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Infection and Immunity nieuws

Sep 16: Determination of the lifespan of granulocytes

The lifespan of the neutrophilic granulocyte is at least 2 days. This is much longer that what has been described in the scientific literature (usually approx. 1 day). This is the result of innovative studies on human granulocyte kinetics with deuterium-labelled cells, performed in the PhD-project of Marwan Hassani.

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Sep 14: Novel approaches needed for better diagnosis of sepsis

Sepsis is a complex syndrome and so is its diagnosis. In order to improve sepsis diagnosis, research efforts should focus on combinations of diagnostic approaches, taking into consideration their changing performance in various phases of the disease, as was concluded Diana Verboom (UMC Utrecht) in her PhD research.

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Sep 2: Study into the use of the BCG vaccine against the effects of COVID-19 in frail elderly

In the Netherlands, a large-scale study will start this week in 22 hospitals, including all university medical centers and the Santeon hospitals, investigating whether the vaccine against tuberculosis (the BCG vaccine) offers protection against the consequences of an infection with the coronavirus in frail elderly people. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport considers this research of significant importance and has therefore asked ZonMw to include it as an urgent project in the research program for COVID-19. The study is coordinated by UMC Utrecht.

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Sep 2: Corticosteroids Improve Survival in Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients

In a tremendous demonstration of global collaboration, clinician-scientists have pooled data from 121 hospitals in eight countries to find that inexpensive, widely available steroids improve the odds that very sick COVID-19 patients will survive the illness. The findings were made through the “Randomized Embedded Multifactorial Adaptive Platform-Community Acquired Pneumonia” (REMAP-CAP) trial and are reported today in JAMA as part of a four-article package. The WHO is updating its COVID-19 treatment guidance as a result.

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Aug 30: UMC Utrecht starts Phase 2a study with COVID-19 vaccine

UMC Utrecht is one of three study centers in the Netherlands where as of September 2 onwards 135 participants can participate in a Phase 2a study with the Janssen Vaccines candidate vaccine against COVID-19.

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Aug 27: Two-day provocation test for peanut allergy is often unnecessary

Proper diagnosis of peanut allergy in children currently takes a two-day provocation test. PhD research by Hannah Kansen at UMC Utrecht shows that for some children a blood test is sufficient, for others a blood test and a one-day provocation test are sufficient. This is a considerably lower burden for the children and their parents and is a lot cheaper. These results will lead to an adjustment of the national guideline.

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Aug 6: Research on corona in secondary schools

Many people in small spaces, ventilation that is not optimal ... Secondary schools can pose a risk for the spread of COVID-19. UMC Utrecht will conduct research into this together with TU Delft, Erasmus MC and IRAS.

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Jul 31: International study with BCG vaccine against COVID-19 among health care workers also starting in the Netherlands

A large international investigation into the possible protective effect of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19 has now also started in the Netherlands. The Dutch part of the study, in which 2,000 healthcare employees can participate, is coordinated by UMC Utrecht and Radboudumc.

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Jul 22: Self-imposed measures and governmental interventions may halt spread of COVID-19

A modelling study performed at UMC Utrecht indicates that self-imposed prevention measures (handwashing, wearing face masks, social distancing) as well as governmental interventions (e.g. closure of restaurants and bars, cancellation of mass events) may significantly contribute to tackling the spread of COVID-19. Increasing disease awareness among the general public is essential for controlling the ongoing pandemic and preventing a 2nd wave of infections.

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Jul 2: Platelets involved in coagulation ánd host defence

Platelets are not only involved in blood coagulation and the development of thrombosis. Researchers from Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht and Erasmus MC have now discovered that they also play a role in our immune system: they appear to be indispensable in protecting our respiratory system against pathogens. "In patients with flu, the platelets absorb virus particles from the lungs, after which they return to the bloodstream”, says lead researcher Erhard van der Vries. This insight is also important for research into coagulation and acute cardiovascular problems in corona patients, such as strokes and blood clots in the pulmonary vessels.

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