ACTA Microbiologica Hellenica (Volume 67, Issue 2)

Postcards from the edge: SARS-CoV-2 pandemic narratives in fiction film and documentaries.

Georgios Pappas

Institute of Continuing Medical Education of Ioannina, Greece

Public perception about infectious diseases, science, and public health policies can be affected by exposure to related works of art, including film, and may modify one’s actions during a pandemic. An increasing number of fiction films and documentaries are inspired from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Major narratives include: the inadequate early response of governments and international organizations, the heroic actions of healthcare practitioners, the social effect of lockdown (both as a spirit-raising inducer of togetherness and as a disproportionately harsh burden on minorities and underprivileged), the individual effect of lockdown on families, and the historical significance of certain major pandemic events. But these works of art also depict individual stories, of celebration and victory or mourning, favored by their immediacy, their chronological closeness to the events. In depicting these pandemic aspects, often subjectively, fiction films and documentaries can evolve into historical documents but also influence health literacy of future generations.

Long COVID: new persectives and review of the literature.

Georgios Pappas1, Eleni Iasonidou2

1 Institute of Continuing Medical Education of Ioannina, Greece

2 Long Covid Greece patient society, Thessaloniki, Greece

A major, but regrettably understudied, outcome of the pandemic is the significant percentage of patients exhibiting persisting symptoms, of varying localization and severity, for months after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. These syndromes, collectively termed as Long Covid, may actually increase the pandemic burden for long after its end, leading to debilitation of previously healthy young individuals, in massive numbers. Long Covid as a term incorporates numerous syndromes, either systemic (as fatigue and expressions of dysautonomia) or localized (as residual lung damage or neurological complications). The etiology of Long Covid remains obscure, possibly attributed to viral persistence or continuous hyper-inflammatory reaction or even autoimmunity. Patient evaluation should be complex, extend to non-hospitalized patients, recognize the effect on the patient’s quality of life, and the need for multi-task, but individualized, diagnostic and therapeutic approach. There are no specific pharmaceutical options at the time being, and the effect of vaccination on symptom alleviation has been inconsistent (although vaccination continues to reduce the odds of Long Covid development). Recognition of the medical and social burden of Long Covid remains a public health urgency.

Classification of viral proteins expressed by the SARS-CoV-2 genome.

Negar Noorbakhsh1, Maria Kavianpour2, Bentolhoda Hayatmoghadam3

1Behbahan Faculty of Medical Sciences, Behbahan, Iran.

2Department of Applied Cell Sciences, School of Advanced Technologies in Medicine, Tehran University

of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3Department of Clinical Biochemistry, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University

of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 syndrome leads to Covid 19 disease, and spread rapidly worldwide in a pandemic mode. In order to control or avoid SARS-CoV-2 infection, it is essential to develop successful preventive or therapeutic strategies against the virus. For this reason, it is of great importance to understate the structure and function of the proteins, as well as the genome of SARS-CoV 2. The SARS-CoV-2 genome is remarkably similar to the coronavirus causing SARS in 2003, and much of the knowledge obtained for SARS-CoV-2 proteins is based on the various research studies published on SARS-CoV and other related viruses. The SARS-CoV-2 genome, similar to other coronaviruses, encodes four structural proteins (S, E, M, and N). This virus, moreover, expresses nine accessory proteins and 16 non-structural proteins. This review article provides a comprehensive insight into the SARS-CoV-2 genome and the structure and function of proteins. In addition, amino acid sequence alignment between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV is presented in this article.

Prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility profile of Group A - Streptococcus pyogenes among school-aged children with pharyngitis in Arba Minch, southern Ethiopia.

Fikremariam Fenta, Addis Aklilu, Tsegaye Tsalla, Melat Woldemariam, Aseer Manilal

Department of Medical Laboratory Science, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Streptococcus pyogenes is the most frequent cause of pharyngitis in children and may lead to further complications in the form of post-infectious syndromes. In so far, the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of group A Streptococcus among school-aged children have not been investigated in the study area, Arba Minch in southern Ethiopia. The present study aims to assess the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of S. pyogenes group among school-aged children suspected of pharyngitis at three government health institutions in Arba Minch, Ethiopia. A cross-sectional study was conducted at three government health institutions in Arba Minch during 1st March – 31st August, 2019. Demographic and associated factors were collected by using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. Standard microbiological techniques were employed to isolate and identify S. pyogenes. Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method was used to perform the antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Statistical package for Social Science (SPSS) version 25 was used to analyse the data; p-value <0.05 was considered as statistically significant. A total of 170 children were included in the study, by marginal majority females, 91 (53.5%). The prevalence of S. pyogenes was 15 (8.8%). Invariably, all isolates (100%) of S. pyogenes group A were susceptible to penicillin, clindamycin, and vancomycin. Alarmingly, 60% of S. pyogenes were found to be resistant to tetracycline. Lower age (ie., 5-9 years) (p-value 0.046), low monthly income (p-value 0.032) of the family and history of sore throat (p-value 0.007) were significantly associated with the prevalence of S. pyogenes group A among children with pharyngitis. Overall results revealed that the prevalence of GAS is comparatively similar to another study done in Ethiopia. All S. pyogenes group A isolates remained susceptible to the majority of antibiotics which is encouraging for clinical practice.

A study on prevalence and associated factors of rotavirus gastroenteritis in children in Western Uttar Pradesh

Sadia Saher, Haris Manzoor Khan, Hiba Sami, Zeeshan Mustafa, Syed Gazanfar Ali

Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Microbiology, Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College,

Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, 202002, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Rotavirus is recognized as a prime causative agent of acute gastroenteritis in children aged less than 5 years worldwide The aim of this study is to evaluate the frequency of a rotavirus diagnosis in hospitalized children aged less than 5 years suffering from diarrhoea, the efficacy of Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in diagnosing the infection, and assess the relationship between sociodemographic and clinical features associated with rotavirus diarrhea. The present study was conducted at Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh from January 2021 to April 2022. Sociodemographic and clinical data of the patients were assessed. ELISA test was performed for the detection of rotavirus antigen in stool samples. Statistical analysis was performed using the Prism statistics version 08 software. All the differences were analysed using ANOVA statistical test and Pearson’s chi-square (χ2). According to our results, a total of 382 stool samples were tested and rotavirus infection was detected in 194 (50.7%) samples. Children aged 1-11 months and 12-24 months comprised 56.7% and 18.5% of the total cases respectively. Rotavirus transmission takes place year-round but the infection was significantly higher during winters (n=84, 43.2%) and lower during spring (n=29, 14.9%). Males comprised the majority of positive results (n=127, 65.4%) compared to females (n=67, 34.5%), and were more prone to a positive result compared to females (62% versus 37% respectively). The commonest presenting symptoms were diarrhoea (100%), fever (97.4%), vomiting (92.7%) and severe dehydration (47.4%). In conclusion, rotavirus, a leading cause of gastroenteritis in young children worldwide, was a common cause of fever and diarrhea in our patient series. Although developments in healthcare system have augmented in controlling its prevalence, significant numbers of outbreaks and clusters continue to be recorded in India.

Fables for the dawn of antibiotics.

Theodoros A. Peppas, Georgia Vrioni

Department of Microbiology, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece