Edinburgh Infectious Diseases
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Research focus: from a digital one health framework to covid infections in cats

A collection of publication highlights from the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases network over the past month.

A Digital One Health framework to integrate data for public health decision-making

Summary: Scientists from the Digital One Health Laboratory at the Roslin Institute have proposed a framework for integrating data across sectors, identifying it as a crucial component of pandemic preparedness. This five-step strategy prioritizes trust-building, quality, efficiency, value, and digital data governance—fundamental elements for effective data sharing. The initiative is presently undergoing testing in Uganda, thanks to support from the Royal Society, in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture, and Environment. 

Carys J Redman-White, Kathrin Loosli, Vesa Qarkaxhija, Tim Nicholas Lee, Gerald Mboowa, Bryan A Wee and Adrian Muwonge IJID One Health. 2023 doi.org/10.1016/j.ijidoh.2023.100012

Modelling the effects of antibiotic usage in livestock on human salmonellosis

Summary: Researchers from the Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution, the School of Biological Sciences, the Usher Institute and the Roslin Institute have been looking at antibiotic usgae in livestock which has been suggested to be a driver of antimicrobial resistance in human and livestock populations. The consequences of antibiotic curtailment in livestock on human health is poorly understood - but there is a potential increase in the carriage of pathogens such as Salmonella spp.

Researchers use a mathematical model fitted to four cases studies to explore the impact of curtailing antibiotic usage in livestock on salmonellosis in humans. The study provides a motivating example of a plausible scenario following curtailment of antibiotic usage in livestock.

Morgan ALK, Woolhouse MEJ, Wagenaar JA, van Bunnik BAD. One Health. 2023 Oct 7;17:100639. doi: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2023.100639.

Efficacy of smallpox vaccines against Mpox infections in humans

Summary: Researchers are investigating whether vaccines and antivirals originally developed for smallpox can effectively combat the Mpox virus, which has spread to Western countries, primarily among GBMSM individuals.

The study revealed that the MVA-BN vaccine provides robust protection against Mpox infection within 14 days of the first dose, while the TPOXX antiviral demonstrated less effectiveness. While a single MVA-BN dose appears effective, completing the two-dose regimen is highly recommended.

Further research is needed to validate these findings, considering factors like sex, age, race, gender, and underlying medical conditions (e.g., HIV), which could influence the vaccine's efficacy against Mpox.

Christodoulidou MM, Mabbott NA. Immunother Adv. 2023 Oct 7;3(1):ltad020. doi: 10.1093/immadv/ltad020

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Antagonism between co-infecting gastrointestinal nematodes: A meta-analysis of experimental infections in Sheep

Summary: Researchers from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies in collaboration with researchers from the Department for Disease Control at the Moredun Research Institute and the Institute for Ecology and Evolution have been looking into co-infecting gastrointestinal nematodes which have a huge impact in humans as well as wildlife and grazing livestock. Researchers have been particularly interested in the infections in sheep.

This paper presents a systematic literature search and meta-analysis of experimental gastrointestinal nematodes co-infections of sheep in order to determine whether these experimental studies support the hypothesis of antagonistic interactions between different co-infecting gastrointestinal nematodes.

Evans MJ, Corripio-Miyar Y, Hayward A, Kenyon F, McNeilly TN, Nussey DH. 2023 Oct 20;323:110053. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2023.110053.

CSF1R-dependent macrophages in the salivary gland are essential for epithelial regeneration after radiation-induced injury

Summary: Researchers from the Institute for Regeneration and Repair, the Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies have been looking at the salivary glands which often become damaged in individuals receiving radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, this results in chronic dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth leads to detrimental effects on health and quality of life and there is currently no rengenerative therapy.

Macrophages are the predominant immune cell in the salivary glands and are attractive therapeutic targets due to their capacity to drive tissue repair. Researchers show that the certain macrophages are indispensable for effective tissue repair and gland function after radiation-induced injury.

McKendrick JG, Jones GR, Elder SS, Watson E, T'Jonck W, Mercer E, Magalhaes MS, Rocchi C, Hegarty LM, Johnson AL, Schneider C, Becher B, Pridans C, Mabbott N, Liu Z, Ginhoux F, Bajenoff M, Gentek R, Bain CC, Emmerson E.  Sci Immunol. 2023 Nov 3;8(89):eadd4374. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.add4374.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae carriage in children with recurrent respiratory tract infections is associated with a less diverse and altered microbiota

Summary: Researchers from the Centre for Inflammation Research have been looking at the mycoplasma pneumoniae which is the common cause of community-acquired pneumonia in school-aged children. The role of this is recurrent respiratory tract infections is unclear. Researchers studied the prevalence of mycoplasma pneumoniae carriage in children with recurrent respiratory infections and then identified associated factors.

Koenen MH, de Groot RCA, de Steenhuijsen Piters WAA, Chu MLJN, Arp K, Hasrat R, de Bruijn ACJM, Estevão SC, van der Vries E, Langereis JD, Boes M, Bogaert D, van Rossum AMC, Unger WWJ, Verhagen LM. EBioMedicine. 2023 Nov 9;98:104868. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2023.104868.

Read the paper via PubMed

Testing a non-destructive assay to track Plasmodium sporozoites in mosquitoes over time

Summary: Researchers from the Institute of Ecology and Evolution and the Institute of Immunology and Infection are looking into one of the most influential parameters for malaria transmission: the extrinsic incubation period (which is defined as the time it takes for malaria parasites in a mosquito to become infectious to a vertebrate host).

This incubation period is usually estimated by quantifying salivary gland sporozoites in subsets of mosquitos. However, assays that allow repeated sampling over time may provide a better resolution of the incubation period. Thus, researchers tested a non-destructive assay and found successful detection of expelled sporozoites from sugar-soaked feeding substrates.

Oke CE, Reece SE, Schneider P. Parasit Vectors. 2023 Nov 4;16(1):401. doi: 10.1186/s13071-023-06015-5.

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Emergence and spread of feline infection peritonitis due to a highly pathogenic canine/feline recombinant coronavirus

Summary: Researchers from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Roslin Institute have been looking into cross-species transmission of coronavirus. Researchers report the emergence of a novel, highly pathogenic FCoV-CCoV recombinant responsible for a rapidly spreading outbreak of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) originating in Cyprus. FIP is caused by an infection with a version of feline coronavirus (FCoV). FCoV are common all over the world, and in most instances cause no clinical signs, or just mild diarrhoea.

Researchers used CR amplification of parts of the viral genome, and Nanonpore sequencing, to take a closer look at what was going on.

Charalampos Attipa, Amanda S Warr, Demetris Epaminondas, Marie O’Shea, Sarah Fletcher, Alexandra Malbon, Maria Lyraki, Rachael Hammond, Alexandros Hardas, Antria Zanti, Stavroula Loukaidou, Michaela Gentil, Danielle Gunne-Moore, Stella Mazeri, Christine Tait-Burkard. bioRxiv 2023 Nov 8.566182; doi: doi.org/10.1101/2023.

Read the paper via PubMed