Real-world disease and parasite monitoring is often hampered by the inability of traditional approaches to easily sample broad geographical areas and large numbers of individuals. This can result in patchy data that fall short of what researchers need to anticipate and address outbreaks. Writing in BioScience (https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/biosci/biab027), Jessica Farrell, Liam Whitmore, and David Duffy describe the promise of novel molecular techniques to overcome these shortcomings.
New method can simultaneously diagnose cases, track variants and detect co-infections.
The researchers compared the R (basic reproduction number) of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus with the R of the British variant, and found that the British variant is almost 1.5 times more infectious. The researchers: "The study proves that active monitoring of at-risk populations and prioritized vaccination programs can prevent hundreds of deaths."
The observation that most of the viruses that cause human diseases come from other animals has led some researchers to attempt "zoonotic risk prediction" to second-guess the next virus to hit us. However, in an Essay publishing in journal PLOS Biology, led by Dr Michelle Wille at the University of Sydney, Australia with co-authors Jemma Geoghegan and Edward Holmes, it is proposed that these zoonotic risk predictions are of limited value and will not tell us which virus will cause the next pandemic.
Dietary sugars and gut microbes play a key role in promoting malaria parasite infection in mosquitoes. Researchers in China have uncovered evidence that mosquitoes fed a sugar diet show an increased abundance of the bacterial species Asaia bogorensis, which enhances parasite infection by raising the gut pH level. The study appears April 20 in the journal Cell Reports.
Researchers from NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine's Infectious Diseases Translational Research Programme have identified two new proteins that play a critical role in the ability of EV-A71 to invade the central nervous system. One of these proteins is a druggable target, which means that there are drugs available that target this protein and which could potentially be used to limit the neurological complications associated with this illness.
Immune responses in SARS-CoV-2 patients might provide only incomplete protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants from minks.
A COVID-19 vaccine that could provide protection against existing and future strains of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and other coronaviruses, and cost about $1 a dose has shown promising results in early testing.
The downward trajectory of plant and animal diversity constitutes a key issue of the Anthropocene. Whether diversity is changing also in the world of microbes is unknown, however -- a "profound ignorance" -- because the importance of these microorganisms maintain Earth's habitability. A paper published today frames the rate of change of microbial biodiversity as an important question on which progress is possible.
Results suggest vaccination against COVID-19 remains crucial even in young adults who were previously infected.