The Reshaping of Gastrointestinal Infections Following the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic, for all its disruptions, has triggered an unexpected consequence on the landscape of gastrointestinal (GI) infections. Notably, there has been a discernible spike in the incidence of norovirus globally (as illustrated in Figure. 1)¹‧²‧³‧⁴.

Taking the UK as a case in point, data reveals a stark 34% uptick in norovirus cases in early January 2023 compared to pre-COVID-19 averages⁵. Additionally, enteric adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus, which had been notably dormant during the pandemic, have seen significant rebounds.

But not all shifts have been uniform. For instance, while Korea reported a surge in Salmonella among children below five (as presented in Figure. 2)⁶, instances of Shigella spp., Listeria spp., and Salmonella spp. decreased in nations like England⁷, the US⁸, and Canada⁹ in 2020.

The Immunity Gap: A Potential Catalyst for Unforeseen GI Outbreaks

The rigorous enforcement of preventive strategies, from mask-wearing to social distancing during the pandemic, inadvertently stymied our exposure to certain pathogens. This phenomenon, now termed the ‘immunity gap’, poses a unique challenge, primarily due to the reduced instances of immunity development, paving the way for potential GI outbreaks¹¹‧¹².

The ramifications of this immunity gap become even more profound when one considers the decline in childhood vaccinations during the pandemic. As a case in point, vaccination statistics in the US reveal that only less than half of the children aged five months had up-to-date vaccines by May 2020, a significant dip from two-thirds in the period from 2016-2019¹³.

Brazil offers another telling example. The country reported a mere 29.6% vaccination coverage for human rotavirus (HRV) in 2021, as shown in Figure. 3¹⁴. These figures underline the widening immunity chasm, setting the stage for potential GI outbreaks, especially among the most susceptible demographic segments¹².

Seegene’s Research Use Assays: Bolstering Testing Capabilities for Gastrointestinal Pathogens

In these trying times, Seegene’s Novaplex™ Gastrointestinal Panel Assays* emerge as a beacon. With a configuration spanning five distinct panels, the powerful multiplex PCR technology can swiftly test for 34 GI pathogens across viruses, bacteria, parasites, and helminths simultaneously. Seegene is committed to supporting researchers in this evolving landscape.
Novaplex™ GI-Virus Assay
Novaplex™ GI-Bacteria (I) Assay
Novaplex™ GI-Bacteria (II) Assay
Novaplex™ GI-Parasite Assay
Novaplex™ GI-Helminth (I) Assay
• Norovirus GI
• Norovirus GII
• Rotavirus
• Adenovirus
• Astrovirus
• Sapovirus
• Campylobacter spp.
• Vibrio spp.
• C. difficile toxin B
• Shigella spp. / EIEC
• Salmonella spp.,
• Y. enterocolitica
• Aeromonas spp.
• E. coli O157
• CD hypervirulent
• STEC (stx1/2)
• AEC (aggR)
• ETEC (It/st)
• EPEC (eaeA)
• G. lamblia
• B. hominis
• E. histolytica
• D. fragilis
• Cryptosporidium spp.
• C. cayetanensis
Enterocytozoon spp.
• Encephalitozoon spp.
Strongyloides spp.
• Hymenolepis spp.
• Ascaris spp.
• Taenia spp.
• T. trichiura
• Ancylostoma spp.
• E. vermicularis
• N. americanus
1.KDCA Infectious Disease; 2.KDCA, PHWR (week 13, 2023); 3.CDC, NoroSTAT Data; 4.CDC, Norovirus National Trends; 5.UKHSA, National norovirus and rotavirus report (8 January 2023); 6.Hyunseok Cho et al., 2023; 7.Nicola K Love et al., 2021; 8.Logan C. Ray et al., 2021; 9.Brendan Dougherty et al., 2023; 10.Anita K Kambhampati et al., 2022; 11.Robert Cohen et al., 2021; 12.Kevin Messacar et al., 2022; 13.Cristi A Bramer et al., 2020; 14.Larissa Lima Barros et al., 2023; The Novaplex™ Gastrointestinal Panel Assays* are multiplex, real-time RT-PCR assays that test for 34 GI pathogens including 6 viruses, 7 bacteria (I), 6 bacteria (II), 6 parasites, and 9 helminths simultaneously. *Novaplex™ Assays are For Research Use Only. Not for Use in Diagnostic Procedures.

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