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Moderna's mRNA vaccine passes important first hurdle.
Many of you probably already heard that the Moderna vaccine raised a strong immune response in all participants...
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Taking care of a family member, caregiving, does not impact your health
In the U.S. it is estimated that at least 17 million people care for loved ones with significant health...
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A review of vaccine efforts against SARS-CoV-2
The Journal of Virology published a review by Moore and Klasse that summarizes the herculean efforts...
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What does being immune to an infectious disease mean?
There is a ton of talk, justifiably so, about developing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, and whether is it long-lasting?...
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Latest News on COVID-19
Hydroxychloroquine The NIH halted trials of hydroxychloroquine. While the drug did not show significant...
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Corals buddy up with bacteria

  In a new study conducted by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), there is new evidence of a complex symbiotic relationship between certain species of reef building coral and bacteria that wasn't previously understood. It has been known that many coral form symbiotic relationships with many other organisms, such as algae. Researchers have already understood that a species of reef building coral, Stylopho...

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Sequencing Microbial Dark Matter

  Microbes are all around us. Scientists have been trying to find and sequence each microbe's DNA for a long time now, but because many of the microbes will not grow in the lab, many of their DNA sequences are unknown. These un-sequenced organisms are known as “microbial dark matter.” Three years ago, microbiologist Tonja Woyke developed a new technique to sequence the genome of one cell.  Before this new technique was developed, determining a cell's DNA sequence requ...

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Friendly Viruses in Mucus

  Most folks would typically consider bacteria to be either good or bad.  The bad such as those that cause infectious disease or the good like the normal flora that aid in digestion, but none would think of viruses having a dual nature as well. A group of scientists led by Jeremy Barr discovered that mucus, a viscid gel-like secretion rich in mucins that act as a protective lubricant from infectious agents, is more than just a barrier. Surprisingly, the active layer of mucus consists of bacte...

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Tuberculosis and its Deadly Family Tree

  A good portion of the world hears the word tuberculosis and thinks of the bacterial infection that plagued those of the past. In campaigns for better living standards, antibiotics and vaccines it appeared that tuberculosis is under control since the 20th century.  While it seemed promising, new evidence is proving that tuberculosis is capable of outsmarting humans and its attack on the human body. The tuberculosis bacterium attacks the lungs and in some cases other organs...

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Digging Deeper into Bird Guts

  Microbial life is important to human and animal health, as they help with important functions of the body.  Looking specifically at the gut, gut bacteria (gastrointestinal bacteria), help the body with digestion, immune functions, and general health.  There is little knowledge about how the many different bacterial communities change in animal bodies. To have a better understanding about this change, Wouter van Dongen and his colleagues at the Vetmeduni Vienna have scrutinized the cloa...

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Biodiversity Correlates with Lower Rates of Allergies

  The article, “A Natural Environment Can Be Good for Allergies”,  discusses a study conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland that investigated the correlation between microbe diversity and allergies.  The study suggests that living in a rural environment may lead to a lower likelihood of developing allergies. Researchers tested the forearms of 118 teenagers for microbes present on the skin and examined the diversity of microbes. The teenagers’ living...

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Human Microbiome Project

  Typically we think of biomes as large communities of organisms covering vast areas; but a new idea of microbiome is becoming popularized as our understanding of microorganisms grows. The human body is just such a microbiome. For every one human cell in the body there are 10 microbial cells! If that sounds like disportionate amount and you find yourself wondering how it is possible to have more microbial cells than human cells, consider the fact that a typical microbe cell is much smaller than a...

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Leaf-cutter ants, a model potential for biofuel production

  In recent years, researches have been looking for alternative energy sources that can replace fossil fuels. One of them is biofuel, a fuel produced from living organisms. A recent study, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison on the communities of leaf-cutter ants, has led to a discovery of potential model for better biofuel production.

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Malaria Parasite Grows Stronger in Weak Immune Systems

  Malaria is a well-known disease; many know that it is transmitted by a mosquito bite or that it causes a high fever, but what numerous probably do not know is what the malaria parasite, Plasmodium chabaudi, does in a weakened immune system. The article linked tells of an experiment done to test just that.

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Study finds biochemical role of crucial TonB protein in bacterial iron transport and pathogenesis

  The biochemical role of the protein, TonB, was relatively unknown for decades, but recent research has helped clear that up. TonB was noted to be especially important, as it is a pivotal factor in the membrane protein of Gram-negative bacteria—specifically aiding in the uptake of iron into the microorganism. The key in this discovery is finding it within the parameters of Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria, as opposed to Gram-positive bacteria, are typically considered the more...

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