disabling protein: Antibiotics can now treat pneumonic plague. The protein that causes the rapid spread of the ailment, has been identified. Disabling the protein, called plasminogen activator, can control the spread and give time to physicians to treat. The attack is significantly slowed down because it cannot use the key protein anymore. Statistics show that the disease killed a third of the population in Europe in the 1300s and about 12 million people in China in mid-1800s. WHO statistics show there were 2,118 cases of pneumonic plague in 2003 worldwide.
mapping genes: Scientists working across the Atlantic have mapped genes behind type II diabetes. The disease is characterised by insulin resistance and therefore it is non-insulin dependent and thus incurable. The study highlights four points on the gene map linked to the individual risk of diabetes in an individual. One mutation was in a particular zinc transporter, known as SLC30A8--involved in regulating insulin secretion. Researchers believe the possibility of mending this transporter may be the fresh hope of a cure for many sufferers.