Once relatively unknown, Zika virus is in the middle of an explosive epidemic in Brasil and other South American countries. While common symptoms are mild, pregnant women should be wary as contracting Zika virus during pregnancy appears to be linked to microcephaly in their babies.
What can we expect from Zika virus in the Americas? Read on to find out.
In many ways, our generation is extremely fortunate when observed through the lens of history. Many of us will never know the pain of losing a sibling or child to polio, rheumatic fever, or diphtheria; or the worry of minor cuts and scrapes becoming a lethal infection.
The advances of modern science and medicine have provided us with an arsenal of antibiotics to combat bacterial diseases, as well as effective vaccines that prevent many viral and bacterial infections from taking hold in the first place. However, our widespread abuse of antibiotics in both clinical and agricultural settings has led to an alarming increase in the amount of antibiotic resistant bacteria circulating in the environment and in our own bodies. Continue reading Our Depleting Antibiotic Arsenal→
Most of us alive today are familiar with vaccines. In the US where I live most of us have been vaccinated for major diseases such as whooping cough, Hepatitis A, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, diphtheria; the list goes on. However, due to our developed infrastructure and relative ease of access to medical care many of us have never worried about obtaining life-saving vaccines for our children or ourselves. This alone has contributed to some of the most startling gains in public health ever witnessed.
In other parts of the world this is a very different story. Less infrastructure and fewer opportunities for medical care has made vaccinating large segments of the human population extremely difficult with serious consequences for those who are not vaccinated.
One major hurdle in the race to vaccinate the majority of people on this planets is the maintenance of cold-chains for vaccine delivery.
Despite our ever-dwindling supply of effective antibiotics, there have been a growing number of drugs that are effective against viral diseases. Many of these new drugs are not the result of happy chance or serendipity, as was penicillin, but rather the result of a process known as rational drug design. Continue reading Triumphs in modern drug design→