Category Archives: In the news

Obama Administration Takes Actions to Combat Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria | The White House

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing key Federal departments and agencies to take action to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  The Administration also released its National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. In addition, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is releasing a related report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance. The Administration also announced a $20 million prize, co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, to facilitate the development of rapid, point-of-care diagnostic tests for… Read More →

Phage therapy gets revitalized | Nature News & Comment

For decades, patients behind the Iron Curtain were denied access to some of the best antibiotics developed in the West. To make do, the Soviet Union invested heavily in the use of bacteriophages — viruses that kill bacteria — to treat infections. Phage therapy is still widely used in Russia, Georgia and Poland, but never took off elsewhere. “This is a virus, and people are afraid of viruses,” says Mzia Kutateladze, who is the head of the scientific council at the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, which has been… Read More →

First Global Drug Resistance Overview Paints Grim Picture | Science/AAAS

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented its first-ever global attempt to assess the spread of drug resistance today—and the results are sobering. Antimicrobial resistance “threatens the achievements of modern medicine,” warns the study, which shows that high rates of resistance occur in most parts of the world. “Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill,” wrote Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security,… Read More →

Food Safety Returns To Nature | Inside Science

Outbreaks of foodborne diseases carried by bacteria can be a nuisance at best, and deadly at worst. Researchers are looking into novel ways to keep food safe. One way to destroy these pathogens is with more pathogens. Bacteriophages are viruses that specifically attack bacteria. These phages, as researchers call them, have evolved alongside bacteria and become very good at what they do. Scientists are most interested in lytic phages – viruses that inject their DNA into a bacterium and then hijack the cell’s machinery to make new copies… Read More →

Fighting microbes with microbes | National Provisioner

Biopreservation encompasses a number of food-preservation strategies, ranging from ancient methods such as fermentation to modern technologies including bacteriocins and bacteriophages. In U.S. food industries today, biopreservation can be defined as the use of non-pathogenic microorganisms that antagonize or inhibit the growth of undesirable pathogenic and/or spoilage microbes through their metabolic activity or capacity to compete for nutrients or attachment niches, or the use of chemical compounds that have been fermented and then purified. Our discussion here will be limited to biopreservation incorporating the use of microorganisms that… Read More →

Cloning Around: When Cow Copies Compete – Modern Farmer

At the 2013 World Dairy Expo competition, the apple fell real close to the tree. The Grand Champion trophy went to a cloned cow named KHW Regiment Apple-3-Red-ETN, while second place went to her genetically identical source material, the original Apple-Red-ET. The winner’s owner, a then-17-year-old named Tyler Faber, came from a singular genetic strain himself — his father was president of Trans Ova Genetics, a company in the business of cloning cows. The judges hadn’t known about the clonage, but later claimed it broke no rules (it… Read More →

Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine

In case you missed it, Oct. 7–13 was designated Naturopathic Medicine Week, according to a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent. Among the reasons the Senate cited: Naturopathic physicians can help address the shortage of primary care providers in the United States. The profession of naturopathic medicine is dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations. Naturopathic medicine provides consumers in the United States with more choice in health care. Mikulski and the rest of the Senate may be… Read More →

CDC Threat Report 2013: Antimicrobial Resistance

This report, Antibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2013 gives a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs having the most impact on human health. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. Antibiotic-resistant infections can happen anywhere. Data show that… Read More →

How Simple Can Life Get? It’s Complicated

In the pageant of life, we are genetically bloated. The human genome contains around 20,000 protein-coding genes. Many other species get by with a lot less. The gut microbe Escherichia coli, for example, has just 4,100 genes. Scientists have long wondered how much further life can be stripped down and still remain alive. Is there a genetic essence of life? The answer seems to be that the true essence of life is not some handful of genes, but coexistence. E. coli has fewer genes than we do, in… Read More →

We need more new antibiotics

For desperately ill patients with serious, life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infections, access to new antibiotics is a matter of life and death. All across America, people are dying from bacterial infections that we used to be able to cure with antibiotics. Just this March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the public about a four-fold increase in one group of “nightmare bacteria,” carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which kills up to 50% of the people infected, and is on the rise. The annual impact of antibiotic resistant infections on the U.S…. Read More →