Soviet Doctors Cured Infections With Viruses, and Soon Yours Might Too

In the Soviet Union, western antibiotics couldn't make it past the Iron Curtain. So Eastern Bloc doctors figured out how to use viruses to kill infectious bacteria. Now, with antibiotic-resistant bugs vexing doctors, that eerie yet effective method might come our way. In post-antibiotic world, infection cures you! » 6/07/14 4:51pm 6/07/14 4:51pm

Creating Mutated Versions Of Viruses Not Worth The Risk, Say Scientists

In the wake of an experiment to see if a mutated form of the H5N1 bird flu could be made transmissible to humans, a pair of biologists are now speaking out about the potential risks posed by such endeavors; they say there's a much greater chance that these viruses could escape from the lab than we've been led to… » 5/21/14 2:20pm 5/21/14 2:20pm

Scientists Say The Time's Not Right To Eliminate The Smallpox Virus

There's a conference coming up in which a decision is to be made on whether the last known remaining live strains of the smallpox virus should be destroyed. In anticipation of this, an international group of scientists are saying no, arguing that crucial scientific questions about the virus remain unanswered. » 5/02/14 9:20am 5/02/14 9:20am

Psychedelic Images of Terrifying Viruses

We're living in a strange world, barely protected against the infectious, replicating agents called viruses. They may have gruesome effects on our bodies, but these viruses' microscopic world looks beautiful from close up — especially because researchers often add color to the images in order to study them more easily. » 12/04/13 3:33pm 12/04/13 3:33pm

Scientists combine bird and swine flus to create mutant airborne virus

Researchers in China have created a batch of designer viruses by selectively combining genes from the H5N1 bird flu virus with those of the H1N1 swine flu strain. This reassortment process — which can happen naturally in nature — resulted in several hybridized strains that were able spread through the air and infect… » 5/06/13 2:20pm 5/06/13 2:20pm

This virus can steal its host's immune system

Viruses and their hosts are in a perpetual state of evolutionary war. Host organisms try to find ways to get rid of their parasitic interlopers, while viruses develop countermeasures to evade rejection. It's a biological arms race that often results in some pretty strange innovations. But Tufts University researchers… » 2/28/13 1:00pm 2/28/13 1:00pm

Scientists No Longer Banned from Researching Deadly Mutant Bird Flu

It was around this time last year when two teams of scientists from the U.S. and the Netherlands submitted papers for publication in Science and Nature describing how the H5N1 virus could be converted into a human-contagious form. All that was required were a pair of crafty genetic manipulations — and voila — instant… » 1/24/13 11:20am 1/24/13 11:20am

Watch how this robotic-like T7 virus infects a cell

If there was any doubt that viruses are basically microscopic machines, let this recreation of a T7 bacteriophage infecting an ecoli cell put those reservations to rest. In this animated video, the virus can be seen unfolding its six phage tail fibers as it latches on to an unsuspecting bacterium. Once stable and… » 1/11/13 2:00pm 1/11/13 2:00pm

Woman with eye infection had an entire microbial ecosystem in her…

There's a reason why optometrists say you should regularly replenish your contact lens solution and throw out your lenses after the expiry date. Last year, a young woman contracted an eye infection after using tap water to dilute her cleaning solution, and while wearing contact lenses that were two months past their… » 10/17/12 7:05am 10/17/12 7:05am

Scientists identify virus that makes snakes tie themselves into knots…

This is about as nightmarish as it must get for snakes: Scientists have finally identified an ebola-related disease that causes snakes to tie themselves into knots, stare off into space, and waste away. The condition, which was first discovered in the 1980s, is called inclusion body disease (IBD), and is known to… » 8/24/12 11:07am 8/24/12 11:07am