Search for: "pathogen" - 250 articles found

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Article • Sustainability

The challenge of "greening" medical technologies

Under the impulse of the European Commission, the in vitro diagnostic industry is developing emerging technologies to implement sustainable practices in medical laboratories. As sustainability has been a growing priority of the European Union (EU) in the last decade, ‘the medical technology sector, particularly the IVD sector, must comply with European legislation in this field like all other…

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Sponsored • Disease management

Multiplex Testing: A Solution to Manage Surge in Respiratory Illnesses as Concerns over “Multi-demic” Rise

Eunsin Bae, M.D. specializes in laboratory medicine and leads the Institute of Clinical Research at Seegene Inc. Her research focuses on microbiology, molecular biology, and hematology. Dr. Bae is currently working toward implementing a global clinical study and establishing an international network of clinical investigations.

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Article • “Taiwan Excellence” at Medica 2022

Sustainable solutions for post-pandemic healthcare

Innovative gastrointestinal imaging, medical panel PCs with hygiene optimisation, smartphone-based diagnostic tools, and sustainable hardware setups: At Medica 2022, manufacturers from Taiwan again showed their capability to adapt and provide solutions for a world radically changed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the “Taiwan Excellence” banner, outstanding products from the island nation’s…

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Sponsored • Covid-19 management

Rapid and robust PCR testing for infectious diseases at Innklinikum Altötting and Mühldorf

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the fast and accurate diagnosis of infectious diseases in clinical settings. Harald Maier discusses the implementation of rapid molecular diagnostics in the central clinical diagnostics laboratory at Innklinikum Altötting and Mühldorf, highlighting how the use of PCR testing has benefitted the hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Article • Antimicrobial resistance development

AMR and climate change: a worrying dual threat to global health

Climate change and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are forming an alarming alliance: Global warming creates new breeding grounds for resistant bacteria. A serious and very real threat to public health – but not quite the doomsday scenario some might make it out to be, says Prof Sabiha Essack from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa.

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Sponsored • Infection management

New sepsis marker speeds up detection and therapy

Sepsis is the cause of one in five deaths worldwide, killing nearly 11 million people each year, many of them children. It is also a major cause of disability, affecting millions more. To combat the condition, many hospitals have implemented sepsis performance improvement programmes. A meta-analysis of 50 observational studies showed that these programmes are associated with better compliance…

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Article • Mini-microscopes

Are disposable robots conquering the labs of the future?

The team at the Institute of Medical Device Technology at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, is developing methods to produce top-quality medical devices at affordable prices. Professor Dr Peter Pott, the director of the institute, turns to 3D printers to successfully realize his vision of “high end at low cost”.

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News • 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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News • 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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Sponsored • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Video • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • TB test shows promise

New method to assist fast-tracking of vaccines

With Covid-19 dominating medical science and human concern, chemists at the University of Sydney have developed a method to quickly and safely synthesise protein vaccines for respiratory diseases for pre-clinical tests. Their approach can be used to test vaccine strategies against novel pandemic pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

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News • 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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Article • 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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News • "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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Sponsored • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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Interview • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • '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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News • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Sponsored • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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.

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Sponsored • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Sponsored • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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News • 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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Article • 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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Article • 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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