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Infection and Immunity nieuws

Infection and Immunity nieuws

Feb 2: Tuberculosis vaccine does not protect elderly against COVID-19

The tuberculosis vaccine (or BCG vaccine) does not protect elderly with co-morbidities against disease symptoms caused by a coronavirus infection. This was reported in the BCG-PRIME study which was initiated during the early days of the corona pandemic when no vaccines against the virus were available. As a collaborative effort, the study was designed and conducted in a very short time in 20 Dutch hospitals led by UMC Utrecht. After the main findings were already released in 2021, the full results of the study were published this week in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

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Jan 12: Two previously unknown bacterial species identified from patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Investigators at UMC Utrecht (the Netherlands) and Yale University (USA) have isolated and characterized two new bacterial species from patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The previously unknown bacterial species, which were named Allobaculum mucilyticum and Allobaculum fili, are isolated from the intestinal microbiota from two different patients and are the first members of the Allobaculum genus found in humans. In-depth characterization revealed that the strains were highly efficient in breaking down the protective mucus layer of the gut and provoked potent immune responses. These findings highlight the potential role for bacteria in the pathogenesis of IBD and may contribute to future preventive therapy.

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Poor adherence to dietary advice may provoke allergic reaction

Woman gestures No to offered bowl with peanuts

Allergic reactions in adults with a food allergy occur frequently, are often severe and are associated with high costs. A striking, new finding was that non-adherence to dietary advice occurs in approximately one-third of adult patients, adding to the significant socioeconomic and psychosocial burden of food allergies. These were the key findings in the PhD research of Astrid Versluis who defended her thesis in Utrecht on January 10, 2023.

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Dec 20: Mathematical modeler Ganna Rozhnova appointed as associate professor

Dr. Ganna Roszhnova portrait

Nine new associate professors were appointed at UMC Utrecht on 9 December 2022. The talented staff have been appointed based on performance as well as on their qualifications in research, teaching and management. Mathematical modeler dr. Ganna Rozhnova (Program Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the Julius Center) is one of the new associate professors. Her research aims to understand transmission dynamics and interventions for highly relevant emerging and established respiratory and sexually-transmitted viruses that require massive control efforts and have large societal impact (e.g., SARS-CoV-2, HIV, monkeypox, influenza, and CMV)." .

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New research on rare forms of arthritis

When people think of rheumatoid arthritis, most think of osteoarthritis. But there are also more rare forms of inflammatory arthritis.

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Nov 25: Virus-host interactions resolved through manipulation of viral and host gene expression

Human herpesvirus infections often go unnoticed, but they can be responsible for severe disease in susceptible individuals. As these viruses are difficult to clear from the body, Hendrik de Buhr from UMC Utrecht investigated host-virus interactions that are involved in herpesviruses circumventing the immune system for their own benefit. Identifying and characterizing these mechanisms advances the understanding of viral infections and might aid in the development of new antiviral approaches.

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Antibodies promising against Staphylococcus aureus infections

Lisanne de Vor

The opportunistic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus can easily develop resistance against antibiotics due to the formation of biofilm, where bacteria are surrounded by a self-made extracellular layer that prevents the antibiotic from reaching the bacterium. PhD research by Lisanne de Vor has shown that antibodies (coupled to specific enzymes) have the potential to degrade biofilm. If confirmed in clinical studies, this could result in development of antibody therapy that would make a resistant bacterium sensitive again for antibiotics.

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Nov 22: Prednisolone does not improve sense of smell after COVID-19

In a study executed by UMC Utrecht it was demonstrated that after prednisolone does not improve sense of smell after COVID-19. In addition, in most patients – irrespective of prednisolone use - sense of smell gradually improved over time. The authors recommend not to prescribe prednisolone for patients with persistent smell and/or taste disorders after COVID-19.

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Nov 21: The best antibiotic treatment for each sepsis patient

At UMC Utrecht, much scientific research is being conducted with the objective to prevent or reduce antibiotic resistance. In one of these studies, researchers are investigating which antibiotic treatment provides the best outcome in adults hospitalized with sepsis. This will allow this patient group in the future to receive the optimal antibiotic treatment based on sound scientific evidence. These results also contribute to a careful antibiotic policy that inhibits the development of antibiotic resistance.

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Nov 19: The gut microbiome is a reservoir for antimicrobial resistance genes

The gut microbiome forms a reservoir for opportunistic pathogens as well as for antimicrobial resistance genes. This finding is important because it offers a deeper insight in the dynamics and mechanism of antimicrobial resistance development. This project – supported by a grant from the Netherlands Centre for One Health - was performed by Paul Stege who defended his PhD thesis on November 9, 2022 at Utrecht University.

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