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Epidemic vs Pandemic
Article

“An outbreak of this”, “epidemic of that”, “protect yourself against a potential pandemic of some horrible sounding disease”. Whether discussing disease in humans or animals, all are terms we hear on the news frequently, but do you know what the differences are between them? In this article, we take a look at the terminology used by epidemiologists and scientists to describe the occurrence and spread of disease.

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Could a New Project Expose Predatory Conferences?
Article

The rise of predatory conferences jeopardises the future of legitimate research events. But could conference IDs be the solution?

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Advances in Immunomodulators for Vaccines To Prevent and Treat Autoimmune Diseases
Article

Epidemiological studies suggest that environmental rather than genetic factors are responsible for the current autoimmune epidemic. We take a look at how immunotolerance may be induced in affected individuals by taking inspiration from helminth infection.

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Low-nicotine Gene-edited Tobacco Could Combat Nicotine Addiction — But Not in Europe
Article

The applications of CRISPR mediated genome editing are continuing to grow. The number of individuals addicted to nicotine is also continuing to grow. The solution? CRISPR-edited nicotine-free tobacco plants, say researchers Felix Stehle and Julia Schachtsiek from the Technical University of Dortmund in Germany.

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Knowledge Really Is Power When It Comes to Investigating the Mechanisms of Microbes
Article

For scientists investigating genomes and molecular mechanisms of microbes, it is vital that they can collate existing knowledge and understanding in the context of their current work to draw conclusions and fill gaps in knowledge. We spoke to Dr Peter Karp, leader of the BioCyc project, a microbial genomes and metabolic pathways web portal, about the evolution of BioCyc and its role in research.

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Gram Positive vs Gram Negative
Article

Being able to differentiate bacterial species is important for a host of reasons. Whilst molecular techniques can determine the specific species, even without getting into the molecular nitty gritty, there are phenotypic differences between groups of bacteria that can be used to differentiate them. One such useful classification – if a bacterium is Gram positive or Gram negative - is based on the structure of bacterial cell walls.

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Pressure to Fight Vaccine Hesitancy As Measles Cases Soar
Article

The UK has lost its measles-elimination status. New York have removed nonmedical exemptions from school vaccination requirements. Italy have made a number of vaccines mandatory. Here, we explore how global health authorities are tackling the issue of vaccine hesitancy as the number of measles cases continues to rise.

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Why Science Can’t Afford Mistakes When It Comes to Cell Line Authenticity
Article

Having strains and cell lines that have been checked and confirmed to be what it says on the tube is invaluable to scientific validity and integrity, saving untold time and money. We spoke to Mindy Goldsborough, Ph.D., Chief Science and Technology Officer, VP and General Manager, ATCC Cell Systems about the importance and challenges of maintaining authenticated cell lines for scientific research.

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Superantigens – The Immune System Meets Microbes
Article

Our immune system is fine-tuned to respond to a variety of different antigens, but some pathogens have found a way to hijack the immune system using superantigens. But how do superantigens manipulate the immune system into causing such extreme reactions? And what other secrets do they hide?

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"MOSAIC" HIV Vaccine to be Tested in Thousands Globally
Article

A clinical trial testing a "mosaic" HIV vaccine is due to commence in September. The trial is pertinent considering a recent UNAIDS report expressed concerns that the pace of progress in reducing new HIV infections has slowed. This article discusses the plans for the trial and the current status of vaccine research in the field.

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