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‘Spider Web’ Traps Viruses

Researchers have discovered a new immune mechanism that kills pathogens in the respiratory tract by acting like a spider web. Once antibodies bind to some viruses, a type of white blood cell called neutrophils can also bind…and then cause the entire complex to explode. This releases a sticky tangle of DNA which acts as a NET: a neutrophil extracellular trap, keeping the virus from reproducing and infecting more cells. This finding is important because it gives insight into a way that antibodies neutralize viruses, a topic that is still not well-understood.

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New Test Identifies Source of Respiratory Infections

n patients present with symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, and fever, doctors are often unable to identify the source of their respiratory illness. However, a new technology developed by scientists at Duke University is able to accurately distinguish between viral and bacterial infections.

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Obesity Survival Paradox

Scientists in Sweden performed a population-based study that observed nearly 2,200 adult patients admitted to the hospital with severe bacterial infections. They found that being overweight or obese increased the chances of survival in both the short- and long-term, 28 days and one year after hospitalization, respectively. In fact, while 26% of patients with a normal weight died within a year, only 9-17% of patients with higher BMIs died.

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Colistin Pops Bacterial Cell Membranes Like Balloons

New research performed at Imperial College London has revealed that colistin makes holes in bacterial and causes them to pop like balloons. Bacterial cells have two layers, inner and outer membranes. Colistin pierces both of these membranes by targeting specific molecules called lipopolysaccharides (LPS).

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Microneedle Patch Delivers Antibiotics for Skin Infections

Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed an innovative microneedle patch that contains miniature needles made from a polymer loaded with vancomycin. This patch is applied directly to the site of infection and the tiny needles penetrate the skin to release the drug and kill the pathogenic bacteria.

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A New Antibiotic for Gonorrhea

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for the sexually transmitted infection (STI) known as gonorrhea, infect more than 500,000 people in the United States each year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists multi-drug resistant (MDR) gonorrhea as one of the top 5 most dangerous and urgent threats to public health. However, researchers have demonstrated that just one oral dose of a new antibiotic effectively treats mice infected with a virulent MDR strain of gonorrhea called WHO-X.

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An Evolutionary Timeline of Enterococcus faecalis

While antibiotic treatment is a well-known cause of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, new research shows that selection pressures occurring far before the widespread use of antibiotics have also been a contributing factor. Scientists from Norway and the UK used recently developed technology to create an evolutionary timeline of Enteroccocus faecalis, a common source of antibiotic-resistant septic infections in hospitalized patients around the world.

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A Reason To Like Mosquitoes?

According to scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a newly identified protein found in mosquitoes may also be effective at fighting viral infections in humans.

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Reversing Antibiotic Tolerance

Antibiotic tolerance occurs when bacteria are able to survive in the presence of antibiotics. This is dangerous because tolerant bacteria can cause infections that persist even after treatment. Some bacteria are tolerant to beta lactam antibiotics such as penicillin. Drugs in this class kill bacteria by breaking down their cell walls. Until now, how tolerant bacteria survive this process was poorly understood.

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New Antifungal Compound Discovered in Ant Farms

Attine ants are a group of several ant species known as farmers because they grow their own food. Each member of the colony has a job on the farm. Harvester ants cut grasses and leaves and foragers carry the harvested vegetation back to the nest. There, worker ants...

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