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The observable effects of climate, habit, diet, and other causes, on length of life, have furnished the pretext for asserting its indefinite extension; and the sandy foundation on which the argument rests is that, because the limit of human life is undefined, because you cannot mark its precise term, and say so far exactly shall it go no further, that therefore its extent may increase for ever, and be properly termed indefinite or unlimited.

An Essay on the Principle of  Population
Thomas MALTHUS


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This page follows a page developed first in Hong Kong at the HKU-Pasteur Research Centre Ltd then at the Unit Genetics of Bacterial Genomes in Paris. It provides information, some of which is original (this site and this page are free to use but, as with programs in open access Copyleft-protected to guarantee this freedom), but also links that may help you to trace back other relevant information and insight in the topics you are interested in. Not all important information is in English! Chinese, mainly as Mandarin Chinese (Putonghua 普通话), is the language spoken by the most people in the world, followed by Latin languages (French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish...), and then by English (or perhaps tongues from India). In addition, Greek provides most of the words and concepts used in science. Do not refrain from seeking information in other languages. Do not forget that most of Chinese scientific literature has not been translated in the West, and that it conveys information of its own. English is not the sole tongue used at this site (see here, for example). more...Understanding biology requires to be able to write or speak about biological facts and concepts. Some reading may be useful. Links to the World-Wide Web are provided to help finding out relevant information. In addition, we refer to our own publications meant to be used as media for communication both of basic and highly specialized knowledge. A page is devoted to genomics, but broader information can be found in The Delphic Boat (2003, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA) and in popularisation articles which are cited as needed.

News in biology, evolution and emerging diseases

Last update: 22 october 2014

This page has been initiated in Hong Kong, in year 2000. The information presented does not compete with that provided by news agencies such as Agence France Presse or Reuters. It selects information (occasionally not uncovered by standard media). It also informs about History of Science and about the creation of concepts used by modern biology. An important access to the very nature of Science is discussed in a conference given at Zhong Shan University (中山大學) in Guangzhou (广州). You can also follow our E-seminar for ongoing open discussions. Finally, the importance of China is emphasized: the Western world is so dominating in its control of the mass media that this seems of necessity.

This page is now less rich, as a consequence of the existence of a great many quite visible sources that need not be duplicated. Many sites provide interesting news about the seasonal flu (type A H3N2 in particular), avian flu (H5N1) and swine influenza A (H1N1). Crawford Kilian's blog, which has now spread to all sorts of other diseases and monitors the Web carefully, is highly recommended. The Center for Infectious Disease Research Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota, and the site of the World Health Organization (WHO) are major sources of information. In contrast with the situation 10 years ago, when not much information was available there is now a wealth of data sources. We only provided updated complementary information here. For H7N9 flu, see the Hong Kong Health Authorities alerts

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arrow 22 october 2014. Ebola fever appears in all mass media, but MERS coronavirus and chikungunya continue to spread.A patient returning from the hajj has caused a hospital in Istanbul to close its emergency facilities because she was suspected to be infected by the MERS coronavirus. In the mean time chikungunya infections are about to reach one million patients in the Carribeans and it is beginning to spread on the continent.
arrow 28 august 2014. How royal jelly can induce the birth of queens. It is well known that in bee hives deprived of queens, workers begin to feed some larvae  with the famous "royal jelly." These will give rise to queens, and the first among those will kill all its rivals before they hatch, and then focus on the multiplication of offspring for the hive. An Australian-Polish collaboration has just shown that this supply is sufficient for activating an enzyme which removes in the larval genome DNA a series of methyl groups. These DNA tags affect expression of the entire genome resulting in a stable epigenetic modification, differentiating the queen for the workers, where the methylation complement has not been affected.
arrow 20 august 2014. While Ebola fever keeps spreading it is interesting to see how chikungunya is invading America (and Europe). An epidemiological study describes how chikungunya, since its introduction in the Carribean islands in december 2013 keeps gaining ground in America.
arrow 7 august 2014. The Eastern passage between Europe and Asia is open in the Arctic Ocean. Arctic ice kept thawing rapidly (in contrast with the huge ice increase in Antarctica) and it is now free from ice from Europe to Asia via northern Russia.fonte
Several more suspect or confirmed cases of Ebola fever are registered in Nigeria.
arrow 5 august 2014. A second Ebola patient in Nigeria. The Health Authorities in Nigeria have exposed that a second case of Ebola in a doctor who treated a Liberian man who died of the disease last month in Lagos. Several further cases are under investigation.
arrow 2 august 2014. Ebola fever continues to spread. Despite the fact that it should be easy to contain Ebola fever, the disease continues to spread, in regions plagued by misinformation. This triggered an alarmed reaction from the WHO and the CDC, which provided advice for restraining travel in the affected regions.
arrow 21 july 2014. Update on emerging and re-emerging diseases. On July 16, a shepherd died of pneumonic plague in Gansu Province, China. The disease is endemic in marmots. Fortunately, it is not very contagious, but the pneumonic form  remains very dangerous. The Ebola outbreak remains a concern: it can be controlled easily, but fear involves denial, and therefore its spread. It is rumored that the disease appeared in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The MERS Coronavirus is present Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia (KSA) Emirates (UAE) and Yemen. The epidemic appears to have stalled. Various forms of influenza are as yet rather confined in the southern hemisphere, but the presence of the H7N9 virus is confirmed in a number of poultry markets in Eastern and Southern China. The epidemic due to the chikungunya virus spreads rapidly in the Caribbean, and it just reached America.
arrow 19 june 2014. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is now the worse such epidemic that has been recorded. More than 500 cases have been reported, with a death toll of 337. While the Ebola virus is extremely dangerous, and essentially fatal, it is only contagious by direct contact. It is therefore unfortunate that the disease is still spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
arrow 6 may 2014. Yet another flu virus: a man dies from infection by a H5N6 virus in Sichuan. Three types of bird flu - H7N9, H10N8 and H6N1 - infected humans for the first time last year, all in China. About one-fifth of the 419 cases of H7N9 infections were fatal.
arrow 18 april 2014. Ebola in West Africa and MERS in Arabia keep explanding. The new Ebola virus that developed in Guinea is a novel strain. Almost 200 persons have been infected, with 122 deaths. The MERS outbreaks also kept increasing. Flu season is ending in the Northern Hemisphere, and it is expected that the number of new H7N9 cases will decrease.
arrow 4 april 2014. Controversy between the WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières about the outbreak caused by virus Ebola in West Africa. Mass media report that, for some days, an outbreak of haemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus is spreading for the first time in West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, and perhaps Mali). However the WHO reminds us that the disease spreads only via direct contacts, and that the present situation does not yet require a very high level of alert. It is essential to remind people with fever to refrain from having any physical contact with other unprotected persons.
arrow 26 february 2014. FluTrackers reports the details of the increasing number of H7N9 infections in China. As we suggested earlier, it is likely that camels were infected by the MERS coronavirus a long time ago. HK health authorities report that the H7N9 virus has evolved in recent cases, suggesting that it may adapt to humans.
arrow 13 february 2014. More than 300 cases of H7N9 flu have affected China, where a new H10N8 patient is declared. US authorities monitoring animal diseases are concerned by horse and pig coronaviruses.
arrow 26 january 2014. China reports a new case of H10N8 avian flu. The patient, a 55-years old woman from Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi, is in a critical condition, the provincial health and family planning department said in a statement.
arrow 24 january 2014. The chikungunya virus reaches the Carribean. Last month, the Caribbean island of St. Martin reported cases of the mosquito-borne viral illness chikungunya, generally spread around the Indian Ocean. Since then, the virus has spread to several other Caribbean islands, with approximately 500 cases. It is feared that the disease could spread to the continent, possibly via Porto Rico.
arrow 10 january 2014. A huge solar flare has reached the Earth. In conjunction with a coronal mass ejection, a powerful “X-class” solar flare centered over a giant sunspot erupted from the sun on Tuesday, sending radiation and particles speeding toward Earth and disrupting operations on the ground. Ten cases of H7N9 flu were recorded in Guangdong since august last year.
arrow 1 january 2014. A new botulism toxin. A new toxin has been discovered in Clostridium botulinum. Fortunately the molecular information about the gene have been kept confidential. Different strains of C. botulinum produce a variety of toxins causing faccid paralysis. A new study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases describes a novel toxin type, called BoNT/H, on the basis of sequence analysis and the absence of cross-neutralization with sera against the previously identified BoNT (botulinum neurotoxin) types.
 
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