Researchers have found a novel method for stopping the spread of influenza viruses, a finding that could lead to a universal treatment for flu. The method involves stopping the genetic process by which the virus replicates itself. Researchers can essentially flip a switch that stops RNA in its tracks.
Long before you even feel sick, a new Darpa-funded bio-sensor will know what ails you. Researchers at Duke University are developing a device that can betray exposure to a virus even before a person's first sneeze, Wired's DangerRoom blog reports.
The sensor detects changes in gene expression that occur in people exposed to viruses like the common cold, flu, or the respiratory syncytial virus.
In a successful test of a prototype nanotech vaccine patch, Australian researchers at the University of Queensland used a patch smaller than a postage stamp to deliver vaccine through the skin without needles, and with just 1/100th of the vaccine normally required to evoke a protective immune response, according to Pharmacy News.
With vaccine supplies limited, social butterflies on Facebook could find themselves targeted for real-world injections. Stanford University researchers have created an algorithm that uses social networking data to identify the people who are "bridges" between different tight-knit circles of friends or communities, so that limited vaccine supplies can be used wisely.
With the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimating that this winter's swine flu outbreak could lead to 30,000 to 90,000 deaths in the US (on top of the usual 30,000 deaths that occur from seasonal flu), the government has ramped up its effort to vaccinate as many Americans as possible against H1N1. In fact, the vaccination effort is so large, it may constitute the largest vaccination program in human history.
The Hajj, a journey to Mecca that retraces the steps of Mohammed, is one of the religious pillars of Islam. Pilgrims making the Hajj are the primary reason why Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most visited tourist spots. Like a religious version of Orlando, Mecca and Medina draw about three million visitors every year, from every country in the world.
Unfortunately, the date for this year's Hajj, November 25th to the 29th, falls right smack dab in the middle of flu season, and Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia have begun wrestling with the problem of religious duty in a swine-flu world.
After weeks of waiting, after months of "will they or won't they" speculation, after fortnights of fear mongering and resultant hype backlash, the World Health Organization (WHO) has finally bit the bullet and declared H1N1 influenza a global pandemic.
Now, before you begin hording canned goods or accusing the media and the government of colluding to hype the disease for their own gain, take a second and look at what the WHO means by pandemic.
While the streets of Mexico City once again host the packed crowds, dense traffic, and general activity familiar to capitolinos before the outbreak of swine flu, other cities have now moved to stop the spread of the disease.
Here in New York City, a school assistant principal who contracted the flu died from complications related to the disease. However, even though Mitchell Wiener had an existing condition that contributed significantly to his death, 11 New York City schools remain closed.
Scientists decoding dinosaur flesh? Problems with nuclear reactors? We got something for everyone in today's news roundup. All of a sudden, I'm a lot less scared of the flu...
First, though, on the swine flu front, Slate explains how Asian countries use heat sensors to help screen for flu victims. NEC, the electronics manufacturer that makes the cameras, told PopSci.com that there are 108 of them deployed at airports in Japan, but they couldn't say how many were in use at other Asian airports. Also, like the Slate piece, they couldn't say if the technology actually helped prevent the spread of the flu.