Publications

17

Sep, 2020

Respiratory Syncytial Virus-Associated Hospital Admissions in Children Younger Than 5 Years in 7 European Countries Using Routinely Collected Datasets

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Authors 

Rachel M Reeves, Maarten van Wijhe, Sabine Tong, Toni Lehtonen, Luca Stona, Anne C Teirlinck, Liliana Vazquez Fernandez, You Li, Carlo Giaquinto, Thea Kølsen Fischer, Clarisse Demont, Terho Heikkinen, Irene Speltra, Michiel van Boven, Håkon Bøås, Harry Campbell, RESCEU Investigators

Background

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of respiratory tract infection (RTI) in young children. Registries provide opportunities to explore RSV epidemiology and burden.

Methods

We explored routinely collected hospital data on RSV in children aged < 5 years in 7 European countries. We compare RSV-associated admission rates, age, seasonality, and time trends between countries.

Results

We found similar age distributions of RSV-associated hospital admissions in each country, with the highest burden in children < 1 years old and peak at age 1 month. Average annual rates of RTI admission were 41.3–112.0 per 1000 children aged < 1 year and 8.6–22.3 per 1000 children aged < 1 year. In children aged < 5 years, 57%–72% of RTI admissions with specified causal pathogen were coded as RSV, with 62%–87% of pathogen-coded admissions in children < 1 year coded as RSV.

Conclusions

Our results demonstrate the benefits and limitations of using linked routinely collected data to explore epidemiology and burden of RSV. Our future work will use these data to generate estimates of RSV burden using time-series modelling methodology, to inform policymaking and regulatory decisions regarding RSV immunization strategy and monitor the impact of future vaccines.

7

Sep, 2020

The effect of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetics of total and unbound Dolutegravir and its main metabolite in women living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

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Authors: Bollen P, Freriksen J, Konopnicki D, Weizsäcker K , et al; on behalf of the Pharmacokinetics of ANtiretroviral agents in HIV-infected pregNAnt women Network

Published in: Clin infect Dis2020;26.ciaa006

Background Pharmacokinetic and efficacy data on dolutegravir in pregnant women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are still limited but needed to support its use as one of the preferred antiretroviral agents.

Methods Within the multicenter Pharmacokinetics of ANtiretroviral agents in HIV-infected pregNAnt women (PANNA) study, pregnant women living with HIV and using dolutegravir once daily (50 mg, with food) underwent 24-hour pharmacokinetic profiling in their third trimester and postpartum. Dolutegravir exposure in the third trimester was considered adequate if geometric mean unbound, pharmacologically active, minimal plasma concentrations (Cmin, unbound) and ≥90% of individual Cmin, unbound levels were >0.85 µg/L, the proposed 90% inhibitory concentration for unbound dolutegravir. Geometric mean ratios (GMRs) with 90% confidence intervals (CIs) for comparison of total and unbound pharmacokinetic parameters in the third trimester and postpartum were calculated, including the metabolic ratio for dolutegravir-glucuronide. Safety and virological data were collected.

Results Seventeen women (76% black) were enrolled (25 evaluable pharmacokinetic profiles; 15 in the third trimester, 10 in postpartum). In the third trimester, geometric mean (coefficient of variation, %) Cmin, unbound was 2.87 (87) µg/L and 93% of individual Cmin, unbound levels were >0.85 µg/L. The GMR (90% CI) in the third trimester vs postpartum was 0.86 (.68-1.10) for area under the curve (AUC0-24h), and for Cmax, 0.93 (.77-1.13). GMR (90% CI) for the trough concentrations was 0.71 (.49-1.02), based on total dolutegravir concentrations. Four serious adverse events were reported, unlikely related to dolutegravir. The HIV polymerase chain reaction test was negative in 14/17 infants (result unknown for 3 infants).

Conclusions Pharmacokinetic changes for dolutegravir in late pregnancy are not clinically relevant and support the use of dolutegravir 50 mg once daily with food in pregnancy.

7

Sep, 2020

Clinically significant lower elvitegravir exposure during third trimester of pregnant patients living with HIV: data from the PANNA study

 

Authors: Bukkems V, Necsoi C, Hidalgo Tenorio C, et al. PANNA Network

Published in: Clin infect Dis2020; 24;ciaa488.

Abstract This phase-IV study investigated the influence of pregnancy on the pharmacokinetics of elvitegravir/cobicistat in 14 HIV-1-positive women. The results support the recommendation against elvitegravir/cobicistat use during pregnancy, as the elvitegravir Ctrough was reduced by 77%, with 85% of pregnant women having a Ctrough below the EC90.

6

Aug, 2020

Simplified dolutegravir dosing for children with HIV weighing 20 kg or more: pharmacokinetic and safety substudies of the multicentre, randomised ODYSSEY trial

 

Authors: Bollen P,  Moore CL ,  Mujuru H et al; the ODYSSEY trial team

Published in: LANCET HIV. 2020;8:e533-e544

Background Paediatric dolutegravir doses approved by stringent regulatory authorities (SRAs) for children weighing 20 kg to less than 40 kg until recently required 25 mg and 10 mg film-coated tablets. These tablets are not readily available in low-resource settings where the burden of HIV is highest. We did nested pharmacokinetic substudies in patients enrolled in the ODYSSEY-trial to evaluate simplified dosing in children with HIV.

Methods We did pharmacokinetic and safety substudies within the open-label, multicentre, randomised ODYSSEY trial (NCT02259127) of children with HIV starting treatment in four research centres in Uganda and Zimbabwe. Eligible children were randomised to dolutegravir in ODYSSEY and weighed 20 kg to less than 40 kg. In children weighing 20 kg to less than 25 kg, we assessed dolutegravir’s pharmacokinetics in children given once daily 25 mg film-coated tablets (approved by the SRAs at the time of the study) in part one of the study, and 50 mg film-coated tablets (adult dose) or 30 mg dispersible tablets in part two of the study. In children weighing 25 kg to less than 40 kg, we also assessed dolutegravir pharmacokinetics within-subject on film-coated tablet doses of 25 mg or 35 mg once daily, which were approved by the SRAs for the children’s weight band; then switched to 50 mg film-coated tablets once daily. Steady-state 24 h dolutegravir plasma concentration-time pharmacokinetic profiling was done in all enrolled children at baseline and 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 24 h after observed dolutegravir intake. Target dolutegravir trough concentrations (Ctrough) were based on reference adult pharmacokinetic data and safety was evaluated in all children in the corresponding weight bands who consented to pharmacokinetic studies and received the studied doses.

Findings Between Sept 22, 2016, and May 31, 2018, we enrolled 62 black-African children aged from 6 years to younger than 18 years (84 pharmacokinetic-profiles). In children weighing 20 kg to less than 25 kg taking 25 mg film-coated tablets, the geometric mean (GM) Ctrough (coefficient of variation) was 0·32 mg/L (94%), which was 61% lower than the GM Ctrough of 0·83 mg/L (26%) in fasted adults on dolutegravir 50 mg once-daily; in children weighing 25 kg to less than 30 kg taking 25 mg film-coated tablets, the GM Ctrough was 0·39 mg/L (48%), which was 54% lower than the GM Ctrough in fasted adults; and in those 30 kg to less than 40 kg taking 35 mg film-coated tablets the GM Ctrough was 0·46 mg/L (63%), which was 45% lower than the GM Ctrough in fasted adults. On 50 mg film-coated tablets or 30 mg dispersible tablets, Ctrough was close to the adult reference (with similar estimates on the two formulations in children in the 20 to <25 kg weight band), with total exposure (area under the concentration-time curve from 0 h to 24 h) in between reference values in adults dosed once and twice daily, where safety data are reassuring, although maximum concentrations were higher in children weighing 20 kg to less than 25 kg than in the twice-daily adult reference. Over a 24-week follow-up period in 47 children on 30 mg dispersible tablets or 50 mg film-coated tablets, none of the three reported adverse events (cryptococcal meningitis, asymptomatic anaemia, and asymptomatic neutropenia) were considered related to dolutegravir.

Interpretation Adult dolutegravir 50 mg film-coated tablets given once daily provide appropriate pharmacokinetic profiles in children weighing 20 kg or more, with no safety signal, allowing simplified practical dosing and rapid access to dolutegravir. These results informed the WHO 2019 dolutegravir paediatric dosing guidelines and have led to US Food and Drug Administration approval of adult dosing down to 20 kg.

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29

Jul, 2020

Harmonisation preserves research resources

 

Authors: Vasconcelos MK, Epalza C, Renk H, Tagarro A, Bielicki JA

Published in: Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;24

In their Comment, the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) clinical characterisation group outline how harmonisation of clinical characterisation studies is achieved through their collaborative resource-sharing and data-sharing platform. We fully agree with both the importance of international harmonisation and the authors’ approach. Yet, in our opinion, they could have expressed more clearly how important harmonisation is to use resources in research responsibly and efficiently.

 

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21

Jul, 2020

The CARMA study: early infant antiretroviral therapy—Timing impacts on total HIV-1 DNA quantitation 12 years later

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Authors: Foster C, Domínguez-Rodríguez S, Tagarro A, et al. For the Early Treated Perinatally HIV Infected Individuals: Improving Children’s Actual Life (EPIICAL) Consortium

Published in: J Pediatr Infect Dis Soc. 2020 2020 Jul 17;piaa071

Background Strategies aimed at antiretroviral therapy (ART)–free remission will target individuals with a limited viral reser- voir. We investigated factors associated with low reservoir measured as total human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in perinatal infection (PaHIV).

Methods Children from 7 European centers in the Early Treated Perinatally HIV Infected Individuals: Improving Children’s Actual Life (EPIICAL) consortium who commenced ART aged <2 years, and remained suppressed (viral load [VL] <50 copies/mL) for >5 years were included. Total HIV-1 DNA was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction per million PBMCs. Factors associated with total HIV-1 DNA were analyzed using generalized additive models. Age, VL at ART initiation, and baseline CD4% effects were tested including smoothing splines to test nonlinear association.

Results Forty PaHIV, 27 (67.5%) female 21 (52.5%) Black/Black African, had total HIV-1 DNA measured; median 12 (IQR, 7.3– 15.4) years after ART initiation. Eleven had total HIV-1 DNA <10 copies/106 PBMCs. HIV-1 DNA levels were positively associated with age and VL at ART initiation, baseline CD4%, and Western blot antibody score. Age at ART initiation presented a linear associ- ation (coefficient = 0.10 ± 0.001, P ≤ .001), the effect of VL (coefficient = 0.35 ± 0.1, P ≤ .001) noticeable >6 logs. The effect of CD4% (coefficient = 0.03 ± 0.01, P = .049) was not maintained >40%.

Conclusions In this PaHIV cohort, reduced total HIV-1 DNA levels were associated with younger age and lower VL at ART initiation. The impact of early-infant treatment on reservoir size persists after a decade of suppressive therapy.

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13

Jul, 2020

The size of HIV reservoir is associated with telomere shortening and immunosenescence in early ART-treated HIV-infected children

 

Authors: De Rossi A, Dalzini A, Ballin G, Dominguez-Rodriuguez S, Rojo P, Foster C, Palma P, Sessa L, Nastouli E, Pahwa S, Rossi P, Giaquinto C, EPIICAL Consortium

Published in: 23rd International AIDS Conference, July 6th-10th, 2020

Background: HIV infection is linked to premature senescence, with increased risk of aging-associated illnesses. Early ART has been associated with a reduced HIV reservoir in HIV-perinatally infected children (PHIV), but its impact on the senescence process is an open question. Telomeres are critical for cellular replicative potential and their shortening is a marker of cellular senescence and aging process. We investigated the relationship between immunosenescence and HIV reservoir in PHIV enrolled in a multicenter cross-sectional study (CARMA, EPIICAL consortium).

Methods: 37 PHIV, who started ART <2 years of age and had undetectable viremia for at least 5 years, were enrolled in this study. HIV-DNA copies on CD4 cells and relative telomere length and levels of T-cell receptor rearrangement excision circle (TREC, marker of thymic output) on CD4 and CD8 cells were quantified by qPCR. Senescent and activated CD4 and CD8 cells were estimated by flow cytometry. To explore the associations between cellular parameters, HIV reservoir and age at ART initiation, data were analyzed using a multivariable Poisson regression (adjusted for baseline % CD4, plasmaviremia, age at reservoir measurement, and age at ART initiation as interaction term).

Results: HIV reservoir was significantly (p<0.001) associated with immunosenescence (1.23[1.21-1.26]) and telomere shortening (0.15[0.13-0.17]) in CD4 cells, and immune activation (3.67[3.49-3.85]) and TREC levels (1.08[1.06-1.11]) in CD8 cells. These associations decreased by 1%, 10%, 6% and 6%, respectively, for each month ART was delayed. Early treated PHIV (ART initiation ≤6 months of age) displayed significantly lower HIV-DNA level (89[56-365] vs 552[303-1001] copies/106 cells)  and % CD4 senescent cells (1.0[0.5-2.7] vs 2.9[2.0-6.3]) than late treated ones.

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13

Jul, 2020

Aging B-cells (ABC) and anti-Env humoral responses are associated with T-bet expression in B-cells of perinatally HIV infected children (PHIV) treated within 24 months (m) of life (the CARMA cohort)

 

Authors: Ruggiero A, Cotugno N, Domínguez-Rodríguez S,  Zicari S, Rinaldi S, Zangari P, Tagarro A, Foster C, De Rossi A, Nastouli E, Luzuriaga K, Giaquinto C, Rossi P, Pawha S, Palma P, on behalf of the EPIICAL consortium.

Published in: 23rd Virtual International AIDS Conference, July 6th-10th, 2020

Background The role of T-bet, an immune factor involved in adaptative and innate response, has been poorly explored in B-cells. Previous studies concentrated on HIV+ and HIV- adults and T-bet was found to be associated with ABC. This work characterizes T-bet expression in B-cell (CD19+CD10-) subsets associated with aging (activated memory AM CD21-CD27+, Tissue Like Memory TLM CD21-CD27- and Double Negative DN CD27-IgD-) and with immunological memory (Resting Memory, RM CD27+CD21+IgD-) in PHIV.

Methods We studied 40 PHIV starting ART at median 4m of age (min 0m, max 22m) and ART-suppressed for >5 years (median 14 years (y) (min 5y, max 22y). Flow Cytometry was used to define B-cell phenotype and intracellular T-bet (MFI) in PHIV and in 20 age and gender-matched controls (HC). Anti-HIV serology was measured using Western blot and ELISA. Comparisons were analysed using Mann-Whitney test (MW). Associations were explored using Spearman test (rho, p) and multivariable ridge Poisson Regression model including baseline CD4, gender, and age at ART as confounders.

Results DN were expanded in PHIV compared with HC (p=0.01 MW). T-bet levels were elevated in AM, TLM and marginally DN compared to the others.  The models demonstrated a strong association between T-bet levels and time of ART start: for each month without ART T-bet increased by 3% and 2% in DN and AM, respectively (Fig.1a). Anti-Env responses were positively associated and were identified as predictors of T-bet levels in IgG+ B-cells (rho=0.35, p=0.03, Fig 1b), IgM+ B-cells (rho=0.39, p=0.01), RM IgM+ (rho=0.33, p=0.042).

Conclusions ABC are expanded in PHIV compared with HC, despite suppressive ART. Earlier ART-start preserves from premature aging of B-cell compartment. Furthermore, elevated levels of T-bet in memory B-cells was associated with anti-Env responses. Our findings add onto the previous literature by suggesting a role of T-bet in the anti-HIV B-cell response that warrant further investigation.

 

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12

Jul, 2020

A machine learning approach for predicting probability of death or disease progression in an early-treated pediatric African cohort

 

Authors: Domínguez-Rodríguez S, Tagarro A, Serna Pascual M, Otwombe K, Violari A, Fernández S, Nhampossa T, Lain M,  Vaz P , Behuhuma NO, Danaviah S, Dobbels E, Barnabas S, Cotugno N, Zangari P, Palma P, Oletto A,  Nardone A, Nastouli E, Spyer M, Kuhn L, Rossi P, Giaquinto C, Rojo P on behalf of EPIICAL consortium.

Published in: 23rd international AIDS Conference, July 6th-10th 2020

Background In perinatally HIV infected children, mortality and morbidity are highest in the first months after ART initiation and is linked to advanced disease and late diagnosis. The random forest approach can deal with more predictors than classical models and has no model assumptions such as normality, linearity or hazard proportionality. The aim of this study was to predict the probability of death or clinical progression at a specific time of follow-up.

Methods EARTH (EPIICAL consortium) is an African multi-centre cohort enrolling HIV-infected infants treated within 3 months of life (n=151). A total of 134 infants with >1 follow-up visit were included in this analysis. The primary endpoint was the right-censored time to death or progression to AIDS. To predict the outcome, a log-rank random survival forest with imbalance correction was performed in a training subset (n=95, 70%). The algorithm was validated on the remaining 30% (n=39).

Results A total of 22 infants reached the primary endpoint with 13 (10%) patients dead and 9 (7%) with an AIDS defining condition. A total of 10000 trees were built with an error rate of 20%. The most important predictors of reaching the primary endpoint were baseline HIV viral load, age at diagnosis, weight-for-age, gender, age at ART initiation, and baseline CD4 count. In the validation, the model predicted a higher probability of reaching the primary endpoint among children who did indeed die or progress to AIDS, as compared to the group of children who did well (1-month: 14% vs. 0.01%, p-value=0.045; 6-months: 62% vs. 0.03%, p-value=0.019; 12-months: 76% vs. 16%, p-value=0.012). The AUC for predicting survival or progression was 0.83, 0.84, and 0.72 for 1-month, 6-months, and 1-year respectively.

Conclusions This model helps clinicians individualize the probability of death or progression to AIDS at time of diagnosis and may be useful for the early identification of high-risk patients.

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2

Jul, 2020

Global sales of oral antibiotics formulated for children

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Authors: Li G, Jackson C, Bielicki J, Ellis S, Hsiac Y, Sharland M

Published in: Bulletin of the World Health Organization, July 2020

Objective To investigate international consumption patterns of child-appropriate oral formulations of antibiotics by formulation type, with a focus on dispersible tablets, using data from a global sales database.

Methods Antibiotic sales data for 2015 covering 74 countries and regional country groups were obtained from the MIDAS® pharmaceutical sales database, which includes samples of pharmacy wholesalers and retailers. The focus was on sales of child-appropriate oral formulations of Access antibiotics in the 2017 World Health Organization’s WHO Model list of essential medicines for children. Sales volumes are expressed using a standard unit (i.e. one tablet, capsule, ampoule or vial or 5 mL of liquid). Sales were analysed by antibiotic, WHO region and antibiotic formulation.

Findings Globally, 17.7 billion standard units of child-appropriate oral antibiotic formulations were sold in 2015, representing 24% of total antibiotic sales of 74.4 billion units (both oral and parenteral) in the database. The top five child-appropriate Access antibiotics by sales volume were amoxicillin, amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole, cefalexin and ampicillin. The proportion of the top five sold for use as a syrup varied between 42% and 99%. Dispersible tablets represented only 22% of all child-appropriate oral formulation sales and made up only 15% of sales of 10 selected Access antibiotics on the model list for children.

Conclusion Globally most child-appropriate oral antibiotics were not sold as dispersible tablets in 2015, as recommended by WHO. There is a clear need for novel solid forms of antibiotics suitable for use in children.

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