General biology

Category archives for General biology

Student guest post by Anne Dressler The idea of evolutionary medicine is new to me and my understanding is quite shallow but it has piqued my interest. Currently, the book “Why We Get Sick” by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams has been satisfying my curiosity during the 15 minutes of intellectual thought I…

What is the Hygiene Hypothesis?

Guest post by Zainab Khan In most western countries, germs have become synonymous with the idea of something bad that needs to be killed as quickly as possible. However, people have long been questioning the validity of these ideas; a few decades ago it was hypothesized that not enough exposure to germ can and does…

Over at DailyKos, DemfromCT has an excellent post explaining why it may be beneficial for schools to close temporarily, even if they only have one confirmed case of swine influenza: H1N1: Why Do Schools Close, And When Do They Open? DarkSyde also has one up on the basic biology and evolution of the flu. Nick…

Nick Anthis has a very nice (and very readable!) overview of why flu viruses (including the new A/H1N1 strain) are resistant to adamantane, one of the antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza infections.

Back in 2007, I wrote about an outbreak of swine influenza from an Ohio county fair. The peer-reviewed paper analyzing the swine influenza isolated from that outbreak has just recently come out. From the abstract: The swine isolate, A/SW/OH/511445/2007 (OH07), was evaluated in an experimental challenge and transmission study reported here. Our results indicate that…

…asked Joe. Answer: only a few days to sequence, clean up the data, and submit to NCBI. Seven H1N1 swine flu sequences are up (H/T Jonathan Eisen). I’ve not had a chance to crack anything open yet, but I hope to see some analysis from more of the genomics geeks soon…However, one bummer is that…

Over the last 24 hours, I’ve received a few comments and even more emails asking about or discussing the possibility of a “cytokine storm” triggered by the H1N1 swine flu reassortant. Is this what’s happening in the cases from Mexico? Discussion after the jump…

Sorry for the radio silence–I’ve been working on grants and manuscripts like a fiend, and so have tried to limit as many distractions as possible (which, unfortunately, includes blogging). However, the swine flu news is right up my alley, so I do just want to say a few words about it, and point you to…

MRSA ST398 in US swine

A little over a year ago I put a post up documenting research out of Canada which found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Canadian pigs. This had also been seen in Europe (with a lot of research coming out of the Netherlands). What I didn’t note at the time was that we were gearing up…

Ebola in pigs! [UPDATED]

I’ve mentioned repeatedly how little we know about Ebola ecology–what the reservoir host(s) are, how it’s transmitted to humans (and other species), why it causes outbreaks when it does. We know even less about the Reston subtype of Ebola, which–in contrast to the Zaire, Sudan, Ivory Coast, and Bundibugyo subtypes, originated in Asia and was…