Saturday, June 04, 2011

E. Coli Datapoint of the Morning

The E. Coli virus bacterium,* currently making such a nuisance of itself in Germany and elsewhere, was "discovered" (isolated, identified) by a German physician just 137 years ago.  That would be Theodor Escherich, the "e" in the name.  Escherich was employed at Mainz.  He made his first public presentation on the topic at Munich, based on observations he had made at a cholera epidemic in Naples.

The sequencing of the deadly new variety was carried out in April at the Beijing Genomics Institute, the world's largest.    German scientists had been scrambling to identify the virus.  The Chinese, using samples provided by researchers working in Germany, cracked the code in three days.
*Thanks to John for the correction. He seems to be correct, although "e coli virus" (in quotes) gets 133,000 Google hits, many from sources you would think ought to know ("e coli bacteria" gets 807,000). A possible source of the confusion may be that it's a virus--a bacteriophage--that turns normally harmless E.coli into a killer.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

E. coli is a bacterium, not a virus.