza, and their work has led to identification of six potential therapeutics for this highly virulent strain.

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