Category Archives: Health

How quickly does Covid immunity fade? What scientists know

Nature reports: Three years into the pandemic, the immune systems of the vast majority of humans have learnt to recognize SARS-CoV-2 through vaccination, infection or, in many cases, both. But just how quickly do these types of immunity fade? New evidence suggests that ‘hybrid’ immunity, the result of both vaccination and a bout of COVID-19,… Read More »

How antidepressants help bacteria resist antibiotics

Nature reports: The emergence of disease-causing bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is often attributed to the overuse of antibiotics in people and livestock. But researchers have homed in on another potential driver of resistance: antidepressants. By studying bacteria grown in the laboratory, a team has now tracked how antidepressants can trigger drug resistance1. “Even… Read More »

How our microbiome is shaped by family, friends and even neighbours

Nature reports: Most studies on how humans acquire their microbiomes have focused on people’s first contact with microbes: through their mums. “It’s key to providing a microbial starter kit,” says Hilary Browne, a microbiologist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK. To examine how and why this starter kit changes over a person’s life,… Read More »

How gut bacteria are controlling your brain

Miriam Frankel and Matt Warren write: Your gut is a bustling and thriving alien colony. They number in their trillions and include thousands of different species. Many of these microorganisms, including bacteria, archaea and eukarya, were here long before humans, have evolved alongside us and now outnumber our own cells many times over. Indeed, as… Read More »

Mobile genes from the mother shape the baby’s microbiome

Yasemin Saplakoglu writes: A mother gives her baby her all: love, hugs, kisses … and a sturdy army of bacteria. These simple cells, which journey from mother to baby at birth and in the months of intimate contact that follow, form the first seeds of the child’s microbiome—the evolving community of symbiotic microorganisms tied to… Read More »

How worried should we be about XBB.1.5?

Katherine J. Wu writes: After months and months of SARS-CoV-2 subvariant soup, one ingredient has emerged in the United States with a flavor pungent enough to overwhelm the rest: XBB.1.5, an Omicron offshoot that now accounts for an estimated 75 percent of cases in the Northeast. A crafty dodger of antibodies that is able to… Read More »

China is flying blind as pandemic rages

Science reports: Most scientists believe China’s decision to end its zero-COVID policy was long overdue. But now they have a new worry: that the country is collecting and sharing far too little data about the rough transition to a new coexistence with the virus. China abruptly dropped virtually all controls a month ago, after protests,… Read More »

Genetic legacy of Denisovans may be shaping modern immune system of southwest Pacific populations

Science reports: When modern humans first migrated from Africa to the tropical islands of the southwest Pacific, they encountered unfamiliar people and new pathogens. But their immune systems may have picked up some survival tricks when they mated with the locals—the mysterious Denisovans who gave them immune gene variants that might have protected the newcomers’… Read More »