Search for: "pathogen" - 522 articles found

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Genomic tracking

Retracing the Covid-19 pandemic in England

The Covid-19 crisis that gripped England between September 2020 and June 2021 can be thought of as a series of overlapping epidemics, rather than a single event, say researchers at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and the German Cancer Research Center. During this period, the country wrestled with multiple variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that…

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Rare liver disease

New test improves diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis

Autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) is a chronic liver inflammation that is triggered by an immunological malfunction. In this case, the immune system falsely recognises the patient's own liver cells as "foreign to the body". The symptoms of this rare liver disease are unspecific, and the exact cause is not yet known. If left untreated, AIH can lead to abnormal scarring (fibrosis) of the liver,…

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Immunological memory

How our lungs 'remember' a Covid-19 infection

After infection with SARS-CoV-2, where does the immune system store the memory to provide long-term protection against reinfection? Though numerous studies have examined blood to track immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, a new study of Covid survivors shows that the memory of the infection is primarily stored in T and B cells within the lung and the lymph nodes surrounding the lung.

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Covid-19 and pathology

Lung cancer care across Europe affected by coronavirus pandemic

The impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on lung cancer patient care across Europe, and the contribution lung pathologists have made to a better understanding of Covid-19, were detailed during a special session at the 33rd European Congress of Pathology. Within the session entitled “The lung pathologist in the Covid-19 pandemic,” speakers detailed how the pandemic has affected patients,…

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Tools for the lab

Speeding up diagnostics to detect antibiotic resistance

Infectious disease diagnostics are notoriously slow. The gold standard for laboratory diagnosis of bacterial and fungal infection involves growing the pathogen from a clinical specimen – an overnight event, or even longer. The healthcare focus is on improving the use of antibiotics for better patient outcomes and reducing the environmental pressures that drive antibiotic resistance. To impact…

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Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

New predictive biomarkers for ALS identified

Some blood lipid biomarkers linked to cardiovascular disease risk are also associated with a lower risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) suggest the findings of a large epidemiology study. ALS is the commonest form of motor neuron disease - a progressive nervous system disease that destroys nerve cells responsible for voluntary movement such as walking and talking.

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Revealed in CT scans

Lung damage: New cause for breathing troubles in asthmatics found

A novel CT scan-based approach has revealed significant changes in a parameter indicating lung destruction in some asthmatics. This finding could lead to more personalized treatments for asthma accompanied by persistent airflow limitation. Clinicians have long thought that some people with asthma experience declines in their lung function, called fixed airflow obstruction (FAO), due to changes to…

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Precision oncology

Personalized health and genomics: Minimizing collateral damage

A solid diagnosis has always been the first step on any patient’s journey to health. However, diagnostic categories are necessarily oversimplifications. In the last decades, medical professionals and scientists have begun to uncover the true variability in patients’ physiological and biochemical make-up that is the principal cause for individual variations in the way diseases present…

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Population bottlenecks

Random effects make it difficult to optimise antibiotic therapy

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have become one of the greatest threats to public health. The basic mechanisms of resistance evolution have been well studied experimentally and are an important research field at Kiel University. An important factor in this context, but one that has received little attention so far, is the population size of the respective pathogen. Over the course of an infection…

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AMR insights platform

Antibiotic resistance: a global problem in urgent need of solutions

Antibiotics have been at the heart of modern healthcare since the 1950s. They are prescribed prior to an operation to minimise the risk of infection after the operation. Or antibiotics are prescribed to fight an infection. This practice, which might seem straightforward at first glance, has proven to cause a number of problems itself: Over the last twenty years, it has become increasingly clear…

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Oncology

Pancreatic cancer - current challenges and future direction

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the world, and one of the most difficult to treat. In 2020, an estimated 495,000 individuals worldwide were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and an estimated 466,000 died, according to statistics from the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. Most patients with advanced disease die within a year of…

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Leading cause for blindness

Breakthrough in research on age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness in developed countries affecting seven million in total in Germany, from which 500,000 people are suffering from late stage disease, around half of whom are registered as visually impaired. There are two forms of AMD, ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. There are currently no treatments available for the dry form of the disease…

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Antibiotic resistance

Five-minute MRSA detection with aptasensor swabs

An international research team from Saudi Arabia, Germany, and Jordan has developed a novel pathogen aptasensor swab designed to qualitatively detect, within five minutes, any methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination that remains in a hospital isolation room or other surface following standard decontamination and cleaning.

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Advanced care

This 'smart' wound dressing monitors the healing process with built-in sensors

Researchers at RMIT University in Australia have developed smart wound dressings with built-in nanosensors that glow to alert patients when a wound is not healing properly. The multifunctional, antimicrobial dressings feature fluorescent sensors that glow brightly under UV light if infection starts to set in and can be used to monitor healing progress.

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AI-assisted analysis

Prediciting viral infections with microscopy & deep learning

When viruses infect cells, changes in the cell nucleus occur, and these can be observed through fluorescence microscopy. Using fluoresence images from live cells, researchers at the University of Zurich have trained an artificial neural network to reliably recognize cells that are infected by adenoviruses or herpes viruses. The procedure also identifies severe acute infections at an early stage.

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Corona and EBV

Long Covid symptoms likely caused by Epstein-Barr virus reactivation

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation resulting from the inflammatory response to coronavirus infection may be the cause of previously unexplained long Covid symptoms—such as fatigue, brain fog, and rashes—that occur in approximately 30% of patients after recovery from initial Covid-19 infection. The first evidence linking EBV reactivation to long Covid, as well as an analysis of long Covid…

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Sepsis detection

T2 Biosystems to participate at clinical conferences in June and July 2021

T2 Biosystems, Inc. announced the its participation in three virtual conferences this summer. The company, which specialises in the rapid detection of sepsis-causing pathogens, will take part in the American Society for Microbiology’s (ASM) and Federation of European Microbiological Societies’ (FEMS) World Microbe Forum; Sepsis Alliance’s inaugural Sepsis Tech and Innovation 2021…

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Molecular research

How retroviruses become infectious

Understanding every step in the life cycle of a virus is crucial for identifying potential targets for treatment. Now, scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria were able to show how a virus from the retrovirus family – the same family as HIV – protects its genetic information and becomes infectious. Furthermore, they show an unexpected flexibility of the virus. This…

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A new tool to combat superbugs

Defeating antibiotic resistant bacteria with 'molecular tweezers'

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a looming super threat – heralding a time when our drugs will no longer be effective against prevalent infections. Hospitals are already coping with treatment-resistant bacterial infections. Cognizant of the threat and thinking outside the box, BGU scientists and German and American colleagues have developed a pair of 'molecular tweezers' to destroy the biofilm…

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Medication testing

'Airway-on-a-chip' to find new Covid-19 drugs

A collaboration spanning four research labs and hundreds of miles has used the organ-on-a-chip (Organ Chip) technology from the Wyss institute at Harvard Univesity to identify the antimalarial drug amodiaquine as a potent inhibitor of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The Organ Chip-based drug testing ecosystem established by the collaboration greatly streamlines the…

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Battling bacteria

Stress test finds cracks in the armor of harmful hospital bugs

Research has identified critical factors that enable dangerous bacteria to spread disease by surviving on surfaces in hospitals and kitchens. The study into the mechanisms which enable the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa to survive on surfaces, could lead to new ways of targeting harmful bacteria. To survive outside their host, pathogenic bacteria must withstand various…

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Safety study

Covid-19: Investigating the infection risk from ventilated patients

What happens when patients can no longer breathe on their own and need to be supported by machines? How far does infected air spread throughout a room? And what safety precautions do medical and nursing staff need to take? Respiratory specialists Dr. Dominic Dellweg and Dr. Jens Kerl together with Dr.-Ing. Conrad Völker, Amayu Wakoya Gena, and Dr. Hayder Alsaad from the Department of Building…

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Building a coronavirus factory

How SARS-CoV-2 reprograms human cells to their own benefit

Coronavirus researchers under Prof. Rolf Hilgenfeld of the University of Lübeck and Dr. Albrecht von Brunn of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich discovered how SARS viruses enhance the production of viral proteins in infected cells, so that many new copies of the virus can be generated. Other coronaviruses apart from SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 do not use this mechanism, thereby providing a…

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Spread of drug-resistance

WHO reports global shortage of innovative antibiotics

The world is still failing to develop desperately needed antibacterial treatments, despite growing awareness of the urgent threat of antibiotic resistance, according to a new report by the World Health Organization. WHO reveals that none of the 43 antibiotics that are currently in clinical development sufficiently address the problem of drug resistance in the world’s most dangerous bacteria.…

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M.O. of Darobactin unveiled

Novel antibiotic deceives bacteria through mimicry

An increasing number of bacterial pathogens are resistant to antibiotics. And the most dangerous pathogens share a common feature: a double membrane that is difficult to penetrate. Even when antibiotic agents are able to break into this shell, the bacteria just pump them right out again. But a recently discovered compound called Darobactin manages to circumvent these protective measures and kill…

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After overcoming a Corona infection

Covid-19: Study on long-term antibody protection

Does overcoming a SARS-CoV-2 infection protect against reinfection? The “Rhineland Study”, a population-based study conducted by DZNE in the Bonn area, is now providing new findings in this regard. Blood samples taken last year indicate that an important component of immunity – the levels of specific neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus - had dropped in most of the study…

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Reverse genetics system

SARS-CoV-2: An easier and quicker way to analyse mutations

SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. We know that mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 have occurred and spread, but what effect do those mutations have? Current methods for studying mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome are very complicated and time-consuming because coronaviruses have large genomes, but now a team from Osaka University and Hokkaido University have…

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Bioorganic chemistry

Why M. tuberculosis is so resistant to drugs and immune defenses

A consortium of researchers from Russia, Belarus, Japan, Germany and France led by the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have uncovered the way in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives in iron-deficient conditions by utilizing rubredoxin B, a protein from a rubredoxin family that play an important role in adaptation to changing environmental conditions.

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SARS-CoV-2 detection and sequencing

'Nirvana': Fast, portable test diagnoses Covid-19, tracks variants

Clinicians using a new viral screening test can not only diagnose Covid-19 in a matter of minutes with a portable, pocket-sized machine, but can also simultaneously test for other viruses—like influenza—that might be mistaken for the coronavirus. At the same time, they can sequence the virus, providing valuable information on the spread of Covid-19 mutations and variants. The new test, dubbed…

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Biochemistry

Potential trigger of Crohn’s disease found

Potentially game-changing research led by McMaster University scientists may finally bring relief to millions of people worldwide living with Crohn’s disease. Investigator Brian Coombes said his team identified a strain of adherent-invasive E-coli (AIEC) that is strongly implicated in the condition and is often found in the intestines of people with Crohn’s disease. “If you examine the gut…

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Mass spectrometry

"Protein fingerprint" rapidly identifies Covid-19 biomarkers

Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Francis Crick Institute have developed a mass spectrometry-based technique capable of measuring samples containing thousands of proteins within just a few minutes. It is faster and cheaper than a conventional blood count. To demonstrate the technique’s potential, the researchers used blood plasma collected from Covid-19 patients.…

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BMMF research

Novel pathogens: a driver for colorectal cancer?

Do BMMFs, the novel infectious agents found in dairy products and bovine sera, play a role in the development of colorectal cancer? Scientists led by Harald zur Hausen detected the pathogens in colorectal cancer patients in close proximity to tumors. The researchers show that the BMMFs trigger local chronic inflammation, which can cause mutations via activated oxygen molecules and thus promote…

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Improved Coronavirus detection

Low-cost and fast Covid-19 test uses pool of gargle lavage samples

In order to monitor and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 it is necessary to test large numbers of people on a regular basis in decentralized settings. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Hospital St. Georg in Leipzig, Germany, have developed improved protocols for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The method can detect a positive sample in a pool with 25…

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Mutations of SARS-CoV-2 & Co.

Tracking virus variants faster with sequencing

A global group of researchers is calling for better integration of viral genetics, bioinformatics, and public health to enable better pandemic response now and better pandemic preparedness in the future. In a comment piece in the journal Nature, an international collaboration of specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and…

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Infection research

Mutations help bacteria resist antibiotic treatment

Bacteria have many ways to evade the antibiotics that we use against them. Each year, at least 2.8 million people in the United States develop an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people die from such infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Most of the mutations known to confer resistance occur in the genes targeted by a particular antibiotic. Other…

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Inactivation of Coronavirus & Co. via electrochemistry

Antiviral mask offers protection at the push of a button

Researchers at ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences are working with the Swiss company Osmotex AG to develop a self-disinfecting mask that inactivates viruses at the push of a button. The prototype of this mask made of electrochemical textiles shows an antiviral effect of over 99 percent. Further applications such as sterilizable seat covers are being examined.

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Target cells, medication effects, evasion methods

4 new facts about early Covid-19 infections

University of Minnesota Medical School researchers studied SARS-CoV-2 infections at individual cellular levels and made four major discoveries about the virus, including one that validates the effectiveness of remdesivir – an FDA-approved antiviral drug – as a form of treatment for severe Covid-19 disease. “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the way that each individual responds…

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Lessons learned from Covid-19

A 'blueprint' for preventing the next pandemic

Scientific and public health experts have been raising the alarm for decades, imploring public officials to prepare for the inevitability of a viral pandemic. Infectious epidemics seemingly as benign as "the flu" and as deadly as the Ebola virus provided ample warning, yet government officials seemed caught off guard and ill prepared for dealing with Covid-19.

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Environmental connections

Has climate change driven the emergence of SARS-CoV-2?

Global greenhouse gas emissions over the last century have made southern China a hotspot for bat-borne coronaviruses, by driving growth of forest habitat favoured by bats. A new study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment provides the first evidence of a mechanism by which climate change could have played a direct role in the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the…

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A closer look at thapsigargin

Potential antiviral treatment for Covid-19 found

Researchers from the University of Nottingham have discovered a novel antiviral property of a drug that could have major implications in how future epidemics/pandemics – including Covid-19 – are managed. The study, published in Viruses, shows that thapsigargin is a promising broad‑spectrum antiviral, highly effective against SARS-CoV-2, a common cold coronavirus, respiratory syncytial virus…

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Hematology

New tabletop analyzer to increase productivity and efficiency in the lab

Clinical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter announced the launch of the DxH 560 AL, a tabletop analyzer geared to reduce the time and resource constraints faced by small to mid-sized laboratories. With the analyzer’s Auto-Loading functionality, closed tube aspiration and walkaway capabilities, users can continually add up to 50 samples, provide safety against blood-borne pathogens and spend…

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New microscopy approach

A smartphone-based test for Covid-19

Researchers at the University of Arizona are developing a Covid-19 testing method that uses a smartphone microscope to analyze saliva samples and deliver results in about 10 minutes. The research team, led by biomedical engineering professor Jeong-Yeol Yoon, aims to combine the speed of existing nasal swab antigen tests with the high accuracy of nasal swab PCR, or polymerase chain reaction,…

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Flu & other aerosolized viruses

Microwaves used to deactivate coronavirus

As the pandemic has continued to spread globally, studies indicate the COVID-19 virus may be contained in aerosols that can be generated and spread through breathing, coughing, sneezing, or talking by infected individuals. Researchers are increasingly focused on developing tools and methods to assist in decontaminating surfaces and spaces.

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Lymphocytosis research

Tracing the onset of leukaemia

B-cell lymphocytosis, a condition in which individuals have increased levels of particular white blood cells, in some cases leads to blood cancer. As an international team of researchers now shows in samples from patients, both diseases exhibit similar epigenetic signatures that are forming very early during the course of the disease. Chronic leukemias often start insidiously. White blood cells…

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Revealing the mechanisms

Unlocking ‘the shape of water’ to fight antibiotic resistance

New high-resolution structures of the bacterial ribosome determined by researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago show that a single water molecule may be the cause — and possible solution — of antibiotic resistance. The findings of the new study are published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology. Pathogenic germs become resistant to antibiotics when they develop the ability to…

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Profiling the coronavirus

Experts unlock Covid-19 secrets

Experts have identified two distinct immunological and cellular profiles in the lungs of Covid-19 patients which they believe could help define treatment pathways. From some of the earliest Covid-19 autopsies conducted in Europe, Swiss-based researchers have performed integrative digital pathology and transcriptomic analyses of lung tissues of 16 coronavirus patients who died from respiratory…

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Interview

Disinfection: let mist do the work

Healthcare settings require sharp weapons to fight both hospital-acquired infections and pathogens like SARS-CoV-2. Besides protective equipment, regular room disinfection is one of them. So, why not fog the room? Read more in the MEDICA magazine.

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Detecting coronavirus infections

Covid-19: CRISPR-based test gives GPs quick results

Recent research in Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) has identified two enzymes that can detect Covid-19 RNA as simply as a pregnancy test Jesús Pla, an eminent microbiologist at the Complutense University in Madrid, explained in our exclusive interview. CRISPR technology could help alleviate workloads in packed hospitals and expand testing to primary care and…

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"B1" accessory

Droplet reduction mouthpiece to increase endoscopy safety

Safety and protection for patients and healthcare professionals during routine procedures is imperative for Fujifilm, which it intends to pursue by constantly innovating its offering of accessories and instruments for endoscopy. The company announced the launch of the Mouthpiece “B1” incorporating a sponge rubber, a droplet reduction accessory, and a drape shield specifically created to catch…

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Extraction

Molzym – SelectNA plus: Pathogen Enrichment & DNA Extraction

Highlights:SelectNA plus is Molzym’s unique platform for the ­automated enrichment and isolation of bacterial and fungal DNA from various specimens.Walk-away pathogen DNA isolationHuman DNA removal (MolYsis technology)Flexible extraction: 1 to 12 samplesSterile body fluids and tissue biopsiesInternal UV decontaminationDNA-free consumables & reagentsKits for the robot are the…

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Amplification

Orion Diagnostica Oy – Orion GenRead

Assays: C difficile, campylobacterHighlights:Orion GenRead system is a small benchtop system for molecular pathogen detection, based on proprietary technology SIBA (Strand Invasion Based Amplification).Flexibility with 1 – 12 samples in one runFast test results are available in less than one hourReady to use kits contain all needed reagentsBi-directional HIS / LIS connectivityPortable and…

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Product of the Month

Needlestick Injuries are history

Injuries due to contaminated puncture devices are still the most frequent cause of accidents in hospitals. This is a significant source of danger for many employees in the healthcare industry. At this moment in time, there are already more than 20 bloodborne pathogens that we know of. The most dangerous are HBV, HCV and HIV. Recent studies show that it is up to ten times more likely for more…

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Neuropilin-1 as a 'helper' for COVID-19

Coronavirus: Study finds further 'door opener' into the cell

The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is known to infect cells via the receptor ACE2. An international research team under German-Finnish coordination has now identified neuropilin-1 as a factor that can facilitate SARS-CoV-2 entry into the cells’ interior. Neuropilin-1 is localized in the respiratory and olfactory epithelia, which could be a strategically important localization to contribute to…

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Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics

A new technique to understand metabolic pathways

Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics has emerged as a powerful tool to help study chemical ecology. Recent advances in the technique make it possible to study microbial interactions from complex communities. Laia Castaño-Espriu outlined the role and benefits of MS in this context in her presentation ‘Analysis of microbial ecology by mass spectrometry-based metabolomics techniques’, at the…

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Rapid diagnostics

The clinical potential of POCT

In 2019, the Central Laboratory of the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry at the Klinikum rechts der Isar of the Technical University Munich, headed by Professor Peter B Luppa, organised the 4th of the internationally renowned Munich Point-of-Care Testing Symposiums. Dr Andreas Bietenbeck is senior physician at the Institute which for many years has been focusing on…

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Revealing innovation potential of new antibiotics

Using proteomic profiling to accelerate drug development

The fight against bacterial infections, especially those caused by resistant pathogens, is in full swing with the search for new antibiotic agents. The aim is to identify substances that attack the pathogens in a truly novel way. The team at the Center for Systems-Based Antibiotic Research (Cesar) at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) has described in two publications how assess if a new antibiotic…

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Therapy development

New approach to 'BEAT' COVID-19

The present Coronavirus pandemic with all its effects on society – both health and economic – highlights the urgency of developing new therapies for COVID-19 treatment. At the same time, it demonstrates the necessity to become well prepared for new virus infections we may be facing in the future. To help control the current pandemic and brace for novel pathogens that may cause future…

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COVID immunity research

Coronavirus re-infection: what we know so far – and the vital missing clues

As President Trump claims that he is immune to COVID-19 and isolated reports emerge of reinfection, what is the truth about immunity to COVID-19? To date, there have been six published cases of COVID-19 reinfection, with various other unverified accounts from around the world. Although this is a comparably small fraction of the millions of people known to have been infected, should we be…

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For the development of CRISPR/Cas9

Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020 to Emmanuelle Charpentier from the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens, Berlin, Germany, and Jennifer A. Doudna from the University of California, Berkeley, USA, “for the development of a method for genome editing”, more commonly known as the 'gene scissors' CRISPR/Cas9.

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Basis for a passive vaccination

Researchers identify highly effective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

Researchers at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin have identified highly effective antibodies against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and are now pursuing the development of a passive vaccination. In this process, they have also discovered that some SARS-CoV-2 antibodies bind to tissue samples from various organs, which could potentially…

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Coronavirus

“Hotspots” of a corona infection in the human body

An infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 can affect multiple organs. With this in mind, researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Cornell University in the US have investigated cellular factors that could be significant for an infection. To this end, they analysed the activity of 28 specific genes in a wide range of human tissues.

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Aerosol recommendations

How humidity affects indoor spread of SARS-CoV-2

The airborne transmission of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 via aerosol particles in indoor environment seems to be strongly influenced by relative humidity. This is the conclusion drawn by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) in Leipzig and the CSIR National Physical Laboratory in New Delhi from the analysis of 10 most relevant international studies on the…

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Coronavirus research

Boosting the immune system: a potential treatment strategy for COVID-19?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to claim lives around the world, much research has focused on the immune system’s role in patients who become seriously ill. A popular theory has it that the immune system gets so revved up fighting the virus that, after several days, it produces a so-called cytokine storm that results in potentially fatal organ damage, particularly to the lungs.

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'Ancientbiotics'

Medieval medicine against antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance is an increasing battle for scientists to overcome, as more antimicrobials are urgently needed to treat biofilm-associated infections. However, scientists from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Warwick say research into natural antimicrobials could provide candidates to fill the antibiotic discovery gap.

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Self-sanitising surfaces

First long-lasting surface treatment to kill coronavirus launched

Chemical binding company Affix Labs has created the first long-lasting surface treatment proven to kill COVID-19. Si-Quat combines a safe and well-established disinfectant and a proprietary chemical binding technique, so that the active ingredient can kill viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Testing at Portugal’s Biochemistry Institute at the University of Lisbon proves that Si-Quat effectively…

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Blood testing for astronauts

Health in space: a mini-lab for zero gravity

Nanoelectronics and digital technologies R&D and innovation hub Imec recently received NASA funding to test a new technology in a gravity-free environment. Eventually, this will enable astronauts to perform blood tests to monitor their health. We discussed the project and technology with Nicolas Vergauwe, CEO of miDiagnostics, the Leuven firm that developed the diagnostic device, and Susana B…

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Anti-inflammation

Can special coatings reduce complications after implant surgery?

New coatings on implants could help make them more compatible. Researchers at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method of applying anti-inflammatory substances to implants in order to inhibit undesirable inflammatory reactions in the body. Their study was recently published in the "International Journal of Molecular Sciences".

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COVID-19 diagnostics

SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody test receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization

Beckman Coulter announced that its Access SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Beckman Coulter has already shipped tests to more than 400 hospitals, clinics and diagnostics laboratories in the U.S., and has begun distribution of the new antibody test globally to countries that accept the FDA EUA and CE Mark. The…

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UK experts raise concerns

COVID-19 antibody tests: Not a game-changer after all?

A group of senior clinical academics and physicians are concerned about the rapid roll out of COVID-19 antibody testing in England and are publicly questioning how good the tests are - or even what they mean. In a letter to The BMJ, they argue that there is currently no valid clinical reason for large scale testing, test performance has not yet been adequately assessed, and testing risks…

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Immune system overreaction

Sepsis can cause long-term damage in the brain

Infections can trigger a particularly strong immune reaction of the body (termed sepsis). In such a sepsis the immune system reacts so strongly that not only the pathogens but also tissues and organs are damaged. In a study with mice, researchers from the Technische Universität Braunschweig were able to show that sepsis can have long-term effects on the brain and learning behaviour even after…

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Immune system

Tuberculosis vaccine also makes less susceptible to other infections

A tuberculosis vaccine developed 100 years ago also makes vaccinated persons less susceptible to other infections. While this effect has been recognized for a long time, it is not known what causes it. Together with colleagues from Australia and Denmark, researchers from Radboud university medical center the universities of Nijmegen and Bonn have now presented a possible answer to this question.

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Disinfection

Robots help fight hospital infections

In the hustle and bustle of a hospital, properly disinfecting all surfaces in a patient room can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Now, in times of the coronavirus pandemic, it can also be life-threatening. To minimize the risk for their staff, hospitals are utilizing disinfection robots to sanitize surfaces and rooms. Read on and learn more about how some of those robots are used to…

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Microbiome study

Do microscope eyepieces pose an infection risk?

Light microscope for viewing microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are commonly found in scientific laboratories. A research team from Furtwangen University, the University of Tübingen and Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Aalen, examined more closely their role as potential vectors of infectious pathogens. „Very little was known about this until now," explains the head of the…

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COVID-19 detection

New analyzer detects virus antibodies in 20 minutes

Researchers at Hokkaido University have succeeded in detecting anti-avian influenza virus antibody in blood serum within 20 minutes, using a portable analyzer they have developed to conduct rapid on-site bio tests. If a suitable reagent is developed, this technology could be used to detect antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of COVID-19.

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Robotic innovation

Micro robot rolls deep into the body

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell travelling through the circulatory system. It has the shape, the size and the moving capabilities of leukocytes and could perhaps be well on its way – in a rolling motion of course – to revolutionize the minimally invasive treatment of…

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Heart attacks, heart failure, stroke

COVID-19’s cardiovascular complications

COVID-19 can cause serious cardiovascular complications including heart failure, heart attacks and blood clots that can lead to strokes, emergency medicine doctors at the University of Virgina report in a new scientific paper. They also caution that COVID-19 treatments can interact with medicines used to manage patients’ existing cardiovascular conditions.

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Coronavirus origins

Researchers crack COVID-19 genome signature

Using machine learning, a team of Western computer scientists and biologists have identified an underlying genomic signature for 29 different COVID-19 DNA sequences. This new data discovery tool will allow researchers to quickly and easily classify a deadly virus like COVID-19 in just minutes – a process and pace of high importance for strategic planning and mobilizing medical needs during a…

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Breath analysis to aid diagnoses

Breathomics: far more than hot air

In diagnostics, it sometimes makes sense to follow your nose. During the Labmed Forum at Medica 2019, Dr Beniam Ghebremedhin and Dr Simona Cristescu discussed the diagnostic potential of breathomics – the analysis of a patient’s exhaled air for disease indicators.

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RT-PCR for COVID-19

First of 3 diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus available

Biotechnology company bioMérieux, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, is announcing the forthcoming launch of 3 different tests to address the COVID-19 epidemic and to meet the different needs of physicians and health authorities in the fight against this emerging infectious disease. bioMérieux has finalized the development of the SARS-CoV-2 R-Gene test. This real-time PCR test…

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After the denoidectomy

Using tonsils as an 'immune testbed'

Biomedical researchers in Munich have isolated immune cells from human tonsils obtained following routine surgery, and used them to analyze aspects of the immune response and test the effects of anti-inflammatory agents at the cellular level. Human tissues that have been surgically removed from patients are normally treated as waste, especially when they are derived from a ‘dispensable’ organ…

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BCG vs tumour recurrence

Modified tuberculosis vaccine shows promise against bladder cancer

The human immune system can recognize and eliminate not only germs but also cancer cells. This is why treatments with weakened germs can help the immune system in its fight against cancer. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin have genetically modified the tuberculosis vaccine BCG in a way that it stimulates the immune system more specifically. Consequently, the…

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Genomic insights into 2019-nCoV

New coronavirus: largest meta-analysis yet answers important questions

Scientists at the University of Bologna have conducted the largest analysis of coronavirus 2019-nCoV genomes sequenced so far. This analysis confirms that the virus originates in bats and shows a low variability: the virus heterogeneity is low. At the same time, researchers identified a hyper-variable genomic hotspot in the proteins of the virus responsible for the existence of two virus…

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Deadly virus

New test to identify and control Ebola variants

The situation is extraordinary: there have only ever been four declarations of public health emergencies of international concern in the past and now there are two at the same time. Whilst the risks associated with the novel coronavirus are still unclear, people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are still battling with an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which has been ongoing since 2018…

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The Heraeus Symposium at DKOU

Challenges of periprosthetic infection

Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) is on the increase internationally. In Germany, for example, around 14,500 cases of PJI in hip and knee replacements occur annually. 5,100 of those are caused by multidrug resistant pathogens. ‘Eighty-seven percent of those affected die within five years,’ orthopaedic surgeon Professor Rudolf Ascherl MD pointed out during the Heraeus Symposium held at the…

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Subdermal quantum tattoo

Nano-patch stores medical information under the skin

Every year, a lack of vaccination leads to about 1.5 million preventable deaths, primarily in developing nations. One factor that makes vaccination campaigns in those nations more difficult is that there is little infrastructure for storing medical records, so there’s often no easy way to determine who needs a particular vaccine. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)…

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Acoustofluidics

Saliva test to detect mouth and throat cancer earlier and easier

Unfortunately, cancers that occur in the back of the mouth and upper throat are often not diagnosed until they become advanced, partly because their location makes them difficult to see during routine clinical exams. A report in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics describes the use of acoustofluidics, a new non-invasive method that analyzes saliva for the presence of human papilloma virus…

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Determining protein structures

3Dseq: New technique to solve biomedical puzzles

“Proteins are the workers in the cell, and it's important to know their shape,” says Chris Sander, PhD, director of Dana-Farber’s cBio Center in the Department of Data Sciences. Sander and his colleagues have now demonstrated a powerful “experimental evolution” method to discover details of protein shape and function, and the method may find uses across a very broad spectrum of…

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

3D model of human liver tissue for better NAFLD diagnosis

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is becoming the most common chronic liver disorder in developed countries. Histological analysis of liver tissue is the only widely accepted test for diagnosing and distinguishing different stages of NAFLD. However, this technique provides only two-dimensional images of the liver tissue in low resolution and overlooks potentially important 3D structural…

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Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance

How P. aeruginosa becomes resistant during CF treatment

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens pose one of the greatest threats to public health worldwide. In the near future, harmless bacterial infections may no longer be treatable and may again become the most common non-natural cause of death. At the same time, the available repertoire of antibacterial agents is becoming increasingly smaller as resistance rates rise. The basic mechanisms of resistance…

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Minimising infection risk

Drying in endoscope reprocessing: Essential to patient safety

In practice, the drying of the endoscope is often underestimated and therefore a possible pitfall for hygiene and reprocessing steps. As the importance of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) procedures and their impact on patients’ lives remains unwavering, the medical community is continuously looking for ways to improve this field of expertise. What better way to learn more…

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Where are the infectiologists?

‘The hygiene plan is nothing but a fig leaf’

Nosocomial infections cause more deaths than traffic accidents – a stunning discovery made in a recent German study. Worse: infectious diseases long thought eradicated in Europe, such as measles, tuberculosis (TB) and, more recently, syphilis, are also implicated. The increasing number of patients places an additional financial burden on healthcare. But – and this might be the good news –…

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Tricky virus

Measles infections erase 'immune memory' – vaccination confers protection

Measles infections are not harmless – they can cause disease courses that may be of fatal outcome. Researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in co-operation with researchers from the UK and the Netherlands have now found out that measles viruses erase part of the immunological memory over several years. Affected persons are thus more susceptible to infections with other pathogens beyond…

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Symbiosis study

Tracking down the microbiome

All living creatures – from the simplest animal and plant organisms right up to the human body – are colonised by numerous microorganisms. They are thus in a functional relationship with these microbes, and together form a so-called metaorganism. The investigation of this symbiotic cooperation between host organism and microorganisms is a key challenge for modern life sciences research. The…

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Fighting resistant bacteria

Novel class of antibiotics brings new options

Many life-threatening bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics. Swiss researchers co-headed by the University of Zurich have now discovered a new class of antibiotics with a unique spectrum of activity and mechanism of action. By disrupting outer membrane synthesis, the antibiotics effectively kill Gram-negative bacteria. According to the World Health Organization…

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Catching flu by the stalk

One step closer to a universal influenza vaccine

Influenza viruses cause substantial health hazards and claim many lives worldwide each year. Vaccines can keep the virus in check, however, they only protect against influenza when they match the circulating strains – which vary every season. But now, a reasearch team may have found a way to generate a universal vaccine. Led by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the…

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Natural nanocapsules

A new approach for tackling superbugs – without antibiotics

Scientists have uncovered a novel antibiotic-free approach that could help prevent and treat one of the most widespread bacterial pathogens, using nanocapsules made of natural ingredients. Helicobacter pylori is a bacterial pathogen carried by 4.4 billion people worldwide, with the highest prevalence in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the majority of infections show no symptoms,…

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Influential genes

Our microbiome is shaped by genetic differences in the immune system

Genetic differences in the immune system shape the collections of bacteria that colonize the digestive system, according to new research by scientists at the University of Chicago. In carefully controlled experiments using germ-free mice populated with microbes from conventionally raised mice, the researchers showed that while the makeup of the microbial input largely determined the resulting…

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ClpX-ClpP protein complex

Weak spot in pathogens could be key in new antibiotics

Antibiotics are still the most important weapon for combatting bacterial infections. But medical science is running out of “ammunition” because of more and more frequently occurring resistances. A research team has now elucidated the structure of the proteolytic complex ClpX-ClpP. This is a key to development of innovative antibiotics which target the degradation process of defective proteins…

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Tiny biomaterials

On the way to safer nanomedicine

Tiny particles that can fight cancer or that can easily pass through any interface within our body are a great promise for medicine. But there is little knowledge thus far about what exactly will happen to nanoparticles within our tissues and whether or not they can cause disease by themselves. Within an international research consortium, Empa scientists have now developed guidelines that should…

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Multi-component procedure

SULEEI: extending the functional lives of biological heart valve prostheses

For decades now, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing processes and systems for cleaning, sterilization, and surface modification. The newly in-house developed process, called SULEEI, makes it possible to sterilize (S) and preserve decellularized pericardial tissue by means of photo-initiated ultraviolet (U) crosslinking…

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Immune response alteration

Can a parasite infection protect against HIV?

Parasitic worm infections can reduce the susceptibility of immune cells to HIV infection, according to new University of Liverpool research. Some species of parasitic worm, such as the water-borne Schistosoma mansoni, have developed strategies to evade, skew and dampen human immune responses. This includes being able to alter the response of a type of immune system cell called a CD4+ T cell,…

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Nanotechnology

Tiny diamonds in the brain

The recording of images of the human brain and its therapy in neurodegenerative diseases is still a major challenge in current medical research. The blood-brain barrier, a filter system of the body between the blood system and the central nervous system, constrains the supply of drugs or contrast media that would allow therapy and image acquisition.

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Call for more research

Microplastics – a health hazard?

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls for a further assessment of microplastics in the environment and their potential impacts on human health, following the release of an analysis of current research related to microplastics in drinking-water. The Organization also calls for a reduction in plastic pollution to benefit the environment and reduce human exposure.

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Alternative ways

Plan B for cholesterol transport

Kiel biochemistry research team proves the existence of a previously unknown alternative cholesterol transport mechanism inside cells. Cholesterol is a vital cell building block in humans and animals, and an integral part of the so-called cell membrane. This boundary layer separates the interior of the cell from the neighbouring cells and the surrounding environment. By means of certain proteins,…

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Safety products

Abolish needlestick injuries

If a health sector employee falls ill with a bloodborne disease, the cause is often a previous injury from a sharp, contaminated object. Direct blood-to-blood contact, such as with a needlestick injury (NSI), is among the recurring causes of infection. It isn’t possible to vaccinate against HIV, for instance, and the consequences of an infection remain fatal. Among the most effective ways to…

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Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

The lab-on-a-chip SERS platform

Analytically sensitive and specific detection of pharmaceuticals or metabolites in bodily fluids, as well as fast and reliable detection of human pathogens, are major challenges for instrument-based analytics in medical diagnostics. Over the past few years the combination of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and microfluidic devices (Lab-on-a-Chip) has emerged as a perfectly suited…

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Pathogenic microbes

Cigarette smoke makes MRSA superbug bacterium more drug-resistant

Cigarette smoke can make MRSA bacterial strains more resistant to antibiotics, new research from the University of Bath has shown. In addition cigarette smoke exposure can make some strains of Staphylococcus aureus – a microbe present in 30-60% of the global population and responsible for many diseases, some fatal – more invasive and persistent, although the effect is not universal across all…

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XDR Klebsiella pneumoniae

Antibiotic resistance in Europe: Hospitals are part of the problem

New research has found that antibiotic-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae, an opportunistic pathogen that can cause respiratory and bloodstream infections, are spreading through hospitals in Europe. Certain strains are resistant to the carbapenem antibiotics that represent the last line of defence in treating infections and are therefore regarded as extremely drug resistant (XDR).

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Bacterial virus

Machine learning detects inuviruses

A team led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) developed an algorithm that a computer could use to conduct a similar type of search in microbial and metagenomic databases. In this case, the machine “learned” to identify a certain type of bacterial viruses or phages called inoviruses, which are filamentous viruses with small, single-stranded DNA…

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Travel medicine

Parasites & company – the radiologists' view

Sunburn and happy memories are not the only things we can bring home from a holiday. Sometimes parasites, fungi, viruses or bacteria from distant countries accompany our return, later to become noticeable in unpleasant ways, often to pose a real health threat. At the German Radiology Congress in Leipzig, Dr André Lollert and colleagues ventured into the world of tropical and travel medicine.

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Rapid, reliable microbe identification

The Bologna Workflow System

Many countries across the world are challenged with a rising number of incidences of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms infecting the population, and for several years, a clear pattern of increased resistance has emerged in southern and eastern European countries. For example, in countries such as Italy, a reduced number of therapeutic options remain available for highly pathogenic infections,…

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Infection control

Global opportunity to tackle antibiotic production waste

As leaders gather for the International Ministerial Conference on antimicrobial resistance (AMR), hosted by the government of The Netherlands and organised in close cooperation with the FAO, OIE and WHO, experts and responsible manufacturers are calling for a 'One Health' approach to AMR and recognition of the impact of antibiotic production on the environment. "With two thirds of the worlds…

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Survival specialists

Systems biology of antibiotics

Bacteria have fascinating properties. They adapt excellently to their respective environment, and they existed long before humans. Their toughness has led to the fact that bacteria have successfully spread all over the world for three billion years – even in places where humans could not survive, for example in the hottest springs and in the coldest places on earth. However, they were only…

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A new weapon against antibiotic resistance

Programming a hunter/killer toxin

When the first antibiotics were discovered in the early 20th century, the rate of death from infectious diseases fell dramatically. But the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria as a result of antibiotic misuse is raising fears that by 2050, these same diseases will once again become the leading cause of death worldwide. In a bid to boost the arsenal available to tackle this threat,…

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Genetics

Sequencing methods – unfold the full potential for hospitals

Gene sequencing has been progressing in leaps and bounds over the past few years. The process of determining the order of nucleotides in DNA has become faster and more precise. Moreover, today both microbial DNA and host DNA can be identified in the blood sample of an infected patient, isolated and sequenced. “We are facing a technological revolution, but we still struggle with actually…

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Differentiate and select

Myths and truths about antibiotics, antiseptics and vaccination

Sixty-two percent of Germans fear antibiotic resistance, according to a survey recently conducted by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. ‘Patients colonised by multi-resistant pathogens are particularly scared. But many of these fears are rooted in misunderstandings,’ explained Professor Mathias Pletz at the Congress for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine (KIT).

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Blood transfusions

Donor organs become immunologically invisible

The safety of blood transfusions is questioned again and again by the mass media. Sometimes ‘bad’ blood causes infections; sometimes a transfusion leads to cancer years later. The fact is that transfer blood is subjected to the highest safety standards – there are very clear statutory regulations. Nonetheless, there will be shortages of ‘life’s fluid’ because, given increasing…

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Hospital hygiene

Nosocomial infections: a positive trend, but...

Hospital hygiene and how Germany compares in a European survey is somewhat divisive. Some believe Germany does well, whilst others emphasise the need to improve and for a stronger alignment with countries such as the Netherlands. As hygiene specialist Professor Petra Gastmeier, at the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine in Charité University Medical Centre Berlin, pointed out:…

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Carbapenemase producing enterobacteriaceae

Detecting drug-resistant CPE quickly is still a challenge

Early detection and confirmation of carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE) are essential when choosing the appropriate antimicrobial therapy and to implement infection control measures. Here, a leading Spanish microbiologist reviews an arsenal of tools currently available to clinicians. Resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics in enterobacteriaceae (EBc) is due to one or more of these…

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Infection control

Knowledge is one thing - implementation another

Insufficient knowledge of infection control, resulting in insufficient compliance, increases the risk of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) and multiresistant pathogens that put patients at risk. At the 2019 Annual General Meeting of the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology e.V. (DGHM) in Göttingen, Professor Frauke Mattner, Senior Consultant at the Institute of Hygiene, Kliniken der…

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Tumor-associated macrophages

Immune cells key to predicting cancer outcomes

Scientists have identified key changes in immune cells within cancerous tumours that could help improve the development of treatments. The study, which has been published in the journal Cancer Cell, also found a set of genes that are expressed at high levels in breast cancer tumours and linked to more aggressive cancer types. Researchers say the discoveries offer clues to diagnosis and predicting…

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Rapid diagnostics

T2 Biosystems hosts integrated symposium at ECCMID 2019

T2 Biosystems, maker of rapid diagnostic technology to aid in the detection of blood stream infections to prevent sepsis, will host an integrated symposium titled “Rapid Diagnostics Direct from Whole Blood: A Solution for Fast and Appropriate Antimicrobial Therapy,” at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam, Monday, April 15, 16:00-18:00…

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Dial 'M' for microfold cells

Identifying a key player in gut defense development

A joint team from Hokkaido University and Keio University has identified a gut protein essential for neonatal mice to fight infections, according to research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The insight could help understand how infants develop their own intestinal immune systems after weaning. The gut is constantly exposed to potentially harmful bacteria that come with food and…

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Thrombocytes

Blocking platelets could prevent fatty liver disease and liver cancer

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is among the most common chronic hepatic disorders in Western industrial countries and the rate is also rapidly rising in newly industrialized countries. Experts estimate that about 30 to 40 percent of the population worldwide develop this liver condition. In the United States, this disease is well on the way to becoming the most frequent indication for liver…

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Microbiome

Examining the "forgotten organ"

Shahid Umar, PhD, researcher with The University of Kansas Cancer Center, has dedicated two decades of his scientific exploration to better grasp the connection between colon cancer and the human microbiome. Called the “forgotten organ,” the microbiome comprises trillions and trillions of microbes, including bacteria, fungi and viruses, in our body.

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MRSA

Decolonization protocol can prevent dangerous infections

Antiseptic soap, mouthwash, and nose ointment after hospital discharge reduced infections and infection-associated hospitalizations due to MRSA in high-risk patients. Hospital patients who have methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can prevent future MRSA infections by following a standard bathing protocol after discharge. The Changing Lives by Eradicating Antibiotic Resistance, or…

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A healthy nap

How sleep strengthens the immune system

Getting enough sleep is vital to supporting our immune system in fighting off pathogens – this much is common knowledge. But what we don't know is how exactly sleep affects certain immune functions. Scientists at the Universities of Tübingen and Lübeck have now discovered a new mechanism by which sleep supports the immune system. The team led by Dr. Luciana Besedovsky and Dr. Stoyan Dimitrov…

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Wound care

Healing helped by fish skin or bio-ink

Many methods to treat current or chronic wounds are available. However, the differences in general conditions prevailing in hospital, or for out-patient care, make effective therapy more difficult. Each patient also has other preconditions for healing. Improved communication between everyone involved in the treatment would benefit patients. We see a lot of progress with the issue of “wounds”,…

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ß-D Glucan

New test for early fungal infection detection

At the National Reference Centre for Invasive Fungal Infections (Hans-Knöll Institute Jena) and the Institute for Hygiene and Microbiology, Würzburg University, Professor Oliver Kurzai and team utilise the fast and user-friendly β-D-Glucan Test, supplied by Fujifilm Wako Chemicals Europe GmbH, to check immunocompromised patients for signs of life-threatening, invasive fungal infections.…

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Diagnostics

Heat it and read it

You’re sweating and feverish and have no idea why. Fortunately, Sandia National Laboratories scientists have built a device that can pinpoint what’s wrong in less than an hour. Unlike most medical diagnostic devices which can perform only one type of test — either protein or nucleic acid tests — Sandia’s SpinDx can now perform both. This allows it to identify nearly any cause of…

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Mengla filovirus

Researchers discover Ebola-related virus carried by bats

Researchers from Singapore’s Duke-NUS Medical School, in collaboration with scientists in China, have identified and characterised a new genus of filovirus from a Rousettus bat in China. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Microbiology. Bat-borne viruses around the world pose a threat to human and animal health. Filoviruses, especially Ebola virus and Marburg virus, are…

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Webinar

Vaginitis - Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Gynecological Infections

Vaginitis is one of the most common problems in clinical medicine, and it is the reason cited most often for visits to obstetricians and gynecologists. In a special webinar, Prof. Dr. Werner Mendling will discuss the 2018 European International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI) and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on the management of vaginal discharge in detail. …

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Infection control

Local antibiotics improve results

Hip and knee joint surgeries are among the most common procedures in orthopaedics and trauma surgery and complications can occur. Rare, but serious, among these is periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), which causes high costs in healthcare and stress for patients. PJI is caused by microorganisms that form a biofilm on the surface of the implant and, in this sessile state, they are difficult to…

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Real walkaway automation

The all-in-one molecular laboratory system

The lab-in-the-box design of LabTurbo SP-qPCR All-in-one system offers true automation for the molecular laboratory, the manufacturer reports, adding that this ‘delivers testing confidence and laboratory efficiency. LabTurbo fully automates the complete workflow of molecular diagnostic laboratories. The sample-to-result procedure includes: automatic sample transfer from primary tubes, DNA/RNA…

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Infections

No chance for bacteria on implants

Hip and dental implant operations are routine. But not entirely risk-free. They may result in infection that is difficult to control with oral or intravenous antibiotics. In such cases, the implant will probably need to be replaced. Fraunhofer researchers can now apply a precisely matched drug directly to the replacement implant while significantly increasing the effectiveness of the antibiotic…

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Cancer management

The enormous potential of liquid biopsy

It is non-invasive, delivers a chance of early diagnosis, prognostic information and sequential monitoring, and, believes Professor Francesco Salvatore, the enormous potential of liquid biopsies has still to be reached. However, the positive results obtained so far have ‘opened the door to a promising new multi-faceted group of tumour markers, at present collectively designated “liquid…

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Neurology

New potential biotherapy against Alzheimer's disease

Researchers at the University of Florida have discovered that a modified version of an important immune cell protein could be used to treat Alzheimer's disease. The study reveals that soluble versions of a protein called TLR5 can reduce the buildup of amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's disease model mice and prevent the toxic peptide that forms these plaques from killing neurons.

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Autophagy

Pathway Ebola virus uses to enter cells pinpointed

The new outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus declared just last week in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is believed to have claimed more than 30 victims so far, highlighting the continued urgency to find a way to stop the pathogen from killing the people it infects. A new study is shedding light on the role of specific proteins that trigger a mechanism allowing Ebola virus to enter cells to…

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Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis

Taking a pill can effectively treat brutal lung disease

Researchers Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center report that they figured out why air sacs in the lungs clog up with a thick substance called surfactant in a brutal disease called Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis (PAP), and they show taking cholesterol-busting pills called statins can effectively treat the disease.

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Hospital hygiene

Will resistant bacteria be the end of alcohol hand sanitizers?

Alcohol-based hand sanitisers have been a mainstay in hospital hygiene for decades. But now, strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria show signs of overcoming these handwashing agents as well. Does this mean we should just stop sanitising our hands? Not so fast, say researchers from Melbourne – however, hospitals now need to re-think their strategies to protect their patients from deadly…

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AACC Disruptive Technology Award

Developers take diagnostics to the patient

Over the last several years, technological advancements have enabled the development of tests that can be performed right where the patient is, whether that’s in a hospital room, primary care office, or community health center. This is a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery that will make it easier for patients to get accurate diagnoses and treatment, and could especially benefit patients in…

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Diagnostic lab system

DxM MicroScan WalkAway System now available on the market

Beckman Coulter announced commercialization of its DxM MicroScan WalkAway system, a diagnostic solution for bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing for microbiology laboratories. The DxM MicroScan WalkAway system uses direct minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) for detection of antimicrobial resistance, offering greater confidence in results through gold-standard…

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Air disinfection and purification device

Closing the infection control loop

Novaerus, an Irish company specialising in non-chemical air disinfection using patented ultra-low energy plasma, announced the launch of the Defend 1050, a portable, easy to use device ideal for rapid disinfection and purification of the air in large spaces and high-risk situations such as operating theatres, ICUs, IVF labs, emergency and waiting rooms, and construction zones.

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Questioning the Genetic Diagnostics Act

Self-help healthcare or face a penalty?

The fact that genetic research can reveal hereditary diseases has been transferred to medical practice for some time and, since 2010, the Gene Diagnostics Act (GenDG) has regulated permissible DNA tests in medical diagnostics and pedigree in Germany. The procedure has great potential, says Professor Jochen Taupitz - but also great risks are associated with it.

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Patient and staff safety

‘Any needlestick injury is one too many’

‘With Vacuette safety products you can minimise the risk of contamination and injury,’ the manufacturer Greiner Bio-One reports. ‘Needlestick injuries from contaminated puncture devices are the most common source of infection for diseases transmitted by blood or other bodily fluids and are still among the most common occupational accidents today. This is a serious danger!

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When the phosphate decides...

Defense against viruses or autoimmune disorder?

The first defense line of the body against virus infections is composed of so-called restriction factors. SAMHD1, one of such restriction factors, does not only play a role in the defense against viruses but also in the development of autoimmune disorders and cancer. The question of which effect SAMHD1 exertsin the cell is decided by addition or removal of phosphate groups.

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New function assessment

Measuring immune cell response within minutes

T cells fight pathogens and tumors: Researchers from the Universities of Tübingen and Lübeck present a simple and fast method to rapidly assess their function. Due to its simplicity, reliability and versatility, it could be broadly implemented for basic research and in the clinical setting. Methods so far to test T-cell response were technically cumbersome and time-consuming and therefore only…

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A new approach

"Universal antibodies" disarm various pathogens

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have been studying how the immune system succeeds in keeping pathogens in check. For the first time, the researchers have now discovered antibodies that are capable of disarming not only one specific bacterium but a whole variety of microorganisms at once. The newly discovered antibodies recognize a tiny sugar structure found on the surface…

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ECCMID

Antibiotic combination against multidrug-resistant pathogens

Gram-negative pathogens are responsible for half of all healthcare-associated infections and their ability to resist traditional antibiotics makes them more dangerous for seriously ill patients in a healthcare setting. The need for new approaches to treat these pathogens is essential and there are a number of trials trying to find suitable answers. One of them is the RESTORE-IMI 1 pivotal Phase…

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Terror protection

Promising vaccines against anthrax, plague and tularemia

Anthrax, plague and tularemia are three potent agents terrorists would be likely to use in an attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each is highly and quickly lethal to humans. But there are no licensed vaccines for tularemia and plague, and although there is an anthrax vaccine, it requires a burdensome immunization schedule and has severe side effects. Now, a…

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Wolbachia

Little-known bacteria might grind Zika and dengue infections to a halt

A Vanderbilt team took the next leap forward in using a little-known bacteria to stop the spread of deadly mosquito-borne viruses such as Zika and dengue. Wolbachia are bacteria that occur widely in insects and, once they do, inhibit certain pathogenic viruses the insects carry. The problem with using Wolbachia broadly to protect humans is that the bacteria do not normally occur in mosquitoes…

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Hygiene and microbiology meeting

No all clear for nosocomial infections

Experts at the 70th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology, held in Bochum, exchanged information on newly discovered resistances. ‘Specifically, resistance against a class of antibiotics that has, so far, always been viewed as a reserve appears to be developing more intensively than previously assumed,’ explained Professor Sören Gatermann, congress president and…

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Innovation

A real time saver at the highest level of molecular diagnostics – the eazyplex® platform!

This platform enables you to perform high class molecular diagnostics at an unbelievable speed. All assay run times are as short as 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the sample material. The lyophilised reactions are shippable and storable at room temperature and ready to use, with a shelf life of 18 month. Due to the robustness of the polymerase you don’t need any DNA extraction. The…

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Medication development

Support from the other end of the world

Partners who could hardly be further apart – yet have a lot in common – have united to fight resistant pathogens. The International Consortium for Anti-Infective Research (iCAIR) is based in Germany and Australia – separated by nearly 16,000 km as the crow flies. This has not stopped the research cooperation from achieving its objectives: the development of new agents against infections.

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Enigmatic enzyme

How bacteria recover from antibiotics exposure

Beta-lactam antibiotics, including penicillin, are one of the most widely used classes of antibiotics in the world. Though they’ve been in use since the 1940s, scientists still don’t fully understand what happens when this class of drugs encounters bacteria. Now, researchers at the University of Notre Dame have elucidated how an enzyme helps bacteria rebound from damage inflicted by…

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Odilorhabdin

A new class of antibiotics to combat drug resistance

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Nosopharm, a biotechnology company based in Lyon, France, are part of an international team reporting on the discovery of a new class of antibiotics. The antibiotic, first identified by Nosopharm, is unique and promising on two fronts: its unconventional source and its distinct way of killing bacteria, both of which suggest the compound…

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Tuberculosis

New blood test predicts TB onset up to two years in advance

A new blood test has been found to more accurately predict the development of tuberculosis up to two years before its onset in people living with someone with active TB, according to research published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal. Those living with someone with active TB are at highest risk for developing the…

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Innovative test

Diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common infectious disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. Women of all ages are at risk for BV and its complications, which include a greater susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes simplex virus and HIV. If left undetected and untreated, BV can increase a woman's risk of upper genital tract infections such as pelvic…

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Feline findings

Cats could help in development of anti-HIV drugs

Feline AIDS is caused by the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), which is very similar to the HIV-1 virus that affects millions of humans. While FIV does not infect humans, many groups research the virus to benefit cats, and perhaps more importantly, because of its many parallels with the AIDS virus. Despite the use of dedicated drugs, HIV-1 manages to thrive and multiply within the cell and…

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Small molecule, huge effect

Progress toward a new flu treatment, thanks to a small tweak

This year’s unexpectedly aggressive flu season reminds everyone that although the flu vaccine can reduce the number of people who contract the virus, it is still not 100 percent effective. Researchers report that a tweak to a small-molecule drug shows promise for future production of new antiviral therapies that could help patients, regardless of the strain with which they are infected. The…

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Right in the stomach

Helicobacter creates immune system blind spot

While gastritis and gastric ulcer disease used to be put down to stress and dietary factors, it was discovered in the 1980s that the actual culprit is infection with a bacterium, H. pylori. This pathogen is now classed as a type I carcinogen by the WHO, as it is the major risk factor for development of gastric carcinoma. Attempts to develop a vaccine against H. pylori have been unsuccessful and…

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Disinfection

Going for high-performance hospital hygiene

Room decontamination using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has proved to be a powerful solution for complete surface and final disinfection as well as outbreak management in modern hospital hygiene. Most final disinfections in hospitals are carried out using the scrub and wipe method, the specialist disinfection company Diop GmbH and Co. KG explains. ‘However,’ the firm adds, ‘this essential…

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Broken immune clock

Why shift work might be to blame for obesity and diabetes

About 15 million Americans don’t have a typical nine-to-five workday, and many of these—nurses, firefighters and flight attendants, among many other professions—may see their schedule change drastically one week to the next. As a result, these shift workers’ biological clocks, which keep track of the time of day, cannot keep accurate time, potentially making the negative effects of a high…

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New data

WHO: High levels of antibiotic resistance found worldwide

WHO’s first release of surveillance data on antibiotic resistance reveals high levels of resistance to a number of serious bacterial infections in both high- and low-income countries. WHO’s new Global Antimicrobial Surveillance System (GLASS) reveals widespread occurrence of antibiotic resistance among 500 000 people with suspected bacterial infections across 22 countries.

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Regulatory B cells

Researchers identify new marker for autoimmune disorders

The immune system is a complex and precisely regulated system. Various activating and inhibiting signals ensure that the immune cells combat pathogenic agents without eliciting a potentially harmful response to its own structures and cells. However, if those two forces are imbalanced, the immune cells may attack and damage cells and tissue of the body itself, which will result in the development…

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Detecting bacteria

After joint replacement: Novel method of isolating infecting organisms

Joint replacement surgery carries the risk of developing an infection in the replaced joint, which can lead to a so-called revision or re-do of the joint replacement. However, current diagnostic practices can fail to detect bacteria in 30-50 percent of clinical cases, complicating or delaying appropriate treatment. Thomas Jefferson University researchers have found that genomic analysis using…

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Cancer research

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

T cells play a key role in the body’s immune response against pathogens. As a new class of therapeutic approaches, T cells are being harnessed to fight cancer, promising more precise, longer-lasting mitigation than traditional, chemical-based approaches. These “living drugs” are poised to transform medicine, with a growing number of cellular therapies receiving FDA-approval. A current…

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Gene exchange

Bacteria acquire resistance from competitors

Bacteria not only develop resistance to antibiotics, they also can pick it up from their rivals. In a recent publication, Researchers from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have demonstrated that some bacteria inject a toxic cocktail into their competitors causing cell lysis and death. Then, by integrating the released genetic material, which may also carry drug resistance genes, the…

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Infection - defect - regeneration

Challenges in septic bone surgery

Infections associated with osteosynthesis and prostheses are not to be underestimated: the infection rate is reported to be one to three percent after joint prosthetic surgery and five to 10 percent after osteosyntheses. ‘When you include later infections, the rate is twice as high,’ says Professor Andrej Trampuz, infectologist and Head of the Centre for Septic Surgery at the Centre of…

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Share information, improve care

FDA launches new tool for improved antibiotic management

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing a new approach to get critical updates regarding antibiotics and antifungal drugs to health care professionals as part of an overall effort to combat antimicrobial resistance. The agency created a website that will provide direct and timely access to information about when bacterial or fungal infections are likely to respond to a specific drug.…

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Nanovaccine

The flu shot of the future might look like this

For many of us, a flu shot is a fall routine. Roll up a sleeve, take a needle to the upper arm and hope this year’s vaccine matches whichever viruses circulate through the winter. The most common method to make that vaccine is now more than 70 years old. It requires growing viruses in special, pathogen-free chicken eggs. It’s not a quick and easy manufacturing process. And, at best, it…

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Natural system

Papillomaviruses promote skin cancer

UV radiation has been known for a long time to be a risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Simultaneous infection with human papillomaviruses (HPV) has also been suspected to promote skin cancer, particularly in organ transplant recipients. Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have now been able to show for the first time in a natural system that papillomaviruses…

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Study

Secrets of Ebola uncovered - in the heart of a devastating outbreak

In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin–Madison has identified signatures of Ebola virus disease that may aid in future treatment efforts. Conducting a sweeping analysis of everything from enzymes to lipids to immune-system-associated molecules,…

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Direct from whole blood samples

LiDia demonstrates rapid and sensitive BSI identification

DNAe, the inventor of semiconductor-based genomic analysis technologies, and the developer of a new, game-changing test for bloodstream infections that can lead to sepsis announced new data on its test for bloodstream infections, LiDia BSI. The data demonstrates the ability of the LiDia BSI closed cartridge-based test to rapidly identify low levels of bacterial and fungal pathogens and resistance…

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Possible vaccine in sight

A new strategy for prevention of liver cancer development

Primary liver cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, and its incidences and mortality are increasing rapidly in the United Stated. In late stages of the malignancy, there are no effective treatments or drugs. However, an unexpected finding made by a team of University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers sheds light on the development of a new…

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The interdisciplinary challenge

Evaluating ICU care for cancer patients

Progressive treatments offer new chances for cancer patients, but also could result in as yet unknown complications. The number of cancer patients transferred to the ICU for cancer-specific and internal medicine related reasons is on the increase. Caring for them on the ICU is a complex challenge, with interdisciplinary cooperation playing an essential part. Certain criteria need to be met for…

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Sensor technology

Breathing air systems

How can newborn babies benefit from sensors with chip technology and what might the future hold for sensor data? Samuel Wehrli, Product Manager for Gas Flow at Sensirion AG in Switzerland explained during our EH interview at the MST Conference held in Dortmund.

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Multiresistant pathogens

'Antibiotics don’t generate large profits'

During our European Hospital interview with specialist in microbiology, virology and infection epidemiology Beniam Ghebremedhin MD, from the University Hospital Wuppertal, spoke about the impact of migration on infections, and ways to tackle the problem of multiresistant pathogens. ‘There is a lack of specialists in infectious diseases, for direct patient care on hospital wards as well as in…

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Predicting cognitive decline

Odor identification problems may be a warning bell for dementia

A long-term study of nearly 3,000 adults, aged 57 to 85, found that those who could not identify at least four out of five common odors were more than twice as likely as those with a normal sense of smell to develop dementia within five years. Although 78 percent of those tested were normal – correctly identifying at least four out of five scents – about 14 percent could name just three out…

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Ocular microbiome

Bugs in your eyes? More helpful than you think

Resident microbes living on the eye are essential for immune responses that protect the eye from infection, new research shows. The study demonstrates the existence of a resident ocular microbiome that trains the developing immune system to fend off pathogens. The research was conducted at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health. "This is the first…

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'Mito-riboscins'

Scientists stumble across new method of making antibiotics

Cancer researchers in the UK may have stumbled across a solution to reverse antibiotic drug resistance and stop infections like MRSA. Experts warn we are decades behind in the race against superbugs having already exploited naturally occurring antibiotics, with the creation of new ones requiring time, money and ingenuity. But a team of scientists at the University of Salford say they may have…

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Hygiene guidelines

Hand washing: in hot or cold water?

‘The literature on hand washing, while extensive, often contains conflicting data, and key variables are only superficially studied, or not studied at all. Some hand washing recommendations are made without scientific support, and agreement between recommendations is limited,’ explained Professor Donald W Schaffner at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, who has led a team of researchers to…

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MRSA and refugees

Screening, isolation, hygiene equal money well spent

Comprehensive examinations of 143 refugee patients hailing mostly from Afghanistan and Syria, which were conducted between June and December 2015, showed a high prevalence of MRSA, ESBL and MDRGN upon hospital admission. The figures exceed not only those of the general population but, alarmingly, also those found in high-risk groups, such as residents of nursing homes or home care service…

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Anti-infection strategies

Antibiotic stewardship programmes bear fruit

Today’s dilemma for hospitals and institutions are increasingly multi-resistant bacteria and decreasingly effective antibiotics to beat them. New substances to fight pathogens are not on the horizon. What can be done? Professor Constanze Wendt, microbiology and infection biology specialist at MVZ Labor Dr. Limbach & Kollegen GbR, in Heidelberg, Germany, describes current anti-infection…

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Side-effects of global mobility

Multi-drug resistant bacteria: Dangerous travel companions

Trips around the globe, healthcare tourism, migration; we are mobile – and so are bacteria. Particularly dreaded are multi-drug resistant bacteria that ‘hop’ on their host during a hospital stay and are carried across the border. At MEDICA 2017 Labmed Forum Dr Andreas Ambrosch, Head of the Central Lab at Krankenhaus Barmherzige Brüder in Regensburg, Germany, will discuss these unwelcome…

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Strategic cooperation

SpeeDx and Cepheid announce partnership on European distribution

SpeeDx Pty, Ltd. announced an agreement with Cepheid for distribution of its PlexPCRTM and ResistancePlusTM molecular diagnostic products in key markets throughout Europe. The agreement, covering Germany, France, Italy, and the UK, will increase coverage for the market-leading ResistancePlus MG test, the first CE-IVD test for Mycoplasma genitalium to combine detection with testing for…

Gene test could extend lives of women at risk of hereditary breast cancer

Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), has announced the publication of new research indicating that testing for variants in 7 cancer-associated genes (versus the usual process of testing in just 2 genes) followed by risk-reduction management could cost-effectively improve life expectancy for women at risk of…

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Going Viral

An unusual 'friend' to help fight ovarian cancer

In some cases, the Lassa virus starts with a fever and general weakness, moving toward headache, muscle pain, possible facial swelling, deafness, and worse. About 15 percent of patients hospitalized with severe cases die. Lassa fever is contagious, endemic in West Africa, and Dr. Anthony van den Pol thinks he can use it to cure ovarian cancer.

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Infection control

Global warming: Science can only react to emerging diseases

The ‘Transmission, Prevention, and Reporting of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ program for the International Conference IMED 2016 in Vienna, this November, reflected events in the field of emerging diseases that have occurred over the last two years. Therefore, key congress topics included the Zika virus, the effects of global warming and the unusually high number of hospital-acquired…

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Infection control

Virologists are today’s universal necessities

Globalisation has been a defining term in this 21st century: with almost anybody able to visit any place at any time, diseases, viruses and bacteria can be travel companions. Thus virology is gaining increased attention. Professor Barbara Gärtner, President of the German Association of Virology, talks about the issues and challenges arising from this development.

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Infections

Science can only react

The ‘Transmission, Prevention, and Reporting of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ programme for the International Conference IMED 2016 in Vienna, this November, reflected events in the field of emerging diseases that have occurred over the last two years.

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Contamination

Painful knee prosthesis: loose, infected or both?

The implantation of knee and hip joints is considered one of the success stories of recent years. But periprosthetic joints infections (PJI) are one of the severe complications, with an infection rate of 2%. The probability of revision surgery increases with concomitant diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, with fracture prosthesis or after previous surgery.

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Blood poisoning

"Pulling" bacteria out of blood

Magnets instead of antibiotics could provide a possible new treatment method for blood infection. This involves the blood of patients being mixed with magnetic iron particles, which bind the bacteria to them after which they are removed from the blood using magnets. The initial laboratory tests at Empa in St. Gallen have been successful, and seem promising.

Antibiotic-loaded bone cement

Reduction of infection risk in femoral head fractures by 66%

Good news for World Antibiotics Day on November 18th. As local substances carriers, antibiotic-loaded bone cements from Heraeus help in the battle against implant-associated infections in orthopaedics and trauma surgery to prevent infection. This is demonstrated by a new randomised study from Great Britain in which the use of double-loaded antibiotic bone cement following femoral head fracture…

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Zincmolybdat

The sustainable pathogen killer

Professor Peter Guggenbichler is only too aware of infection prevention and control issues in hospitals. Prior to his retirement in 2013, from the Children’s Hospital at Erlangen University Hospital, in Germany, he led the Infectiology and Preventive Medicine Department, for 25 years. ‘After countless nights on the intensive care ward I realised that the staff does not adhere to infection…

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Frontline medical advances

Virology is now a key discipline

Virology is fast emerging as a key discipline within modern healthcare against a backdrop of a shifting global demographic and the impact of climate change.

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MRSA

Are door handles spreading drug-resistant bacteria around the world?

Airports are international travel hubs visited by large numbers of people. London Heathrow, for example, has an average of 205,400 travellers every day and saw 75 million people arriving and departing from all over the world in 2015. A study just published in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection suggest that international travellers can acquire antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and may…

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Infections

Carbapenem resistant strains

The increasing numbers of bacteria resistant to the newer generations of antibiotics is a public health problem on a global scale. Bacteria have an extraordinary capacity for adaptation, mutating permanently to overcome the action of our increasingly impotent antimicrobial armamentarium. A situation further aggravated by the use of the powerful ‘large spectrum’ antibiotics, creating further…

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Melanoma treatment

Dermatology develops an effective immunotherapy against solid cancer

Melanomas account among the eight most frequent deadly cancers in Europe and Northern America. Two major clinical criteria separate melanomas from most other cancers: the risk to die from a melanoma is a question of being less or more than 1 mm – and not a question of cm. About 95% of patients with melanomas ≤0.5 mm in thickness are clinically cured by early detection and appropriate melanoma…

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Patient care

Robots will never replace human beings

As the number of patients and people requiring care increases, exacerbating the shortage of care staff for in- and out-patients, care robots might solve the problem. For menial tasks, many devices can contribute well; however, at the complex interactive human level of care, the idea that advancing technologies could replace human caregivers to alleviate staff shortages is clearly simplistic.

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Infection

Antibodies identified that thwart Zika virus

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified antibodies capable of protecting against Zika virus infection, a significant step toward developing a vaccine, better diagnostic tests and possibly new antibody-based therapies. The work, in mice, helps clarify recent research that also identified protective Zika antibodies but lacked important details on how the…

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Molecular troublemakers

How proteins prevent communication between bacteria

They may be slimy, but they are a perfect environment for microorganisms: biofilms. Protected against external influences, here bacteria can grow undisturbed, and trigger diseases. Scientists at Kiel University, in cooperation with colleagues at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in Hamburg-Harburg, are researching how it can be possible to prevent the formation of biofilms from the…

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Freaky new role

Immune system controls social interaction

In a startling discovery that raises fundamental questions about human behavior, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the immune system directly affects – and even controls – creatures’ social behavior, such as their desire to interact with others. So could immune system problems contribute to an inability to have normal social interactions? The…

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Automated tasks

Fast, efficient, cheaper microbiology diagnostics

A fully automated clinical microbiology laboratory system went into service at Heidelberg University Hospital this April. Produced by medical technology firm BD Life Science, this first installation at a German university hospital will play a major role in a study exploring the potential benefits of lab automation in containing the spread of pathogens in a hospital.

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Discovery

Potential genetic trigger of autoimmune disease

Researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) have uncovered a potential genetic trigger of systemic autoimmune disease. The study, the culmination of more than 10 years of research, discovered virus-like elements within the human genome linked to the development of two autoimmune diseases: lupus and Sjogren's syndrome.

Herpes zoster

Shingles doubles stroke risk for several years

The study by researchers from the Department of Neurology at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in Seoul showed that herpes zoster infection not only raised the risk of ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke but also that of a transient ischaemic attack (TIA), a warning mini-stroke often preceding a full-blown stroke.

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Politics

Medics urged to organise refugee screening

Thousands upon thousands of humans have taken and are continuing to take flight from wars, persecution and economic stress, seeking the chance of survival in European and other countries. They arrive not only physically exhausted, but also in mourning for those killed in their own countries, or during hellish journeys – therefore many also suffer unimaginable mental traumas. Clearly they need…

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Antimalarial drugs

Kill a Malaria parasite with Cholesterol

Drexel University scientists have discovered an unusual mechanism for how two new antimalarial drugs operate: They give the parasite’s skin a boost in cholesterol, making it unable to traverse the narrow labyrinths of the human bloodstream. The drugs also seem to trick the parasite into reproducing prematurely.

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Infection control

Scientists gain ground against resistance

The mechanism by which drug-resistant bacteria maintain a defensive barrier has been identified by researchers at England’s University of East Anglia (UEA) and their findings could result in a new wave of drugs that can bring down those defensive walls rather than attack the bacteria – thus they may not develop drug-resistance at all.

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Epidemics

Open Science to track virus outbreaks

In recent years, we have witnessed multiple epidemics of viral diseases such as Ebola or Zika. Rapid targeted intervention is key to containment. Real-time data integration and analysis can help public health authorities to maximize efficacy of intervention strategies. Dr. Richard Neher from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany and Dr. Trevor Bedford from the Fred…

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Cardiology

Mechanism for pathogenesis of heart failure

A weak heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood around the body. In Germany, this condition is now the commonest reason for patients to be admitted to hospital. A research group from the Clinic for Internal Medicine III in the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel’s Christian Albrecht University (CAU) and Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital (Kiel Campus) has discovered a previously unknown…

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Resistance

Last resort antibiotic under treat

Data presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases diseases has highlighted how a recently-discovered mechanism could mean one of the last-resort antibiotics is under threat. Evidence put before ECCMID suggested the genetic mechanism allowing bacteria to develop and transfer resistance to colistin has been present in several countries around the world –…

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E. coli

Using harmless bacteria to fight cancer

Several bacterial species have pledged promise in fighting tumors. However, most of them are pathogens. In order to use them as a weapon against cancer and other diseases in humans, researchers must find a balance between their therapeutic aggressiveness and safety for the patient. To overcome this problem, researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) have shifted their focus…

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Key factor identified

Why is the immune system unable to combat HIV?

An international research group with essential participation of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, has identified NLRX1, a cellular factor of the human cell that is indispensable to the replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1). This factor plays a key role in attenuating the innate immune system towards HIV-1. Until now, the significance of NLRX1 for the replication of HIV-1 and the…

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mcr-1 gene

Antibiotic resistance mechanism continues to spread

Researchers presented findings on the prevalence of the mcr-1 gene, a transferable genetic mechanism of antimicrobial-resistance to colistin - the last resort antibiotic in a number of circumstances. At a session dedicated to late-breaking abstracts on colistin resistance, researchers presented evidence on the prevalence of the gene in bacteria (including Enterobacteriaceae such as Escherichia…

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bacterial enzyme

Possible approach to tackle infections from hospital germs

Microbiologists at the Universities of Münster and Nottingham, in England, have analysed an enzyme which might play an important role in the treatment of infections from the hospital germ pseudomonas aeruginosa. They have decoded the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme and revealed its function.

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MS

How do immune cells enter the cerebrospinal fluid?

A research team headed by scientists at the Institute of Neuroimmunology and the Institute for Multiple Sclerosis Research (IMSF), University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), has gained new insights into the immune function of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). They used real-time microscopy to film the lively trafficking of immune cells between the CSF and the nervous tissue. Here the meninges play the…

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Virus

The Zika mystery: scapegoat or villain?

From the beginning the accusation somehow beggared belief. A ‘mild’ virus was blamed for causing hideous malformations in babies’ heads. Brazil, a country suffering its worst recession since the 1930s, as well as political upheaval, became the focus of a worldwide healthcare scare.

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Infectiology

Immune factor allows viral infections to become chronic

Many viral diseases tend to become chronic – including infections with the HI virus. In persons affected, the immune response is not sufficient to eliminate the virus permanently. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now identified an immune factor which is partially responsible for this. Their results give rise to hopes for new therapeutic approaches. The work, which included researchers…

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Discovery

Blueprint of body's heat sensor

Touch a hot stove, and your fingers will recoil in pain because your skin carries tiny temperature sensors that detect heat and send a message to your brain saying, "Ouch! That's hot! Let go!" The pain is real and it serves a purpose, otherwise we'd suffer greater injury. But for many people with chronic pain, that signal keeps getting sent for months or years, even when there is no…

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'Self-Sabotage' prevents immune protection against Malaria

Australian scientists have for the first time revealed how malaria parasites cause an inflammatory reaction that sabotages our body's ability to protect itself against the disease. The discovery opens up the possibility of improving new or existing malaria vaccines by boosting key immune cells needed for long-lasting immunity. This could even include vaccines that have previously been ineffective…

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Surfing DNA

Enzyme catches a ride to fight infection

Scientists have shown for the first time that an enzyme crucial to keeping our immune system healthy “surfs” along the strands of DNA inside our cells. The researchers used extremely powerful microscopy to watch how the enzyme AID (activation-induced deoxycytidine deaminase) moves around and interacts with other molecules.

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Diagnostics with birefringence

Nothing could be simpler: a drop of blood is placed on a special carrier substance; after a wait of a few minutes, the slide is placed on a device that emits polarised light thanks to an inexpensive polarisation filter. It is covered with a lid containing a second polarisation filter, which blocks the light from all materials except crystalline or materials with directional properties.

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Sugar-coated nanoworms not for breakfast in human immune system

Iron nanoparticles injected before magnetic resonance imaging can make tissues more visible and the same nanoparticles may allow doctors to precisely target tumors with new medicines. However, among the challenges to the practical use of nanoparticles in the human body is what scientists refer to as lack of “hemocompatibility” – nanoparticles tend to be attacked and cleared by the immune…

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Infection

Trial pitches MGB-BP-3 against clostridium difficile

Scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have been working to identify compounds with important anti-infective activity and suitable for treating serious infectious diseases caused by bacteria and parasites, such as Clostridium difficile. Their work has led to the creation of the new drug known as MGB-BP-3 (MGB = minor groove binder). Report: Mark Nicholls

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“JEDI” Technology

New understanding of how immune system works

When it comes to fending off disease and helping prevent people from falling ill, the body’s immune system – armed with T-cells that help eliminate cancer cells, virus-infected cells and more – is second to none. But exactly how the immune system works remains, in many ways, a mystery, as there are numerous cell types whose functions and interactions with our immune systems have not been…

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MRSA

Breast cancer drug eats superbug

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have found that the breast cancer drug tamoxifen gives white blood cells a boost, better enabling them to respond to, ensnare and kill bacteria in laboratory experiments. Tamoxifen treatment in mice also enhances clearance of the antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogen…

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Cleaning hospital rooms

UV rays cuts superbug transmission

In a hospital, what you can’t see could hurt you. Healthcare facilities continue to battle drug-resistant organisms such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that loiter on surfaces even after patient rooms have been cleaned and can cause new, sometimes-deadly infections.

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Cancer

New molecular markers for high-risk neuroblastoma

Researchers from the University of Cologne and NEO New Oncology AG today jointly published in Nature* the findings of an extensive genomic analysis of neuroblastoma, a malignant pediatric tumor of the sympathetic nervous system. In the most aggressive forms of this tumor, the researchers identified previously unknown genomic alterations leading to up-regulation of the telomerase reverse…

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Ultraviolet

The supergerm-zapping robot helpers

Half a million square feet. More than 350 beds. And tomorrow, they clean it all over again. Every day, Environmental Services (EVS) staff members work to disinfect every surface in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, playing a crucial behind-the-scenes role in preventing infections and keeping patients safe. Now, on top of scrubbing, spraying, mopping and wiping, they can add another action –…

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Course of infections

Cell marker enables prognosis

When a pathogen invades the body, specific cells in the human immune system are ready to take immediate action in order to destroy it. The molecular characteristics of these killer cells were unknown until recently. Now, for the first time, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has managed to create a molecular profile of the protective cells. By studying these immune cells from…

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New method to treat antibiotic resistant MRSA

MRSA is bad news. If you've never heard of it, here's what you need to know: It's pronounced MER-suh, it's a nasty bacterial infection and it can cause serious disease and death. Senior molecular biology major Jacob Hatch knows MRSA as the infection that took his dad's leg.

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bacterial communities

What’s lurking in your lungs?

With every breath you take, microbes have a chance of making it into your lungs. But what happens when they get there? And why do dangerous lung infections like pneumonia happen in some people, but not others? Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School have started to answer these questions by studying the microbiome of the lungs – the community of microscopic organisms that are…

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Noroviruses

Lemon juice and human norovirus

Citric acid may prevent the highly contagious norovirus from infecting humans, scientists discovered from the German Cancer Research Center. Therefore, lemon juice could be a potentially safe and practical disinfectant against the most common pathogen of severe gastrointestinal infections.

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Endogenous retroviruses

Silence is golden …

An LMU team has uncovered a new role for the protein Atrx, which is involved in various aspects of gene expression. The new work shows that the protein is also involved in silencing endogenous retroviral genomes integrated in cellular DNA.

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The role of the microbiota in preventing allergies

The human body is inhabited by billions of symbiotic bacteria, carrying a diversity that is unique to each individual. The microbiota is involved in many mechanisms, including digestion, vitamin synthesis and host defense. It is well established that a loss of bacterial symbionts promotes the development of allergies. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum Munich, at the Technical University of Munich…

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UTI pathogen

Boosting the Body’s Natural Ability to Fight Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, and widespread antibiotic resistance has led to urgent calls for new ways to combat them. Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences report that an experimental drug that stabilizes a protein called HIF-1alpha protects human bladder cells and mice against a major UTI…

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Microbiology

ESCMID launches study groups for forensic and veterinary microbiology

The ESCMID Study Group for Forensic and Postmortem Microbiology will create a new network of microbiologists, virologists, anthropologists and archaeologists working in the field of forensic medicine. Professor Amparo Fernandez-Rodriguez, from the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, Madrid, is the head of ESGFOR and stresses the importance of this group in facilitating…

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Microscope technique

Speeding identification of deadly bacteria

A new way of rapidly identifying bacteria, which requires a slight modification to a simple microscope, may change the way doctors approach treatment for patients who develop potentially deadly infections and may also help the food industry screen against contamination with harmful pathogens, according to researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon,…

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HIV

Identification of a molecule that recognizes HIV in immune cells

In collaboration with colleagues from California and New York, researchers of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified a cytosolic receptor which enables cells of the immune system to recognize HIV and to trigger an immune response. The findings of the researchers may be a useful tool for creating an effective endogenous immune response against HIV and helpful to boost vaccine responses.

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Nosocomial infections

Hygiene begins between the ears

"Infection prevention and control is a matter of awareness and continuous education," says Dr Ernst Tabori, Medical Director of the German Consulting Centre for Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (BZH), at the University Hospital Freiburg, specialises in building hygiene in hospitals and outpatient healthcare facilities, as well as surgical units. Report: Anja Behringer

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Preamble

Keeping up with an ever-evolving science

Expecting 10,000 participants, prior to the 25th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Copenhagen, Denmark (25-28 April) its Programme Director, Professor Winfried V Kern MD, was keen to point out: ‘The findings and recommendations that emerge from this vibrant platform each year have, in the past, had a tremendous impact not only on guidelines and best…

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ECCMID 2015

Curetis launches next-generation pneumonia application

Curetis AG, a developer of next-level molecular diagnostic solutions, announced the successful completion of the clinical and analytical CE performance evaluation of its next-generation Unyvero P55 Pneumonia Application. The upgraded cartridge will launch at the 25th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID, April 25 – 28, 2015 in Copenhagen, Denmark) and is…

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New guidance

Contact precautions for hospital visitors

Leading infectious diseases experts have released new guidance for healthcare facilities looking to establish precautions for visitors of patients with infectious diseases. The guidance looks to reduce the potential for healthcare visitors in spreading dangerous bacteria within the healthcare facility and community. The recommendations are published online in Infection Control & Hospital…

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Health Apps

Can medical apps replace conventional medical diagnostics?

The question as to whether or not there is a point in using medical apps on private smartphones is being asked more frequently. Issues around medical diagnostics are among the key points here. We asked Prof. Dr. Dr. Norbert Gässler, Head of the Centre for Laboratory Diagnostics at the St. Bernward Hospital, Hildesheim, for competent advice. Interview: Walter Depner

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Research

Influence of magnetic fields on neurodegenerative diseases

Low-frequency alternating magnetic fields such as those generated by overhead power lines are considered a potential health risk because epidemiological studies indicate that they may aggravate, among other things, neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, a recent study by researchers at the Institute of Pathobiochemistry at the…

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Immune system

Outwitting cancermechanisms

The human immune system is usually very efficient in protecting the body against diseases by eliminating pathogens as well as infected, damaged or otherwise suspicious cells. However, it often fails because tumours have developed efficient strategies that hamper the system’s ability to detect and destroy the cancer cells. Report. Ludger Weß

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Infection Control

Periprosthetic infections: a new disease

Early diagnosis and effective therapy of periprosthetic joint infections (PJI) remain a challenge for many physicians due to the complexity and heterogeneity of clinical symptoms. As individual solutions are needed, opportunities to discuss and exchange ideas are welcome, as clearly shown during the satellite symposium on the diagnosis and treatment of periprosthetic knee infections held at this…

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Infectious Diseases

Abbott’s Testing Platform Iridica Now Available in Europe

Abbott announced its innovative diagnostic platform, known as Iridica, is now available in Europe and other CE–Mark recognized countries. The new platform can identify more than 1,000 infection–causing pathogens in less than six hours.

Politics

Call for urgent action to improve CDI management

CDI Europe, the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (HOPE) and MEP Karin Kadenbach hosted an event at the European Parliament to highlight the urgent action needed to address the current issues relating to the management of healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).

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Medical Training

Diagnosing gastrointestinal infections

The human gut literally teems with microorganisms from at least 1,000 different species that are increasingly considered to be a valuable resource for the prediction, aetiology and prognosis of disease. Due to continual contact with the environment, primarily via food, the gut is susceptible to infection when a virus, parasite or bacterium enters and disrupts normal gut microbiota (or flora).

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Liquid biopsy

It sounds amazingly simple: a structured medical Seldinger guidewire is inserted via a peripheral venous catheter to ‘fish’ for circulating tumour cells (CTC) in the blood of cancer patients. Report: Bettina Döbereiner

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Endogenous bacteria

Is chlorhexidine still the best decolonisation method? For many decades decolonisation – be it selective intestinal, oral or skin decolonisation – has been the accepted procedure to prevent infections by endogenous bacteria. Report: Brigitte Dinkloh

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Breakthrough in hepatitis C research

Earlier this year a drug was launched that can cure hepatitis C without severe side effects in most patients. Whilst the treatment is fast, it is very expensive but does avoid liver cancer and thus makes liver transplants superfluous. This is only one of the many promising developments in hepatitis research that Dr Markus Cornberg of the Medical University Hanover will address at the Medica…

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Zero percent and other illusions

Professor Tobias Welte MD, President of the 24th International Congress of the European Respiratory Society, gave EH some personal views on the symposium ‘New perspectives in the management of nosocomial pneumonia’. Interview: Ralf Mateblowski

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Study

Sepsis cases are rising

Sepsis kills around a hundred and thirty patients daily In Germany alone. This systemic disease is mostly caused by bacterial pathogens, and less frequently by fungal organisms or parasites. The delayed diagnoses result in high mortality. Professor Dr Frank M Brunkhorst of the Centre of Sepsis Control and Care (CSCC), at Jena University Hospital, Germany, is seeking strategies to combat such…

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Metal attacks norovirus head on

The Norovirus, which affects around 267 million people and is attributed to cause over 200,000 deaths annually (usually among the very young, elderly or immune-suppressed, or in 3rd world areas) can be rapidly destroyed by copper and copper alloys, scientists at the United Kingdom’s University of Southampton confirm.

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Blown Away!

Even though a lot of us don’t do it, let’s say you know that washing your hands is the first, and the best thing, you can do to stop sharing nasty bugs that are especially dangerous for patients.

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US trails Europe in facilitating novel antibiotics development

While the Generating Antibiotic Incentives Now (GAIN) Act of 2012 has been a significant step in the right direction for encouraging novel antibiotics research, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) remains one step behind its European equivalent, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), according to an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

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Poor management and overcrowding exacerbate MERS outbreak

“The Saudi Arabian government’s response to the new virulent Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has recently been criticized, following high-level dismissals within the Saudi state healthcare service. Criticism has been leveled at the slowness of the government’s response to the outbreak, as well as in-fighting between physicians", says Andrew Thompson, Ph.D., GlobalData’s…

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Protein test instead of cystoscopy

A recent study from the Heidelberg-based company Sciomics, a spin-off from scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), has presented an advanced method to predict the recurrence of bladder cancer after surgery. The method, which can help avoid frequent cystoscopy examinations in a majority of patients, is based on an analysis of the protein composition of cancer tissue obtained…

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Delayed diagnoses result in high mortality

Sepsis kills around 130 patients daily In Germany alone. This systemic disease is mostly caused by bacterial pathogens, and less frequently by fungal organisms or parasites. Professor Dr Frank M Brunkhorst of the Centre of Sepsis Control and Care (CSCC), at Jena University Hospital, Germany, is seeking strategies to combat such scary figures.

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One tube for comprehensive urine diagnostics

Reliable results can only be achieved in urine diagnostics, if correct preanalytical conditions are ensured. Urine collection, specimen transport and further storage are critical influential factors for sample quality and can affect the results.

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Clostridium difficile infection

The realisation that the fight against C. difficile needs its own specific hygiene management dawned relatively recently. Up to the new millennium a common perception regarding European hospital infection prevention and control was that this bacterium was under control; it was considered a marginal phenomenon, which is why C. difficile was not the focus of problematic pathogen monitoring.

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MERS-CoV: Global action needed?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently formed an international emergency committee to decide whether Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) should be ascribed Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) status, amid reports of a lack of information from the worst affected countries.

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Infectious diseases

Switzerland treads softly when it comes to governing its 26 independent-minded cantons. Yet, when it comes to electronic medical records, the Ministry of Health holds a particular power, not to dare to direct policy inside any canton, but for the exchange of data between the cantons

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Nosocomial infections

As in so many European countries, nosocomial infections have hit the headlines in Germany over and over again in recent years – as when three premature babies died in a Bremen neonatal clinic in 2011.

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The contact killer

Bacteria, viruses and fungi are killed on copper surfaces within seconds. This powerful germicidal effect, termed ‘contact killing’, is increasingly noted by hospitals due to several recent studies that confirm its antimicrobial effects.

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System identifies more pathogens and antimicrobial resistances than any other

By integrating all necessary pre-analytical and analytical steps into one solution, the recently CE-marked Unyvero system, which is now commercially available in Europe, provides pathogen identification and antibiotic resistance marker information without needing expert staff and a sophisticated infrastructure, its manufacturer Curetis reports. Of even greater interest is its range of targets.

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EHFG 2011 - ‘There are too many unnecessary operations!’

Participants at European Health Forum Gastein 2011 (EHFG) agreed: the tendency in Germany and Austria is to operate far too soon (particularly for hip, knee and disc surgery), and many surgical interventions are unnecessary, posing a particular and increasingly urgent problem especially in industrialised countries. Hans-Christian Pruszinsky reports

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Personalized medicine could help to save 100 billion Euros

Despite huge increases in spending over the last three decades, progress in dealing with the most frequent and burdensome diseases is appalling. The EU Flagship Pilot IT Future of Medicine (ITFoM) could remedy that. The flagship‘s investments of 1 billion euros in the course of the next decade are expected to save up to 100 billion euros per year in health expenditures in the future.

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MRI and plaque imaging

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in industrial nations. More than 50 percent of those deaths are associated with pathologies of the coronary arteries, despite the fact that luminal obstructions that lead to myocardial infarction or ischemia do not occur out of the blue. The initial symptoms are preceded by a whole slew of arteriosclerosis stages and the early detection of…

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Determining the site of deep brain implants

Uncontrollable convulsions, tremor or spasms can considerably impair the lives of neurodegenerative disease patients. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) – for which tiny electrodes are implanted in the brain to stimulate the target areas continuously with electrical impulses – can significantly reduce the movement disorder.

Trust leads research knowledge transfer

UHB is leading the way in creating key networks with other European centres of excellence to share knowledge between renowned specialists. The project is already enhancing the Trust’s profile as a focus of translational research in Service Delivery, Haematology, Liver Disease, Diabetes and e-Prescribing.

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Award Recognizes Human Gut Mobile Metagenome Researcher

Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, today announced that the 2011 Oxoid W H Pierce Memorial Prize, which commemorates the late W H (Bill) Pierce, has been awarded to Dr. Brian Jones, senior lecturer at the University of Brighton, England. The award acknowledges Dr. Jones’ research into the human gut mobile metagenome, the mobile genetic elements (such as plasmids)…

New biomarkers allow for better diagnosis in multiple sclerosis

Biomarkers – mainly defined as surrogates serving as indicators for specific biological states – play an ever-increasing role in neuroscience and especially in the management of multiple sclerosis, scientists reported today at the 21st Meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS) in Lisbon. In analyzing gene expression patterns, immunological changes and imaging abnormalities,…

AACC publishes program for 2011 annual meeting

2011 The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) has published the program for its 2011 Annual Meeting being held July 23 – 28 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. This year the Annual Meeting features almost 300 individual educational events in a variety of formats. Hot topics for 2011 include cancer, obesity, diabetes, and healthcare reform.

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Imaging for diabetes and vascular occlusive disease

Metabolic syndrome, diabetes and vascular disease: What do we need to know? During ECR session this important question is addressed by vascular specialist Professor Erich Minar, Assistant Head of the Department of Angiology at the Vienna General Hospital (AKH), President of the Austrian Society of Angiology, and scientific researcher working closely with research centres in the USA.

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Plasma therapy: an alternative to antibiotics?

Cold plasma jets could be a safe, effective alternative to antibiotics to treat multi-drug resistant infections, says a study published this week in the January issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology. The team of Russian and German researchers showed that a ten-minute treatment with low-temperature plasma was not only able to kill drug-resistant bacteria causing wound infections in rats but…

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Advancing POC diagnostics

Improvements in microfluidics and detection technologies are beginning to expand the range of point-of-care diagnostics beyond simple blood chemistry tests to sophisticated immuno-assays and molecular diagnostics. Though yet to see much adoption in European hospitals, these point-of-care (POC) diagnostics are coming into use in the USA, initially in emergency rooms and ICUs where fast results are…

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The future of mass spectrometry in laboratory medicine

The world consists of molecules – so do we. With the progression of measurement tools such as microscopes, centrifuges, or spectrometers, mankind is becoming better and better in identifying the substances from which our world is made. Today, with the technical developments in mass spectrometry, biomolecules can be weighted with the highest precision and accuracy ever known, placing it among…

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Ventilation-associated pneumonia

Every year in German hospitals about 15,000 patients acquire ventilation-associated pneumonias (VAP). This number, and the associated mortality, is striking enough to make it one of the topics at HAI 2010, the annual conference of the German Society for Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine (DGAI). Like many physicians, Dr Maria Deja, senior physician at the Charité Clinic for…

TROCAR is on track

The 3-year Translational Research On Combating Antimicrobial Resistance (TROCAR) project, a consortium of 14 European institutes, has completed its first year of molecular study of high-risk antibiotic-resistant bacteria. With expertise ranging from medical microbiology to computational analysis, this network of excellence is on track to identify and target the resistant and multi-resistant…

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The ultra-high-field MRI symposium

Early problems of ultra-high field Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have been overcome by successful development of adequate hardware. In consequence big efforts have been achieved in structural imaging, as well in functional imaging. Basic scientists and physicians who work in ultra-high-field MRI in Europe and the USA, met at the Berlin Ultra-high-field Facility (BUFF), in the Max Dehlbrück…

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New weapons enter the un-ending war against MRSA

A decade ago the battle against hospital-acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacterial strain) infections appeared to be lost, or at least without end. However, today, we see very important science-to-business achievements in this field. Report: Rostislav Kuklik

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MRSA

Effective screening can kill several birds with one stone

The MRSA problem has been ignored almost stoically in many European countries for the past 20 years. Thus the number of resistant Staphylococci cases exploded from 1% in 1990 around 25% in 2010. However, the recognition that an infection can result in additional hospital costs of up to €10,000 has led to a change in thinking. The Netherlands, for example, declared war on MRSA with ‘search and…

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Enzyme extended-spectrum beta-lactimase

ESBL: A greater danger than MRSA?

In hospitals, MRSA is considered Public Enemy Nr 1, and the increase in nosocomial infections, worldwide, has drawn universal attention to this ‘superbug’. However, Staphylococcus aureus is not alone – other pathogens are proving their resistance to antibiotics, in the last decade, gram-negative enterobacteria, which form the enzyme extended-spectrum beta-lactimases (ESBL), have joined the…

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MRSA - Keeping up with the neighbours

The border between Germany and the Netherlands in the so-called EUREGIO region is of no particular importance in the daily life of the people who live there. Every day, thousands commute between towns and cities in both countries, to work, shop or even receive medical treatment. The latter, however, presents Dutch hospitals with a problem.

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Neurological diseases on the rise

„Diseases of the nervous system and the brain occur more frequently than cancer. According to recent calculations of health care costs, they represent a burden of 386 billion euros a year on European economies,“ says Prof. Gérard Said, newly elected president of the European Neurological Society (ENS) at the annual meeting in Berlin, Germany. „This is often greatly underestimated.“

Molecular imaging

Molecular imaging, the discipline that unites molecular biology and in vivo imaging technologies to assess biological activity in the body, promises to open up ‘…an entire new universe,’ declared Dr Ralph Weissleder, of the Centre for Molecular Imaging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA, in the journal Radiology. That was just one decade ago. And he was right. It has indeed…

Exploring a new universe

Molecular imaging, the discipline that unites molecular biology and in vivo imaging technologies to assess biological activity in the body, promises to open up ‘…an entire new universe,’ declared Dr Ralph Weissleder, of the Centre for Molecular Imaging Research at Massachusetts General Hospital, USA, in the journal Radiology. That was just one decade ago. And he was right. It has indeed…

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Treatment beyond anti-infectives

Professor Norbert Suttorp and his team at the Clinic for Infectology and Pneumonology, Charité University Hospital Berlin, have been working on the understanding of the basic mechanisms of inflammation and infection -- and utilising them. Professor Suttorp has been working for many years on questions relating to the subject Therapy in addition to antibiotics.

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The brain - A promising target for multimodal imaging

Integrated PET/MRI systems will permit the simultaneous acquisition of molecular, functional and structural parameters. The combined strengths of PET (high sensitivity and specificity, but relatively low spatial resolution) and MRI (high resolution, but low sensitivity) is the most attractive feature of multimodal imaging with hybrid scanners. Their application could substantially contribute to…

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Silenced genes as a warning sign of blood cancer

In the genetic material of cancer cells, important growth inhibitors are often switched off by chemical labels in the DNA. Scientists of the German Cancer Research Center and the Ohio State University, USA, discovered in mice that cancer-typical DNA labeling occurs long before the first symptoms of leukemia appear. A test for the genetic label might therefore help to detect a developing cancer at…

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Roche and google.org start initiative for early discovery of new diseases

Roche Applied Science and Google.org recently started a joint project to demonstrate the feasibility of developing a multidisciplinary surveillance, research and response system. This system will enhance the ability to predict and prevent emerging infectious diseases in East Africa. The East African region is known as one of the major hot beds for emergence of new infectious viral agents and new…

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Copper fittings beat bacteria

Following an international field trial of "Antimicrobial copper surfaces", Asklepios Clinic, in Hamburg, Germany, has fitted door handles and light switches made of special copper alloys combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Speeding up vaccine production

During the race to produce vaccines against evolving influenza viruses the slowness of their manufacture has turned producers more sharply towards cell culture technology. Using the traditional process, fertilised chicken eggs must first be inoculated with live flu virus, then the resulting egg-adapted virus must be purified and inactivated to produce trivalent inactivated virus (TIV), during…

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International TB support from KfW Development Bank

Within the World Health Organisation European region three quarters of all new tuberculosis (TB) infections occur in Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine and Turkey. The multi-resistant TB viruses, which can no longer be treated with conventional medication, are particularly common there.

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Nosocomial infections

According to ECD statistics for Europe, three million cases of nosocomial infections occur annually, and 50,000 are fatal. Evelina Tacconelli MD PhD (below) is Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore in Rome, Italy. Her scientific focus is on epidemiology, clinical and therapeutic aspects of nosocomial infections and infection control policies aimed to…

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Germany legislates for MRSA reporting

The UK, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands already have it - an official obligation to report MRSA cases to their health authorities. Since 1 July 2009 German law has also required notification. Professor Herbert Hof, Director of the Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene at the University Hospital Mannheim, Germany, explained why such notification became essential.

Positive action in the war against MRSA

The first strain of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) was isolated in the 1960s, and its presence was reported worldwide in the late 1990s. A higher incidence of MRSA was noted in communities, at the dawn of the new millennium, leading to two basic MRSA strains being differentiated - CA-MRSA (community acquired MRSA) and HA-MRSA (healthcare associated MRSA). In clinical practice…

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Eppendorf cycler can now also be used in medical diagnostics

PCR plays a major part in medical diagnostics. From a few drops of blood, a tissue sample or a bacterial colony will be sufficient to confirm the presence of specific DNA. This approach relies, however, on a prior understanding of the mechanisms underlying the condition e.g. the causative organism in a viral disease. Standard primers are currently available for many pathogenic organisms which is…

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Broccoli against lung disease?

Experts starts to identify nutrition's components that might support the fight against diseases. Recently researchers from John Hopkins Medical School found that a decrease in lung concentrations of NFR2-dependent antioxidants, key components of the lung's defense system, is linked to the severity of chronic obstructive pulmany disease (COPD) in smokers.

Spotlight Cholesterol: the role of diet, statins and genetics

The inverse epidemiological association between serum levels of HDL-C and risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) is graded and has been validated in multiple studies. However, there is remaining controversy whether a low HDL-C should not predominantly be considered a marker of poor lifestyle (obesity, lack of exercise, hypertriglyceridemia, diet, etc.), rather than a primary causal agent for…

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Arrays to detect genomic disorder

Roche reports that, using its NimbleGen CGH arrays, researchers* have identified a recurrent reciprocal genomic rearrangement of chromosomal region 17q12 in foetal samples with congenital anomalies that is also associated with paediatric renal disease and epilepsy.

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Nosocomial and community MRSA infections

First emerging at the beginning of the '60s, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as a nosocomial infection - healthcare associated MRSA (haMRSA) - has become an increasingly prevalent infection control problem in many countries.

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Focus: hygiene and nosocomial infections

They are one of the major threats in today's hospital: tiny pathogens that hide out in catheters, in ventilation tubes, on instruments or on the keyboards of medical technological equipment only waiting to attack patients whose immune system is already weakened. This week, EH Online will take a closer look at nosocomial infections, their causes, their effects and the available ways and means to…

Acinetobacter baumannii genome sequence determined

Italy - The genome sequence of Acinetobacter baumannii has been determined by scientists at the Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, the Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive at the Istituto Superiore della Sanità and the Dipartimento di Biologia at Roma Tre University. In Italy alone this antibiotic resistant pathogen causes 4,500 to 7,000 deaths annually.

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Britain: The big bug buster

The UK's MRSA rates have been declining since 2006 — and this year could be 50% lower than in 2004. This increasing control over dangerous pathogens has not been achieved without considerable hospital staff efforts, relentless public and government pressures on them, and in-house malcontent about the out-sourcing of cleaning work. Given the cost of nosocomial infections to patients, the NHS…

The Thermologger

The remote monitoring of the operating status of automatic bedpan washers has become possible with the launch of the Thermologger, made by Meiko.

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How small RNA molecules impact biomedical research

The discovery of small RNA molecules and their relevance for gene regulation has dramatically changed our understanding of many essential cellular processes — and provides the opportunity to develop new ways for treating various diseases. By selectively inhibiting gene expression and thereby “silencing” genes involved in pathogenesis, the RNA molecules constitute a unique tool to treat…

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Worldwide healthcare launch of Clinell Sporicidal

GAMA Healthcare Ltd, UK based infection-control specialists launched at Medica today the world's first cleaning, sterilising and disinfecting peracetic acid generating wipe. This innovative dry wipe, Clinell Sporicidal, has been developed by doctors for widespread use in the hospital environment. On contact with water peracetic acid, which impregnates the wipe, is activated instantly to the…

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The SMARTube

SMARTube technology enables super-stimulation of lymphocytes, which leads to enhanced production of antibodies in vitro. This enables better and earlier detection of infections.

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Infection source: water

That tap water carries pathogens such as legionella or pseudomonas aeruginosa is well known, writes Heidi Heinhold. However, new research results show that bacteria that were previously considered non-pathogenic, such as coagulase-negative staphylococci (CONS), can be present in hospital water and are transmitted by the water

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An essential tool for detection of respiratory illnesses

By performing just a single test healthcare personnel is now able to simultaneously detect eighteen of the most prevalent respiratory infections in patients. The Seeplex 18-plex Respiratory Test is a highly economical method for molecular diagnostics of respiratory infections. It achieves results rapidly at minimal costs per test.

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Big focus on a tiny organism

The first of its kind in Europe, the €12 million BaSysBio (Bacillus Systems Biology) project, initiated in December, is headquartered in France, but involves 15 top European research organisations, as well as an Australian university.

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UK, Vietnam and Nigeria teams take top infection control awards

With entries from infection control teams from all over the world, with each hospital facing different challenges and with widely differing resources at their disposal, judges working on the 2006/2007 Oxoid Infection Control Team of the Year Awards focused on teams that had demonstrated that they really made a difference to standards of infection control within their own hospitals and have set…

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Virtual TB bacillus should help finding new drugs

Today little is known about the metabolism of the tuberculosis bacillus and, because of its slow growth, experiments for new drugs take a long time. Now a team of researchers form the University of Surrey built an in silico model of the agent that causes TB - a virtual TB bacillus - that promises to speed up the drug discovery process.

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What wounds tell us

Every day, patients are admitted to surgeries, hospitals and outpatient clinics with chronic wounds. Careful inspection gives a wound therapist clues to the appropriate primary care required even before further diagnostic procedures are carried out. So what do the clinical signs and symptoms tell us? Report: Heidi Heinold

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THE 27th ISICEM

'Over 230 established and emerging international leaders in intensive care and emergency medicine will provide participants with a state-of-the art review of the most recent advances in diagnosis, monitoring, and management of critically ill patients,' Jean-Louis Vincent, Head of the Department of Intensive Care, Erasme Hospital, Free University of Brussels, Belgium, promises the expected 5,000…

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Company Round-up

Siemens Medical Solutions strengthens its diagnostics devision, J&J wins stent patent appeal over Boston Scientific and Medtronic, Leica extends its product range and GE Healthcare cooperates with Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich as a reference center and strategic partner in developing cell-based assay modes.

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The pulseless life

New pulsatile heart pumps (ventricular assist devices - VAD) can remain in the body as a permanent heart support.

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Visualising the breathing lung

After previous meetings in the USA (2002) and Japan (2004), this October the 3rd International Workshop of Pulmonary Functional Imaging (IWPFI) took place in the German Cancer Research Centre, based in Heidelberg University, Germany. " 'The clinicians' need for earlier and more detailed diagnosis in pulmonary disease demands a joint interdisciplinary effort to push the limits in pulmonary…

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The ERS 2006 COPD research awards

Belgium and United Kingdom - Two researchers, Dr Charles Pilette, currently at the Pneumology Department, University Hospital of Louvain, St-Luc, Belgium, and Dr William Man, who is completing specialist clinical training in Respiratory Medicine and General Internal Medicine, in London, have received this year's awards for research into Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), granted by…

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Touch-less sensor dispenser

The Japanese firm Saraya, which for 50 years has successfully manufactured hygiene products and programmes for healthcare, facility management and the food industry, has launched a touch-less hand disinfection unit in Europe. According to Mr ter Woort, General Manager, Saraya Europe, the company has already sold over 100,000 of these units in Asia & the USA.

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Bacteria die on stainless steel

To establish which materials allow pathogens to survived best, micro-organisms such as bacteria living in wet and dry environments, pathogenic fungi and the bacterium Escherichia coli, have been studied during comparative tests undertaken at the Hygiene Institute of the University of Leipzig.

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Improving garments

Now there are even garments for hospital visitors - a good thing, in view of MRSA and other pathogens.

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