Virologists at Duke University Medical Center have discovered that, under the right conditions, a common cold virus closely related to poliovirus can cause polio in mice.
The researchers injected a cold virus called Coxsackievirus A21 into mice that were engineered to be susceptible to this particular virus. However, instead of developing a cold, the mice unexpectedly displayed paralytic symptoms characteristic of polio. The researchers determined that administering the virus directly into muscles, instead of the virus’s normal home in the nasal cavity, was critical for development of polio.
The findings challenge traditional views as to what defines a poliovirus, said Matthias Gromeier, M.D., a Duke virologist and senior author of the study. "In principle, Coxsackieviruses could cause polio in humans," said Gromeier. "We are in the process of eradicating polio worldwide, but if we eliminate the poliovirus and cease polio vaccinations, our immune systems wouldn’t produce antibodies against polio, and Coxsackievirus could theoretically fill the niche of eradicated polio" he said. Results of the study will be published in the Sept. 6, 2004, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Becky Levine | EurekAlert!
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The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
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Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
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Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
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