Though the general consensus seems to be that the Northeast weathered deadly storm Sandy relatively well thanks to warnings and emergency plans put into action, there were unexpected casualties beyond the loss of over 80 human lives. Massive flooding in the lower New York Metro Area was not on the radar to the extent that it actually transpired, and basements that were thought to be flood-safe turned out not to be. That was the case at New York University's Smilow Research Center, where animal labs underground were inundated and approximately 10,000 research mice and rats drowned and lab equipment was ruined. On the upper floors, precious biological samples and reagents were lost as freezers and refrigerators shut down. Other research institutions in the area fared better.
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There's been a lot of promising news lately on the HIV/AIDS drug and treatment front, and more scientific solutions are being developed in labs every day. Bringing new vaccine and drug treatments to fruition has been challenging, though, as test animals such as mice do not have immune systems that are similar enough to ours to predict what would really happen in a human model. Now, at bio science research labs at the Ragon Institute in Boston, scientists have overcome that obstacle by engineering a mouse with what is essentially a human immune system. The Ragon study just published in Science Translational Medicine successfully demonstrated that these "humanized mice" do in fact respond like a human does when infected with HIV. This is a big step towards developing and testing new vaccines in the lab.
Cows get pneumonia, or bovine respiratory disease, and it kills more than a million of them each year, making BRD the leading cause of (accidental) death for beef and dairy cattle. That translates to a loss of about $692 Million annually. To combat this loss, the USDA has just invested $9.75 Million in a 5-year project to come up with genomic and management approaches to the BRD problem.