The search for other vectors spreading Zika, discouraging statistics about the use of osteoporosis drugs, and a virologist prepares for space travel.
(Science, 6/1/2016, Gretchen Vogel)
The primary vector for Zika is Aedes aegypti, the same mosquito that spreads dengue fever and yellow fever. But as public health officials try to contain Zika, which is now in 40 countries, the question arises: Could there be more than one vector? A team in Rio de Janeiro has already nabbed several Aedes aegypti infected with Zika—the first infected mosquitoes found in Brazil—some scientists believe the Zika virus must have other carriers to have spread so quickly. And there are now projects in place to try and settle the question.
(New York Times, 6/1/2016, Gina Kolata)
Millions of Americans are missing out on a chance to avoid debilitating fractures from weakened bones, researchers say, because they are terrified of exceedingly rare side effects from drugs that can help them. Reports of the drugs’ causing jawbones to rot and thighbones to snap in two have shaken many osteoporosis patients so much that they say they would rather take their chances with the disease. Use of the most commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs fell by 50 percent from 2008 to 2012, according to a recent paper in Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, and doctors say the trend is continuing.
(Scientific American, 6/1/2016, Jennifer Hackett)
A trained virologist from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., has closed up her laboratory and is headed for outer space, where she could make history as the first person to do DNA sequencing in microgravity. Kate Rubins will be responsible for conducting and monitoring more than 250 experiments from researchers around the world.
—Compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Regina McEnery