Apr 3, 2009 | 5
A German researcher who accidentally exposed herself to the dreaded Ebola virus is apparently in the clear: the virus's three-week incubation period expired yesterday, her supervisor tells ScientificAmerican.com.
On March 12, a 45-year-old virologist (whose name was not released) at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany, accidentally jabbed herself with a syringe containing the virus that causes Ebola hemorrhagic fever, which kills up to 90 percent of its victims. It's symptoms: fever, body aches, diarrhea, vomiting, red eyes, and internal and external bleeding.
The slip occurred while the researcher, who had been studying new tests for Ebola infection, was injecting mice with the virus, according Stephan Günther, head of the institute's virology department. After reporting the incident to the institute, the woman rushed to the hospital, where she was placed in an isolated room and visited by doctors and nurses wearing protective gowns, gloves and masks.
Dec 2, 2008 | 2
As India picks up the pieces of last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai, a congressional study warns of a possible bioterror strike in the U.S. by 2013.
In fact, biological weapons–anthrax, Ebola, influenza, and other pathogens–are more likely than nuclear weapons to be used to initiate the attack, according to CNN, which obtained an early copy of the study, which officially released today by the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism. Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, chair of the panel created earlier this year to probe the possibility of terrorist hits in the U.S., told CNN that if such an attack were to occur, it would be "9/11 times 10 or a hundred in terms of the number of people who would be killed."
Oct 29, 2008 | 1
Worried environmentalists charge that a new biodefense lab opening in Texas next month, smack in the middle of a hurricane zone, may not be able to withstand the strongest of storms.
The Galveston National Laboratory, set to open on Nov. 11, suffered only minor flooding in its lobby while under construction during September's Hurricane Ike; most of the other buildings on the island were more heavily damaged, The New York Times reports today.
But critics say Ike, a Category 2 storm with 100-mile- (161-kilometer-) per-hour winds, may not be the toughest test faced by the lab, where scientists will study deadly, contagious viruses including Ebola and Marburg — both hemorrhagic fevers that cause victims to bleed to death. In 1900, more than 8,000 people were killed in the Galveston area by a hurricane.
Aug 8, 2008 | 4
Viruses are world champion parasites—think of all the trouble they give us, from Ebola to HIV. Now French researchers have discovered a viral first … a virus that infects another virus.
A virus that scientists are calling Sputnik was found in a newly discovered strain of so-called mimivirus, which is the world's largest known virus. Virologist Jean-Michel Claverie, of France's National Center for Scientific Research and a team from the University of the Mediterranean in Marseille, happened upon the strain of mimivirus swimming in the water of a Parisian cooling tower. When they peeked inside the viral particle, they discovered Sputnik, which consists of only 21 genes.
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