universal vaccine

College Gothic

You reach into your mail slot to see if there’s any word. A hand grabs yours, sinking its nails into your flesh. “Hi, Daniel,” you say. He lets go.

Sitting in the library, an announcement comes over the speakers. “Do not leave anything or anyone unattended in the library.” You realize no one is there with you. How long have you been there?

Your alarm goes off for your first class. Getting ready to climb down from your lofted bed, you see the creature on your floor again. You decide to skip class.

You have to cross a bridge over the river to get to a class. The bridge collapsed years ago, and there’s no word when it will be fixed. You hear the screams of students as they fail to jump across.

There are only three classes offered at your university: defense, prevention, and vaccination. You’re failing all three.

In your last class of the day, the lecture hall is full. Not of people, though. No, they’re waiting in the hallway as terrified as you are of what’s sitting inside.

There have been no professors in several years. Somehow, everyone is able to learn. Somehow everyone’s minds are connected. You don’t question it. Neither do they.

Some people run on campus at night. They run during the day, too. They never stop running. Are they being chased? They look so tired.


Newly discovered “teenage” anti-body could mean knocking out HIV for good

An HIV vaccine could finally be on its way, thanks to the discovery of an immature antibody. Researchers discovered an odd antibody in a Chinese patient whose immune system could fight against the virus. The antibody looked a lot like the well-known VRC01 antibody, known to “broadly neutralize” HIV but it wasn’t fully developed, so the researchers called it a “teenage” antibody. How it could be “important for developing a universal HIV vaccine.“

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Inside America's secretive biolabs: Investigation Reveals Hundreds of Accidents, Safety Violations and Near Misses
A USA TODAY Network investigation reveals that hundreds of lab mistakes, safety violations and near-miss incidents have occurred in biological laboratories coast to coast in recent years, putting scientists, their colleagues and sometimes even the public at risk.

Vials of bioterror bacteria have gone missing. Lab mice infected with deadly viruses have escaped, and wild rodents have been found making nests with research waste. Cattle infected in a university’s vaccine experiments were repeatedly sent to slaughter and their meat sold for human consumption. Gear meant to protect lab workers from lethal viruses such as Ebola and bird flu has failed, repeatedly.

A USA TODAY Network investigation reveals that hundreds of lab mistakes, safety violations and near-miss incidents have occurred in biological laboratories coast to coast in recent years, putting scientists, their colleagues and sometimes even the public at risk.

Oversight of biological research labs is fragmented, often secretive and largely self-policing, the investigation found. And even when research facilities commit the most egregious safety or security breaches — as more than 100 labs have — federal regulators keep their names secret.

Of particular concern are mishaps occurring at institutions working with the world’s most dangerous pathogens in biosafety level 3 and 4 labs — the two highest levels of containment that have proliferated since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. Yet there is no publicly available list of these labs, and the scope of their research and safety records are largely unknown to most state health departments charged with responding to disease outbreaks. Even the federal government doesn’t know where they all are, the Government Accountability Office has warned for years.

A team of reporters who work for the USA TODAY Network of Gannett newspapers and TV stations identified more than 200 of these high-containment lab facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia operated by government agencies, universities and private companies. They’re scattered across the country from the heart of New York City to a valley in Montana; from an area near Seattle’s Space Needle to just a few blocks from Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza restaurant and shopping district.

High-profile lab accidents last year with anthrax, Ebola and bird flu at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the discovery of forgotten vials of deadly smallpox virus at the National Institutes of Health raised widespread concerns about lab safety and security nationwide and whether current oversight is adequate to protect workers and the public. Wednesday the Department of Defense disclosed one of its labs in Utah mistakenly sent samples of live anthrax – instead of killed specimens – to labs across the USA plus a military base in South Korea where 22 people are now being treated with antibiotics because of their potential exposure to the bioterror pathogen. As many as 18 labs in nine states received the samples, the CDC said Thursday. […]

At the high-containment labs identified by USA TODAY, experiments are underway involving drug-resistant tuberculosis, exotic strains of flu, the SARS and MERS viruses, plague, anthrax, botulism, ricin and the Ebola and Marburg hemorrhagic fever viruses, according to interviews and more than 20,000 pages of internal lab safety records and incident reports obtained from labs across the country. […]

31st May, Virginia Apgar

The Calendar Woman for 31st May is Virginia Apgar (1909-1974)

Virginia Apgar was an American obstetrical anaesthesiologist and the inventor of the Apgar score, a way to assess the health of a newborn baby straight after birth. She graduated from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she later became the first female professor, but was discouraged from practicing surgery by the University’s chairman of surgery and so further trained in anaesthesia. She introduced the Apgar test in 1953 which calculates a child’s condition one minute and five minutes after birth to check for anomalies or low scores.

Virginia spent much of her career dedicated to researching and lecturing about the health of babies. She was one of the first people to bring attention to the dangers of premature birth and was a loud advocate of universal vaccination to prevent mother-to-baby transmissions, particularly of rubella. She published over sixty scientific articles throughout her career as well as her book Is My Baby All Right? and was awarded with several honorary doctorates from college’s across America. In 1973 she became the recipient of the Alumni Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and was elected Woman of the Year in Science by the Ladies Home Journal.