Infection

Study Identifies Concerning Delays in TB Diagnoses in the United States

Most delays ranged between 10 and 45 days, with a median of 24 days, after a visit to a doctor, which exceeds current World Health Organization recommendations of diagnosing and treating TB within two to three weeks of symptom onset

Delays were linked to greater risk for disease complications, transmission of infection to household members

Older individuals and those with compromised immunity were at greater risk for delayed diagnoses

Use of diagnostic molecular testing, use of chest imaging and being seen by a specialist were all linked to more prompt identification of TB infection, suggesting delays may be preventable

Findings underscore the need to increase awareness of TB among frontline clinicians who may not suspect TB due to rarity of infection in this country

New Study Shows How Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 Allow the Virus to Evade Immune System Defenses

Research reveals how mutated SARS-CoV-2 evades immune system defenses

In lab-dish experiments, the mutant virus escaped antibodies from the plasma of

COVID-19 survivors as well as pharmaceutical-grade antibodies

Mutations arose in an immunocompromised patient with chronic SARS-CoV-2 infection

Patient-derived virus harbored structural changes now seen cropping up independently in samples across the globe

Findings underscore the need for better genomic surveillance to keep track of emerging variants

Results highlight importance of therapies aimed at multiple targets on SARS-CoV-2 to minimize risk of resistance

Study: COVID-19 infection rates high in pregnant women

The study also showed that the number of COVID-19 infections in pregnant patients from nearly all communities of color in Washington was high. There was a twofold to fourfold higher prevalence of pregnant patients with COVID-19 infections from communities of color than expected based on the race-ethnicity distribution of pregnant women in Washington in 2018.

Biomaterials Could Mean Better Vaccines, Virus-Fighting Surfaces

Advances in the fields of biomaterials and nanotechnology could lead to big breakthroughs in the fight against dangerous viruses like the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In APL Bioengineering, researchers from the Indian Institute of Science describe possibilities being explored by scientists, combining biomaterials and nanotechnology, to make vaccines more effective and build surfaces that could fight and kill viruses on their own.

Disposable Helmet Retains Cough Droplets, Minimizes Transmission to Dentists, Otolaryngologists

Dentists and otolaryngologists are at particular risk of infection of COVID-19, since they need direct access to the mouth, nose, and throat of patients. The current solutions are expensive, not highly effective, and not very accessible. In Physics of Fluids, researchers discuss their design of an open-faced helmet for patient use that is connected to a medical-grade air filtration pump from the top that creates a reverse flow of air to prevent cough droplets from exiting the helmet.

Interactions Within Larger Social Groups Can Cause Tipping Points in Contagion Flow

Contagion processes, such as opinion formation or disease spread, can reach a tipping point, where the contagion either rapidly spreads or dies out. When modeling these processes, it is difficult to capture this complex transition. In the journal Chaos, researchers studied the parameters of these transitions by including three-person group interactions in a contagion model called the susceptible-infected-susceptible model. In this model, an infected person who recovers from an infection can be reinfected.

HIV Up Close: Unprecedented View of Virus Reveals Essential Steps for Causing AIDS

Accomplishing a feat that had been a pipe dream for decades, scientists at University of Utah Health and University of Virginia have recreated in a test tube the first steps of infection by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Doing so has provided up-close access to the virus—which is otherwise obstructed from view deep within the cell—and enabled identification of essential components that HIV needs to replicate within its human host. The research publishes in the journal, Cell.

Ocean Algae Get “Coup de Grace” from Viruses

Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.

Masks, PPE Materials Should Be Hydrophilic

Since the COVID-19 virus spreads through respiratory droplets, researchers in India set out to explore how droplets deposited on face masks or frequently touched surfaces dry. Droplets can be expelled via the mouth or nose and studies have shown a substantially reduced chance of infection once they dry. In Physics of Fluids, the researchers publish their findings that surface wetting properties to reduce the drying time of droplets could help lessen the risk of infection from coronaviruses.

Big Data Analytics Enables Scientists to Model COVID-19 Spread

Researchers will use big data analytics techniques to develop computational models to predict the spread of COVID-19. They will utilize forward simulation from a given patient and the propagation of the infection into the community; and backward simulation tracing a number of verified infections to a possible patient “zero.” The project also will provide quick and automatic contact tracing and leverages the researchers’ prior experience in modeling Ebola spread.

Supercharged bandages to revolutionise chronic wound treatment

World-first plasma-coated bandages with the power to attack infection and inflammation could revolutionise the treatment of chronic wounds such as pressure, diabetic or vascular ulcers that won’t heal on their own.

Developed by the University of South Australia, the novel coating comprises a special antioxidant which can be applied to any wound dressing to simultaneously reduce wound inflammation a¬¬nd break up infection to aid in wound repair.

Correlations in COVID-19 Growth Point to Universal Strategies for Slowing Spread

Many months since the first COVID-19 outbreak, countries continue to explore solutions to manage the spread of the virus. Chaos theory researchers analyzed the growth of confirmed cases across four continents to better characterize the spread and examine which strategies are effective in reducing it, and their results, published in Chaos, found the virus commonly grows along a power law curve.

Ending the Pandemic

As scientists forge ahead to piece together a comprehensive profile of the new coronavirus fueling a historic pandemic, they are focusing their efforts on six areas: epidemiology, diagnostics, pathogenesis, clinical disease management, treatment and vaccines.

Rutgers Launches Genetic Testing Service for New Coronavirus

Rutgers’ RUCDR Infinite Biologics has launched a test for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and is using its automation experience and infrastructure to test as many as tens of thousands of samples daily. RUCDR has also submitted an emergency use authorization request for a saliva collection method that will allow for broader population screening.

MORE THAN A WATCHDOG

Study in mice shows the nervous system not only detects the presence of Salmonella in the gut but actively stops the organism from infecting the body
Nerves in the gut prevent Salmonella infection by shutting the cellular gates that allow bacteria to invade the intestine and spread beyond it
As a second line of defense, gut neurons help avert Salmonella invasion by maintaining the levels of key protective microbes in the gut
Findings reveal prominent role for nervous system in infection protection and regulation of immunity