Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I read this NYT article on giardia while tipsy yesterday, so I just reread it to see if it is as amusing when one is sober. It is. 

"If you return from a trip abroad to find you have projectile vomiting, roaring flatulence, sulfurous belching and explosive diarrhea, the bad news is that you won’t die."

A possible way to create a vaccine for giardia would be "forcing expression of all coat proteins simultaneously" so that the 140 kinds of giardia protein coats can be identified and treated. I love this use of "expression" - it is so damn satisfying.

"In an experiment that has not yet been published, Dr. Luján has tested gerbils, the laboratory animal often used in giardia work, with a vaccine consisting just of giardia with its RNA interference system blocked. “We saw complete protection,” he said."

So basically, the gerbils in this test were lucky not to poop themselves to death. Animal testing is tough moral call - torturing animals is awful, but the advancements for science are undeniable. However you feel about it though, there is something funny about dozens of pathetic pooping giardic gerbils.

The article also contains lovely bits on royal giardia, and the excavation of medieval toilets for giardia research. This writer is a genius - sophisticated writing about poop!

"Dr. Luján’s discovery may be a critical step in curbing giardia’s merciless torment of its fellow eukaryotes."


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