Viruses, small infectious agents that replicate only inside the living cells of other organisms, have been around for billions of years. They can infect all types of life forms, from microorganisms, plants and animals to humans. It has been estimated that there are 10 to the power of 31 viruses on Earth, but humans don’t just live in a viral world, we are also part virus ourselves. Viruses actually comprise up to the 8% of the human genome and these so called endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) represent ancient viral infections that became integrated into the human genome.
The combination of drug misuse, reductions in antimicrobial research by the pharmaceutical industry, and the rapid evolution capabilities of microorganisms has resulted in pathogenic bacteria with stronger and stronger drug resistance. This is an issue that some fear if not handled correctly, could lead to the evolution of a “superbug” that is resistant to everything in our arsenal.
Zika virus has rapidly expanded during the last year in Brazil and currently the outbreaks are occurring in several countries and territories. While following preventive measures is extremely important to limit the spread, finding a reliable field diagnostic test is equally important. And it looks like we got one!
To many, it is coming off as a far-fetched dream, but aerial technology company EHang, and Lung Biotechnology, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical company United Therapeutics, have announced a new collaboration consisting of a 15-year plan to produce and utilize 1,000 unmanned drones for the transportation of manufactured transplant organs.
With all the talk about it in the scientific community, there is probably no surprise that this is yet another article discussing CRISPR. However, this may be one of the most profound discussions around the technology as it involves what could arguably be the potential flagship use of the gene editing tool – human therapy.
Lately, a major step forward has been made in using CRISPR technology in neurosciences. Over the past few years, scientists have been using gene sequencing to uncover genes that are important in brain development and in neurological diseases. The next step is to figure out if disrupting these genes can cause any of these diseases.
Metabolic studies investigating the mechanics of cancer cell proliferation have been critical to understanding resource allocation driving tumorigenesis. Generally, proliferating cells eschew efficient energy production in favour of metabolic pathways that generate the essential macromolecular building blocks necessary to grow in size and number, classically termed the Warburg effect.
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in the world. It is a tick-borne illness that afflicts around 60,000 people worldwide every year. Although the mortality rate is low, the diagnosis is complex as doctors must rely upon highly variable symptoms and indirect measures of infection when offering diagnoses.