ASCLS eNewsBytes
Aug. 13, 2013

Scientists to create mutant form of bird flu virus to work out risk
The Daily Mail
Scientists are to create mutant forms of the H7N9 bird flu virus that has emerged in China so they can work out the risk of a lethal human pandemic. Highly transmissible and deadly forms of H7N9 will be made in several high security laboratories around the world — but it is vital to prepare for the threat, the scientists say.More

CDC: HPV vaccine effective but grossly underutilized
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A recent report from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention titled, "HPV vaccine: Safe, effective, and grossly underutilized" claims that not enough parents are making the decision to have their children vaccinated against the disease. "There is no doubt in my mind that the vaccine is underutilized," said Jonathan Pletcher, clinical director for the division of adolescent medicine at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, "I think there's generally a lack of understanding about HPV."More

Malaria vaccine shows early promise in clinical trials
BBC News
A malaria vaccine has shown promising results in early stage clinical trials, according to researchers. Researchers found the vaccine, which is being developed in the U.S., protected 12 out of 15 patients from the disease, when given in high doses. The method is unusual because it involves injecting live but weakened malaria-causing parasites directly into patients to trigger immunity.More

Latest improvements in laboratory automation
By Dr. Afsaneh Motamed-Khorasani
A large number of laboratories are implementing automation methods to meet increasing demands and to improve the quality of work. Laboratory automation is also required to reduce the expenditure in work and the lack of experienced technical staff. This automation involves many different instruments, devices, software and methods to improve work efficiency and effectiveness.More

'Superbug' can spread to nearby hospitals
HealthDay News
A common drug-resistant "superbug" spreads among hospitals through a domino effect, according to a new study. Researchers found that a moderate increase in vancomycin-resistant enterococci at one hospital in Orange County, Calif., led to an average 2.8 percent increase in VRE in other hospitals in the county.More

HIV occupational exposure: USPHS updates guidelines
Medscape Medical News
After any occupational exposure to HIV, healthcare personnel should immediately receive a postexposure prophylaxis regimen containing at least 3 antiretroviral drugs, according to updated guidelines published in the September issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. The current recommendations from the United States Public Health Service update the 2005 guidelines for management of HCP with occupational HIV exposure and use of PEP.More

Henrietta Lacks: Family wins recognition for immortal cells
BBC News
The family of a woman whose cells revolutionized medical research have been granted a say over how they are used, six decades after her death. Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman from Maryland, had cells removed from her by doctors when she was being treated for terminal cancer in 1951. Researchers found they were the first human cells that could be grown indefinitely in a laboratory. The historic breakthrough paved the way for countless medical treatments.More

Can some women safely skip breast surgery?
HealthDay News
Women with certain breast tissue abnormalities that raise their risk for cancer can safely take a wait-and-see approach rather than rush into surgery, a new study suggests. Previous research into two breast conditions — atypical lobular hyperplasia and lobular carcinoma in situ — have turned up conflicting results regarding the need for surgery, said Dr. Kristen Atkins, associate professor of pathology at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.More

Oversight process established for avian flu research
The Boston Globe
The federal government announced recently a special oversight process for experiments that involve tinkering with a new strain of avian flu detected in Asia earlier this year, but the decision has not come without controversy. The knowledge gained from this type of research could help prepare health officials for a potential pandemic and lead to the development of new therapies or vaccines, but also poses scary what-if scenarios, ranging from the accidental escape of a lethal virus into the wild, to the information falling into the hands of bioterrorists.More

Dogs help in sniffing out ovarian cancer
Counsel & Heal
In a new program, trainers are trying to teach dogs how to sniff out ovarian cancer tissue and so far, these dogs have continued to wow humans. At the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, there are currently 15 dogs in training to sniff out bombs, drugs and missing people. These amazing dogs are now being trained to see if they can sniff out ovarian cancer tissue. More

New Middle Eastern virus linked to camels
Time
Anytime a novel virus infects human populations, scientists focus on tracing its origins. And this time their search led to the humped dromedary. After a Saudi Arabian national died unexpectedly last September, scientists have been tracking the emergence of a new virus, never before seen in people, that has since been identified as a coronavirus, part of the same family that produced SARS.More

Hypertension drug linked to breast cancer risk
Postmedia News via The Gazette
Women who manage their high blood pressure with certain medications could be increasing their risk of another serious illness: breast cancer. A new medical study released recently found that women aged 55 to 74 who took calcium channel blockers — medication used to prevent heart attacks and strokes — for 10 years or more had 2 1/2 times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who treated hypertension with other medication and women who had never taken hypertension medication at all.More

Concern after bird flu 'passes from father to daughter'
BBC News
VideoBriefResearchers have reported the first case of human-to-human transmission of the new bird flu that has emerged in China. The British Medical Journal said a 32-year-old woman was infected after caring for her father. More

Scientists to create mutant form of bird flu virus to work out risk
The Daily Mail
Scientists are to create mutant forms of the H7N9 bird flu virus that has emerged in China so they can work out the risk of a lethal human pandemic. Highly transmissible and deadly forms of H7N9 will be made in several high security laboratories around the world — but it is vital to prepare for the threat, the scientists say.More

Researchers examine HCW ring wearing and potential for HAI transmission
Infection Control Today
Tens of thousands of healthcare workers worldwide can only wear a plain wedding ring at work, if any at all. This arose from policies citing early laboratory evidence that rings can carry clinically relevant bacteria, but with little supporting clinical data. More

WHO recommends earlier treatment for HIV
Infectious Disease Special Edition
The World Health Organization has released updated guidelines on the use of anti-retroviral therapy for the treatment and prevention of HIV. The biggest change is that the WHO now recommends starting ART at the CD4 threshold of 500 cells/mm cubed or less in all adults, adolescents and older children. More

FDA: New voluntary recall from compounding pharmacy
USA Today
The Food and Drug Administration has announced a voluntary nationwide recall of all sterile products from a Texas compounding pharmacy, the latest in a series of recalls since last year's outbreak of fungal meningitis. Fifteen patients at two Texas hospitals have developed bacterial bloodstream infections after receiving injections from Specialty Compounding from Cedar Park, Texas, the FDA said.More

MERS-CoV: Healthcare workers infected, not all cases serious
Medscape Medical News
Of seven healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection identified by nasopharyngeal swab screening, 2 were asymptomatic and 5 had mild upper respiratory tract symptoms, according to a letter to the editor published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. To date, most of the 94 cases reported in the overall population have been in Saudi Arabia.More