11/21/2013 - 11:43

Mice given a drug commonly used in patients to fight systemic fungal infections more often succumb to what would otherwise be a mild case of the flu. The evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on November 21st shows that the drug called Amphotericin B, which has an estimated $330 million in sales around the world each year, can render a protein important for antiviral defense ineffective in both cells and mice.


09/22/2013 - 11:00

Scientists have moved closer to developing a universal flu vaccine after using the 2009 pandemic as a natural experiment to study why some people seem to resist severe illness.  Researchers at Imperial College London asked volunteers to donate blood samples just as the swine flu pandemic was getting underway and report any symptoms they experienced over the next two flu seasons.  They found that those who avoided severe illness had more CD8 T cells, a type of virus-killing immune cell, in their blood at the start of the pandemic.


06/19/2013 - 08:54

Researchers with the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute have revealed new information about the latest strain of type A influenza, known as H7N9, in a report in the journal PLOS Currents: Outbreaks.


05/31/2013 - 11:26

A unique form of pink eye found in some songbird species has given researchers insight into how disease virulence – or severity of harm to the host – evolves in conjunction with a susceptible population’s density and/or disease resistance. These findings may help scientists understand and predict the impacts of highly contagious human diseases, like SARS or flu.


04/08/2013 - 10:30

Scientists have described small genetic changes that enable the H5N1 bird flu virus to replicate more easily in the noses of mammals. So far there have only been isolated cases of bird flu in humans, and no widespread transmission as the H5N1 virus can’t replicate efficiently in the nose. The new study, using weakened viruses in the lab, supports the conclusions of controversial research published in 2012 which demonstrated that just a few genetic mutations could enable bird flu to spread between ferrets, which are used to model flu infection in humans.


02/13/2013 - 12:24

Outbreaks of disease in wildlife may seem remote and, for most humans, inconsequential. But disease events that arise in wild animal populations can be far-reaching and can even pose a threat to humans and domestic animals far removed from the source of animal affliction. New strains of flu, for example, often arise in birds and are first detected in surveys of waterfowl long before they begin to infect domestic animals and humans.