P.C.Y. Woo's research while affiliated with The University of Hong Kong and other places

Publications (923)

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Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) within species B, C, and E are responsible for highly contagious and potentially severe respiratory disease infections. The traditional method to type these pathogens was based on virus neutralization and hemagglutination assays, which are both time-consuming and difficult, particularly due to the nonavailability of reage...
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ABSTRACT Pet bite-related infections are commonly caused by the pet’s oral flora transmitted to the animal handlers through the bite wounds. In this study, we isolated a streptococcus, HKU75T, in pure culture from the purulent discharge collected from a guinea pig bite wound in a previously healthy young patient. HKU75T was alpha-hemolytic on sheep...
Article
Introduction. Ceftolozane/tazobactam was approved by the Drug Office, Department of Health, Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2017. Hypothesis/Gap Statement. Currently the in vitro activity of ceftolozane/tazobactam against Gram-negative pathogens isolated from patients in Hong Kong is undocumented. It would be prudent to...
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Although Q fever has been widely reported in the rural areas of China, there is a paucity of data on the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of this disease in large metropolitan cities. In this study, we profile the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of Q fever from a tertiary hospital in Shenzhen, a Southern Chinese metropolitan city...
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Targeted therapies are widely used for treatment of autoimmune diseases as well as solid organ and hematological malignancies. Various opportunistic infections have been described in patients on targeted therapies. Although case reports or a few case series of listeriosis have been reported to be associated with targeted therapy, most of the cases...
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We present the first report of histology- and culture-proven Mycobacterium marinum infection diagnosed by next-generation sequencing (NGS). It took <2 days to make a microbiological diagnosis using the Oxford Nanopore Technologies' MinION device, compared to 20 days for the mycobacterium to be isolated from the tissue biopsy. NGS is particularly us...
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Since its first discovery in 1967, human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) has been associated with mild self-limiting upper respiratory infections worldwide. Fatal primary pneumonia due to HCoV-OC43 is not frequently described. This study describes a case of fatal primary pneumonia associated with HCoV-OC43 in a 75-year-old patient with good past healt...
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Although various opportunistic infections have been described in patients with anti-interferon gamma autoantibodies, so far there is no Listeria monocytogenes infection reported to be associated with this primary immunodeficiency. Here, we describe the first case of bacteremic L. monocytogenes meningitis in a 59-year-old Chinese man with anti-inter...
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Glanders is a highly contagious and potentially serious disease caused by Burkholderia mallei , a Tier 1 select agent. In this study, we raised a monoclonal antibody (mAb) against the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of B . mallei and developed a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) for B . mallei infection. Using the titrated optimal con...
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Since the emergence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012, there have been a surge in the discovery and evolutionary studies of viruses in dromedaries. Here, we investigated a herd of nine dromedary calves from Umm Al Quwain, the United Arab Emirates that developed respiratory signs. Viral culture of the nasal swabs from the nine calve...
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Diagnosing influenza in children aged 5 years and under can be challenging because of their difficulty in verbalizing symptoms. This study aimed to explore the value of the triage heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), and temperature, either alone or when combined with individual symptoms and signs, in predicting influenza infection in this age g...
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Both typhoidal and non-typhoidal salmonellae are included in the top 15 drug-resistant threats described by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States. There is an urgent need to look for alternative antibiotics for the treatment of Salmonella infections. We examined the in vitro susceptibilities of ceftolozane/tazobactam an...
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Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have recently developed beyond the research realm and started to mature into clinical applications. Here, we review the current use of NGS for laboratory diagnosis of fungal infections. Since the first reported case in 2014, >300 cases of fungal infections diagnosed by NGS were described. Pneumocystis j...
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The Class 1 type I CRISPR–Cas systems represent the most abundant and diverse CRISPR systems in nature. However, their applications for generic genome editing have been hindered due to difficulties of introducing the class-specific, multi-component effectors (Cascade) in heterologous hosts for functioning. Here we established a transferrable Cascad...
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In addition to human cases, cases of COVID-19 in captive animals and pets are increasingly reported. This raises the concern for two-way COVID-19 transmission between humans and animals. Here, we developed a SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein-based competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA) for serodiagnosis of COVID-19 which can theoretic...
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Compared to other countries, a more substantial decrease of invasive pneumococcal disease incidence was observed in Hong Kong, which is most likely attributable to the proactive mass adoption of face masks by the public. Human behavioral changes, particularly mask-wearing, should be considered as an additional prevention strategy against IPD.
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Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) are small non-enveloped bisegmented double-stranded RNA viruses found in humans, mammals, and birds. Increasing molecular epidemiology studies suggest a high sequence diversity of PBVs in numerous hosts and the environment. In this study, using 229 fecal samples from dromedary camels in Dubai, 52.8% were positive for PBVs, o...
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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can cause acute respiratory disease and multiorgan failure. Finding human host factors that are essential for SARS-CoV-2 infection could facilitate the formulation of treatment strategies. Using a human kidney cell line—HK-2—that is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, we performed a genome-...
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Compared to other human coronaviruses, the genetic diversity and evolution of human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) are relatively understudied. We report a fatal case of COVID-19 pneumonia coinfected with HCoV-229E in Hong Kong. Genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-229E from a nasopharyngeal sample of the patient showed that the SARS-CoV-2 strain...
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In this study, we reported the prevalence and mechanism associated with the extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-positive phenotype in Laribacter hongkongensis isolated from patients and fish. Using the inhibition zone enhancement test, 20 (95.2%) of the 21 patient strains and 8 (57.1%) of the 14 fish strains were tested ESBL-positive. However,...
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Pleurostoma species are wood-inhabiting fungi and emerging opportunistic pathogens that cause phaeohyphomycosis. In this study, we isolated a dematiaceous fungus, HKU44T, from the subhepatic abscess pus and drain fluids of a liver transplant recipient with post-transplant biliary and hepatico-jejunostomy bypass strictures. Histology of the abscess...
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While a number of human coronaviruses are believed to be originated from ancestral viruses in bats, it remains unclear if bat coronaviruses are ready to cause direct bat-to-human transmission. Here, we report the isolation of a MERS-related coronavirus, Tylonycteris-bat-CoV-HKU4, from lesser bamboo bats. Tylonycteris-bat-CoV-HKU4 replicates efficie...
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Background: The number of patients infected with Aspergillus rose dramatically in recent years. However, studies on the clinical spectrum and antifungal susceptibilities of non-classical (non-fumigatus, non-flavus, non-niger and non-terreus) pathogenic Aspergillus species are very limited. Objectives: We examined the clinical spectrum and antifu...
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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 did not replicate efficiently in 13 bat cell lines, whereas severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus replicated efficiently in kidney cells of its ancestral host, the Rhinolophus sinicus bat, suggesting different evolutionary origins. Structural modeling showed that RBD/RsACE2 binding may contrib...
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Background: Talaromycosis is an invasive mycosis endemic in Southeast Asia and causes substantial morbidity and mortality in individuals with advanced HIV disease. Current diagnosis relies on isolating Talaromyces marneffei in cultures, which takes up to 14 days and is detectable only during late-stage infection, leading to high mortality. Method...
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Objectives Little is known about the value of routine clinical assessment in identifying patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) in the emergency department (ED). We aimed to compare the exposure history, signs and symptoms, laboratory, and radiographic features of ED patients who tested positive and negative for COVID‐19. Methods This w...
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Unfortunately, one of the affiliations of author “A. E. Gorbalenya” was missed in original version. The affiliation is updated here.
Preprint
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(1) Background: It is unclear whether the reported presenting clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are useful in identifying high-risk patients for early testing and isolation in the emergency department (ED). We aimed to compare the exposure history, clinical, laboratory, and radiographic features of ED patients who tested posi...
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We showed that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is probably a novel recombinant virus. Its genome is closest to that of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronaviruses from horseshoe bats, and its receptor-binding domain is closest to that of pangolin viruses. Its origin and direct ancestral viruses have not been identified.
Article
Brucella ceti has been detected in several species of free-ranging odontocetes, in several geographic areas but it has not been reported in Indo-Pacific finless porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides) nor in any odontocetes in waters in the South China Sea. Sampling of odontocetes stranded in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic...
Preprint
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Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) within species B, C, and E include the predominant types responsible for highly contagious and potentially severe respiratory infections. The traditional method to type these pathogens was based on virus neutralization and hemagglutination assays using antisera, which is both time-consuming and difficult, particularly due...
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We analyzed the incidence and the clinical and laboratory characteristics of Staphylococcus lugdunensis urinary tract infections (UTIs) during a 10-year period (2009–2018) and compared them with those of Staphylococcus saprophyticus UTIs. A total of 38 and 162 episodes of S. lugdunensis and S. saprophyticus UTIs were observed. The number of S. sapr...
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Enteroviruses (EVs) and rhinoviruses (RVs) are significant pathogens of humans and are the subject of intensive clinical and epidemiological research and public health measures, notably in the eradication of poliovirus and in the investigation and control of emerging pathogenic EV types worldwide. EVs and RVs are highly diverse in their antigenic p...
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In 2012, a novel canine Dirofilaria species, D. hongkongensis was identified in Hong Kong that caused human diseases and subsequently reported in an Austrian traveller returning from the Indian subcontinent. Here we present a case of human infection by D. hongkongensis manifested as recurrent shoulder mass. Diagnosis was achieved by cox1 gene seque...
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Since its first appearance in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has affected >25 countries, with >2,400 cases and an extremely high fatality rate of >30%. The total number of mortalities due to MERS is already greater than that due to severe acute respiratory syndrome. MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been confirmed to be the etiological...
Chapter
The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is the second novel zoonotic disease infecting humans caused by coronavirus (CoV) in this century. To date, more than 2200 laboratory-confirmed human cases have been identified in 27 countries, and more than 800 MERS-CoV associated deaths have been reported since its outbreak in 2012. Rapid laboratory dia...
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We report influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection in a captive giant panda in Hong Kong. The viral load peaked on day 1 and became undetectable on day 5, and an antibody response developed. Genome analysis showed 99.3%-99.9% nucleotide identity between the virus and influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus circulating in Hong Kong.
Article
The fungus Talaromyces marneffei was described by Professor Gabriel Segretain in 1959, originally as a member of the genus Penicillium. As early as 60 years ago, its peculiarity in exhibiting temperature-dependent morphological dimorphism, its characteristic ability to secrete diffusing red pigment during the mycelial phase and its pathogenicity ha...
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Vibrio alginolyticus is one of the most serious causative agents of diseases in cultured marine fish and shellfish. However, the characteristics of virulence factors in pathogenic V. alginolyticus are poorly known. To gain insight into fish diseases caused by V. alginolyticus, we carried out two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) combined with...
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Three bacterial strains, HKU70T, HKU71T and HKU72T, were isolated from the conjunctival swab, blood and sputum samples of three patients with conjunctivitis, bacteraemia and respiratory infection, respectively, in Hong Kong. The three strains were aerobic, Gram-stain positive, catalase-positive, non-sporulating and non-motile bacilli and exhibited...
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We characterized a strain of Laribacter hongkongensis isolated from the blood of a patient with fatal sepsis, who had alcoholic cirrhosis with ascites and portal hypertension. L. hongkongensis bacteremia is associated with underlying liver diseases (P < 0.001) and mortality (P < 0.05), whereas L. hongkongensis gastroenteritis is associated with rec...
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Despite being fundamentally important and having direct therapeutic implications, the functional genomics of the clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant (MDR) pathogens is often impeded by the lack of genome-editing tools. Here, we report the establishment of a highly efficient, in situ genome-editing technique applicable in clinical and environme...
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While dromedaries are the immediate animal source of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) epidemic, viruses related to MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have also been found in bats as well as hedgehogs. To elucidate the evolution of MERS-CoV-related viruses and their interspecies transmission pathway, samples were collected from different mammals in...
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Enzootic nasal tumor virus (ENTV) has two types, ENTV-1 in sheep and ENTV-2 in goats, respectively. In China, the incidence of ENTV-2 related diseases has increased year by year. In this study, we reported an outbreak of ENTV-2 in a commercial goat farm in Qingyuan city, Guangdong province, southern China. A full-length genome of ENTV-2 (designated...
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Genetic recombination has frequently been observed in coronaviruses. Here, we sequenced multiple complete genomes of dromedary camel coronavirus HKU23 (DcCoV-HKU23) from Nigeria, Morocco and Ethiopia and identified several genomic positions indicative of cross species virus recombination events among other Betacoronaviruses of the subgenus Embecovi...
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Objectives To study the safety and immunogenicity of a live-attenuated herpes zoster (HZ) vaccine in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Methods Adult SLE patients having a SLEDAI <6 and stable immunosuppressive treatment for ≥6 months were recruited. Participants were randomly assigned to receive HZ vaccine (Zostavax) or placebo inj...
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Introduction: Plantar warts are associated with high transmissibility and morbidity. Among the available therapeutic options, none is uniformly effective or virucidal. Salicylic acid is the first-line therapy but approximately one-third of lesions could not resolve and become recalcitrant despite repeated treatment. Cryotherapy is widely accessibl...
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Introduction: The discoveries of HIV and Helicobacter pylori in the 1980s were landmarks in identification of novel pathogens causing unexplained infectious syndromes using conventional microbiological technologies. In the last few decades, advancement of molecular technologies has provided us with more robust tools to expand our armamentarium in t...
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Metabolic adaptation in various environmental niches is crucial for bacterial extracellular survival and intracellular replication during infection. However, the metabolism of carbon/nitrogen sources and related regulatory mechanisms in Laribacter hongkongensis, an asaccharolytic bacterium associated with invasive infections and gastroenteritis, ar...
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Picobirnaviruses (PBVs) are mostly found in animal alimentary samples. In this study, among 576 respiratory specimens from 476 mammals and 100 chickens, genogroup I PBVs were detected in three cattle and three monkeys, and a genogroup II PBV-positive sample was collected from one cattle specimen. More than one PBV sequence type was observed in two...
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Although case series of talaromycosis have been reported in China, their detailed clinical and microbiological characteristics have never been systematically profiled. In this study, we report the clinical characteristics, molecular epidemiology, rapid identification and antifungal susceptibilities of talaromycosis in The University of Hong Kong–Sh...
Article
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a zoonotic viral disease identified in both animals and human beings. More than 2,200 laboratory-confirmed cases have been reported in humans from 27 countries, with a crude case fatality rate of 35% since the disease's emergence in the Middle East in 2012. In the coming years, MERS will continue to pose a...
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Antibody phage display has been pivotal in the quest to generate human monoclonal antibodies for biomedical and research applications. Target antigen preparation is a main bottleneck associated with the panning process. This includes production complexity, downstream purification, quality and yield. In many instances, purified antigens are preferre...