Infectious Disease

Fungus Eating Ants Could Provide Solution to Antibiotic Resistance

Fungus eating ants have inspired a novel approach to reduce antibiotic resistance. Attine ants grow ‘fungal gardens’ as their food source, however their fungus food supply is also fed on by a parasitic fungus. To counter this threat, the ants form an unlikely alliance. The ants host bacteria on their bodies that produce anti-microbials to […]

First CRISPR Therapy to Treat HIV Safe but Ineffective

A CRISPR therapy that attempted to cure a man of HIV has failed, but proved safe for the patient. The patient was diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was being treated with chemotherapy for the leukemia and anti-viral drugs for HIV, which reduce the amount of virus in the blood but do not […]

Working the Night Shift Could Harm Gut Health

Working night shifts could impair immune system functionality and make people more susceptible to gut based infections, new research shows. The Rhythm of the Night The body runs like clockwork. When you eat, when you sleep and when you get up is all controlled by the body’s internal circadian rhythm aka the body clock. The […]

Babies Born by Caesarean have Different Microbiomes

Babies born by caesarean section have different gut bacteria, or microbiome, compositions to babies born vaginally, new research shows. The Microbiome is Essential to Childhood Health The gut microbiome is the ecosystem of bacteria resident in our gut. Recent research has only scratched the surface on uncovering the instrumental role the microbiome plays in our […]

Bacteria Can Become Resistant Even Without Antibiotic Use

Governments around the world are trying to heavily restrict antibiotic use in the hope that this will prevent the development of resistance which renders many medical treatments useless. However, new research demonstrates that bacterial resistance can spread regardless. Darwin’s theory of evolution tells us that if the selection pressure of antibiotics is applied to a […]

WHO Strips UK of Measles Free Status

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stripped the United Kingdom of its measles free status following an increase in disease cases and falling vaccination rates. The UK recorded 913 cases of measles between 1 January and 31 October 2018, compared to 259 cases in 2017. This is despite measles being an entirely preventable disease. Measles […]

Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria Found Throughout London

Bacteria resistant to multiple antibiotic drugs have been found throughout London, including on the underground and in hospitals, new research shows. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a serious public health issue, which make the treatment of many infections difficult. Bacteria can acquire resistance either through the selection pressure of antibiotics, or from genetic transfer between cells. […]

Cigarette Smoke Makes MRSA Superbug More Resistant to Antibiotics

Cigarette smoke has been found to make MRSA bacteria more resistant to antibiotics. The MRSA bacteria, s. aureus, can cause severe infections in humans. These are difficult to treat as MRSA is resistant to most commonly used antibiotics. MRSA poses a major problem in hospitals due to the high numbers of patients with open wounds […]

CRISPR Used to Find Genes that Protect Cells from Zika

A CRISPR technique has been used to identify genes in cells that enable them to survive infection of the Zika Virus. It is hoped that this development will lead to future treatments for Zika. Currently there is no vaccine or treatment specific to the Zika virus. If pregnant women contract the disease their unborn children […]

Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads Across Asia

A genomics study has revealed that a strain of malaria resistant to both drugs used for treatment has spread rapidly across Asia.  Malaria causes approximately a million deaths worldwide in each year and is a serious public health issue, particularly in Asia. The widely used anti-malarial drugs dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine have been relatively effective treatments […]

First AI-Designed Vaccine Created

Researchers have revealed the first vaccine purely designed by artificial intelligence (AI). This has the potential to revolutionise the drug discovery process by making it quicker, cheaper and producing more effective drugs. From target discovery to market, the drug discovery process takes on average nine years and millions of dollars. The majority of this time […]

HIV Virus Eliminated from Infected Mice Cells

A new CRISPR-based method has managed to eliminate HIV in mice, for the first time potentially curing the lifelong illness of HIV/AIDs. Clinical trials will start next year to identify if the same method could be used to cure humans.   HIV is a virus which attacks the immune cells in the body, leaving it […]

CRISPR Repairs DNA Even Without Donor Template

CRISPR-Cas9 can carry out precise genome editing even without the assistance of donor DNA templates, a team of scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard have found.