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NEWS
August 15, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Viruses are tricky for a host of reasons: There are many different types, so a drug that fights one may not fight another. They use our cells' own machinery to replicate, so often drugs that would fight them would be toxic to our bodies. Plus they replicate in huge numbers, and often sloppily -- producing many new forms. If one of those rare new forms happens to be resistant to an anti-viral drug, it will have a selective advantage and multiply -- and pretty soon you have a drug-resistant strain on your hands.
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WORLD
April 26, 2014 | By Laura King
CAIRO - With the appearance of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, in the Arab world's most populous country, health officials face a tough new challenge in confronting the often lethal virus. Egypt's Ministry of Health said Saturday that the country's first case had been discovered, identifying the patient as a 27-year-old Egyptian man who had been living and working in Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. He was placed in quarantine at a Cairo hospital immediately upon his return.
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NEWS
September 20, 2011 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
An extract from sharks seems to fight a broad array of viruses, according to a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The chemical, called squalamine, was discovered in 1993 by Dr. Michael Zasloff, now at Georgetown University Medical Center and the lead investigator of the paper. He's been studying it ever since, mostly for its immune properties. Working with a variety of scientists at Georgetown, UCLA and elsewhere, Zasloff and his colleagues tested the ability of squalamine to fight off infections by a variety of viruses including dengue virus, yellow fever and hepatitis A, B and D. Some of the experiments were done in tissue culture cells of various types: human liver cells for the hepatitis viruses, for example, and human blood vessel cells for the dengue virus.  In other cases, such as yellow fever and cytomegalovirus, the tests were done in hamsters and mice.
WORLD
April 26, 2014 | By Laura King
CAIRO - Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has come to Egypt. State television said Saturday that the country's first case had been discovered. It said the patient, who was hospitalized in Cairo, had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first identified. Saudi Arabia had announced hours earlier that the death toll in the kingdom had reached 92. In addition, an Indonesian man who had traveled to Saudi Arabia died Friday after returning home, and the virus has been found elsewhere in the Middle East, including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
BUSINESS
November 18, 1996 | GREG MILLER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
After last week's column mentioned IBM's new anti-virus Web site, two Pasadena-based virus researchers wrote to point out that they too have a Web site devoted to debunking myths about computer viruses. The site is the creation of George Smith, editor of the anti-virus Crypt Newsletter, and Bob Rosenberger, a virus myths researcher. In addition to providing information about virus hoaxes, the site is in the midst of soliciting votes for the "1996 John McAfee Awards for Computer Virus Hysteria."
SCIENCE
September 25, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Good news, pimple poppers: The solution to your acne problem may already be all over your face. A new study has found that a specific group of benign viruses that live alongside zit-causing bacteria have the power to stop acne before it starts. The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes generally causes acne, which lives inside skin pores. When people hit puberty, an increase in hormones leads to a drastic increase in P. acnes , which in turn causes an inflammatory response on the skin.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 9, 2000
Re "Fast-Moving Virus Hits Computers Worldwide," May 5: What a shame! I wish I had a thimbleful of the talent those individuals who write viruses have. I could do so much more with my life, using it to better things instead of damaging things. They are the graffiti vandals of the Internet industry, causing so much frustration. RORY O'BRIEN Manhattan Beach For all the media attention given to the latest virus, it's amazing how little is said about this fundamental fact: that computer viruses are carefully conceived and written by a human being with the specific intent to cause damage.
NEWS
October 6, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
Here's a posting from the "ick" files. Scientsts are now delving into an uncharted environment to study human and other viruses: raw sewage. In a study published Tuesday in the online journal mBio, researchers from the U.S. and Spainfound that untreated human wastewater -- "the effluence of society," they wrote -- contains an incredible diversity of viruses ... and that the vast majority are viruses we hadn't known of before. Click for the abstract . At this point, biologists know of about 3,000 different viruses, representing 84 different viral families -- but they suspect that those known bugs are just the tip of the iceberg.
NEWS
September 9, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
A new villain has taken over movies, but this one doesn't have razor-sharp fangs and didn't arrive in a spaceship. It can, however, reproduce at astronomical rates and loves to mutate. Viruses are the hottest bad guys on the big and small screens, multiplying with abandon in films such as "Contagion" (opening Friday), this summer's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and any recent zombie-centric movie or TV show like AMC's "The Walking Dead. " They're an excellent cinematic expression of evil--invisible to the naked eye, they kill scores with no remorse.
NEWS
September 20, 2011 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Two new recipients of the MacArthur fellowships -- the so-called genius awards that provide $500,000 each to recipients to help them pursue any projects they like -- will use their prize money to delve into the inner workings of some of nature's tiniest structures: viruses and stem cells. Elodie Ghedin, a 44-year-old genomics scientist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, decodes the genomes of pathogens such as parasites and viruses to understand how they adapt to their hosts and evolve.
WORLD
April 23, 2014 | By Sherif Tarek
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 1989 | From staff and wire reports
Scientists reported last week that the concentration of viruses in a German lake may be up to 10 million times greater than previously thought, a finding that shakes existing views on dynamics of underwater life. Norwegian researchers detected 1.25 billion viruses in about a teaspoonful of water from a West German lake--a level 1,000 to 10 million times greater than prior estimates. The microscopic viruses are a type that preys on bacteria and is not known to infect animals or humans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 2, 1991 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Japanese researchers have demonstrated that a human virus called HTLV-1 can cause rheumatoid arthritis in mice. Experts said the discovery provides strong proof that viruses can cause arthritis. HTLV-1 is a so-called retrovirus, closely related to the AIDS virus, that is capable of inserting its own genetic information into the genes of its host during an infection. It causes leukemia and at least two rare degenerative nerve disorders.
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.
WORLD
December 19, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
A mosquito-borne virus usually restricted to Africa and Asia has been detected for the first time in the Western Hemisphere, with 10 confirmed cases on the French side of the Caribbean island of St. Martin, U.S. authorities have warned. With the winter travel season in full swing through the holidays, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for those headed to the tourist playgrounds. The chikungunya virus in spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes and can cause " debilitating illness , most often characterized by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash and joint pain," the CDC said on its website.
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