Search for: "virus" - 820 articles found

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Rapid detection

Molecular diagnostic test for Covid-19, Flu, RSV receives CE mark

A new rapid molecular diagnostic test from Cepheid has received the CE mark for distribution in the European market. The test, called Xpert Xpress CoV-2/Flu/RSV plus, is designed for qualitative detection of the viruses causing Covid-19, Flu A, Flu B, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections from a single patient sample. The new plus version of the test provides a third gene target for…

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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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Immune response study

Is a "natural" Covid-19 infection better than vaccination? It's complicated

Hope for a future without fear of Covid-19 comes down to circulating antibodies and memory B cells. Unlike circulating antibodies, which peak soon after vaccination or infection only to fade a few months later, memory B cells can stick around to prevent severe disease for decades. And they evolve over time, learning to produce successively more potent “memory antibodies” that are better at…

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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 beyond

Safe transport system for infectious patients gets innovation award

Medical technology startup EpiGuard has received the 2021 Oslo Innovation Award. Presented during the first day of the of Oslo Innovation Week, the Scandinavian city’s annual technology festival, Ellen Cathrine Andersen, CEO of EpiGuard, collected the award from Vegar Andersen, advisor for the City of Oslo’s Vice Mayor for Business Development and Public Ownership.

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SARS-CoV-2 in the media

Does 'beautifying' the Coronavirus make us underestimate its danger?

Colourful, 3D rendered scientific images are fascinating - but can they deceive viewers? New research from Spain suggests this might be the case. According to the study by the Instituto de Radio Televisión Española and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona conducted during the Covid-19 lockdown, black and white images of SARS-CoV-2 make the virus seem more infectious. The results, published on…

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Respiratory research

Covid-19 infection does not affect lung function in kids, young adults

Covid-19 infection does not appear to affect the lung function of young adults, according to new research presented at the ‘virtual’ European Respiratory Society International Congress. In the first study to investigate the impact of Covid-19 infection on lung function, researchers led by Dr Ida Mogensen, a post-doctoral fellow at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, found that even…

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Coronavirus prevention

Double vaccination cuts risk of Long Covid in half

Adults who have received a double vaccination are 49% less likely to have Long Covid should they contract a Covid-19 infection, according to new research from King's College London. The scientists analysed data from participants logging their symptoms, tests and vaccines on the UK ZOE COVID Symptom Study app between 8th December 2020 and 4 July 2021, including 1,240,009 (first dose) and 971,504…

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Overheard at ISRRT

Radiography reflection of Covid on the frontline

Delegates at an international radiography conference were given an insight into the impact Covid-19 has had on their profession and practice in five countries across the world. A special session at the online ISRRT (International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists) congress in Dublin (August 20-22) heard experiences from Thailand, Nigeria, Italy, India and Ireland, with…

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SARS CoV-2 B.1.621

WHO classifies Coronavirus "Mu" as new 'Variant of Interest'

The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a closer look at coronavirus variant B.1.621. The strain, first encountered in January 2021 in Colombia, shows traits that could enable the virus to circumvent immune response to vaccination. As a result, the variant, named "Mu", has been classified as "Variant of Interest" (VOI). Despite its prominence in Colombian new infection,…

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Coronavirus medication research

Lab-grown beating heart cells could identify Covid drugs

Scientists have grown beating heart cells to attempt to identify drugs to prevent Covid-19-related heart damage. Concerns over the extent of cardiac damage among Covid patients emerged during the coronavirus pandemic and there are also suggestions that the impact on cardiomyocytes could contribute to the symptoms of long Covid. To explore these issues, a research team at the University of…

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Research on after-effects

Viruses leave traces long after the infection is over

Viruses do not always kill the cells they infect. Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered in experiments with mice that cells have the power to self-heal and eliminate viruses. However, these cells undergo long-term changes. The findings may provide a hint as to why cured hepatitis C patients are more susceptible to liver cancer for years after.

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Variants of concern

Are Covid-19 vaccines still effective against Delta variant? New study says yes

Obtaining two vaccine doses remains the most effective way to ensure protection against the Covid-19 Delta variant of concern dominant in the UK today, according to a study from the University of Oxford. Conducted in partnership with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), the study found that with Delta, Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca…

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Seeing the advantages

Digital pathology adoption accelerates

Digital pathology (DP) is a game-changer in the workflow, functionality and accessibility of a hospital’s pathology department. As pathologists understand the benefits, and the availability of commercial products and systems increase, alongside data transmission and storage costs decreasing, DP deployment in hospitals is accelerating. Pathology informatics expert Anil V Parwani MD PhD discussed…

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Infection research

Understanding lung damage in Covid-19 patients

Covid-19 disease severity is determined by the individual patient’s immune response. The precise mechanisms taking place inside the lungs and blood during the early phase of the disease, however, remain unclear. Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and Freie Universität Berlin have now studied the cellular mechanisms…

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Potential for pan-variant therapies

SARS-CoV-2 might have a 'sugar coated' weak spot

Researchers identify two sugar-binding proteins that impede the viral entry of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants. The team, spearheaded by researchers at IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – may have found the “Achilles’ heel” of the virus, with potential for pan-variant therapeutic interventions. The findings are now published in the EMBO…

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Genome editing

Using CRISPR to speed up Covid-19 testing

A research team led by scientists in the labs of Jennifer Doudna, David Savage and Patrick Hsu at the University of California, Berkeley, is aiming to develop a rapid Covid-19 diagnostic test that is much faster and easier to deploy than qRT-PCR. It has now combined two different types of CRISPR enzymes to create an assay that can detect small amounts of viral RNA in less than an hour. Doudna…

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Compulsory coronavirus prevention

Should Covid-19 vaccination be mandatory for health and care staff?

Italy, France, and Greece have made Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for healthcare workers, and England is making it compulsory for care home workers and consulting on whether to extend this to healthcare workers and other social care staff. Experts debate in The BMJ whether frontline health and social care workers should be compelled to take up the vaccine, if efforts to encourage them fail.…

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Coronavirus research

Contagious cash? The role of banknotes and coins in Covid-19 infections

How long do coronaviruses remain infectious on banknotes and coins? Is it possible to become infected through contact with cash? Experts at the European Central Bank, in collaboration with the Department of Medical and Molecular Virology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, wanted to clarify this question. The researchers led by Professor Eike Steinmann and Dr. Daniel Todt developed a method specifically…

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Immune response determined

How Covid-19 vaccines prepare our immune system for the virus

In view of the continuing high numbers of infections, vaccination offers important protection against severe Covid-19 disease. Scientists from the Faculty of Medicine – University of Freiburg have now been able to determine in detail at what time point initial immune protection is established after vaccination with an mRNA-based vaccine and how the reactions of the various components of the…

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Mechanical inactivation

'Nano traps' to lock up and neutralize viruses

To date, there are no effective antidotes against most virus infections. An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has now developed a new approach: they engulf and neutralize viruses with nano-capsules tailored from genetic material using the DNA origami method. The strategy has already been tested against hepatitis and adeno-associated viruses in cell…

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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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Unprecedented improvements

Gene therapy 'reprograms' cells to reverse AADC deficiency

A novel method of gene therapy is helping children born with a rare genetic disorder called AADC deficiency that causes severe physical and developmental disabilities. The study, led by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and The Ohio State University College of Medicine, offers new hope to those living with incurable genetic and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Early detection of coronavirus presence

Covid-19 wastewater testing: new quantification kit launched

Life science research and clinical diagnostics company Bio-Rad Laboratories announced the launch of its PREvalence ddPCR SARS-CoV-2 Wastewater Quantification Kit, a tool to detect the virus that causes Covid-19 in a community’s wastewater. "With wastewater testing becoming more widely adopted, this assay provides the ability for a community to determine if the virus is present days to…

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Coronavirus and the sexes

Covid-19 clinical trials ignore gender differences

Although the coronavirus affects men and women differently, the vast majority of clinical trials do not mention sex/gender, a new analysis of 4,420 studies concludes. Ultimately, it can influence the treatment negatively. The meta analysis is published in Nature Communications. According to the new research, only 4 percent of 4,420 registered studies explicitly plan to address sex and gender in…

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Poor understanding

Loss of smell after Covid-19: many patients let down by doctors

A study by Newcastle University, University of East Anglia and charity Fifth Sense, shows poor levels of understanding and care from GPs and specialists about smell and taste loss in patients. This is an issue that has particularly come to the forefront during the Covid-19 pandemic as many people who have contracted the virus report a loss of taste and smell as their main symptoms.

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Analysis of 2nd and 3rd Corona wave

Rapid tests effectively contain Covid-19

Rapid tests effectively broke Covid-19 infection chains in spring 2021. This is shown by a model developed by researchers of the ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy Cluster of Excellence of the Universities of Bonn and Cologne, the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 224 EPoS of the Universities of Bonn and Mannheim, and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). According to the…

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Detecting Coronavirus

AI vs. Covid-19: ‘Barcode’ brings quicker test results

When patients are admitted to a hospital emergency room (ER) it is immediately vital to determine whether s/he has Covid-19. However, with a regular PCR test a result can take up to a few hours. Thus, initially, the patient must be isolated. During the height of the corona pandemic last year, researcher Ruben Deneer from Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and clinical chemist Arjen-Kars…

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Aerosol propagation study

Covid-19: is it safe to play the trumpet and other wind instruments?

Aerosol generated by playing woodwind and brass instruments is less than that produced when vocalising (speaking and singing) and is no different than a person breathing, new research has found. The findings could be crucial to developing a roadmap for lifting Covid-19 restrictions in the performing arts, which have been significantly restricted since the start of the pandemic.

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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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Handheld rapid testing

New tech to diagnose infections in minutes - without a lab

The idea of visiting the doctor’s office with symptoms of an illness and leaving with a scientifically confirmed diagnosis is much closer to reality because of new technology developed by researchers at McMaster University. Engineering, biochemistry and medical researchers from across campus have combined their skills to create a hand-held rapid test for bacterial infections that can produce…

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Oncology early detection tool

Blood test for 50+ types of cancer promising for screening

Final results from a study of a blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer have shown that it is accurate enough to be rolled out as a multi-cancer screening test among people at higher risk of the disease, including patients aged 50 years or older, without symptoms. In a paper published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, researchers report that the test accurately detected…

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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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Unexpected find

Anti-tapeworm drug shows promise against Covid-19

Researchers from the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Bonn have examined the way in which SARS-CoV-2 reprograms the metabolism of the host cell in order to gain an overall advantage. According to their report in Nature Communications, the researchers were able to identify four substances which inhibit SARS-CoV-2…

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Severe effects

How COVID-19 wreaks havoc on human lungs

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have published the first detailed atomic-level model of the SARS-CoV-2 "envelope" protein bound to a human protein essential for maintaining the lining of the lungs.

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Fighting the pandemic

90 drugs against Covid-19

Mining the world's most comprehensive drug repurposing collection for Covid-19 therapies, scientists have identified 90 existing drugs or drug candidates with antiviral activity against the coronavirus that's driving the ongoing global pandemic.

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Good news

Mild COVID-19 induces lasting antibody protection

Months after recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, people still have immune cells in their body pumping out antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study from researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Such cells could persist for a lifetime, churning out antibodies all the while.

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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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Coronavirus disease biomarkers

New Covid-19 testing method gives results within one second

The Covid-19 pandemic made it clear technological innovations were urgently needed to detect, treat, and prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus. A year and a half into this epidemic, waves of successive outbreaks and the dire need for new medical solutions — especially testing — continue to exist. In the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B, researchers from the University of Florida and…

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Coronavirus diagnostics

Rapid Covid-19 test delivers results within 4 minutes with 90 percent accuracy

A low-cost, rapid diagnostic test for Covid-19 developed by Penn Medicine provides Covid-19 results within four minutes with 90 percent accuracy. A paper published this week in Matter details the fast and inexpensive diagnostic test, called RAPID 1.0 (Real-time Accurate Portable Impedimetric Detection prototype 1.0). Compared to existing methods for Covid-19 detection, RAPID is inexpensive and…

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SARS-CoV-2 medication

Remdesivir: additional mechanism against Covid-19 discovered

When a cell is infected, SARS-CoV-2 not only causes the host cell to produce new virus particles. The virus also suppresses host cell defence mechanisms. The virus protein nsP3 plays a central role in this. Using structural analyses, researchers at Goethe University in cooperation with the Swiss Paul Scherrer Institute have now discovered that a decomposition product of the virostatic agent…

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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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Oncology meets history

Medieval cancer rates much higher than previously thought

CT scanning used to uncover remnants of malignancy hidden inside medieval bones provides new insight into cancer prevalence in a pre-industrial world. The first study to use x-rays and CT scans to detect evidence of cancer among the skeletal remains of a pre-industrial population suggests that between 9-14% of adults in medieval Britain had the disease at the time of their death. This puts cancer…

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Expert debate on coronavirus protection

Covid-19: The pros and cons of wearing masks outdoors

Wearing face coverings outside should be normalised because it may reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in some situations—and may encourage mask wearing indoors, where risks are greater—say Babak Javid, Dirk Bassler, and Manuel B Bryant. But Muge Cevik, Zeynep Tufekci, and Stefan Baral argue that outdoor transmission contributes very little to overall infection rates and that efforts should…

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Disease management

Covid-19 and beyond: Unlocking the value of diagnostic data

Diagnostic data from the massive amounts of testing being conducted can help make health systems more resilient in dealing with future health crises and pandemics. The importance of diagnostic data was explored during the Medtech Europe online session, “Unlocking the Value of Diagnostic Information – how to make European Health Systems more resilient?” where delegates heard that…

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DVD Import

Nexus/Chili – Import Robot

Highlights• Automatic import robot• Import of patient CD / DVD• 2, 5 or 10 drives• 2 import trays (regular / express)• 2 output trays (ok, failed)• Optional virus scan• Correction of foreign data• Automatic DICOM transfer• Works with any PACS

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Vigorous ventilation

Covid-19: Why faster air exchange in buildings is not always beneficial

Vigorous and rapid air exchanges might not always be a good thing when it comes to addressing levels of coronavirus particles in a multiroom building, according to a new modeling study. The study suggests that, in a multiroom building, rapid air exchanges can spread the virus rapidly from the source room into other rooms at high concentrations. Particle levels spike in adjacent rooms within 30…

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Coronavirus research

'Covid-19 atlas' uncovers differing immune responses in asymptomatic versus severe cases

The largest study of its kind in the UK has identified differences in the immune response to Covid-19 between people with no symptoms, compared to those suffering a more serious reaction to the virus. The research by Newcastle University and collaborators within the Human Cell Atlas initiative found raised levels of specific immune cells in asymptomatic people. They also showed people with more…

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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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Helminths

Worm infestation in the gut can lower viral defenses

Infection with parasitic intestinal worms (helminths) can apparently cause sexually transmitted viral in-fections to be much more severe elsewhere in the body. This is shown by a study led by the Universities of Cape Town and Bonn. According to the study, helminth-infected mice developed significantly more severe symptoms after infection with a genital herpes viruses (Herpes Simplex Virus). The…

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Lipid research

Solving the sub-zero challenge of Covid-19 vaccines

New research by University of Texas at Dallas scientists could help solve a major challenge in the deployment of certain Covid-19 vaccines worldwide — the need for the vaccines to be kept at below-freezing temperatures during transport and storage. In a study published online in Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrate a new, inexpensive technique that generates crystalline…

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The stronger sex after all

Why women may be better equipped to fight Covid-19

When it comes to Covid-19, women seem to be the stronger sex, suffering severe disease at about half the rate as men, but the reason for this has been elusive. Now a chance experiment by an ophthalmology researcher at Duke Health has led to an insight: Women have more of a certain type of immune cell that fights infections in mucosal tissue, and these immune cells amass in the lungs, poised to…

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Cancer research

'Gene ferry' improves immune therapies

Genetically enhancing a patient's immune cells by adding therapeutic genes to them outside the body is regarded as a promising new treatment approach in oncology. However, the production of these therapeutic cells using viruses is not only expensive but time-consuming. Researchers at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) have developed an innovative non-viral vector that can efficiently…

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Coronavirus transmission

Experts: Covid-19 prevention efforts should focus on airborne transmission

Any future attempts to reduce the spread of Covid-19 should be focused on tackling close airborne transmission of the virus which is considered to be the primary route for its circulation, according to experts. Respiratory experts argue that it is now clear that SARS-CoV-2 is most likely to transmit between people at close range through inhalation rather than through contact with surfaces or…

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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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Disinfection

UVentions – UVbase

Dimension:Outside: 600 × 340 × 540 mm (w × h × d)Inside:  480 × 130 × 220 mm (w × h × d) Weight: 29 kgHighlights:Disinfection with UV light of objects as for example protective masks (PPE), mobile phones, keyboards, computer mice, glasses / goggles, tools and much more.Removes 99.999 % (5-log10) of all viruses and bacteriaSafe and…

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Protection from bacteria, fungi, viruses

Antimicrobial technologies – how do they work?

Antimicrobial technologies such as coatings and textiles containing silver and copper are helping people during the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that whatever they touch, whether that is a door handle or their own mask, is free from live SARS-CoV-2 particles. But how exactly do these antimicrobial technologies work? How can a silver, copper or even polymeric coating kill microorganisms such as…

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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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Study hints at increased risk

Many Covid-19 patients return to hospital within 140 days

People discharged from hospital after Covid-19 appear to have increased risks of diseases across multiple organs and nearly a third are readmitted to hospital in the following months, according to a new study co-led by researchers at University College London. The study, published in The BMJ, looked at nearly 50,000 people who were discharged from hospital by August last year and compared them to…

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Proof of concept

Surveillance system tracks Covid infection hotspots in hospital

A University of Manchester team has applied new techniques to detect and track the transmission of Covid-19 in hospital. The proof of concept system combines the movement and interaction of staff and patients with genomic sequencing of the virus, helping to signpost how best to improve patient pathways, staff movement and reduce risk. They identified hotspots within hospitals where patients and…

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Post-hospitalisation

New study reveals impact of 'Long Covid'

Recovery duration, co-morbidities, mortality, risk groups: A large study across multiple UK centres reports in detail on prospectively assessed outcomes of Covid-19, the so called 'Long Covid'. We spoke with two of the study's co-investigators about why so many patients are still affected after a coronavirus infection.

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Mass spectrometry analysis

Skin swabs can detect Covid-19

Skin swab samples analysed using mass spectrometry could be used to detect Covid-19 in patients, according to research conducted at the University of Surrey in the UK. Current Covid-19 testing is via a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, which involves taking a swab of the back of the throat and inside the nose, but the team from Surrey - working with Frimley NHS Trust and the Universities of…

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HPV testing advances

Cervical cancer screening: Emerging tech to replace Pap smears

Emerging technologies can screen for cervical cancer better than Pap smears and, if widely used, could save lives both in developing nations and parts of countries, like the United States, where access to health care may be limited. In Biophysics Reviews, by AIP Publishing, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital write advances in nanotechnology and computer learning are among the…

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Nanotechnology

New low-cost solution for virus-scale microscopy

Using an ordinary light microscope, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised a technique for imaging biological samples with accuracy at the scale of 10 nanometers — which should enable them to image viruses and potentially even single biomolecules, the researchers say. The new technique builds on expansion microscopy, an approach that involves embedding…

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Immune response in pregnant and lactating women

Mothers pass on Covid-19 protection to their babies after vaccination

In the largest study of its kind to date, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard have found the new mRNA Covid-19 vaccines to be highly effective in producing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in pregnant and lactating women. They also demonstrated the vaccines confer protective immunity to newborns…

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A much-needed update

New 'double antibody' delivers dual strike SARS-CoV-2 and its variants

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB) in Switzerland developed a second-generation ‘double antibody’ that protects from SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, and all its tested variants. It also prevents the virus from mutating to resist the therapy. Antibody-based immunotherapy was already shown to be effective against Covid-19 but faces two main obstacles: it needs to work…

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SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies

Covid-19 immunity may last from days to decades

Scientists from Singapore found that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 wane at different rates, lasting for mere days in some individuals, while remaining present in others for decades. The study, published in The Lancet Microbe, shows that the severity of the infection could be a deciding factor in having longer-lasting antibodies. Individuals with low levels of neutralising antibodies may still be…

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Asymptomatic disease spread

Why vaccines alone may not be enough to end the Covid-19 pandemic

Even as vaccines are becoming more readily available, protecting against the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of the virus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes Covid-19 is key to ending the pandemic, say two infectious disease experts at the Georgetown University Medical Center. In their Perspective, “SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Without Symptoms,” published in the journal Science, they make the case…

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Non-invasive corona breath testing

SpiroNose: The electronic nose that knows about Covid-19

Rapid tests, PCR tests, self-tests… there are many test options to determine contamination with Covid-19. In most this is done by inserting a cotton swab deep into the nose and/or throat to extract some mucus – unpleasant for adults and often a drama for children. Towards the end of 2020, a new system emerged to rule out a Covid-19 contamination. The electronic SpiroNose performs a…

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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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Gastroenterology

Capsule cameras to test for cancer and diseases

Miniature cameras which patients can swallow to get checked for cancer are being trialled across the NHS. The imaging technology, in a capsule no bigger than a pill, can provide a diagnosis within hours. Known as a colon capsule endoscopy, the cameras are the latest NHS innovation to help patients access cancer checks at home. Traditional endoscopies mean patients need to attend hospital and have…

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Airborne attack

Pollen increase Covid-19 risk

When airborne pollen levels are higher, increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates can be observed. These results were determined by a large-scale study conducted by an international team headed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Members of high-risk groups could protect themselves by watching pollen forecasts and wearing dust filter masks.

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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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Coronavirus research

Promising SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors discovered

A research team of pharmacists at the University of Bonn has discovered two families of active substances that can block the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The drug candidates are able to switch off the the key enzyme of the virus, the so-called main protease. The study is based on laboratory experiments. Extensive clinical trials are still required for their further development as…

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Cancer vaccine research

Tackling tumors with two types of virus

An international research group led by the University of Basel has developed a promising strategy for therapeutic cancer vaccines. Using two different viruses as vehicles, they administered specific tumor components in experiments on mice with cancer in order to stimulate their immune system to attack the tumor. The approach is now being tested in clinical studies.

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'Vaccelerate' cooperation

Building a Covid-19 vaccine network across Europe

The European Commission has launched a contingency plan to meet the challenge of the various mutations of the coronavirus. Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital are contributing to a new network for the evaluation and testing of new vaccines. The network is called "Vaccelerate" and it will contribute both to the evaluation of ongoing and future vaccinations, as well…

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Human cytomegalovirus in immunocompromised patients

Post-transplant HCMV infection: pre-emptive strike could save many lives

A potential new treatment to protect immunosuppressed patients from human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been discovered by scientists at the University of Cambridge. Their study shows that certain epigenetic inhibitors expose and help to destroy dormant HCMV infections, which often reactivate to cause serious illness and death in these vulnerable groups. Subject to clinical trials, their proposed…

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Peptide research

A 'fake handshake' to trick the coronavirus

Scientists have developed peptides that fit snugly into a groove on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that it would normally use to access a host cell. These protein fragments effectively trick the virus into “shaking hands” with a replica rather than with the actual protein on a cell’s surface that lets the virus in. revious research has determined that the novel coronavirus binds to a receptor…

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Legal, ethical, medical challenges

12 things to consider before introducing Covid-19 vaccine passports

Covid-19 vaccine passports could be created, but significant challenges need to be overcome first, according to a report from a panel led by Oxford Professors Melinda Mills and Chris Dye, which outlines a dozen issues which must be addressed before passports can be introduced. The report is published by the SET-C (Science in Emergencies Tasking: Covid-19) group at the Royal Society and it…

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Expert prediction

How will Covid affect cancer death rates in 2021?

Researchers have called on European policymakers to make adequate resources available to tackle pancreatic cancer, a disease that is almost invariably fatal and where little progress has been made over the past 40 years. In the latest predictions for cancer deaths in the EU and UK for 2021, published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, researchers led by Carlo La Vecchia (MD), a professor…

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Experimental therapy

CRP apheresis: First successful treatment of Covid-19 patient

Apheresis, a procedure that separates removes particular blood constituents, has so far been primarily used with myocardial infarction patients. Now, however, it seems to be a promising approach for Covid-19 cases: the first patient successfully underwent so-called CRP apheresis. The treatment does not target the virus but can prevent potentially fatal consequences of the infection.

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Healthcare facilities analysed

Cutting Coronavirus air contamination in hospitals

Preventing air contamination in healthcare facilities is crucial to minimise the airborne spread of Covid-19 and its new strains. Universal masking, rigorous use of and safe disposal of PPE, plus building ventilation are vital. Twenty-four studies reporting hospital SARS-CoV-2 air contamination are summarised in a meta-analysis by a multi-institutional team of French researchers. These show that,…

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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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Study from Zambia shows many more deaths

Experts: Impact of Covid-19 in Africa “vastly underestimated”

The impact of Covid-19 in Africa has been vastly underestimated, warn researchers in a new study. Outside of South Africa, this is the first study to provide systematic surveillance data capturing the impact of Covid-19 in Africa. Their findings are based on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results for 364 deceased people of all ages at the University Teaching Hospital morgue in Lusaka,…

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MHH SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit

First Covid-19 test 'made in Poland'

To date, testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection mostly has relied on RT-PCR performed on a nasopharyngeal specimen. This testing method is very unpleasant for a patient: the professional tester has to tilt the patient’s head back slightly about 45°-70° to straighten the passage from the front of the nose, insert the swab through the nostril parallel to the palate, and the swab should reach a depth…

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Study on N95, KN95 and FFP2 mask suggests

Covid-19 masks: Why proper fit matters more than material

A team of researchers studying the effectiveness of different types of face masks has found that in order to provide the best protection against Covid-19, the fit of a mask is as important, or more important, than the material it is made of. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, carried out a series of different fit tests, and found that when a high-performance mask – such as an…

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Spotting viral differences

Finding a better way to search for Covid-19 drugs

Is there a better approach to Covid drug research? Research from the University of Kent, Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main, and the Philipps-University in Marburg has provided crucial insights into the biological composition of SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19, revealing vital clues for the discovery of antiviral drugs. Researchers compared SARS-CoV-2 and the closely related virus SARS-CoV,…

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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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Herd immunity explained in virtual reality

Using VR to win over vaccine skeptics

People who are sceptical of getting vaccinated against infectious diseases may soon get a whole new perspective on things. Professor Robert Böhm and Associate Professor Guido Makransky from the Center for Social Data Science (SODAS) and the Department of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen have received DKK three million in funding from EIT Health for developing a virtual reality app to…

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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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Image-based diagnosis of Covid-19

AI detects coronavirus on CT scans

In order to detect the Corona virus SARS-CoV-2, there are further methods of diagnosis apart from the globally used PCR tests (Polymerase chain reaction): The infection can also be recognised on CT scans – for which Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used as well. An AI system can not only filter CT scan of Covid-19 patients from a data set, but also estimate, which areas of the image are of…

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Covid-19's impact on studies

Clinical trials during the pandemic: lessons for future cancer research

The continuing corona virus epidemic has impacted strongly on cancer care and research, including the delay of treatments and diagnoses as well as on trials of new therapies, and the shift in research to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. However, the session ‘Cancer research and Covid-19’, during the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Virtual Showcase (online 2-3 November) looked at how UK…

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Promising agents

The effect of vitamins, steroids and potential antivirals on SARS-CoV-2

Evidence is emerging that vitamin D – and possibly vitamins K and A – might help combat Covid-19. A new study from the University of Bristol published in the journal of the German Chemical Society Angewandte Chemie has shown how they – and other antiviral drugs – might work. The research indicates that these dietary supplements and compounds could bind to the viral spike protein and so…

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Viral sequencing

How SARS-CoV-2 spreads and evolves

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants that are adding twists in the battle against COVID-19 highlight the need for better genomic monitoring of the virus, says Katia Koelle, associate professor of biology at Emory University.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What patients want to know about Covid-19 vaccine

This FAQ from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology is provided to help answer patient questions about COVID-19 vaccines. These recommendations are based on best knowledge to date, but could change at any time, pending new information and further guidance from the FDA or CDC.

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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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Fight against COVID-19

AI lung scan analysis rolled out across Europe

The Belgian initiative icovid, which supports radiologists in the assessment of CT images of the lungs of COVID-19 patients, has grown into a multicentre European project, co-funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. Icovid was set up in March by UZ Brussel, KU Leuven, icometrix and ETRO, an imec research group of VUB.

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Microneedles

No more needles for bloodtests?

Blood draws are no fun. They hurt. Veins can burst, or even roll — like they’re trying to avoid the needle, too. Oftentimes, doctors use blood samples to check for biomarkers of disease: antibodies that signal a viral or bacterial infection, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, or cytokines indicative of inflammation seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and…

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Coronavirus infection response

SARS-CoV-2 IgG II antibody test launched in CE Mark countries

Clinical diagnostics company Beckman Coulter launched its Access SARS-CoV-2 IgG II assay in countries accepting the CE Mark. The new Access SARS-CoV-2 IgG II assay quantitatively measures a patient’s level of antibodies in response to a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The ability to establish a quantitative baseline to evaluate an individual’s immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus allows…

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Measuring mitochondrial DNA

Rapid blood test identifies Covid-19 patients at high risk of severe disease

One of the most vexing aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic is doctors’ inability to predict which newly hospitalized patients will go on to develop severe disease, including complications that require the insertion of a breathing tube, kidney dialysis or other intensive care. Knowledge of a patient’s age and underlying medical conditions can help predict such outcomes, but there are still…

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"Faces" of the disease

Covid-19: researchers identify at least 5 variants

According to current studies, the Covid-19 disease which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus comprises at least five different variants. These differ in how the immune system responds to the infection. Researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Bonn, together with other experts from Germany, Greece and the Netherlands, present these findings…

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Variant COH.20G/501Y

New Coronavirus strain discovered

Scientists at The Ohio State University have discovered a new variant of SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The new variant carries a mutation identical to the U.K. strain, but it likely arose in a virus strain already present in the United States. The College of Medicine researchers also report the evolution of another U.S. strain that acquired three other gene mutations not previously…

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'Nanobodies'

Small antibodies show promise against Covid-19

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed, in collaboration with researchers in Germany and the U.S., new small antibodies, also known as nanobodies, which prevent the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from entering human cells. The research study, published in Science, shows that a combined nanobody had a particularly good effect – even if the virus mutated. According to the researchers, the…

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Lasts longer, causes more damage

Covid-19 pneumonia: not your typical garden-variety pneumonia

Bacteria or viruses like influenza that cause pneumonia can spread across large regions of the lung within hours. In the modern intensive care unit, these bacteria or viruses are usually controlled either by antibiotics or by the body’s immune system within the first few days of the illness. But in a study published in Nature, investigators at Northwestern Medicine show Covid-19 pneumonia is…

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Virion recreated

First computational model of entire SARS-CoV-2 virus

Researchers at the University of Chicago have created the first usable computational model of the entire virus responsible for Covid-19—and they are making this model widely available to help advance research during the pandemic. “If you can understand how a virus works, that’s the first step towards stopping it,” said Prof. Gregory Voth, whose team created the model published in…

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Messenger RNA vaccines explained

Busting 8 common myths about Covid-19 vaccines

Even those who understand the scientific process, trust medical experts and know how important vaccines are for fighting infectious diseases might still have some questions or concerns about the new Covid-19 vaccines. Here, Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, helps set the record straight on 8 common questions, concerns and myths that have emerged about Covid-19 vaccines.

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Influence of gut bacteria

How our gut microbiome affects Covid-19 severity

The variety and volume of bacteria in the gut, known as the microbiome, may influence the severity of Covid-19 as well as the magnitude of the immune system response to the infection, suggests research published online in the journal Gut. Imbalances in the make-up of the microbiome may also be implicated in persisting inflammatory symptoms, dubbed ‘long Covid’, the findings suggest. Covid-19…

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Dangerous immune response

New insight on severe virus attacks on the lungs

In some cases, immune cells in the lungs can contribute to worsening a virus attack. In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet describe how different kinds of immune cells, called macrophages, develop in the lungs and which of them may be behind severe lung diseases. The study, which was published in Immunity, may contribute to future treatments for Covid-19, among other diseases.

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Promising candidate

Single-dose nanoparticle vaccine for Covid-19 in development

Before the pandemic, the lab of Stanford University biochemist Peter S. Kim focused on developing vaccines for HIV, Ebola and pandemic influenza. But, within days of closing their campus lab space as part of Covid-19 precautions, they turned their attention to a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Although the coronavirus was outside the lab’s specific area of expertise,…

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Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay

Startup develops breakthrough IgG antibody test for Covid-19

ZTA Biotech, a Budapest-based biotech startup, has developed a Covid-19 antibody (IgG) test using the ELISA protocol. This new detection method represents a great step forward in determining if patients have had a coronavirus infection and if they might still have immunity to the disease. Early results have proven 100% in specificity after testing 280 samples, and 100% sensitivity by testing 260…

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Risk of miscalculations

Researchers point out flaws in current Covid-19 models

Reports from Imperial College regarding the spread and the effects of Covid-19 had considerable policy impacts in several European countries. But the models that informed the reports have considerable flaws, and are not sufficient to draw the conclusions that were published. This is according to researchers from universities including Linköping University (LiU), in an article in Nature.

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Computer model vs. Covid-19

Discovering new weaknesses of SARS-CoV-2 through bioinformatics

The search for antiviral agents against the new coronavirus is in full swing. Using a novel approach, Bioinformaticians have now discovered a weakness in the virus that could be exploited for drug development. In a computer model, the scientists discovered a human enzyme that is crucial for the virus. When it was switched off in the model, the virus could no longer multiply.

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For use across the UK

Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca approved

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University/AstraZeneca has been given regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after meeting required safety, quality and effectiveness standards. Following a rigorous, detailed scientific review by the MHRA’s expert scientists and clinicians and on the basis of the advice of its scientific, independent…

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Lessons learned from the pandemic

Health professionals have to ask: “What’s next?”

The Covid-19 pandemic came as a shock but not a surprise. Bodies around the world have been warning for years of a novel disease that could wipe out millions and crash the global economy. In February 2019, Dr Jonathan Quick, chair of the Global Health Council, told Raconteur: “Our greatest fear is being blindsided by a new virus, most likely due to animal-human spill over, which then readily…

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Measuring aerosol travel while talking and singing

Imaging exhaled breath to provide new insights into Covid-19 transmission

A new method for visualizing breath that is exhaled while someone is speaking or singing could provide important new insights into how diseases such as Covid-19 spread and the effectiveness of face masks. “Scientists believe the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily spread through respiratory droplets that can be carried in the breath or expelled through coughing or sneezing,” said Thomas Moore from…

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SARS-CoV-2 vs the proteome

Researchers explore coronavirus interactions with cells

Scientists from Würzburg and the US have charted the first global atlas of direct interactions between SARS-CoV-2 RNA and human host cells. This may provide a starting point for novel treatments. SARS-CoV-2 infections pose a global threat to human health and a formidable research challenge. One of the most urgent tasks is to gain a detailed understanding of the molecular interactions between the…

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Wearable sensor

Covid sensor ring detects even subtle symptoms

A smart ring that generates continuous temperature data may foreshadow Covid-19, even in cases when infection is not suspected. The device, which may be a better illness indicator than a thermometer, could lead to earlier isolation and testing, curbing the spread of infectious diseases, according to a preliminary study led by UC San Francisco and UC San Diego.

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Natural variation impacts virus-relevant proteins

How SARS-CoV-2 benefits from helpers within the human body

Like all viruses, the novel coronavirus is dependent on help from the human host cell. Proteins are the functional units of the cell and enable the virus to enter the host cell or help the virus to replicate. Scientists from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), along with colleagues from the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States, have…

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AI, apps and more

Digital health tools to fight Covid-19

A great deal of solutions using new technologies have been released to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic and a panel of international experts shared a few examples during the Barcelona Health Summit last October. Contact-tracing apps are an interesting option to manage a pandemic, but the creation process can take a long time and must meet several requirements, according to a Dutch official who…

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Supply and demand

Covid-19 vaccine will probably be unavailable for many until 2022

Nearly a quarter of the world’s population may not have access to a covid-19 vaccine until at least 2022, warns a study published by The BMJ. A second study estimates that 3.7 billion adults worldwide are willing to have a covid-19 vaccine, highlighting the importance of designing fair and equitable strategies to ensure that supply can meet demand, especially in low and middle income countries.

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Decreasing infection risk

Researchers develop touch-free vital signs monitor

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University have developed a technique that monitors a patient’s vital signs completely touch free. By using a continuous wave radar-based system to sense tiny chest movements, the new method can accurately measure an individual’s heart rate and respiratory rate without the need for wires, probes, wearable technology or other skin attachments. It could also identify…

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Digital health

AI test rules out Covid-19 diagnosis within one hour

An Artificial Intelligence test has been shown to be able to rapidly screen patients arriving in Emergency Departments for Covid-19, using clinical information routinely available within the first hour of coming to hospital. Results of the CURIAL study, published in The Lancet Digital Health, show that the AI test correctly predicted the Covid-19 status of 92.3% of patients coming to Emergency…

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Pandemic problems

Covid-19: risk increased sevenfold for healthcare workers

Healthcare workers are 7 times as likely to have severe Covid-19 infection as those with other types of ‘non-essential’ jobs, finds research focusing on the first UK-wide lockdown. And those with jobs in the social care and transport sectors are twice as likely to do so, emphasising the need to ensure that essential (key) workers are adequately protected against the infection, say the…

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Areas revealed

Where could the next pandemic emerge?

An international team of researchers has taken a holistic approach to reveal for the first time where wildlife-human interfaces intersect with areas of poor human health outcomes and highly globalised cities, which could give rise to the next pandemic unless preventative measures are taken.

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Distinguishing arteriopathies

Deterring paediatric acute stroke

Acute stroke in children has the same incidence as brain tumours and can seriously affect a patient’s life. Two kinds of arteriopathies are common drivers of paediatric acute stroke and radiologists must learn to distinguish their signs as early as possible to improve prognosis, according to Béatrice Husson, a paediatric radiologist at Le Kremlin Bicêtre Hospital in Paris.

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Pandemic management

How the Covid-19 crisis defines good leadership

A senior UK health figure has highlighted how contrasting leadership approaches are impacting the response to the global coronavirus crisis. Dr Clare Gerada also fears that response is affecting health professionals and leaders within the sector, with a significant rise numbers seeking help for mental health issues. Delivering the prestigious Sir Godfrey Hounsfield Lecture to the 2020 British…

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Leading Nigerian radiologist

Omolola Mojisola Atalabi receives RSNA Honorary Membership

Professor Omolola Mojisola Atalabi, head of the radiology department and pediatric radiology unit at the University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria, will receive the Honorary Membership from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) during the society’s annual meeting. In an exclusive interview, she told HiE how she hopes this award will reflect on her younger peers and how she copes…

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Diagnosing SARS-CoV-2

The arsenal: Molecular (PCR), antigen and antibody testing

Germany’s lack of diagnostic ability led to significantly underestimation of its own as well as global Covid-19 infection levels during the first wave. Now, however, improved testing and diagnosis of the condition more realistically reveal nearer 20,000 new cases a day across the country, according to Professor Hendrik Streeck, one of the country’s leading virologists. Speaking at a virtual…

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Coronavirus genome folding

Researchers prepare for “SARS-CoV-3”

For the first time, an international research alliance has observed the RNA folding structures of the SARS-CoV2 genome with which the virus controls the infection process. This could not only lay the foundation for the targeted development of novel drugs for treating Covid-19, but also for occurrences of infection with new corona viruses that may develop in the future.

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Intratumoral B cells

Another side to cancer immunotherapy?

Scientists report on their detailed look at B cells' presence inside tumors. B cells represent the other major arm of the adaptive immune system, besides T cells, and could offer opportunities for new treatments against some kinds of cancers.

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For at least six months

Prior COVID-19 infection offers protection from re-infection

A new study suggests that individuals who have previously had COVID-19 are highly unlikely to contract the illness again, for at least six months following their first infection. The study, done as part of a major collaboration between the University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, was published as a pre-print.

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Coronavirus assay receives CE Mark

Quantitative Covid-19 test to measure neutralizing antibodies

Siemens Healthineers announced its SARS-CoV-2 IgG Antibody Test (sCOVG) has proven to measure neutralizing antibodies and has achieved CE Mark. The test is an enhanced version of the assay which became available globally this summer. It demonstrates the ability to detect neutralizing antibodies and reports quantitative results measuring the amount of neutralizing antibodies present in a patient's…

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New gargle test

Mass spectrometry to improve Covid testing

A UK biotech laboratory has used mass spectrometry in a new approach to coronavirus testing. MAP Sciences developed a gargle test, which collects samples from the back of the throat, and avoids the unpleasant sensation of the current PCR (polymerase chain reaction) swab tests. From there, the sample is tested for coronavirus using mass spectrometry (MS) with high levels of accuracy.

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Addressing a broad range of research applications

Mass spectrometry advances

Since the Covid-19 epidemic took hold, the public has expected ‘unprecedented progress from the scientific community,’ observed Dan Shine, senior vice president and president of the analytical instruments division of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. ‘A deeper analysis of proteins is critical to understanding disease, including novel viruses. New instruments, software and workflows can power…

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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: a robot nips viruses in the bud

Hospitals are considered a primary route of disease transmission. That is why patient rooms, ORs, and waiting areas should be disinfected regularly and thoroughly - read more in the MEDICA magazine about HERO21, a robot showcased at the trade fair.

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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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In countries accepting CE Mark

Beckman Coulter launches SARS-CoV-2 IgM antibody test

Beckman Coulter announced the launch of its Access SARS-CoV-2 Immunoglobulin M (IgM) assay in countries accepting the CE Mark. The new IgM antibody test demonstrated 99.9% specificity with 1,400 negative samples and 100% sensitivity at >18 days post symptom onset and post positive PCR. Beckman Coulter’s IgM assay is part of a full suite of testing solutions the company is developing to…

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False positive results

Accuracy of rapid covid test may be lower than previously suggested

The accuracy of a rapid finger-prick antibody test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for covid-19 infection, may be considerably lower than previously suggested, finds a study published by The BMJ. The results suggest that if 10% of people given the test had previously been infected, around 1 in 5 positive test results would be incorrect (false positive results). These conclusions contrast…

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Preclinical data

COVID-19 vaccine candidate designed via computer

An innovative nanoparticle vaccine candidate for the pandemic coronavirus produces virus-neutralizing antibodies in mice at levels ten-times greater than is seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19 infections. Designed by scientists at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, the vaccine candidate has been transferred to two companies for clinical development.

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Infectious Disease

Siemens Healthineers – Fast Track Diagnostics Real-time PCR assays

Highlights:Siemens Healthineers enables precision medicine, with molecular testing solutions for the detection of major infectious diseases; monitoring of treatment efficacy; and selection of individualized treatment options. Our one-step syndromic real-time PCR products* simultaneously detect viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, allowing molecular laboratories to lower cost and drive…

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Breast imaging

Hologic launches AI powered imaging technology

Hologic, Inc. announced the commercial availability in Europe of its 3DQuorum Imaging Technology, Powered by Genius AI. The innovation was designed to help improve mammography efficiency and workflow, which is critical as clinics strive to manage the backlog of women whose routine breast screening was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Using virus particles in exhaled breath

New SARS-CoV-2 test to deliver results in under 5 minutes

Research and innovation hub Imec announced that it has started developing a groundbreaking SARS-CoV-2 test. Unlike current approaches (using blood, saliva, or a nasopharyngeal swab), the new test will identify SARS-CoV-2 virus particles in a person’s exhaled breath. The solution promises the accurate identification of a contagious case in less than five minutes.

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Risk assessment

Understanding the spread of COVID-19 on public transport

Researchers at Newcastle University are involved in a study to understand the risks of COVID-19 transmission on public transport and to identify the best measures to control it. Known as Project TRACK (Transport Risk Assessment for Covid Knowledge), the study will conduct fieldwork on buses and trains in London, Leeds and Newcastle, including the Metro system in Tyne and Wear.

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At the heart of science

Scientific research has to be ‘passion-driven’, says Nobel Prize winner

Scientists cannot be expected to drop everything they’re working on to turn their attention to beating COVID-19, according to the winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe. Speaking before he delivered the prestigious Michel Clavel lecture to the 32nd EORTC-NCI-AACR Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, which was due to take place…

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Flaws in study design

Will COVID-19 vaccines save lives? Right now, we cannot tell

Vaccines are being hailed as the solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the vaccine trials currently underway are not designed to tell us if they will save lives, reports Peter Doshi, Associate Editor at The BMJ. Several COVID-19 vaccine trials are now in their most advanced (phase 3) stage, but what will it mean exactly when a vaccine is declared “effective”? Many may assume that successful…

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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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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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Infection with Covid-19

The antiviral effect of innate immunity

Innate immunity is the fastest-acting component of the immune system, but so far little is known about its role during infection with SARS-CoV-2. A few hours after an infection, the body emits an alarm signal, interferon, enabling cells that have not yet been infected to produce antiviral proteins. This phenomenon occurs well before the production of neutralizing antibodies. Scientists from the…

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Uncommon, but reversible

Sudden deaf: permanent hearing loss linked to COVID-19

Although uncommon, sudden permanent hearing loss seems to be linked to COVID-19 infection in some people, warn doctors, reporting the first UK case in the journal BMJ Case Reports. Awareness of this possible side effect is important, because a prompt course of steroid treatment can reverse this disabling condition, they emphasise. Sudden hearing loss is frequently seen by ear, nose and throat…

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New insights on the virus' ‘survivability’

How long does SARS-CoV-2 last on surfaces?

Researchers at CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, can survive for up to 28 days on common surfaces including banknotes, glass – such as that found on mobile phone screens - and stainless steel.

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List by top clinicians and researchers

Top 10 medical innovations for 2021

An up-and-coming gene therapy for blood disorders. A new class of medications for cystic fibrosis. Increased access to telemedicine. These are some of the innovations that will enhance healing and change healthcare in the coming year, according to a distinguished panel of clinicians and researchers from Cleveland Clinic. In conjunction with the 2020 Medical Innovation Summit, Cleveland Clinic…

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Exploring new principles for therapeutic agents

New class of inhibitors to protect against neurodegeneration

Neurobiologists at Heidelberg University have discovered how a special receptor at neuronal junctions that normally activates a protective genetic programme can lead to nerve cell death when located outside synapses. Their fundamental findings on neurodegenerative processes simultaneously led the researchers at the Interdisciplinary Center for Neurosciences (IZN) to a completely new principle for…

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Simulation model for pathological mechanisms

Understanding the progress of viral infections

It is only 120 millionths of a millimetre in size but can bring entire countries to a standstill: the Corona virus. Even if it were to disappear one day, viral infections will still be among the most frequent and difficult-to-treat diseases in humans. Even decades of research have only produced a few standardized vaccines and strategies for treatment to combat just a small number of viruses. Nor…

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"Enhance that"

New algorithm sharpens focus of cryo-electron microscopes

Scientists have developed a tool that improves the resolution and accuracy of powerful microscopes that are used to reveal insights into biology and medicine. In a study published in Nature Methods, a multi-institutional team led by Tom Terwilliger from the New Mexico Consortium and including researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) demonstrates how a new computer…

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Using artificial lungs

How COVID-19 causes blood clots

Scientists at EPFL are using technology to better understand how coronavirus causes blood clots in some patients. They have developed a simplified model of a lung that lets them observe, for the first time, how the virus attacks the cells lining blood vessels.

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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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For breakthroughs against Hepatitis C

Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded to three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world. Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus.

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Fending off the coronavirus

The role of T-cells in SARS-CoV-2 virus defense

Our immune system can efficiently fend off viral diseases. Two types of immune cells play an important role in this process: The T-cells, which firstly can directly destroy virus-infected cells and secondly enable the formation of efficient, virus-neutralizing antibodies by B-cells. These two cell types also play a crucial role in the immune defense against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Whereas antibody…

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Managing coronavirus testing

Successful pilot study for new COVID-19 screening management software

With COVID-19 testing an important part of controlling the spread of the virus, finding an effective software system to manage the testing process and collate the results, on a national level and individually within businesses, hospitals, care-homes and schools etc., is essential. Thomson Screening developed SchoolScreener Imms in order to manage health testing within schools, but with the…

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Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

Insight on the use of CMR in COVID-19 patients

The Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR), a Society dedicated to improving cardiovascular health by advancing the field of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), has released a formal statement supporting and explaining their position on the use of CMR in COVID-19 patients. The topic has led to debate among medical professionals, especially those in the cardiology specialty.

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Reduced complications, death

COVID-19: The benefits of vitamin D

Adequate levels of vitamin D reduces complications and deaths among COVID-19 patients, reveals new research performed at the Boston University School of Medicine. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D sufficient, with a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL (a measure of vitamin D status), had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes including…

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Testing strategy re-evaluated

COVID-19 testing at random? Here's a better idea

As COVID-19 infections begin to rise again, a novel testing strategy proposed by researchers at the University of Oxford at the start of the pandemic has become urgent once again. The strategy aims to bring the virus’s reproduction number (‘R’) down to below 1, by concentrating testing resources on particular groups in the population that are most likely to spread the infection to others,…

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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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Overheard at AAIC 2020

Exciting Alzheimer's findings: ’flu vaccines and P-tau217

More than 32,000 people from over 160 countries registered for The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC 2020) in July. This largest and most influential international conference on dementia science had to be held virtually this year, when important highlights were aired. The ability to identify individuals at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), or at early…

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Gels for drug delivery systems

'Soft' 3D printing could jump-start creation of tiny medical devices

Researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method of 3D-printing gels and other soft materials. Published in a new paper, it has the potential to create complex structures with nanometer-scale precision. Because many gels are compatible with living cells, the new method could jump-start the production of soft tiny medical devices such as…

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Silent alarm

‘Silent’ COVID-19 patients may still act as a spreader, warn experts

People with ‘silent’ COVID-19 infection have as much coronavirus in their noses and throats as those with symptoms, reveals research published online in the journal Thorax. Given how many of these people there are---a fifth of those infected, the study findings show--they may have a key role in driving the spread of COVID-19, warn the researchers, who go on to suggest that this warrants…

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POCT as initial coronavirus screening tool

Ultrasound confirms frontline value in COVID-19 setting

Ultrasound could become the prime modality in emergency settings for tracking disease progression in COVID-19 patients. While chest CT has held a key diagnostic role thus far, many experts now advocate the benefits of ultrasound within the context of the coronavirus epidemic. Dr Rachel Liu, who recently led a high-profile panel discussion with experts from the USA and areas of Europe with high…

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Zika and chikungunya

Mosquito-borne viruses could cause stroke

A deadly combination of two mosquito-borne viruses may be a trigger for stroke, new research published in the The Lancet Neurology has found. University of Liverpool researchers and Brazilian collaborators have been investigating the link between neurological disease and infection with the viruses Zika and chikungunya. These viruses, which mostly circulate in the tropics, cause large outbreaks of…

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Histology/cytology equipment

Optimise pathology workflow with Hamamatsu whole slide imaging solutions

Hamamatsu Photonics understand the benefits and challenges of whole slide imaging systems. For over 15 years, we have been working to deliver robust and reliable scanners with optimal image quality. Our NanoZoomer whole slide scanner series quickly transform entire histology and cytology glass slides into diagnostic-quality digital images for duplication, annotation, storage, retrieval, and image…

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Taking control

How the coronavirus hijacks cells

Researchers at ETH Zurich and the University of Bern have discovered a mechanism by which the coronavirus manipulates human cells to ensure its own replication. This knowledge will help to develop drugs and vaccines against the coronavirus.

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Non-pulmonary aspects

The cardiovascular impact of Covid-19

The increased Covid-19 risk to cardiac patients was discussed during an online presentation at ECR 2020. Focusing on the prevalence of pulmonary embolism in Covid-19 patients, Dr Karl-Friedrich Kreitner, Professor of Radiology at the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at the Johannes-Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, discussed hypotheses which can explain cardiac…

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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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Prototype

Portable point-of-care for Covid-19 tests

As COVID-19 continues to spread, bottlenecks in supplies and laboratory personnel have led to long waiting times for results in some areas. In a new study, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign researchers have demonstrated a prototype of a rapid COVID-19 molecular test and a simple-to-use, portable instrument for reading the results with a smartphone in 30 minutes, which could enable…

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Joint Research

AI helps diagnosing Covid-19

Fujitsu and Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital today announced the launch of a joint R&D project for AI technology to support diagnostic imaging via chest CT (Computed Tomography), which represents a promising candidate for the effective diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia.

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Distant experts observe adverse signs

Remote cardiac monitoring

For cardiology patients fitted with an implantable cardiac monitor, cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) or pacemaker, home monitoring is a blessing. The system also has many advantages for medical staff, as Kristina Rauholt reports. The nurse and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist for Allied Professionals (CCDS) at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in Sweden, has worked with home monitoring…

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Corona demographics

Why Covid-19 registries for cancer patients are so important

Due to compromised immune systems cancer patients are at higher risk of contracting infections. How does cancer impact on patients who also contract Covid-19? To collect this data, four cancer registries, one in the EU, one in the UK, two in the USA, have been established. The first large, multi-institution study of the impact of Covid-19 was conducted in Wuhan, China, and presented at the…

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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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Research shows

Children are silent spreaders of COVID-19 virus

In the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC) researchers provide critical data showing that children play a larger role in the community spread of COVID-19 than previously thought. In a study of 192 children ages 0-22, 49 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and an additional 18…

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After coronavirus infection

Study reveals why people with COVID-19 may lose their sense of smell

Researchers studying tissue removed from patients noses during surgery believe they may have discovered the reason why so many people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell, even when they have no other symptoms. In their experiments they found extremely high levels of angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE-2) only in the area of the nose responsible for smelling. This Enzyme is thought to be the…

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Rapidly meeting a surging demand

The science behind 3-D printed nasal swabs

Medical device approved 3-D printers are producing clinically safe and effective nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 testing. A nasal swab may seem rudimentary, but is essential for testing COVID-19. Diagnostic test kits and components – nasal swabs, collection vials, and chemical reagents – have been in short supply worldwide, especially in March. Ironically, nasopharyngeal swabs are…

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Electrostatic interactions

New research exposes weak spot in SARS-CoV-2

Northwestern University researchers have uncovered a new vulnerability in the novel coronavirus’ infamous spike protein — illuminating a relatively simple, potential treatment pathway. The spike protein contains the virus’ binding site, which adheres to host cells and enables the virus to enter and infect the body. Using nanometer-level simulations, the researchers discovered a positively…

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Researchers use supercomputer

New insights into hepatitis B

Researchers at the University of Delaware, using supercomputing resources and collaborating with scientists at Indiana University, have gained new understanding of the virus that causes hepatitis B and the "spiky ball" that encloses the virus's genetic blueprint.

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Volunteers for bio-detection trial

COVID-19-sniffing dogs put to the test in the UK

A rather unique trial in the UK currently explores the capability of dogs to detect coronavirus infections in humans with their highly sensitive noses. The researchers are asking people in England for help with the trial. Led by the ARCTEC team at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, the trial…

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Droplet spread simulation

Mathematical model to predict the spread of airborne diseases

A new mathematical model is helping develop the current understanding of how airborne diseases such as COVID-19 can spread during breathing and aerosol generating procedures. Researchers from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh have developed a mathematical model of droplet migration. Dr Cathal Cummins of Heriot-Watt’s School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences and…

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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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Re-evaluation of the coronavirus disease

COVID-19: A tale of two conditions

The SARS CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 may have been named prematurely. As more has become known about the infection, the severe disease does not appear to be a respiratory syndrome at all. Patients who only have a respiratory illness tend not to have a severe condition, while patients who develop a severe condition tend to have non-respiratory conditions, primarily thrombotic or hyper-immune…

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Pregnancy risk

Coronavirus could infect embryos as early as the first trimester

Genes that are thought to play a role in how the SARS-CoV-2 virus infects our cells have been found to be active in embryos as early as during the second week of pregnancy, say scientists at the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The researchers say this could mean embryos are susceptible to COVID-19 if the mother gets sick, potentially affecting the…

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Corona & tinnitus

COVID-19 also reported to cause hearing problems

A significant number of patients reported a deterioration in their hearing when questioned eight weeks after discharge from a hospital admission for COVID-19, according to University of Manchester audiologists, in a study supported by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). One hundred and twenty one of the adults admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS…

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Combined against corona

COVID-19: promising drug combination opens up new therapeutic avenues

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, finding a treatment to effectively fight the disease remains a major research challenge. Researchers from Inserm, CNRS, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and ENS Lyon within the International Center for Infectious Disease Research (CIRI) have developed a unique strategy for selection, evaluation and repositioning of drugs already on the market to assess their…

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Coronavirus

Lab-made virus mimics COVID-19 virus

Airborne and potentially deadly, the virus that causes COVID-19 can only be studied safely under high-level biosafety conditions. Scientists handling the infectious virus must wear full-body biohazard suits with pressurized respirators, and work inside laboratories with multiple containment levels and specialized ventilation systems. While necessary to protect laboratory workers, these safety…

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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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'ChAdOx1' delivers promising results

Breakthrough for coronavirus vaccine candidate

A team of scientists at Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group has taken the next step towards the discovery of a safe, effective and accessible vaccine against coronavirus. The results of the Phase I/II trial published in the scientific journal, The Lancet, indicate no early safety concerns and induces strong immune responses in both parts of the immune system.

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Immune system sabotage

SARS-CoV-2 induces shutdown of protein synthesis

Although its name is relatively unspecific and indeed opaque, the Nonstructural Protein 1 (Nsp1) encoded by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which is responsible for the current pandemic, has now been shown to have a devastating effect on host cells. Nsp1 is in fact one of the central weapons used by the virus to ensure its own replication and propagation in human hosts. Nsp1 was identified as a…

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COVID-19

Scientists uncover SARSCoV-2-specific T cell immunity in recovered patients

The T cells, along with antibodies, are an integral part of the human immune response against viral infections due to their ability to directly target and kill infected cells. A Singapore study has uncovered the presence of virus-specific T cell immunity in people who recovered from COVID-19 and SARS, as well as some healthy study subjects who had never been infected by either virus.

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Coronavirus in radiology

Why we need a global view of COVID-19

There are major complications from COVID-19 – ARDS, pulmonary embolism and neurological – that imaging can help detect, manage and/or follow up in the long term, radiologists from France and the UK explained during a recent ESR Connect session. ARDS is the most dreaded complication and the number one morbidity in COVID-19 patients. The incidence was up to 30% of patients in initial reports.…

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Coronavirus research

How type 1 interferon deficiency hints at severe forms of COVID-19

Which patient will develop a severe form of COVID-19? This is an essential question which must be answered in order to improve the individual management and the prognosis of these patients. In a publication in the journal Science, teams from the Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), Inserm, Université de Paris, Institut Pasteur and Institut Imagine describe a unique and unexpected…

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Corona management in Taiwan

Standing united against COVID-19

Despite its proximity to China, Taiwan contained COVID-19 successfully, without a lockdown or movement restriction measures introduced elsewhere. With few new cases reported, life almost returned to normal. Behind the scenes, however, efforts have continued to maintain that positive situation.

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Hidden in our genes

scHOT: Discovering the fate of cell development

As cells develop, changes in how our genes interact determines their fate. Differences in these genetic interactions can make our cells robust to infection from viruses or make it possible for our immune cells to kill cancerous ones. Understanding how these gene associations work across the development of human tissue and organs is important for the creation of medical treatments for complex…

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Surprising find

More than half of heart scans abnormal in hospitalised COVID-19 patients

Half of COVID-19 patients who received a heart scan in hospital showed abnormalities in heart function, according to new research funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The study, published in the European Heart Journal - Cardiovascular Imaging, found that around one in seven showed severe abnormalities likely to have a major effect on their survival and recovery. It also showed that one…

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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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Ophthalmology

Nanoparticles for gene therapy cure eye diseases

Johns Hopkins scientists report the successful use of nanoparticles to deliver gene therapy for blinding eye disease. A uniquely engineered large molecule allows researchers to compact large bundles of therapeutic DNA to be delivered into the cells of the eye.

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SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19: why do patients immune response differ?

It remains one of the key questions of the current corona pandemic: Why do people infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience varying degrees of COVID-19, the disease which it triggers? Researchers, led by Professor Mascha Binder from University Hospital Halle (Saale), have investigated more than 14 million receptor sequences of B and T cells, i.e. immune cells, obtained from blood samples of COVID-19…

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Paediatric health risks

Children in the COVID-19 pandemic: Between fear and care

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected children with direct impacts of the infection as well as on them leading normal lives. Schooling, play and vaccinations are among issues that can affect children’s health. Delay in taking paediatric patients to the emergency room (ER) has also had a negative impact, for example late treatment of acute appendicitis. Two experts from Spain tackled these topics…

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COVID-19 video

Coughing visualization shows benefits of wearing a good mask

Coupling function with fashion, cloth and home-sewn face masks are available in a variety of forms and fabrics. While experts underscore that wearing a mask is effective in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, not all masks — or the materials with which they’re made — contain virus particles equally. In a new video, University of Wisconsin–Madison engineer Scott Sanders demonstrates…

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Blocking coronavirus entry portals

Cell ‘membrane on a chip’ could speed up COVID-19 drug screening

Researchers have developed a human cell ‘membrane on a chip’ that allows continuous monitoring of how drugs and infectious agents interact with our cells, and may soon be used to test potential drug candidates for COVID-19. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, Cornell University and Stanford University, say their device could mimic any cell type - bacterial, human or even the…

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Coronavirus protection

COVID-19: The best (and worst) materials for masks

It's intuitive and scientifically shown that wearing a face covering can help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. But not all masks are created equal, according to new University of Arizona-led research. Amanda Wilson, an environmental health sciences doctoral candidate in the Department of Community, Environment and Policy in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of…

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Coronavirus research

Immunity to COVID-19 is probably higher than tests have shown

New research from Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital shows that many people with mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 demonstrate so-called T-cell-mediated immunity to the new coronavirus, even if they have not tested positively for antibodies. According to the researchers, this means that public immunity is probably higher than antibody tests suggest. The article is freely…

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Airborne droplet travel distance

Why you shouldn't underestimate the reach of COVID-19

A plea issued by 239 scientists from around the world to recognise and mitigate airborne transmission of COVID-19 addressed to international health authorities is published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Led by internationally recognised air quality and health expert Professor Lidia Morawska from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the appeal is to address the overwhelming…

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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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Light or severe progression

The dangerous dual role of the immune system in COVID-19

Infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 follows a highly variable course: some of those infected do not even notice it, while others become so seriously ill that their lives are placed at risk. Scientists from the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and their colleagues from Leipzig and Heidelberg have now discovered that the immune system has a…

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Coronavirus and gender

Why COVID-19 hits men harder than women

When infected by the new coronavirus, women may mount a more potent adaptive immune response than do men, a new study suggests. By comparison, the male immune response appears to progress less effectively, fostering inflammation that’s harmful to the body. This study is the first to delve into sex differences in how the immune system defends itself against the virus SARS-CoV-2. It could help…

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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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Innovative textiles

Researchers develop face mask that takes out SARS-CoV-2

Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin at the Institute for Animal and Environmental Hygiene and the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University are collaborating on the topic of alternative personal protection equipment. The testing was conducted in the context of the EIT Health Project ViruShield, supported by the European Union, with the objective to discover alternative…

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Protective equipment

Face masks could shrink the 'R' number and prevent a second COVID-19 wave

Population-wide use of facemasks keeps the coronavirus ‘reproduction number’ under 1.0, and prevents further waves of the virus when combined with lockdowns, a modelling study led by the University of Cambridge suggests. The research suggests that lockdowns alone will not stop the resurgence of SARS-CoV-2, and that even homemade masks with limited effectiveness can dramatically reduce…

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Viral on­co­logy

Kaposi Sarcoma: Answers to a longstanding enigma

The oncogenic herpesvirus (HHV8 or KSHV) causes a cancer known as Kaposi’s Sarcoma. An international team of scientists led by the University of Helsinki has discovered key factors that control the genome maintenance and replication of a virus responsible for lymphatic vascular cancer. Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) is the most common cancer among Aids patients and it is often seen in sub Saharan and…

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Increased risk for severe infections

Up in smoke: Smoking increases SARS-CoV-2 receptors in the lung

New research suggests that cigarette smoke spurs the lungs to make more ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), the protein that the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 grabs and uses to enter human cells. The findings, reported in the journal Developmental Cell, may explain why smokers appear to be particularly vulnerable to severe infections. The analysis also indicates that the change is…

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Re-establishing routine workloads

Restoring radiology to the 'new normal' after COVID-19

Diagnostic imaging examinations and radiology departments have been essential in the care of the millions of COVID-19 patients. As the virus abates, how should radiology departments return to “normal” operations? The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) have published recommendations and guidelines.

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Predictive proteins

Biomarkers in COVID-19 patients could predict how ill they become

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have identified 27 protein biomarkers that could be used to predict whether a patient with COVID-19 is likely to become severely ill with the disease. People infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, respond differently. Some do not develop any symptoms, some need to be hospitalised and, for…

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Lack of ventilation increases risk

Experts explore COVID-19 airborne transmission

Preventing airborne transmission of COVID-19 should be the next front of the battle against the virus, argue experts from the University of Surrey. In a study published by the City and Environment Interaction journal, scientists from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), together with partners from Australia’s Queensland University and Technology, argue that the lack of…

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Immunology

COVID-19 study reveals universally effective antibodies

The first round of results from an immunological study of 149 people who have recovered from COVID-19 show that although the amount of antibodies they generated varies widely, most individuals had generated at least some that were intrinsically capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Antibodies vary widely in their efficacy. While many may latch on to the virus, only some are truly…

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Acceptance study

Digital distrust: Skepticism towards COVID-19 contact tracing apps

Early results from a study by researchers at Swansea University and The University of Manchester shows people are torn over whether they will use the COVID-19 contact tracing smartphone app planned for release in the UK. The study finds: Only one-third of people taking part said they will be downloading the app, with the rest either saying they will not be downloading it or are not yet sure;…

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COVID protective equipment

Face mask disinfects itself via USB cable

A self-disinfecting reusable protective face mask was developed at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. The disinfection process occurs when a layer of carbon fibers in the mask is heated using a low current source, such as an electric mobile phone charger, the developers state. A patent application for this invention has been submitted in…

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New gene therapy approach

Tumor-tropic technology for targeted cancer therapy

Toshiba Corporation and a team led by Professor Yozo Nakazawa at the Department of Pediatrics, Shinshu University, have together developed a “tumor-tropic liposome technology” for gene therapy. The technology uses unique, nano-sized biodegradable liposomes developed by Toshiba to accurately and efficiently deliver therapeutic genes to targeted cancer cells, and achieves safer gene delivery…

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Video control and streaming from anywhere in the OR

Wireless medical tablet recorder system launched

Medical imaging systems company MediCapture announced that it is launching the TRS Pro, a new and convenient approach to how surgeries are recorded and managed. The first of its kind, TRS Pro comes with MediCapture’s advanced MVR medical video recorder and a wireless tablet that can be connected to the recorder or used wirelessly throughout the operating room as a remote control or to stream…

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Implications for lockdown policies

Cruise ship study hints at many ‘silent’ COVID-19 infections

The prevalence of ‘silent’ symptomless COVID-19 infection may be much higher than thought, reveals a study charting the enforced isolation of cruise ship passengers during the current pandemic, and published online in the journal Thorax. More than eight out of 10 of passengers and crew who tested positive for the infection had no symptoms. This has implications for the easing of lockdown…

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COVID-19 protection around the world

Coronavirus mask parade: diverse and united

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, face masks become a common sight in our everyday lives. However, there is still lots of room for individuality, as these photos prove. Enjoy!

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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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Profiling the coronavirus

Risk factors for severe and fatal COVID-19 cases identified

Age, male sex, obesity, and underlying illness have emerged as risk factors for severe and fatal cases of COVID-19 in the UK, according to the largest cohort study to date published by The BMJ. As the largest prospective observational study reported worldwide to date, it provides a comprehensive picture of the characteristics of patients hospitalised in the UK with COVID-19 and their outcomes.…

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Deadly mechanism uncovered

Inside COVID-19's 'cytokine storm'

Leading immunologists in Japan are proposing a possible molecular mechanism that causes massive release of proinflammatory cytokines, or a cytokine storm, leading to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients. Their suggestions, published in the journal Immunity, are based on recent findings that explain how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

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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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Changes in cells caused by coronavirus

Potential targets for COVID-19 therapy discovered

A team of biochemists and virologists at Goethe University and the Frankfurt University Hospital were able to observe how human cells change upon infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 in people. The scientists tested a series of compounds in laboratory models and found some which slowed down or stopped virus reproduction. These results now enable the search for an active substance…

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Neuro-infection

Can COVID-19 infect the brain?

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the country, much attention has been paid to the devastating effects of the virus on the lungs. But doctors are learning how the virus may affect other organs, including the brain. Some patients with COVID-19 have had neurological symptoms, which may include an increased risk of stroke. Other symptoms may include headache, loss of the senses of smell and taste,…

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Adapt and overcome

Coronavirus evolving: How SARS-CoV-2 mutations could delay vaccine development

A new analysis of the worldwide effort to sequence the coronavirus genome has revealed the scale of the genetic changes that are occurring in the virus known as SARS-CoV-2, as it spreads across the world. These changes have important implications for molecular diagnostics and potentially vaccine success. Led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the research identified several…

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Coronavirus disease symptom

Exploring why COVID-19 makes people lose their sense of smell

Doctors have reported that partial or total loss of the sense of smell is often an early symptom of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Chemical Neuroscience have shown that in mice, two proteins required for SARS-CoV-2 entry are produced by cells of the nasal cavity that contribute to odor detection.

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Utilizing findings from cancer research

Understanding immunity to SARS-CoV-2

Why does every person react differently to an infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2? Why do some people have no symptoms or only mild symptoms of COVID-19, the disease which it causes? And why do some people become so severely ill that they require ventilators or even die? These questions are being investigated by Professor Mascha Binder, director of the Department of Internal Medicine IV at…

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Beyond QR and barcodes

Sold: 50 million digital health passports

A British cyber security company, VST Enterprises has signed a contract with international digital health technology firm Circle Pass Enterprises (CPE), owner of ‘Covi-Pass’, to supply 50 million of its ‘digital health passports’ to 15 countries. VST was founded by tech entrepreneur Louis-James Davis to integrate its state-of-the-art VCode & VPlatform technologies into the Covi-Pass…

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Nephritis as a marker

Kidney an early warning sign for severe COVID-19 cases

A course of action to early detect and treat severe courses of COVID-19 infections has been developed by an expert-team of the University Medical Center Goettingen (UMG). A simple urine test is intended to help medical professionals to recognize warning signs of future decompensation of COVID-19 infections earlier. With the help of a few parameters, the treatment of imminent complications can…

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Going viral

Coronavirus clone produced in the lab

Researchers in virology and veterinary bacteriology at the University of Bern have cloned the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The synthetic clones are being used by research groups worldwide to test corona samples, find antiviral drugs and develop vaccines as quickly as possible. The method developed in Bern can also be used in future to combat other highly infectious viruses. In the…

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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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Coronavirus politics

Experts attest Trump's "astounding incompetence" in dealing with COVID-19

Donald Trump has downplayed the risk of COVID-19 and delayed action, costing countless avertable deaths, argue experts in The BMJ. Gavin Yamey, professor of global health and public policy at Duke University, and Gregg Gonsalves, assistant professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, say Trump’s “astounding incompetence” was a political determinant of the US COVID-19 epidemic.…

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Coronavirus countermeasures

Learning from China – the role of radiology in combatting COVID-19

As the first country to be hit by COVID-19, China learned a number of early lessons into how to combat the highly-infectious disease. With radiology teams playing an important role and utilising CT chest scans as a diagnostic tool against coronavirus, Chinese practitioners have found themselves well-placed to offer a valuable insight on how to combat and contain COVID-19. In a special webcast –…

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Calculating course and resolution

New COVID-19 model predicts light at the end of the tunnel

COVID-19 has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, but a new predictor model devised at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) offers glimmers of hope, suggesting the worst has passed and indicating well under 1000 deaths for Australia. The team at QUT, led by physician, mathematician and Future Fellow Dan Nicolau, has developed what they believe to be a…

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Coronavirus analysis

AI-generated design blueprints for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines published

NEC Corporation announced analysis results from efforts using AI prediction platforms to design blueprints for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines that can drive potent T-cell responses in the majority of the global population. This initiative by the scientific teams within the NEC Group to help combat outbreaks of COVID-19 and support international vaccine development efforts is led by NEC OncoImmunity (NOI) in…

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COVID-19 gateway

Nose cells identified as likely coronavirus entry points

Two specific cell types in the nose have been identified as likely initial infection points for COVID-19 coronavirus. Scientists discovered that goblet and ciliated cells in the nose have high levels of the entry proteins that the COVID-19 virus uses to get into our cells. The identification of these cells by researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, University Medical Centre Groningen,…

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Infection control in hospitals

Nosocomial influenza: The enormous effect of mask wearing

The Coronavirus dominates everyday conversation as well as medical and scientific discussions, but in a Leipzig hygiene congress, other topics – such as nosocomial influenza – took a strong position. Dr Andreas Ambrosch, head of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene at the Brothers of Mercy Hospital in Regensburg, Germany, presented a new study on the spread…

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COVID incidence at airports and in hospitals

Biosensor to detect coronavirus in crowded places

A team of researchers from Empa, ETH Zurich and Zurich University Hospital has succeeded in developing a novel sensor for detecting the new coronavirus. In future it could be used to measure the concentration of the virus in the environment - for example in places where there are many people or in hospital ventilation systems. Jing Wang and his team at Empa and ETH Zurich usually work on…

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Coronavirus research

COVID-19 severity and air pollution: exploring the connection

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found an association between living in an area of England with high levels of air pollution and the severity of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Because of the urgent need to share information relating to the pandemic, the researchers have published their report on MedRXiv. It has not yet been peer-reviewed. However, the…

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Coronavirus structured reporting

Radiology and COVID-19: How to establish safe workflows

Radiology experts from Norway and Germany highlighted the role of structured reporting in communicating clear results to the rest of the team, to improve patient and staff safety during the pandemic. They also related Germany’s experience of the crisis and what lies ahead in an online conference organized by the European Society of Radiology (ESR) last week.

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Coronavirus mutations

Tracking COVID-19 with genetic ‘barcode’

Drexel University researchers have reported a method to quickly identify and label mutated versions of the virus that causes COVID-19. Their preliminary analysis, using information from a global database of genetic information gleaned from coronavirus testing, suggests that there are at least six to 10 slightly different versions of the virus infecting people in America, some of which are either…

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Coronavirus research

'Organ-on-a-chip' model to find out how COVID-19 invades our bodies

In order for a COVID-19 vaccine and antiviral drugs to be developed, scientists first need to understand why this virus spreads so easily and quickly, and why it invades our bodies with seemingly little resistance from our immune system. To understand how COVID-19 enters the body and does its damage, a team of top researchers from universities, hospitals and the National Research Council of…

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Existing solutions to a new problem

COVID-19 vaccine candidate could cover global demand

Any new coronavirus vaccine that works well and is safe will still have the daunting challenge of needing to be produced to scale in a very short amount of time. It will also have to be safely delivered into the hands of the most remote populations. The more complex and untested the vaccine approach, the more difficult it will be to both scale its production and deliver it around the world. By…

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Corona-induced coughing

New app listens to the 'sounds of COVID-19'

A new app, which will be used to collect data to develop machine learning algorithms that could automatically detect whether a person is suffering from COVID-19 based on the sound of their voice, their breathing and coughing, has been launched by researchers at the University of Cambridge. The COVID-19 Sounds App is now available as a web app for Chrome and Firefox browsers. Versions for Android…

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COVID-19 in the UK: an update

UK goes into 'controlled lockdown', Boris Johnson infected

As the United Kingdom enters its third week of lockdown and the battle against COVID-19 continues, the country’s health and care services are facing an ever-growing number of patients with the condition. The hospital-recorded death toll sat at 5,373 on April 6, up by 439 from 4,934 the previous day, with a total of 51,608 (up 3,802) confirmed cases reported. That compared with 5,683 cases of…

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Solidarity against the coronavirus

Coalition to fight COVID-19 in low-income countries

A group of scientists, physicians, funders, and policy makers from over 70 institutions from over 30 countries have launched an international coalition to respond to COVID-19 in resource-poor settings. The COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition aims to accelerate desperately needed COVID-19 research in those areas where the virus could wreak havoc on already-fragile health systems and cause the…

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Coronavirus treatment

Promising trial drug blocks early stages of COVID-19

An international team led by University of British Columbia (UBC) researcher Dr. Josef Penninger has found a trial drug that effectively blocks the cellular door SARS-CoV-2 uses to infect its hosts. The findings, published in Cell, hold promise as a treatment capable of stopping early infection of the novel coronavirus that, as of April 2, has affected more than 981,000 people and claimed the…

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Corona consequences in Spain

COVID-19 fears put interventional cardiology on lockdown

The number of primary angioplasties – the main treatment for heart attack – has dropped by 40% in Spain since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. Other key diagnostic and therapeutic procedures have also considerably diminished. Spanish cardiologists are urging the population to call the emergency medical systems whenever symptoms of myocardial infarction occur, in spite of fears…

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COVID-19 research

Clues to coronavirus’s vulnerability emerge from SARS antibody

An antibody recovered from a survivor of the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s has revealed a potential vulnerability of the new coronavirus at the root of COVID-19, according to a study from scientists at Scripps Research. The study, published in Science, is the first to map a human antibody’s interaction with the new coronavirus at near-atomic-scale resolution. Although the antibody was…

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Reprogramming viruses

From cancer to corona: UK scientists switch research focus

A team of Cardiff University scientists has switched from researching cancer to work that could help towards a vaccine for coronavirus. The team at the School of Medicine usually work on reprogramming viruses so they can target and kill cancer - but are now focusing their efforts to help in the fight against the new virus which is gripping the world. Dr Alan Parker and his team, whose work on…

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Green light for trial study

Blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients: a promising approach

In a small clinical trial just granted approval, about 30 COVID-19 patients at Karolinska University Hospital may soon begin to receive blood plasma from people who have recovered from the disease. Sweden's Ethical Review Authority has approved the trial treatment, and its effectiveness will be evaluated in a study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the Karolinska University Hospital.…

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Volunteering against the coronavirus

Scientists on Standby portal to support COVID-19 testing recruitment

Scientists on Standby has been rapidly conceptualised and launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis and in anticipation of the increasing pressure on UK diagnostic testing laboratories and facilities in the coming weeks and months. The portal enables scientists with relevant skills and experience to volunteer their time, expertise and support for COVID-19 screening and testing.

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Coping with COVID-19

Taiwan: a role model for pandemic management

As many nations struggle to keep COVID-19 infection numbers down through increasingly tough public health measures, some point out the island of Taiwan presents an example of how to be prepared in the event of a pandemic. Located less than 150 kilometres from the original viral source – China – Taiwan has seen far fewer cases of the coronavirus in the past month, with a much lower infection…

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Radiographers in Spain report

Equipment hygiene: taking back center stage during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting extra pressure on radiology services. Radiographers are particularly at risk of catching and spreading the disease. This is why they must follow strict cleaning and disinfection protocols, according to Pablo Valdés Solís, President of the Spanish Society of Radiology (SERAM), who has just published new guidelines on how to protect staff and patients, as the…

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Oncology breakthrough

Blood test detects 50+ cancer types, often before symptoms show

Researchers have developed the first blood test that can accurately detect more than 50 types of cancer and identify in which tissue the cancer originated, often before there are any clinical signs or symptoms of the disease. In a paper published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, the researchers show that the test, which could eventually be used in national cancer screening…

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Cultural differences matter

Study shows: Hand washing is key against COVID-19

Countries where people do not have a habit of washing their hands automatically tend to have a much higher exposure to coronavirus, a new study reveals. University of Birmingham researchers have discovered that at least 50% of people do not have a habit of automatic handwashing after using the toilet in China (77%), Japan (70%), South Korea (61%) and the Netherlands (50%). These countries are…

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COVID-19 status

Whole genome sequencing to map coronavirus spread

The Government and the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser have backed the UK’s leading clinicians and scientists to map how COVID-19 spreads and behaves by using whole genome sequencing. Through a £20 million investment, the consortium will look for breakthroughs that help the UK respond to this and future pandemics, and save lives. COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium - comprised of the NHS, Public…

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Coronavirus in laboratory medicine

Video: COVID-19 at a glance

To provide reliable information about the coronavirus disease COVID-19, Professor Giuseppe Lippi, Director of the Laboratory for Clinical Chemistry and Hematology at the University Hospital of Verona, Italy, gives an overview on the current state of scientific knowledge on COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The video was provided by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), who…

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Coping with Covid-19

How France handles the coronavirus pandemic

The first case of the new coronavirus infection was reported on the 24th January. The strategy taken by the French to stem the spread of the virus and relieve the pressure on the health service may seem draconian to some, but many feel that it is either not strong enough and/or too long in coming because it is only recently that the borders have finally been closed.

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Flu forecast

Portable AI device predicts outbreaks based on coughing

University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have invented a portable surveillance device powered by machine learning – called FluSense – which can detect coughing and crowd size in real time, then analyze the data to directly monitor flu-like illnesses and influenza trends. The FluSense creators say the new edge-computing platform, envisioned for use in hospitals, healthcare waiting rooms…

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SARS-CoV-2 durability

New coronavirus can remain stable for hours on surfaces

The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three…

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Understanding COVID-19

Why children are vital to slowing the coronavirus pandemic

Though the coronavirus disease COVID-19 so far appears to be largely sparing children, researchers are cautioning that it is critical to understand how the virus affects kids to model the pandemic accurately, limit the disease’s spread and ensure the youngest patients get the care they need. The warning comes from Steven L. Zeichner, MD, PhD, the head of UVA Health’s Division of Pediatric…

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Coronavirus disease research

Seeking a COVID-19 antidote: the potential of ACE2

As coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to jet and alight invisibly around the globe, scientists now report that the virus has mutated to become two strains: the older ‘S-type’ appears milder and less infectious, while the later-emerging ‘L-type’, is more aggressive, spreads more quickly, and currently accounts for about 70 per cent of cases. Worldwide, medical researchers are exploring…

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Chest X-ray, CT and more

Imaging the coronavirus disease COVID-19

Chest X-ray is the first imaging method to diagnose COVID-19 coronavirus infection in Spain, but in the light of new evidence this may change soon, according to Milagros Martí de Gracia, Vice President of the Spanish Society of Radiology (SERAM) and head of the emergency radiology unit at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, one of the hot spots for viral re-production of COVID-19.

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COVID-19 medication safety

New traffic light system to prevent coronavirus drug interaction

The University of Liverpool launched a new website featuring a traffic light system to aid the safe prescribing of experimental drugs being trialled against coronavirus (COVID-19). The site, created by the University’s Liverpool Drug Interactions Group, provides vital information on whether or not combinations of an experimental drug and co-medications are safe to prescribe. This is of…

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COVID-19 update

WHO labels coronavirus disease as a pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially categorized the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic. Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said: "WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels…

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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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At-home testing for COVID-19

Coronavirus testing? There's an app for that

A coronavirus app coupled with machine intelligence will soon enable an individual to get an at-home risk assessment based on how they feel and where they’ve been in about a minute, and direct those deemed at risk to the nearest definitive testing facility, investigators say. It will also help provide local and public health officials with real time information on emerging demographics of those…

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Pandemic prevention

German lab developed coronavirus detection method

Investigators at Hannover Medical School (MHH) in Germany have developed a molecular assay for detecting the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (previously 2019-nCoV) on the automated Panther Fusion system by Hologic. The preclinical assay is described online in the Journal of Clinical Virology. “Rapid diagnosis is critical to combatting the spread of pandemics, and the Panther Fusion system is well…

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Dutch experts discuss

On the implications of the coronavirus

The coronavirus last week reached the Netherlands and began to spread around the country. How has the Dutch population reacted? What is a useful frame of reference for this situation? And what are the legal guidelines for dealing with the outbreak? Four researchers from the University of Amsterdam – a clinical microbiologist, an anthropologist, a social scientist and a health lawyer – explain…

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Radiology congress (update)

ECR 2020 will be online-only due to coronavirus

The 2020 edition of the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna, which had been postponed due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19, will not take place on site this year. Instead, the congress organisers at the European Society of Radiology (ESR) opt for an online-only event: "It is with a heavy heart and much regret that the Board of Directors of the European Society of Radiology…

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EUA for respirators issued

Coronavirus: U.S. permits more protective masks for healthcare setting

In a joint effort, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) take action to make more respirators, including certain N95s, available to health care personnel. Currently, the majority of respirators on the market are indicated for use in industrial settings. This action allows certain National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health…

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COVID-19 in radiology

CT outperforms lab diagnosis for coronavirus infection

In a study of more than 1,000 patients published in Radiology, chest CT outperformed lab testing in the diagnosis of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Researchers at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, China, concluded that CT should be used as the primary screening tool for COVID-19. In the absence of specific therapeutic drugs or vaccines for COVID-19, it is essential to detect the disease at an…

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Pilot clinical trial

China to test targeted therapy for COVID-19

A University of British Columbia (UBC) researcher is part of an international team working with a biotechnology company on a pilot clinical trial of a potential new treatment for patients with severe coronavirus infections in China. Dr. Josef Penninger, director of UBC’s Life Sciences Institute and Canada 150 Chair in Functional Genetics, is working closely with Vienna-based Apeiron Biologics…

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Myths around SARS-CoV-2 busted

Coronavirus FAQ to dispel fake and harmful advice

The current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is making headlines by the minute. However, some less-than-trustworthy advice can be found among the information. Understandably, many people are concerned and confused. To prevent unnecessary panic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has assembled advice for the public. Is it safe to receive parcels from China? Will sesame oil…

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COVID-19 infection control

Combatting the novel coronavirus with thorough hand hygiene

WHO Chief Adhanom Ghebreyesus has declared the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) a global health emergency. He said the decision was reached not because of the situation in China, but because of, “what is happening in other countries.” On Feb. 17, the number of infections totaled around 71,000 globally based on data of the WHO. COVID-19 – the official shorthand name of the novel corona virus…

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Smart infection control

China uses AI to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak

Infrared thermometers are now used in most subway stations in China to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pneumonia (MCP). Many stations have implemented an artificial intelligence (AI) based fever screening system developed by the Beijing-based company Megvii Technology Limited. The system supports non-contact remote temperature screening from a distance of 3 meters. "This…

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Outbreak

A genome browser posts the coronavirus genome

Research into the novel Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus, the deadly "coronavirus" that has forced the Chinese government to quarantine more than 50 million people in the country's dense industrial heartland, will be facilitated by the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute. The Genomics Institute's Genome Browser team has posted the complete biomolecular code of the virus for researchers…

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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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Blood coagulation

Treating hemophilia with gene therapy

Within the framework of an international study, Lund University and Skåne University Hospital have started treating patients with hemophilia with gene therapy, something that began in January this year. The hope is that the new treatment will significantly simplify everyday life for those with severe hemophilia. Hemophilia is a genetic disease where the body does not produce one of the clotting…

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New virus 2019-nCoV

Scientists grow Wuhan coronavirus in the lab

Scientists from The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne have successfully grown the Wuhan coronavirus (also known as SARS-CoV-2) from a patient sample, which will provide expert international laboratories with crucial information to help combat the virus. This is the first time the virus has been grown in cell culture outside of China. The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s…

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SARS-like virus from China

What we know about the new corona virus

Nine people have died and more than 400 have been sickened by the new corona virus spreading in China. A few cases have been confirmed in Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and the U.S., and on Wednesday, the World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting on the outbreak. How worried about a new pandemic should we be? Virus researcher Ali Mirazimi, adjunct professor at the Department…

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Obesity, heart disease, diabetes

Are NCD not so "non-communicable" after all?

Diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer or certain lung diseases are among the most common non-natural causes of death today and account for about 70 percent of deaths worldwide. They are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as non-communicable because they are assumed to be caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors and cannot be transmitted…

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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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Reduced liver complications

The surprising benefits of anti-hepatitis medicine

A new effective treatment of hepatitis C that was made available to all Danes last year, not only combats the virus, but is also effective against potentially fatal complications such as reduced liver functioning and cirrhosis. This is the result of a new study from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital. Hepatitis C is a serious disease, but the biggest threat to someone’s health is…

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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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Positive findings in PD-1 inhibitor immunotherapy

Hope increases for HIV cancer patients

Advances in antiretroviral therapy mean that today, people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can expect a healthy and long life. However, living with HIV does increase the risk of cancer. The reasons for this are multiple and include behavioural risk factors (smoking etc.) but many cancers can be attributed to the effects the virus has on the immune system, specifically its…

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Promising preclinical study results

Epilepsy: Gene therapy shows long-term suppression of seizures

Teams of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Medical University of Innsbruck have developed a new therapeutic concept for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy. It represents a gene therapy capable of suppressing seizures at their site of origin on demand. Having been shown to be effective in an animal model, the new method will now be optimized for clinical use.…

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EMA recommandation for Ervebo

Ebola: first vaccine to protect against deadly virus

It is an important step towards fighting one of the deadliest viruses known to man: The human medicines committee (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation in the European Union for Ervebo (rVSVΔG-ZEBOV-GP), the first vaccine for active immunisation of individuals aged 18 years and older at risk of infection with the Ebola virus.…

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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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Neurology

Overcoming the blood-brain-barrier: Delivering therapeutics to brain

For the first time, scientists have found a way that can effectively transport medication into the brain - which could lead to improved treatments for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. In a study, scientists from Newcastle University have led an international team in a major breakthrough in unlocking the secrets of how medications can infiltrate the brain.

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Danger in the womb

Xenoestrogens in the womb: a burden for babies

Early childhood life in the womb is particularly sensitive to the effects of environmental pollutants. A team from Empa and the University of Vienna has now for the first time been able to show how a pollutant from contaminated food – the environmental estrogen zearalenone – spreads in the womb and is metabolized into harmful metabolites. Xenoestrogens are absorbed through the environment,…

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New transfection approach

Immunotherapy: The 'FedEx and UPS equivalent of DNA delivery'

Immunotherapy is a promising cancer treatment that uses genetically modified immune cells to fight cancer. It can be used as a primary treatment or in combination with other treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy to slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells and prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body. Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy, for instance, is a…

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Respiratory failure and sepsis

Cheap, quick test identifies major risks for pneumonia patients

Spanish researchers in Valencia have identified specific fragments of genetic material that play a role in the development of respiratory failure and sepsis in pneumonia patients. Presenting the research at the European Respiratory Society International Congress, Dr Francisco Sanz said the findings could enable doctors to test quickly for these biological markers when a patient is admitted to…

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COA vs outside intervention

How bacteria defend against CRISPR-Cas

For the first time ever, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have mapped how bacterial cells trigger their defence against outside attacks. This could affect how diseases are fought in the future. With the aid of highly advanced microscopes and synchrotron sources, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have gained seminal insight into how bacteria function as defence mechanisms…

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New ideas

MEDICA becomes number one trade fair for health start-ups

Healthcare is going digital worldwide at an incredibly rapid pace. More and more applications for prevention, diagnostics and therapy are being made into apps (with matching hardware) for smartphones and tablets or are even available as wearables for direct use on the body. Digitalisation is also striding forward in Germany, where doctors, therapists and patients still take a fairly analogue…

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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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Biosensors

Using smartphones to detect norovirus

A little bit of norovirus – the highly infectious microbe that causes about 20 million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year – goes a long way. Just 10 particles of the virus can cause illness in humans. A team of University of Arizona researchers has created a simple, portable and inexpensive method for detecting extremely low levels of norovirus. Jeong-Yeol Yoon, a…

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Measles

Vaccine hesitancy threatens global health

Globally, a trend of falling public trust in vaccines is alarming health officials and the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists vaccine hesitancy as one of the top 10 threats to global health. The UK’s Wellcome Trust 2018 Global Monitor – a survey of more than 140,000 people in over 140 countries – highlighted regions where confidence in vaccinations is lowest.

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Elderly in the ICU

Can flu vaccine reduce stroke risk?

It appears that an influenza vaccine does not just work when it comes to influenza. A new study shows that elderly people who have been admitted to an intensive care units have less risk of dying and of suffering a blood clot or bleeding in the brain if they have been vaccinated. And this is despite the fact that they are typically older, have more chronic diseases and take more medicine then…

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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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Why do we get sick?

Mechanism behind development of viral infections uncovered

A team of researchers from the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medicine Centre’s Viral Research and Experimental Medicine Centre (ViREMiCS) found that immune cells undergoing stress and an altered metabolism are the reasons why some individuals become sick from viral infections while others do not, when exposed to the same virus. The findings, published in medical journal Nature Medicine, have…

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"Bless you!"

Common cold virus could revolutionise bladder cancer treatment

A strain of the common cold virus has been found to potentially target, infect and destroy cancer cells in patients with bladder cancer. No trace of the cancer was found in one patient following treatment with the virus. The researchers published their findings in the medical journal Clinical Cancer Research. Researchers from the University of Surrey and Royal Surrey County Hospital investigated…

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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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Human papillomavirus

HPV vaccination could dramatically reduce head and neck cancers

Vaccinating schoolboys against the potentially deadly human papillomavirus (HPV) could dramatically reduce head and neck cancers in men, according to research involving the University of Strathclyde. The two-year project studied 235 patients in Scotland with head and neck cancer and found that 78% of people with head and neck cancers were men, while HPV was present in 60% of the cancers. This…

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Boosting our immune surveillance

Antibodies PD-1 and PD-L1: a quantum leap in cancer therapy

Immuno-oncology is a therapy in which the body’s immune system treats a tumour. Dr Eric Borges, from the Research and Development Centre at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH in Germany, explains why this is revolutionary. Unlike conventional cancer therapies, with immuno-oncology the tumour cell is not the direct target, it’s the patient’s immune system. The medication stimulates this to…

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Study

Half of Ebola outbreaks go undetected

Half of Ebola outbreaks have gone undetected since the virus was discovered in 1976, scientists at the University of Cambridge estimate. The new findings come amid rising concern about Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and highlight the need for improved detection and rapid response to avoid future epidemics.

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MERS-CoV

Seeking answers to combat Middle East respiratory syndrome

With a case fatality rate of 35 percent, a Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection – also called camel flu – is a dangerous disease. About seven years ago, when the virus was first isolated, mortality was close to 100 percent since only severe infections that led to the patient being in intensive care were recorded. Today the environment of each victim is…

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Gene-editing

CRISPR baby mutation significantly increases mortality

A genetic mutation that a Chinese scientist attempted to create in twin babies born last year, ostensibly to help them fend off HIV infection, is also associated with a 21% increase in mortality in later life, according to an analysis by scientists from UC Berkeley. The researchers scanned more than 400,000 genomes and associated health records contained in a British database, UK Biobank, and…

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Sexually transmitted infections

New findings could improve STI vaccinations

In a new study, researchers from King’s College London have shown how skin vaccination can generate protective CD8 T-cells that are recruited to the genital tissues and could be used as a vaccination strategy for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). One of the challenges in developing vaccines for STIs, such as HIV or herpes simplex virus, is understanding how to attract specialised immune…

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Nosocomial infections

Global-PPS: Hospital antibiotic resistance study tops 200k

BioMérieux and the Laboratory of Medical Microbiology at the University of Antwerp announced at ECCMID (European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases) the 2018 results of the Global Point Prevalence Survey (GLOBAL-PPS), a study of antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in hospitals around the world. Since its launch in 2015, this survey has been conducted in…

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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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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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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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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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Virology

Trapping viruses inside a cell: harmful or helpful?

Viruses are often used as vehicles for delivery in gene therapy because they’re engineered not to damage the cell once they get there, but neglecting to consider how the virus will exit the cell could have consequences. Some viruses use a molecule called heparan sulfate to help them attach to cells. The molecule, found in many different kinds of cells (including those from animal tissue), could…

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Neurological complications

Enterovirus infections: The disease is rare and research scant

Neurological complications due to infections with (novel) enteroviruses are rarely the focus of medical research. Thus, an article published in the German medical journal Der Nervenarzt (published at the Medizinische Hochschule Hanover (MHH) – has created quite a stir. We spoke with one of the authors, Professor Martin Stangel, about current clinical practice in terms of enterovirus.…

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Mitochondria mystery solved

Researchers uncover key to greater efficacy in cancer treatment

Why do cancer cells react differently to treatments? Researchers from Mount Sinai and IBM have discovered a novel clue in explaining how cancer cells with identical genomes can respond differently to the same therapy. In a Nature Communications paper, researchers reveal for the first time that the number of mitochondria in a cell is, in great part, associated with how the cancer responds to drug…

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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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Biosensor

New rapid test for sepsis could save thousands of lives

Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have developed an innovative, low cost test for earlier diagnosis of sepsis which could save thousands of lives. The simple system for sensitive real-time measurement of the life threatening condition is much quicker than existing hospital tests, which can take up to 72 hours to process. Using a microelectrode, a biosensor device is used to detect if…

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X-ray crystallography

Seeing the unseeable life inside a virus

Researchers at Cardiff University have used x-ray crystallography and computer simulation to get a closer look at how viruses bind cells and cause infection. The new insight could help in the development of drugs and therapies for infections and further advance the exploitation of viruses for medical treatments. The first author of the study, Alex Baker from Cardiff University’s School of…

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Alarming results

Antibiotic resistance spreads faster than previously thought

By studying fish raised in aquaculture, researchers from the Helmholtz Zentrum München, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Campinas in Brazil have shed new light on the mechanisms by which antibiotic resistance genes are transferred between bacteria. According to the study published in the journal ‘Microbiome’, those mechanisms are more varied than previously thought. “In…

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Cardiology & calcium

First look at the ‘molecular switch’ that makes our heart beat

Oxford University Radcliffe Department of Medicine researchers have developed a new method that uses a protein originally found in marine corals to visualise the flow of calcium that makes the heart beat. In a paper published in the journal Circulation Research, they used this technique to uncover the effects of genetic errors that contribute to a heart condition that is the leading killer of…

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Therapeutic progress

Cancer: riding the wave of innovation

In haematology and medical oncology, there is always something new. However, the increasing stratification of cancer therapies presents an enormous challenge for clinical research. Tumour cells – those altered genetically by mutation and thus ought to be recognised by the immune system and destroyed – manage to apply diverse molecular tricks to avoid attack by the immune system. Thus, they…

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Dormant virus

Finding 'hidden' HIV in cells

Until now, researchers haven’t been able to accurately quantify a latent form of HIV that persists in patients’ immune cells. A new genetic technique is fast and 10 to 100 times more accurate than previous diagnostics. This hidden, inactive version of HIV embeds into cells’ genomes and can persist despite otherwise successful therapies – thwarting attempts to cure the infection. Using a…

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Ornithine Transcarbamylase deficiency

OTC deficiency: First patient benefits from gene therapy trial

A patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) was the first person in the world to take part in a pioneering gene therapy trial for Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, a rare disease that causes toxic levels of ammonia to build up in the blood. Simon Smith, 45, was diagnosed with OTC deficiency as a teenager. Although he defied medical expectations by living a full life in…

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Seasonal influenza

Why the flu is especially dangerous for kidney failure patients

In patients with kidney failure, influenza-like illness (ILI) likely contributes to more than 1,000 deaths per year. The finding, which comes from a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), points to the importance of protection against, surveillance of, and, where possible, treatment of such infections in patients with kidney dysfunction.…

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Cellular recycling

Can autophagy stop cancer before it starts?

Just as plastic tips protect the ends of shoelaces and keep them from fraying when we tie them, molecular tips called telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes and keep them from fusing when cells continually divide and duplicate their DNA. But while losing the plastic tips may lead to messy laces, telomere loss may lead to cancer. Salk Institute scientists studying the relationship of telomeres…

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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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Tempting, but...

Noshing on raw cookie dough? Not such a good idea

The holiday season just wouldn't be the same without delicious Christmas cookies. Impatience in the bakery, however, might be penalized with some unpleasant or even dangerous side-effects. Bruce Ruck, managing director of the New Jersey Poison Control Center at Rutgers University Medical School, talks about the risks associated with eating raw cookie dough: “It’s a potential recipe for food…

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Interdisciplinary

Exploring the human microbiome

During the International Forum for Laboratory Medicine, one seminar focused on infectious diseases. Professor André Gessner, from the Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Department at Regensburg University, lectured on ‘The human microbiome, an explosive ‘climate’ topic,’ he explained.

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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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Innovative material

'Smart' surfaces might pave the way for safer implants and better diagnostics

Researchers at McMaster University have solved a vexing problem by engineering surface coatings that can repel everything, such as bacteria, viruses and living cells, but can be modified to permit beneficial exceptions. The discovery holds significant promise for medical and other applications, making it possible for implants such as vascular grafts, replacement heart valves and artificial joints…

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Infections

Zika virus strips immune cells of their identity

Macrophages are immune cells that are supposed to protect the body from infection by viruses and bacteria. Yet Zika virus preferentially infects these cells. Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have now unraveled how the virus shuts down the genes that make macrophages function as immune cells.

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Therapy

Could these special antibodies lead to HIV vaccine?

Around one percent of people infected with HIV produce antibodies that block most strains of the virus. These broadly acting antibodies provide the key to developing an effective vaccine against HIV. Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich have now shown that the genome of the HI virus is a decisive factor in determining which antibodies are formed.

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Research

Zika virus proteins inhibit brain development

In healthy individuals, the Zika virus causes flu-like symptoms. If a pregnant woman becomes infected, the unborn child can suffer from severe brain abnormalities as a result of mechanisms that have not yet been explained. A study by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPI-B) shows that Zika virus proteins bind to cellular proteins that are…

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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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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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Resistance-building

‘Why not take a risk?’ belief boosts antibiotic overuse

Antibiotics are mostly prescribed for acute respiratory infections (ARIs), yet most of these infections are viral. A new study shows that inappropriate antibiotics prescriptions are widespread, contributing dangerously helping antibiotic-resistant organisms to grow. Overuse could be due to attitudes among patients and clinicians, current George Washington University research suggests.

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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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Infections

Zika suppresses virus fighting cells

More than two years after reports of skyrocketing Zika rates surfaced worldwide, questions still loom about this complicated virus. Professor of Biological Science Hengli Tang and his postdoctoral researcher Jianshe Lang from the Florida State University take a deep dive into the differences between Zika and the Dengue virus.

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Epidemics

Animal health drug could stop outbreaks of malaria and Zika virus

Medicines given to household pets to kill fleas and ticks might be effective for preventing outbreaks of malaria, Zika fever and other dangerous insect-borne diseases that infect millions of people worldwide, according to a new study led by scientists at Calibr, a non-profit drug discovery institute closely affiliated with Scripps Research and TropIQ Health Sciences, a Dutch social enterprise.

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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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Cross-species concerns

Could a new pig virus be a potential threat to humans?

A recently identified pig virus can readily find its way into laboratory-cultured cells of people and other species, a discovery that raises concerns about the potential for outbreaks that threaten human and animal health. Researchers at The Ohio State University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands collaborated to better understand the new virus and its potential reach. Their study, the…

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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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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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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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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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Antibiotic overuse

Could a paper device diagnose infectious disease?

Imagine a small paper device that can rapidly reveal from a drop of blood whether an infection is bacterial or viral. The device could help reduce the overuse of antibiotics – which kill bacteria, not viruses. Misuse of antibiotics has led to antimicrobial resistance, a growing global public health issue. Senior biomedical engineering students at Rutgers University–New Brunswick came up with…

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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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Nanoscale visualization

Laser light shows X-ray holographic images of viruses

Holography, like photography, is a way to record the world around us. Both use light to make recordings, but instead of two-dimensional photos, holograms reproduce three-dimensional shapes. The shape is inferred from the patterns that form after light ricochets off an object and interferes with another light wave that serves as a reference. When created with X-ray light, holography can be an…

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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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Joining strengths

Vaccination and infection control: Two pillars of prevention

Synchronised efforts between preventive medicine and immunology enable powerful vaccination strategies in a Spanish seniors hub. Efficient prevention also comes with proper infection control and regulating antibiotics use in primary care, local expert in preventive medicine explained in an exclusive interview with EH. Working in a small structure has its perks, one of which is that departments…

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Advances in manufacturing

Easy printing of biosensors made of graphene

Cell-based biosensors can simulate the effect of various substances, such as drugs, on the human body in the laboratory. Depending on the measuring principle, though, producing them can be expensive. As a result, they are often not used. Cost factors for sensors that perform measurements electrically are the expensive electrode material and complex production. Fraunhofer scientists are now…

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Gene editing

CRISPR-based technology DETECTR can detect viral DNA

A powerful genome editing tool can be deployed as an ace DNA detective, able to sniff out DNA snippets that signal viral infections, cancer, or even defective genes. This genetic detective, developed in the laboratory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley, uses the genome-slicing system known as CRISPR. By combining the…

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Experimental drug

Fighting Hepatitis B with 'virus-cracking' molecules

Indiana University researchers have made an important step forward in the design of drugs that fight the hepatitis B virus, which can cause liver failure and liver cancer. It's estimated that 2 billion people worldwide have had a hepatitis B virus infection in their lifetime, with about 250 million -- including 2 million Americans -- living with chronic infection. Although a vaccine exists, there…

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HPV infections

Cervical cancer awareness

No woman should die from cervical cancer. Indeed, cervical cancer is the deadliest, yet most preventable gynecologic malignancy. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 13,000 new cases of invasive cervical cancer leading to 4,100 cancer-related deaths each year in the United States. Unfortunately, many of these deaths could have been prevented with either regular screening with Pap…

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Risk for pregnancy

How Zika infection drives fetal demise

A powerful antiviral protein may act as a checkpoint for keeping or ending a pregnancy. When exposed to Zika virus before birth, mouse fetuses with the protein commit cell suicide, while fetuses without it continued to develop. The result, published in Science Immunology, suggests that the protein, a receptor involved in immune cell signaling, plays a role in spontaneous abortions and other human…

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Blood Donor Month

Things you should know about blood donation

Donating blood is a tangible way to help people who are struggling with serious health conditions, yet many people may not think about it or make time for it. In January – which the American Red Cross has dubbed National Blood Donor Month – blood bank supplies are typically among the lowest of the year, as many people have been traveling or busy with the holidays. Inclement weather can also…

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Antiviral design

CAR-T gene therapy could provide long-term HIV protection

Through gene therapy, researchers engineered blood-forming stem cells (hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, or HSPCs) to carry chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) genes to make cells that can detect and destroy HIV-infected cells. These engineered cells not only destroyed the infected cells, they persisted for more than two years, suggesting the potential to create long-term immunity from the virus…

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In development

A more accurate tool to track new HIV infections

Researchers at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute have led an effort to develop a more accurate way to gauge the incidence of HIV infections in large populations, which will improve research and prevention strategies worldwide. The new method more correctly identifies new vs. long-standing infections – an important distinction for determining where to target public health measures and research,…

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Infection research

Designer nanoparticles destroy a broad array of viruses

Viral infections kill millions of people worldwide every year, but currently available antiviral drugs are limited in that they mostly act against one or a small handful of related viruses. A few broad-spectrum drugs that prevent viral entry into healthy cells exist, but they usually need to be taken continuously to prevent infection, and resistance through viral mutation is a serious risk. Now,…

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Simulated CNS

This ‘brain-on-a-chip” could be a new medical testing ground

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists and engineers have developed a “brain-on-a-chip” device aimed at testing and predicting the effects of biological and chemical agents, disease, or pharmaceutical drugs on the brain over time without the need for human or animal subjects. The device, part of the Lab’s iCHIP (in-vitro Chip-Based Human Investigational Platform) project,…

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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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Innovative approach

New “Swiss Army Knife” nanovaccine to battle tumors

Scientists are using their increasing knowledge of the complex interaction between cancer and the immune system to engineer increasingly potent anti-cancer vaccines. Now researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a synergistic nanovaccine packing DNA and RNA sequences that modulate the immune response, along with anti-tumor antigens, into…

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Local and elegant

Extending life with TIPS and TACE

Liver disease is widespread in Germany. It is, in fact, the most common cause of death in patients under the age of 40, with liver cirrhosis, which can develop into liver cancer, playing a major role here. These days, modern, comprehensive treatment concepts are unimaginable without interventional radiology, for liver cirrhosis as well as liver cancer. Prof. Dr. Christian Stroszczynski, Director…

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Infectious disease

One in two people living with HIV in Europe is diagnosed late

The WHO European Region is the only region worldwide where the number of new HIV infections is rising. With more than 160 000 people newly diagnosed with HIV across the Region, including more than 29 000 new cases from the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA), this trend continued in 2016. One reason for this worrying trend: over half (51%) of the reported HIV diagnoses happen in a…

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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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Gene editing

CRISPR system embeds images in DNA

A research team in the United States has developed a revolutionary technique that has encoded an image and short film in living cells. Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) used CRISPR gene editing to encode the image and film in DNA, using this as a medium to store information and produce a code that relates to the individual…

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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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Augmenting antibody services and assay development

Acquisition: BBI gains MBS

BBI Solutions (BBI), immunoassay developer and reagent supplier, acquired Maine Biotechnology Services Inc. (MBS) in July 2017, adding antibody development to the firm’s end to end assay development services. This also strengthens BBI’s reagents antibodies portfolio, providing a wide range of high quality biomarkers for infectious disease.

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Human papillomavirus

A vaccine against cervical cancer for poor countries

A novel vaccine against cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPV) is intended to help raise vaccination rates especially in developing countries. To this end, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg are developing a completely new vaccination concept based on a low-cost vaccine that protects from almost all known oncogenic HPV types. The project has now been…

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Virus spread

New flu forecasting tool uses evolution to make earlier predictions

Each year, public health officials monitor the spread of influenza to identify which flu strains need to go into that year’s vaccines and where outbreaks will occur. But it can be difficult to predict how bad a particular flu season will be until people actually start getting sick. A new flu forecasting tool built by scientists at the University of Chicago aims to make better predictions by…

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Nationwide cohort study

Can an aspirin a day keep liver cancer away?

A new study presented this week at The Liver Meeting held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases found that daily aspirin therapy was significantly associated with a reduced risk in hepatitis B virus‐related liver cancer. Past research suggests that daily aspirin therapy — which is often prescribed to prevent cardiovascular disease — may also prevent the development of…

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Prenatal care

Fever itself in early pregnancy might cause birth defects

Duke researchers now have evidence to suggest the fever itself, not its root source, could interfere with the development of the heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy. Researchers have known for decades that fevers in the first trimester of pregnancy increase risk for some heart defects and facial deformities such as cleft lip or palate. Exactly how this happens is…

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Study

Zika virus could be used to treat brain cancer

Recent outbreaks of Zika virus have revealed that the virus causes brain defects in unborn children. But researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of California, San Diego report that the virus could eventually be used to target and kill cancer cells in the brain.

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Diagnosing Zika

Commercial blood test proves reliable

The Society for Virology (GfV) which promotes virology through the increase and exchange of research within German speaking countries, as well as via cooperation with other scientific societies, announced this year that a new test can unambiguously confirm the diagnosis of a Zika virus infection – leading to fast diagnosis and identification of an infection.

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Virus study

Close contact not at fault for Zika spread

Saliva is no way to pass a Zika virus infection. According to researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who conducted studies with monkeys, casual contact like kissing or sharing a fork or spoon is not enough for the virus to move between hosts.

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Infection control

Zika-vaccine receives boost

A promising Zika vaccine is on its way. Themis Bioscience GmbH (Vienna, Austria), a company specialised in vaccine development, has announced that the firm will receive One milion pounds sterling in funding by the innovation agency of the United Kingdom, Innovate UK, for the further development of this prophylactic vaccine and the conducting of a Phase 1 clinical trial.

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Blood test alternative

Oral "Hep E" test could simplify detection tremendously

A saliva test developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health nearly matches the performance of a blood test widely used to assess recent or past hepatitis E virus infections, a new study reports. The findings could offer an easier, less expensive alternative to gathering data for studying and eventually treating the disease, which infects an estimated 20 million…

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Understanding procedures

Researchers create ‘Rosetta Stone’ to decode immune recognition

Scientists from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have developed an algorithm that functions like a Rosetta Stone to help decipher how the immune system recognizes and binds antigens. The research should aid development of more personalized cancer immunotherapy and advance diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

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CRISPR-Cpf1

Firefly gene illuminates ability to edit human genome

Scientists on the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have improved a state-of-the-art gene-editing technology to advance the system’s ability to target, cut and paste genes within human and animal cells—and broadening the ways the CRISPR-Cpf1 editing system may be used to study and fight human diseases.

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DNA manipulation

Chaos in cancer cells: Mysterious gene transcripts after therapy

Drugs that are used in cancer therapy to erase epigenetic alterations in cancer cells simultaneously promote the production of countless mysterious gene transcripts, scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) now report in Nature Genetics. The substances activate hidden regulatory elements in DNA. The unusual gene activity has the potential to stimulate the immune system – a…

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Biomarkers

Aiming for the earliest diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma

For almost three quarters of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients in Europe it is too late for curative treatment because the disease is often only diagnosed at a very advanced stage. Interviewed Professor Guido Gerken MD, Director of the Department for Gastroenterology and Hepatology at University Hospital Essen, about improved and timelier diagnostic capabilities that have already been…

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Digital hygiene

Hospitals must be prepared for ransomware attacks

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, describes how a virus - or “ransomware” - infected and locked computers at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles hospital in February 2016.

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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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Kidney Transplants

White Blood Cells Control Virus Replication

Certain white blood cells play an important role in bringing a harmful virus under control after kidney transplantations. The results of a research group at the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel could contribute to improving control of immunosuppression, avoiding transplant rejection and developing relevant vaccines.

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Recurrent aphthous stomatitis

Research comes to terms with old ideas about canker sores

A burning pain sensation – and treatments that do not work. This is what daily life is like for many of those who suffer from recurrent aphthous stomatitis. Research from the Sahlgrenska Academy now sheds new light on the reasons behind this condition found in the mouth.

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Malaria Treatment

Soon to be Simpler, More Flexible, and More Efficient?

Malaria infections may soon be treated much more efficiently than they are at present. Researchers at the Universities of Bayreuth and Jerusalem have developed a novel drug release procedure for this purpose. The procedure enables the active ingredient Artemisone to be administered reliably at quantities and time intervals that are tailored exactly to the patients’ individual needs. The…

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Infection Prevention

Trusted cable systems

Ever more imaging devices are characterised by very extensive movement sequences while simultaneously being compact. Both device manufacturers and suppliers must consider mounting dynamic requirements when developing their products and ensure their long-term system integrity.

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Imaging Infections

Zika birth defects decrease, but…

ECR 2017 Guest Lecturer Maria de Fatima Vasco Aragao, a radiologist from Pernambuco state, Brazil, has been tracking the Zika virus ever since it broke out in her country in 2015. She will highlight how CT and MRI can help reach diagnosis, especially in the absence of microcephaly. In an exclusive interview with European Hospital correspondent Mélisande Rouger, the radiologist warned there might…

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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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Infections

Viruses Overheard Talking to One Another

Viruses may be stealthy invaders, but a study at the Weizmann Institute of Science reveals a new, chatty side of some: for the first time, viruses have been found communicating with one another. This communication – short “posts” left for kin and descendants – helps the viruses reading them to decide how to proceed with the process of infection. The research was reported in Nature.

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Long-Sought

Genetic model of common infant leukemia described

After nearly two decades of unsuccessful attempts, researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have created the first mouse model for the most common form of infant leukemia. Their discovery could hasten development and testing of new drug therapies.

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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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Altering the ‘flavor’ of humans could help fight Malaria

A new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests that a specialized area of the mosquito brain mixes tastes with smells to create unique and preferred flavors. The findings advance the possibility, they say, of identifying a substance that makes “human flavor” repulsive to the malaria-bearing species of the mosquitoes, so instead of feasting on us, they keep the disease to themselves,…

HIV

Experts Launch New Healthcare Trends Report

The HIV: The Long View initiative launches today with the release of an evidence-based report that examines the potential implications of future healthcare trends on HIV care and management in Western Europe.

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Infection

Evidence of Zika virus found in tears

Researchers have found that Zika virus can live in eyes and have identified genetic material from the virus in tears, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The research, in mice, helps explain why some Zika patients develop eye disease, including a condition known as uveitis that can lead to permanent vision loss.

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dormant viruses

Researchers Find Herpes Strain in the Nervous System

There are a couple strains of herpes so common that researchers estimate 90% of the human population have them. These strains, human herpes 6 and human herpes 7, usually do not cause severe symptoms when people acquire them. But researchers know that under certain circumstances, dormant herpes viruses in the body can unexpectedly come roaring back and cause complications not typically associated…

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Infection

Why does MRSA ‘superbug’ kill influenza patients?

Researchers have discovered that secondary infection with the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacterium (or “superbug”) often kills influenza patients because the flu virus alters the antibacterial response of white blood cells, causing them to damage the patients’ lungs instead of destroying the bacterium. The study suggests that inhibiting this response may help treat…

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Infection

Zika: 1.6 million childbearing women are at risk

Research by scientists in the US and UK has estimated that up to 1.65 million childbearing women in Central and South America could become infected by the Zika virus by the end of the first wave of the epidemic. Researchers from the WorldPop Project and Flowminder Foundation at the University of Southampton and colleagues from the University of Notre Dame and University of Oxford have also found…

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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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Infection

Siemens Zika test receives FDA emergency use authorization

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc. (Siemens) an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its real-time PCR Zika Virus assay, the VERSANT® Zika RNA 1.0 Assay (kPCR) Kit. With respect to Zika in vitro diagnostic tests, FDA has been authorized to issue EUAs to allow for use of unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical…

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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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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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Disaster areas

Winners on the firing line

Jens Hahn MD is an Internal Medicine and Intensive Care Specialist who works with the international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF in English: Doctors Without Borders). Here he describes his work in Afghanistan and South Sudan, and the use of rapid diagnostic tests in the field.

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Dividing T cells

Target for improving cancer immunotherapy

When an immune T cell divides into two daughter cells, the activity of an enzyme called mTORC1, which controls protein production, splits unevenly between the progeny, producing two cells with different properties. Such "asymmetric division," uncovered by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers using lab-grown cells and specially bred mice, could offer new ways to enhance cancer…

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Epidemic

Ebola leaves a health legacy

First the good news: the most severe Ebola outbreak ever has been contained. Last December, Guinea, where the first infection was reported in late 2013, was declared free of Ebola cases. Liberia was considered free of Ebola in mid-January after no new case had been reported for 42 days (the WHO criterion for ‘free of Ebola’).

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Virology

Tricks of ticking time bomb Hepatitis B virus

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes hepatitis B, an infectious disease that afflicts 230 million people worldwide, thereof 440 000 in Germany. Persistence of the virus in liver cells leads to progressive organ damage in the patient and contributes to a high risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer development. Providing a new paradigm to hepatitis B understanding, researchers at the German Cancer Research…

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vitiligo

Natural killer cells have a memory

Researchers at the University of Bonn and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität of Munich have decoded a new mechanism of how the immune system can specifically attack pigmented cells of the skin. It was previously believed that natural killer cells did not have an immunological memory for the body's own tissues. However, the scientists have now showed that these immune cells can indeed…

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Targeted treatments

Gene therapy against brain cancer

A team from the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste has obtained very promising results by applying gene therapy to glioblastoma. Tests in vitro and in vivo on mice provided very clear-cut results, and modelling demonstrates that the treatment targets at least six different points of tumour metabolism. Gene therapy, a technique that selectively attacks a tumour, might…

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Experts

Europe needs to be prepared for Zika virus epidemic

The Zika epidemic has long assumed global proportions, experts told the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology in Copenhagen. Europe needs to get prepared to deal with the relentless spread of the health threat, in particular with a view to “imported” infection. Awareness for prevention and personal protection is important, in particular with thousands of athletes and fans soon…

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Epidemic

Global spread of Zika "of utmost concern"

The President of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) Prof Raad Shakir (London), said today that following the first confirmed Zika-related case of microcephaly on US territory, in Puerto Rico, and the ever-growing number of sexually-transmitted Zika infections in Europe, “it is increasingly obvious that the Zika epidemic has long assumed global proportions.” As the opening of the Olympics…

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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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New technology breakthrough in fighting viral diseases

As one of medicine’s largest challenges, viral infections often escape vaccines due to their natural ability to mutate rapidly and develop drug resistance easily. Many viruses, such as Zika, Ebola and dengue fever, have grown into major global health epidemics with great human and economic toll. IBM Research and Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering, Nanotechnology (IBN) announced they have…

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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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Immune system

How can two types of immune cells arise from one?

The fates of immune cells can be decided at the initial division of a cell. Researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have discovered that the production of daughter cells with different roles in the immune system is driven by the lopsided distribution of the signaling protein c-Myc. Nudging c-Myc in one direction or the other could make vaccines more effective or advance…

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Rio de Janiero

First description of 2015 Zika virus outbreak

Since the recent link to severe neurological defects in infants born to mothers infected during pregnancy, Zika virus (ZIKV) has become a public health and research priority. A study reports details from the 2015 Zika outbreak in Rio de Janeiro - the first with a high proportion of cases confirmed by molecular diagnosis - and proposes changes to the current diagnostic criteria for ZIKV disease.

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Neurology

Zika virus may now be tied to another brain disease

The Zika virus may be associated with an autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain's myelin similar to multiple sclerosis, according to a small study that is being released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, April 15 to 21, 2016.

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Neurology

Tracing the scent of fear

The odor of bobcat urine, if you ever get a chance to take a whiff, is unforgettable — like rotten meat combined with sweat, with something indescribably feral underlying it. To humans, it’s just nose-wrinklingly disgusting. But to mice, it smells like one thing: fear.

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Rapid testing

West Africa, Ebola and the threat of Zika

Rapid testing for the Zika virus is a critical need in the recent Ebola-affected countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, says a Georgetown University professor, because of the recent Zika outbreak on nearby Cape Verde and the similarity in symptoms between Zika and early Ebola.

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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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Infections

Zika virus 'a game changer' for mosquito-borne diseases

The Zika virus, unlike other mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue, is relatively unknown and unstudied. That is set to change since Zika, now spreading through Latin America and the Caribbean, has been associated with an alarming rise in babies born in Brazil with abnormally small heads and brain defects – a condition called microcephaly.

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Antibodies

A ‘silver bullet’ for Ebola viruses?

There may be a “silver bullet” for Ebola. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB) reported that they have isolated human monoclonal antibodies from Ebola survivors which can neutralize multiple species of the virus.

Zika virus

ESCMID experts gather data to prepare for potential outbreaks

Experts at the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) – an organization promoting research, risk assessment, knowledge sharing and best practices in the fight against infectious diseases – are developing tools to monitor the spread of the Zika virus and are conducting research to gather more solid data to better assess the risks associated with the…

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MERS

First reported autopsy of patient with MERS provides critical insights

Since 2012, at least 1,500 individuals have developed Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), resulting in more than 500 fatalities. Only now are results being reported of the first autopsy of a MERS patient, which was performed in 2014. Not only do these findings, published in The American Journal of Pathology, provide unprecedented, clinically-relevant insights about how MERS progresses, they…

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Ebola: Guidelines for treating infected children

When the Ebola virus outbreak erupted in West Africa in 2014, children infected with the virus — particularly those under age 5 — faced overwhelming challenges. Not only was there a high death rate among young children infected with the disease, they often were isolated from their families, leaving them feeling distressed and without the intensive care they needed.

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High rating

Immunotherapy brings striking successes

Checkpoint inhibitors can achieve a lasting treatment response in around 20% of some kinds of advanced cancer cases. ‘Immunotherapies are given the highest possible rating on the Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), which assesses the actual clinical benefit of tumour treatments,’ emphasises Professor Christoph Zielinski MD, Head of the…

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Congratulation

Merck honored by R&D Magazine for innovation

Merck, a leading science and technology company, today announced it has received two prestigious R&D Magazine 100 awards – one for its lab water purification systems, and the other for a technology that allows researchers to investigate scientific questions they previously couldn’t address.

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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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Genome

Research could help in fight against infection and cancer

Researchers from Medicine, Chemistry and Biological Sciences in the University’s Institute for Life Science (IfLS) have been collaborating with Microsoft Research UK to investigate the function of the antigen-presenting protein MHC1. Their research, which started more than a decade ago and has been part-funded by Cancer Research UK, has explored the pliability of the protein and how its ability…

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New funding for Ebola hides an ongoing decline

A new report gives the first ever picture of global investment in Ebola research and development (R&D), reporting that this investment might have come at the expense of efforts to develop drugs, vaccines and diagnostics for other neglected diseases, which collectively cause more than six million deaths every year in developing countries.

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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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Research

Drug engineered from bananas fights deadly viruses

A banana a day may not keep the doctor away, but a substance originally found in bananas and carefully edited by scientists could someday fight off a wide range of viruses, new research suggests. And the process used to create the virus-fighting form may help scientists develop even more drugs, by harnessing the “sugar code” that our cells use to communicate. That code gets hijacked by…

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Dermatology

How to treat common warts?

Warts aren’t just for witches and goblins. According to member dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology, children and teens, people who frequently bite their nails, and people with a weakened immune system are more prone to getting warts than others.

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Linac Coherent Light Source

A glimpse into live bacteria

A group of scientists in Sweden has taken an important step towards the goal of peering inside a working cell. They are among researchers around the globe who are seeking a method that enables the observation of proteins, lipids and DNA inside individual cells, as well as gaining a better understanding of how this intricate and interconnected system changes with time.

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Protein DART

New shock-and-kill strategy against HIV

A unique molecule developed at Duke Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MacroGenics, Inc., is able to bind HIV-infected cells to the immune system’s killer T cells. It could become a key part of a shock-and-kill strategy being developed in the hope of one day clearing HIV infection.

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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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Discovery

Viruses flourish in guts of healthy babies

Bacteria aren’t the only nonhuman invaders to colonize the gut shortly after a baby’s birth. Viruses also set up house there, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. All together, these invisible residents are thought to play important roles in human health.

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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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Cancer Treatments

The DNA damage response goes viral

Every organism—from a seedling to a president—must protect its DNA at all costs, but precisely how a cell distinguishes between damage to its own DNA and the foreign DNA of an invading virus has remained a mystery. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered critical details of how a cell’s response system tells the difference between these two perpetual threats. The discovery…

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Surveillance

Big Data may stream­line epidemic control

It’s a race against the clock; every hour counts in efforts to halt the spread of a disease, but identifying anyone with whom the infected patient has had contact is time-consuming, with Contact Officers generally collecting data on paper. Now, however, scientists from the Nigerian Field Epidemiology Laboratory & Training Programme, the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, the Hasso…

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Fighting AIDS

Targeting HIV in semen to shut down AIDS

There may be two new ways to fight AIDS -- using a heat shock protein or a small molecule – to attack fibrils in semen associated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) during the initial phases of infection, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Infectious diseases

Developing vaccines and nanotechnology

Vaccination remains one of the most efficient strategies against infectious diseases, often being the best protection against infections such as hepatitis B, or influenza. European Hospital reports on expert reviews of vaccines in the pipeline and the potential of nanomedicine given during the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) annual meeting in…

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Infectious disease

Ancient origins of deadly Lassa Virus

Working as part of an international team in the United States and West Africa, a researcher at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has published new findings showing the ancient roots of the deadly Lassa virus, a relative of Ebola virus, and how Lassa virus has changed over time.

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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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Global vaccine-development fund

Saving thousands of lives

Ebola is a preventable disease, and yet a safe and effective vaccine has not been deployed. As with many vaccines, financial barriers persist: pharmaceutical companies see high costs with limited market potential, and government support is lacking. But there may be a solution to this vaccine crisis with the ability to save at-risk populations, according to a perspective piece written by…

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Therapy

First-ever possible treatments for MERS

As the South Korean epidemic of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) continues unabated, researchers have raced to find treatments for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 400 people since it was first discovered three years ago in Saudi Arabia.

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AACC News

Rapid Ebola test could help end lingering outbreak

Research presented at the 2015 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo will expand on the studies that led to a fingerprick Ebola test becoming the first and only rapid diagnostic for this disease to receive approval from the World Health Organization (WHO). This test could prove vital to breaking Ebola’s grip on West Africa by identifying suspected Ebola cases within minutes, and enabling…

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Politics

Antibiotic resistance is a threat to global health

Within 15 years effective antibiotics will run out and, far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, a world in which common infections and minor injuries can kill is a very real possibility for the 21st Century. Geoff Sussman, one of the world’s foremost wound experts has warned that antibiotic resistance is posing the biggest single threat to global health. Report: Mark Nicholls

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Market

EIB supports Cavidi’s development of HIV viral load monitoring device

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a EUR 10 million long-term loan to Swedish biotech company Cavidi AB for developing a next generation automated testing device for HIV viral load. This is the first transaction under InnovFin Infectious Diseases, an innovative high risk-taking financial instrument recently established within the new generation of financial products for innovative…

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Molecular Genetics

How a Bacterial Cell Recognizes its Own DNA

It may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that bacteria have an immune system – in their case to fight off invasive viruses called phages. And like any immune system – from single-celled to human – the first challenge of the bacterial immune system is to detect the difference between “foreign” and “self.” This is far from simple, as viruses, bacteria and all other living things…

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Public Health

Romania: Land of hope

Although Romania joined the EU in 2007, only recently has its macroeconomic increases influenced a rise in a middle class and dented the country’s widespread poverty. However, development is still hampered by corruption and red tape in its commercial world. Report: Daniela Zimmermann/Brenda Marsh

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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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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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Ebola-Protection

Protect Our Nurses! - ICN calls for greater support for frontline healthcare workers

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) reissued its call for increased support of and safer working environments for nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontlines of healthcare. The call follows a preliminary report issued by the World Health Organization which states that of the 815 healthcare workers who have been infected by the Ebola virus since the onset of the epidemic, more…

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Bacterial viruses

Tools of the trade

LMU researchers demonstrate for the first time that bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) carry genetic instructions for proteins that mediate the transport of their DNA to specialized replication sites in the host cell.

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Excellence Award

ESCMID honours Médecins Sans Frontières

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) today issued a special excellence award for outstanding achievement to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The award was bestowed in Copenhagen at ESCMID’s annual congress, on behalf of all its members, in light of the charity’s huge contribution to global health over the last 40-years, and in special recognition of…

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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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Nosocomial infections I

Microbes vs. viruses

In European acute care hospitals, on any given day, an estimated 80,000 patients – roughly six percent of all patients – receive antimicrobial treatment to fight a healthcare associated infection (HAI), according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Report: Walter Depner

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Fast, accurate and convenient

New test identifies early sepsis

A newly launched test enables the quantitative determination of PCT in serum samples, EDTA or lithium heparin plasma samples by latex enhanced immunoturbidimetric methodology. The Stanbio Chemistry Procalcitonin (PCT) LiquiColor Assay was launched by EKF Diagnostics, based in Cardiff, Wales, which explains: ‘Procalcitonin is a marker for bacterial infection and sepsis and has been recognised as…

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Fighting HIV with antibodies

30 years after HIV was discovered to be the cause of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS, and despite intensive research, no vaccine or cure has yet been found. An international team of scientists, in collaboration with the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) and the University Hospital of Cologne, has now tested a new generation of antibodies in humans for the first time. They…

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ECCMID

Scientists gather to fight infectious diseases

The European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ESCMID) announces that the globe’s most prominent infection specialists will be gathering in Copenhagen to explore solutions to the biggest infection problems during its annual congress – the 25th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) taking place on 25-28 April 2015.

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Giant virus revealed in 3-D using X-ray laser

For the first time, researchers have produced a 3-D image revealing part of the inner structure of an intact, infectious virus, using a unique X-ray laser at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The virus, called Mimivirus, is in a curious class of “giant viruses” discovered just over a decade ago.

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Liver

Stellate cells control regeneration and fibrosis

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Medical Faculty in Mannheim at Heidelberg University are searching for new approaches to prevent liver fibrosis. They have identified a surface molecule on special liver cells called stellate cells as a potential target for interfering with this process. When the researchers turned off the receptor, this led to reduced liver…

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Ebola

Reports of panic among medics

At the International Meeting on Emerging Diseases and Surveillance (IMED 2014), in Vienna, this year’s focus was on one particular emerging infectious disease: Ebola. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as of January 14th, more than 8.400 people have died of this dangerous disease and more than 21.000 cases were reported in nine countries. Report: Michael Krassnitzer

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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).

Ebola

Furin – the answer to the crises?

With an estimated fatality rate of 52%, the need to discover a cure for Ebola has never been more urgent. New research published in Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics this month suggests that scientists currently investigating potential cures for the Ebola virus should focus more attention on the protein furin.

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Biologised medical technology

New approaches, solutions and outlooks on biologised medical technology developed in the Berlin metropolitan region were presented at this year’s annual 'Medical technology meeting place' in Berlin, which presents the latest research, new product developments and best practice examples from the greater-Berlin area. report: Bettina Döbereiner

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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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Could the virus endanger Europe?

The welcome logic of a World Bank expert

‘Ebola does not present a direct epidemiological danger for Europe,’ according to Dr Armin Fidler, Lead Advisor on Policy and Strategy at the World Bank, but, he added, ‘Inevitably some Europeans will become infected with Ebola, such as those in the healthcare professions or aid workers.’ Report: Michael Krassnitzer

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England prepares for Ebola

More than 750 British military personnel as well as RFA Argus – the country’s medical ship – have arrived in Sierra Leone, for front line duties in the battle against Ebola. In the meantime Britain tested its readiness for a possible Ebola virus epidemic. Report: Brenda Marsh

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France: Ready for Ebola

With strong links with the West Coast of Africa, France is among countries most likely to experience Ebola, with an estimated 20% chance of cases in the homeland before October ends - a few suspected cases have arisen.

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Respect it, don’t fear it

The current ebola outbreak in West Africa, which began in December 2013 in Guinea and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Congo, is considered the largest ebola outbreak ever in West Africa. As of today more than 2,600 cases were reported and more than 1,400 people have died of the disease.

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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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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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Dirt, danger and germs are killers for allergies and asthma

Infants exposed to rodent and pet dander, roach allergens and a wide variety of household bacteria in the first year of life appear less likely to suffer from allergies, wheezing and asthma, according to results of a study conducted by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and other institutions.

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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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Multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) – the inflammatory condition in the central nervous system (CNS) – leads to scarring, with several scars forming lesions, also called plaques. Although long assumed that only white matter is involved, this is increasingly questioned.

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Shunning the flu vaccine

Although receding since late March, the 2012-13 seasonal flu epidemic in metropolitan France, appears to be the longest in some 30 years, even if it did not strike the highest numbers, according to the monitoring network Sentinelles-Inserm.

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Sprayed on skin

Although scientists and medics have sought ways to grow artificial skin in laboratories since the 1970s, only now has it become possible to reproduce the top layer of skin, thanks to work at the Trauma Surgery and Orthopaedics Clinic in Berlin (ukb).

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Molecular diagnostics

Research in the field is booming thanks to newly arriving methods to identify gene sequences. Scientists are interested in a wide range of issues from disease-relevant variations of human genetic information to the detection of viral genetic material that supports therapies. Several highlights of current research were presented this spring at the 9th International Symposium on Molecular…

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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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Molecular diagnoses will become routine

Molecular diagnostics is one of the most important technological advances in clinical diagnostics, seeing the €3.6 billion market grow 10% in constant currency (CC) in 2010 and predicted continual growth well above the diagnostic industry rates. The recipe for success in this field lies in three critical components: core technology, automation and menu. During our interview with Marc Meyer, the…

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Breathing space

If the hopes of inventors are to be believed, in around 20 years’ time there will be ‘real artificial lungs -- for now the endpoint of a history that began 84 years ago with the invention of the iron lung. Until then, non-invasive and invasive mechanical respiration will continue to dominate the hospital, complemented by extracorporeal procedures for blood oxygenation and decarbonisation,…

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When the heart gives up

This April the 77th Annual Meeting of the German Cardiac Society (DGK) presented over 300 events with 1,800 speakers, covering the entire spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, from fundamental research to clinical routine. Professor Gerd Hasenfuss, Director of the Department of Cardiology and Pulmonology and Chair of the Heart Research Centre in Gottingen, particularly requested a focus on …

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Superantigens could be behind several illnesses

Superantigens, the toxins produced by staphylococcus bacteria, are more complex than previously believed, reveals a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in an article published today in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Their discovery shows that the body’s immune system can cause more illnesses than realised.

Cancer screening made simple

Current cervical cancer screening is time consuming and expensive, but now new breakthrough technology developed by European researchers should allow large-range screening by non-medical personnel with almost immediate results and at a much lower cost.

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„OMICS“ – new buzzword for health policy

“The current shift of healthcare towards a systemic and holistic understanding of the causes of diseases is a true scientific revolution,“ Prof. Dr. Angela Brand said today at the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG). Prof. Brand, Director of the European Centre for Public Health Genomics hosted at Maastricht University, added that the “next-generation sequencing technologies are opening…

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Cervical cancer

Data from the ATHENA (Addressing THE Need for Advanced HPV Diagnostics) USA registration trial, involving more than 47,000 women, demonstrate that two human papilloma virus genotypes, HPV 16 and HPV 18, can identify those women with cervical pre-cancer missed by cytologic examination with a Papanicolau (Pap) test.

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Dengue infection detection from first fever day

It’s travel time, bringing all the possibilities of fun – as well as disease risk. The dengue virus, eg, is endemic in 124 countries. It is carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. Typically, what follows is a non-fatal febrile illness characterised by fever, muscle pain, headache, and nausea and vomiting lasting 5-7 days.

Study unravels the hidden genomic complexity of the giant mimivirus

A study published online today in the journal Genome Research offers surprising new clues into the genomic complexity of the giant Mimivirus, the largest known virus in the world. Previous studies have shown that unlike most viruses, the Mimivirus has more genes than many bacteria and performs functions that normally occur only in cellular organisms. The results of the most recent study, led by a…

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World Cancer Day 2010

"Cancer can be prevented too" is the theme of a new campaign being launched today in the lead up to World Cancer Day on 4th February, by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC). The campaign is backed by a new scientific report: 'Protection against cancer causing infections' which focuses on the nine infections that can lead to cancer.

Papilloma virus infection

The latest analysis of a vaccine’s safety, efficacy and immunogenicity indicates that Cervarix, a human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine offers sustained protection for over six years against infection by viral types HPV-16 and HPV-18, most commonly associated with cervical cancer.

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The value and development of PCR tests

Whereas, in the past, the diagnoses of infectious diseases focused on antibody detection, more recently laboratories aim to identify the agent itself, using the invaluable PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. We asked Prof Beatus Ofenloch-Hähnle, head of Reagent and System Development Immunology, at Roche Professional Diagnostics, and Benjamin Lilienfeld, Global Product Manager for Infectious…

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Liver stiffness measurements identify patients with rapid or slow fibrosis

A recent study determined that repeated liver stiffness measurements (LSM) in the first year following liver transplant (LT) could discriminate between slow and rapid "fibrosers". LSM were extremely accurate, particularly at the 6-month post LT point, in detecting severity of fibrosis. Determining those at risk for a recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) allows for early-stage administration of…

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RSNA 2009

Quality counts. That's the theme of RSNA 2009, the global annual assembly of radiologists, medical physicists, diagnostic imaging clinical and IT professionals, and more than 700 companies that provide products and services. For six days, over 200 scientific sessions with more than 1,500 presentations, 1,500 educational exhibits, and more than 500 posters, many interactive, can be attended and…

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Human papilloma viral infection

A global vaccination programme against human papilloma virus (HPV), to include boys as well as girls, could lead to eradication of the virus and virtual disappearance of cervical cancer, according to Nobel Prize winner, Professor Emeritus Harald zur Hausen (University of California, San Diego) after recently delivering a keynote lecture at the 16th International Meeting of the European Society of…

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Cervical cancer prevention

ECCO 15 – ESMO 34, the joint congress of the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), is Europe’s largest oncology meeting; the event drew to Berlin 15,000 participants from 120 countries this September, when more than 2,000 presentations were made. Among the presentations on prevention, treatment and survivorship, proteomics, biomarkers,…

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Influenza

As concern over the potential mutation of the latest form of influenza virus continues to vex governments and their healthcare organisations, WHO 2009 data has shown that acute respiratory infections, influenza and respiratory syncitial virus (RSV) epidemics coincide with epidemics of S. pneumoniae. In fact, half or more of flu-associated mortality in the 1918-1919 Spanish Flu epidemic is…

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ESCAIDE 2009

The European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE) aims to strengthen and expand the network of specialists, share scientific knowledge and experience internationally, and provide a dedicated platform for EPIET/FETP (field epidemiology training programme) fellows to present their work.

HPV vaccines indicate further benefits for cervical cancer protection

New human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine studies presented at the 16th International Meeting of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO) in Belgrade, Serbia, this week have confirmed sustained protection against precancerous cervical lesions in healthy young women, as well as beneficial effects for women previously treated for cervical, vulvar or vaginal precancers or genital warts.

Nobel scientist urges wider vaccination against HPV infection

A global vaccination programme against human papilloma virus (HPV), to include boys as well as girls, could lead to eradication of the virus and virtual disappearance of cervical cancer, predicted Nobel Prize winner, Professor Harald zur Hausen, after delivering the key-note lecture at the 16th International Meeting of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology (ESGO) in Belgrade, Serbia,…

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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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The AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo

The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) hosts its 2009 meeting in conjunction with the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists. Along with this, a high European participation is on the cards. "We are pleased that so many peers from Europe join us each year, and that our European colleagues lead many of the important scientific sessions," said Barbara Goldsmith PhD, current AACC…

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Revolutionary approach to heart failure

British girl Hannah Clark who was given an extra heart as a toddler has become the world's first heart transplant patient to make a full recovery after having her donor organ removed and function restored to her original heart. The case highlights that in some cases of cardiomyopathy, it is possible for the patient's own heart to make a full recovery if it is given adequate support to do so.

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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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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…

Futures: HIV self-monitoring

HIV/AIDS has reached pandemic proportions. 35 million people are infected. Given the situation of hard pressed general practitioners (GPs) today, as well as geographical and other difficulties (as in Africa, for example), a new device that will enable HIV patients to monitor their own health and the effectiveness of treatments, without visiting their doctors so often, is indeed promising.

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Influenza A (H1N1) update

WHO has been carefully monitoring the spread of influenza A (H1N1) and has now raised the alert level to level 6. Raising the alert to level 6 is a measure of geographical spread of the virus and not a measure of its severity. At this time, WHO considers the overall severity of the situation to be moderate.

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Roche Launches Complete Detection Kit for Influenza A /H1N1

Roche Applied Science announced the availability of a new detection kit for the Influenza A/H1N1 virus. The detection kit is offered for use in life science research. Roche currently is filing to get approval of the local health authorities worldwide for use of the kit in emergency situations.

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Respiratory Protection

Respiratory protection for hospital staff is a critical issue. Surgical masks were at one time considered sufficient, but new evidence from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that they do almost nothing to protect the individual wearer. In response to the outbreak of Swine Origin Influenza Virus the CDC recommends all healthcare personnel to wear a fit-tested disposable…

Isolation technology

As processes become more complex, the need for increased laboratory safety is paramount. Protecting operators from hazardous substances, aerosol release or spillages is a critical consideration during processes, whether they are mixing substances or dispensing drugs. Of equal importance is the need to protect the substance, or product, from contamination from the operator. Mark Nicholls presents…

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Swine flu spreads

Swine flu has been confirmed in a number of countries and it is spreading from human to human, which could lead to what is referred to as a pandemic flu outbreak. Pandemic flu is different from ordinary flu because it's a new flu virus that appears in humans and spreads very quickly from person to person worldwide. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization raised the pandemic threat Level to 5…

Wipes meet international regulations

Pal International, which has manufactured a wide range of hygiene products and protective clothing for over three decades and currently supplies products to over 70 countries, has launched a new range of healthcare wipes that are compliant with the Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC), international quality standard ISO13485:2003 and carry the CE mark.

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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…

Products meet international medical device regulations

Well-known wipes manufacturer, Pal International Ltd, which produces various healthcare disinfectant and cleaning wipes, is launching a new range of healthcare wipes, all complying with the Medical Devices Directive (93/42/EEC), international quality standard ISO13485:2003 and carrying the CE mark.

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Small device counts viruses in minutes

The machine 'qViro' which is the size of a coffee grinder will make virus counting much cheaper than traditional virus counting technology. The revolutionary new invention offers the potential to quickly muster and count the number of viruses in a sample in minutes - it is a portable, desktop instrument, powered from the USB drive of a computer - current competitors are the size of washing…

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Scrub the scrubs

For several year, experts have been deploring the lack of physicians' and healthcare workers' attention to hand hygiene and equipment sterilisation. Now, hospital clothes are also in the line of fire. How dangerous are the scrubs really?

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Hopes for new treatment

Researchers have discovered a potential new treatment for diabetes by isolating and killing defective cells which prevent the natural production of insulin. The investigation opens the door to a potential therapy for patients with type 1 diabetes.

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Finding prostate cancer metastates in lymph nodes early

With the help of an engineered common cold virus spreadings of prostate cancer in the pelvic lymph nodes can be visualised with a PET scanner. It is now possible to treat the cancer in an early stage. But the developers of the virus from UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center see a chance to even use it as a treatment option.

The 7th Villacher Hygienetag

Experts from almost a dozen European countries - including for the first time Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia - will meet at the Villacher Hygienetag (Hospital Hygiene Congress) in October to discuss "Antibiotic resistance - development, consequences and concepts".

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ESGE-ESGENA

Endoscopic procedures, which are well established in the diagnosis and therapy of gastrointestinal diseases, not only carry procedural risks but also the risk of endoscopy associated infections.

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Be prepared for the pandemic flu

The next pandemia will come - rather sooner than later. The respiratory protection of frontline staff is a major part of healthcare facilities' preparation. To assist hospitals, ECRI Institute and the International Association of Healthcare Safety and Security present the web conference "Respiratory Protection: Preparing for Pandemic Flu" on July 17, 2008.

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How measles virus spread in its host

Every kindergarten undergoes it several times a year: the German measles. Nobody knew exactly how measles enter the body. But it has been thought they come through the surface of airways and lungs. But that is wrong, as researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found recently.

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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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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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At a glance

Where are the most high-tech start-ups? That`s an easy one: Silicon Valley. But who comes in a close second? Surprisingly: Israel. Further: Israel ranks Number 1 in terms of availability of scientists and engineers and Number 2 in quality of higher education. The result of this impressive track record is a wide range of successful enterprises and products, particularly related to the life…

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Development of potential Hepatitis C vaccine

The British Midlands' University of Nottingham discovered a possible vaccine for use in the treatment of Hepatits C. At the 161st. meeting of the Society for General Microbiology in Edinburgh, UK, a paper titled “Human Antibodies to Hepatits C Virus – Potential for Vaccine Design” was presented.

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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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AACC emphasises preventive diagnostics

San Diego, California - 20,000 international physicians, scientists and other visitors travelled to the Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) in July, and 750 exhibitors emphasised the increasing importance of this gathering

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Cold and Flu Etiquette

Do you remember your mother saying “cover your mouth when you cough”? Probably you do, because this exhortation accompanies the whole childhood. Maybe it is a kind of protest then, that in adulthood this simple rule is not followed by many. The British Department of Health now started a new campaign “Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases” and calls for a better cold behaviour.

Help for the helpers

Healthcare systems in Africa are facing a huge threat in their fight against AIDS - an increasing shortfall of nursing staff. Workers are either infected themselves or can no longer cope with the daily fight against the disease. Despite this, there is hope - the first wellness centre for healthcare workers, which provides medical and psychological help to nursing staff and their families, was…

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Bird flu vaccine production to be based in CR

Czech Republic - The US firm Baxter International Inc. is to establish a production facility to produce a quite unique vaccine in CR. First discussed in December 2005, the plan appears to have made a significant step forward. Baxter specialises in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology, and globally employs around 48,000 people in 64 manufacturing facilities, which include those in…

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Decade of IT under-funding in the USA

The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was felt so strongly at HIMSS '06, the annual meeting of North America's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which drew over 24,500 healthcare IT professionals and hospital executives to San Diego in February, that the Society decided to hold its 2007 meeting in New Orleans to bring dollars to the city's damaged economy.

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