#3: As Flu Season Wanes, Researchers Discover Potentially Powerful Flu-Fighting Compound
Amidst a rise in influenza-associated pediatric deaths in the United States, a surprising source for a new flu-fighting compound has also been revealed.
According to the most recent data from public health laboratories, 61% of the respiratory samples that were reported in the most recent week revealed the influenza B strain. Indeed, the B strain of the virus is behind the recent influenza outbreaks in North Dakota, as well as four new influenza-related pediatric deaths. North Dakota has seen a record number of influenza cases this flu season, with a reported 7045 cases, which is a higher case count that their average of 1942 cases, and even their previous record of 6443 cases, reported during the 2014-2015 flu season.
Experts agree that the flu shot is still the best way to stave off infection with the virus, and antiviral neuraminidase inhibitors are the best way to fight the illness once an individual is infected. Now, a research team comprised of researchers from Emory University in Georgia, Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology in India, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, may have found another powerful flu fighter. The surprising source? The skin mucous of a frog from southern India. The researchers found that a compound they named, “urumin,” in the host defense peptides released by the frog may have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Urumin was found to be deadly to the influenza virus, without harming human cells. According to the researchers, “urumin may offer an important new weapon for antiviral treatments during flu outbreaks.
Read more about the latest influenza activity in the United States and urumin, go here
#2: Researchers Study MDRO Presence in Biofilms Collected from Hospitals in 4 Countries
Research presented at the recent Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of American (SHEA) Spring 2017 conference showed high contamination rates on dry hospital surfaces in 4 countries and the presence of bacterial biofilms on most of the dry hospital surfaces, even after environmental cleaning practices had taken place.
Scientists from Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and the United Kingdom tested for the presence of biofilms on dry and disinfected hospital surfaces because biofilms may be the reason that multidrug-resistant organisms “are able to survive for prolonged periods in Intensive Care Units within some hospitals.” The surfaces tested included hospital curtains and nurse station sinks.
The results of the study showed the presence of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) in the biofilms on dry hospitals surfaces in samples from all 4 of the countries involved in the study. In addition, the bacteria the scientists isolated from the study samples “were found to be ‘tolerant to disinfection,’ which may be why they were able to survive for prolonged periods, and may have even contributed to a rise in healthcare-associated infections.” According to the authors on the study, “More frequent and better cleaning [is] needed to remove biofilms and MDROs from hospitals surfaces and the environment.”
To read more about the study methods and results, click here