Friday News Roundup!

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Highlights include: microbiologists and the ER – a match made in heaven, the CDC testing RIDTs,  Malaysia and BW (not what you think), bacterial voyeurism, more drug contamination at the infamous NECC, and vaccinia – now in technicolor!

How Investigating Bacteria Will Change Health Care In Hospitals

How I see this playing out: ‘Excuse me, pardon me – ooh that looks bad – don’t mind me, just need to collect samples of the ER floor here.’

“Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist from the University of Chicago…and a group of microbiologists will take over a brand new hospital in an experiment called the ‘Hospital Microbiome’. The goal of ‘Hospital Microbiome’ is to try to see what microbes and viruses will move in to the hospital and how patients and hospital staff impact the variety of microbes that live in the hospital. Gilbert and his team will track the bacteria in the hospital before it opens and as it starts accepting staff and patients. This data will help hospital administration, doctors, nurses, and researchers get a better understanding of how these bacteria and viruses make their way around a hospital, sometimes causing dangerous infections in the patients.”

For a link to the Hospital Mircobiome study itself, click here.

CDC Evaluation of 11 Commercially Available Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests (RIDT)

To absolutely no one’s surprise, tests were better at detecting influenza when given higher concentrations of virus.

CDC in MMWR – “The findings in this report further emphasize the importance of collecting respiratory specimens when the amount of influenza virus is at its peak (within 24–72 hours of symptom onset). The high virus concentrations at which the evaluated FDA-cleared RIDTs detected recent circulating viruses might exceed levels expected in clinical specimens, even those collected at the peak of virus load in the specimen (2–4). Although all RIDTs were able to detect virus at the highest virus concentrations, some were unable to detect certain viruses at any subsequent dilution.”

This is What Your Cells Look Like on Vaccinia

Researchers at two Australian universities have captured in trippy fluorescent detail the progression of vaccinia virus through cells (extra point if you know what vaccinia is used for – yes just one point, you should know!)   The giant cloud of pink is the virus, with the halo of healthy host cells surrounding in green.

Image: Green fluorescent protein expressing vaccinia virus (pink) spreads from a single infected cell through an entire monolayer of green monkey kidney cells (blue with yellow nuclei) over three days.

For other equally impressive photographs, check out the full gallery. Who knew viruses could be so pretty?

Malaysia to Prepare Law on Biological Warfare

Everyone give it up for Malaysia.

NTI – “Malaysian Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Tuesday the nation would prepare legislation aiming to address the threat of conflict involving biological agents, Bernama reported. ‘Biological warfare is a new war which can happen not only in Malaysia but also in the ASEAN region,’ Zahid said, referring to the territory covered by the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.”

Researchers “Watch” Antibiotics Attack Tuberculosis Bacteria Inside Cells

What about the rights of microbes? Don’t they get any privacy? Occupy petri dishes! Just kidding, tuberculosis is awful.

Infection Control Today – “Weill Cornell Medical College researchers report that mass spectrometry, a tool currently used to detect and measure proteins and lipids, can also now allow biologists to ‘see’ for the first time exactly how drugs work inside living cells to kill infectious microbes. As a result, scientists may be able to improve existing antibiotics and design new, smarter ones to fight deadly infections, such as tuberculosis. The new study was published in an early online edition of Science.”

Further Drug Contamination by Pharmacy at Center of Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Things are going from bad to worse for the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy at the center of the multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak. According to the FDA, two additional products from the pharmacy have tested positive for bacterial contamination. Three batches of  injectable betamethasone and one batch of cardioplegia solution tested positive for a combined eight bacterial species, including the (rarely) pathogenic Bacillus idriensis and Bacillus circulans.

The total number of cases of fungal meningitis associated with the pharmacy’s Exserohilum rostratum contaminated drugs has reached 386, with 28 fatalities in 19 states (CDC).

In case you missed it:

– US increases funding to combat influenza and emerging disease threats (FAO)
– Cranking Up Biosecurity (The Scientist)

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