Fresh from the Christmas Party, I woke up today and headed out to go into the office. However, the weather was so perfect that I felt the need to spend just a bit of time outside before sitting in a cubicle all day, and so instead of walking to the bus stop I instead walked over to the promenade near Belcher Bay in Kennedy Town–a short, 10 minute walk from my apartment building–and sat at the waterfront enjoying the relatively warm sunshine for a bit, as well as the company of several fishermen and an elderly couple.
In the lab, things were entirely back to normal. Which is to say, I faced the usual lack of progress on my project.
In other news, there has been a notable lack of chicken in the grocery store I usually shop at recently, and I’m just now realizing that it is likely due to the H7N9, and more recept H10N8, bird flu scare that has killed several people here lately.
As an aside, the H and N designation in flu strains arise, respectively, from the neuraminidase and hemagglutinin proteins on the flu virus capsid. These proteins are extremely variable across flu types because they are highly mutagenic, but their core function in the viral “life cycle” is relatively universal: hemagglutinin binds the flu virus to the cell it is going to infect, while neuraminidase subsequently allows the release of new viruses from the infected cell.
As we sit and eat lunch every day in Queen Mary Hospital, where bird flu patients are treated, I try not to think about these things, and just focus on the black fungus, or whatever, that is in my dish for the day.