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Rubella Has a Family at Last

Some viruses, such as the human papillomaviruses (HPVs), have co-evolved with mankind throughout evolutionary history. These ancient human viruses often cause silent infections and may establish persistent infections that last for years to decades. Other viruses, often ones associated with common human acute diseases, entered the human population only within the last few millennia. Typically, …

COVID Vaccine Hesitancy

According to national polls, a significant fraction of Americans currently remains hesitant to take any of the three approved SARS-CoV-2 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson). I’ve seen several different reasons given, but one common reason is a safety concern. It is the fear that the rapid development and deployment of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines …


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This Little Piggy

Organ transplants have become a staple of modern medicine with 9 types of transplants approved in the United States: cornea, heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, skin, trachea, and vascular tissue. These transplants are usually highly successful at both extending and improving the quality of life in the recipients, with about 40,000 performed yearly in our …

Epigenetics and Stress: “The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.” – Omar Khayyam

There is a well-known connection between early life stress (ELS) and depression that develops in adolescence or the adult years. Individuals with severe ELS suffer from an up to three-fold higher incidence of depression as adults, a risk seen both in humans and in animal models. What has remained mysterious is the mechanism by which …

Bioengineered Yeast Combat Clostridium difficile

Clostridium difficile (C. diff for short) is an environmental bacterium that has become increasingly common as an opportunistic pathogen. Like its relatives, Clostridium botulinum (the cause of botulism) and Clostridium tetani (the cause of tetanus), C. diff is a spore-forming organism. Spores are dormant forms of bacteria that are very stable and resistant structures. Their …

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