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Articles on Microbiology

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Penicillin ushered in the antibiotics revolution, with amazing results during war and peace. Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL via Getty Images

Guns, not roses – here’s the true story of penicillin’s first patient

Albert Alexander was the first known person treated with penicillin. While his ultimately fatal case is well known in medical histories, the cause of his illness has been misattributed for decades.
Some vaccines use mRNA to make copies of the triangular red spike proteins to induce immunity. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

How can scientists update coronavirus vaccines for omicron? A microbiologist answers 5 questions about how Moderna and Pfizer could rapidly adjust mRNA vaccines

The new omicron variant of coronavirus has a number of mutations that may require manufacturers to update vaccines. The unique attributes of mRNA vaccines make updating them fast and easy.
A virus’s genes hold a record of where it’s traveled, and when. imaginima/E+ via Getty Images

Charting changes in a pathogen’s genome yields clues about its past and hints about its future

After a nose swab tests positive for a virus or bacteria, scientists can use the sample’s genetic sequence to figure out where and when the pathogen emerged and how fast it’s changing.
Gene-based vaccines had never been approved for humans before the coronavirus pandemic. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

3 medical innovations fueled by COVID-19 that will outlast the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has driven a lot of scientific progress in the past year. But just as some of the social changes are likely here to stay, so are some medical innovations.
Missing a field season can be devastating if your research subject is melting away. Karen Lloyd

From permafrost microbes to survivor songbirds – research projects are also victims of COVID-19 pandemic

Three scientists describe the fieldwork they’ve had to delay in 2020 because of the pandemic. These are setbacks not just for their careers, but for the body of scientific knowledge.

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