Given the current outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicine have made this collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.
Image by CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Theaatproject ask me: What is your take on how the media has dealt with the outbreak? Is it fear-mongering? Overblown, but relevant? Or completely understandable?
Well, I’m not an specialist in this issues, but anyway I think is a tragedy in a place of the globe where lives the most vulnerable people. I think is right to draw attention to what is happening and what might happen in the event the virus from spreading.
Today is Alexander Fleming's 133th Birthday one of the greatest biologists in the history, known throughout the world for discovering penicillin, above, its schematic mechanism, and below its explanation:
- Penicillin (or other cell wall synthesis inhibitor) is added to the growth medium with a dividing bacterium.
- The cell begins to grow, but is unable to synthesize new cell wall to accommodate the expanding cell.
- As cellular growth continues, cytoplasm covered by plasma membrane begins to squeeze out through the gap(s) in the cell wall.
- Cell wall integrity is further violated. The cell continues to increase in size, but is unable to “pinch off” the extra cytoplasmic material into two daughter cells because the formation of a division furrow depends on the ability to synthesize new cell wall.
- The cell wall is shed entirely, forming a spheroplast, which is extremely vulnerable relative to the original cell. The loss of the cell wall also causes the cell to lose control over its shape, so even if the original bacterium were rod-shaped, the sphereoplast is generally spherical. Finally, the fact that the cell has now doubled much of its genetic and metabolic material further disrupts homeostasis, which usually leads to the cell’s death.
If Louis Pasteur were to come out of his grave because he heard that the cure for cancer still had not been found, NIH would tell him, “Of course we’ll give you assistance. Now write up exactly what you will be doing during the three years of your grant.” Pasteur would say, “Thank you very much,” and would go back to his grave. Why? Because research means going into the unknown. If you know what you are going to do in science, then you are stupid! This is like telling Michelangelo or Renoir that he must tell you in advance how many reds and how many blues he will buy, and exactly how he will put those colors together.