Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health have made a critical breakthrough toward developing a vaccine for the 2019 novel coronavirus by creating the first 3D atomic scale map of the part of the virus that attaches to and infects human cells.
The organization of genetic information in most bacteria – long thought to occur in a single ordered, segmented ring – turns out to more closely mimic a spaghetti noodle: shifting, balling up and twisting in ways scientists previously had not grasped. The finding by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, appears today in Cell, with implications for cancer and bacterial infectious disease research, as well as our most basic understanding about the structure of all living cells.
Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China and France have concluded there is a high probability that the deadly Wuhan coronavirus spread beyond Wuhan and other quarantined cities before Chinese officials were able to put a quarantine in place. At least 128 cities in China outside of the quarantine zone, including cities with no reported cases to date, had a greater than even risk of exposure, according to a paper currently in press with Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biofilms – tightly packed sticky blobs of many bacteria – are a huge problem in the medical world. Biofilms can form on joint replacements and medical equipment, they cause long-term infections in lungs and urinary tracts, and, according to Centers for Disease Control estimates, are responsible for 1.7 million infections in U.S. hospitals every year – and 99,000 deaths.
As antibiotic-resistant bacteria, like MRSA and resistant strains of tuberculosis and gonorrhea, become more prevalent, health officials are wondering how long antibiotics will be able to hold up against their bacterial foes. And what comes next?
An experimental vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), one of the leading causes of infectious disease deaths in infants, has shown early promise in a Phase 1 human clinical trial. A team of researchers, including The University of Texas at Austin's Jason McLellan, report today in the journal Science that one dose of their vaccine candidate elicited large increases in RSV-neutralizing antibodies that were sustained for several months.
Last year, Texas saw a particularly deadly flu season. Now, there is a new Federal Drug Administration-approved treatment, Xofluza, designed to catch the flu in its early stages and stop it from spreading. The drug is thanks in large part to professor emeritus Robert Krug's basic research, undertaken almost 40 years ago.