Navigation Links
Scientists create NICE solution to pneumonia vaccine testing problems

Medical clinics the world over could benefit from new software* created at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where a team of scientists has found a way to improve the efficiency of a pneumonia vaccine testing method developed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Pneumonia is the world's leading cause of death in children under five years of age and poses a serious risk to elderly adults. The leading cause of pneumonia worldwide is the pneumococcus bacterium, which also causes meningitis, sepsis and other complications. Pneumococcus has more than 90 strains that vary by geographic region and change over time. Consequently, ongoing testing is necessary to monitor existing vaccines and advance new ones.

One novel, high-throughput testing method involves culturing the bacteria along with a vaccinated person's blood serum and human white blood cells. If the vaccine is effective, the white cells kill the pneumococci and very few of the bacteria survive. Scientists can determine the vaccine's effectiveness by counting the number of surviving pneumococcus colonies, so rapid, accurate and standardized counting of these colonies is critical to this testing method.

At present, the most commonly used counting process is manual counting, which is both time-consuming and exhausting. "Automated counting devices do exist, but they require customized image acquisition methods, are very expensive and are not accessible in impoverished or developing regions of the world. These limiting factors can mean the difference between life and death," says NIST biophysicist Jeeseong Hwang. "So we created software that can be tweaked to work on any common imaging device."

The open-source software, called NIST's Integrated Colony Enumerator (NICE), takes a digital image that has been loaded into a computer and counts colonies grown from single pneumococcal cells. The Microsoft Windows-based software works on images from both digital cameras and flatbed scanners, which are widely available and inexpensive, costing less than $1,000 each. "NICE obtains results that agree well with manual counting, the current gold standard," says Matthew Clarke, who developed the program algorithm and code in Hwang's group. "There's a mean difference of only 3 percent between the two methods."

The project grew from informal talks between NIST and UAB, where researcher Moon H. Nahm developed the testing method. Nahm has been working with vaccine testing methods to support projects by the National Institutes of Health and PATH, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health in poor communities around the world. As NIST scientists have been developing ways to standardize counting particles, PATH provided funding and worked with NIST. After 18 months of effort, NICE is now ready.

"We have already identified several clinics in Asia, where we feel many of the potential users are," Hwang says. "We're hoping to get feedback from them so we can improve the software in the future."


Contact: Chad Boutin
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Scientists create NICE solution to pneumonia vaccine testing problems
(Date:4/19/2016)... 2016 The new GEZE SecuLogic ... web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It ... the door interface with integration authorization management system, and ... The minimal dimensions of the access control and the ... installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard to ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid ... setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to ... leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track ... and body mass index, and, when they opt in, ... convenient visit to a local retail location at no ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , ... compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced ... granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food ... gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin ... to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SILVER SPRING, Md. , June 23, 2016 ... evidence collected from the crime scene to track the criminal ... sick, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. ... whole genome sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is pleased to announce ... Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval of the Peel ... President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods perform comparably to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a ... ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its ... in New York City . ... students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during ... , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: