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.