Publications by authors named "Kathryn E Wright"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Airborne Pathogens inside Automobiles for Domestic Use: Assessing In-Car Air Decontamination Devices Using Staphylococcus aureus as the Challenge Bacterium.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2017 05 1;83(10). Epub 2017 May 1.

RB, Montvale, New Jersey, USA.

Family cars represent ∼74% of the yearly global output of motorized vehicles. With a life expectancy of ∼8 decades in many countries, the average person spends >100 min daily inside the confined and often shared space of the car, with exposure to a mix of potentially harmful microbes. Can commercial in-car microbial air decontamination devices mitigate the risk? Three such devices (designated devices 1 to 3) with HEPA filters were tested in the modified passenger cabin (3.25 m) of a four-door sedan housed within a biosafety level 3 containment facility. (ATCC 6538) was suspended in a soil load to simulate the presence of body fluids and aerosolized into the car's cabin with a 6-jet Collison nebulizer. A muffin fan (80 mm by 80 mm, with an output of 0.17 m/min) circulated the air inside. Plates (150 mm diameter) of Trypticase soy agar (TSA), placed inside a programmable slit-to-agar sampler, were held at 36 ± 1°C for 18 to 24 h and examined for CFU. The input dose of the test bacterium, its rate of biological decay, and the log reductions by the test devices were analyzed. The arbitrarily set performance criterion was the time in hours a device took for a 3-log reduction in the level of airborne challenge bacterium. On average, the level of challenge in the air varied between 4.2 log CFU/m and 5.5 log CFU/m, and its rate of biological decay was -0.0213 ± 0.0021 log CFU/m/min. Devices 1 to 3 took 2.3, 1.5, and 9.7 h, respectively, to meet the performance criterion. While the experimental setup was tested using as an archetypical airborne pathogen, it can be readily adapted to test other types of pathogens and technologies. This study was designed to test the survival of airborne pathogens in the confined and shared space of a family automobile as well as to assess claims of devices marketed for in-car air decontamination. The basic experimental setup and the test protocols reported are versatile enough for work with all major types of airborne human pathogens and for testing a wide variety of air decontamination technologies. This study could also lay the foundation for a standardized test protocol for use by device makers as well as regulators for the registration of such devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.00258-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5411498PMC
May 2017

Airborne Infectious Agents and Other Pollutants in Automobiles for Domestic Use: Potential Health Impacts and Approaches to Risk Mitigation.

J Environ Public Health 2016 30;2016:1548326. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

RB, 1 Philips Parkway, Montvale, NJ 07645, USA; Department of Biology, Medgar Evers College, The City University of New York (CUNY), Brooklyn, NY, USA.

The world total of passenger cars is expected to go from the current one billion to >2.5 billion by 2050. Cars for domestic use account for ~74% of the world's yearly production of motorized vehicles. In North America, ~80% of the commuters use their own car with another 5.6% travelling as passengers. With the current life-expectancy of 78.6 years, the average North American spends 4.3 years driving a car! This equates to driving 101 minutes/day with a lifetime driving distance of nearly 1.3 million km inside the confined and often shared space of the car with exposure to a mix of potentially harmful pathogens, allergens, endotoxins, particulates, and volatile organics. Such risks may increase in proportion to the unprecedented upsurge in the numbers of family cars globally. Though new technologies may reduce the levels of air pollution from car exhausts and other sources, they are unlikely to impact our in-car exposure to pathogens. Can commercial in-car air decontamination devices reduce the risk from airborne infections and other pollutants? We lack scientifically rigorous protocols to verify the claims of such devices. Here we discuss the essentials of a customized aerobiology facility and test protocols to assess such devices under field-relevant conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/1548326DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5155087PMC
September 2017

Mechanisms of temperature sensitivity of attenuated Urabe mumps virus.

Virus Res 2017 01 6;227:104-109. Epub 2016 Oct 6.

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, K1H 8M5, Canada. Electronic address:

Temperature sensitivity is a phenotype often associated with attenuation of viruses. Previously, we purified several mumps variants from an incompletely attenuated Urabe strain live attenuated vaccine. Here we characterize one isolate that is sensitive to growth at high temperature. This virus was attenuated in a small animal model of mumps virulence, and we identified unique coding substitutions in the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), the viral polymerase (L) gene, and a non-coding substitution close to the anti-genome promoter sequences. At the non-permissive temperature, transcription of viral mRNAs and production of the replication intermediate were reduced compared to events at the permissive temperature and to a non-ts virulent Urabe virus. As well, synthesis of viral proteins was also reduced at the higher temperature. While the actual sequence substitutions in the ts virus were unique, the pattern of substitutions in HN, L and genome end sequences is similar to another attenuated Urabe virus previously described by us.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.virusres.2016.10.003DOI Listing
January 2017

Mathematical modeling and simulation of bacterial distribution in an aerobiology chamber using computational fluid dynamics.

Am J Infect Control 2016 09;44(9 Suppl):S127-37

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Computer-aided design and draft, along with computer-aided engineering software, are used widely in different fields to create, modify, analyze, and optimize designs.

Methods: We used computer-aided design and draft software to create a 3-dimensional model of an aerobiology chamber built in accordance with the specifications of the 2012 guideline from the Environmental Protection Agency for studies on survival and inactivation of microbial pathogens in indoor air. The model was used to optimize the chamber's airflow design and the distribution of aerosolized bacteria inside it.

Results: The findings led to the identification of an appropriate fan and its location inside the chamber for uniform distribution of microbes introduced into the air, suitability of air sample collection from the center of the chamber alone as representative of its bacterial content, and determination of the influence of room furnishings on airflow patterns inside the chamber.

Conclusions: The incorporation of this modeling study's findings could further improve the design of the chamber and the predictive value of the experimental data using it. Further, it could make data generation faster and more economical by eliminating the need for collecting air samples from multiple sites in the chamber.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2016.06.005DOI Listing
September 2016

Generic aspects of the airborne spread of human pathogens indoors and emerging air decontamination technologies.

Am J Infect Control 2016 09;44(9 Suppl):S109-20

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.

Indoor air can be an important vehicle for a variety of human pathogens. This review provides examples of airborne transmission of infectious agents from experimental and field studies and discusses how airborne pathogens can contaminate other parts of the environment to give rise to secondary vehicles leading air-surface-air nexus with possible transmission to susceptible hosts. The following groups of human pathogens are covered because of their known or potential airborne spread: vegetative bacteria (staphylococci and legionellae), fungi (Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Cladosporium spp and Stachybotrys chartarum), enteric viruses (noro- and rotaviruses), respiratory viruses (influenza and coronaviruses), mycobacteria (tuberculous and nontuberculous), and bacterial spore formers (Clostridium difficile and Bacillus anthracis). An overview of methods for experimentally generating and recovering airborne human pathogens is included, along with a discussion of factors that influence microbial survival in indoor air. Available guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other global regulatory bodies for the study of airborne pathogens are critically reviewed with particular reference to microbial surrogates that are recommended. Recent developments in experimental facilities to contaminate indoor air with microbial aerosols are presented, along with emerging technologies to decontaminate indoor air under field-relevant conditions. Furthermore, the role that air decontamination may play in reducing the contamination of environmental surfaces and its combined impact on interrupting the risk of pathogen spread in both domestic and institutional settings is discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2016.06.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7115269PMC
September 2016

Decontamination of indoor air to reduce the risk of airborne infections: Studies on survival and inactivation of airborne pathogens using an aerobiology chamber.

Am J Infect Control 2016 10 30;44(10):e177-e182. Epub 2016 Jun 30.

Reckitt Benckiser, Research & Development, Montvale, NJ.

Background: Although indoor air can spread many pathogens, information on the airborne survival and inactivation of such pathogens remains sparse.

Methods: Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae were nebulized separately into an aerobiology chamber (24.0 m). The chamber's relative humidity and air temperature were at 50% ± 5% and 20°C ± 2°C, respectively. The air was sampled with a slit-to-agar sampler. Between tests, filtered air purged the chamber of any residual airborne microbes.

Results: The challenge in the air varied between 4.2 log colony forming units (CFU)/m and 5.0 log CFU/m, sufficient to show a ≥3 log (≥99.9%) reduction in microbial viability in air over a given contact time by the technologies tested. The rates of biologic decay of S aureus and K pneumoniae were 0.0064 ± 0.00015 and 0.0244 ± 0.009 log CFU/m/min, respectively. Three commercial devices, with ultraviolet light and HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filtration, met the product efficacy criterion in 45-210 minutes; these rates were statistically significant compared with the corresponding rates of biologic decay of the bacteria. One device was also tested with repeated challenges with aerosolized S aureus to simulate ongoing fluctuations in indoor air quality; it could reduce each such recontamination to an undetectable level in approximately 40 minutes.

Conclusions: The setup described is suitable for work with all major classes of pathogens and also complies with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines (2012) for testing air decontamination technologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2016.03.067DOI Listing
October 2016

Elimination of bioweapons agents from forensic samples during extraction of human DNA.

J Forensic Sci 2014 Nov 28;59(6):1530-40. Epub 2014 Jul 28.

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1B 8M5, Canada; Forensic Sciences Identification Services, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, 1200 Vanier Parkway, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0R2, Canada.

Collection of DNA for genetic profiling is a powerful means for the identification of individuals responsible for crimes and terrorist acts. Biologic hazards, such as bacteria, endospores, toxins, and viruses, could contaminate sites of terrorist activities and thus could be present in samples collected for profiling. The fate of these hazards during DNA isolation has not been thoroughly examined. Our goals were to determine whether the DNA extraction process used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police eliminates or neutralizes these agents and if not, to establish methods that render samples safe without compromising the human DNA. Our results show that bacteria, viruses, and toxins were reduced to undetectable levels during DNA extraction, but endospores remained viable. Filtration of samples after DNA isolation eliminated viable spores from the samples but left DNA intact. We also demonstrated that contamination of samples with some bacteria, endospores, and toxins for longer than 1 h compromised the ability to complete genetic profiling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.12561DOI Listing
November 2014

Identification of genetic mutations associated with attenuation and changes in tropism of Urabe mumps virus.

J Med Virol 2009 Jan;81(1):130-8

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Although several effective mumps virus vaccines have been developed, almost nothing is known about the genetic changes responsible for loss of virulence. One vaccine, Urabe AM9, was withdrawn from the market because of insufficient attenuation. The vaccine was found to contain a mixture of viruses that could be distinguished based on the sequence of the hemagglutinin-neuraminidase gene (HN). Viruses containing lysine at HN amino acid position 335 were isolated from cases of post-vaccination parotitis or meningitis whereas viruses containing glutamic acid at this position were not associated with post-vaccination disease. Using a rat based model of mumps neurovirulence, we demonstrate that this latter virus is significantly attenuated compared to a virus isolated from a patient with post-vaccination meningitis. Complete sequence analysis of the genomes of the two viruses identified sixteen genetic differences, some or all of which must be responsible for differences in virulence. These same genetic differences also account for changes in tropism in cell culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmv.21381DOI Listing
January 2009

The BAFF-Interacting receptors of chickens.

Dev Comp Immunol 2008 11;32(9):1076-87. Epub 2008 Mar 11.

Institute for Animal Health, Compton, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 7NN, UK.

The TNF superfamily cytokine BAFF has crucial roles in homoeostatic regulation of B cell populations in mammals. Similar effects on peripheral B cells have been reported for chicken as for mammalian BAFF. Unlike mammalian BAFF, chicken BAFF is produced by B cells, implying an autocrine loop and consequent differences in regulation of B cell homoeostasis. Understanding of these mechanisms requires investigation of BAFF-binding receptors in chickens. We identified and characterised chicken receptors BAFFR and TACI, but found that the gene encoding the third BAFF-binding receptor, BCMA, was disrupted, implying differences in mechanisms for maintenance of long-lived antibody responses. A BAFFR-Ig fusion protein expressed in vivo lowered B cell numbers, showing that it was functional under physiological conditions. We found changes in the ratio of BAFFR and TACI mRNAs in the bursa after hatch that may account for the altered requirements for B cell survival at this stage of development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dci.2008.02.004DOI Listing
July 2008

Inhibitor of apoptosis protein cIAP2 is essential for lipopolysaccharide-induced macrophage survival.

Mol Cell Biol 2006 Jan;26(2):699-708

Apoptosis Research Center, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 401 Smyth Rd., Rm. R3114, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada.

The cellular inhibitor of apoptosis 2 (cIAP2/HIAP1) is a potent inhibitor of apoptotic death. In contrast to the other members of the IAP family, cIAP2 is transcriptionally inducible by nuclear factor-kappaB in response to multiple triggers. We demonstrate here that cIAP2-/- mice exhibit profound resistance to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced sepsis, specifically because of an attenuated inflammatory response. We show that LPS potently upregulates cIAP2 in macrophages and that cIAP2-/- macrophages are highly susceptible to apoptosis in a LPS-induced proinflammatory environment. Hence, cIAP2 is critical in the maintenance of a normal innate immune inflammatory response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.26.2.699-708.2006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1346893PMC
January 2006

Characterization of the Cyno-EBV LMP1 homologue and comparison with LMP1s of EBV and other EBV-like viruses.

Virus Res 2002 Dec;90(1-2):63-75

Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa Ont, Canada K1H 8M5.

EBV latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is essential for EBV-mediated transformation and has been associated with several cases of malignancies. EBV-like viruses in Cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) have been associated with high lymphoma rates in immunosuppressed monkeys. In the study, the entire coding region of the Cyno-EBV LMP1 gene was cloned, sequenced and expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells 293. The Cyno-EBV LMP1 homologue sequence predicted a 588 amino acid (a.a.) protein with a short 19 a.a. N-terminus, six transmembrane domains and a long carboxy tail of 404 a.a. The protein contained a series of seven 9 a.a.-tandem repeats and two 20 a.a.-repeats, which harbored two potential TRAF binding motifs, PxQxT/S. These repeats shared no homology with the repeats in any other LMP1. However, the proline-rich sequence GPxxPx(6) found within the 11 a.a.-repeats of EBV LMP1 was conserved in Cyno-EBV carboxy tail and contained two consensus JAK/STAT sequences PxxPxP. A cluster of eight histidine residues was found in proximity to the last transmembrane domain of Cyno-EBV LMP1 and was exploited as a natural protein tag in expression studies. Western blot analysis revealed a major polypeptide of 110 kDa. Comparative functional studies showed that Cyno-EBV LMP1 expressed in HEK 293 cells shares the same ability as EBV LMP1 to induce NFkappaB driven CAT activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0168-1702(02)00144-2DOI Listing
December 2002