a microbiology newsletter -may, 2021
A newsletter of, by, and for microbiologists. Copyright 2021, all rights reserved


The Autof ms 1000
With the most extensive database of microorganisms

Hardy's new MALDI-TOF is now available for research use.

  • View a short introductory video

Ever Wonder What's
Going on in Outer Space?
With this remarkable website you can see all the satellites that are currently circling our planet. You'll see each satellite in motion at its current position in space. Each one can be identified with a mouse click. You'll see the launch date, altitude, and speed. Click here to see "Stuff in Space"!
This screen capture above from the Stuff in Space website shows all the SpaceX satellites in their current trajectories in orbit.
The last Petri Dish Rack
you will ever have to buy!
Hardy's new DuraRack is constructed to last a life-time. Stop using brittle acrylic racks that must often be replaced. DuraRack is made of tough steel with a durable epoxy coating.

Are we getting closer to herd immunity?

As of May 2nd we now have a vaccination rate of 40% of the adult population in the US (4)

How far do we have to go to reach herd immunity?

First of all we must know that herd immunity is defined as a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that can occur with some diseases when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, either through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.(1)

Although many different percentages have been declared to reach herd immunity, the WHO states the target percentage for COVID-19 is not currently known. This explanation is from the WHO website (2):

"The percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity varies with each disease. For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80%. The proportion of the population that must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to begin inducing herd immunity is not known. This is an important area of research and will likely vary according to the community, the vaccine, the populations prioritized for vaccination, and other factors." 

However, in an effort to determine the herd immunity percentage, a recently CDC published study examined infection rates in ten communities in Qatar and concluded that an infection rate of 65 - 70% would be needed to reach herd immunity. Alternatively, herd immunity might be reached at a vaccination coverage of about 75% if vaccine efficacy is 95%, similar to that of the recently licensed SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the researchers claimed.(3)

By Jay Hardy, CLS, SM(NRCM)
President, Hardy Diagnostics

References: 1, 2, 3, 4

Better Safe than Sore!

When it comes to Group A Strep, better detection methods are needed now more than ever!
A sore throat is an extremely common symptom that prompts millions of individuals to visit their health care provider each year. Although, the vast majority of pharyngitis cases are caused by viruses, Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) is the most common bacterial cause of pharyngitis, accounting for 11,000 to 24,000 cases of invasive group A strep and several million cases of non-invasive group A strep illnesses each year in the United States. (1) 20 to 30% of pharyngitis cases in children and approximately 5% to 15% of pharyngitis infections in adults are caused by group A strep. (2)
Streptococcus pyogenes is a common commensal organism. This pathogen can coexist with its host in the naso- and oropharynx for the majority of its life, seldom inducing any clinical symptoms. The severity of Group A Streptococcus illnesses varies from asymptomatic and pharyngitis to more serious consequential complications that include sinus infections, ear infections, rheumatic fever, and post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. (3)
Although GAS has traditionally been thought to be universally susceptible to penicillin, in 2019, two related Streptococcus pyogenes strains with reduced susceptibility to ampicillin, amoxicillin, and cefotaxime, antibiotics were presented. These strains had the same mutation in the pbp2x gene encoding penicillin-binding protein 2X (PBP2X). (4) Compelled with this information, researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute collaborated with nearly a dozen international institutions to investigate their genome sequence library derived from 7,025 group A Streptococcus strains. Alarmingly, through bioinformatics analysis, they were able to identify 137 strains with the gene mutation of interest, many of which also showed decreased susceptibility in vitro to multiple beta-lactam antibiotics. (5) 
These distressing findings may signal a public health catastrophe that is in great need of a vaccine. Recently there have been breakthroughs, and several vaccine candidates are in trials, but making a vaccine available has remained a distant goal for decades. (6)
In this era of rising antibiotic resistance, successfully identifying bacterial pharyngitis and knowing when to test for its more unusual causes is a crucial skill for any health care provider; to prevent both unnecessary treatment and the morbidity associated with missed or improperly treated infection. Rheumatic heart disease and kidney failure (glomerulonephritis) are serious sequelae of GAS infections that can be easily avoided with proper diagnosis and treatment.
In assisting health care professionals in the timely distinction between streptococcal pharyngitis and other causes, a variety of laboratory tests to detect group A strep are available, ranging from throat cultures to direct antigen detection and direct molecular assays. In spite of the clinical presentation (see photo below), the CDC maintains that throat cultures are essential for diagnosis. Although they require a longer wait time, throat cultures have high sensitivity compared to some rapid antigen tests and a lower cost than molecular methods. 
Hardy Diagnostics now offers HardyCHROM™ Group A Strep agar (Cat.No. G337), a chromogenic medium for the selective cultivation and differential isolation of Group A Streptococcus. If present, Streptococcus pyogenes will grow red colonies against the white background of the media (pictured above). The unique chromogenic mixture creates a color reaction in target strains to differentiate group A strep isolates from other common streptococcus species and respiratory flora. The use of chromogenic media for pharyngitis in laboratories is of value to easily differentiate and segregate suspected positive cultures, thus eliminating the need for further confirmatory testing.

By Yesenia Morales
Microbiologist - Technical Support

Ref: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Your one-stop source for COVID supplies!
Rapid Antigen and Antibody Covid Test Kits
Hardy announces two new kits for Covid. One for the viral antigen (nasal specimen), one for the IgM and IgG antibodies (blood specimen). Takes only minutes to get results and requires no equipment!
Viral Transport Medium
Hardy's viral specimen transport is ideal for COVID-19 antigen testing. The shelf life has been increased to 180 days at room temperature. Swabs are sold separately.
N95 Masks
NIOSH Certified, with silicone seal
Now available for immediate shipping!
Face Masks
With adjustable metal nose band.
Now available for immediate shipping!
flocked swab
Specimen Collection Swabs
Hardy offers swabs in the flocked, foam, and spun polyester formats.
Pick from nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal, standard, or urethral.

Available for immediate shipping!

I once stayed up all night to see where the sun went...
Then it dawned on me!

• Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
• England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
• I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
• They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Typo.
• I changed my iPod's name to Titanic. It's synching now.
• Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
• I know a guy who's addicted to brake fluid, but he says he can stop any time.

Seeing is Believing?
Caution: Attempting to find all16 could prove to be highly frustrating
and possibly detrimental to your health.

Scroll to bottom of this page for the answers.

"Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see"
~ Edgar Allen Poe

More Supplies to Keep You Safe
AloeSafe, a better way

Hardy's hand sanitizing gel guards against drying of your skin with Vitamin E, soothes with Aloe Vera, and has a pleasant scent with lavender oil. No harmful ingredients as with the cheap drug store variety! Don't your hands deserve the very best?
Face shields

For added protection on the job, Hardy offers face shields for immediate shipping. Comfortable foam headband.

Mid-Turbinate Swabs

Hardy's nasal, mid-turbinate swabs are ideal for COVID and flu specimen collection. The stopper prevents over insertion. Nylon flocked swab tip ensures maximum recovery and release. Pediatric size also available.
Lab Coats

For added protection on the job, Hardy offers disposable lab coats, featuring three pockets, and comfortable knit cuffs and collars.

Sanitizing Wipes

90 lintless wipes for disinfecting surfaces. Food-safe. Effective against all viruses.
Dehydrated Media

Hardy manufactures a complete line of powdered media. It is conveniently packaged in five different configurations ready for export.
A Better Hand Sanitizer

Hardy's liquid hand sanitizer contains both ethanol and hydrogen peroxide for extra killing power. Double the effectiveness! Contains NO methanol!
MBL Kwiksitks
QC Organisms

Hardy offers a complete line of qualitative and quantitative freeze dried organisms. Check out our complete catalog!

Rapid Test Methods

Check out our mini catalog on rapid test kits. You'll see many "hard to find" products that will save you time and money!
UV Chamber Sanitizes Masks

Now you can sanitize your valuable N95 masks to make them last longer. Never run out again! Stop wasting N95s! Sanitizes four masks in only four minutes.
Carba 5 Detects Carbapenemases

Detect the five most common enzymes of bacterial resistance to the carbapenems.
No equipment needed!
Now you can quickly detect colistin resistance and ESBLs using the same format (RUO). Find out how...
Compact Dry for Colony Counts - a better way!

Space saving miniplates for performing your colony counts.
Watch a short video to learn why the Compact Dry has many advantages over Petri Film!
CryoSavers for long term storage

Hardy offers a complete line of freezer vials, with or without beads, with many color choices for cap inserts.

Hardy's chromogenic plate for the detection of carbapenem resistant bacteria makes identification rapid and inexpensive. Request samples here.


This will get the
ol' cranial cogs moving!...
My wife says I never listen to her...

or something like that.

Wisdom to Ponder...
Blaise Pascal

1623 ~1662

A French genius, mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, writer, and theologian. While still a teenager he was among the first to invent the mechanical calculator and developed economic theory and social science.

"Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it."

"Don't try to add more years to your life. Better add more life to your years."

"People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive."

"All men's miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone."

"In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart."

"The more I see of Mankind, the more I prefer my dog."

"We are not satisfied with real life; we want to live some imaginary life in the eyes of other people and to seem different from what we actually are."

"I'd rather live as if God exists to find out that He doesn't, than live as if he doesn't exist to find out He does."

"Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen."

* * *
"Our greatest responsibility
is to be good ancestors."

Jonas Salk,
Developer of the first polio vaccine in 1955

What happens if you
get scared half to death...

Increasing your protection...

How Zinc Ionophores can effectively fight COVID-19

References for utilizing Vitamin D and Zinc supplementation for the adjunct therapy
and prevention of COVID-19.

During our 41 years of serving the microbiology community, we have continually aimed to provide the utmost in "a culture of service" for our valued customers. As a 100% employee owned company, we have even more incentive to please our customers as best we possibly can every day. Do you have a suggestion, comment, or question? Please contact me here.

Jay Hardy, CLS, SM (NRCM)
CEO of Hardy Diagnostics