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HEALTH
September 19, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The hit movie "Contagion" depicts a nightmare scenario: a bat virus jumps to pigs and then to humans, infecting them with abandon since they have no immunity to the novel bug. The virus circles the globe in a matter of days, causing coughs, fevers and seizures as scientists from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scramble to identify the pathogen and develop a vaccine. Before they do, millions are infected and about a quarter of them die. Those who are not sickened hunker down at home or panic in the streets, scrounging for food and supplies until the outbreak can be contained.
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SPORTS
March 20, 2014 | By Broderick Turner
The Clippers are starting to become whole again. The team has been short-handed for weeks in the backcourt, but guards Jamal Crawford, Darren Collison and even J.J. Redick practiced with the Clippers on Thursday. After practice, the Clippers said Collison and Crawford will both play Saturday when they face the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center, but Redick is still not close to returning. Collison missed the last two games with a stomach virus. Crawford, who has been out for five consecutive games and eight of the last nine with a strained left calf, will practice again Friday, giving him another day to get ready.
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OPINION
November 13, 1988
It is sad that within hours our government was trying to find and stamp out a "virus" that was killing files in computers across the nation, when in fact this is the same government that allowed for many years to go by before recognizing a virus, AIDS, that had already taken hundreds of lives and would stamp out thousands more. STEVEN C. REMS Long Beach
SCIENCE
March 3, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
A 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra, sparking concern that increased mining and oil drilling in rapidly warming northern latitudes could disturb dormant microbial life that could one day prove harmful to man. The latest find, described online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, appears to belong to a new family of mega-viruses that infect only amoeba. But its revival in a laboratory stands as “a proof of principle that we could eventually resurrect active infectious viruses from different periods,” said the study's lead author, microbiologist Jean-Michel Claverie of Aix-Marseille University in France.
BUSINESS
January 23, 2013 | By Andrew Tangel, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - Federal prosecutors said they had foiled an international cyber-crime ring that targeted bank accounts in the U.S. and around the globe. The criminal charges, disclosed Wednesday, highlight the vulnerabilities of online consumer banking, which has become more popular in the digital age. It also comes just months after most every major U.S. bank suffered a relentless round of online attacks by Middle Eastern hackers. In the case unveiled Wednesday, three men - a Russian, a Latvian and a Romanian - allegedly created and spread a virus they called "Gozi" that infected more than 1 million computers around the globe, including at least 40,000 in the United States.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 5, 2013 | By Christine Mai-Duc
A Torrance marsh has been temporarily closed amid heightened concerns over West Nile virus and the first confirmed death this year in Los Angeles County attributed to the disease. City officials said the closure of Madrona Marsh, effective immediately, was “a precautionary measure” and that the marsh will remain closed until the city receives more data from local vector control officials. Two weeks ago, one of the marsh's sentinel chickens contracted West Nile, according to vector control officials.
SCIENCE
August 9, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Even viruses can suffer a viral infection, French scientists reported Thursday in the journal Nature in a discovery that may help explain how viruses swap genes and evolve so rapidly. A new strain of giant virus was isolated from a cooling tower in Paris and found to be infected by a smaller type of virus, named Sputnik, after the first man-made satellite. Sputnik is the first example of a virus infecting another virus to make it sick. The finding may shed light on how viruses mutate so quickly, a feature that can make them difficult to tackle with drugs and vaccines.
SCIENCE
October 31, 2013 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The search for an HIV vaccine has taken an important step forward after researchers at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla managed to capture molecular images of a protein spike that allows the deadly virus to invade human immune cells to hack their genetic code. The ability to control and analyze that shape-shifting envelope trimer protein, which has evaded the best efforts of biochemistry for more than a decade, could offer researchers the ability to see whether they can induce natural antibodies to attack the virus' most vulnerable spot, a crucial step toward engineering a vaccine.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 1, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
A 78-year-old Carson man diagnosed by doctors with West Nile virus has died, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported . Albert Shipman died Tuesday night in San Pedro, two weeks after being hospitalized with stroke-like symptoms, including memory loss and slurred speech, Shipman's son Alfonso told the newspaper. County health officials have not officially attributed the death to West Nile, the paper says.  In addition to Shipman, five people with West Nile cases have been reported in Los Angeles County this year.
SCIENCE
December 17, 2012 | By Louis Sahagun
An eerie new disease is cropping up among raccoons in Northern California and Oregon: brain tumors that may be linked to a previously unidentified virus discovered by a team led by UC Davis veterinarians and researchers. Necropsies conducted since 2010 have found brain tumors in 11 raccoons from Northern California and one from Oregon, the researchers said. All of the animals with tumors also had the virus scientists know as raccoon polyomavirus. "Previous to this, there had been two reports of a raccoon with a brain tumor over the past two decades," Patricia Pesavento, a pathologist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and principal author of a study on the malady published earlier this month in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, said in an interview.
SCIENCE
February 26, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
The seasonal flu has met its enemy, and it's calculus. A theoretical physicist and computational biologist analyzed the genetic code of thousands of strains of Influenza A that occurred over a 44-year period to create a model that accurately predicts which strain will prevail in the pitched evolutionary battle between human antibodies and the rapidly mutating virus. Their method proved more accurate for selecting an appropriate vaccine than the current method used by public health officials, according to a report published online Wednesday in the journal Nature.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
A small number of children in California have come down with polio-like illnesses since 2012 -- suffering paralysis in one or more limbs and other symptoms -- and physicians and public health officials do not yet know why. A virus may play a role, said Dr. Carol Glaser, leader of a California Department of Public Health team investigating the illnesses, which are occurring sporadically throughout the state. The afflicted kids suffer severe weakness or paralysis, which strikes rapidly -- sometimes after a mild respiratory illness. Scans of the patients' spinal cords show patterns of damage similar to that found in polio sufferers , Glaser said. Two of the affected children tested positive for enterovirus-68, a virus that is usually associated with respiratory illness but which has been linked to polio-like illnesses as well.
SCIENCE
February 19, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
Infectious diseases linked to the colony collapse of honeybees appear to be spreading among wild bumblebees that pollinate crops worldwide, dealing a potential double blow to agriculture, according to a new study. Studies at 26 sites in England found that 1 in 5 bees suffered from deformed wing virus, which can ground and eventually kill the insects, according to a report published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. More than a third of the honeybees were infected, and about 11% of the bumblebees carried the virus - figures that researchers called highly conservative.
WORLD
February 3, 2014 | By Amro Hassan
CAIRO - Sixteen people in Egypt have died from the H1N1 virus - commonly known as swine flu - since the start of the winter, the country's Ministry of Health said Monday. The ministry's spokesman, Ahmed Kamel, was quoted by the daily newspaper Al Masry Al Youm as saying that in all, 172 people have been diagnosed with the virus, including those who died. Recent weeks have seen criticism from doctors and patients, who accused the ministry of underplaying the threat of the virus. An official of the Doctors' Syndicate, a major medical organization, told Egyt's CBC television that the ministry had been warned weeks ago about the danger of the virus.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2014 | By William Nottingham
Starting today, you will have to wear a surgical mask if you want to visit patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as the hospital puts in place new measures to guard against the spread of influenza. Other local hospitals are also taking precautions because they fear the illness is growing worse in Los Angeles County, even as cases have begun to decline elsewhere in the state. Here are some other things you need to know about this season's flu: How bad is it? Pretty bad. So far, California has recorded 95 flu-related deaths in people under age 65. Health officials say it's likely another 51 deaths were also due to flu, but they're still checking out those cases.
SCIENCE
January 21, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
A rapidly mutating virus has leaped from plants to honeybees, where it is reproducing and contributing to the collapse of colonies vital to the multibillion-dollar agricultural industry, according to a new study. Tobacco ringspot virus, a pollen-borne pathogen that causes blight in soy crops, was found during routine screening of commercial honeybees at a U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory, where further study revealed the RNA virus was replicating inside its Apis mellifera hosts and spreading to mites that travel from bee to bee, according to the study published online Tuesday in the journal mBio.
NEWS
September 22, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times/For the Booster Shots blog
At first, it looked like a breakthrough in the fight against chronic fatigue syndrome. Researchers said they found a mouse retrovirus called XMRV in the 68% of blood samples collected from 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome , while only 4% of blood samples from 218 healthy controls had evidence of the same virus. The research team said it was strong evidence that XMRV had something to do with causing chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The report had added credibility because it was published in the prestigious journal Science.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
San Gabriel Valley officials are sounding the alarm on the West Nile virus after the latest case was discovered last week in a chicken flock. The infected flock was located in Claremont, and it was the latest in a series of West Nile virus cases reported in the region. Last month, positive tests were confirmed in samples taken from mosquitoes in the city of Arcadia and from three chicken flocks in Arcadia, Irwindale and Monterey Park, according to the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 10, 2014 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
"Helix," which begins Friday on Syfy, arrives under the flag of executive producer Ronald D. Moore, the re-creator of "Battlestar Galactica. " It's a step back for the network toward Moore's dark and deep drama from the semi-comical fantasies, C-movies and fairy-tale variations that have defined its slate of late; that is to say, it's a step forward. And if it doesn't match "Battlestar" for ambition or poetry or sparkling dialogue - to judge by the three hours available for review - it's well-made, solidly scary and disturbing all the same.
SCIENCE
January 9, 2014 | By Geoffrey Mohan
An antibody and toxin mix has successfully detected and killed HIV-infected cells lurking in the organs and bone marrow of mice that were altered to have a human immune system. The results, reported Thursday in the online journal PLOS Pathogens, offer conceptual proof that a reservoir of HIV-infected cells in organs can sought out and destroyed, a scenario that would potentially end the stalemate between the virus and antiretroviral drug therapies. The altered mice, developed about eight years ago, can be infected by the human immunodeficiency virus in an identical manner to humans; they exhibit the same viremia and respond the same way to current antiretroviral drug therapy, but do not come down with AIDS, according to the study.
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