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  Table of Contents  
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 492-494

Research snippets

Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal - 462 038, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission29-Sep-2012
Date of Acceptance01-Oct-2012
Date of Web Publication24-Nov-2012

Correspondence Address:
Prabha Desikan
Department of Microbiology, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, Raisen Bypass Road, Karond, Bhopal - 462 038, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Desikan P. Research snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol 2012;30:492-4

How to cite this URL:
Desikan P. Research snippets. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Oct 20];30:492-4. Available from:

Over 200 cases of cholera have been recorded within 2 weeks in the Greater Accra region of Ghana, raising concerns about a possible epidemic < 228 >. Cholera pandemics are a cause for concern, particularly in the developing world. Characteristics of the strains causing pandemics need to be studied in order to understand the epidemiology of the pandemic. A study from Dhaka found that Vibrio cholerae O1 biotype El Tor (ET) causing 7 th cholera pandemic was recently replaced in Bangladesh by altered ET possessing ctxB of the classical biotype that caused the first six cholera pandemics. The study also showed that V. cholerae ET causing endemic cholera underwent a transition from ctxB genotype 1-7 in the period between 2008 and 2010 (J Med Microbiol. 2012 Sep 13. [Epub ahead of print]).

A case of an infection with a new swine flu virus, in a man who worked with pigs has been reported from South West Ontario, Canada. The infection was found to be caused by an H1N1-variant virus (H1N1v), which is different from the H1N1 virus that has been causing swine flu in many parts of the world < >. Influenza vaccination is advised annually to reduce the burden of influenza disease, particularly because of the high genetic variability of influenza A virus. An attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the trivalent influenza vaccine 2010/2011, against influenza A (H1N1, H3N2) and influenza B found that while protective antibody levels (HI titer ≥40) were found after vaccination against all the three strains, the highest seropositivity was found against influenza B. The lowest seropositivity was seen against H1N1. Despite a significant titer rise after vaccination, sufficient H1N1 herd immunity was still not achieved (Med Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]).

A novel new corona virus has been identified in a 49-year-old Qatari man who is in a critical care unit in a London hospital and in a 60-year-old Saudi Arabian man who died in July (2012) in his home country. Both persons had pneumonia and kidney failure, and the Qatari man had traveled to Saudi Arabia before he got sick. As the investigation of 2 severe illnesses associated with this novel coronavirus continued, the United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency released a preliminary phylogenetic tree for the virus and tentatively named it "London1_novel CoV 2012." < >.

The relationship between bats and coronaviruses (CoVs) has received considerable attention since the severe acute respiratory syndrome-like CoV was identified in the Chinese horseshoe bat (Rhinolophidae) in 2005. A recent molecular clock analysis found that alphacoronavirus (α-CoV) sequences derived from the North American tri-colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) share common ancestry with human CoV (HCoV)-NL63, with the most recent common ancestor between these viruses occurring approximately 563-822 years ago. This analysis may support the hypothesis that human CoVs are capable of establishing zoonotic-reverse zoonotic transmission cycles that may allow some CoVs to readily circulate and exchange genetic material between strains found in bats and other mammals, including humans (J Virol. 2012 Sep 19. [Epub ahead of print]).

On 24 th September of this year, Massachusetts (USA) health officials confirmed a 2 nd death from mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis and a new case that brought the summer's total to seven cases of the disease < >. Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEEV; family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus) a highly pathogenic mosquito-borne virus is endemic to eastern North America. Geographical information sciences used in conjunction with sentinel chicken EEEV seroconversion rate data as a mean to examine landscape features associated with EEEV transmission in Florida found that the habitat class found to be most significantly associated with EEEV transmission was tree plantations. The ecological factor most commonly associated with reduced levels of EEEV transmission was vegetated nonforest wetlands (J Med Entomol. 2012 May;49(3):746-56).

As of Monday 24 th September 2012, 51 cases (19 laboratory confirmed, 32 probable) of Ebola haemorrhagic fever have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, of which 20 were fatal (7 confirmed, 13 probable). The cases reported are from the Isiro and Viadana health zones in Haut-Uele district in the Orientale Province < >. Inclusion bodies are a characteristic feature of ebolavirus infections in cells. They contain large numbers of pre-formed nucleocapsids, but their biological significance has been debated and they are thought to be aggregates of viral proteins without any further biological function. However, a recent study concluded that ebolavirus inclusion bodies are in fact complex and dynamic structures and an important site at which viral RNA replication takes place (J Virol. 2012 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print]).

Among the Ebola viruses, most species cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans. However, Reston ebolavirus (REBOV) has not been associated with human disease despite numerous documented infections. Though the molecular basis for this difference remains unclear, in vitro evidence has suggested a role of glycoprotein (GP) as a major filovirus pathogenicity factor. However, direct evidence for such a role in the context of virus infection has been notably lacking. In order to assess the role of GP in EBOV virulence, a novel reverse genetics system for REBOV was developed. A recombinant Zaire ebolavirus (rZEBOV) and recombinant REBOV (rREBOV) were developed, as well as chimeric viruses in which the GPs from these two virus species were exchanged (rZEBOV-RGP and rREBOV-ZGP). In a mouse model of infection rZEBOV-RGP demonstrated markedly decreased lethality and prolonged time to death when compared to rZEBOV, confirming that GP did indeed contribute to the full expression of virulence by ZEBOV. In contrast, rREBOV-ZGP did not show any signs of virulence, and was in fact slightly attenuated compared to rREBOV, demonstrating that GP alone was not sufficient to confer a lethal phenotype or exacerbate disease in this model. It was concluded that, while these findings provided direct evidence of GP contribution to filovirus virulence in vivo, other factors were needed for the acquisition of full virulence (PLoS Pathog. 2012 Aug;8(8):e1002847. Epub 2012 Aug 2).

Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) continues to be a predominant cause of AIDS-related mortality. To characterise the role of the fungal strain genotype in clinical disease, a study analyzed 140 Cryptococcus isolates from 111 patients with AIDS and CM. Multilocus sequence typing was used to characterise genotypes, yielding 15 sequence types and 4 clonal clusters. The largest clonal cluster consisted of 74 isolates. The results of Burst and phylogenetic analysis suggested that the C. neoformans var. grubii strains could be separated into three non-redundant evolutionary groups (Burst group 1 to group 3). Patient mortality was differentially associated with the different evolutionary groups (P = 0.04), with the highest mortality observed among Burst group 1, Burst group 2 and hybrid strains. Compared to Burst group 3 strains, Burst group 1 strains were associated with higher mortality (P = 0.02), exhibited increased capsule shedding (P = 0.02), and elicited a more pronounced Th(2) response during ex vivo cytokine release assays with strain-specific capsule stimulation (P = 0.02). The results of these analyses suggest that cryptococcal strain variation can be an important determinant of human immune responses and mortality (MBio. 2012 Sep 25;3(5). pii:e00196-12. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00196-12. Print 2012).

Spoligotyping is a well-established genotyping technique based on the presence of unique DNA sequences in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). In this context, a software called SpolPred has been developed to help predict the spoligotype from raw sequence reads. This approach was compared with experimentally and de novo assembly determined strain-types in a set of 44 Mtb isolates. In silico, experimental results were identical in 39 out of 44 isolates. However, SpolPred detected five experimentally false spoligotypes. Application of SpolPred to an additional seven isolates with no laboratory data, led to types that clustered with identical experimental types in a phylogenetic analysis using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) s (Bioinformatics. 2012 Sep 26. [Epub ahead of print]). SpolPred is available at

The VINCat Program is an institutional surveillance programme for hospital-acquired infections developed in the Healthcare Institutions of Catalonia, Spain. The program includes monitoring of various components of hospital-acquired infection and among them is catheter-related bloodstream infection (CRBSI). A study was carried out to describe the frequency of CRBSI in hospitals participating in the VINCat Program over a period of 4 years (2007-2010). From 2007 to 2010, a total of 2977 episodes of CRBSI were reported in 40 hospitals participating in the VINCat Program. The cumulative incidence of CRBSI was 0.26 episodes per 1000 days of hospitalisation (CI95% 0.2-0.3). The overall incidence varied depending on the hospital size: 0.36 for hospitals in group I (>500 beds), 0.17 for group II (200-500 beds), and 0.09 for group III (<200 beds). 76% of the episodes were associated with central venous catheters (CVC), 19% of the episodes with peripheral venous catheters (PVC) and the remaining 5% with peripherally inserted CVCs (PICC). The most common organisms causing CRBSI were Staphylococci; Klebsiella, Serratia Enterobacter and Candida spp., and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2012 Jun;30 Suppl 3:13-9).

Ending on a note of concern, a study was carried out to understand the status of laboratory medicine professionals in Nepal and the ethics and limitations of the different levels of this workforce. It found that the workforce heading the private laboratories did not conform to the norms of good laboratory practices. They had crossed their limitations and ethical barriers in performing laboratory investigations and did not abide by the rules and regulations made by the relevant councils of Nepal. There was intervention of non- medical/clinical workforce in laboratory services especially in microbiology and biochemistry (J Nepal Health Res Counc. 2012 Jan;10(1):37-40).


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