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August 2018 News Round Up

News:

Plutonium is missing, but the government says nothing Two security experts from the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio, Texas, in March 2017 with a sensitive mission: to retrieve dangerous nuclear materials from a nonprofit research lab there.
Salisbury poisoning: Police ‘identify Novichok suspects’ Police are believed to have identified the suspected perpetrators of the novichok attack on the Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
Oldbury ‘chemical leak’: Families forced to flee homes after fire on Birmingham industrial estate Families have been forced to flee their homes after a suspected chemical fire and ammonia leak on an industrial estate surrounded by houses. Residents were urged to shut their windows as emergency crews scrambled to control the incident at an industrial estate in Oldbury, West Midlands.
Government admits rabies poster gaffe The government has admitted “mistakenly” using a spoof poster that suggested parents should shoot children if they had rabies. The image appeared in a magazine for civil servants in a feature on the history of government communications.
Japan Executes 6 Members of Cult Behind Sarin Attack Japan on Thursday executed all six former members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult who remained on death row after the execution of the group’s founder and six other members earlier this month, Japan’s Justice Ministry said.
DRC: New Ebola virus outbreak days after previous epidemic ends The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced a new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, just days after a recent emergence of the disease, which killed 33 people, was declared over.
Head of alleged Syrian chemical weapons facility dies in bombing The head of a Syrian research facility that western countries say was part of a chemical weapons programme has been killed in a car bombing, the pro-government Syrian newspaper al-Watan has said.
China vaccine scandal spreads as it recalls defective products which may have been sold overseas’ Investigators in China have begun recalling defective vaccines produced by one of the country’s drug-makers from domestic and overseas markets, health authorities said.
US to impose sanctions on Russia over Skripal poisoning The sanctions come after the US determined that Russia had used a chemical agent against a former spy. Kremlin officials have expressed optimism for “constructive” dialogue, but are still weighing their response.
How smallpox claimed its final victim In the summer of 1978, the last known case of smallpox was reported, claiming the life of 40-year-old medical photographer Janet Parker. But how did the disease, thought to have been eradicated across the world, come to be in Britain’s second city?

Technology:

Inhalable viruses show promise as a better way to treat lung infections Phage therapy is a promising alternative to antibiotics because it attacks specific pathogens, does not harm the body’s normal contingent of bacteria and won’t contribute to multi-drug resistance.
Scientists Discover New Ebola Virus in Bats in Sierra Leone Scientists have identified a novel ebolavirus in free-tailed bats in Sierra Leone, providing the strongest evidence to date that bats are the natural hosts of these viruses. The new virus, called Bombali virus, was found in insectivorous bats roosting inside people’s houses.
Cooking oil coating prevents bacteria from growing on food processing equipment Many foods produced on an industrial scale include raw ingredients mixed together in enormous stainless steel machines that can be difficult to clean. With repeated use, equipment surfaces get minute scratches and grooves, providing bacteria and biofilms the perfect place to hide.
Drug-resistant bacteria are growing tolerant to strong alcohol-based hand rubs For decades, the front-line in the battle against antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been alcohol-based hand sanitisers and cleaning liquids that effectively kill bacteria before they can get close to infecting vulnerable patients.
Gates Open Research Dengue fever outbreak stopped by special mosquitoes
A number of new technologies are under development for the control of mosquito transmitted viruses, such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika that all require the release of modified mosquitoes into the environment.
Wearable yeast colonies act as “canaries” for radiation exposure The same way that yeast yields beer and bread can help hospital lab workers better track their daily radiation exposure, enabling a faster assessment of tissue damage that could lead to cancer.
Failed antibiotics team up to defeat superbugs Bacteria—especially Gram-negative strains—are becoming increasingly resistant to current antibiotic drugs, and the development of new classes of antibiotics has slowed.
Why stealthy viruses are making you ill A trick used by viruses to make us sick – “stealth spheres” – has been discovered by scientists. It had been thought viruses were all lone wolves, each on a solo campaign of infection./span>
NIH study shows how MERS coronavirus evolves to infect different species In the past 15 years, two outbreaks of severe respiratory disease were caused by coronaviruses transmitted from animals to humans. In 2003, SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) spread from civets to infect more than 8,000 people, leading to a year-long global public health emergency.

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