Immunology

Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine, the injected polio vaccine (IPV), that fell out of favor in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease, according to new research.

The injected polio vaccine is rarely used today, it lost in competition against the oral polio vaccine (OPV), but it could provide better and longer lasting protection against infection if used in combination with the more commonly used live OPV, write researchers from Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, today in The Lancet.


The child known as the "Mississippi baby", an infant cured of HIV in a case study published in The New England Journal of Medicine last fall, now has detectable levels of HIV after more than two years without taking antiretroviral therapy and without evidence of virus, according to the pediatric HIV specialist and researchers involved in the case.  


Researchers have discovered the link between antibiotics and bacterial biofilm formation leading to chronic lung, sinus and ear infections. Bacterial biofilms can actually thrive, rather than decrease, when given low doses of antibiotics.

 Biofilms are highly structured communities of microorganisms that attach to one another and to surfaces. The microorganisms group together and form a slimy, polysaccharide cover. This layer is highly protective for the organisms within it, and when new bacteria are produced they stay within the slimy layer. With the introduction of antibiotic-produced glycogen, the biofilms have an almost endless food source that can be used once antibiotic exposure has ended.


Molecular microbiologists have discovered that mice lacking a specific component of the immune system are completely resistant to sepsis, a potentially fatal complication of infection.

The immune system is the body's first line of defense against infection. The system, however, can also injure the body if it is not turned off after the infection is destroyed, or if it is turned on when there is no infection at all. Scientists do not yet fully understand how the immune response is turned on and off and continue to study it in hopes of harnessing its power to cure disease.

In this study, scientists have found that a component of the system, HOIL-1L, is necessary for formation of the NLRP3-ASC inflammasome signaling complex.


Ask an older person what it is like to be under the constant threat of infectious disease. They love vaccines and they love antibiotics because everyone once knew someone who was crippled or died due to an inability to prevent or cure serious illnesses.

But it won't be wealthy progressive elites who send us back to a "Dark Ages of medicine" with their anti-vaccine fad, warned UK Prime Minister David Cameron last week, it is more likely be the growing threat of resistance to antibiotics.

Since 1945, when penicillin became a widespread treatment, humanity has had a relatively easy time of things. But in the modern biological arms race, microbes are developing resistance to existing antibiotics faster than our regulatory system can approve new ones.

Some viruses can hide in our bodies for decades. How do they escape notice and destruction? They have 'fake' human proteins that trick our immune cells into thinking they belong. 


The H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as 'swine flu', has remained a hot topic in science and culture. The science and medical community, including former FDA deputy commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, criticized the Obama admiinistration for not allowing multi-dose vials of vaccines because they contained thimerosal, which had been one of the reasons during the 2008 campaign season that Senator Obama hinted he believed vaccines caused autism. The anti-immigration contingent blamed international air travel.


Rifampicin and related drugs are important antibiotics in the "drug cocktail" that cures tuberculosis in about 6 months. But two forms of tuberculosis, referred to as "multi-drug-resistant," or MDR, and "extensively drug-resistant," or XDR, have become resistant to rifampicin.

In 1993, resurging levels of tuberculosis due to antibiotic resistance led the World Health Organization to declare it a global health emergency. Today more than 1 million people around the world are dying each year from tuberculosis.


Moderate to severe diarrhea (MSD) is a major cause of childhood mortality in developing countries and ranks as one of the top four causes of death among young children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. In a finding that may one day help control this major cause of death among children in developing countries, a team has identified microorganisms that may trigger diarrheal disease and others that may protect against it.

These microbes were not widely linked to the condition previously and a much better understanding of these interactions is important because they could lead to possible dietary interventions.  


Honeybees are a key pollinating insect, associated with around $40 billion in crops. In recent years, there were higher than normal colony losses (colony collapse disorder) has been a concern. Environmentalist have focused on neonicotinoid pesticides while science has believed it is a combination of weather and parasites.