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Immunology

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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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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