Publications

28

Aug, 2018

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – Antibody Repertoire Estimates Reservoir Size and Time of Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation in Virally Suppressed Perinatally HIV-Infected Children

 

Authors: Rocca S, Zangari P, Cotugno N, et al.

Published in: J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2018

Abstract:

Background. Assays to estimate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) reservoir size require large amounts of blood, which represents a drawback especially in pediatric settings. We investigated whether HIV-antibody repertoire could estimate the viral reservoir size. Moreover, we assessed the magnitude of HIV-antibody response as a predictor of time of antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation.

Methods. Human immunodeficiency virus-antibody responses to 10 different viral proteins were evaluated by HIV Western blot (WB) kit and a WB score was assigned to each patient. Patients were classified in 2 subgroups based on the timing of ART initiation (early treated [ET], 0–24 weeks and late treated [LT], >24 weeks). Human immunodeficiency virus-deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was quantified using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction on total peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Logistic regression and principal component analysis were built on these data to test the ability of WB score to predict the expected value of HIV-DNA and the timing of ART initiation.

Results. Sixty-nine perinatally HIV-infected children were evaluated. Reduced HIV-specific antibody responses and lower size of HIV-DNA were observed in ET compared with LT patients (P < .001 and P = .02, respectively). We found that WB score correlates with HIV-DNA (P = .032) and timing of ART initiation (P < .001). Based on the logistic regression analysis, we found that WB score can predict the HIV-DNA size and the timing of ART initiation with an Akaike information criterion of −118.13 and −151.51, respectively.

Conclusions. Western blot score can estimate HIV-DNA size and timing of ART initiation in long-term virally suppressed children. This rapid, inexpensive, and easily reproducible tool can provide useful information to identify potential candidates for HIV remission studies.

 

26

Jun, 2018

Early and highly suppressive ART are main factors associated with low viral reservoir in European perinatally HIV infected children

 

Authors: A Tagarro, M Chan, P Zangari, et al. on behalf of the EPIICAL Consortium

Published in: JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. June 26, 2018

Abstract:

Background. Future strategies aiming to achieve HIV-1 remission are likely to target individuals with small reservoir size.

Setting. We retrospectively investigated factors associated with HIV-1 DNA levels in European, perinatally HIV-infected children starting ART <6 months of age.

Methods: Total HIV-1 DNA was measured from 51 long-term suppressed children 6.3 years (median) after initial viral suppression. Factors associated with log10 total HIV-1 DNA were analyzed using linear regression.

Results. At ART initiation, children were aged median [IQR] 2.3 [1.2,4.1] months, CD4% 37 [24,45] %, CD8% 28 [18,36] %, log10 plasma viral load (VL) 5.4 [4.4,5.9] copies/ml. Time to viral suppression was 7.98 [4.6,19.3] months. Following suppression, 13 (25%) children had suboptimal response [≥2 consecutive VL50-400 followed by VL<50] and/or experienced periods of virological failure [≥2 consecutive VL≥400 followed by VL<50]. Median total HIV-1 DNA was 43 [6,195] copies/106 PBMC.

Younger age at therapy initiation was associated with lower total HIV-1 DNA (adjusted coefficient [AC] 0.12 per month older, p=0.0091), with a month increase in age at ART start being associated with a 13% increase in HIV DNA. Similarly, a higher proportion of time spent virally suppressed (AC 0.10 per 10% higher, p=0.0022) and absence of viral failure/suboptimal response (AC 0.34 for those with fail/ suboptimal response, p=0.0483) were associated with lower total HIV-1 DNA.

Conclusion. Early ART initiation and a higher proportion of time suppressed are linked with lower total HIV-1 DNA. Early ART start and improving adherence in perinatally HIV-1 infected children minimize the size of viral reservoir.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License 4.0 (CCBY-NC), where it is permissible to download, share, remix, transform, and buildup the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be used commercially without permission from the journal.

DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001789

The article is available here.

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23

Apr, 2018

Weekends-off efavirenz-based antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children, adolescents and young adults (BREATHER): Extended follow-up results of a randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial

 

Authors: Turkova A, Moore CL, Butler K, et al.

Published in: PLoS One2018;13(4):e0196239.

Abstract: Background: Weekends off antiretroviral therapy (ART) may help engage HIV-1-infected young people facing lifelong treatment. BREATHER showed short cycle therapy (SCT; 5 days on, 2 days off ART) was non-inferior to continuous therapy (CT) over 48 weeks. Planned follow-up was extended to 144 weeks, maintaining original randomisation.

Methods: BREATHER was an open-label, non-inferiority trial. Participants aged 8-24yrs with virological suppression on efavirenz-based first-line ART were randomised 1:1, stratified by age and African/non-African sites, to remain on CT or change to SCT. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate the proportion of participants with viral rebound (confirmed VL≥50 copies/mL) under intent-to-treat at 48 weeks (primary outcome), and in extended follow-up at 96, 144, and 192 weeks. SCT participants returned to CT following viral rebound, 3 VL blips or discontinuation of efavirenz.

Findings: Of 199 participants (99 SCT, 100 CT), 97 per arm consented to extended follow-up. Median follow-up was 185.3 weeks (IQR 160.9–216.1). 69 (70%) SCT participants remained on SCT at last follow-up. 105 (53%) were male, baseline median age 14 years (IQR 12–18), median CD4 count 735 cells/μL (IQR 576–968). 16 SCT and 16 CT participants had confirmed VL≥50 copies/mL by the end of extended follow-up (HR 1.00, 95% CI 0.50–2.00). Estimated difference in percentage with viral rebound (SCT minus CT) by week 144 was 1.9% (90% CI -6.6–10.4; p = 0.72) and was similar in a per-protocol analysis. There were no significant differences between arms in proportions of participants with grade 3/4 adverse events (18 SCT vs 16 CT participants; p = 0.71) or ART-related adverse events (10 vs 12; p = 0.82). 20 versus 8 serious adverse events (SAEs) were reported in 16 SCT versus 4 CT participants, respectively (p = 0.005 comparing proportions between groups; incidence rate ratio 2.49, 95%CI 0.71–8.66, p = 0.15). 75% of SAEs (15 SCT, 6 CT) were hospitalisations for a wide range of conditions. 3 SCT and 6 CT participants switched to second-line ART following viral failure (p = 0.50).

Conclusions: Sustainable non-inferiority of virological suppression in young people was shown for SCT versus CT over median 3.6 years. Standard-dose efavirenz-based SCT is a viable option for virologically suppressed HIV-1 infected young people on first-line ART with 3-monthly VL monitoring.

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15

Feb, 2018

What we know and what we don’t know about perinatal Zika virus infection: a systematic review

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Authors: Soriano-Arandes A, Rivero-Calle I, Nastouli E, et al.

Published inExpert Review of Anti-infective Therapy Vol. 0, Iss. ja, 2018

Abstract: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection has caused the most challenging worldwide infectious epidemic outbreak in recent months. ZIKV causes microcephaly and other congenital malformations. There is a need to perform updated systematic reviews on ZIKV infection periodically because this epidemic is bringing up new evidence with extraordinary speed.

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22

Jan, 2018

Report from the First EPIICAL General Assembly meeting, 9–11 November 2017, Rome, Italy

 

Authors: P Zangari, P Palma, N Cotugno, P Rojo, A Tagarro, I Pepponi, A De Rossi, L Kuhn, S Pahwa, M Cameron, E Nastouli, S Watters, AG Marceline, LE McCoy, D Persaud, A Violari, M Chan, AG Babiker, C Foster, J Ananworanich, C Giaquinto, P Rossi

Published in: Journal of Virus Eradication 2018; 4: 51–54

Abstract: The first EPIICAL General Assembly meeting was held in an atmosphere of growing optimism. Many novel and exciting proposals for HIV research studies were discussed and are described above. The consortium aims to maintain this integrated developmental research on NDMTs, from predictive platforms to proof-of-concept studies, through the excellent collaborative effort made during the first 18 months of EPIICAL, some of which is described in this report. The emphasis on an innovative research platform is unique and may lead to optimisation of the management of perinatally HIV-infected children. Collectively, the updates and the discussions from the General Assembly attest to the benefit of nurturing an international collaborative effort on paediatric HIV research and confirm that EPIICAL is successfully on track.

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13

Dec, 2017

“How Do We Start? And How Will They React?” Disclosing to Young People with Perinatally Acquired HIV in Uganda

 

Authors: Namukwaya S, Paparini S, Seeley J, Bernays S.

Published in: Front Public Health. 2017;5:343

Abstract: Despite great advances in pediatric HIV care, rates and the extent of full disclosure of HIV status to infected children remain low especially in resource-constrained setting. The World Health Organisation recommends that, by the age of 10-12 years old, children should be made fully aware of their HIV-positive status. However, this awareness is often delayed until much later in their adolescence. Few studies have been conducted to investigate what influences caregivers’ decision-making process in this regard in low-income settings. In this article, we present an analysis of care dyads of caregivers and HIV-positive young people in Kampala, Uganda, as part of the findings of a longitudinal qualitative study about young people’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy embedded in an international clinical trial (BREATHER). Repeat in-depth interviews were conducted with 26 young people living with HIV throughout the course of the trial, and once-off interviews with 16 of their caregivers were also carried out toward the end of the trial. In this article, we examine why and how caregivers decide to disclose a young person’s HIV status to them and explore their feelings and dilemmas toward disclosure, as well as how young people reacted and the influence it had on their relationships with and attitudes toward their caregivers. Caregivers feared the consequences of disclosing the young person’s positive status to them and disclosure commonly occurred hurriedly in response to a crisis, rather than as part of an anticipated and planned process. A key impediment to disclosure was that caregivers feared that disclosing would damage their relationships with the young people and commonly used this as a reason to continue to postpone disclosure. However, young people did not report prolonged feelings of blame or anger toward their caregivers about their own infection, but they did express frustration at the delay and obfuscation surrounding the disclosure process. Our findings can inform the ways in which mainstream HIV services support caregivers through the disclosure process. This includes providing positive encouragement to disclose fully and to be more confident in initiating and sustaining the timely process of disclosure.

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16

Nov, 2017

Behavioral, climatic, and environmental risk factors for Zika and Chikungunya virus infections in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,

 

Authors: Fuller TL, Calvet G, Genaro Estevam C, et al.

Abstract: The burden of arboviruses in the Americas is high and may result in long-term sequelae with infants disabled by Zika virus infection (ZIKV) and arthritis caused by infection with Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). We aimed to identify environmental drivers of arbovirus epidemics to predict where the next epidemics will occur and prioritize municipalities for vector control and eventual vaccination. We screened sera and urine samples (n = 10,459) from residents of 48 municipalities in the state of Rio de Janeiro for CHIKV, dengue virus (DENV), and ZIKV by molecular PCR diagnostics. Further, we assessed the spatial pattern of arbovirus incidence at the municipal and neighborhood scales and the timing of epidemics and major rainfall events. Lab-confirmed cases included 1,717 infections with ZIKV (43.8%) and 2,170 with CHIKV (55.4%) and only 29 (<1%) with DENV. ZIKV incidence was greater in neighborhoods with little access to municipal water infrastructure (r = -0.47, p = 1.2×10-8). CHIKV incidence was weakly correlated with urbanization (r = 0.2, p = 0.02). Rains began in October 2015 and were followed one month later by the largest wave of ZIKV epidemic. ZIKV cases markedly declined in February 2016, which coincided with the start of a CHIKV outbreak. Rainfall predicted ZIKV and CHIKV with a lead time of 3 weeks each time. The association between rainfall and epidemics reflects vector ecology as the larval stages of Aedes aegypti require pools of water to develop. The temporal dynamics of ZIKV and CHIKV may be explained by the shorter incubation period of the viruses in the mosquito vector; 2 days for CHIKV versus 10 days for ZIKV.

Published in: PLoS One. 2017;12(11):e0188002

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6

Nov, 2017

Treatment of Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Are All Countries Treating Children in the Same Way? A Literature Review

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Authors: Donà D, Luise D, Da Dalt L, Giaquinto C.

Published in: Int J Pediatr; 2017: 4239268. Epub 2017

AbstractBackground. Pneumonia represents an important threat to children’s health in both developed and developing countries. In the last 10 years, many national and international guidelines on the treatment of pediatric CAP have been published, in order to optimize the prescription of antibiotics and limit their cost and side effects. However, the practical implementation of these guidelines is still limited. Main Text. We analyzed the current recommendations for the therapy of pediatric community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) that all converge on the identification of aminopenicillins and beta-lactams as the optimal treatment for CAP. We also conducted a review of the current literature on antibiotic regimens used for pediatric CAP to identify the current state of guidelines implementation in different settings. We selected 37 studies published from 2010 to 2016, including both retrospective and prospective studies, mainly cross-sectional and hospital based. The results show a global heterogeneity in the antibiotics prescription for pediatric CAP, with application of guidelines varying from 0% to more than 91% and with important differences even within the same country. Conclusions. Our review has demonstrated that the implementation of the guidelines is still limited but also that achieving the optimal prescription is possible and can be done in both developed and developing countries.

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15

Oct, 2017

Lowered Rilpivirine Exposure During the Third Trimester of Pregnancy in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Infected Women

 

Authors: Schalkwijk S, Colbers A, Konopnicki D, et al.

Published in: Clin Infect Dis. 2017; 65(8):1335-1341

Abstract: The use of antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy is important for control of maternal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease and the prevention of perinatal HIV transmission. Physiological changes during pregnancy can reduce antiretroviral exposure. We studied the pharmacokinetics of rilpivirine 25 mg once daily in HIV-1-infected women during late pregnancy.

27

Sep, 2017

Rapid antigen tests for dengue virus serotypes and Zika virus in patient serum

 

Authors: Bosch I, de Puig H, Hiley M, et al.

Abstract: The recent Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak demonstrates that cost-effective clinical diagnostics are urgently needed to detect and distinguish viral infections to improve patient care. Unlike dengue virus (DENV), ZIKV infections during pregnancy correlate with severe birth defects, including microcephaly and neurological disorders. Because ZIKV and DENV are related flaviviruses, their homologous proteins and nucleic acids can cause cross-reactions and false-positive results in molecular, antigenic, and serologic diagnostics. We report the characterization of monoclonal antibody pairs that have been translated into rapid immunochromatography tests to specifically detect the viral nonstructural 1 (NS1) protein antigen and distinguish the four DENV serotypes (DENV1–4) and ZIKV without cross-reaction. To complement visual test analysis and remove user subjectivity in reading test results, we used image processing and data analysis for data capture and test result quantification. Using a 30-μl serum sample, the sensitivity and specificity values of the DENV1–4 tests and the pan-DENV test, which detects all four dengue serotypes, ranged from 0.76 to 1.00. Sensitivity/specificity for the ZIKV rapid test was 0.81/0.86, respectively, using a 150-μl serum input. Serum ZIKV NS1 protein concentrations were about 10-fold lower than corresponding DENV NS1 concentrations in infected patients; moreover, ZIKV NS1 protein was not detected in polymerase chain reaction–positive patient urine samples. Our rapid immunochromatography approach and reagents have immediate application in differential clinical diagnosis of acute ZIKV and DENV cases, and the platform can be applied toward developing rapid antigen diagnostics for emerging viruses.

Authors: Science Translational Medicine. 2017;9(409)

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