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How a House Finch Disease Reshaped What We Know About Epidemics

One team of researchers was able to study a highly virulent disease in House Finches. Their recent paper in PLOS Biology sheds light on what makes some disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, more harmful than others.

Published
30 January 2014
From
Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Bursting HIV’s bubble

HIV has a fatty outer membrane similar to that surrounding a living cell. This membrane probably acts like a balloon—in other words the pressure inside it is greater than the pressure outside it. That means it can be burst, which is what some scientists believe provides the driving force by which a virus injects its genetic material into a cell in order to infect it.

Published
18 October 2013
From
The Economist
Cocaine May Fuel HIV Acquisition and Its Spread Between Cells

Cocaine may increase an individual’s likelihood of acquiring HIV, by stimulating a pair of receptors on inactive CD4 cells. The findings are limited by the fact that the research was not conducted in humans and also because typical cocaine users partake of the drug over a more extended period of time than in the experiment.

Published
16 October 2013
From
AIDSMeds
Mass administration of schistosomiasis drug can cut HIV

Mass administration of praziquantel — a highly effective and low-cost drug for schistosomiasis treatment — targeting school-age children has the potential to reduce new HIV infections in young women, according to a modelling study that focused on Zimbabwe.

Published
23 September 2013
From
Sci Dev Net
Analysis: In search of less a deadly syringe

To someone who has never injected illicit drugs, all syringes may look similar, but recent research out of the US shows differences in design can be “dramatic” and may slow the spread of HIV infections. Better syringe design could “nearly eradicate global HIV [injecting drug user-related] infections within eight years”, according to some.

Published
12 September 2013
From
IRIN
Levels of HIV-Target Macrophages in Rectum May Facilitate Infection

Rectal tissue contains more than 3 times as many macrophages vulnerable to HIV than does the colon, according to results of an in situ fluorescence study in healthy volunteers. The study also identified other important differences in HIV target cells between colon and rectum.

Published
13 August 2013
From
International AIDS Society
Platelets block HIV

Infection biologists of the German Primate Center (DPZ) under the direction of Stefan Pöhlmann have found evidence that platelets (thrombocytes) might constitute an innate defense against infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Published
24 July 2013
From
Medical Xpress
Why HIV That Transmits Is More Infectious and Resilient

HIV that transmits successfully is particularly resistant to the human immune response and is also structured to better access and enter immune cells

Published
04 April 2013
From
AIDSMeds
Contraceptive injections and HIV infection risk – a public health conundrum

The concerns about a possible increase in risk of HIV acquisition with some hormonal contraceptive methods need to be understood in the context of the

Published
10 March 2013
By
Roger Pebody
HIV exploits a human cytokine in semen to promote its own transmission

A new report suggests that the concentration of one human cytokine, interleukin 7 (IL-7), in the semen of HIV-1-infected men may be a key determinant of the efficiency of HIV-1 transmission to an uninfected female partner.

Published
07 March 2013
From
EurekAlert (press release)
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