The Handoff: Your Week in Infectious Disease News – 4/7/17

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.

— Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University found that the unusual approach of removing IgG2 antibodies from the blood stream reduced effects of chronic infections from antibiotic resistant bacteria. The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, used plasmapheresis to remove the antibodies from 2 patients with bronchiectasis and chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

— Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis found that when G vaginalis enters the urinary tract in mice, it triggers Escherichia coli, already in the bladder, to cause another UTI. The study, published in PLoS Pathogens suggests that G vaginalis can contribute to potentially deadly kidney infections. It also provides compelling reason for the connection between sexual activity and recurrent UTI, since G vaginalis are moved into the urinary tract during sex.

— A collection of news articles published in Vaccine investigate the outdated vaccine supply and distribution methods internationally. Other than the struggle of ensuring a consistent supply of vaccines, researchers found that 1 in 3 countries experience at least one stockout of a vaccine at least once a month and 19% to 38% of vaccines worldwide are exposed to freezing temperatures, affecting their potency.

— University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers have improved the safety and efficacy of a potential HIV vaccine by engineering an ‘on-off switch’ within a weakened form of HIV. The study, published in ACS Synthetic Biology, demonstrated that flipping the switch allows weakened HIV to replicate at a level likely to generate immunity in a host.

— Researchers at the University of Würzburg have discovered that Chlamydia trachomatis can manipulate a cell’s energy supplier. The study, published in the Journal of Cell Biology, shows that the bacteria influences the mitochondria upon infection to prevent it from programming cell death.

— Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute have found a method to analyze the glycan shield on HIV’s protective outer glycoprotein. This method will hopefully allow for the creation of a glycan “fingerprint” and help in the development of an HIV vaccine

— University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston researchers are leading a project to increase low vaccination rates in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). The research team, led by Susan Wootton, MD, aims to reduce vaccine delinquency rates by 75% within the HISD targeted schools.

— NEMUS Bioscience and the University of Mississippi report that cannabinoid-based therapies have unique anti-bacterial properties that fight against multiple species of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

— Researchers in southern Israel kept eyes on sewage to track the poliovirus. The study, published in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that tracking sewage for low levels of polio can help give warning to the reemergence of the disease or its absence in an area.