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Life from Life

If you have ever read Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein, or seen any of the movies based on it (including such gems as Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein), you at least know that the book is about a scientist, Dr. Frankenstein, a well-educated idealist who created life.  Only in this case, it regrettably took the form of a horrible monster. Of course, Frankenstein was just science fiction, and the scientific knowledge came from what was known in the early 1800s, a relative stone age compared to where we are today.  And yet, even with all our advancements, we are not

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HTLV-I: The Forgotten Retrovirus

Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP) cases reported In June 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) depicting five cases of a very rare lung infection, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP), in young and previously healthy gay men living in Southern California. Besides PCP, these men had other unusual infections, which showed that their immune systems were also greatly compromised.  In fact, two of the men were dead by the time the report was published. What was significant about this edition of the MMWR was that it marked the first official reporting

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Legionnaires’ on The Rise

Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise. The CDC reported over 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease, a severe and often lethal form of pneumonia, in 20161. Its less potent cousin, Pontiac Fever, also affects many people each year. It is widely suspected, however, that both of these diseases are underdiagnosed. Some even speculate that there could be more than 100,000 cases occurring in the US alone. There is a general public perception that Legionnaires’ disease is rare. In fact, I suspect that if you stopped passersby on the street, the vast majority couldn’t even tell you what it is. This could

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If It Ain’t Broke…

Don’t fix it. Ironically, SDS-PAGE (sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis) has been around longer than the phrase.1 It’s hard to imagine a scientific process that has been relatively unchanged in more than fifty years; a process that predates the pocket calculator and man’s first steps on the moon. Nevertheless, this protein analysis procedure has been used for nearly five decades as a quick, cost-effective assay. Since SDS-PAGE is covered in great detail in many other places, we’ll just share the short version with you. In brief, it is a process by which proteins are separated by their molecular weight for

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Yellow Fever: Coffee and Chaos

It’s October, 1793 in the capital city of Philadelphia. The stars equal the stripes on the flag of the fledgling United States and George Washington is at the onset of his second term. Almost ten percent of the city’s residents are dead or dying and a third of the population has fled. Thomas Jefferson writes to James Madison that everyone who could escape the city was doing so.1 An invisible and unknown scourge has plagued the city and the surrounding countryside. Early theories by Benjamin Rush, a local physician who penned his name on the Declaration of Independence, supposed the

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Advanced Biotechnologies Releases Quantitated Viral RNA

Eldersburg, MD – April 5, 2018 – Advanced Biotechnologies introduces their new line of Quantitated Viral RNA products suitable for use in clinical labs and research facilities requiring RNA extracted from highly-purified virus. These new viral RNA products contain entire viral genomic RNA extracted from highly-purified virus and are free of host cell contaminants. The RNA is quantitated by digital RT-PCR and packaged as single use vials with room temperature storage, allowing for ease of use and consistent results. The first two products being introduced to the market are: HIV-1 (IIIB Strain) Quantitated Viral RNA and RSV-A (A2 Strain) Quantitated

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