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Outside the Lab Biochemistry and molecular biology, Microbiology and immunology

Catch the Story: ID News

Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Enrollment towards a Phase 1 trial for a universal influenza vaccine has started within the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Expected to involve 24 volunteers, the study will immunize the participants with two intramuscular injections, 16 weeks apart. Half of volunteers will be given a lower 60 mg dose, half will be given a 180 mg dose (1).

Hella Klebsiella

The pathogen responsible for a plethora of healthcare-associated infections – Klebsiella pneumoniae – should be considered as an under-appreciated zoonotic hazard, according to a new paper (2). A mix of new clades, as well as a lack of diagnostic processes, have key implications for the One Health approach.

Mpox on the mainland

In the afterglow of the 2022–2023 mpox outbreak, new research has detailed the first local case of the disease in mainland China caused by an imported case (3). As other research highlights, secondary infection was primarily driven by sexual contact between men who have sex with men (MSM) – a pattern also shared by the first local case.

Reservoir bods

A series of papers have revealed the mechanisms behind reservoirs of HIV-infected cells, specifically that a selection of them produce HIV RNA and proteins spontaneously (4,5). Previously believed to be dormant in the body, the studies established reservoir activity in human subjects – and how it may affect patient outcomes.

In Other News

A flood of disease. New analysis of flooding disasters over the last three decades has shown an increase of related infections and deaths from tropical disease and respiratory infections (6).

No more tears. A genomic surveillance program in Pittsburgh was able to detect Pseudomonas aeruginosa cases linked to commercial tear drops – highlighting the system’s potential for future outbreak monitoring (7).

Anti-social. Analysis of Facebook’s efforts to combat vaccine misinformation did not materially reduce engagement with anti-vax content on the platform (8).

Counting crossovers. A fungus with the potential to cause fatal infections – Aspergillus fumigatu – has been shown to produce a record number of meiotic crossovers (9).

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  1. National Institutes of Health, “NIH clinical trial of universal flu vaccine candidate begins,” (2023). Available at:
  2. K Wall et al., “Klebsiella, a Hitherto Underappreciated Zoonotic Pathogen of Importance to One Health: A Short Review,” Zoonosis (2023).
  3. D Zhang et al, “The first local case of mpox caused by an imported case in the Chinese mainland,” Biosaf, 5, 187 (2023).
  4. M Dubé et al., “Spontaneous HIV expression during suppressive ART is associated with the magnitude and function of HIV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells,” Cell Host Microbe, 31, 1507 (2023). PMID: 37708853. 
  5. H Takata et al., “An active HIV reservoir during ART is associated with maintenance of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell magnitude and short-lived differentiation status,” Cell Host Microbe, 31, 1494 (2023). PMID: 37708852.
  6. Q Liu et al., “Association of natural flood disasters with infectious diseases in 168 countries and territories from 1990 to 2019: A worldwide observational study,” Glob Transit, 5, 149 (2023).
  7. AJ Sundermann et al., “Two Artificial Tears Outbreak-Associated Cases of Extensively Drug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa Detected Through Whole Genome Sequencing–Based Surveillance,” J Infect Dis (2023). PMID: 37700467.
  8. DA Broniatowski et al., “The efficacy of Facebook’s vaccine misinformation policies and architecture during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sci Adv, 9 (2023). PMID:37713497.
  9. B Auxier et al., “The human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus can produce the highest known number of meiotic crossovers,” PLOS Biology, 21 (2023). PMID: 37708139.
About the Author
George Francis Lee

Deputy Editor, The Pathologist

Interested in how disease interacts with our world. Writing stories covering subjects like politics, society, and climate change.

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