Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.
Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-destroying powers to treat infections with Clostridium difficile, a germ that that can cause severe diarrhea and inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.
It's been a tough week for the Tea Party and its supporters in Congress. The Affordable Care Act survived the Capitol Hill standoff largely untouched. President Obama and the Democrats stared them down and won. And fights with establishment Republicans revealed the depth of division within the GOP.
Migrants arrive in Valletta, the Maltese capital, aboard a patrol boat on Oct. 12, a day after their boat sank, killing more than 30 people, mostly women and children — just the latest deadly migrant tragedy to hit the Mediterranean. Despite Europe's financial crisis illegal immigrants continue to attempt to enter Europe through its southern coastal countries as they seek a better life.
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Isoken Philips, 27, is a Nigerian migrant living in Algeciras. Philips arrived in the country five years ago, after a four-year journey north from Nigeria through Niger, Mali, Algeria and Morocco.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
In Italy, men carry the coffins of victims of the Lampedusa tragedy in Porto Empedocle near Agrigento in Sicily on Oct. 15.
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Bathers enjoying the beach while Africa is seen in the distance on Aug. 30, in Tarifa, Spain. Thousands of African migrants have landed in Tarifa, on flimsy boats that make the dangerous journey across the Straits of Gibraltar, from Morocco.
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Isidoro Macías Martín, aka "Padre Patera," stands in front of his monastery office across the street from the port of Algeciras, in southern Spain. Martín is a Franciscan brother who for 40 years has been the first point of contact in Spain for thousands of Africans arriving illegally by boat.
Thugs with machetes killed Muhammed's two younger brothers. They were coming for him next.
Lingering violence from an 11-year civil war sent Muhammed fleeing his village in Sierra Leone. He escaped to the coast and paid smugglers to sneak him into the cargo hold of a ship at port. He had no idea where he was going.
"There was no light, no food — nothing for 10 days," he recalls. "I was very hopeless. I'd been in the darkness for 10 days."
Two weeks ago, NPR reported on a group of Pentecostals in Appalachia who handle snakes in church to prove their faith in God. The story got us thinking: Why are the handlers bitten so rarely, and why are so few of those snakebites lethal?