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Huge positive news on the effort to create a coronavirus vaccine
Pfizer has announced early data in its vaccine trial that indicates an efficacy of 90%! The news could...
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Aztrazenica vaccine releases interim data showing good immune responses across all ages
AstraZeneca announced today that their candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was creating a strong immune response...
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The UW is succeeding at fighting the COVID-19 epidemic
While much of Wisconsin is failing at fighting the coronavirus, the Universities are succeeding. Dr....
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Vaccines are progressing and a new, potentially powerful treatment for SARS-CoV-2
SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines Vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca continue to make progress in their...
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How to beat COVID-19
It was not on purpose, but Dane County did a good experiment that shows how simple public health measures...
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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? Many reports I see in the news media are focused on the antibody titer, equating antibody presence with immunity. That is a common misconception. The human immune system has many different parts that can be roughly divided into innate immunity, antibody immunity, and cell-mediated immunity. Antibodies are only one part of the immune system. When your body encounters a virus, your cel...

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Latest News on COVID-19

  Hydroxychloroquine The NIH halted trials of hydroxychloroquine. While the drug did not show significant harm to patients, it did not show any benefit. This illustrates the difficulty of drug trials. To show benefit a test group needs to be large enough (in the thousands in my opinion) and include a control group. The more subtle an effect, the larger the control group needs to be to show a benefit. Also, the control group has to be carefully balanced with the test group to remove as many potent...

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A chapter on COVID-19

  In one of the microbiology courses that I teach, my students will be learning about SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). To help them learn more about it, I have written a chapter about SARS-CoV-2 describing the latest finding on the illness. I have decided to make this chapter available to the public and if you are interested I encourage you to read it.

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  All of humanity is rightfully concerned about the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe. Popular Science has an excellent article to help you understand the risks associated with the recent epidemic. Dr. Alessandro Vespignani published an analysis of the ongoing spread of the epidemic. I was lucky enough to attend a session he presented on his amazing and powerful software GLEAM that can model these outbreaks and give excellent predictions on what might happen. Finally, read this...

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New powerful antibiotics discovered using machine learning

  Bacteria are amazing creatures. They adapt rapidly to any stress that is put on them or at least some part of the population. Because of the careless use of antibiotics to treat illnesses where they are not effective, antibiotic resistance has arisen. Some countries even allow the sale of antibiotics over the counter. The problem is getting out of control to the point that drug-resistant strains of bacteria that can no longer be treated are becoming a serious threat. About 35,000 people a year d...

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Top Publishers Sued over Collusion in Textbook Market

  Textbook prices are out of control and this is why I spent years of my life writing and running this website. Now we find out that top publishers, such as McGraw-Hill and Pearson have been colluding to try to force students to buy new textbooks. Head on over to Ring of Fire to learn more.

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Americans are fatter than ever and processed food is to blame

  Before diving into this article we need to clarify how being obese is measured. There are many ways to measure obesity -- waist circumference, % body fat, and body mass index (BMI) are three examples. The CDC used BMI, which is a person's weight divided by their height. This isn't the best measurement, as there are examples of healthy muscular athletes, having high BMIs who are clearly not obese. However, for the average person, it is a good indicator of how much fat they are carrying. Now, that...

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Through the Microscope updates

  An important feature of Through the Microscope is the animations that depict important processes. Often these are hard to portray in a static picture. There are dozens of animations throughout the book. Many of these were developed using Adobe Flash animations. While the technology was powerful for its time, Flash and Actionscript were insecure, buggy, resource-intensive, and propriatary. To their credit, Adobe provided useful tools to migrate Flash animations to html5, the standard in animation...

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Obesity and the Microbiome

  A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some of that information in Chapter 9 of Why Microbe Matter. The cost of obesity in this country is alarming. I ran across a great article about the societal costs of obesity by Loyola University. It's worth a read.

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New updates to Why Microbes Matter

  Chapters 4, 5, 8, 10, and 14 of Why Microbes Matter have been updated to reflect some new information and to clean up editing errors. If you downloaded a copy of the Ebook, I encourage you to update your copy. Go to the

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