A key toxin associated with whooping cough helps the germs resist the human immune system and infect vaccinated populations. Discovery of this resistance mechanism could lead to potential new treatments for the disease, according to researchers at Penn State.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the germ Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough can occur at any age but is generally considered a childhood disease marked by severe spells of coughing and a characteristic whooping sound while inhaling. Though the widespread use of vaccines has helped reduce disease drastically, recent surveys reveal that the disease is increasingly being diagnosed in a large number of vaccinated adults, posing a serious health risk to unvaccinated children and infants.
"One of the great mysteries of pertussis is how it persists within populations despite high vaccination rates," says Eric Harvill, assistant professor of microbiology and infectious disease in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Amitabh Avasthi | EurekAlert!
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
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