News tips from the American Society for Microbiology


A compound produced by the immune cells of rabbits appears to block the spread of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) and could be used as a topical microbicide against the disease, say researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the University of California, Los Angeles. They report their findings in the February 2003 issue of the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

Alpha-defensins are antimicrobial proteins that are produced by immune cells in the lungs of rabbits. In the study the researchers tested one alpha-defensin, neutrophil peptide-1 (NP-1), against HSV-2 in human and monkey cell stocks. NP-1 was able to prevent infection 98 percent of the time.

The unique mechanism of anti-HSV activity of NP-1 suggests that it may be useful alone, or in combination with other candidate agents, in the development of multitargeted combination therapies to prevent sexually transmitted infections, say the researchers.

(S. Sinha, N. Cheshenko, R. I. Lehrer and B.C. Herold. 2003. NP-1, a rabbit alpha-defensin, prevents the entry and intercellular spread of herpes simplex virus type 2. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 47: 494-500.)



Individuals suffering from halitosis (chronic bad breath) may harbor different bacterial populations on the tongue than healthy individuals according to researchers from the University of Michigan and Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Their findings appear in the February 2003 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

In the study, scrapings from the tongue dorsa of subjects with and without halitosis were collected and analyzed. Results show that the predominant microbial presence of those subjects with halitosis varied from the healthy subjects. Specifically, the bacterium Streptococcus salivarious was

Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology

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