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Infections

Scientists have used genetically engineered stem cells to seek out and kill HIV-infected c...

Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the body does already contain cells that fight the virus – the problem is, there just aren’t enough of them to completely get rid of it. In 2009, scientists at UCLA performed a proof-of-concept experiment, in which they were able to grow these CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (better known as infection-fighting “T cells”) from genetically engineered human stem cells. Now, in a subsequent study, they have demonstrated that these engineered cells can seek out and kill HIV-infected cells in a living organism.  Read More

Things could get tougher for bacteria such as these E. coli, thanks to two new bacteria-ki...

According to Dr. Dick Zoutman of Queen's University in Canada, over 100,000 people die every year in North America alone, due to hospital-acquired infections. It would only seem to follow that hospitals need to be kept cleaner, and Zoutman has developed something that he says can do the job - an ozone and hydrogen peroxide vapor gas. Some bacteria are particularly tenacious, however, and that's where Dr. Udi Qimron of Tel Aviv University comes into the picture. He has developed a liquid solution in which viruses are used to make antibiotic-resistant bacteria once again vulnerable to traditional cleansers.  Read More

In this set of four photos, dengue hemorrhagic fever virus kills untreated monkey cells (l...

While not delivering a knockout blow, the discovery of penicillin in 1928 provided a potent weapon in the fight against a wide range of bacterial infections. The quest to develop a similarly broad-spectrum drug to fight viral infections has proven more difficult but now researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory have designed a drug that has so far proven effective against all 15 viruses it has been tested on. These include rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.  Read More

The color-changing, heat-sensitive fiber researchers plan to weave into bandages (Image: L...

Researchers have developed a fiber that changes color in response to temperature with the aim of creating a smart bandage that can indicate the state of underlying wounds and warn of infection. With the ability to show temperature changes of less than 0.5 of a degree Celsius, the smart bandage would allow for easier and faster identification of healing problems that are typically accompanied by an increase or decrease in local temperature, such as infection or interruptions to blood supply.  Read More

A chemist has developed an 'artificial nose' system, that can identify infectious bacteria...

Being able to quickly confirm the presence of infectious bacteria in a patient’s bloodstream, and then identifying the specific species and strain, can make the difference between life and death for that patient. While traditional detection and identification methods are fairly accurate, they can also take too long to perform. A chemist from the University of Illinois, however, has developed an inexpensive new system that is much quicker – and it works by sniffing out the harmful bacteria.  Read More

A study has shown that more bacteria are present in water dispensed from hands-free electr...

Just three years ago, a study conducted by the University of Westminster, London, determined that the “hygenic” warm air hand dryers commonly found in public washrooms actually left users with more bacteria on their hands than if they’d simply used paper towels. Now, it seems that the good name of hands-free electronic-eye faucets is being similarly besmirched – researchers at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have discovered that water coming from such faucets contains more Legionella bacteria than that dispensed by conventional fixtures. Their theory is that the high-tech faucets’ complex inner workings are to blame.  Read More

Dr Marc Pellegrini (left) and Mr Simon Preston, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute i...

Australian scientists may have discovered a vital key to curing HIV and other immune related illnesses by boosting the body’s immune response. A team of researchers led by Dr. Marc Pellegrini from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, successfully cured a HIV-like infection from mice by boosting the function of cells vital to their immune system.  Read More

Scientists have used Salmonella bacteria (pictured) to eliminate viruses in mice (Photo: V...

Generally speaking, it is inadvisable to eat foods containing Salmonella bacteria – especially if you’re not a fan of diarrhea, fever or abdominal cramps. In the future, however, we might be swallowing genetically-engineered versions of the little guys as a way of treating viral infections. If we do, it will be thanks to research presently being carried out at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. Scientists there have reprogrammed Salmonella bacteria to act as harmless transporters of virus-stopping enzymes.  Read More

Researchers in the UK are developing a self-diagnosis system for sexually transmitted infe...

A consortium of scientists has been formed to try and stem the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (or infections as they are now called) that's said to be reaching epidemic proportions in the UK. As early diagnosis and treatment is essential in such matters, the team is creating a self-diagnosis system where results can quickly be displayed on a mobile phone or computer screen. The system could even automatically make an appointment at a clinic or direct the unfortunate sufferer to the nearest pharmacy, where treatment would be waiting.  Read More

The new dressing material indicates infection by turning purple (Image: Fraunhofer EMFT)

Wounding yourself can be bad enough, but having to regularly remove the dressing to check for infection can be painful and can also compound things by exposing the wound and giving germs the chance to enter. Now researchers have developed a new material for dressings and plaster that changes color if an infection arises, making it possible to check wounds without changing the dressing.  Read More

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