The cicadas are have arrived, blanketing Midwestern porches by the thousands

June 21, 2016 by  
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The iconic, spine-tingling line from Poltergeist, “They’re here…” is on the lips of wide-eyed mid-westerners during the deafening invasion of 17-year cicadas. Photos of one Mansfield, Ohio homeowner’s porch have gone viral , depicting piles and piles of discarded exoskeletons and deceased insects. The scene, to some, is like a real-life horror movie. Cicadas emerge from under the ground in broods. This particular brood is surfacing for the first time since 1999. Over the span of about six weeks they will shed their exoskeleton, mate, lay eggs, and then die. The thunderous mating call of millions of male cicadas is the biggest nuisance for humans, unless they show up on your doorstep. Richelle Smart, in northern Ohio, recently posted photos of thousands of bugs overtaking her porch. Her children dutifully helped sweep up the crunchy mounds, when they weren’t not jumping back at the sight of a live, bug-eyed cicada. Related: They’re coming… BILLIONS of cicadas to invade the northeast next month The cicadas’ presence may only be an annoyance to people, as they have a symbiotic relationship with Mother Nature. Laying eggs on tree branches promotes healthy pruning and the underground burrowing aerates the soil. The exoskeletons are returned to the Earth as nourishment, completing the cycle of life. If you are living in eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia, southwest Pennsylvania, or some pockets of Virginia and Maryland, the beauty of nature may be the last thing on your mind. Luckily, once this brood takes care of their business, you won’t have to worry about them popping back up for another 17 years. Via  Daily Mail Images via  Wikimedia , Facebook

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The cicadas are have arrived, blanketing Midwestern porches by the thousands

Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time

June 21, 2016 by  
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The FDA just approved the world’s first clinical trial of a Zika vaccine . The tests will determine whether or not the vaccine is safe for use in normal, healthy people – however, they will not be able to determine whether or not the vaccine prevents the disease. The vaccine, called GLS-5700, has been shown to cause a strong antibody response against the Zika virus in monkeys and mice. With any luck, the results of this new study will be available by the end of the year. The trial will be run by Inovio Pharmaceuticals , a company specializing in immunotherapy, and GeneOne Life Science , a DNA vaccine developer. It will begin in just a few short weeks, and it will include 40 adult subjects. If successful, the vaccine may be tested in people who have an existing Zika infection in later trials. GLS-5700 is what is known as a ” DNA vaccine ,” a relatively new approach to fighting disease. Instead of directly injecting parts of the infectious agent, it consists of DNA coded to produce a special protein that surrounds the Zika virus. The vaccine is injected the same way as a normal shot, and it’s also zapped with a device that delivers a short electrical pulse to help guide the DNA into the patient’s cells. Once this process is complete, the new DNA trains the immune system of the patient to fight the disease. Related: Millions of genetically altered mosquitoes are being released in the Cayman Islands to fight Zika This may be the first Zika vaccine approved for testing, but it isn’t the only one being developed. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is also in the process of developing a DNA vaccine , which may begin phase 1 testing as soon as August. However, it’s important to note that clinical testing is a long and complex process, and that it might still be years yet before either of these vaccines are ready for the mass market. Via The Verge Photos via Tom and Oregon State University

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Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time

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