The Handoff: Your Week in Infectious Disease News - 1/6/17


As infectious diseases evolve, it can be challenging to stay current with the latest research. The Handoff is a weekly roundup of the most important news and updates covering the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. Keep your finger on the pulse of infectious diseases with The Handoff.

--Vox thinks that 2017 will be the year of CRISPR: scientists weigh in on “the most exciting ways” they might one day change the world using gene-editing technology.

--Influenza activity has picked up since the start of the season in October 2016. The predominant strain appears to be influenza A viruses, H3N2 in particular.

--The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has thrown its support behind Intarcia Therapeutics to aid the development of preventative HIV medications that can be administered to patients through a delivery pump.

--Cynthia Leifer, PhD, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University recently published a piece in The Pharmaceutical Journal highlighting the surprising positive results of public fear and science skepticism surrounding vaccines.

--Clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital performed a 5-hour surgery to implant a hepatitis C virus (HCV)-negative patient with a liver from a HCV-positive donor. The procedure—one of the first of its kind—is a result of a “severe shortage of donated organs.” The Boston Globe reports.

--A Washington Post writer chronicles her long road to pneumonia recovery, and looks in to why it takes patients with pneumonia so long to bounce back.   

--Texas A&M AgriLife has received a $10 million, 5-year grant from the CDC to establish the Western Gulf Coast Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. The center's goal is to “proactively find ways to stop the spread of vector-borne diseases,” according to a press release.

--A government-commissioned review of antimicrobial resistance in the United Kingdom has estimated that 10 million lives a year and $100 trillion economic output will be at risk by 2050, due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections. 

--In other antibiotic resistant bacterial news, superbugs continue to become “more sophisticated,” according to a report in Tech Times. An article in The Guardian questions whether or not 2017 will be “the year we take drug-resistant superbugs seriously.”

--The National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC) is reminding the public that January is Cervical Health Awareness Month—and that human papillomavirus (HPV) is easily preventable through the HPV vaccine. 

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