The Zika news in the US and South America
Millions of Zika battling genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes are ready to be released in Florida, US, after the public vote of the November US elections was in favor of starting the test-trial in the area.
A unique viral strain deemed Pandoravirus was discovered that spans a staggering 1 µm in diameter, beating the previous record holder by two-fold. The viral giant also possesses the largest viral genome ever discovered, most of which cannot be traced back to any of the existing domains of life.
Scientists are making discoveries that change the way we live. Have you ever asked yourself about the revolutionary discoveries that have made a huge impact on our scientific way of thinking and our everyday life?
For more than a year one third of the world has been highly concerned about the Zika virus outbreak and Splice has covered amazing achievements regarding Zika infection. These days it is one of the main newspaper topics because of the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics in Brazil, the country where most of the cases of Zika infection were reported.
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.
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!
Meet Prof. Dr. Tatjana Avšič, the leading scientist behind the first proof of the association between Zika virus and microcephaly in the world.
Brazil is in a state of emergency. Since October 2015 the number of infants born with microcephaly increased more than 10 times compared to previous years. Microcephaly is a rare condition when babies are born with an unusually small head and brain injury. Health authorities believe that the condition is associated with Zika virus which is being carried by mosquitos.
A discovery which may lead to the elimination of Ebola infections was published in Nature Chemistry a few days ago. The investigators reported that giant fullerene system inhibits the cell infection by an artificial Ebola virus.
There is a lot of bad publicity around genetic engineering, especially when it comes to the genetic modification of plants and animals. Most opponents of genetic engineering claim that inserting foreign genes into other organism’s genome is unnatural and dangerous.