Infectious Diseases
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2021 ◽  
Heinz-Josef Schmitt

Infectious Diseases result from exposure and contact between a host (human being) and an (uninvited) guest (micro-organism). Given the fact that billions of micro-organisms are in and around us at any time, overall, infectious diseases are comparatively rare; of the millions of different microbial species, only about 300 are known to cause human diseases. Besides exposure and contact, factors on the side of the host (genetic background, environment, underlying diseases and their therapy) and on the side of the micro-organisms (pathogenicity / virulence factors) are necessary to result in an infectious disease. “Colonization” means that a micro-organism can attach on skin or mucous membrane for some time or even indefinitely but does not invade host tissue and does not cause any symptoms. Colonizers may even induce an immune response. “Infection” is defined as a micro-organism invading through skin or mucous membranes the tissue of a host, leading to no disease (“asymptomatic infection”); or symptomatic disease. It is followed by health, disability, or death. Following the infection, microorganisms may persist in the body for a long time or even for life without causing any symptoms, which is called “latent infection”. Infectious diseases may not only be due to pathogenicity factors of a micro-organism, but may also result from (i.) direct destruction of host tissues (e.g., from viral replication); (ii.) the acute host (immune-) response; and from late immune responses resulting in immune-mediated “post-infectious diseases”. Some infections may cause an immune response that is directed against host-tissue, resulting in an “autoimmune-disease”. Given the increasing number of microbes, the increasing number of exposures, and the increasing number and fraction of susceptible/predisposed humans, it is obvious that infectious diseases will increase in the future. Vaccines and vaccination may help solve this problem.

2021 ◽  
Jeffrey B Ulmer

DNA vaccines were first discovered more than 30 years ago. Because DNA vaccines result in antigen production in situ (i.e., mimic a virus infection), they elicit broad-based immune responses, including antibodies and T cells. Induction of protective immunity has been established in scores of animal models of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Hundreds of human clinical trials have been conducted demonstrating safety and, in many cases, antigen-specific immune responses. Several animal health vaccines based on DNA have been approved and are in use. Many DNA vaccines are in various stages of human clinical testing, including a few in phase 3 efficacy trials and the recent Emergency Use Authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, but to date no DNA vaccines have been fully licensed for human use. DNA vaccines are thermostable and amenable to large-scale manufacturing at relatively low cost, hence well-suited for global use, particularly in the developing world. If potency in humans could be achieved, DNA vaccines would have the potential to be a radical innovation that could disrupt the vaccine industry.

2021 ◽  
Werner Solbach

Microorganisms constitute 70 percent of the biomass on Planet Earth. Comparatively few species are adapted to colonize human surfaces and form a complex Meta-Organism with manyfold mutual benefits. Occasionally, microorganisms may overcome the barriers of the skin and mucosal surfaces and may multiply locally or in multiple sites inside the body. This process is called infection. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, helminths, and fungi. Immediately after infection, numerous defense mechanisms of the immune system are activated to combat replication of the microbes. There is a balance between microorganism and human defense mechanisms, which may lead to either asymptomatic infection or result in a wide spectrum of symptoms from mild to severe disease and even death. The most important factors in the diagnosis of infectious diseases are a careful history, physical examination and the appropriate collection of body fluids and tissues. Laboratory diagnosis requires between 2 and 72 hours. Wherever possible, antibiotics should only be used when sufficient evidence of efficacy is available. Then, however, they should be used as early as possible and in high doses. In addition to everyday hygiene measures, vaccination is the most effective measure to prevent infectious diseases.

2021 ◽  
Armando Zavala ◽  
Christopher M Stark

ABSTRACT The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic has posed unique challenges to healthcare providers that work in austere environments. Military healthcare providers advise commanders on endemic disease risk, prevention, and management during field training exercises. Healthcare workers are at increased risk of exposure to infectious pathogens. We present a case of a military healthcare provider who presented with fever, cough, and fatigue during the COVID-19 global pandemic that was diagnosed with a primary pulmonary coccidioidal infection. Treatment after appropriate diagnosis consisted of supportive care. Respiratory and pain symptoms resolved by 2 months post-diagnosis. Although COVID-19 must be closely monitored in the field training environment, it is important to maintain a high index of suspicion of endemic infectious diseases as a potential etiology for respiratory illnesses.

Zen Yang Ang ◽  
Kit Yee Cheah ◽  
Md. Sharif Shakirah ◽  
Weng Hong Fun ◽  
Jailani Anis-Syakira ◽  

This study aimed to highlight the COVID-19 response by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Government of Malaysia in order to share Malaysia’s lessons and to improve future pandemic preparedness. The team conducted a rapid review using publicly available information from MOH, PubMed, and World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Research on Coronavirus Disease Database to compile Malaysia’s responses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures taken between 31 December 2019 and 3 June 2020 were classified into domains as well as the pillars described in the WHO COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (WHO SPRP). Malaysia’s response incorporated all pillars in the WHO SPRP and consisted of five domains, (i) whole-of-government, (ii) cordon sanitaire/lockdown, (iii) equity of access to services and supports, (iv) quarantine and isolation systems, and (v) legislation and enforcement. Some crucial measures taken were activation of a centralised multi-ministerial coordination council where MOH acted as an advisor, with collaboration from non-government organisations and private sectors which enabled an effective targeted screening approach, provision of subsidised COVID-19 treatment and screening, isolation or quarantine of all confirmed cases, close contacts and persons under investigation, with all strategies applied irrespective of citizenship. This was provided for by way of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988. A combination of these measures enabled the nation to contain the COVID-19 outbreak by the end of June 2020.

Mohamed Omar ◽  
Luigi Marchionni ◽  
Georg Häcker ◽  
Mohamed Tarek Badr

Malaria is a major international public health problem that affects millions of patients worldwide especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Although many tests have been developed to diagnose malaria infections, we still lack reliable diagnostic biomarkers for the identification of disease severity, especially in endemic areas where the diagnosis of cerebral malaria is very difficult and requires the exclusion of all other possible causes. Previous host and pathogen transcriptomic studies have not yielded homogenous results that can be harnessed into a reliable diagnostic tool. Here we utilized a multi-cohort analysis approach using machine-learning algorithms to identify blood gene signatures that can distinguish severe and cerebral malaria from moderate and non-cerebral cases. Using a Regularized Random Forest model, we identified 28-gene and 32-gene signatures that can reliably distinguish severe and cerebral malaria, respectively. We tested the specificity of both signatures against other common infectious diseases to ensure the signatures reliability and suitability as diagnostic markers. The severe and cerebral malaria gene-signatures were further integrated through k-top scoring pairs classifiers into ten and nine gene pairs that could distinguish severe and cerebral malaria, respectively. These signatures have various implications that can be utilized as blood diagnostic tools for malaria severity in endemic countries.

2021 ◽  
Vol 10 (21) ◽  
pp. 4865
Paweł Piotr Dobrakowski ◽  
Sebastian Skalski ◽  
Janusz Surzykiewicz ◽  
Jolanta Muszyńska ◽  
Karol Konaszewski

Recent data have indicated that people may have experienced fear during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aims to deepen our understanding of the relationship between religious coping and life satisfaction by analysing the indirect effects of fear of COVID-19. Methods: This study included 365 people (75% women) aged 18–78 years. The procedure consisted of completing questionnaires to measure religious coping, COVID-19 anxiety, satisfaction with life, and satisfaction with social support. Results: Structural equation modelling showed that positive religious coping was related to greater life satisfaction and greater satisfaction with social support during the pandemic. Moreover, fear of COVID-19 mediated the relationship between negative religious coping and life satisfaction and social support satisfaction. Conclusions: The data suggest a need for practitioners to focus on interventions that enhance positive religious coping to improve life satisfaction during the spread of infectious diseases.

Kunli Zhang ◽  
Qiuyan Huang ◽  
Shoulong Deng ◽  
Yecheng Yang ◽  
Jianhao Li ◽  

Pathogenic infections have badly affected public health and the development of the breeding industry. Billions of dollars are spent every year fighting against these pathogens. The immune cells of a host produce reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species which promote the clearance of these microbes. In addition, autophagy, which is considered an effective method to promote the destruction of pathogens, is involved in pathological processes. As research continues, the interplay between autophagy and nitroxidative stress has become apparent. Autophagy is always intertwined with nitroxidative stress. Autophagy regulates nitroxidative stress to maintain homeostasis within an appropriate range. Intracellular oxidation, in turn, is a strong inducer of autophagy. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a pattern recognition receptor mainly involved in the regulation of inflammation during infectious diseases. Several studies have suggested that TLR4 is also a key regulator of autophagy and nitroxidative stress. In this review, we describe the role of TLR4 in autophagy and oxidation, and focus on its function in influencing autophagy-nitroxidative stress interactions.

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Esma Mouhoub ◽  
Pilar Domenech ◽  
Momar Ndao ◽  
Michael B. Reed

Live attenuated Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) is the world’s most widely used vaccine which is mainly administered for its protection against tuberculosis (TB), particularly in young children. However, since its initial use over 100years ago, it has also proven to offer a level of protection against various other pathogens, as a consequence of its non-specific immune enhancing effects. Thus, over the past few decades, recombinant BCG (rBCG) technology has been used as a vector to create rBCG vaccines expressing heterologous antigens that elicit immunity against a range of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases. Our goal with this mini-review is to provide an up-to-date survey of the various techniques, approaches, and applications of rBCG-based vaccines for targeting infectious diseases other than TB.

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