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Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of a rapid and accurate test to tell the difference between bacterial and viral infections.
Robert Marks, Daria Prilutsky, and colleagues cite the importance of determining the source of an infection in order to quickly start the right treatment. They found that the immune systems of patients with bacterial infections behaved differently than the immune systems of patients with viral infections, and developed a test based on those differences. Abstract Oftentimes the etiological diagnostic differentiation between viral and bacterial infections is problematic, while clinical management decisions need to be made promptly upon admission. New antibacterial strategies are needed because more and more bacteria are antibiotic resistant and because antibiotics are not effective at eradicating chronic bacterial infections. A computerised diagnostic model outperforms clinical judgement for the diagnosis of fever in young children, and may improve early treatment, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal today. Coughing and wheezing patients could someday benefit from quicker, more accurate diagnosis and treatment for respiratory infections such as flu, through a simple blood test, according to scientists. Antibiotics can work miracles, knocking out common infections like bronchitis and tonsillitis. Doctors frequently misuse antibiotics when treating patients hospitalized with respiratory tract infections (RTIs), according to a study to be published in the November issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. Doctors have long known that viral infections can bring about asthma attacks and the shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing associated with them. Researchers from Cornell University have devised a peptidomimetic macrocyclic compound that is made from an acid-catalyzed cascade reaction. From fragrances and food flavourings to the building blocks of pharmaceutical drugs, fine chemicals a€“ complex chemicals produced in small quantities to a high degree of purity a€“ play a major role in our daily lives. Scientists using a technology called cryo-EM (cryo-electron microscopy) have broken through a technological barrier in visualizing proteins with an approach that may have an impact on drug discovery and development. US biochemical engineer Frances Arnold on Tuesday won a million-euro technology prize in Finland for her work on "directed evolution", a method of rewriting DNA to improve medicines and develop green fuels. A family of compounds known as perovskites, which can be made into thin films with many promising electronic and optical properties, has been a hot research topic in recent years.
Looking for the most current news, updates, and articles relating to microbiology, go to The American Society for Microbiology educational website Microbe World.
Those common afflictions often have similar symptoms but vastly different treatments — antibiotics work for bacterial infections but not for viruses. If left untreated until results of a throat culture, for instance, are in, bacterial infections can get worse.
Because these properties are shared by certain bacteria (rickettsiae, chlamydiae), viruses are now characterized by their simple organization and their unique mode of replication. Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, or visit the webmaster's page for free fun content. Vector illustration of a disease inflammation of the tonsils caused by viral or bacterial infection.

But needlessly giving antibiotics to patients with a viral infection could contribute to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) or phagocytes act as major players in the defense response of the host during an episode of infection, and thereby undergo functional changes that differ according to the infections. Since current diagnostic methods to sort out the two kinds of infection are time-consuming and may not be completely accurate, the researchers sought to develop a new test that would enable doctors to rapidly make the right diagnosis. PMNs functional activity can be characterized by quantification and localization of respiratory burst production and assessed by chemiluminescent (CL) byproduct reaction. We have assessed the functional states of PMNs of patients with acute infections in a luminol-amplified whole blood system using the component CL approach.
These are the proteins that form the capsid (protein coat); there may also be a few enzymes or regulatory proteins involved in assembling the capsid around newly synthesized viral nucleic acid, in controlling the biochemical mechanisms of the host cell, and in lysing the host cell when new virions have been assembled. In this study, blood was drawn from 69 patients with fever (>38 °C), and diagnosed as mainly viral or bacterial infections in origin.
Data mining algorithms (C4.5, Support Vector Machines (SVM) and Nave Bayes) were used to induce classification models to distinguish between clinical groups. For certain viruses the RNA is replicated by a viral enzyme (transcriptase) contained in the virion, or produced by the host cell using the viral RNA as a messenger. In other viruses a reverse transcriptase contained in the virion transcribes the genetic message on the viral RNA into DNA, which is then replicated by the host cell. The method demonstrated a high predictive diagnostic value and may assist the clinician one day in the distinction between viral and bacterial infections and the choice of proper medication. When these proteins assemble to form the capsid, part of the host cell membrane is pinched off to form the envelope of the virion.Some viruses have only a few genes coding for capsid proteins. Some envelope proteins facilitate viral entry into the cell, and others have directly pathogenic effects.Some viruses do not produce rapid lysis of host cells, but rather remain latent for long periods in the host before the appearance of clinical symptoms.
In the lentiviruses, it was formerly mistakenly believed that virus was inactive during this period. The true situation is that lentiviruses are rapidly replicating and spawning dozens of quasi-species until a particularly effective one overruns the ability of the host's immune system to defeat it.
For many years all forms of latency were thought to be identical, but now it has been discovered that there are different types with basic and important distinctions.In viral latency, most of the host cells may be protected from infection by immune mechanisms involving antibodies to the viral particles or interferon. Cytotoxic lymphocytes may also act as antigen-presenting cells to better coordinate the immune response. Containment of virus in mucosal tissues is far more complex, involving follicular dendritic cells and Langerhans cells.Some enveloped RNA viruses can be produced in infected cells that continue growing and dividing without being killed. It is also possible for the DNA of some viruses to be incorporated into the host cell DNA, producing a carrier state.
These are almost always retroviruses, which are called proviruses before and after integration of viral DNA into the host genome.Few viruses produce toxins, although viral infections of bacteria can cause previously innocuous bacteria to become much more pathogenic and toxic. Other viral proteins, such as some of the human immunodeficiency virus, appear to be actively toxic, but those are the exception, not the rule.However, viruses are highly antigenic.

In patients with hemolytic anemia or sickle cell disease it causes aplastic crisis; it can also cause acute arthritis. Persistent infection in immunocompromised patients can lead to chronic bone marrow failure. This has the most rapid onset of the hepatitis viruses affecting humans; transmission is easier than for the hepatitis B and C viruses, but infection generally does not persist. Progression of HIV-2 infection to AIDS is generally slower and less extreme than that of HIV-1. The virus is believed to induce permanent infection and has a propensity toward a subset of T lymphocytes called the CD4 cells. The infected cells become dysfunctional and eventually the host's immune system is overwhelmed or exhausted; death ensues, usually as a result of infection.
HTLV-1 causes chronic infection and is associated with adult T-cell leukemia and a type of myelopathy. Serotype A viruses are subject to major antigenic changes (antigenic shifts) as well as minor gradual antigenic changes (antigenic drift) and cause widespread epidemics and pandemics. RSV can cause a wide variety of respiratory disorders ranging from a mild cold to serious or even fatal disease of the lung in the very young and very old. It regularly produces an outbreak of infection each winter and virtually disappears in the summer months.
The most severe infections in children are in the very young, especially those who are preterm, immunologically compromised, or suffering from a congenital heart defect or preexisting lung disorder. Adults at risk for infection include parents and others who are repeatedly exposed to young children, for example, pediatric nurses and day care attendants. The course of infection tends to be milder in adults than in children and about 15 per cent of affected adults have no symptoms. It is composed of eight segments, including a nucleoprotein (which folds its nucleic acids and helps them to be transcribed), a hemagglutinin (which helps it to enter cells), a neuraminidase (which helps it to bud out of infected cells), several transcriptases (which make copies of the viral RNA), a matrix protein (which supports the outer membrane), and several nonstructural proteins. The virus mutates frequently and causes annual disease outbreaks, some of which (pandemics) affect millions of people. It can be treated with antiviral drugs and prevented with annual vaccinations that target its frequently evolving antigens. Viruses suspected of causing tumors in humans include Epstein-Barr virus (associated with Burkitt lymphoma), hepatitis B virus (associated with hepatocellular carcinoma), papilloma virus (associated with carcinoma of the cervix), and human herpesvirus 8 (associated with Kaposi sarcoma).

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