Microbiology Time

This August, we propose a vaccination and screening program for influenza and COVID-19, followed by an exciting article on the benefits of Lab Automation and a study evaluating sampling methods to analyze the microbiome of cultural heritage objects.

  • The first study describes the 2021/2022 influenza vaccination campaign with quadrivalent live-attenuated influenza vaccine in fifteen pre-schools in the Milan municipality. The campaign was coupled with an innovative school-centered influenza-like illnesses surveillance using LolliSponge, and real-time RT-PCR was used to conduct a differential diagnosis for influenza A/B and SARS-CoV-2. First, no kid experienced adverse reactions after vaccination. Second, the results of the surveillance campaign found that 31.6% of the tested kids (16 in total) were affected by SARS-CoV-2 and none by influenza. In conclusion, the immunization campaign participation was good, and Saliva sampling represented a valuable tool to reduce children’s stress and increase parents’ compliance with the surveillance program.
  • Lab automation can revolutionize laboratory workflow by improving efficiency, standardization, and performance. Most people still don’t realize that it can also provide a significant return on investment in the medium to long term. Carla Fontana et al. present here their experience with WASPLab®, introduced in the lab during the COVID-19 pandemic. By comparing the Turn-Around Time (TAT) before, during, and after the Lab Automation introduction and focusing on blood cultures (BCs) and biological fluid samples (BLs) testing, the researchers recorded a significant decrease in TAT from 97 h to 53.5 h for BCs and from 73 h to 58 h for BLs. Moreover, WASPLab® has allowed the lab to assign some staff resources toward other laboratory activities, including those required by the pandemic. The conclusions are obvious: WASPLab® can significantly boost laboratory performance and reduce the TAT, effectively impacting patient outcomes and laboratory costs.
  • The third paper is something unusual. German researchers from the Braunschweig University reviewed the main experimental challenges and proposed a standardized workflow to study the microbiome of cultural heritage objects, which are unique, fragile, and highly valued. This study deemed necessary to enhance these objects’ conservation but also to assess their provenance and possible environmental impacts in a global context of a changing climate. Cecilia G. Flocco and colleagues propose then a dedicated methodology for the sampling of these objects, hoping to facilitate interdisciplinary inquiry and interactions among the cultural heritage research community.

Read the full studies below: