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Biology 203 - Microbiology

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Microbes in the News

1. Oncolytic Viruses - viruses that can be used to treat cancer (ASM News, September 2002)

Summary: Viruses can be modified to attack only cancerous cells, making them an ideal tool for the treatment of cancer since they do not attack healthy cells. 

2. Chronic Wasting Disease  - a real threat (Press Republican, October 2002)


          Summary: CWD is a wasting disease of deer and elk, and is thought to be caused by prions - infectious 

            protein particles.     More details

3. Bacterial infection linked to migraine headaches (Press Republican, April 2002)

         Summary: In a recent report, a strong correlation was shown between infections by Helicobacter pylori

         (bacteria that can cause peptic ulcers) and migraines, backing up previous research. More details

4. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome linked to infection (AP, April 29, 2002)

          Infections with E. coli may be to blame for cases of SIDS, shows some recent research. 

5. Baffling Black Blob Found Floating Near Florida Coast (CNN, April 2002)

          Summary: A large mass of what appears to be diatoms - a type of eukaryotic microorganism - was seen on

          satellite photos of the Florida coast. More details

6. First drug to actually shorten the Common Cold in the Making (Associated Press, December 12, 2001). 

Summary: Pleconaril, a drug which binds to the outer surface of a group of viruses known as picornaviruses, has been shown to interfere with the virus' ability to attach to and infect cells, thus shortening the symptoms of the common cold by a full day.

7. Microbes on Mars? (Sky & Telescope, April 1999)

Summary: It has been years since NASA researchers announced possible signs of fossil bacteria in a             rock from Mars. Today the jury is still out -- and the evidence has grown more cloudy. More on this story

8. Ebola Outbreak in Gabon (MSNBC, December 10, 2001)

Summary - To date, at least 10 people have died in a recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in this West African country. More of the story at MSNBC. (contributes by. A. Gramlich)

9. Dangerous Fungi Live for Weeks on Hospital Items (Reuters Health, 9/27/01) 

Summary - see Yahoo News (contributed by D. Bombard)


10. Prions, cause of 'Mad Cow Disease', imaged by X-ray crystallography (AP, September 3, 2001) 

Summary: Researchers at Case Western Reserve University shows prions, proteins that normally occur in humans, linked pair-wise in what is thought to be an intermediate step in converting normal proteins to the abnormal form.


11. Searching for unusual microbes at toxic waste (Superfund) sites (AP, August 26, 2001)

Summary: Researchers at Rutgers University are hoping to strike paydirt by looking for microbes that may have the ability to detoxify polluted soils.


12. Food companies search for bacterial killers (Press Republican June 26, 2001)

Summary: Prunes can kill E. coli bacteria in ground beef. Cinnamon will do the same thing in juice. Salt helps kill a pathogen that contaminates chicken.


13. African Dust sending germs across ocean (Associated Press, June 29, 2001)

Summary: Dust clouds blown across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa can carry viable bacteria and fungal spores. The dust cloud itself apparently protects the microbes from being destroyed by the UV radiation.


14. Special coating kills germs, researchers claim (Press Republican, May 22, 2001)

Summary: A coating of hexyl-PVP was applied to glass slides which were then sprayed with solutions of E. coli, Staph. aureus or Pseudomonas. 94 - 99% of the bacteria were killed.


This page was last edited on 10/04/02 .

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