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Infectious Diseases

Six examples of COVID-19 mass testing events

From the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, testing for SARS-CoV-2 has been a priority. Initially just having a test for COVID-19 was a scientific success, enabled by the publication of the first viral genomic sequence in January 2020. As the pandemic has run its course many aspects of testing have been investigated. Here we highlight some of the key testing events that have taken place, and their outcomes. Mass Covid Testing -Vo’,...

Rhiannon de Wreede
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Swabs and COVID-19 – A Guide

This article covers swab type and selection, transport products and medium enabling a smooth transfer of patient samples to the laboratory for analysis. Additionally, we discuss the implications of cycle thresholds and whether they should be assessed in patient prognosis. Swabs Swabs come in all shapes and sizes and some favourites have become well known in recent months: Nasal Swab: needs to be inserted at least 1cm into the naris (nostril), directed...

Rhiannon de Wreede
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The utility of SARS-CoV-2 IgA in COVID-19 testing

At the outset of the 2019 SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 epidemic, diagnostic immunoassay manufacturers focused on developing anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM & IgG tests. While the epidemic has progressed to become a global pandemic, diagnostic test developers’ efforts have also evolved. Recently, we have noticed an increase in interest for patient material positive for Human anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA. This article will take a look at the difference between the different immunoglobulin sub-classes and seek to...

James Steggles
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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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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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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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