Infectious Disease

Shareable Science: The Genetics of Coronavirus

In early December, an outbreak of respiratory illness was reported in Wuhan, China. Scientists quickly determined the sickness was caused by a new virus from the coronavirus family. In an attempt to limit the spread of the virus, China has reacted with transportation lockdowns and public health advisories.

Coronavirus Genome Now On UCSC Genome Browser

The biomolecular code of the deadly Wuhan pneumonia virus, the coronavirus, is now available to view on the UCSC Genome Browser. With nearly 41,000 cases and 910 deaths to date, the deadly virus has forced more than 50 million people to be quarantined by the Chinese government in an aim to stop the spread of the virus.

Blood Test That Can Predict Tuberculosis Before Symptoms Develop

A new blood test that could predict the onset of tuberculosis (TB) three to six months before people become sick has been discovered by researchers at University College London. The researchers identified gene expression signatures present in the blood of people with early, asymptomatic TB infection that could predict the disease before symptoms arise.

TEDDY Identifies Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factor

The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young or TEDDY is the largest study of its kind measuring new-borns with an increased risk of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).  The study published in Nature Medicine has uncovered an association between a genetic variant of a pancreatic cell surface-receptor and long-term viral infections.

Research Suggests New Approach to Combat Antimicrobial Resistant Malaria

The rise of antimicrobial resistant malaria, especially across Asia, has caused great concern and a hunt for new drugs and treatment. A collaborative group across Europe have systematically deleted genes from Plasmodium berghei and uncovered 7 metabolic pathways crucial for the life cycle of the parasite.

Concern over New Cases of Pneumonic Plague in China

Two confirmed cases this week of Pneumonic plague in China have local and international health agencies on high alert. A middle-aged couple are being treated in Beijing for the most severe form of the infection that has afflicted humanity since the Bronze Age.  The bacterium Yersinia pestis can cause three distinct disease manifestations dependent on the […]

Measles Can Wipe Immune System Memory

New research has shown that measles infection can cause part of the immune system memory to be deleted, taking away the body’s previously acquired immunity to other infections. It is known that measles damages the immune system, as children infected with measles are more prone to other infections once they recover. Children can show immune […]

New Antibody Discovery Could Lead to Universal Flu Vaccine

A new antibody discovered in a patient that protects against multiple strains of flu could be adapted into a universal flu vaccine. Winter flu pandemics are a serious public health concern and pose a particular risk to more vulnerable people in society; including the elderly, young children, or people with compromised immune systems. Every year […]

CRISPR Turns Infectious Bacteria Against Themselves

A CRISPR encoded plasmid that causes Salmonella bacteria to make lethal cuts to its own genome could be a promising infection treatment to replace antibiotics. The gut microbiome is the ecosystem of the different types of bacteria that reside in the gut. Many gut infections are caused by one species of microbiome bacteria becoming much […]

Bacteria ‘Harpoon’ DNA to Gain Antibiotic Resistance

Bacteria are constantly evolving resistance to antibiotics, and it is estimated that over 23,000 people have died from resistant infections in the US. The multiple methods that bacteria use to acquire antibiotic resistant genes are not well understood. However, for the first time a ‘harpoon’ mechanism that bacteria use to gain resistance has been caught […]

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 […]