Archive for January 6th, 2014

Virus Increases Desire in Infected Crickets

6 January, 2014

See on Scoop.itVirology News

Love may be a battlefield, but most wouldn’t expect the fighters to be a parasitic virus and its cricket host.

Just like a common cold changes our behavior, sick crickets typically lose interest in everyday activities. But when Shelley Adamo of Dalhousie Univ. found her cricket colony decimated by a pathogen, she was shocked that the dying insects didn’t act sick. Not only had the infected crickets lost their usual starvation response, but they also continued to mate. A lot. How were the pathogen and the exuberant amorous behavior in the sick crickets connected?

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

Sex zombie crickets…the mind boggles!

But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that, in insects at least, viruses can cause very significant behavioural alterations.  There are also tantalising hints that they MAY do the same in humans.

I see a burgeoning field of endeavour in our future.

See on www.laboratoryequipment.com

Researchers seek cure to herpes virus in horses

6 January, 2014

See on Scoop.itVirology News

For a human, developing a cold sore is a minor, if irritating, inconvenience. But if a horse contracts that same virus, it can mean a death sentence.

Researchers are hopeful that a chemical compound, derived from a micro-algae known as dinoflagellate, will successfully fight the virus in horses. The algae, isolated from sediments off the coast of Bermuda, are grown on-site at the MARBIONC culture facility, populating over time in large glass containers of liquid. They’re microscopic, visible to the naked eye only when populations are dense enough to change the color of the liquid. Once the algae are mature, researchers harvest the organisms and extract chemical compounds from individual samples, then isolate the compound containing the anti-viral activity.

Herpesvirus graphic from Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

I like that: using easily-cultured microalgae to make an antiviral compound.

Of course, they could go one step further: use said microalgae to make one of the viral antigens – like gD – to act as a vaccine.

Going green: the sensible thing to do.

See on www.jdnews.com