Tag Archives: Bacteria

Why US Approval for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine Is Taking Too Long | Smart News | Instant News

On the evening of March 24, AstraZeneca announced Its Covid-19 vaccine is 76 percent effective in preventing symptomatic disease, based on Phase III trials of more than 32,000 participants, mostly in the United States. The results summed up a whirlwind of news about the AstraZeneca vaccine in March.

Currently, the vaccine has been approved for use in the UK and several European Union countries since December. It has not been approved in the US because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the company to provide results from a large-scale trial, Umair Irfan reported for Sound. Experts expect data to show the vaccine is safe and effective, but are concerned about how AstraZeneca’s recent hurdles could affect its reputation around the world.

“I think the way the ship will be repaired is with FDA supervision,” biostatistician Stephen Evans of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told Smriti Mallapaty and Ewen Callaway at Natural. Evans hopes the vaccine will be approved when the FDA can review the raw data.

On March 18, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) completed its review of the AstraZeneca vaccine created in partnership with the University of Oxford, and concluded that it was safe and effective, BBC news report. The EU’s medical regulatory agency has reviewed the safety of the vaccine because, of the roughly 17 million people who got the injection in early March, 37 had unusual blood clots.

More than 20 countries are suspending vaccine use while EMA is reviewing cases, Kai Kupferschmidt and Gretchen Vogel report on Science magazine. Most countries resumed vaccine use after the EMA concluded it was safe, but last week Norway extended the vaccine suspension to April 15, Gwladys Fouche and Terje Solsvik reported to Reuters. Norwegian officials hope more data on the causes of blood clots will be available soon.

On March 22, AstraZeneca released its preliminary results from its Phase III trial, which show slightly higher effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 than the latest results. The results have been long awaited. The FDA asked companies to conduct larger trials to get clearer data than they collected in their first round of testing. In the UK’s first trial, some participants unexpectedly received half the dose from the first injection of the vaccine, and the initial trial did not involve enough people over 65 years of age, reports. Washington Post.

On the morning of March 23, officials at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released a letter from the data and security monitoring board that had examined AstraZeneca’s trial, Andrew Joseph reported for STAT News. The letter stated that AstraZeneca had used old data to achieve its effectiveness figures. That move was unprecedented; Usually, the supervisory board keeps their correspondence with the company secret.

“We just feel we can’t stay still. Because if we stay silent, it’s understandable that we are accused of covering up something. And we definitely don’t want to be in that position, “Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, told STAT News. “In my mind, this is the company’s own fault.”

AstraZeneca describes preliminary results including data collected up to February 17 as per Natural.

Within 48 hours, AstraZeneca released the revised results with updated data. According to statement, the vaccine has 76 percent effectiveness in reducing symptoms of Covid-19 overall, and 85 percent efficacy in people aged 65 and over. A special review of 32,000 participants in the US trial found no cases of unusual blood clots causing doubt in Europe, per STAT News.

“The benefits of this result will primarily benefit the rest of the world, where confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine has been eroded,” Evans told New York Time.

AstraZeneca plans to submit data for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks and then the FDA will have additional time to review the data and make its decision.

The AstraZeneca vaccine may not have a big role in vaccinating people in the United States because the three companies that have agreed to supply the vaccine in the country agreed to provide sufficient doses to anyone who wants it this year. But AstraZeneca participates in the COVAX program to deliver doses to low- and middle-income countries without benefit, and FDA approval is the global gold standard for the safety of treatment.

“Ultimately, the FDA looks at data, not press releases,” former FDA chief scientist Jesse Goodman told Sound. “Looking at that data and doing their own analysis is what will determine whether this vaccine gets [emergency use authorization], whether the benefits outweigh the risks. “


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Garbage New Life Food | Instant News

World renowned chef Thomas Keller once said, “Respecting food is respecting life, for who we are and what we do.” But, at the moment 40% of the country’s food is not eaten – over 66 million tons a year – and the results are widespread, from starvation to taxes on the environment and the economy.

Growing, processing, transporting, and disposing of uneaten food in the United States is expensive. Nationally, this translates to an estimated annual price of $ 218 billion, at the cost of a house of four an average of $ 1,800 a year. Apart from that, needy wasted food more than 20% of national landfills, where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas up to 86 times stronger than carbon dioxide.

Now, a team from the University of California, Riverside (UCR), has found a way to keep unused food out of landfills and use it for more beneficial uses.

What the researchers found in their studies Citrus plants, published in the journal Frontier in Sustainable Food Systems, show that fermented food waste can actually increase bacteria which – in addition to increasing plant growth – can make plants more resistant to pathogens and reduce carbon emissions from agriculture.

“The beneficial microbes increase dramatically when we add fermented food waste to plant growth systems,” says UCR microbiologist Deborah Pagliaccia, who led the research. “When there are sufficient numbers of these good bacteria, they produce antimicrobial compounds and metabolites that help plants grow better and faster.”

To help combat some of the environmental damage caused by food waste, the UCR research team set out to find alternative uses other than bins. For their research, they examined the byproducts of two types of waste available in Southern California: beer collision – a byproduct of beer production – and mixed food waste dumped by grocery stores.

After the waste is fermented, it is added to the citrus irrigation system in greenhouses. Within a day, the average population of beneficial bacteria has doubled to two to three times greater than that of untreated plants. This trend continues whenever researchers add treatments.

The end result is the same as optimal production for crops as well as reduced costs for farmers. “If the waste byproducts can increase the carbon to nitrogen ratio in the plant, we can leverage this information to optimize the production system,” says Pagliaccia.

The study suggests the use of the food waste byproducts under study could also complement the use of synthetic chemical additives by manufacturers – in some cases eliminating the use of those additives altogether. Plants will, in turn, become cheaper.

“There is an urgent need to develop new agricultural practices,” said UCR plant pathologist and study co-author Georgios Vidalakis. “California oranges, in particular, face historical challenges such as Huanglongbing’s bacterial disease and limited water availability.”

Pagliaccia also emphasized that new methods must be developed. “We have to transition from a linear ‘take-make-consume-waste’ economy to a circular economy where we use something and then find new purposes for it. This process is critical to protecting our planet from depletion of natural resources and the threat of greenhouse gases. That’s the story of this project. “


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Early Shedding – Listeriosis Caused by the Persistence of Listeria monocytogenes Serotype 4b Sequence Type 6 in the Cheese Production Environment – Volume 27, Number 1 – January 2021 – journal Emerging Infectious Diseases | Instant News

Disclaimer: Early release articles are not considered final versions. Any changes will be reflected in the online version in the month the article is officially released.

Author affiliations: Institute of Food Safety and Hygiene, Zurich, Switzerland (M.Nüesch-Inderbinen, MJA Stevens, N. Cernela, R. Stephan); National Reference Center for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria, Zurich (GV Bloemberg, A. Müller); The Cantonese Laboratory in the Original Canton, Brunnen, Switzerland (B. Kollöffel)

Listeriosis is a potentially lethal infection, and the elderly population, pregnant women, and people with compromised immune systems are at particular risk (1). Food, particularly ready-to-eat food, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables, represents the main vehicle for sporadic cases and outbreaks of listeriosis (2). Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b sequence type 6 (ST6) has emerged since 1990 as a hypervirulent clone which is associated with poorer outcomes especially for patients who have Listeria meningitis and therefore poses a special threat to consumer health (3,4).

L. monocytogenes ST6 is increasingly being linked to outbreaks, including outbreaks associated with frozen vegetables in 5 European countries during 2015–2018 (5), an outbreak associated with contaminated meat pate in Switzerland during 2016 (6), and the largest global outbreak of listeriosis, which occurred in South Africa during 2017–2018 (7,8). Recently, Europe’s largest outbreak of listeriosis in the last 25 years was reported in Germany and traced back to contaminated blood sausage. L. monocytogenes ST6 belongs to a particular clone which is referred to as Epsilon1a (9).

Human listeriosis is a reported disease in Switzerland. All cases of human listeriosis confirmed by culture or PCR were reported to the Swiss Federal Public Health Office (SFOPH). Diagnostic laboratories and regional (canton) laboratories forward isolates to the Swiss National Reference Center for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria for strain characterization, ensuring early recognition Listeria groups among food isolates or human cases. We report an outbreak of listeriosis associated with contaminated cheese L. monocytogenes 4b ST6 in Switzerland.

In 2018, the SFOPH recorded 52 cases of listeriosis in humans, corresponding to a normal annual incidence rate of 0.6 cases / 100,000 population (10). However, during 6 March 2018 – 31 July 2018 there was an increase of L. monocytogenes serotype 4b of 13 human cases were recorded. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed on these strains using MiSeq generation sequencing technology (Illumina, https://www.illumina.com). Sequence readings were mapped to a typing mutlocus sequencing scheme (MLST) based on 7 housekeeping genes and a 1,701-locus (cgMLST) core genome MLST scheme using Ridom SeqSphere + software version 5.1.0 (11). STs and cluster types (CTs) are determined after submission to L. monocytogenes cgMLST Ridom SeqSphere + server (https://www.cgmlst.org/ncs/schema/690488/).

A cluster is defined as a group of isolates with <10 different alleles between neighboring isolates (9,11). Twelve of the 13 isolates were assigned to ST6 CT7448, a unique profile in the database, indicated by closely related cluster detection. Therefore, we defined plague case patients as patients suffering from listeriosis and L. monocytogenes ST6 CT7448. Outbreak investigations were initiated by the SFOPH, and patients were contacted to assess food exposure using a standardized questionnaire. Diagnostic and territorial laboratories are notified nationally to ensure fast delivery L. monocytogenes isolates to the National Reference Center for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria for laboratory typing, including WGS. However, questionnaire-based outbreak investigations did not lead to suspected diets, and the cause of infection remains unknown.

Picture 1

Picture 1. Cases of human listeriosis caused by Listeria monocytogenes ST6 CT7488, by week and year, Switzerland, 2018 and 2020. CT, cluster type; ST, sequence type.

In the second batch, the start date ranges from 22 January to 26 May 2020 (Picture 1). 27 other cases of infection L. monocytogenes serotype 4b was recorded; 4 cases in hospital patients who had underlying conditions. During this period, questionnaire-based data were not available to support the food hypothesis.

Figure 2

Minimum spanning tree based on the cgMLST allele profile of 34 human Listeria monocytogenes isolates, 1 food isolate, and 5 environmental isolates, Switzerland.  Each circle represents an allele profile based on a sequence analysis of 1,701 cgMLST target genes.  The value on the connecting line shows the amount of allele difference between the 2 strains.  Each circle contains a strain identification.  Food isolates are indicated with a green star, and environmental strains are indicated with a blue star.  The plague strains were shaded pink and shown in comparison with other L. monocytogenes sequence type 6 isolates from Switzerland collected during 2016-2020.  cgMLST, a core genome multilocus sequence typing.

Figure 2. Minimum spanning tree based on cgMLST allele profiles of 34 humans Listeria monocytogenesisolates, 1 food isolate, and 5 environmental isolates, Switzerland. Each circle represents an allele profile based on …

A total of 22 strains stratified by WGS in dense clusters, with the exception of N20-2045, which were differentiated by >8 alleles (Figure 2). This tension is within the definition of a cluster. However, in the absence of supporting epidemiological data, we cannot verify whether N20–0245 is actually involved in the outbreak.

The mean age of the patients was 81 years (range <1–99 years). More than half of the patients were women (18/34, 53%). Of 34 human isolates, 30 came from blood samples and 1 each from abscess, ascites, maternal placental tissue, or stool samples (Table). One case of perinatal transmission and 10 deaths (29%) were reported.

On April 30, 2020, the cheese producer reports to the regional detection laboratory L. monocytogenes from a sample of soft cheese (brie) made from pasteurized milk. The analysis has been carried out as part of routine factory quality control practices, which are required in Switzerland (Swiss Food Act, Article 23). Cheese isolate N20-639 was matched to the CT strain outbreak by WGS (Table; Figure 2). Regional authorities began tracking the distribution chain for dairy products. The cheese producer supplies several buyers who supply the cheese to retailers throughout Switzerland. Buyers are asked to immediately stop sending products from that particular manufacturer.

This discovery encourages extensive environmental sampling at the factory production site. A total of 50 swab specimens from the site, such as barrels, cheese lute, skimming device, drain, brush, scrub sponge, tray, door handle, ripe basement floor and walls were obtained. The swabs were incubated in Half Frazer Broth (Bio-Rad, https://www.bio-rad.com) at 30 ° C for 48 hours. L. monocytogenes detected by real-time PCR with the Assurance Genetic Detection System (Endotell, https://www.endotell.ch) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. To obtain strains for WGS, 5 cultures of enriched Half Frazer Broth were smeared on chromogenic Listeria agar plates (Oxoid, Pratteln, Switzerland) and incubated at 37 ° C for 24 hours.

L. monocytogenes were identified in 11 (22%) of 50 environmental samples, and all 5 isolates sequences matched the CT outbreak strains (Table; Figure 2). These results lead to a recall on May 5, 2020, of 26 items, including brie, lamb and goat cheese, and organic cheese; production was stopped immediately. The findings were reported to the Epidemic Intelligence Information System for Food and Water-borne Diseases and Zoonoses. Following a recall of the products involved and a public warning issued by the Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary, 7 cases of listeriosis caused by plague strains were recorded (Picture 1). The last known cases of this plague strain were sampled on 20 May 2020, and reported to SFOPH on 25 May 2020. Sequence data has been stored in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Bethesda, MD, USA), the BioSample database in the project does not . PRJNA640586. We provide an accession number (Table).

This prolonged outbreak L. monocytogenes 4b ST6 CT7448 caused 34 laboratory confirmed cases of listeriosis and 10 deaths. An outbreak investigation is an example of a successful collaboration between laboratories and food safety and public health authorities to determine the source of contamination and reconstruct the progression of an outbreak. The results of the investigation imply that cheese milk lacks sanitation and environmental contamination persist at all production sites. WGS isolation and typing L. monocytogeneFrom cheese samples the quality control provides important information that allows identification of the origin of the contamination. The WGS played a key role in demonstrating the close association between isolates from cheese items and from the environment, and in linking listeriosis cases from 2018 to the 2020 outbreak.

The outbreak highlights the risk of recontamination of pasteurized cheese products during manufacture and emphasizes the need for routine sampling of products, manufacturing equipment and the production environment. Routine quality control should include environmental WGS typing L. monocytogenes isolates to allow early recognition of potential food contaminants and ultimately reduce the risk of listeriosis.

Dr. Nüesch-Inderbinen is a research fellow at the Institute for Food Safety and Hygiene, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. His main research interests are pathogenic and antimicrobial resistant bacteria in humans, animals and the food chain.


Recommended citations for this article: Nüesch-Inderbinen M, Bloemberg GV, Müller A, Stevens MJA, Cernela N, Kollöffel B, et al. Listeriosis is caused by persistence Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b sequence type 6 in cheese production environment. Emergency Infect Dis. 2021 Jan [date cited]. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2701.203266

The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors’ affiliated agencies. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups mentioned above.


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Vital Signs: Make food safety an important part of your Thanksgiving preparation | Health | Instant News

When shopping, start in the middle aisles of the store, where the unwanted items are located. Add chilled and frozen foods to your final basket. Use blocks or ice packs and insulated bags to help keep your food cool when driving home. Disinfect reusable ice bags and bags regularly.

Check the expiration date at the grocery store and in your kitchen.

Thaw food in the refrigerator, under running water, or in the microwave.

Watch out for cross contaminationMake sure all cabinets, cutting boards, pans, thermometers, and utensils are cleaned properly before use.

Don’t store raw meat on top of ready-to-eat food. Store raw meat in the bottom of the refrigerator.

Don’t stack different types of meat on top of one another. For example, don’t put chicken on top of ground beef.

Keep cold food cold, hot food hotKeep food in the refrigerator cold at 41 ° F or lower. After meeting the required cooking temperature (poultry temperature 165 F), continue to keep the cooked food hot at 135 ° F.

Food left at room temperature for too long can allow bacteria to multiply and produce toxins that cause you or your guests to become sick (if temperatures are kept above 41 ° F and below 135 ° F – also known as “temperature danger zones”).


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Mapping for predicting tick distribution in Switzerland | Instant News

A comprehensive study by EPFL and the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV) has enabled researchers to map the geographic distribution of ticks in Switzerland for the first time, as well as to determine whether they are carriers of chlamydia. Little is known about these bacteria, but fleas have the potential to transmit them to humans. The team found that the zone conducive to tick proliferation had grown by 10% over the past decade.

Pedestrians departing on one of the many walking trails in Switzerland often bring back beautiful photos, the occasional cramp, and – accidentally – fleas. These tiny akarids, which are in dense bush and on the edges of forests, are very active in hot weather and cling to human and animal hosts passing nearby. Despite their small size, they can transmit potentially serious diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis. Recent research by the Institute of Microbiology at CHUV has shown that fleas are often carriers of large amounts of chlamydia, a still poorly understood bacteria that can be transmitted to humans and cause secondary disease.

Scientists recognize that tick breeding and activity are influenced by a variety of environmental factors, including temperature and humidity. However, data on its regional distribution over time in Switzerland are lacking, which has been classified as a risk area. At EPFL’s Geographical Information Systems (LASIG) Laboratory, Estelle Rochat’s thesis project aims to address this void and identify areas where ticks carry chlamydia. His extensive mapping work has been published at prestigious events Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Three data sources

After identifying the environmental conditions conducive to the presence of castor bean infestation (Ixodes ricinus), the most common species of tick in Switzerland, Rochat created a map of their geographic distribution between 2008 and 2018.He drew on three databases: a 2009 field campaign carried out by the Swiss Army , where more than 60,000 ticks were collected and analyzed; thousands of entries to smartphone application which allows the user to indicate where they are observing ticks; and a Rochat-led flea collection project in 2018.

He then used machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) to predict the possible presence of ticks and bacteria based on values ​​taken from a set of environmental data (rainfall, temperature, humidity, etc.) around the collection point.


The machine learning program allowed Rochat to estimate the location of the ticks, and revealed that the surface area of ​​the zone favorable for tick propagation grew from 16% of mainland Switzerland in 2008 to 25% in 2018.

Statistically, the model works well. Using the rule of probability, we can find out whether a particular location is tick friendly, or if, conversely, ticks are unlikely. Using a distribution model, we estimated the prevalence of bacteria within these sites. This in turn allowed us to identify subzones where favorable areas for ticks also support chlamydia.

“A landmark project”

The scope, originality and novel approach of Rochat’s research won praise from Gilbert Greub, a world-renowned chlamydia and lice expert and director of the CHUV Institute of Microbiology. “This is an important project, and contains enough detail at the national level to allow us to draw conclusions. We can clearly see that between 2008 and 2018, there was an increase in the area of ​​high risk tick exposure, which in my opinion is a reflection of global warming. This indicates that the ticks have migrated 300-400 meters higher in the subalpine zone. “

For Greub, the study is a valuable tool for preventive purposes, as well as for awareness raising. In addition, it will be useful at the Institute, which conducts clinical studies of the impact of tick-borne chlamydia on humans.

The Rochat model is now available in open access and could be used in future research on tick-borne pathogens. “It’s interesting to see how the ecological niches overlap. We use chlamydia in this case because we are working with Gilbert Greub, a global expert, but our approach can also be applied to tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease. The algorithms needed to process environmental data are available free of charge and can be applied to other data sets, ”said Stéphane Joost, who supervised Rochat’s thesis at LASIG.

Joost sees an opportunity for the Swiss Federal Public Health Office to refine its risk map for head lice – which will be increasingly present in Switzerland as a result of global warming.

More fleas? Keep calm.

According to Gilbert Greub, Director of the CHUV Institute of Microbiology, the presence of more ticks in a particular zone increases the chances of being exposed to certain diseases. Over the past three years, patient consultations for tick bites, Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis has increased. Greub reiterated the recommendations of the Swiss Federal Public Health Office. “Summer is very beautiful here and people love cycling and walking. The most important thing is to get vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis. Second, avoid hiking in remote high-risk areas – or if so, wear trousers that tuck into your socks. In addition, you should check yourself closely at night when you return from the climb, including your back and other hidden areas. No need to panic or check every half hour. However, if you find a check mark, use the check mark brace to remove it. “


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