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Diagnostics Microbiology and immunology, Point of care testing

What’s New in Infectious Disease?

Distinct differences

A panel of protease-responsive nanosensors can distinguish between bacterial and viral pneumonia via urinalysis (1). The proof-of-concept diagnostic approach demonstrates a potential way to determine etiology based on host proteolytic response to infection alone.

Timely testing

A study of 1.3 million women in England has provided evidence in support of extending human papillomavirus (HPV) screening intervals to five years after a negative HPV result in women aged 25–49 years and extending the current interval of five years in women older than 50 years (2). The findings also support maintaining the three-year screening interval for women with a positive HPV result who have a negative HPV test at early recall.

Light it up

A new tool that leverages optical microring resonators has been used to detect a soluble glycoprotein biomarker for Ebola in under 40 minutes with high sensitivity (limit of detection of 1 ng/mL in serum) (3). The study demonstrates the potential of using microring resonators as the basis of a diagnostic platform for Ebola virus infection.

Back for another round

Traces of poliovirus were found in the North and East London sewage system during a routine inspection in late June (4). The UK Health Security Agency declared a national incident shortly after the finding due to concern about community spread, but risk to the public has so far been pitched as “extremely low.”

CRISP(R) and clear

A new CRISPR-based test that detects Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell-free DNA in blood is sensitive enough to diagnose tuberculosis, including in children with HIV (5). The research demonstrates potential for earlier disease diagnosis and more rapid monitoring of treatment response.

Ultimate origin story

The Black Plague pandemic killed an estimated 25–200 million people worldwide, but where did it come from? It has been the topic of much debate and many research endeavors, but new research – using ancient metagenomics – supports the idea of an early fourteenth-century source in central Eurasia (6).

Weighted decisions

New screening tools could significantly improve HIV testing efficiency in children presenting to lower-yield, high-risk entry points in Ethiopia (7). Using logistic regression methods to weigh questions differently yielded superior performance to weighting all questions equally and could be used to develop targeted, country-specific testing approaches.

Like what you read? These stories were originally covered in The Infectious Disease Curator – our weekly newsletter that shines a spotlight on all-things infectious disease. Read a recent issue and subscribe here!

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  1. M Anahtar et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 119, e2121778119 (2022). PMID: 35696579.
  2. M Rebolj et al., BMJ, 377, e068776 (2022). PMID: 35640960.
  3. AJ Qavi et al., Cell Rep Methods, 2, 100234 (2022). 
  4. UK Health Security Agency (2022). Available at:
  5. Z Huang et al., Lancet Microbe, [Online ahead of print] (2022). PMID: 35659882.
  6. MA Spyrou et al., Nature, 606, 718 (2022). PMID: 35705810.
  7. W Teferi et al., BMC Infect Dis, 22, 480 (2022). PMID: 35596158.
About the Author
Liv Gaskill

During my undergraduate degree in psychology and Master’s in neuroimaging for clinical and cognitive neuroscience, I realized the tasks my classmates found tedious – writing essays, editing, proofreading – were the ones that gave me the greatest satisfaction. I quickly gathered that rambling on about science in the bar wasn’t exactly riveting for my non-scientist friends, so my thoughts turned to a career in science writing. At Texere, I get to craft science into stories, interact with international experts, and engage with readers who love science just as much as I do.

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