Much has happened in the world of infectious diseases this past month, but a few things stand out. During a conference hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers shared findings regarding Candida auris
, a seemingly harmless fungal infection. In addition, IDSA/ATS guidelines for nosocomial pneumonia have been updated after 11 years. Researchers also take on the tough questions, such as how close we are to a cure for HIV, and if the medical community behind the times in treating Lyme disease.
#5: More Information on Candida auris Revealed at 2017 CDC EIS Conference
Research presented at the 2017 Annual Epidemic Intelligence Services (EIS) Convention notes that Candida auris
, a fungus that is usually harmless to healthy individuals, may cause high-risk health conditions in immunocompromised individuals.
has been linked to several hospital outbreaks and caused several deaths outside of the United States. In addition, this specific strain of Candida
is frequently mistaken for another: Candida haemulonii
. Sharon Tsay, MD, EIS officer in the Mycotic Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), went on to note that the CDC recommends lab and health professionals ensure that their diagnostic systems are up-to-date and can differentiate between the fungal strains.
When commenting on the unique aspects of C. auris
, Dr. Tsay said, “It really affects the sickest of the sick, [such as] people in nursing homes, infants, and individuals with other medical conditions. Also, it is resistant to at least two of three, if not all three, main types of antifungal drugs. Finally, it is easily transmitted in hospitals because, typically, Candida
lives on the body as part of a healthy body, but this strain also can exist for long periods of time on surfaces in hospitals and cause outbreaks.”
In addition, Paige Armstrong, MD, who did studies on C. auris
in 2016 in Colombia, said in a media briefing at the EIS conference that concern regarding the fungus was raised after two separate neonatal intensive care units experienced outbreaks.
Read more about the outbreaks and Candida auris
#4: UNC Researchers Identify New Target for Potential HIV Cure
According to researchers at the University of North Carolina (UNC), School of Medicine, HIV can infect macrophages. Although this may seem bad, the researchers have managed to find the silver lining. A press release from UNC states that “The discovery of this additional viral reservoir has significant implications for HIV cure research.”
In addition, the myeloid lineage cells “have been shown to express CD4, CCR5, and CXCR4 and to be susceptible to HIV and [simian immunodeficiency virus] SIV infection in vitro and in vivo.”
Their research group’s study set out to see how HIV-infected macrophages would respond to antiretroviral therapy (ART), and if the macrophages serve as a reservoir even after treatment. The researchers used a “humanized myeloid-only mouse model devoid of T cells.” The researchers found that ART was able to suppress HIV from replicating in macrophages, but that it virus “rebounded” when treatment was interrupted in one third of the study animals.
However, these were not the research team’s only findings.
Read more about the UNC research here