Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Viruses

A recent, must-read article for anyone concerned about the problem of misuse of antibiotics to treat viral bronchitis, not to mention anyone who prescribes antibiotics, was recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The short version: giving patients antibiotics to treat viral pneumonia is dangerous for the patients themselves (never mind the evolutionary consequences of increasing…

Viruses That Parasitize Viruses?

Welcome to the world of virophage–viruses that parasitize other viruses. What’s interesting is that the ‘host’ viruses are the megaviruses which are visible with light microscopy and which have genomes that can be larger than some bacteria. From Science:

In a Journal of Infectious Diseases commentary about this article, there’s a fascinating discussion of the relationship between the HTLV-1 virus, which can cause T-cell leukemia in about one percent of those infected, and gastric cancer caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. And it’s not what you would expect.

Influenza and Money

According to a recent Applied and Environmental Microbiology paper, influenza viruses are able to survive on banknotes. Lookie, bar graphs:

Nonoptimal Virulence and Avian Influenza

Several people have argued that if an influenza pandemic were to occur, it will rapidly evolve to become less virulent–that is less deadly. A recent paper explains why this might be wrong.

A survey of Florida teens’ sexual health knowledge yielded some very disturbing results:

When I started blogging, I never (EVAH!) thought I would describe the biology of E. coli with a Tolkein poem:

No, that’s accurate:

Anti-Vax Idiocy Gets Mainstreamed by ABC TV

I’m posting about this because I want Orac‘s head to explode. Apparently, the first episode of the ABC legal drama, “Eli Stone”, involves the protagonist taking up the mercury militia, anti-vax cause:

Olivia Judson describes what it would take to prevent almost all rabies deaths from Africa (rabies currently kills around 55,000 people annually):