ResearchPad - antivirals https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Placental transfer of Letermovir &amp; Maribavir in the <i>ex vivo</i> human cotyledon perfusion model. New perspectives for <i>in utero</i> treatment of congenital cytomegalovirus infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11236 Congenital cytomegalovirus infection can lead to severe sequelae. When fetal infection is confirmed, we hypothesize that fetal treatment could improve the outcome. Maternal oral administration of an effective drug crossing the placenta could allow fetal treatment. Letermovir (LMV) and Maribavir (MBV) are new CMV antivirals, and potential candidates for fetal treatment.MethodsThe objective was to investigate the placental transfer of LMV and MBV in the ex vivo method of the human perfused cotyledon. Term placentas were perfused, in an open-circuit model, with LMV or MBV at concentrations in the range of clinical peak plasma concentrations. Concentrations were measured using ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. Mean fetal transfer rate (FTR) (fetal (FC) /maternal concentration), clearance index (CLI), accumulation index (AI) (retention of each drug in the cotyledon tissue) were measured. Mean FC were compared with half maximal effective concentrations of the drugs (EC50(LMV) and EC50(MBV)).ResultsFor LMV, the mean FC was (± standard deviation) 1.1 ± 0.2 mg/L, 1,000-fold above the EC50(LMV). Mean FTR, CLI and AI were 9 ± 1%, 35 ± 6% and 4 ± 2% respectively. For MBV, the mean FC was 1.4 ± 0.2 mg/L, 28-fold above the EC50(MBV). Mean FTR, CLI and AI were 10 ± 1%, 50 ± 7% and 2 ± 1% respectively.ConclusionsDrugs’ concentrations in the fetal side should be in the range for in utero treatment of fetuses infected with CMV as the mean FC was superior to the EC50 for both molecules. ]]> <![CDATA[Adherence to antiretroviral therapy and associated factors among Human immunodeficiency virus positive patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, west Ethiopia, 2019]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7637 Antiretroviral therapy has a remarkable clinical effect in reducing the progress of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. The clinical outcome of Anti-Retroviral therapy depends on strict adherence. Poor adherence reduces the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy and increases viral replication. With changes in service delivery over time and differences in socio-demographic status from region to region, it is essential to measure adherence. Therefore, this study aimed to assess adherence to antiretroviral therapy and its associated factors among HIV/AIDS patients accessing treatment at Nekemte referral hospital, West Ethiopia.MethodsInstitutional based cross-sectional study was conducted on 311 HIV/AIDS patients from March 01 to March 30, 2019. The study participants were selected by a simple random sampling method and interviewed using structured questionnaires. Bivariable logistic regression was conducted to find an association between each independent variable and adherence to antiretroviral medication. Multivariable logistic regression was used to find the independent variables which best predict adherence. The statistical significance was measured using odds ratio at a 95% confidence interval with a p-value of less than 0.05.ResultsOut of a total of 311 patients sampled, 305 were participated in the study, making a response rate of 98.07%. From these 305 study participants,73.1% (95% CI = 68.2, 78.0) were adherent to their medication. Having knowledge about HIV and its treatment (AOR = 8.24, 95% CI: 3.10, 21.92), having strong family/social support (AOR = 6.21, 95% CI: 1.39, 27.62), absence of adverse drug reaction (AOR = 5.33, 95% CI: 1.95, 14.57), absence of comorbidity of other chronic diseases (AOR = 5.72, 95% CI: 1.91, 17.16) and disclosing HIV status to the family (AOR = 5.08, 95% CI: 2.09, 12.34) were significantly associated with an increased likelihood of adherence to antiretroviral medication.ConclusionThe level of adherence to antiretroviral therapy was found low compared to WHO recommendation. The clinician should emphasize reducing adverse drug reaction, detecting and treating co-morbidities early, improving knowledge through health education, and encouraging the patients to disclose their HIV status to their families. ]]> <![CDATA[Baloxavir treatment of ferrets infected with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus reduces onward transmission]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nca8f7add-a1d9-4373-9c77-344aec55ea94

Influenza viruses cause seasonal outbreaks and pose a continuous pandemic threat. Although vaccines are available for influenza control, their efficacy varies each season and a vaccine for a novel pandemic virus manufactured using current technology will not be available fast enough to mitigate the effect of the first pandemic wave. Antivirals can be effective against many different influenza viruses but have not thus far been used extensively for outbreak control. Baloxavir, a recently licensed antiviral drug that targets the influenza virus endonuclease, has been shown to reduce virus shedding more effectively than oseltamivir, a widely used neuraminidase inhibitor drug. Thus it is possible that treatment with baloxavir might also interrupt onward virus transmission. To test this, we utilized the ferret model, which is the most commonly used animal model to study influenza virus transmission. We established a subcutaneous baloxavir administration method in ferrets which achieved similar pharmacokinetics to the approved human oral dose. Transmission studies were then conducted in two different locations with different experimental setups to compare the onward transmission of A(H1N1)pdm09 virus from infected ferrets treated with baloxavir, oseltamivir or placebo to naïve sentinel ferrets exposed either indirectly in adjacent cages or directly by co-housing. We found that baloxavir treatment reduced infectious viral shedding in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets compared to placebo, and reduced the frequency of transmission amongst sentinels in both experimental setups, even when treatment was delayed until 2 days post-infection. In contrast, oseltamivir treatment did not substantially affect viral shedding or transmission compared to placebo. We did not detect the emergence of baloxavir-resistant variants in treated animals or in untreated sentinels. Our results support the concept that antivirals which decrease viral shedding could also reduce influenza transmission in the community.

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<![CDATA[A Perspective from Controlled Investigations on Chemotherapy for Viral Respiratory Infections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfa26d1b0-162a-437a-bc0b-78c9607a3092

Abstract

Failure to translate discoveries about the etiology of viral respiratory infections into effective vaccines has stimulated research into antiviral chemotherapy. Volunteers whose antibody status before challenge is known and who have been exposed to a known dose of virus at a defined time provide an objective system for controlled observation of antiviral chemotherapy. A perspective on experience with drugs of five different categories of mechanisms of action is presented. Prophylactic and possibly therapeutic control of influenza and rhinovirus infections is possible. Field trials have confirmed that some regimens have beneficial effects and have shown the clinical restrictions of others. Chemotherapy is enhanced by immunoprophylaxis, and vice versa. If the potential of antiviral chemotherapy for clinical use is to be realized, complex virologic problems (some related to drugs and others unrelated) must be overcome. The groundwork is laid for new directions and new successes in the prevention and treatment of viral respiratory diseases with antiviral drugs.

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<![CDATA[A novel point-of-care oral anti-HCV assay: Is it reliable for screening hepatitis C virus infection in the era of direct-acting antivirals?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75cfd5eed0c4843d01fd

Recent advance in the direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) offers the potentials to eradicate hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide and makes universal screening more urgent. A point-of-care (POC) oral anti-HCV assay, the Fortune assay, was developed and its performance was evaluated. Individuals with or without HCV infection were recruited in three Centers. Paired oral and serum samples were tested using the Fortune and InTec anti-HCV assays. The Kehua serum anti-HCV assay served as a supplemental test to verify the discordant results. Some oral samples were also tested using the OraQuick anti-HCV assay. Furthermore, the Fortune assay results were compared with the documented RNA results. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of the Fortune assay was 93.11%, 98.48%, and 96.58%, respectively (n = 1,022). Consistency between the Fortune and OraQuick assays was 96.35% (264/274); the Fortune assay detected additional 8 positive oral samples missed by the OraQuick assay. The Fortune assay demonstrated a 97.46% (115/118) positivity among the viremic patients. Furthermore, its sensitivity was HCV genotype independent. In conclusion, the Fortune assay was highly specific and accurate. It had comparable sensitivity as the serum assays for the diagnosis of active HCV infection. It provides a completely non-invasive and reliable tool for HCV screening in the DAA era.

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<![CDATA[Mechanistic framework predicts drug-class specific utility of antiretrovirals for HIV prophylaxis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52b3d5eed0c4842bce82

Currently, there is no effective vaccine to halt HIV transmission. However, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with the drug combination Truvada can substantially decrease HIV transmission in individuals at risk. Despite its benefits, Truvada-based PrEP is expensive and needs to be taken once-daily, which often leads to inadequate adherence and incomplete protection. These deficits may be overcome by next-generation PrEP regimen, including currently investigated long-acting formulations, or patent-expired drugs. However, poor translatability of animal- and ex vivo/in vitro experiments, and the necessity to conduct long-term (several years) human trials involving considerable sample sizes (N>1000 individuals) are major obstacles to rationalize drug-candidate selection. We developed a prophylaxis modelling tool that mechanistically considers the mode-of-action of all available drugs. We used the tool to screen antivirals for their prophylactic utility and identify lower bound effective concentrations that can guide dose selection in PrEP trials. While in vitro measurable drug potency usually guides PrEP trial design, we found that it may over-predict PrEP potency for all drug classes except reverse transcriptase inhibitors. While most drugs displayed graded concentration-prophylaxis profiles, protease inhibitors tended to switch between none- and complete protection. While several treatment-approved drugs could be ruled out as PrEP candidates based on lack-of-prophylactic efficacy, darunavir, efavirenz, nevirapine, etravirine and rilpivirine could more potently prevent infection than existing PrEP regimen (Truvada). Notably, some drugs from this candidate set are patent-expired and currently neglected for PrEP repurposing. A next step is to further trim this candidate set by ruling out compounds with ominous safety profiles, to assess different administration schemes in silico and to test the remaining candidates in human trials.

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<![CDATA[Long-term outcomes of an educational intervention to reduce antibiotic prescribing for childhood upper respiratory tract infections in rural China: Follow-up of a cluster-randomised controlled trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63396dd5eed0c484ae66e1

Background

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing causes widespread serious health problems. To reduce prescribing of antibiotics in Chinese primary care to children with upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs), we developed an intervention comprising clinical guidelines, monthly prescribing review meetings, doctor–patient communication skills training, and education materials for caregivers. We previously evaluated our intervention using an unblinded cluster-randomised controlled trial (cRCT) in 25 primary care facilities across two rural counties. When our trial ended at the 6-month follow-up period, we found that the intervention had reduced antibiotic prescribing for childhood URTIs by 29 percentage points (pp) (95% CI −42 to −16).

Methods and findings

In this long-term follow-up study, we collected our trial outcomes from the one county (14 facilities and 1:1 cluster randomisation ratio) that had electronic records available 12 months after the trial ended, at the 18-month follow-up period. Our primary outcome was the antibiotic prescription rate (APR)—the percentage of outpatient prescriptions containing any antibiotic(s) for children aged 2 to 14 years who had a primary diagnosis of a URTI and had no other illness requiring antibiotics. We also conducted 15 in-depth interviews to understand how interventions were sustained.

In intervention facilities, the APR was 84% (1,171 out of 1,400) at baseline, 37% (515 out of 1,380) at 6 months, and 54% (2,748 out of 5,084) at 18 months, and in control facilities, it was 76% (1,063 out of 1,400), 77% (1,084 out of 1,400), and 75% (2,772 out of 3,685), respectively. After adjusting for patient and prescribing doctor covariates, compared to the baseline intervention-control difference, the difference at 6 months represented a 6-month intervention-arm reduction in the APR of −49 pp (95% CI −63 to −35; P < 0.0001), and compared to the baseline difference, the difference at 18 months represented an 18-month intervention-arm reduction in the APR of −36 pp (95% CI −55 to −17; P < 0.0001). Compared to the 6-month intervention-control difference, the difference at 18 months represented no change in the APR: 13 pp (95% CI −7 to 33; P = 0.21). Factors reported to sustain reductions in antibiotic prescribing included doctors’ improved knowledge and communication skills and focused prescription review meetings, whereas lack of supervision and monitoring may be associated with relapse. Key limitations were not including all clusters from the trial and not collecting returned visits or sepsis cases.

Conclusions

Our intervention was associated with sustained and substantial reductions in antibiotic prescribing at the end of the intervention period and 12 months later. Our intervention may be adapted to similar resource-poor settings.

Trial registration

ISRCTN registry ISRCTN14340536.

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<![CDATA[Unexpected lessons from the neglected: How defective viral genomes became important again]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f808d5eed0c484386e91 ]]> <![CDATA[Feasibility and acceptability of novel methods to estimate antiretroviral adherence: A longitudinal study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c5dd5eed0c484bd1de9

Due to marked reductions in morbidity and mortality, antiretroviral (ARV) adherence monitoring is of high interest. Researchers and clinicians often resort to the most feasible and cost-effective adherence methods possible, which may result in biased or inaccurate estimates and require the physical presence of a participant at a research or clinic site. The objective of our study was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of three objective, innovative, and remote methods to estimate ARV adherence which may be conducted with less time and financial resources in a wide range of clinic and research settings. These three methods included: (a) text-messaged photographs of pharmacy refill dates to measure refill-based adherence, (b) text-messaged photographs of ARV medications to estimate pill-count-based adherence, and (c) home-collected hair samples for the measurement of ARV concentration to determine pharmacologic-based adherence. We conducted a pilot study from March through October 2017 to examine the feasibility and acceptability of these three adherence measures and the remotely conducted study procedures in 93 adults living with HIV nationwide. From our diverse national sample of participants, 95.7% were retained until the end of the study, 89.9% sent all text messages, and 84.3% sent all hair samples. Approximately 74.2% of participants reported excellent overall experience with the study, 60.2% were very or extremely satisfied with participating in a hair collection study, and 76.3% noted extremely high likelihood of participating in a similar study including text messaging pictures of medications or refill dates. We noted high levels of feasibility and acceptability with the remote study methodology, collection of photographed and text messaged pharmacy refill dates and pill counts, and home-collected hair samples. Here we describe the feasibility and acceptability metrics, results from the exit qualitative interviews with the participants, and lessons learned. These adherence measures represent innovative approaches to expand monitoring tools for HIV treatment and prevention adherence in future research.

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<![CDATA[Long-term tolerability and effectiveness of raltegravir in Japanese patients: Results from post-marketing surveillance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa596d5eed0c484ca6253

Antiretroviral agents are approved in Japan based on non-clinical and clinical data reported from overseas. Neither the long-term tolerability nor the effectiveness of raltegravir or other integrase strand transfer inhibitors in Japan is known. This study reports on the long-term tolerability and effectiveness of raltegravir in Japanese clinical practice using data collected through approximately 9 years of post-marketing surveillance. This observational survey used data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients initiated treatment with raltegravir between 2008 and 2017 in the HIV-related drug (HRD) cooperative survey to assess the safety and effectiveness of raltegravir in real world clinical practice. There were totally 1,303 patients prescribed raltegravir across 30 institutions; 1,293 patients and 1,178 patients were included for the safety and effectiveness analyses, respectively. The overall risk of adverse drug reaction was 17.25%, with abnormal hepatic function and hyperlipidaemia (<1.5%) having the highest proportion. Median HIV-1 RNA viral loads rapidly decreased below 40 copies/mL after 3 months of raltegravir use in treatment-naïve patients, and consistently sustained below 40 copies/mL after the start of raltegravir use in treatment-experienced patients. Among the patients who were treated for 7 years, 92.00% (95% CI: 73.97–99.02) maintained HIV-1 RNA viral load below 50 copies/mL. Additionally, CD4+ cell counts exceeded >500 cells/μL in treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced patients after 3 years and 4 years of treatment, respectively. In Japanese HIV patients, long-term treatment with raltegravir is well-tolerated and effective at viral suppression as measured by HIV-1 RNA levels and subsequent change in CD4+ cell counts. Such benefits can be expected for not only treatment-naïve but also treatment-experienced patients.

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<![CDATA[Progress in the elimination of hepatitis C virus infection: A population-based cohort study in Spain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c102896d5eed0c484247922

Background

The World Health Organization set targets to eliminate hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection through detection and treatment of all cases by 2030. This study aimed to describe the progress and difficulties in the elimination of HCV infection in Navarra, Spain.

Methods

Using electronic healthcare databases, we performed a population-based prospective cohort study to describe changes in the prevalence of diagnosed active HCV infection at the beginning of 2015 and the end of 2017, the rate of new diagnoses and the rate of post-treatment viral clearance (PTVC) during this period.

Results

At the beginning of 2015 there were 1503 patients diagnosed with positive HCV-RNA, 2.4 per 1000 inhabitants, and at the end of 2017 the prevalence had decreased by 47%. In the study period, 333 (18 per 100,000 person-years) new positive HCV-RNA cases were detected, but only 76 (23%; 4.2 per 100,000 person-years) did not have anti-HCV antibodies previously detected. Prevalent cases and new diagnoses of active infection were more frequent in men, people born in 1950–1979, HIV-infected patients and in those with lower income levels. Among patients with HCV-RNA, 984 achieved PTVC (22.7 per 100 person-years). PTVC was less frequent in patients born before 1940, in immigrants and in patients with lower income levels.

Conclusions

The prevalence of diagnosed active HCV infection has dropped by almost half over three years, because the number of patients with PTVC was much higher than the number of new diagnoses. Interventions specifically targeted at population groups with less favourable trends may be necessary.

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<![CDATA[Raltegravir-intensified initial antiretroviral therapy in advanced HIV disease in Africa: A randomised controlled trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028fbd5eed0c484248b3d

Background

In sub-Saharan Africa, individuals infected with HIV who are severely immunocompromised have high mortality (about 10%) shortly after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). This group also has the greatest risk of morbidity and mortality associated with immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a paradoxical response to successful ART. Integrase inhibitors lead to significantly more rapid declines in HIV viral load (VL) than all other ART classes. We hypothesised that intensifying standard triple-drug ART with the integrase inhibitor, raltegravir, would reduce HIV VL faster and hence reduce early mortality, although this strategy could also risk more IRIS events.

Methods and findings

In a 2×2×2 factorial open-label parallel-group trial, treatment-naive adults, adolescents, and children >5 years old infected with HIV, with cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) <100 cells/mm3, from eight urban/peri-urban HIV clinics at regional hospitals in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe were randomised 1:1 to initiate standard triple-drug ART, with or without 12-week raltegravir intensification, and followed for 48 weeks. The primary outcome was 24-week mortality, analysed by intention to treat. Of 2,356 individuals screened for eligibility, 1,805 were randomised between 18 June 2013 and 10 April 2015. Of the 1,805 participants, 961 (53.2%) were male, 72 (4.0%) were children/adolescents, median age was 36 years, CD4 count was 37 cells/mm3, and plasma viraemia was 249,770 copies/mL. Fifty-six participants (3.1%) were lost to follow-up at 48 weeks. By 24 weeks, 97/902 (10.9%) raltegravir-intensified ART versus 91/903 (10.2%) standard ART participants had died (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 1.10 [95% CI 0.82–1.46], p = 0.53), with no evidence of interaction with other randomisations (pheterogeneity > 0.7) and despite significantly greater VL suppression with raltegravir-intensified ART at 4 weeks (343/836 [41.0%] versus 113/841 [13.4%] with standard ART, p < 0.001) and 12 weeks (567/789 [71.9%] versus 415/803 [51.7%] with standard ART, p < 0.001). Through 48 weeks, there was no evidence of differences in mortality (aHR = 0.98 [95% CI 0.76–1.28], p = 0.91); in serious (aHR = 0.99 [0.81–1.21], p = 0.88), grade-4 (aHR = 0.88 [0.71–1.09], p = 0.29), or ART-modifying (aHR = 0.90 [0.63–1.27], p = 0.54) adverse events (the latter occurring in 59 [6.5%] participants with raltegravir-intensified ART versus 66 [7.3%] with standard ART); in events judged compatible with IRIS (occurring in 89 [9.9%] participants with raltegravir-intensified ART versus 86 [9.5%] with standard ART, p = 0.79) or in hospitalisations (aHR = 0.94 [95% CI 0.76–1.17], p = 0.59). At 12 weeks, one and two raltegravir-intensified participants had predicted intermediate-level and high-level raltegravir resistance, respectively. At 48 weeks, the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) mutation K219E/Q (p = 0.004) and the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) mutations K101E/P (p = 0.03) and P225H (p = 0.007) were less common in virus from participants with raltegravir-intensified ART, with weak evidence of less intermediate- or high-level resistance to tenofovir (p = 0.06), abacavir (p = 0.08), and rilpivirine (p = 0.07). Limitations of the study include limited clinical, radiological, and/or microbiological information for some participants, reflecting available services at the centres, and lack of baseline genotypes.

Conclusions

Although 12 weeks of raltegravir intensification was well tolerated and reduced HIV viraemia significantly faster than standard triple-drug ART during the time of greatest risk for early death, this strategy did not reduce mortality or clinical events in this group and is not warranted. There was no excess of IRIS-compatible events, suggesting that integrase inhibitors can be used safely as part of standard triple-drug first-line therapy in severely immunocompromised individuals.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01825031.

Trial registration

International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number ISRCTN 43622374.

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<![CDATA[Theaflavins, polyphenols of black tea, inhibit entry of hepatitis C virus in cell culture]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841ded5eed0c484fcafb4

The treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection by combination of direct acting antivirals (DAA), with different mode of action, has made substantial progress in the past few years. However, appearance of resistance and high cost of the therapy is still an obstacle in the achievement of the therapy, more specifically in developing countries. In this context, search for affordable antivirals with new mechanisms of action is still needed. Tea, after water, is the most popular drink worldwide. Polyphenols extracted from green tea have already shown anti-HCV activity as entry inhibitors. Here, three different theaflavins, theaflavin (TF1), theaflavin-3’-monogallate (TF2), and theaflavin-3-3’-digallate (TF3), which are major polyphenols from black tea, were tested against HCV in cell culture. The results showed that all theaflavins inhibit HCV infection in a dose-dependent manner in an early step of infection. Results obtained with HCV pseudotyped virions confirmed their activity on HCV entry and demonstrated their pan-genotypic action. No effect on HCV replication was observed by using HCV replicon. Investigation on the mechanism of action of black tea theaflavins showed that they act directly on the virus particle and are able to inhibit cell-to-cell spread. Combination study with inhibitors most widely used in anti-HCV treatment regimen demonstrated that TF3 exerts additive effect. In conclusion, theaflavins, that are present in high quantity in black tea, are new inhibitors of HCV entry and hold promise for developing in therapeutic arsenal for HCV infection.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptomic Profiling of Diverse Aedes aegypti Strains Reveals Increased Basal-level Immune Activation in Dengue Virus-refractory Populations and Identifies Novel Virus-vector Molecular Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da24ab0ee8fa60b800b4

Genetic variation among Aedes aegypti populations can greatly influence their vector competence for human pathogens such as the dengue virus (DENV). While intra-species transcriptome differences remain relatively unstudied when compared to coding sequence polymorphisms, they also affect numerous aspects of mosquito biology. Comparative molecular profiling of mosquito strain transcriptomes can therefore provide valuable insight into the regulation of vector competence. We established a panel of A. aegypti strains with varying levels of susceptibility to DENV, comprising both laboratory-maintained strains and field-derived colonies collected from geographically distinct dengue-endemic regions spanning South America, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia. A comparative genome-wide gene expression microarray-based analysis revealed higher basal levels of numerous immunity-related gene transcripts in DENV-refractory mosquito strains than in susceptible strains, and RNA interference assays further showed different degrees of immune pathway contribution to refractoriness in different strains. By correlating transcript abundance patterns with DENV susceptibility across our panel, we also identified new candidate modulators of DENV infection in the mosquito, and we provide functional evidence for two potential DENV host factors and one potential restriction factor. Our comparative transcriptome dataset thus not only provides valuable information about immune gene regulation and usage in natural refractoriness of mosquito populations to dengue virus but also allows us to identify new molecular interactions between the virus and its mosquito vector.

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<![CDATA[Conservation and Variability of Dengue Virus Proteins: Implications for Vaccine Design]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da26ab0ee8fa60b80ddc

Background

Genetic variation and rapid evolution are hallmarks of RNA viruses, the result of high mutation rates in RNA replication and selection of mutants that enhance viral adaptation, including the escape from host immune responses. Variability is uneven across the genome because mutations resulting in a deleterious effect on viral fitness are restricted. RNA viruses are thus marked by protein sites permissive to multiple mutations and sites critical to viral structure-function that are evolutionarily robust and highly conserved. Identification and characterization of the historical dynamics of the conserved sites have relevance to multiple applications, including potential targets for diagnosis, and prophylactic and therapeutic purposes.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We describe a large-scale identification and analysis of evolutionarily highly conserved amino acid sequences of the entire dengue virus (DENV) proteome, with a focus on sequences of 9 amino acids or more, and thus immune-relevant as potential T-cell determinants. DENV protein sequence data were collected from the NCBI Entrez protein database in 2005 (9,512 sequences) and again in 2007 (12,404 sequences). Forty-four (44) sequences (pan-DENV sequences), mainly those of nonstructural proteins and representing ∼15% of the DENV polyprotein length, were identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences. Of these 44 sequences, 34 (∼77%) were present in ≥95% of sequences of each DENV type, and 27 (∼61%) were conserved in other Flaviviruses. The frequencies of variants of the pan-DENV sequences were low (0 to ∼5%), as compared to variant frequencies of ∼60 to ∼85% in the non pan-DENV sequence regions. We further showed that the majority of the conserved sequences were immunologically relevant: 34 contained numerous predicted human leukocyte antigen (HLA) supertype-restricted peptide sequences, and 26 contained T-cell determinants identified by studies with HLA-transgenic mice and/or reported to be immunogenic in humans.

Conclusions/Significance

Forty-four (44) pan-DENV sequences of at least 9 amino acids were highly conserved and identical in 80% or more of all recorded DENV sequences, and the majority were found to be immune-relevant by their correspondence to known or putative HLA-restricted T-cell determinants. The conservation of these sequences through the entire recorded DENV genetic history supports their possible value for diagnosis, prophylactic and/or therapeutic applications. The combination of bioinformatics and experimental approaches applied herein provides a framework for large-scale and systematic analysis of conserved and variable sequences of other pathogens, in particular, for rapidly mutating viruses, such as influenza A virus and HIV.

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<![CDATA[Efficacy of Short-Course AZT Plus 3TC to Reduce Nevirapine Resistance in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission: A Randomized Clinical Trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9fab0ee8fa60ba528b

Neil Martinson and colleagues report a randomized trial of adding short-course zidovudine+lamivudine to reduce drug resistance from single-dose nevirapine used to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

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<![CDATA[Intracranial Administration of P Gene siRNA Protects Mice from Lethal Chandipura Virus Encephalitis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f3ab0ee8fa60b6f155

Background

In parts of India, Chandipura Virus (CHPV) has emerged as an encephalitis causing pathogen in both epidemic and sporadic forms. This pediatric disease follows rapid course leading to 55–75% mortality. In the absence of specific treatment, effectiveness of RNA interference (RNAi) was evaluated.

Methods and Findings

Efficacy of synthetic short interfering RNA (siRNA) or short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in protecting mice from CHPV infection was assessed. The target genes were P and M genes primarily because important role of the former in viral replication and lethal nature of the latter. Real time one step RT-PCR and plaque assay were used for the assessment of gene silencing. Using pAcGFP1N1-CHPV-P, we showed that P-2 siRNA was most efficient in reducing the expression of P gene in-vitro. Both quantitative assays documented 2logs reduction in the virus titer when P-2, M-5 or M-6 siRNAs were transfected 2hr post infection (PI). Use of these siRNAs in combination did not result in enhanced efficiency. P-2 siRNA was found to tolerate four mismatches in the center. As compared to five different shRNAs, P-2 siRNA was most effective in inhibiting CHPV replication. An extended survival was noted when mice infected intracranially with 100 LD50 CHPV were treated with cationic lipid complexed 5 µg P-2 siRNA simultaneously. Infection with 10LD50 and treatment with two doses of siRNA first, simultaneously and second 24 hr PI, resulted in 70% survival. Surviving mice showed 4logs less CHPV titers in brain without histopathological changes or antibody response. Gene expression profiles of P-2 siRNA treated mice showed no interferon response. First dose of siRNA at 2hr or 4hr PI with second dose at 24hr resulted in 40% and 20% survival respectively suggesting potential application in therapy.

Conclusions

The results highlight therapeutic potential of siRNA in treating rapid and fatal Chandipura encephalitis.

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<![CDATA[Reappearance of Minority K103N HIV-1 Variants after Interruption of ART Initiated during Primary HIV-1 Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fdab0ee8fa60b72a4c

Background

In the Zurich Primary HIV infection study (ZPHI), minority drug-resistant HIV-1 variants were detected in some acutely HIV-1-infected patients prior to initiation of early antiretroviral therapy (ART). Here, we investigated the reappearance of minority K103N and M184V HIV-1 variants in these patients who interrupted efficient early ART after 8–27 months according to the study protocol. These mutations are key mutations conferring drug resistance to reverse transcriptase inhibitors and they belong to the most commonly transmitted drug resistance mutations.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Early ART was offered to acutely HIV-1-infected patients enrolled in the longitudinal prospective ZPHI study. Six patients harboring and eleven patients not harboring drug-resistant viruses at low frequencies prior to ART were included in this substudy. Minority K103N and M184V HIV-1 variants were quantified in longitudinal plasma samples after treatment interruption by allele-specific real-time PCR. All 17 patients were infected with HIV-1 subtype B between 04/2003 and 09/2005 and received LPV/r+AZT+3TC during primary HIV-1 infection (PHI). Minority K103N HIV-1 variants reappeared after cessation of ART in two of four patients harboring this variant during PHI and even persisted in one of those patients at frequencies similar to the frequency observed prior to ART (<1%). The K103N mutation did not appear during treatment interruption in any other patient. Minority M184V HIV-1 variants were detected in two patients after ART interruption, one harboring and one not harboring these variants prior to ART.

Conclusion

Minority K103N HIV-1 variants, present in acutely HIV-1 infected patients prior to early ART, can reappear and persist after interruption of suppressive ART containing two nucleoside/nucleotide analogue reverse transcriptase inhibitors and a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor.

Trial Registration

Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00537966

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<![CDATA[Immunoprotectivity of HLA-A2 CTL Peptides Derived from Respiratory Syncytial Virus Fusion Protein in HLA-A2 Transgenic Mouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da71ab0ee8fa60b950dc

Identification of HLA-restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes is important to study RSV-induced immunity and illness. We algorithmically analyzed the sequence of the fusion protein (F) of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and generated synthetic peptides that can potentially bind to HLA-A*0201. Four out of the twenty-five 9-mer peptides tested: peptides 3 (F33–41), 13 (F214–222), 14 (F273–281), and 23 (F559–567), were found to bind to HLA-A*0201 with moderate to high affinity and were capable of inducing IFN-γ and IL-2 secretion in lymphocytes from HLA-A*0201 transgenic (HLA-Tg) mice pre-immunized with RSV or recombinant adenovirus expressing RSV F. HLA-Tg mice were immunized with these four peptides and were found to induce both Th1 and CD8+ T cell responses in in vitro secondary recall. Effector responses induced by these peptides were observed to confer differential protection against live RSV challenge. These peptides also caused better recovery of body weight loss induced by RSV. A significant reduction of lung viral load was observed in mice immunized with peptide 23, which appeared to enhance the levels of inflammatory chemokines (CCL17, CCL22, and IL-18) but did not increase eosinophil infiltration in the lungs. Whereas, significant reduction of infiltrated eosinophils induced by RSV infection was found in mice pre-immunized with peptide 13. Our results suggest that HLA-A2-restricted epitopes of RSV F protein could be useful for the development of epitope-based RSV vaccine.

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<![CDATA[Longitudinal Changes of Peripheral Blood DC Subsets and Regulatory T Cells in Chinese Chronic HIV-1-Infected Patients during Antiretroviral Therapy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db12ab0ee8fa60bcc587

It has been emphasized that chronic generalized immune dysfunction is the leading event in the pathogenesis of HIV infection, in which the contribution of dendritic cells (DCs) and regulatory T cells (Tregs) should not be underestimated. In current study, we assessed the longitudinal changes of peripheral blood DC subsets and Tregs in chronically asymptomatic treatment-naive HIV-1-infected patients during 60 weeks of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and compared with those in healthy controls and long term non-progressors (LTNPs). Blood samples were collected at week 0, 4, 12, 24, 48 and 60 of treatment to measure the counts of DC subsets and Tregs by flow cytometry and IFN-a plasma levels by ELISA. The counts of myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) increased during ART, reaching similar levels to healthy controls at week 60 post ART but still lower than those of LTNPs. In HIV-1-infected patients, the mDCs counts were directly correlated with CD4 counts during ART. Changes in mDCs at week 8 were positively correlated with the changes in CD4 counts at week 60 post ART. However, the counts and function of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) remained relatively stable during ART, and similar to those in healthy controls and LTNPs. The percentage of Tregs increased before ART and normalized after ART. Importantly, we found pDCs counts were associated with percentage of Tregs during ART, which may help in understanding of the role of these cells in HIV infection.

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