Infectious Thoughts

The coronavirus outbreak in China: what a difference a week makes

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 27, 2020

When it comes to emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks, so much can happen in a week. In the case of the coronavirus outbreak in China, I’ve gone from not being too alarmed, to thinking “oh, crap!”. But that still doesn’t mean we should all panic. As I’m writing this on Monday the 27th of January, New Zealand’s Director-General of Health … Read More

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Snakeflu?! An intriguing source suggested for new Chinese coronavirus

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 23, 2020

Update 27/01/2020: Soon after the “snakeflu” paper was released, scientists took to social media expressing doubts, raising the fact that it’s pretty rare for the codon usage of a virus to closely match its reservoir host. Others criticised the way the authors prepared their codon usage tables. Kristian Andersen made some better codon usage tables and then calculated … Read More

The Chinese coronavirus outbreak: what are the options for vaccines and treatments?

Siouxsie Wiles Jan 22, 2020

By now you’ve probably heard of the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan City, China. The number of cases is rising, up to about 300 with six deaths. Cases have been reported in several more Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in Japan, Thailand, and South Korea. There are also reports of a case in … Read More

Open by design, not default.

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 14, 2019

I’m currently taking part in the Culture Track of the Mozilla Open Leaders programme, 14 weeks of mentoring and training by the Mozilla Foundation. I’m hoping to learn how to build an open culture for my lab and other projects I’m involved in. I’ve been interested in the concept of open science/research for a while now. If you … Read More

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The Open Source Period project: my open leadership journey begins!

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 08, 2019

If you’ve not heard of Mozilla, you’ve likely heard of their web browser Firefox. The Mozilla Foundation is a global non-profit that wants to shape the future of the web for the public good. So, what’s Mozilla got to do with the Open Source Period project? For the last seven years, the Mozilla Foundation has run a programme … Read More

Open Source Period

Siouxsie Wiles Mar 07, 2019

For nearly a year, I’ve been raving about menstrual cups to anyone who would listen, trying to explain how they could disrupt the way many of us do scientific research. Sounds unlikely? Then read on! I had the idea for the Open Source Period project when a story about menstrual cups hit the news in April 2018. To cut a … Read More

The science behind the Impossible Burger

Siouxsie Wiles Jul 05, 2018

Air New Zealand has just announced The Impossible Burger is now available to a minuscule number of their customers, a move described as an “existential threat” by New Zealand First’s Mark Patterson. So what is all the fuss is about? This week, Air New Zealand announced that Business Premier “foodies” on their Los Angeles to Auckland flights would be able … Read More

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Menstrual cups: let’s investigate!

Siouxsie Wiles Apr 29, 2018

After finding that there really have been bugger all studies done on menstrual cups and toxic shock, microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles ponders whether crowdfunding and open science might be the solution. Last week a new lab-based study came out about menstrual cups and toxic shock syndrome, the very rare but potentially deadly result of infection with the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. Read More

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The recent ‘period in a bag’ study: what it can and can’t tell us about menstrual cups and toxic shock

Siouxsie Wiles Apr 29, 2018

Recently, a lab-based study was published about menstrual cups, tampons, and toxic shock syndrome. In this post, microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles reflects on what the study can and can’t tell us about menstrual cups and toxic shock. If you need reminding, toxic shock syndrome is a very rare complication of a bacterial infection that can quickly result in organ failure … Read More