Category Archives: Amber

TB Talk: Good news for Mycobacteriologists in developing countries by Amber

Staying with the Theme of the month TB, here is Amber’s pick for January 2012.  Her pick comes from the November 2011 Issue of JIDC entitled “The stability of human, bovine and avian tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD),” by Maes et al.  With the challenges in the current state of Global TB, this is a great article that tackles a controversial issue in the TB field, TB diagnosis.



TB Talk: Good news for Mycobacteriologists in developing countries

Has the WHO’s stop TB strategy made progress?  Is TB completely eradicated? Has there been groundbreaking research in anti-TB drug development? hmmmm………

Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not entirely positive, but an interesting piece of research that was published in the November issue of JIDC shows that we are on the right track in these areas. “The stability of human, bovine and avian tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD)” by Maes et al. describes the antigenic stability of the purified protein derivatives (PPDs) of Mycobacterium when exposed to extreme temperature variations. PPDs are used for the tuberculin skin test, which is the only reliable method for the diagnosis of latent TB infection (LTBI). Although new TB-specific detection methods based on interferon gamma release have been introduced recently as an alternative test, due to its cost effectiveness and easy applicability, the tuberculin test is still widely used. However, concerns are raised about the traditional test’s low specificity and instability during long storage and transportation in the field.

Maes et al. evaluated the antigenic stability of human and bovine preparations of tuberculin PPDs which were exposed at different temperatures in TB-sensitized guinea pigs and Gertrudis cows respectively.   By comparing the stability of PPD preparations stored at 37oC for one month or at 100oC for an hour to those which were stored in standardized conditions, the research team demonstrated that undoubtedly clears the air about the clinical use of tuberculin skin test particularly in developing countries where it is hard to comply with the standard storage conditions.  The main conclusion was that the tuberculin PPD remained stable and was able to be stored or transported for long periods without refrigeration even in unfavorable temperatures.1

LTBI significantly contributes to the high incidence rate of TB disease in developing countries. Serious TB control measures have been taken up by the WHO; however, the efforts are largely affected by the poor or late diagnosis of LTBI cases which results in the delayed treatment and consequently the eventual development of active TB disease.  In this situation, I would say that the investigation by Maes et al is definitely encouraging for TB-sicians or TB-tists from developing countries.

Isn’t it good!!!  Oh I think you need more . . .  this was just an appetizer . . .

JIDC has a lot to offer you.  Check out the special January issue dedicated to TB and I will be back with more interesting reviews 😉

Talk talk . . . TB talk!


Reference List


  (1)    Maes M, Gimenez JF, D’Alessandro A, De Waard JH. The stability of human, bovine and avian tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD). J Infect Dev Ctries 2011;5:781-785.


Filed under Amber, Infectious Disease, People, Tuberculosis

Goodbye 2011 and Hello New Science Year 2012: JIDC Postcards 2011- a Wrap-up

Good Bye 2011.  Hello New Science Year! Its 2012!  I hope everyone had a fabulous 2011 and rang in 2012 with a (big) bang!

There is so much a new year brings, especially in science. A new year with many possibilities. New conferences to attend (yeah!). Papers to publish. Exciting projects to start.  And new posts to write for the JIDC Blog!

To move forward in a guided direction I often feel we need to review the past.  What conferences were attended?  Were they beneficial? What papers were we able to publish last year? Were they well received? What are the stages of the current projects? Are they close to a publication? Are they close to completion?

And here at the JIDC Blog, what were the posts on the Blog over the last year?  Were they helpful to readers and authors? Did they promote scientific discussion? Were the Blog and the Blog Posts a good resource for research information? – This was my main goal when starting the JIDC Blog.  My hope was that the Blog would be useful to JIDC readers and authors alike as an information resource as well as a point for discussions.  I also hoped that it would be a valuable tool for non-JIDC members and help educate new people about JIDC.

So shall we review?

There is a blog tradition that I have only just learned about.  The tradition is that the first post of the New Year should be a listing of all the first sentences from the first post of every month from the previous year.

Below is a listing of all of the first Posts of every month in 2011 and the first sentences from each.  I have also added my personal notes from each post.

Here we go…

June 2011 — JIDC Postcards: The JIDC Blog

Hi, and welcome to JIDC’s blog. 

I was sooo excited…and nervous to introduce the Blog to the JIDC community and the world.  Would anyone read it? Would anyone like it?  Would it be a Blog that we could be proud of? Only you can answer these questions for me. 


July 2011 – Olga:  From Mozambique to Brazil

A Challenge!! An Opportunity!!

My name is Olga André Chichava, and I’m a young biologist fromMozambique!

I absolutely loved this post from Olga. Her story gave an incredible view into the life of a research student who is also a mother.  I was inspired to see her courage to move to a foreign country and her drive to build her masters project.   She shared her passion for research as well as life with us. This post was featured on the headlines of Microbiology Daily, I was so proud. Also, this post is the most popular post on the Blog.


August 2011 – Milliedes in Kashmir,India

Insects have been found in Marrhama, a village in Blok Trehgam in the District of Kupwara Jammu and Kashmir, India. The main water source used for drinking purposes is badly affected by the insects.

This post from Dr. Kadri highlighted problems that affect regional areas which can easily go unnoticed to the rest of the world.  I am so glad that he shared this experience so that more people can be aware of such difficulties that face communities. This is the second most popular post of all time on the Blog and I am happy that it has reached so many people!


September 2011 – The First Annual Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

The Africa Health Research Organization, AHRO, presents the International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

What: First International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection
When: 6-7 January 2012
Where: Edinburgh Scotland
Who: Presented by AHRO,Africa Health Research Organization

It was great to post about this conference.  Since the conference was just completed, I hope that everything went well and it was a successful event.  Also, I would love to hear a roundup of the conference by anyone who attended.  Please contact me if you are interested in writing a Blog Post describing this meeting.


October 2011 – And the winner is…! JIDC Open Access Week#4

And the winner is….I just couldn’t help it.  I have enjoyed Open Access Week and the JIDC T-shirt give-away that I could not just draw only 1 name.  So I picked 6!

Ooooo this was an exciting one.  I was incredibly happy to share JIDC and the JIDC T-shirts with readers and authors! If you are a winner and you haven’t contacted me and would still like at T-shirt, please let me know.


November 2011 – Publishing a Scientific Article in JIDC

How do I publish a scientific paper?…This question is asked by all young scientists. 

How do you write a scientific paper? There are so many directions one can take when putting their research together. I hope this helped authors organize themselves when preparing manuscripts for JIDC.  In addition to this Post, if you have other specific questions about writing a paper or you have a particular writing topic you would like to see a post about, please don’t hesitate to let me know.  I am currently preparing a post how I write a scientific paper to share with you.


December 2011 – ReR – MedToday!

Memento te hominem esse. – Remember that you are human.

What an important point that is! Remember you are human. We are all vulnerable and delicate aren’t we? I am so happy to have posted the special work of ReR-MedToday! The importance of support during times of ill health can’t be overstated. I am sure the families touched by this organization are forever grateful.


Thats a Wrap! 

So that’s the JIDC Blog for 2011.  I hope 2012 brings just as fabulous Posts and discussions as 2011 did.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the Posts and Discussion of the 2011 JIDC Blog!  In no particular order, BIG THANKS to:

IRIN and Jane Summ

Olga Andre Chichava

Prof. Jorg Heukelbach

Anna Carolina Ritter

Laboratory of Food Microbiology of the ICTA/UFRGS

Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Dr. Vinod Singh


David Dorherty

Joanne Wong

Dr. S.M. Kadri

Open Access and Open Access Week



Donna Okubo

Dr. Amber Farooqui

Jain et al., JIDC 2011

Dr. Abubaker Yaro

Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

1st International Conference on Drug Therapy in TB Infection

The Grandest Challenge

Dr. Abdallah S. Daar

Dr. Peter A. Singer

Sun et al., JIDC 2011

Amedei et al., JIDC 2011

Elios et al., JIDC 2011

Jeff Coombs

Tracy Zao

Ashish Chandra Shrestha

Sara Norris

Christopher Logue

Sunita Pareek

Marie Anne Chattaway

Chimwemwe Mandalasi

Jane-Francis Akoachere

University of Buea, Cameroon

Nikki Kelvin

Tribaldos et al., JIDC 2011

Dr. Lorelei Silverman

Dr. Rosalind Silverman

Models of Human Diseases


University Hospital of Hue, Vietnam

University of Sassari

Dr. Le Van An

Dr. Tran

Prof. Piero Cappuccinelli

Remi Eryk Raitza



Drake Current

Current Family

Dr. Myo Nyein Aung

School of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok

And a spceial thanks to Prof. Salvatore Rubino for his support of the Blog!

Reflecting on the 2011 Blog has shown me I have lots more science to cover! It has also spiked my curiosity.  What was your favorite Post of 2011?  What about your Favorite JIDC Postcard? Was there a topic that you enjoyed reading about or a Postcard that you could identify with? Let me know. I love to hear from you!


Filed under Amber, Countries, Editor's Pick, Environmental Issues, JIDC News, Open Access, People, Postcards, Science Thoughts, Science Tools, Scientific Writing, Wrap-Up

Amber’s Pick: Light a candle

Hi everyone!  Amber has a very interesting edition of Editor’ Pick this month.  She has summarized three papers from the September issue.  This issue was dedicated to  Prof. Gianfranco Del Prete who was a prominent researcher in basic and clinical immunology with specific contributions in T cell immunology.  You can read a very special Editorial by Editor-in-Chief Salvatore Rubino dedicated to Pro. Gianfranco Del Prete in our September Issue.  Please enjoy her post!


Light a candle

While reading the current issue of JIDC, it was hard to select ONE paper for editor’s pick. Check out the JIDC’s September collection and you will find a feast of three excellent articles that cover many interesting aspects of plague.  The plague is a well-established biosecurity risk and one of the oldest diseases known that has claimed around 200 million human lives. According to estimates, bubonic (characterized by enlarged and tender lymph nodes), septecemic or pneumonic forms of plague cause up to 90% mortality in humans, if left untreated.

Yersinia Pestis Image from CDC Public Health Image Library

The etiologic agent of the disease, Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis) is a facultative intracellular bacterium which enters in the human body either by direct contact with infected rodents or by the bites of fleas that live on infected rodent bodies. Upon entry, the foreplay of Y. pestis through its unique signature LPS (LipoPolySaccharide (Endotoxin)) shuts down the TLR4 mediated activation of the proinflammatory host response and helps the bug to proliferate in phagocytic cells. Picture to the left from Public Health Image Library of Yersinia pestis.

In the article by Amedei et al., you will find the description of the exclusive interaction of Y. pestis with innate immune response. The authors further depict the augmented antigen presentation of the Yop proteins from Y. pestis that directly suppress T-lymphocyte activation which is pivotal to combat bacterial infections. A fine reading of T-cell mediated immunity, effector T-cell function, Th cytokine network and signaling pathways is contributed by Elios et al. The pictorial demos of the articles are just superb and help the readers to comprehend complicated stories. BTW I also love the color contrasts …

Figure 1 from D'Elios et al., JIDC 2011

Coming back to plague story, it’s very important to also be aware of disease prevention. In the third article, Sun et al. describe the issues related to the development of plague vaccines. They further discuss the pros and cons of vaccines that are presently under

Figure 1 from Sun et al., JIDC 2011

clinical trials and those that could be potential candidates in future. The authors also share their own experiences in their attempts to develop live attenuated vaccine using a genetically manipulated Y. pestis strain that does not express virulence genes in the challenging environment of host tissues.

Figure 2 from Sun et al., JIDC 2011

JIDC published these articles in memory of an eminent immunologist and a dear friend, Prof. Gianfranco Del Prete. His contributions to plague research were well received globally.

What could be better to paying tribute to a scientist than to remember him with more exciting scientific discussions! I am still thinking…..

Many people have said, “It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness”. JIDC just did the same.



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Filed under Amber, Bacteria, Editor's Pick, Infectious Disease, People, Yersinia pestis

Editor’s Pick by Amber: CMV – the SILENT RESIDENT

We are introducing a new regular section of the JIDC Blog entitled Editor’s Pick.  In this section JIDC Scientific Editor Amber Farooqui will choose an article from each month’s issue and give a short write-up to readers about the article.  Amber’s Pick for the August Issue is a Review Article from Jain and colleagues entitled “Cytomegalovirus infection in non-immunosuppressed critically ill patients.”  I am thrilled to have Amber as part of the JIDC Blog team and I look forward to reading her monthly picks.


What if we don’t realize the silent resident!

Do “YOU KNOW WHO”? Who is that living among us?  Are we aware?………. Certainly, I am NOT talking about the apparitions, ghosts or Lord Voldemort. People like me have nightmares about the bugs that easily dodge the immune surveillance system of our bodies.  These immune invisible bugs can remain silent for long periods of time and include such viruses as Cytomegalovirus (CMV).

CMV Picture from NIST

The CMV virus, which was discovered in 1921 as a cause of swollen cells, has now become an emerging health concern in immune-compromised individuals.  Due to the failure of the immune army to purge this virus, CMV poses serious health threats to HIV/AIDS patients and other immunocompromised individuals while silently enjoying the leisure of the immunocompetent bodies.

It is believed that CMV is ubiquitously present in all humans. The myth behind the latent infection is that the virus is able to impair antigen presentation in a variety of immune cell populations where pathogenic reactivation is believed to be triggered by immunosuppression. In recent years CMV reactivation has been widely observed in those debilitated patients who are categorized as immunocompetent by the hard-core definition, thus making clinical management more difficult. At this stage, it is difficult to determine how CMV reactivation occurs in such cases but the situation indicates that more people than previously thought are at risk of CMV reactivation.

Would you like to read more about CMV? This month JIDC delivers a  must-read review article by Jain et al. that summarizes the important aspects of CMV infection in non-immunosuppressed critically ill patients. The authors discuss the phenomena behind pathogenesis and host immune responses to the infection and provide a comprehensive review of clinicoepidemiological studies. You will also find a detailed discussion about the clinical management and diagnostic strategies of the infection.

H&E staining of lung sections by D Wiedbrauk, Ph.D., Ann Arbor, MI.
H E staining of lung sections by D Wiedbrauk shows CMV infection

Click here. Believe me; it’s worth reading this article.

Amber is from Karachi, Pakistan and she completed both her Bachelors of Science and PhD (2008) at the Karachi University.  She is now a Postdoctoral Scientist at the International Institute of Infection and Immunity in Shantou, China.  She is also a Scientific Editor for the Journal of Infection in Developing Countries.  Amber’s area of specialty is Influenza viruses and the host immune response. You can contact Amber at with any questions or comments.  She is always looking for scientific discussions!

Amber Farooqui


Filed under Amber, CMV, Editor's Pick, JIDC News, People, Viruses