In Other Viral News

While SARS-CoV-2 continues to dominate our news and daily lives, research on other important viruses continues unabated in research labs around the world. An important recent paper in Nature Communications used multiple approaches to decode the genome of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). HSV-1 causes oral lesions commonly known as “cold sores” or “fever […]

Coronavirus and the Host Response

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to accelerate in the U.S. and many other countries. As a potential vaccine is likely over a year away, there is great interest in finding an effective antiviral drug. Numerous antiviral drugs were developed for other viruses and many of these are being tested. Additionally, there are many other existing drugs […]

Coronavirus Update Part 2

With COVID-19 case numbers reaching nearly 80,000 and new cases popping up outside China in Asia, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East, containment of the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to be failing. There are many factors that make containment difficult including asymptomatic viral shedders, difficulty in screening to identify infected individuals, thousands of international travelers […]

Coronavirus Update

The COVID-19 disease caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus has not been as easily contained as the related SARS outbreak in 2003. Cases continue to mount in China with spread into roughly 30 other countries so far. New evidence suggests possible fecal transmission as well as by aerosol and close contact with infected individuals. Infected […]

A Coronavirus by Any Other Name

The new coronavirus outbreak is causing fear, social anxiety, and economic disruption worldwide as we struggle to contain its spread and find treatments or vaccines. Amid the medical and social issues comes the confusing matter of nomenclature, i.e. what do we call this virus and the disease it causes? This week the World Health Organization […]

Is a Herpesvirus Messing with MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a puzzling and complex autoimmune disease. During MS the immune system attacks cells in the brain causing damage to and loss of the myelin protein that is produced by cells called oligodendrocytes. Myelin acts as an insulating sheath around nerve cells (like the rubber coating on electrical wires), and damage to […]

Measles – A Killer of Immune Memory

Measles was once a very common childhood disease that was rampant worldwide. Measles is caused by the Rubeola virus, is spread via respiratory droplets in coughs and sneezes, and is considered one of the most contagious viruses. Disease begins with high fever, red, watery eyes, coughing, and sore throat, followed a few days later by […]

Good News about Papillomavirus-Induced Cancer

The idea that cervical cancer might be caused by a human papillomaviruses (HPVs) was first proposed by Professor Harald zur Hausen, a German physician and virologist, in 1976.  Subsequent research over the next two decades confirmed this hypothesis and led to a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for Dr. zur Hausen in 2008. We […]

Polio – Another Step Backwards

Briefly last week there were headlines about a small number of polio cases found in the Philippines, a country declared polio free in 2000. While a few cases in another country may not seem very alarming, these cases starkly reflect a global public health failure. Polio is a very contagious viral infection that is usually […]