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Top Infectious Disease News of the Week—March 4, 2018

We've rounded up our top 5 infectious disease news articles for this past week. Read them all:

#5: Vaginal Microbiome May Influence Effectiveness of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis

Over 1 million women are infected with HIV on an annual basis. In order to reduce this number, more understanding is needed. Even after all of this time, not much is known about the biological mechanisms that lead to HIV acquisition in this population.

This lack of knowledge was addressed in the Tuesday Plenary of the 25th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, during which Nichole Klatt, PhD, from the University of Washington, provided an overview of what is known about vaginal microbial dysbiosis and its association with HIV infection as well as how vaginal bacteria may influence transmission in women.

“Over 50% of new infections occur in women,” Dr. Klatt stressed. “Every minute, 2 women are infected with HIV worldwide, which means that during my 25-minute talk, 50 women might be infected with HIV.”

Read more about the vaginal microbiome and HIV acquisition.

#4: First Tests to Screen for Tick-Borne Parasite in Whole Blood and Plasma Approved by FDA

Two tests able to detect antibodies to Babesia microti (B. microti) in human plasma samples and B. microti DNA in human whole blood samples were just approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The first test, Imugen Babesia microtiArrayed Fluorescent Immunoassay (AFIA) is able to detect the antibodies in human plasma samples, and the Imugen Babesia microtiNucleic Acid Test (NAT) is able to detect B. microti DNA in human whole blood samples. Both tests are "intended to be used as donor screening tests on samples from individual human donors, including volunteer donors of whole blood and blood components, as well as living organ and tissue donors," according to a statement from the FDA.

Read more about the FDA-approved tests.

Influenza A (H3N2) has caused most of the illnesses in this severe flu season, but influenza B is becoming increasingly responsible for more infections as the flu season continues to hit the United States.