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Essential Science: What coronavirus mutations mean for vaccines?

This week's column looks at mutations, both the issue that has hit the news about minks and cross-infection to humans, and a predominant mutation within the US and Europe. The presence of the mutation may help to develop an effective vaccine.

Creating better coronavirus science through AI tools

Most of the COVID-19 related research is reliable and proven to be accurate, or at least part of an iterative process whereby new research builds upon current findings. There are, however, bad research examples. Could AI have filtered these bad examples?

Airborne viruses can spread on dust and non-respiratory particles

Influenza viruses can spread through the air on dust, fibers and other microscopic particles, according to new research. The findings have obvious implications for coronavirus transmission as well as influenza.

Coronavirus anti-viral inhaler medication being developed

Scientists are working on an anti-COVID-19 medication that can be administered via an inhaler. The preliminary results has been published and their are pointers that this could develop into an effective treatment.

Op-Ed: Evidence emerges of Trump's interference in key COVID-19 research

A case has been made, based on official government documents, that President Trump has personally interfered in blocking a U.S. collaboration on coronavirus research, aimed at attempting to ascertain the origins of the virus.

Op-Ed: What the coronavirus R-number is and how to interpret it

London - In the latest of the series of articles about the novel coronavirus, we consider the R-number: what it is and why it is important not to over-interpret it. In this context, long-term trends are important.

Tracking viral epidemics needs to account for evolution

Models for tracking viral outbreaks, as with the current novel coronavirus issue, need to assess the ability of the virus to mutate. Accounting for the evolutionary impact of the virus is essential for accurate modelling, according to new research.

FDA fast-tracks novel coronavirus test to speed up diagnosis

As the cases of the novel coronavirus spread, researchers are developing new tests designed to speed up detection of the virus. Developments include the use of synthetic RNA and a new rapid test for nucleic acid.

Bacteria-eating viruses bridge the gap of life and non-life

Bacteriophage are a type of simple virus that infects bacteria, being spread by its bacterial host and being reliant upon the bacterial cell to replicate. New research indicates that some phages are more complex than they first appear.

New antiviral made from sugar could help kill coronaviruses

Manchester - A unique antiviral treatment has been made using sugar as the base active substance. The product has been demonstrated as capable of killing a treating a range of viruses under laboratory conditions, such as respiratory infections and genital herpes.

Understanding the mechanism of a viral explosion

Sometimes, after anti-viral medicines are administered, a 'rebound' occurs and the virus again replicates (and at a rapid pace). The mechanisms behind this have been the subject of new research.

Essential Science: Next pathogenic threats identified

Recent years have been a number of pathogenic threats have hit the headlines, with Ebola being the foremost concern in recent years. Looking to the future, scientists have raised concerns about three viruses that the world now needs to prepare for.

Some viruses have evolved to affect men more greatly than women

London - Is man-flu real? New evidence suggests that some viruses cause weaker symptoms in women than in men. The reason is evolutionary, based on helping the virus to spread between hosts.

Officials: Clean up efforts of Rio's Olympic waters have failed

Rio De Janeiro - Athletes taking part in the marathon swimming, sailing and windsurfing events next month at the Rio Summer Olympic Games have been warned by health officials to keep their mouths closed when in the water.

Florida residents unsure about mosquito disease risks

Miami - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering testing out a new anti-mosquito control method in one community within Florida. However, a recent survey suggests the residents are skeptical.

More ancient viruses in human DNA discovered

It has been known for some time that our DNA contains genetic material that was once viral. New research suggests the extent of this is greater than previously realized.

Essential Science: Pathogenic organisms may trigger Alzheimer's

A possible connection between viral and bacterial pathogens and the neurodegenerative disorder Alzheimer's disease has been made by a research group. While not definitive, the research opens up a new area to investigate.

Bacteriophages: Something old is becoming new again

The threat of antibiotic resistance on a global scale is real, so much so that scientists are taking a second look at a therapy that has been around for a number of years. Think viruses that have the ability to infect and fight harmful bacteria.

Hand washing is key to reducing infection risks

London - A new Internet educational series, designed to encourage people to wash their hands more often, should lower the risk of catching and passing on infections. This is the finding of a new medical survey.

WHO and sailing body seek virus testing in Rio Olympic waters

Rio De Janeiro - The World Health Organization (WHO) has asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to analyze for viruses in Rio de Janeiro's Olympic waters, while the governing body of world sailing says it will begin its own virus testing.

How fast is Ebola mutating?

There is a on-going debate about how fast the Ebola viruses are mutating. A new study suggests that the virus may not be evolving as quickly as a previous research group has estimated.

Why species jumping viruses are more deadly

When harmful viruses leap from one species to another, their ability to cause infection can change. The degree to which this happens depends upon how closely-related the different species are to each other.

Op-Ed: Viruses are adapting faster than the vaccines

If the next pandemic is inevitable, and if entire categories of cancer are known to originate from infections, should society not be investing more money more urgently into viral research - or are we comfortable relying on vaccinations?

Op-Ed: Microbiology in the news, the top stories of 2014 Special

London Colney - The website Pharmaceutical Microbiology has reviewed the top ten microbiology stories and events that have made the news during 2014.

New treatment against wheat viruses

A technology has helped wheat become resistant to viruses. The technology involves genetic engineering, although more environmentally sustainable options are possible in the longer-term..

Viruses help to maintain human health

New York - Scientists now argue that the natural presence of viruses in the gut (virome) help to maintain health-maintenance and infection-fighting. This is similar to the role of the intestinal bacteria.

Rats of New York found carrying a range of new viruses

New York - Scientists have detected more than a dozen new viruses lurking in rodents inhabiting the Big Apple. To add to this, the rats were found to be carrying many pathogenic bacteria.

New study looks closely at the rats of New York

The rats of New York City are so numerous that it is said there are at least 8.4 million of them. These illusive pests are rarely seen in the daylight hours, but at night, like zombies in the movies, they come out to feed.

How our bodies fight off viruses

With the flu season in full swing, some folks don't realize how our bodies protect us from the flu virus, as well as other viral infections. Our bodies have an amazing system of defenses against viral infections, almost like "first responders."

Fighting cancer with viruses

Certain types of cancer can be attacked by certain viruses. These viruses are harmless to people. Scientists hope that the attack mechanism can be used for the treatment of brain cancer.
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A CDC scientist uses a pipette to transfer H7N9 virus into vials for sharing with partner laboratori...
A CDC scientist uses a pipette to transfer H7N9 virus into vials for sharing with partner laboratories for public health research purposes.
Rabies can affect all mammals  but is seen most often in raccoons  skunks  foxes  and bats. It is le...
Rabies can affect all mammals, but is seen most often in raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats. It is less common in deer.
A row of laptops
A row of laptops
Cary Bass (CC BY 3.0)

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