April 23, 2014 |
Eleven new cases of the occasionally fatal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, were reported in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, two days after the nation's health minister was replaced. In the week ending Monday, 67 cases were reported of the SARS-like virus. One patient died in Riyadh on Monday, the same day that King Abdullah replaced minister Abdullah Rabeeah. Saudi official news outlets reported no specific reason for the ouster. Since the outbreak began in 2012, 272 people have been infected in the oil-rich kingdom, with 81 of them dying.
April 10, 2014 |
It's a flu virus so deadly that scientists once halted research on the disease because governments feared it might be used by terrorists to stage a biological attack. Yet despite the fact that the H5N1 avian influenza has killed 60% of the 650 humans known to be infected since it was identified in Hong Kong 17 years ago, the “bird flu” virus has yet to evolve a means of spreading easily among people. Now Dutch researchers have found that the virus needs only five favorable gene mutations to become transmissible through coughing or sneezing, like regular flu viruses.
April 9, 2014 |
Senegal has closed its borders with Guinea as West Africa braces against the spread of Ebola virus disease. The World Health Organization, which says the outbreak is presenting the toughest public health challenge in four years, has not recommended any trade and travel restrictions. Spread to Senegal is of particular concern because it is a leading tourist destination in the region, with arrivals topping 1 million in 2011, according to the World Bank. The outbreak has been blamed for 101 deaths in Guinea and 10 in Liberia.
March 20, 2014 |
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.
March 3, 2014 |
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.
February 26, 2014 |
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.