Forget the Cockroaches, it'll be Ferrets

In this week's issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases the Elena Govorkova group at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee reported that lab-engineered bird flu vaccine protects ferrets against several strains of H5N1 avian influenza.

It's good to know that after Avian Flu kills off enough people so that our civilization collapses there'll be something left to pick up the pieces. Ferrets. Well, that's better than the cockroaches that would survive a nuclear holocaust, I guess. At least ferrets are fellow mammals. Pretty small boobs though.

Public Service announcement:

H5N1 avian flu outbreaks have been confirmed in more than 48 countries and territories, according to the World Organization for Animal Health.

The virus almost exclusively infects birds but it has killed 128 people in nine countries and has infected at least 225.

Experts say a pandemic of some kind of influenza is inevitable and that H5N1 looks closer than any other virus to causing such a global wave of disease.

A vaccine would provide the best protection. But flu vaccine technology is slow and unwieldy and a new vaccine has to be formulated every year to match the current circulating strains.

Vaccine experts fear that they would have to wait until H5N1 changes into a human pandemic strain before they can make a vaccine against it. By then it could have infected millions.

More Science!

Moving on to human longevity--assuming we're not all wiped out by rampant viruses--Dr Jose Silva of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, a member of a lab team that reported findings in the current issue of the science journal Nature stated "The effect of Nanog is remarkable. All the hybrid cells became fully converted to embryonic stem cells."

So, what the Hell is Nanog? Good question!

Nanog is a gene named after the mythical Celtic land of the ever young (named after the mythological Celtic land Tir nan Og) and the gene could help explain how to reprogram adult cells into embryonic stem cells to treat diseases.

Professor Austin Smith, who headed the team at University of Edinburgh, discovered that the gene called Nanog helped to transform adult mouse cells into embryonic stem cells after cell fusion -- when two cells are combined to form a hybrid. Dr. Dmith said Nanog is not the only gene involved in reprogramming. There could be several that are important for the process.

The reason this is important is that stem cells are the master cells in the body. Scientists believe they could act as type of human repair system to provide new therapies for illnesses ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's.

Embryonic stem cells found in early embryos have the potential to make any type of cell or tissue. Adult stem cells have a more limited range. Converting adult stem cells into an embryonic state would eliminate the use of early embryos, which is a scientific and ethical stumbling block for researchers.


netchick said…
Good to know the ferrets are taken care of. I was sick for about 6 days with a stomach flu-type illness, and I can't imagine being any sicker than that! That said, I guess death is sicker.

Hope all is great with you, Dave!
Tracie said…
I just have to know-are those your ferrets?

Xmen 3 is worth seeing-just without the screaming, crying child behind you.
Carmi said…
Thank goodness for ferrets. They join the bats in my office on the list of indestructible animals.

utenzi said…
Not mine, Tracie. I am 100% pet-free unless you count my girlfriend. Since she typically reads these things I might be in some trouble here...

I'm sorry to hear you were THAT sick, Tan. I hope you feel a lot better now. It's so good you have someone you can depend on now.
srp said…
Here from Michele.
I really hope that second article turns out to be what the researchers need. It certainly would overcome the ethical problems.
Hum... cockroaches and ferrets : the future generations will have a funny look for sure...

Michele sent me. Have a great weekend !
lisa said…
They are soo cute. And to a ferrett, the boobs might be just the right size. One never knows things like this.

Michele sent me today. :)
rampant bicycle said…
Ferrets? really? You learn something new every day. :)

Hello from Michele's!
Darling Utenzi..this is very important to me with my lack of Cillia in my lungs...
Can you explain the true importance of Stem Cell in words that those of us who are not scientifacally oriented, will understand. This is YOUR world....yes?

I need to know if Stem Cell will/MIGHT help grow the hairs back in my lungs...I truly cannot follow what you said--not YOUR fault, MINE! Oh how I wish I could "get" what this is all about and how these "embryo's"---Where the hell do they come from???---will or might help me, or others with horribly life-threatening chronic irreversible diseases..?

Dear Utenzi,
Dear Dave--you are a reseach scientist---Help me to truly understand this in simple words for my simple mind! (lol)

Oh and btw: There are more of the pictures and commentary of my little insiginificant life--posted today.....And, there will be more tomorrow....If you want to keep following this saga...

I'm here from the WONDERFUL MIchele, this evening!
christine said…
i love ferrets!!!
colleen said…
I love the name Nanog but it makes it sound like the research study will be unreachable.

A world of ferrets is a scary thought.

Enjoy all the attention today and at least once say "They like me! They like me!"
Finn said…
Thank God for the ferrets!

Hi - Michele sent me!
susie said…
Michele sent me!

Interesting about the stem cells. Hmm.
Anonymous said…
Don't know much about ferrets, but they cannot be as vile as cockroaches! Congrats of Site of the Day!

Love the new banner...always a pleasure to stop by here.

Visiting from Michele's this morning.
Rene said…
Congrats on being SOTD.

Golly, glad to hear about the ferrets although they are banned in my state. As for you think they will find a way of curing more ferret diseases?
rampant bicycle said…
Congrats on your SOTD selection, Utenzi! Here from Michele's today.
Cyndy said…
High 5 to you for being SOTD at Michele. I hope they figure out the stem cell thing too because I hate to see so many people with diseases that could be managed so much better.
Gypsy said…
I love that they named it Nanog. As for ferrets, I'm picturing a post-apocalyptic earth with the Beast Master and his ferrets. As long as he keeps the loincloth.

Here from Michele's, and congrats on SOTD!
Karen said…
Bird flu! Yikes, it seems like there's always something to worry about. I hate to be flippant about it, but I'm just not sure how much I should panic. And if I do panic, will it do any good?

I'm thrilled that you're Michele's site of the day - very deserving!!! Yay Utenzi!
Free to Be said…
Nice storm pics on the earlier post. I'm here from Michele's today.
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