Friday, January 23, 2009

Can you avoid exposure to cold and flu germs? What preventative measures really help? Such a simple question prompts a very complicated answer from science -- mostly because it's not clear how the viruses travel from one person to the next. One paper I read while researching my two-part story for the Los Angeles Times was entitled: "Rhinovirus transmission: One if by air, two if by hand."

In another story for the Los Angeles Times, I wrote about some rare but serious side effects linked to the osteoporosis drug, Fosamax.

For Nature (subscription only), I profiled a scientist who studies AIDS vaccines in animal models. Dan Barouch was in the midst of a three-year long study in monkeys when an important human vaccine trial was called off because it wasn't working. Barouch's vaccine was of a similar type (based on an adenovirus), but his method was different enough that he stuck with his experiment -- to a positive end. While much remains to be learned about vaccinating against HIV, this work shows that the regimen is as important as the vaccine itself.