Microbiology professor dressed as Darth Vader makes front page of reddit.
Be proud bitches.
Can an antibiotic user fee reduce resistance?
The Infectious Diseases Society of America recently released a list of policy suggestions aimed at combating the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. One of their suggestions: Charge wholesale purchasers of antibiotics a user fee. Most of the money would go toward funding development of new antibiotics—something that Big Pharma doesn’t pay much attention to, because it isn’t terribly profitable. It’s an interesting idea, and one that Maryn McKenna (a journalist who specializes in antibiotic-resistant superbugs) thinks has merit.
At the DC event, Dr. Brad Spellberg, author of Rising Plague (about resistance and drug development), likened the fee to something you’d pay at the gate of a national park. “We need to think of antibiotics as a precious, limited resource, the way we think of forests and fisheries — something we protect and restore,” he said.
The interesting thing I see here: The proposed fee would be aimed at both medical andagricultural users. That’s a big deal. As several people pointed out during the Conference on World Affairs, the routine use of antibiotics on healthy animals is a major contributor to antibiotic resistance. So is the unnecessary use of antibiotics by humans—who often take these bacteria-centric drugs in response to viral disease, such as colds. Maybe a user fee would discourage people from using precious antibiotics as placebos. Maybe a higher user fee for agricultural users would discourage the frivolous use of antibiotics, and force farmers to find safer ways of raising animals.
New Survival Strategy for Bacteria
Researchers have uncovered a new way that some bacteria survive when under siege by antibiotics. Understanding this mechanism may be useful for designing drugs that target hard-to-treat bacterial strains, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis. Yuichi Wakamoto of the University of Tokyo and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne studied Mycobacterium smegmatis, a cousin of the microbe that causes TB, and its response to the TB drug isoniazid. This drug does not become active until it interacts with a key bacterial enzyme. The researchers determined that individual bacteria produce this enzyme in random bursts. In certain cells, there were periods in between pulses when enzyme conversion of the pro-drug was barely possible. Thus a few cells probably avoided being killed by the activated antibiotic.
Read more about this research from the 4 January issue of Science here.
[Image courtesy of Yuichi Wakamoto, Neeraj Dhar, John D. McKinney]
Should we fear avian H5N1 influenza?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Why is there such widespread fear of avian H5N1 influenza virus?
Why did Paul Keim, chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) say “I can’t think of another pathogenic organism that is as scary as this one”. What lead Donald McNeil, writing about H5N1 in the New York Times, to conclude that “In its natural form, it is known to have infected only about 600 people since its discovery in 1997, but it killed more than half of them.”
McNeil’s statement is incorrect. Yet it summarizes why Paul Keim, the NSABB, and many others fear the virus.
The problem is that we cannot say with any certainty that the virus has infected only about 600 people. What we do know is that among the 600 seriously ill individuals infected with influenza H5N1 who are admitted to hospital, over half of them die.
To know the fatality rate of avian H5N1 influenza virus in humans, we need to divide the number of fatalities by the number of infections. We do not know that last number – but there are hints that it could be quite large. In a recent study of rural Thai villagers, sera from 800 individuals were collected and analyzed for antibodies against several avian influenza viruses, including H5N1, by hemagglutination-inhibition and neutralization assays. The results indicate that 73 participants (9.1%) had antibody titers against one of two different H5N1 strains. The authors conclude that ‘people in rural central Thailand may have experienced subclinical avian influenza virus infections’. A subclinical infection is one without apparent signs of illness.
If 9% of the rural Asian population has been subclinically infected with avian H5N1 influenza virus strains, it would dramatically change our view of the pathogenicity of the virus. Extensive serological studies must be done to determine the extent of human infection with avian H5N1 influenza viruses.
Until we know how many individuals are infected with avian influenza H5N1, we must refrain from making dire conclusions about the pathogenicity of the virus. Doing so has only lead us down a dangerous path of fearing that H5N1 influenza virus might be used as a weapon of bioterrorism, and restricting the publication of scientific papers on the virus.
Khuntirat, B., Yoon, I., Blair, P., Krueger, W., Chittaganpitch, M., Putnam, S., Supawat, K., Gibbons, R., Pattamadilok, S., Sawanpanyalert, P., Heil, G., Friary, J., Capuano, A., & Gray, G. (2011). Evidence for Subclinical Avian Influenza Virus Infections Among Rural Thai Villagers Clinical Infectious Diseases, 53 (8) DOI: 10.1093/cid/cir525
Rains are a blessing as well as a curse for most of us. If we could control them and bring them on whenever we are in need of or keep them off as long as we desire, then, of course, rains would be a blessing. But as it is, man is helpless before nature. It follows its own pattern which is sometimes not to our liking.
THE AURA AND MICROBIO
Oh yeah! I’ts raining so Hard talaga now! Anlameeg and I want HUGS (yes, madaming hug) lelz! Oo nga, kulang pa ang INIT na ibinibigay ni mr.comforter sa aking katawan eh. Just kidding, by the way, NATULOY pala yung exam namin kanina sa MICROBIO huhuhu! Ang hirap nung exam huh, SUPER ARAL kami sa lahat ng given chapters pero nagfocus lang sa isang chapter. Kainis lang dre no? Alam mo yung feeling na subsob ka sa pag-aaral then malalaman mong ganun lang yung exam? Sana nagfocus na lang ako dun sa last chapter para nasagutan ko lahat ng tama ang exam. Pero infairness naman sa exam ni Madam, napakabrief and concise talaga niya, 1 page lang nga yung exam eh. Pero mahirap talaga siya indeed. Sana nga makapasa kaming lahat.
BIOCHEM EXAM POSTPONEMENT
Oo! Lagi na lang napopostponed mga exams namin! Haizt! Sayang nung momentum and willingness namin kanina na makapagexam na. Kahit ‘di ko man namaster lahat yung concepts at least may alam pa din ako kahit katiting at syempre may sinumpaan na kami na magtutulungan kami sa pagsagot ng exam. Sa kasamaang palad ‘di naman nga natuloy, effort lang dre?Ang reason ni madam ay para makauwi na agad ang mga classmate kong nasa malalayongmplaces kasi nga super ulan ang drama ng panahon dito sa Bicol para makaiwas na din sila sa traffick then syempre for our safety din naman. Sa totoo talaga, madami yung pag-aaralan, almost 50 pages din yun na hand-outs eh. Andami no? Ang hirap ng talaga ng biochem. Sa saturday na lang yung exam. Good luck na lang sa amin, sana makapasa ULIT! Good Vibes lang tayo!:D
Ayun lang naman ang nangyari sa thursday ko! Muwaah! Ciao!
“Hindi kayang tumbasan ng isang libong mababait na tao ang pagmamahal ng isang taong minsan lang magseryoso.” Good Night!:D
Embarcadero de Legazpi