Category Archives: Uncategorized

Research – New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs Multi-drug resistant Candida auris no match for novel compound

Science Daily

Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world — creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines — and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant to many antifungals, meaning once a person is infected, there are limited treatment options. But in a recent Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study, researchers confirmed a new drug compound kills drug-resistant C. auris, both in the laboratory and in a mouse model that mimics human infection.

The drug works through a novel mechanism. Unlike other antifungals that poke holes in yeast cell membranes or inhibit sterol synthesis, the new drug blocks how necessary proteins attach to the yeast cell wall. This means C. auris yeast can’t grow properly and have a harder time forming drug-resistant communities that are a stubborn source of hospital outbreaks. The drug’s target — a yeast enzyme called Gwt1 — is also highly conserved across fungal species, suggesting the new drug could treat a range of infections.

The drug is first in a new class of antifungals, which could help stave off drug resistance. Even the most troublesome strains are unlikely to have developed workarounds for its mechanism of action, says study lead Mahmoud A. Ghannoum, PhD, professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

In the new study, Ghannom’s team tested the drug against 16 different C. auris strains, collected from infected patients in Germany, Japan, South Korea, and India. When they exposed the isolates to the new drug, they found it more potent than nine other currently available antifungals. According to the authors, the concentration of study drug needed to kill C. auris growing in laboratory dishes was “eight-fold lower than the next most active drug, anidulafungin, and more than 30-fold lower than all other compounds tested.”

The researchers also developed a new mouse model of invasive C. auris infection for the study. Said Ghannoum, “To help the discovery of effective drugs it will be necessary to have an animal model that mimics this infection. Our work helps this process in two ways: first we developed the needed animal model that mimics the infection caused by this devastating yeast, and second, we used the developed model to show the drug is effective in treating this infection.”

They studied immunocompromised mice infected with C. auris via their tail vein — similar to very sick humans in hospitals who experience bloodstream infections. Compared to mice treated with anidulafungin, infected mice treated with the new drug had significant reductions in kidney, lung, and brain fungal burden two days post-treatment. The results suggest the new drug could help treat even the most invasive infections.

According to Ghannoum, the most exciting element of the study is that it brings a promising antifungal one step closer to patients. It helps lay the foundation for phase 1 clinical trials that study low levels of the drug in healthy adults and test for any potential safety concerns. There is an urgent need for such studies, as C. auris infection has become a serious threat to healthcare facilities worldwide — and drug-resistance is rising.

“Limited treatment options calls for the development of new drugs that are effective against this devastating infection,” Ghannoum said. “We hope that we contributed in some way towards the development of new drugs.”

Story Source:

Materialsdetdvtxaur provided by Case Western Reserve University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Research – Outbreak of Botulism Due to Illicit Prison-Brewed Alcohol: Public Health Response to a Serious and Recurrent Problem

Oxford Academic  

Botulism is a rare, sometimes lethal neuroparalytic illness. On 2 October 2011, an inmate at prison A developed symptoms compatible with botulism after drinking pruno, an illicit, prison-brewed alcoholic beverage. Additional illnesses were identified within several days. We conducted an investigation to determine the cause and extent of the outbreak.

Eight prisoners developed botulism; all drank pruno made with a potato. Three received mechanical ventilation. Culture of fluid from a sock that inmates reported using to filter the implicated pruno yielded C. botulinum type A. The implicated batch may have been shared between cells during delivery of meal trays. Challenges of the investigation included identifying affected inmates, overcoming inaccuracies in histories, and determining how the illicit beverage was shared. Costs to taxpayers were nearly $500000 in hospital costs alone.


India – 28 madrassa students suffer food poisoning

The Hindu

Twenty-eight students of a madrassa in Bhiwandi were hospitalised for food poisoning after they ate biryani served at a local function in Roshan Bagh on Wednesday. According to officials with the Bhiwandi Nizampura Municipal Corporation, the students study Urdu and Arabic in the madrassa. Officials said that they were invited for a Niyaaz ceremony, an Islamic custom where food is served to the underprivileged. The students were taken to a primary health care centre after complaining of nausea.

India – Food poisoning: 120 schoolchildren admitted to hospital

The Tribune India

Nearly 120 children were taken ill after eating a meal at a school and admitted to a hospital here. The children were from a lower primary school at Thonnakel in the district. Though the conditions were not serious of the affected children, they would be discharged only after monitoring their health condition, a release from the Medical College Hospital said on Friday. Parents rushed their children to local hospitals initially as they complained of uneasiness after they had noon meal served in school on Wednesday. Later they were admitted to the hospital. Samples of the food the students had were being sent for examination. — PTI.

Canada – Updated Food Recall Warning – Imperial Caviar & Seafood brand Whitefish Roe recalled due to potential presence of dangerous bacteria – Clostridium


Recall details

Ottawa, January 19, 2018 – The food recall warning issued on January 12, 2018 has been updated to include additional product information. This additional information was identified during the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) food safety investigation.

Imperial Caviar & Seafood is recalling Imperial Caviar & Seafood brand Whitefish Roe from the marketplace because it may permit the growth of Clostridium botulinum. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Imperial Caviar & Seafood Whitefish Roe 50 g Lot #: 14017-01
BB/MA: 29-MAI-2018
1 86866 90027 9

UK – James Hall recalls BBQ Pulled Pork because it may contain Salmonella


James Hall is recalling SPAR BBQ Pulled Pork and Woodland BBQ Pulled Pork because the products may contain salmonella. Both products have been sold at SPAR stores.

Product details

Product: SPAR BBQ Pulled Pork 2 for £3.50
Pack size: 110g
‘Use by’ date: Up to and including 25 January 2018
Product code: 413151

Product: Woodland BBQ Pulled Pork 2 for £3.50
Pack size: 110g
‘Use by’ date: Up to and including 25 January 2018
Product code: 561092

No other James Hall products are known to be affected.


The products listed above might be contaminated with salmonella. Symptoms caused by salmonella usually include fever, diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

Our advise to consumers

If you have bought any of the above products, do not eat it. Instead, return it to the store from where it was bought for a full refund.

Action taken by the company

James Hall is recalling the above products. Point of sale notices will be displayed in all retail stores that are selling this/these products. These notices explain to customers why the products are being recalled and tell them what to do if they have bought the product. Please see the attached notice.

Research – Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

Science Daily 


Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

Previous research has found that different people vary in their susceptibility to infection with the same species of pathogenic bacteria. Individual differences in people’s immune systems may explain this variability, but differences between bacterial strains could play a role, too.

To better understand this role, Uri Sela of The Rockefeller University, New York, and colleagues studied different strains of two major species of pathogenic bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. They tested how immune system T and B cells in donated human blood samples responded after exposure to different strains of each species.

The researchers found that, in blood from a single person, different strains of each species produced widely varied responses by T and B cells of the adaptive immune system — the portion of the immune system responsible for creating “memory” of specific pathogens to protect against future infection. The same distinct responses to different strains were seen in blood samples from 10 additional donors.

Next, the research team created mutant bacteria in which they deactivated “accessory” genes that are responsible for between-strain differences, leaving the “core” genome of the species intact. They found that the mutant strains triggered a dampened T cell response, suggesting that differences in “accessory” genes were responsible for the varied responses seen for unmutated strains.

These findings suggest that differences in bacterial “accessory” genes — not just differences between people — may help explain the clinical variation generally found among patients infected with the same bacterial species.

Previous research has often described “signature” immune responses to different bacteria using only a single strain for each species. However, based on findings of the current study, the researchers propose that immune response signatures should instead be defined according to the specific strain or the species’ common “core genome.” Such a shift could aid development of strategies for predicting disease outcomes in patients.

“The current practice with infected patient is to only identify the bacterial species,” the authors elaborate. “Our findings raise the possibility that in the future we might need to define the specific infecting strain as part of the patient evaluation and treatment.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by PLOS. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.