Analysis of a latrine in Jerusalem that dates back over 500 years finds human parasites common in northern Europe yet very rare in Middle East at the time, suggesting long-distance trade or pilgrimage routes and shedding light on prevalent infectious diseases of the age.
When viruses such as influenza and Ebola jump from one species to another, their ability to cause harm can change dramatically, but research from the University of Cambridge shows that it may be possible to predict the virus’s virulence by looking at how deadly it is in closely-related species.
The largest genetic study of tuberculosis (TB) susceptibility to date has led to a potentially important new insight into how the pathogen manages to evade the immune system. Published today in the journal Nature Genetics, the study advances understanding of the biological mechanisms involved in TB, which may open up new avenues to design efficient vaccines for its prevention.
Every moment of every day, our immune systems are battling to keep us healthy against an onslaught from invading organisms. But some of these invaders have evolved to use our very defences against us, writes Dr Stephen Graham, a Sir Henry Dale Fellow.
New diagnostic tests are needed to make vaccination against bovine tuberculosis (bovine TB) viable and the number of false positives from these tests must be below 15 out of every 10,000 cattle tested, according to research published today in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.
The University of Cambridge has been awarded £2 million from the UK Medical Research Council and the Government of India’s Department for Biotechnology to develop a partnership with the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (NIRT) in Chennai.
Eve, an artificially-intelligent ‘robot scientist’ could make drug discovery faster and much cheaper, say researchers writing in the Royal Society journal Interface. The team has demonstrated the success of the approach as Eve discovered that a compound shown to have anti-cancer properties might also be used in the fight against malaria.
Leah Katzelnick was all set for a career as an anthropologist until she contracted dengue fever. She was in hospital for a week with severe symptoms. It changed her life. She is now working on a new perspective on dengue fever which involves mapping the complex interaction between different strains of the virus, based on similar work done by Cambridge experts on flu.
Lassa fever controls need to consider human to human transmission and the role of ‘super spreaders’, say researchers15 Jan 2015
One in five cases of Lassa fever – a disease that kills around 5,000 people a year in West Africa – could be due to human-to-human transmission, with a large proportion of these cases caused by ‘super-spreaders’, according to research published today in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Researchers criticise reforms advocated by IMF for chronically under-funded and insufficiently staffed health systems in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. They say these policies contributed to “lack of preparedness” of West African health systems to cope with disease and emergencies such as Ebola.