SciBites: Week of February 3rd

SciBites: Week of February 3rd

New scale predicts risk of dying from Ebola

Ebola virus disease is notorious as one of the world’s deadliest infections, but in fact asymptomatic Ebola may be as common as fatal disease. A new scale can now help predict which patients are most at risk of dying from Ebola. The researchers collected and analyzed data from 158 Ebola patients admitted in Sierra Leone and, based on factors such as age and malaria co-infection, constructed disease scores that predicted risk of death with up to 97 percent accuracy.

Head joint of deep-sea fish may help them swallow large prey

A new study suggests that some deep-sea fish have a flexible joint between the back of their heads and their first vertebra, allowing the fish to open its mouth up to 120 degrees. The authors examined this unusual head joint in barbeled dragonfishes, deep-sea fishes in the Stomiidae family. They suggest that the additional flexibility provided by the joint may enable the fish to consume larger prey.

Antimalarial bednets may have driven spread of mosquito insecticide resistance

A genetic analysis of mosquito populations in Africa shows that recent successes in controlling malaria through pyrethroid-treated bed nets may have led to widespread insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. The researchers examined the mosquito species Anopheles funestus, a malaria vector, and identified a gene region variant encoding pyrethroid resistance. They found that this variant had swept through the population after 2002, likely driving the spread of resistance in response to increased mosquito control efforts at that time.

Image Credit: Nalani Schnell, MNHN


Beth works at PLOS as Journal Media Manager. She read Natural Sciences, specializing in Pathology, at the University of Cambridge before joining PLOS in 2013. She feels fortunate to be able to read and write about the exciting new research published by PLOS.

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