Spaceflight reactivates herpes virus in astronauts

A NASA-led study suggests the stress of spaceflight seems to trigger various types of herpes to reactivate in astronauts.

  • The study examined saliva, blood and urine obtained from astronauts who went on short- and long-term space missions.
  • The results showed that virus reactivation rates in these astronauts were much higher than controls.
  • Spaceflight seems to weaken the immune system, enabling these once-dormant viruses to reactivate and potentially cause serious health problems.
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Teens should be able to get vaccines without consent from parents, say NY lawmakers

A bill in New York would let older kids get vaccinations against their parents' wishes.

Ethan Lindenberger (R), student at Norwalk High School in Norwalk, Ohio before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on March 5, 2019. (Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Teens 14 and older should be able to get vaccinated on their own, says a new bill in New York.
  • Lawmakers were inspired by Ethan Lindenberger, an Ohio teen who fought to take vaccines against his mom's wishes.
  • Anti-vaccination attitudes have been blamed for recent measles outbreaks.
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Scientists are killing superbugs with viruses

Fighting fire with fire.

Image source: Shutterstock
  • CDC estimates say that 154 million antibiotic prescriptions are given out each year, 30 percent of which are unnecessary.
  • The overuse of antibiotics have led to the rise of nigh-untreatable superbugs.
  • Phage therapy offers a promising new way to overcome antibiotic resistance, but it also comes with its own risks and challenges.
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The VP882 virus ‘eavesdrops’ on bacteria to kill

Scientists say the virus monitors bacterial chemical exchanges

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
  • When bacteria broadcast their presence, bacteriophages may be listening
  • A stunning discovery of cross-domain communication
  • Research could lead to new, custom- targeted medicines
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Probiotics and antibiotics create a killer combination

Delivered together, the two join forces to eradicate drug-resistant bacteria.


Jean Lee, a PhD student at Melbourne's Doherty Institute, inspects the superbug Staphylcocus epidermidis on an agar plate. Photo credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
October 17, 2018

In the fight against drug-resistant bacteria, MIT researchers have enlisted the help of beneficial bacteria known as probiotics.

In a new study, the researchers showed that by delivering a combination of antibiotic drugs and probiotics, they could eradicate two strains of drug-resistant bacteria that often infect wounds. To achieve this, they encapsulated the probiotic bacteria in a protective shell of alginate, a biocompatible material that prevents the probiotics from being killed by the antibiotic.

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