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Infection with the “other” human Coronaviruses could be a blessing in disguise

With the world’s attention focused on SARS-CoV-2 and the serious impact COVID-19 is having both on our health and on society as a whole, it is worth noting that humans have in fact co-existed with numerous coronaviruses (CoVs) for millions of years. It is little understood how these related viruses have such startlingly different effects on infected individuals but some researchers have found evidence that mild CoV infection offers some...

James Steggles
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The best sample type for SARS-CoV-2 virus rapid tests will surprise you!

Two types of tests for SARS-CoV-2 currently predominate. The first are molecular tests, based on PCR technology, that detect the presence of viral nucleic acid and therefore indicate a current infection. The second are serology tests that are designed to detect anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (usually IgG) generated by the immune systems of individuals who have been infected in the past. RT-PCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 virus is relatively slow and requires specialist laboratories....

James Steggles
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SARS-CoV-2 – Beware Antibody Tests with <100% Specificity

We are in the midst of the most significant global pandemic since the 1918-19 Influenza pandemic, over 100 years ago. The 2020 pandemic has been caused by a Coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, which confers a severe respiratory illness (COVID-19) on a proportion of those infected. The virus is readily transmissible from human to human with many of those infected showing no or mild symptoms, meaning it is hard to know who...

James Steggles
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Lyme – a challenging disease to diagnose

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by Borrelia bacteria transmitted by tick bites from ticks of the Ixodes genus. Particularly if untreated, serious and long-term symptoms can occur such as neurological problems, facial palsy, lower limb impairment, heart complications, arthritis, encephalomyelitis and psychosis. It is estimated to affect 300,000 people per year in North America and 65,000 in Europe. Transmission can occur across the placenta during pregnancy. The causative...

James Steggles
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HAMA-Time! – How Human Anti-Mouse Antibodies (HAMA) can affect your immunoassay

What is HAMA? HAMA is an acronym for Human Anti-Mouse Antibodies. Some humans produce HAMA and have it present in their blood. Unfortunately for them, and the in vitro diagnostics industry, the presence of Human anti-mouse Antibodies (HAMA) in patient samples can lead to false positive and false negative results in immunoassays. Murine MC HAMA Why do some Humans produce HAMA? Some people work directly with mice while others might inadvertently encounter...

James Steggles
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Toxoplasma IgM – not a smoking gun for acute infection

Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite present in a third of the world’s human population. People acquire this infection in three ways: i) inadequately cooked infected meat, particularly pork, ii) unwitting ingestion of oocysts passed in cat feces, which could, for example, occur whilst gardening, and iii) pregnant women passing the infection transplacentally to their unborn fetus – known as Congenital Toxoplasmosis. In most cases the infection is asymptomatic or...

James Steggles
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Chagas positive plasma added to range

Logical Biological has added Chagas antibody positive plasma to its range having received clearance from the UK government Health & Safety Executive to handle human biological material containing Trypanosoma cruzi, which is the causative agent of Chagas Disease. T. cruzi is a Hazard Group 3 pathogen according to “The Approved List of Biological Reagents”. Hazard Group 3 is defined as follows: “Can cause severe human disease and may be a serious hazard to employees; it may...

James Steggles
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Irregular Blood Group Antibodies – What Are They?

Irregular antibodies are antibodies found in the blood of transfusion donors that have the potential to cause hemolysis of the recipient blood. Screening using an indirect Coombs Test should be performed to ensure that the donor blood is compatible with the recipient. “Irregular Antibodies” refers to all antibodies, other than those detecting ABO blood group antigens, that can cause incompatibility in blood transfusions and between mother & child. The ABO Blood...

James Steggles
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Fertility drugs & IVD fertility testing

All over the planet, women are getting pregnant, over 200 million of them each year. Most of these pregnancies are unintended1. This means two things: a lot of babies, and a lot of surprises. Despite this, some 8% of couples are unable to conceive within two years and are considered infertile. Risk factors for infertility include age, previous medical history (sexually-transmitted diseases, cancer treatment) and obesity.  Fortunately, a wide-range of fertility treatments are now available, although sadly...

James Steggles
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HIV – a challenging disease to diagnose

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has a reputation for being difficult to treat, although advances in medicine have reached a level where those being treated can be expected to live almost to their full life span. However, as we shall see in this article, current HIV testing is not perfect and many challenges remain. There are multiple HIV viruses HIV is actually a small family of distinct viruses comprised of HIV1 and HIV2....

James Steggles
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