Microbiology

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Altered bacterial function

Accumulation of drugs in the gut may reduce their effectiveness

Common medications can accumulate in gut bacteria, a new study has found, altering bacterial function and potentially reducing the medications’ effectiveness. These interactions - seen for many…

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Immune system research

How the gut microbiome can help prevent brain damage in preemies

Extremely premature infants are at a high risk for brain damage. Researchers at the University of Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna have now found possible targets for the early treatment…

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Population bottlenecks

Random effects make it difficult to optimise antibiotic therapy

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have become one of the greatest threats to public health. The basic mechanisms of resistance evolution have been well studied experimentally and are an important…

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M.O. of Darobactin unveiled

Novel antibiotic deceives bacteria through mimicry

An increasing number of bacterial pathogens are resistant to antibiotics. And the most dangerous pathogens share a common feature: a double membrane that is difficult to penetrate. Even when…

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Bioorganic chemistry

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

A consortium of researchers from Russia, Belarus, Japan, Germany and France led by the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have uncovered the way in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives…

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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…

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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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Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics

A new technique to understand metabolic pathways

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

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Helpful housemates

Our gut microbiome could unlock the secret to healthy ageing

Bacteria and other microorganisms in the digestive tract are linked with dozens of health conditions including high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and body mass index (BMI) according to research presented at ESC Congress 2020. “Our study indicates that microbiota might have an important role in maintaining health and could help us develop novel treatments,” said study author Dr. Hilde…

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Microbiome study

Do microscope eyepieces pose an infection risk?

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

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Microbiological big data analysis

Building a 'Microbiome Search Engine'

Big data makes big promises when it comes to providing insights into human behavior and health. The problem is how to harness the information it provides in an efficient manner. An international team of researchers has proposed a microbiome search-based method, via Microbiome Search Engine (MSE), to analyze the wealth of available health data to detect and diagnose human diseases. They published…

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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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Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance

How P. aeruginosa becomes resistant during CF treatment

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

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Minimising infection risk

Drying in endoscope reprocessing: Essential to patient safety

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

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Breakthrough against C. diff

New Clostridioides difficile vaccine on the horizon

Researchers at the University of Exeter first identified a gene in the 'hospital bug' Clostridioides difficile responsible for producing a protein that aids in binding the bacteria to the gut of its victims. In collaboration with researchers at Paris-SUD University, they then showed that mice vaccinated with this protein generated specific antibodies to the protein – and that C. diff that did…

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Influential genes

Our microbiome is shaped by genetic differences in the immune system

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

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Microbiology

Resistance can spread without antibiotics use

Bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to common antibiotics. Often, resistance is mediated by resistance genes, which can simply jump from one bacterial population to the next. It’s a common assumption that the resistance genes spread primarily when antibiotics are used, a rationale backed up by Darwin's theory: only in cases where antibiotics are actually being used does a resistant…

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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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XDR Klebsiella pneumoniae

Antibiotic resistance in Europe: Hospitals are part of the problem

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

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Not just the climate changes

Global warming might be behind the rise of Candida auris

Global warming may have played a pivotal role in the emergence of Candida auris. According to a new study published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, C. auris, which is often multi-drug resistant and is a serious public health threat, may be the first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change.

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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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Microbiology & hygiene

HAIs are one problem – MDROs another

In view of the increase of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared antibiotic resistance one of the biggest threats to global health. MDROs have become a major problem particularly in hospitals. Professor Dr Georg Häcker, President of the German Society of Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) and Director of the Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene at…

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