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    Detection of voluntary dehydration in paediatric populations using non-invasive point-of-care saliva and urine testing
    Faidah, N ; Soraya, G ; Erlichster, M ; Natzir, R ; Chana, G ; Skafidas, E ; Hardjo, M ; Ganda, IJ ; Bahar, B (WILEY, 2020-12-29)
    AIM: Voluntary dehydration, or lack of fluid intake despite water availability, is common in otherwise healthy children, and can lead to adverse effects. Most dehydration biomarkers are impractical for routine assessment in paediatric populations. This study aimed to assess two non-invasive hydration assessment tools, urine specific gravity (USG ) and a novel point-of-care (POC) salivary osmolarity (SOSM) sensor, in healthy children. METHODS: Volunteers were tested by colorimetric USG and a handheld SOSM system. Observed values were compared against previous studies to determine hydration status, as was the concordance between parameters. RESULTS: At the common USG threshold of 1.020, 42.4% of the 139 healthy children were dehydrated. The same prevalence was found using the 70-mOSM cut-off value. Comparative analysis of SOSM at varying USG thresholds demonstrated significantly higher SOSM in dehydrated children with a USG  ≥ 1.030 (P = 0.002). CONCLUSION: At the USG threshold of 1.020 and SOSM threshold of 70 mOSM, 42.4% of healthy children were found to be voluntarily dehydrated. Significantly higher SOSM was observed in dehydrated children (USG  ≥ 1.030). As the first study on the utility of POC SOSM measurements for detecting dehydration, these results provide a foundation for future POC characterisation of SOSM in other populations and clinical contexts.
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    Pan-Family Assays for Rapid Viral Screening: Reducing Delays in Public Health Responses During Pandemics
    Erlichster, M ; Chana, G ; Zantomio, D ; Goudey, B ; Skafidas, E (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2021-02-12)
    BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 has highlighted deficiencies in the testing capacity of many developed countries during the early stages of pandemics. Here we describe a strategy using pan-family viral assays to improve early accessibility of large-scale nucleic acid testing. METHODS: Coronaviruses and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) were used as a case study for assessing utility of pan-family viral assays during the early stages of a novel pandemic. Specificity of a pan-coronavirus (Pan-CoV) assay for a novel pathogen was assessed using the frequency of common human coronavirus (HCoV) species in key populations. A reported Pan-CoV assay was assessed to determine sensitivity to 60 reference coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The resilience of the primer target regions of this assay to mutation was assessed in 8893 high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genomes to predict ongoing utility during pandemic progression. RESULTS: Because of common HCoV species, a Pan-CoV assay would return false positives for as few as 1% of asymptomatic adults, but up to 30% of immunocompromised patients with respiratory disease. One-half of reported Pan-CoV assays identify SARS-CoV-2 and with small adjustments can accommodate diverse variation observed in animal coronaviruses. The target region of 1 well-established Pan-CoV assay is highly resistant to mutation compared to species-specific SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assays. CONCLUSIONS: Despite cross-reactivity with common pathogens, pan-family assays may greatly assist management of emerging pandemics through prioritization of high-resolution testing or isolation measures. Targeting highly conserved genomic regions make pan-family assays robust and resilient to mutation. A strategic stockpile of pan-family assays may improve containment of novel diseases before the availability of species-specific assays.