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.

Infectious Disease Advisor will be covering the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) to be held February 13-16, 2017. Take a sneak peek of the topics to be highlighted at CROI 2017.

–Reported in Nature, scientists from Penn Medicine observed that preclinical tests of a single dose mRNA-based Zika vaccine candidate shows promise in both mice and monkeys. Findings from the paper will also be presented at CROI next week.

— According to a new Pew Research Center survey, despite the public debate over safety of childhood vaccines, 82% of Americans support requiring all healthy schoolchildren to be vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella.

— The CDC is reporting widespread influenza activity in most states.  The predominant strain making people sick so far is the influenza A virus H3N2. A total of 15 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2016-2017 season.

— A new study published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica found that in addition to severe infections (requiring hospitalization), non-severe infections (requiring no hospitalization) also increase the risk for developing schizophrenia or depression in patients.

–Michael M. Lederman, MD, a researcher from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has received a $2.5 million grant from Gilead Sciences to see if a combined treatment of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and monoclonal antibodies can help to eradicate HIV.

–In a study published in PLoS Pathogens, researchers at Penn Medicine have found evidence that Interleukin 27 (IL-27) may be the key to fighting and treating respiratory syncytial virus infections.

–Does living in a gravity-free environment impact human gut microbiota?  Northwestern University researchers observed that changes in an astronaut’s gut bacteria associated with spaceflight went away upon his return to Earth.

–In this TEDx talk, Brian Hammer, PhD, an associate professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences, discusses the possibility of using engineered bacteria as a living antibiotic.