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  • A WHO report suggests the terms ‘airborne transmission/inhalation’, ‘direct deposition’ and ‘infectious respiratory particles’ for describing transmission modes, highlighting the continuum of particle size with greatest exposure near the source. The report did not update infection control guidelines.

    • Nancy H. L. Leung
    • Donald K. Milton
  • This Comment article highlights the progress that has been made over the past 40 years since the discovery of HIV, and discusses the commitment needed to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the ongoing challenges.

    • Linda-Gail Bekker
  • The forthcoming UN summit marks the halfway point to 2030 and presents an important milestone in global efforts to address various challenges, including those related to climate change and environmental preservation. The UN SDGs include several related to microorganisms and climate change. Microbiology research is key to understanding and mitigating climate change, and in maintaining the health of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (SDGs 13, 14 and 15).

    • Janet K. Jansson
  • Infectious diseases markedly influence progress towards the SDGs. Pandemics and global inequity have hindered progress towards the health targets, highlighting humanity’s interconnectedness and shared vulnerability to new infectious agents. Enhanced global collaboration and partnerships in training, surveillance, research and innovation are essential to reach the health SDGs by 2030.

    • Quarraisha Abdool Karim
    • Salim S. Abdool Karim
  • African microbiomes are much neglected and previous studies have disproportionately focused on the Global North. Africa harbours substantial genetic diversity in terms of its ecosystems, humans and animals. In this Comment, we highlight the lack of information regarding microbiome datasets from Africa and propose mechanisms for increasing microbiome research in Africa.

    • Thulani P. Makhalanyane
    • Oliver K. I. Bezuidt
    • Colin Murrell
  • Shigella spp. that are resistant to almost all antimicrobial classes are increasing in prevalence and becoming globally dominant. The situation is critical and highlights a trend that is mirrored by other enteric bacterial pathogens. New interventions to prevent and treat these infections are essential to tackle a potential public health catastrophe.

    • Stephen Baker
    • Timothy A. Scott
  • Decades of coronavirus research and intense studies of SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to an unprecedented level of knowledge of coronavirus biology and pathogenesis, yet many outstanding questions remain. Here, we discuss knowledge gaps and research priorities in the field.

    • Stanley Perlman
    • Malik Peiris
  • Invasive fungal diseases are on the increase globally. The World Health Organization fungal priority pathogens list highlights fungi of critical or high importance to human health and provides pathways for action. The report calls for improved surveillance (diagnostics and antifungal resistance monitoring), research and innovation (implementation research) and public-health interventions.

    • Matthew C. Fisher
    • David W. Denning
  • Although numerous tick-borne viruses are seemingly apathogenic in humans, a number of emerging tick-borne viruses have been recently identified to possess human-infection potential, with more yet to be discovered. Here, we call for greater research efforts to better delineate their precise disease burden and threats posed to global public health.

    • Hong Zhou
    • Lin Xu
    • Weifeng Shi
  • Sewage surveillance could provide information on the resistance situation in the underlying population and on environmental transmission risks. There are opportunities to make such surveillance data more informative and actionable, but there are also challenges.

    • D. G. Joakim Larsson
    • Carl-Fredrik Flach
    • Ramanan Laxminarayan
  • Global COVID-19 vaccine equity remains aspirational for much of the world. But the emergence of rapidly evolving SARS-CoV-2 variants provides new opportunities to correct past public policies, support local vaccine production and combat rising anti-vaccine aggression.

    • Peter J. Hotez
  • The biofilm community has historically been very successful in aggregating scientists from very diverse fields. Now, we must harness innovative technologies across disciplines to illuminate the biofilm microenvironment and create in vitro models that accurately recapitulate natural environments.

    • Kendra P. Rumbaugh
  • The ongoing monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries is likely to be a consequence of the failure to curtail the spread of the disease in endemic regions of Africa despite decades of constant outbreaks. A globally driven one health approach to prevention and treatment of the disease is essential to control present and future outbreaks.

    • Emmanuel F. Alakunle
    • Malachy I. Okeke
  • The comparatively milder infections with the Omicron variant and higher levels of population immunity have raised hopes for a weakening of the pandemic. We argue that the lower severity of Omicron is a coincidence and that ongoing rapid antigenic evolution is likely to produce new variants that may escape immunity and be more severe.

    • Peter V. Markov
    • Aris Katzourakis
    • Nikolaos I. Stilianakis
  • The magnitude of immune evasion of Omicron raises the question whether it should be considered as a distinct SARS-CoV-2 serotype. Here, we discuss lines of evidence in support or against the concept of SARS-CoV-2 serotypes, and the implications of this classification.

    • Etienne Simon-Loriere
    • Olivier Schwartz
  • The International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes (ICSP) has recently altered long-standing phylum names and given no guidance for taxonomy of uncultured or imperfectly cultured archaea and bacteria, disrupting progress towards a universal system of microbial taxonomy. Inclusion of new members into ICSP may help it to keep up to date.

    • Karen G. Lloyd
    • Guillaume Tahon
  • The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has seen a notable global reduction in influenza cases of both influenza A and B viruses. In particular, the B/Yamagata lineage has not been isolated from April 2020 to August 2021, suggesting that this influenza lineage may have become extinct, which may provide opportunities for improving availability and effectiveness of influenza vaccines.

    • Marios Koutsakos
    • Adam K. Wheatley
    • Steve Rockman
  • Humankind relies on host–microbe symbioses and the ecosystems they form for diverse services, including food and health. It is important to understand how symbioses will fare in a world facing rapid global change and how adaptation and resilience of symbioses can be aided to secure their services for future generations.

    • Ute Hentschel
  • In settings with limited resources and a wide range of possible etiologies, molecular technologies offer an effective solution for infectious disease diagnostics, because they are agile, fast and flexible. Health systems that routinely use molecular diagnostics will achieve economies of scale, maximize limited expertize and rapidly respond to new threats.

    • Iruka N. Okeke
    • Chikwe Ihekweazu