News & Perspective

Sep 20, 2001

Sep 20, 2001

New prion assay suggests ophthalmic surgical instruments could transmit vCJD

(CIDRAP News) – A new immunoblot method for detecting prion protein related to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is much more sensitive than existing bioassay techniques, according to a recent report in The Lancet. The new assay revealed significant amounts of prion protein in the eye tissue of vCJD patients, prompting researchers to suggest that ophthalmic surgical instruments may pose a risk of transmitting the disease.

Oct 09, 2001

Oct 09, 2001

Plague genome suggests organism evolved from gut to blood pathogen

Oct 10, 2001 (CIDRAP News) – Genetic mapping of Yersinia pestis, the agent that causes plague, indicates that the organism used numerous genes collected from other bacteria and viruses to change from a relatively innocuous enteric pathogen into a lethal bloodborne pathogen, according to a report in the Oct 4 issue of Nature.

Oct 25, 2001

Oct 25, 2001

Studies raise hopes for invention of drugs to block anthrax toxin

Oct 25 (CIDRAP News) – Two studies published online by Nature this week help explain how anthrax toxin works, possibly paving the way for the development of drugs that could block the toxin's action. One group of researchers explains how it identified the cell-surface receptor that enables anthrax toxin to invade host cells, while another group describes the precise molecular structure of a key component of the toxin.

Dec 03, 2001

Dec 03, 2001

Study says risk of BSE in US is low, but USDA contemplates more precautions

(CIDRAP News) – A new study commissioned by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that the risk of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) occurring in the United States is extremely low, but USDA officials who released the study said they are considering taking steps to lower the risk further.

Dec 17, 2001

Dec 17, 2001

Early in a smallpox outbreak, each patient could infect 10 to 12 more

(CIDRAP News) – If bioterrorists released smallpox virus today, each person who contracted the disease could infect as many as 10 to 12 more before health authorities would recognize the disease and act to contain it, according to experts writing in the Dec 13 issue of Nature.

Jan 24, 2002

Jan 24, 2002

Global network of personal computers to hunt for anthrax antidote

(CIDRAP News) – British and American scientists have teamed up with several technology corporations in seeking to enlist personal-computer (PC) owners from around the world in the hunt for a molecule that can keep the anthrax toxin out of human cells.

Feb 11, 2002

Feb 11, 2002

USDA launches Web site for predicting behavior of foodborne pathogens

(CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set up a new Web site to help food scientists develop and use mathematical models to predict how pathogenic bacteria in food will behave under varying environmental conditions.

Feb 28, 2002

Feb 28, 2002

GAO says US barriers to mad cow disease are full of holes

Note: This story was updated March 1, 2002, to include additional information about recent federal actions to prevent mad cow disease.

Mar 13, 2002

Mar 13, 2002

Fruits of computer hunt for anthrax antitoxin turned over to Defense Department

(CIDRAP News) – Data on more than 300,000 proteins that may have potential as treatments for anthrax—the fruits of a project in which thousands of personal computers were used to analyze billions of molecules—have been turned over to the US and United Kingdom governments.

Mar 25, 2002

Mar 25, 2002

In simulated smallpox attack, vaccine shortage crippled national response

(CIDRAP News) – It is 13 days since the emergence of a hypothetical smallpox epidemic caused by the release of virus in three US shopping malls. Some 16,000 cases have been reported, 1,000 people have died, and the nation is running out of vaccine. Hospitals are overflowing, and federal and state officials are at odds over how to contain the epidemic.

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