HIV-1 stealth mode unveiled

How far are we from an HIV vaccine? Achieving this milestone might be closer than hoped for. HIV, the causative agent of AIDS, produces a chronic infection by integrating its viral DNA into the genome of the host cell. In this way HIV can exist in a so-called “latent stage”, where it does not replicate,…

Are all viruses really viruses?

  The discovery of always smaller bacteria and always bigger viruses are challenging the concept of viruses as we know it. Should we go back and rethink about the definition itself and about the way that viruses have evolved? The history of virology begins at the end of the 19th century with the discovery that…

Bats – more than just flying mammals

  Bats have recently gained more attention in the world of scientists and in the news. But where does this recent surge of interest in bats originated? Are they new exotic trendy pets? Surprisingly enough, bats well deserve public attention, given their abundance and diversity, which makes them one of the most representative vertebrate species…

Rubella E1; a fusion protein apart

  Rubella virus, the cause of the childhood disease measles, remains a serious health problem in developing countries despite an available and efficient vaccine. The main vaccine target, which the host immune system recognises, is a viral surface protein called E1. This protein sits in the membranous coat covering the virus (known as viral envelope)…

Syrian outbreak exposes challenges to polio eradication

The world was alarmed by a recent polio outbreak in Syria, which used to be one of the many polio-free nations. Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan are the last three remaining countries in which the disease is still present, but the re-emergence of polio in other parts of the globe raises concerns on current polio eradication programs and which forward…