Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that causes severe diarrhea, can be difficult to treat with antibiotics.
Stefan Hyman/University of Leicester
October 18, 2013 Researchers say naturally occurring viruses that target bacteria might one day help help treat human infections with germs that are resistant to antibiotics. The research is still in the early stages, and there are quite a few challenges to overcome before a treatment can even be tested in humans.
Pandoraviruses were discovered lurking in the mud of Chile and Australia, half a world apart.
courtesy of Chantal Abergel and Jean-Michel Claverie
July 18, 2013 The Pandoravirus is so big you can see it in an ordinary microscope. Scientists say its size may have helped fool amoebas and other potential hosts into eating it. But this virus doesn't pose a threat to humans. It's more of a Trojan virus than a surprise from Pandora's Box.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/203298244/203361103" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
When flu viruses (in red) accumulate an escape protein too quickly, they exit the cell nucleus (in blue) before they've made enough viral copies to spread the infection.
January 17, 2013 Flu viruses hijack the machinery inside animal cells to replicate. The theft is a complicated process that takes time. If the virus leaves the cells too early or too late, the risk of infection falls.
Bats harbor many types of coronaviruses and were probably the original source of the new coronavirus that appeared in the Middle East.
September 28, 2012 Virologists have published the genome sequence of the new coronavirus, which has killed one man and hospitalized another. The mystery virus is most closely related to coronaviruses that infect bats in Southeast Asia. But this doesn't necessarily mean that the men caught the virus directly from bats.
Two men from northwestern Missouri became ill after tick bites infected them with a previously unknown virus.
August 29, 2012 So far, two Missouri farmers are the only known cases of the tick-borne virus in the world. But experts are sure they'll find more. The men recovered but suffered serious illness that required hospital care and weeks of convalescence.
Health Department officials cull birds and put them in sacks after bird flu virus was detected in Bhubaneswar, India.
March 26, 2012 An expert committee that advises the government is once again going to review some controversial studies on bird flu to see if they can be published openly. Last year, those experts said no, because of concerns that the work could be misused and was too dangerous, but the government asked it to reconsider after a World Health Organization panel came to the opposite conclusion.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/149357569/149376374" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
February 15, 2012 Research in a genetically modified bird flu viruses has made it transferable among ferrets. Are humans next? Can and should scientific knowledge surrounding potentially dangerous research be controlled?
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor