HIV

31

Dec, 2018

HIV specific B-cell memory persists in seronegative early treated children and is dominated by IgM-memory responses

 

Authors: Cotugno N, Morrocchi E, Pepponi I, et al.

Published in:

Abstract Early initiation of ART in HIV vertically infected infants influences specific immunity by limiting Ag exposure and reducing the viral reservoir size. Currently these patients represent ideal candidates for testing immune therapeutic strategies towards HIV-remission. However a proportion of these early ART treated children (ET) show an undetectable HIV Ab response. It is still unknown whether such profile is associated with a lower ability of these children to mount HIV specific responses once the Ag is re-encountered.

In the present study, we investigated whether HIV specific B-cells persist in seronegative (SN) patients, and the associated gene signatures after re-encountering the virus in vitro. We enrolled 20 ET (6 SN and 14 seropositive, SP), who initiated ART at a mean age of 4.4±3.6 mo. and under durable viral control (> 2 years). We found that gp140+ B-cells, analyzed by FACS, persist in SN patients with a similar frequency of SP. Further analysis revealed a higher percentage of HIV-specific IgM cells in SN CD27+ IgD+ memory subset compared to SP (P=0.002). In addition we investigated by multiplexed RT-PCR, gene expression dynamics after in vitro stimulation with HIV peptides mix. Our results on sorted HIV specific IgM+ cells showed up-regulation of Blimp1 expression only in SP (fold change=1.9; p=0.03), suggesting an impairment of plasma cell differentiation in IgM+gp140+ B-cells in SN patients. Our results firstly reveal that HIV specific B-cell response persists in SN ET, and predominantly resides in the IgM memory compartment. We hypothesize that such responses could be targeted by novel strategies aiming at HIV remission in HIV early treated children.

 

 

26

Dec, 2018

The epidemiology of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV: a cross-region global cohort analysis

 

Authors: Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CHIPER) Global Cohort Collaboration

Published in: PLoS Med. 2018;15(3):e1002514.

Background Globally, the population of adolescents living with perinatally acquired HIV (APHs) continues to expand. In this study, we pooled data from observational pediatric HIV cohorts and cohort networks, allowing comparisons of adolescents with perinatally acquired  HIV in “real-life” settings across multiple regions. We describe the geographic and temporal characteristics and mortality outcomes of APHs across multiple regions, including South America and the Caribbean, North America, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and South and Southeast Asia.

Methods and Findings Through the Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER), individual retrospective longitudinal data from 12 cohort networks were pooled. All children infected with HIV who entered care before age 10 years, were not known to have horizontally acquired HIV, and were followed up beyond age 10 years were included in this analysis conducted from May 2016 to January 2017. Our primary analysis describes patient and treatment characteristics of APHs at key time points, including first HIV-associated clinic visit, antiretroviral therapy (ART) start, age 10 years, and last visit, and compares these characteristics by geographic region, country income group (CIG), and birth period. Our secondary analysis describes mortality, transfer out, and lost to follow-up (LTFU) as outcomes at age 15 years, using competing risk analysis among the 38,187 APHs included, 51% were female, 79% were from sub-Saharan Africa and 65% lived in low-income countries. APHs from 51 countries were included (Europe: 14 countries and 3,054 APHs; North America: 1 country and 1,032 APHs; South America and the Caribbean: 4 countries and 903 APHs; South and Southeast Asia: 7 countries and 2,902 APHs; sub-Saharan Africa, 25 countries and 30,296 APHs). Observation started as early as 1982 in Europe and 1996 in sub-Saharan Africa, and continued until at least 2014 in all regions. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) duration of adolescent follow-up was 3.1 (1.5-5.2) years for the total cohort and 6.4 (3.6-8.0) years in Europe, 3.7 (2.0-5.4) years in North America, 2.5 (1.2-4.4) years in South and Southeast Asia, 5.0 (2.7-7.5) years in South America and the Caribbean, and 2.1 (0.9-3.8) years in sub-Saharan Africa. Median (IQR) age at first visit differed substantially by region, ranging from 0.7 (0.3-2.1) years in North America to 7.1 (5.3-8.6) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The median age at ART start varied from 0.9 (0.4-2.6) years in North America to 7.9 (6.0-9.3) years in sub-Saharan Africa. The cumulative incidence estimates (95% confidence interval [CI]) at age 15 years for mortality, transfers out, and LTFU for all APHs were 2.6% (2.4%-2.8%), 15.6% (15.1%-16.0%), and 11.3% (10.9%-11.8%), respectively. Mortality was lowest in Europe (0.8% [0.5%-1.1%]) and highest in South America and the Caribbean (4.4% [3.1%-6.1%]). However, LTFU was lowest in South America and the Caribbean (4.8% [3.4%-6.7%]) and highest in sub-Saharan Africa (13.2% [12.6%-13.7%]). Study limitations include the high LTFU rate in sub-Saharan Africa, which could have affected the comparison of mortality across regions; inclusion of data only for APHs receiving ART from some countries; and unavailability of data from high-burden countries such as Nigeria.

Conclusion To our knowledge, our study represents the largest multiregional epidemiological analysis of APHs. Despite probable under-ascertained mortality, mortality in APHs remains substantially higher in sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and South America and the Caribbean than in Europe. Collaborations such as CIPHER enable us to monitor current global temporal trends in outcomes over time to inform appropriate policy responses.

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26

Dec, 2018

Pathways of care for HIV infected children in Beira, Mozambique: pre-post intervention study to assess impact of task shifting

 

Authors: Marotta C, Giaquinto C, Di Gennaro F, et al.

Published in: BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1):703.

Background In 2013, Mozambique implemented task-shifting (TS) from clinical officers to maternal and child nurses to improve care for HIV positive children < 5 years old. A retrospective, pre-post intervention study was designed to evaluate effectiveness of a new pathway of care in a sample of Beira District Local Health Facilities (LHFs), the primary, local, community healthcare services.

Methods The study was conducted by accessing registries of At Risk Children Clinics (ARCCs) and HIV Health Services. Two time periods, pre- and post-intervention, were compared using a set of endpoints. Variables distribution was explored using descriptive statistics. T-student, Mann Whitney and Chi-square tests were used for comparisons.

Results Overall, 588 HIV infected children (F = 51.4%) were recruited, 330 belonging to the post intervention period. The mean time from referral to ARCC until initiation of ART decreased from 2.3 (± 4.4) to 1.1 (± 5.0) months after the intervention implementation (p-value: 0.000). A significant increase of Isoniazid prophylaxis (O.R.: 2.69; 95%CI: 1.7-4.15) and a decrease of both regular nutritional assessment (O.R. = 0.45; 95%CI: 0.31-0.64) and CD4 count at the beginning of ART (O.R. = 0.46; 95%CI: 0.32-0.65) were documented after the intervention.

Conclusions Despite several limitations and controversial results on nutrition assessment and CD4 count at the initiation of ART reported after the intervention, it could be assumed that TS alone may play a role in the improvement of the global effectiveness of care for HIV infected children only if integrated into a wider range of public health measures.

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26

Dec, 2018

Optimizing clinical trial design to maximize evidence generation in paediatric HIV

 

Authors: Ford D, Turner R, Turkova A, et al.

Published in: J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2018;78(1):S40-S48.

Abstract For HIV-infected children, formulation development, pharmacokinetic (PK) data, and evaluation of early toxicity are critical for licensing new antiretroviral drugs; direct evidence of efficacy in children may not be needed if acceptable safety and PK parameters are demonstrated in children. However, it is important to address questions where adult trial data cannot be extrapolated to children. In this fast-moving area, interventions need to be tailored to resource-limited settings where most HIV-infected children live and take account of decreasing numbers of younger HIV-infected children after successful prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Innovative randomized controlled trial (RCT) designs enable several questions relevant to children’s treatment and care to be answered within the same study. We reflect on key considerations, and, with examples, discuss the relative merits of different RCT designs for addressing multiple scientific questions including parallel multi-arm RCTs, factorial RCTs, and cross-over RCTs. We discuss inclusion of several populations (eg, untreated and pretreated children; children and adults) in “basket” trials; incorporation of secondary randomizations after enrollment and use of nested substudies (particularly PK and formulation acceptability) within large RCTs. We review the literature on trial designs across other disease areas in pediatrics and rare diseases and discuss their relevance for addressing questions relevant to HIV-infected children; we provide an example of a Bayesian trial design in prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission and consider this approach for future pediatric trials. Finally, we discuss the relevance of these approaches to other areas, in particular, childhood tuberculosis and hepatitis.

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26

Dec, 2018

”Treatment is not yet necessary”: delays in seeking access to HIV treatment in Uganda and Zimbabwe

 

Authors: Kawuma R, Seeley J, Mupambireyi Z, Cowan F, Bernays S; for REALITY Trial Team

Published in: Afr J AIDS Res. 2018;17(3):217-225

Abstract We examined the logic that individuals use to account for delaying HIV testing and/or initiating HIV treatment. Our qualitative study, situated within the REALITY trial (Reduction of EArly mortaLITY in HIV infected adults and children starting antiretroviral therapy), was conducted in Uganda and Zimbabwe in 2015. Forty-eight participants (different age groups, sex and viral load/WHO disease stage) were included. Each participant had 2 interviews (1 after 4 weeks of participation in the trial the other after 12 weeks). If a person could manage presenting symptoms, they felt they had “more time” before starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). Their reluctance to have an HIV test (despite deteriorating health) arose from a belief that they were not “sick”, that treatment was “not yet necessary”. People in our study did not consider themselves as presenting “late”, and treatment was not considered urgent as long as they considered their health to be “good enough”.

26

Dec, 2018

Economic evaluation of weekends-off antiretroviral therapy for young people in 11 countries

 

Authors: Tierrablanca LE, Ochalek J, Ford D, et al; for BREATHER (PENTA 16) Trial Group

Published in: Medicine (Baltimore). 2018;97(5):e9698

Objectives To analyze the cost effectiveness of short-cycle therapy (SCT), where patients take antiretroviral (ARV) drugs 5 consecutive days a week and have 2 days off, as an alternative to continuous ARV therapy for young people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and taking efavirenz-based first-line ARV drugs.

Methods We conduct a hierarchical cost-effectiveness analysis based on data on clinical outcomes and resource use from the BREATHER trial. BREATHER is a randomized trial investigating the effectiveness of SCT and continuous therapy in 199 participants aged 8 to 24 years and taking efavirenz-based first-line ARV drugs in 11 countries worldwide. Alongside nationally representative unit costs/prices, these data were used to estimate costs and quality adjusted life years (QALYs). An incremental cost-effectiveness comparison was performed using a multilevel bivariate regression approach for total costs and QALYs. Further analyses explored cost-effectiveness in low- and middle-income countries with access to low-cost generic ARV drugs and high-income countries purchasing branded ARV drugs, respectively.

Results At 48 weeks, SCT offered significant total cost savings over continuous therapy of US dollar (USD) 41 per patient in countries using generic drugs and USD 4346 per patient in countries using branded ARV drugs, while accruing nonsignificant total health benefits of 0.008 and 0.009 QALYs, respectively. Cost-effectiveness estimates were similar across settings with access to generic ARV drugs but showed significant variation among high-income countries where branded ARV drugs are purchased.

Conclusion SCT is a cost-effective treatment alternative to continuous therapy for young people infected with HIV in countries where viral load monitoring is available.

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26

Dec, 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. for BREATHER (PENTA 16) Trial Group.

Published in: PLos One. 2018;13(4):e0196239.

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 virologi- cal 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 con- firmed 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 fol- lowing 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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14

Oct, 2018

Steady-state pharmacokinetics and early safety data in HIV-infected African children weighing 14 to <25kg on film-coated dolutegravir 25mg tablets

 

Authors: Bollen P, Turkova A, Hilda Mujuru H, et al. The ODYSSEY Trial Team

Published in: 10th International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics, Amsterdam, 20-21st July 2018. Poster Number 22

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14

Oct, 2018

ODYSSEY: design, current status, and baseline characteristics

 

Authors: Moore CL,  Kekitinwa A, Kaudha E, et al; the ODYSSEY Trial Team

Published in: 10th International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics, Amsterdam, July 20-21st, 2018. Poster Number 34

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9

Oct, 2018

“I failed to take them as I should and now I’m scared”: how can we support adolescents’ adherence on second line HIV treatment

 

Authors: Bernays S, Namukwaya S, Mupambireyi Z, Nanduudu A, Mujuru H, Turkova A, Gibb DM, Seeley J, and the ODYSSEY Trial Team.

Published in: 10th International Workshop on HIV Pediatrics, Amsterdam, July 20-21st 2018. Poster number 117

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