Was the movie Contagion more realistic scientifically than your average doomsday zombieland flick? Tonight at the New York Academy of Sciences, PopSci contributor David Quammen will lead an expert panel in addressing that question—and speculating what the next deadly viral outbreak may look like.
By Jennifer BogoPosted 10.17.2012 at 12:00 pm 3 Comments
The Ebola virus—one of the world's deadliest diseases—has a kill rate of 90 percent. That's largely because the best current treatment must be applied within one hour of infection. Which is an almost impossibly brief window, considering symptoms may take anywhere from two to 21 days to appear in humans. But a new treatment has shown success in curing the disease when administered 24 hours or more after infection—at least when tested in monkeys.
Piezoelectric devices promise to draw power from your footsteps or heartbeat, change the channel on your TV, and complete all sorts of helpful tasks — but they generally work in the nano-mechanical realm, requiring synthetic materials to function.
Last year, Nature and Science prepared to publish research describing how to mutate H5N1, a deadly bird flu, into more-contagious forms. The papers could help scientists create a treatment should a similar mutation occur in nature. But according to the U.S. government, the papers could also help terrorists create a weapon.
You never know exactly what you'll find when you go churning up muck, but apparently odds are pretty good you'll find some viruses. The other day we heard how raw sewage is a hotbed of unknown viruses; now a French team has found the largest virus ever, living in the sea off the coast of Chile.
Using metal chips and light, clinicians will be able to detect viruses in even rural medical clinics
By Katie PeekPosted 10.11.2011 at 10:56 am 5 Comments
One of the many challenges of practicing medicine in developing countries is performing quick, reliable diagnosis of infectious disease. To bring rapid virus diagnostics to underserved populations, engineer Hatice Altug and her research team at Boston University have created and tested a biosensor that detects disease-causing organisms with precisely directed light.
Raw sewage is apparently a gold mine for virologists in search of new quarry — it contains thousands of previously unknown virus species, according to a new study. Hopefully this unique finding will justify the nasty task of sifting through sewage for science.
News from the field of HIV research has been pretty promising of late — this summer, we heard good news that antiretroviral treatment is superbly effective, at least when it's used correctly. And thanks to some video gamers, scientists' understanding of proteins involved in HIV keeps getting better. Now researchers have another tool in their arsenal: Stripping the virus itself of its ability to trick the human immune system.
HIV infection sends the immune system into overdrive and eventually exhausts it, which is what leads to AIDS. But removing cholesterol from HIV seems to cripple the virus' ability to over-activate part of the immune system, so it could potentially lead to a vaccine that lets the adaptive immune system attack and destroy the virus — just as it would if HIV was any other pathogen.
A new broad-spectrum treatment for viruses could be as effective as antibiotics fighting bacteria, MIT researchers report. The method uses cells’ own defense systems to induce invaded cells to commit suicide, preventing the spread of the virus. In lab tests, the new drug completely cured mice that had been infected with influenza.
A type of statistical analysis used to study high-energy physics and stock market fluctuations could yield a new angle of attack in the fight against the virus that causes AIDS. A surgical strike on specific, steadfast sectors of HIV could lead to new drugs or vaccines, according to a new study.