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


What can be done to detect, treat, and prevent this deadly new resistant pathogen?
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.

What happens to your skin microbiome
after a day at the beach?

Ocean bacteria and viruses take up residence, but for a limited amount of time.

As an individual initiates their first stride into the piercing cold ocean, our lungs are not the only part of our body greeted by the shock of the drastic change in environment. A brutal battle, invisible to the naked eye, has detrimentally affected those complex organisms who call our skin microbiome “home.”

In a 2019 study, scientists examined the survival of organisms introduced by the ocean onto the human skin. What researchers found may surprise those who enjoy swimming in the sea.

After spending an afternoon on the shore and partaking in water-related activities, organisms previously living on the skin are washed away and replaced with new ones. (2) As a result, this new environment causes changes to the composition and diversity of the microbiome. Potential pathogens along with hazardous organisms are introduced onto the body which could result in vulnerability to infections. (5)
Subjects of these studies were selected according to the strict criteria below:

1.    Subjects could not be undergoing any antibiotic treatments.
2.    Application of sunblock was prohibited.
3.    Individuals must classify themselves as a non-frequent ocean swimmer.
4.    Subjects were not able to shower the morning of the experiment along with a full twenty-four hours after the zero hour sample was taken.
Individuals were swabbed four times throughout a twenty four hour period to assess how long the newly introduced microbes could survive. (5) After the sixth hour, the microbiomes of the individuals had lost most of the invasive organisms from the ocean and regenerated the original organisms seen before swimming. By the twenty-four hour mark, the skin microbiome returned to nearly normal. (3)

Marisa Chattman Nielsen, MS, a Ph. D. graduate from the University of California, Irvine, noted, “Ocean water is a unique exposure, because not only does it wash off normal skin bacteria, it also deposits foreign bacteria onto the skin. This is very different than a shower or even a pool, because those water sources usually have a low concentration of bacteria.” (2)

Organisms such as Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Vibrio spp., intestinal parasites, viruses and over fifty more species of bacteria found in storm-water and untreated raw sewage runoff can severely impact an individual’s health. This is especially of concern with a growing homeless population that does not properly dispose of solid waste.(2)

Stephen Morse, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University says, “Don’t swim where you see ‘red tides’ or fish die-offs. The authorities will almost always close these places to recreational use anyway. Immunocompromised people and weak swimmers should be especially careful. If you think you caught a disease or injured yourself while swimming, see a doctor.” (2)

One of the most concerning issues is the rapid change occurring as we speak. Rising temperatures due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in infections from swimming as a result of more suitable conditions for specific hazardous organisms. (4,6)

To eliminate posing a threat to your health, scientists suggest practicing good hygiene after enjoying a day at the beach. Luckily, with a quick shower, foreign organisms and potential pathogens can be washed from the skin. (1,5,6) Chattman Nielsen reminds us, “This research isn’t meant to scare anyone. We already know that people can get infections from their environment, and the ocean is no different. Much of the bacteria found in the ocean does not cause human disease. Enjoy your time at the beach, and don’t forget to take a quick shower when you’re done.” (2)

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

By Emily Edds
Microbiology Intern


The Autof ms 1000
With the most extensive database of microorganisms

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

  • Database of approximately 5,000 species created with over 15,000 strains!

  • View a short introductory video

"Parting Shot"
To find the origin of the term "Parting shot" you have to go back in time over 2,000 years. The Partians were an ancient race who lived in north-east Persia. They were renowned archers and horsemen and were known for their practice of confusing the enemy by pretending to flee and firing arrows backwards while retreating - not the easiest thing to do on a galloping horse. The tactic must have been successful as in first century B.C. Parthia stretched from the Euphrates to the Indus rivers, covering most of what is now Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
A "parting shot" was first described in England in 1678:
"You wound, like Parthians, while you fly, and kill with a retreating eye."
The Novavax protein antigen vaccine

Is a New and Better
Vaccine Coming Soon?
A new player in the field of Covid vaccines could be arriving soon. The trials so far are encouraging for both safety and efficacy. It even has some advantages over the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines that have become so familiar to us.

Novavax, headquartered in Maryland, has enrolled over 30,000 volunteer individuals in the US and Mexico in their Phase 3 clinical trials of their new COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is both innovative and “old school” in that it uses viral protein (antigen) rather than mRNA.

Here are the characteristics of this upcoming vaccine:

  • Clinical trials so far, show 90% effectivity against Covid-19 overall, and 100% protection from moderate to severe disease.

  • In people at high risk of developing complications from COVID-19 (people 65 years or older and people under age 65 with certain comorbidities or with likely regular exposure to COVID-19), the vaccine showed 91% efficacy in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 disease.

  • It is a protein based vaccine engineered from the first strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus. It uses recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein. This antigen can neither replicate nor cause COVID-19 infection.

  • The vaccine is created using a genetically modified baculovirus which infects a culture of Sf9 moth cells, which create the spike protein and display it on their cell membranes. The spike proteins are then harvested and assembled onto a synthetic lipid nanoparticle about 50 nanometers across, each displaying up to 14 spike proteins. This complicated manufacturing process takes weeks rather than days as with the mRNA vaccines.

  • The adjuvant used is Novavax' patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

  • It demonstrated efficacy of 96.4% against the original virus strain, 86.3% against the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant and 89.7% efficacy overall.

  • It is stored and stable at refrigerator temperature (2 to 8 deg. C), so it can use existing supply chain modalities.

  • It requires two injections, 21 days apart, and possibly followed by a booster six months later.

  • Analysis of sera from primary vaccination series showed cross-reactive functional antibodies to Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, all of which increased 6- to 10-fold with the secondary booster injection.

  • Early human trials showed strong antibody responses, was well tolerated with no serious adverse events and few side effects. Injection-site tenderness and pain, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain were the most reported side events.

  •  Novavax was originally backed by $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), a non-profit founded by Bill Gates in 2015

Novavax has previous experience with recombinant and nanotechnology for the development of novel vaccines. NanoFlu™, its quadrivalent influenza nanoparticle vaccine, met all primary objectives in its pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial in older adults and will soon be advanced for regulatory submission.

This new COVID-19 vaccine may find its greatest use as a booster (known as a heterologous booster) to the previously released vaccines, which have shown rare but concerning adverse effects, such as blood clots and myocarditis (heart inflammation). Due to the low rate of side effects and adverse events shown so far, the Novavax may be the preferred booster vaccine of choice as our immunity eventually wanes with the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

by Jay Hardy, CLS, SM(NRCM)

Your one-stop source for COVID supplies!
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The only thing flat-earthers fear,
is sphere itself.

  • If we arm the teachers, will the librarians get silencers?

  • I can't do a lot of math, but I can do sum of it.
  • Did you know alligators can grow up to 15 feet? But most have 4

  • I recently started a business building yachts in my attic. Sails are going through the roof.

  • What do you call a beautiful pumpkin? GOURDgeous.

  • What happens to nitrogen when the sun comes up? It becomes daytrogen.

  • How do you make antifreeze? Steal her blanket.

Seeing is Believing?
  • Stare at this woman's nose for at least 10 seconds.
  • Then look at a blank, white wall. What do you see?

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

Your One-Stop Shop for Micro Supplies!
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?
latex agglut
Easy Staph ID

With Hardy's StaphTex you can quickly identify Staphylococcus aureus using latex agglutination within minutes. Highly specific with no cross reactivity.

Free Gram Stain Tutorial

Hardy has prepared the best ever Gram stain technique tutorial that you can use for training new Techs....and it's FREE! Check it out below...
Lab Coats

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

Pre-reduced anaerobic culture media, ready-to-use for your set-ups. Pouches are gassed out with nitrogen for superior growth. See our complete anaerobic catalog below...
Dehydrated Media

Hardy manufactures a complete line of powdered media. It is conveniently packaged in five different configurations ready for export.
Pharmaceutical Micro

Check out Hardy's complete mini-catalog on environmental monitoring and sterility testing for the Pharmaceutical industry.
MBL Kwiksitks
QC Organisms

Hardy offers a complete line of qualitative and quantitative freeze dried control microorganisms. Check out our complete catalog!
PYR Test
Rapid Test Methods

Check out our mini catalog on rapid test kits that includes reagents and test cards. You'll see many "hard to find" products that will save you time and money!
Loops of all kinds!

When it comes to loops, Hardy has it all. Nichrome, platinum, disposable, calibrated, needles, or spreaders. Click below to see our complete mini-catalog on inoculating loops.
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.
HardyCHROM Candida+auris

Hardy's new chromogenic plate for the detection of Candida spp, now includes C. auris! It creates both a colored and fluorescent colony.
Should Ivermectin be used in the treatment of COVID-19 infections?
The controversy rages on. Here are some references and studies that will help you to better understand the problem.


Time for your monthly
cranial workout!

Wisdom to Ponder...
Beverly Sills

1929 ~ 2007

An American operatic soprano. She was the most famous diva from the 1950s to the 1970s. She began performing at the age of three. Upon retirement, she became the general manager of the New York City Opera, and then the chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera and the Lincoln Center.

"There is a growing strength in women, but it is in the forehead, not in the forearm."

"It seemed no longer important whether everyone loved me or not, more important now was for me to love them"

"I've always tried to be cheerful, because I think people who whine are boring, and I never could tolerate bores."

"The last major childhood disease remains and it's the worst of them all: nuclear war."

"There are an awful lot of skinny people in the cemetery."
Groucho Marx
"The two most important words in the world are Honesty and Sincerity.

If you can fake these, you've got it made!"

Groucho Marx
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