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Subspecialties Microbiology and immunology, Analytical science, COVID-19

What’s New in Infectious Disease?

Into the Unknown

Scientists have scrambled to identify the cause of rising cases of acute hepatitis with unknown etiology in children. Now, two studies have found high adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) levels in blood or liver cells in cases of unexplained hepatitis (1). The class II HLA-DRB1*04:01 allele was also identified in pediatric cases, suggesting increased genetic susceptibility (2).

Spotting Sepsis

Use of machine learning-based Targeted Real-time Early Warning Systems (TREWS) is associated with reduced mortality rate and improved outcomes in sepsis patients (3). What factors drive adoption? Researchers suggest that knowledge of, experience with, and positive attitudes toward TREWS are essential to increase their clinical impact (4).

New Symptoms, New Course

A descriptive report of monkeypox cases in central London has identified new clinical presentations of the current outbreak, including rectal pain and penile edema (5). A variable temporal association between mucocutaneous and systemic features was also observed, suggesting a new clinical course to the disease.

Something in the Genes

Analyzing 125,584 cases across 60 studies from 25 countries, the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative has provided the first update on its efforts to map the human genetic architecture of COVID-19 (6). The project has reported 23 genome-wide significant loci associated with disease susceptibility and severity, including SFTPD, MUC5B, and ACE2.

Taming of the Shrew

A new virus, Langya henipavirus, has been identified in China, causing symptoms ranging from severe pneumonia to a cough (7). It is thought to be transmitted from contact with wild shrews, but so far there has been no indication of human-to-human transmission. The lack of such transmission means that scientists are not overly concerned, but are still closely monitoring the situation to further understand the virus.

Lessons Learned

To successfully tackle the current monkeypox outbreak, we must learn from other pandemics such as COVID-19 and HIV, says infectious disease specialist Rodney E Rohde (8). We need to be able to discuss epidemiologic risk without stigmatizing men who have sex with men. Journalists also have a responsibility to disseminate accurate information vetted by experts, whereas the general public needs to check expert credentials and sources of information found online.

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  1. S Morfopoulou et al. (2022). Available at:
  2. A Ho et al. (2022). Available at:
  3. R Adams et al., Nat Med, 28, 1455 (2022). PMID: 35864252.
  4. KE Henry et al., Nat Med, 28, 1447 (2022). PMID: 35864251.
  5. A Patel et al., BMJ, 378, e072410 (2022). PMID: 35902115.
  6. COVID-19 Host Genetic Initiative, Nature, 608, E1 (2022). PMID: 35922517.
  7. Smriti Mallapaty (2022). Available at:
  8. Rodney E Rohde (2022). Available at:
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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