Clinical Microbiology Issues Update - April/May 2012

PSAB ACTIVITIES

  • Dual Use Research Policy and Meetings
  • ASM Submits Written Testimony to Congress on R&D Funding
  • ASM Attends ACLA Meeting

ASM NEWS, JOURNAL ARTICLES AND UPDATES

  • ASM Teleconferences
  • ASM Conferences
  • ASM Journal Articles of Interest
  • ASM Approved to Provide P.A.C.E.® Continuing Education Credits
  • ASM Press: Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases
  • ASM Press Offers Discount on Purchases

FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

  • Select Agent Website Elimination
  • Public Health Grand Rounds: The Growing Threat of Multidrug-Resistant Gonorrhea 
  • World Malaria Day
  • National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW)
  • FDA Takes Steps to Promote the Judicious Use of Antibiotics
  • Test Links Strains of Common Parasite to Severe Illness in U.S. Newborns
  • MMWR Articles of Interest

OTHER INFORMATION AND UPDATES

  • Revised Standard on Methods for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Anaerobic Bacteria
  • Reforming the 510(K) Process: What’s on the Horizon
  • Facing the Reality of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Challenges and Potential Solutions in India
  • Articles of Interest

PSAB ACTIVITIES

ASM’s Dual Use Research Policy and Meetings

ASM 2012 Special Session on H5N1 Research and Controversy
The ASM Public and Scientific Affairs Board (PSAB) has organized a Special Session at the ASM General Meeting on the H5N1 Research Controversy and Dual Use Research Issues, which is scheduled for June 19 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm.  

The session will feature the following speakers who will discuss research, biosafety, biosecurity and USG policy issues related to dual use research of concern.

Moderators: Paul S. Keim; Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ; Kenneth I. Berns; University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Speakers:

  • Nancy Cox; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA; Influenza Research, Biosafety, Biosecurity and H5N1 Issues 
  • Lynn W. Enquist; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ; The H5N1 Controversy and Publication Issues
  • Yoshi Kawaoka; University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI; A Review of the Scientific Developments Involving the H5N1 Work 
  • Dennis Dixon; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD; The USG Policy for Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern—Implementation Issues 
  • Michael T. Osterholm; University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN., Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) H5N1 Research: Alternative Perspectives

ASM Sponsors H5N1 Research: Biosafety, Biosecurity and Bioethics
ASM also cosponsored the international Royal Society conference April 3-4 in London to address research issues surrounding H5N1 avian influenza research.  Kenneth Berns, cochair of the PSAB Biodefense Committee, attended the meeting as the ASM representative.   The conference proceedings are available online at: http://www.voiceprompt.co.uk/royalsociety/030412/

ASM Submits Written Testimony to Congress on R&D Funding
In March, the ASM submitted recommendations to Congress supporting increased research and public health program funding for Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations.   Highlights of the recommendations include:

National Institutes of Health (NIH): ASM urged lawmakers to increase funding for the NIH above the Administration’s proposed flat level funding of $30.7 billion to no less than $32 billion in FY 2013.  ASM emphasized that this funding recommendation represents the minimum level necessary to pursue research opportunities and to keep pace with biomedical inflation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): ASM voiced concern over the proposed FY 2013 budget for the CDC, a $664 million or 11.6 percent decrease from FY 2012 and asked Congress to reverse the recent trend of cuts to the CDC budget and core infectious disease programs.  ASM highlighted public health impacts of infectious disease reemergence and inadequate funding to CDC but also supported CDC areas that received proposed increases including the additional $27 million for the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID).

Food and Drug Administration (FDA): ASM pointed out that the Administration’s FY 2013 request of $4.5 billion for the FDA includes nearly $2 billion in current and proposed user fees from regulated industries (45 percent of the total), and stressed that the proposed net budget increase of only $11.5 million in FY 2013 would not be adequate to sustain the FDA’s critical role in public health. ASM requested Congress increase funding for the FDA to support its research centers, initiatives and core programs to protect public health.

A booklet that includes the full ASM funding recommendations to Congress, Federal Funding for FY 2013:  Biomedical and Life Sciences Research is available on-line at the following link: Research and Development Funding for FY 2013.

ASM Attends ACLA Meeting
ASM Staff member Kimberly Walker attended the American Clinical Laboratory Association Annual meeting in Washington, DC 22-23 April.  Key presentations were given by Jonathan Blum, Deputy Administrator & Director, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Congressman Michael Burgess, (TX-26), author of HR 3207, the Modernizing Laboratory Test Standards for Patients Act of 2011, and Jean Mitchell, Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University.  More information can be found here http://www.acla.com/annual-meeting-2012

ASM NEWS, JOURNAL ARTICLES AND UPDATES

 ASM Conferences

4th ASM Conference on Prokaryotic Cell Biology and Development

May 6 - 10, 2012

Montreal, Canada

http://conferences.asm.org/

ASM Journal Articles of Interest

A Darwinian View of the Hygiene or “Old Friends” Hypothesis
When urban living reduced contacts of humans with microbes and worms, it increased our risk for chronic inflammatory disorders. 

Rare Emerging Disease Claims Texas Girl’s Leg: PCR Plus Sequencing Identified Culprit
A Texas girl was cured of an emerging disease when doctors amputated her infected lower leg, where the infection persisted after treatment with various antimicrobials proved ineffective. The causative agent was Pythium insidiosum, a fungus-like microbe which rarely causes disease in humans and then primarily in Thailand.  

Ganciclovir-Resistant Cytomegalovirus Retinitis in a Patient with Wild-Type CMV in Her Plasma
An immunocompromised patient presents with drug resistant CMV in an eye infection, but wild type CMV systemically. 

Cross-Reactive Antibodies Vanquish H5N1 in Preclinical Study
A major difficulty in developing neutralizing antibodies to Influenza H5N1 is that ten different antigenic types have evolved since the virus first emerged. But now a team of researchers has produced a so-called cross-reactive antibody that can bind to nine of the ten H5N1 groups, the March Journal of Virology reports.  

ASM Approved to Provide P.A.C.E.® Continuing Education Credits
P.A.C.E.®-approved continuing education (CEs) credits are now offered by ASM for its clinical laboratory professional development activities. P.A.C.E.® , professional acknowledgement for continuing education, was created in 1977. It is sponsored by the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and was designed specifically for clinical laboratory professionals.

Beginning in March 2012, P.A.C.E.® credits were offered for ASM’s teleconferences and webinars and all of the ASM2012 Diagnostic Microbiology and Epidemiology sessions and workshops are P.A.C.E.®- accredited.  ASM will continue to offer continuing medical and pharmacy education credits (CMEs and CPEs) for ICAAC. P.A.C.E. CEs will be offered for clinical laboratory personnel who attend ICAAC. 

The process for claiming earned CEs remains unchanged.  Visit ASM’s CE portal for more information through this link https://ce.asm.org 

ASM Press

Genome Plasticity and Infectious Diseases
This text provides a comprehensive examination of the current understanding of pathogen adaptation and microevolution in bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.  

ASM Press would like show our support of National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week with a special offer.  Purchase $150 worth of ASM Press titles through our eStore (estore.asm.org/press) and receive a free online Cumitech of your choosing.  With over 100 titles currently on sale for ASM Members, now is a great time to purchase.  Simply forward your eStore receipt to books@asmusa.org and indicate which Cumitech you would like to receive.  A complete list of Cumitechs can be found here http://estore.asm.org/viewItemDetails.asp?ItemID=608.  Offer valid until 5/4/2011.

FEDERAL AGENCY UPDATES

Select Agent Website Elimination
Since 2009, the National Select Agent Registry website has been available two separate websites:  http://www.selectagent.gov and http://www.selectagents.gov. Effective May 1, 2012, the http://www.selectagent.gov web address will no longer be available and its presence will be eliminated from the World Wide Web. Please bookmark http://www.selectagents.gov to maintain continuous access to the National Select Agent Registry website.

Public Health Grand Rounds: The Growing Threat of Multidrug-Resistant Gonorrhea 
This session of Grand Rounds will explore the development of antibiotic resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae as a growing public health concern because the United States gonorrhea control strategy relies on effective antibiotic therapy. http://www.cdc.gov/about/grand-rounds/archives/2012/May2012.htm

World Malaria Day
World Malaria Day celebrated, every year on April 25, the date in 2000 when 44 African leaders met in Abuja, Nigeria, and committed their countries to cutting malaria-related deaths in half by 2010.  The theme of the 2012 event is entitled Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria. To see the press release in full, go to http://www.cdc.gov/Features/WorldMalariaDay/

National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW)
2012 National Infant Immunization Week (NIIW) is an annual observance to highlight the importance of protecting infants from vaccine-preventable diseases and celebrate the achievements of immunization programs and their partners in promoting healthy communities.

FDA Takes Steps to Promote the Judicious Use of Antibiotics
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced April 11 that it is taking three steps to protect public health and promote the judicious use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals.

Test Links Strains of Common Parasite to Severe Illness in U.S. Newborns
Scientists have identified which strains of the Toxoplasma gondii parasite are most strongly associated with premature births and severe birth defects in the United States. The researchers used a new blood test to pinpoint T. gondii strains that children acquire from their acutely infected mothers while in the womb.  

MMWR Articles of Interest

P. aeruginosa Respiratory Tract Infections Associated with Contaminated Ultrasound Gel
Respiratory Tract Infections Associated with Contaminated Ultrasound Gel Used for Transesophageal Echocardiography were found to be caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Severe Coinfection with Seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Virus and Staphylococcus aureus
Severe coinfection with seasonal Influenza A (H3N2) Virus and Staphylococcus aureus was seen in three patients in Maryland from February to March 2012.

OTHER INFORMATION AND UPDATES

Revised Standard on Methods for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Anaerobic Bacteria
The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) recently published Methods for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Anaerobic Bacteria; Approved Standard—Eighth Edition (M11-A8). This standard provides reference methods for the determination of minimal inhibitory concentrations of anaerobic bacteria by agar dilution and broth microdilution.

Reforming the 510(K) Process: What’s on the Horizon
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2:00 PM, AACC will present an FDA update on the 510(K) medical device review process and other issues under review, including the latest on the FDA/Industry user fee agreement.

Facing the Reality of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: Challenges and Potential Solutions in India
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation held three international workshops to gather information from local experts around the world on the threat of drug resistant TB and how the challenges it presents can be met. They have published summaries of these workshops online.

Articles of Interest

Drug Resistant Bacteria go Undetected
Nature
April 27, 2012
Efforts to detect and halt the global spread of drug-resistant bacteria are being hindered by a poor understanding of the limitations of crucial laboratory tests.

Bacteria Contaminated Cheese Results in four Indictments
USA Today
April 19, 2012
Prosecutors announced the indictment of four people who are accused of ignoring FDA orders and distributing more than 110,000 pounds of Mexican cheese. Some of it contained Salmonella, E. coli and other potentially harmful bacteria.

Shingles Vaccination Production Increases
Cumberland Times-News
April 29, 2012
Production of the vaccination against shingles has increased this year and the vaccine is being recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for people 60 and older.  Last year, nearly 1 million Americans were diagnosed with shingles, according to the CDC.

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