ResearchPad - leishmaniasis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Kala-azar elimination in a highly-endemic district of Bihar, India: A success story]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14634 The World Health Organization (WHO) has set a target to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis (VL), commonly known as “Kala-azar,” as a public health problem in India by 2020. The elimination target is defined as achieving less than 1 case per 10,000 people at the block level. Although India has made substantial progress in the elimination of the disease since 2012, VL remains a stable public health problem in four middle-eastern states including Bihar. Bihar contributes >61% of the total Indian cases annually, and a few districts of the state have reported more than 600 cases annually. In this study, the results indicate that an intensive integrated VL control strategy including epidemiological analysis based on a geographical information system (GIS), hot-spot mapping, active case detection, vector control using the indoor residual spraying (IRS) of chemical insecticides, awareness campaigns, human resource development, the close monitoring of control activities, and active epidemiological surveillance and entomological monitoring can achieve the elimination target in the highly endemic region of Bihar. The elimination of VL from highly endemic zones is urgently required to control any new outbreak. Therefore, the implementation of the Vaishali VL control strategy is strongly recommended in all highly endemic districts of Bihar, India.

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<![CDATA[Cutaneous leishmaniasis and co-morbid major depressive disorder: A systematic review with burden estimates]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95d9d5eed0c484734dd0

Background

Major depressive disorder (MDD) associated with chronic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) has been identified as a significant and overlooked contributor to overall disease burden. Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is one of the most prevalent and stigmatising NTDs, with an incidence of around 1 million new cases of active CL infection annually. However, the characteristic residual scarring (inactive CL) following almost all cases of active CL has only recently been recognised as part of the CL disease spectrum due to its lasting psychosocial impact.

Methods and findings

We performed a multi-language systematic review of the psychosocial impact of active and inactive CL. We estimated inactive CL (iCL) prevalence for the first time using reported WHO active CL (aCL) incidence data that were adjusted for life expectancy and underreporting. We then quantified the disability (YLD) burden of co-morbid MDD in CL using MDD disability weights at three severity levels. Overall, we identified 29 studies of CL psychological impact from 5 WHO regions, representing 11 of the 50 highest burden countries for CL. We conservatively calculated the disability burden of co-morbid MDD in CL to be 1.9 million YLDs, which equalled the overall (DALY) disease burden (assuming no excess mortality in depressed CL patients). Thus, upon inclusion of co-morbid MDD alone in both active and inactive CL, the DALY burden was seven times higher than the latest 2016 Global Burden of Disease study estimates, which notably omitted both psychological impact and inactive CL.

Conclusions

Failure to include co-morbid MDD and the lasting sequelae of chronic NTDs, as exemplified by CL, leads to large underestimates of overall disease burden.

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<![CDATA[Long term outcomes and prognostics of visceral leishmaniasis in HIV infected patients with use of pentamidine as secondary prophylaxis based on CD4 level: a prospective cohort study in Ethiopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784fedd5eed0c48400792b

Background

The long-term treatment outcome of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) patients with HIV co-infection is complicated by a high rate of relapse, especially when the CD4 count is low. Although use of secondary prophylaxis is recommended, it is not routinely practiced and data on its effectiveness and safety are limited.

Methods

A prospective cohort study was conducted in Northwest Ethiopia from August 2014 to August 2017 (NCT02011958). HIV-VL patients were followed for up to 12 months. Patients with CD4 cell counts below 200/μL at the end of VL treatment received pentamidine prophylaxis starting one month after parasitological cure, while those with CD4 count ≥200 cells/μL were followed without secondary prophylaxis. Compliance, safety and relapse-free survival, using Kaplan-Meier analysis methods to account for variable time at risk, were summarised. Risk factors for relapse or death were analysed.

Results

Fifty-four HIV patients were followed. The probability of relapse-free survival at one year was 50% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 35–63%): 53% (30–71%) in 22 patients with CD4 ≥200 cells/μL without pentamidine prophylaxis and 46% (26–63%) in 29 with CD4 <200 cells/μL who started pentamidine. Three patients with CD4 <200 cells/μL did not start pentamidine. Amongst those with CD4 ≥200 cells/μL, VL relapse was an independent risk factor for subsequent relapse or death (adjusted rate ratio: 5.42, 95% CI: 1.1–25.8). Except for one case of renal failure which was considered possibly related to pentamidine, there were no drug-related safety concerns.

Conclusion

The relapse-free survival rate for VL patients with HIV was low. Relapse-free survival of patients with CD4 count <200cells/μL given pentamidine secondary prophylaxis appeared to be comparable to patients with a CD4 count ≥200 cells/μL not given prophylaxis. Patients with relapsed VL are at higher risk for subsequent relapse and should be considered a priority for secondary prophylaxis, irrespective of their CD4 count.

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<![CDATA[Host and parasite responses in human diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. amazonensis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc39d5eed0c48498f231

Diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (DCL) is a rare form of leishmaniasis where parasites grow uncontrolled in diffuse lesions across the skin. Meta-transcriptomic analysis of biopsies from DCL patients infected with Leishmania amazonensis demonstrated an infiltration of atypical B cells producing a surprising preponderance of the IgG4 isotype. DCL lesions contained minimal CD8+ T cell transcripts and no evidence of persistent TH2 responses. Whereas localized disease exhibited activated (so-called M1) macrophage presence, transcripts in DCL suggested a regulatory macrophage (R-Mϕ) phenotype with higher levels of ABCB5, DCSTAMP, SPP1, SLAMF9, PPARG, MMPs, and TM4SF19. The high levels of parasite transcripts in DCL and the remarkable uniformity among patients afforded a unique opportunity to study parasite gene expression in this disease. Patterns of parasite gene expression in DCL more closely resembled in vitro parasite growth in resting macrophages, in the absence of T cells. In contrast, parasite gene expression in LCL revealed 336 parasite genes that were differently upregulated, relative to DCL and in vitro macrophage growth, and these transcripts may represent transcripts that are produced by the parasite in response to host immune pressure.

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<![CDATA[The role of TLR9 on Leishmania amazonensis infection and its influence on intranasal LaAg vaccine efficacy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c7d95ebd5eed0c484734fa1

Leishmania (L.) amazonensis is one of the etiological agents of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Brazil. Currently, there is no vaccine approved for human use against leishmaniasis, although several vaccine preparations are in experimental stages. One of them is Leishvacin, or LaAg, a first-generation vaccine composed of total L. amazonensis antigens that has consistently shown an increase of mouse resistance against CL when administered intranasally (i.n.). Since Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) is highly expressed in the nasal mucosa and LaAg is composed of TLR9-binding DNA CpG motifs, in this study we proposed to investigate the role of TLR9 in both L. amazonensis infection and in LaAg vaccine efficacy in C57BL/6 (WT) mice and TLR9-/- mice. First, we evaluated, the infection of macrophages by L. amazonensis in vitro, showing no significant difference between macrophages from WT and TLR9-/- mice in terms of both infection percentage and total number of intracellular amastigotes, as well as NO production. In addition, neutrophils from WT and TLR9-/- mice had similar capacity to produce neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in response to L. amazonensis. L. amazonensis did not activate dendritic cells from WT and TLR9-/- mice, analysed by MHCII and CD86 expression. However, in vivo, TLR9-/- mice were slightly more susceptible to L. amazonensis infection than WT mice, presenting a larger lesion and an increased parasite load at the peak of infection and in the chronic phase. The increased TLR9-/- mice susceptibility was accompanied by an increased IgG and IgG1 production; a decrease of IFN-γ in infected tissue, but not IL-4 and IL-10; and a decreased number of IFN-γ producing CD8+ T cells, but not CD4+ T cells in the lesion-draining lymph nodes. Also, TLR9-/- mice could not control parasite growth following i.n. LaAg vaccination unlike the WT mice. This protection failure was associated with a reduction of the hypersensitivity response induced by immunization. The TLR9-/- vaccinated mice failed to respond to antigen stimulation and to produce IFN-γ by lymph node cells. Together, these results suggest that TLR9 contributes to C57BL/6 mouse resistance against L. amazonensis, and that the TLR9-binding LaAg comprising CpG motifs may be important for intranasal vaccine efficacy against CL.

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<![CDATA[Identification of French Guiana sand flies using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry with a new mass spectra library]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df366d5eed0c48458120f

Phlebotomine sand flies are insects that are highly relevant in medicine, particularly as the sole proven vectors of leishmaniasis. Accurate identification of sand fly species is an essential prerequisite for eco-epidemiological studies aiming to better understand the disease. Traditional morphological identification is painstaking and time-consuming, and molecular methods for extensive screening remain expensive. Recent studies have shown that matrix-assisted laser desorption and ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is a promising tool for rapid and cost-effective identification of arthropod vectors, including sand flies. The aim of this study was to validate the use of MALDI-TOF MS for the identification of Northern Amazonian sand flies. We constituted a MALDI-TOF MS reference database comprising 29 species of sand flies that were field-collected in French Guiana, which are expected to cover many of the more common species of the Northern Amazonian region, including known vectors of leishmaniasis. Carrying out a blind test, all the sand flies tested (n = 157) with a log (score) threshold greater than 1.7 were correctly identified at the species level. We confirmed that MALDI-TOF MS protein profiling is a useful tool for the study of sand flies, including neotropical species, known for their great diversity. An application that includes the spectra generated here will be available to the scientific community in the near future via an online platform.

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<![CDATA[Neglected tropical diseases in children: An assessment of gaps in research prioritization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fef6d5eed0c484135851

Background

Despite the known burden of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) on child health, there is limited information on current efforts to increase pediatric therapeutic options. Our objective was to quantify and characterize research activity and treatment availability for NTDs in children in order to inform the prioritization of future research efforts.

Methodology/Principal findings

We conducted a review of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform to assess research activity for NTDs. The burden of disease of each NTD was measured in terms of disability adjusted life years (DALYs), which was extracted from the Global Health Data Exchange. First- and second-line medications for each NTD were identified from WHO guidelines. We reviewed FDA drug labels for each medication to determine whether they were adequately labeled for use in children. Descriptive statistics, binomial tests, and Spearman’s rank order correlations were calculated to assess research activity compared to burden of disease. Children comprised 34% of the 20 million DALYs resulting from NTDs, but pediatric trials contributed just 17% (63/369) of trials studying these conditions (p<0.001 for binomial test). Conditions that were particularly under-represented in pediatric populations compared to adults included rabies, leishmaniasis, scabies, and dengue. Pediatric drug trial activity was poorly correlated with pediatric burden of disease across NTDs (Spearman’s rho = 0.41, p = 0.12). There were 47 medications recommended by the WHO for the treatment of NTDs, of which only 47% (n = 22) were adequately labeled for use in children. Of the 25 medications lacking adequate pediatric labeling, three were under study in pediatric trials.

Conclusions/Significance

There is a substantial gap between the burden of disease for NTDs in children and research devoted to this population. Most medications lack adequate pediatric prescribing information, highlighting the urgency to increase pediatric research activity for NTDs with high burden of disease and limited treatment options.

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<![CDATA[Leishmania infantum recombinant kinesin degenerated derived repeat (rKDDR): A novel potential antigen for serodiagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca29fd5eed0c48441e78e

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or kala-azar, the most severe form of leishmaniasis, can lead to death if not properly diagnosed and treated. Correct identification of infected patients and reservoirs is vital for controlling the spread of leishmaniasis. Current diagnostic kits for leishmaniasis show high sensitivity and specificity, but can also result in false negatives and cross reactions with related parasitic infections. New diagnostic methods with greater accuracy are urgently needed for diagnosis of leishmaniasis. In this study, we aimed to uncover a new highly effective antigen for the diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in dogs and humans, aiming to improve the accuracy compared with those of current methods of diagnosis. Initially, in-silico epitope prediction analyses identified several potential B-cell epitopes in the repetitive region of Leishmania infantum kinesin, which co-localized with predicted structural disordered regions, suggesting high potential for antigenicity. Based on this analysis, 8.5 genomic motifs, which encode the repetitive sequence of 39 degenerate amino acids, were selected for recombinant expression. BLASTn analysis of this repetitive region indicated that it is absent in the T. cruzi parasite, which is closely related to Leishmania, indicating the specificity of this region. This potentially antigenic protein, named recombinant kinesin degenerated derived repeat (rKDDR), was recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli BL21-Star using the pET28a-TEV expression vector. We then evaluated the performance of rKDDR in correctly diagnosing Leishmania infection and compared this new assay with currently used diagnostic tests for leishmaniasis. rKDDR showed greater sensitivity and specificity in correctly diagnosing leishmaniasis both in human (sensitivity 92.86% and specificity 100%) and canine (sensitivity 88.54% and specificity 97.30%) sera compared with those of rK39 (human: sensitivity 90.48% and specificity 97.92%; canine: sensitivity 78.13% and specificity 90.09%). In addition, the rKDDR-ELISA outperformed the EIE-LVC kit, which is the serologic kit recommended by the Brazilian Ministry of Health for the diagnosis of canine visceral leishmaniasis. These results indicate that rKDDR is a highly promising candidate for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis, and is more accurate than the currently used gold-standard antigens.

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<![CDATA[Detection of multiple circulating Leishmania species in Lutzomyia longipalpis in the city of Governador Valadares, southeastern Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c63395bd5eed0c484ae6536

Leishmaniasis encompasses a group of diverse clinical diseases caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus. This disease is a major public health problem in the New World affecting people exposed in endemic regions. The city of Governador Valadares (Minas Gerais/Brazil) is a re-emerging area for visceral leishmaniasis, with 191 human cases reported from 2008 to 2017 and a lethality rate of 14.7%. The transmission of the parasite occurs intensely in this region with up to 22% of domestic dogs with positive serology for the visceral form. Lu. longipalpis is one of the most abundant sand fly species in this area. Despite this scenario, so far there is no information regarding the circulating Leishmania species in the insect vector Lutzomyia longipalpis in this focus. We collected 616 female Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies between January and September 2015 in the Vila Parque Ibituruna neighborhood (Governador Valadares/MG), which is located on a transitional area between the sylvatic and urban environments with residences built near a preserved area. After DNA extraction of individual sand flies, the natural Leishmania infections in Lu. longipalpis were detected by conventional PCR, using primers derived from kDNA sequences, specific for L. (Leishmania) or L. (Viannia) subgenus. The sensitivity of these PCR reactions was 0.1 pg of DNA for each Leishmania subgenus and the total infection rate of 16.2% (100 positive specimens). Species-specific PCR detected the presence of multiple Leishmania species in infected Lu. longipalpis specimens in Governador Valadares, including L. amazonensis (n = 3), L. infantum (n = 28), L. (Viannia) spp. (n = 20), coinfections with L. infantum and L. (Viannia) spp. (n = 5), and L. (Leishmania) spp (n = 44). Our results demonstrate that multiple Leishmania species circulate in Lu. longipalpis in Governador Valadares and reveal a potential increasing risk of transmission of the different circulating parasite species. This information reinforces the need for epidemiological and entomological surveillance in this endemic focus, and the development of effective control strategies against leishmaniasis.

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<![CDATA[Age trends in asymptomatic and symptomatic Leishmania donovani infection in the Indian subcontinent: A review and analysis of data from diagnostic and epidemiological studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cef1d5eed0c484913ba8

Background

Age patterns in asymptomatic and symptomatic infection with Leishmania donovani, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the Indian subcontinent (ISC), are currently poorly understood. Age-stratified serology and infection incidence have been used to assess transmission levels of other diseases, which suggests that they may also be of use for monitoring and targeting control programmes to achieve elimination of VL and should be included in VL transmission dynamic models. We therefore analysed available age-stratified data on both disease incidence and prevalence of immune markers with the aim of collating the currently available data, estimating rates of infection, and informing modelling and future data collection.

Methodology/Principal findings

A systematic literature search yielded 13 infection prevalence and 7 VL incidence studies meeting the inclusion criteria. Statistical tests were performed to identify trends by age, and according to diagnostic cut-off. Simple reversible catalytic models with age-independent and age-dependent infection rates were fitted to the prevalence data to estimate infection and reversion rates, and to test different hypotheses about the origin of variation in these rates. Most of the studies showed an increase in infection prevalence with age: from 10% seroprevalence (<20% Leishmanin skin test (LST) positivity) for 0-10-year-olds to >10% seroprevalence (>20% LST-positivity) for 30-40-year-olds, but overall prevalence varied considerably between studies. VL incidence was lower amongst 0-5-year-olds than older age groups in most studies; most showing a peak in incidence between ages 5 and 20. The age-independent catalytic model provided the best overall fit to the infection prevalence data, but the estimated rates for the less parsimonious age-dependent model were much closer to estimates from longitudinal studies, suggesting that infection rates may increase with age.

Conclusions/Significance

Age patterns in asymptomatic infection prevalence and VL incidence in the ISC vary considerably with geographical location and time period. The increase in infection prevalence with age and peaked age-VL-incidence distribution may be due to lower exposure to infectious sandfly bites in young children, but also suggest that acquired immunity to the parasite increases with age. However, poor standardisation of serological tests makes it difficult to compare data from different studies and draw firm conclusions about drivers of variation in observed age patterns.

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<![CDATA[Identification and binding mode of a novel Leishmania Trypanothione reductase inhibitor from high throughput screening]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c059ddcd5eed0c4849c9578

Trypanothione reductase (TR) is considered to be one of the best targets to find new drugs against Leishmaniasis. This enzyme is fundamental for parasite survival in the host since it reduces trypanothione, a molecule used by the tryparedoxin/tryparedoxin peroxidase system of Leishmania to neutralize hydrogen peroxide produced by host macrophages during infection. In order to identify new lead compounds against Leishmania we developed and validated a new luminescence-based high-throughput screening (HTS) assay that allowed us to screen a library of 120,000 compounds. We identified a novel chemical class of TR inhibitors, able to kill parasites with an IC50 in the low micromolar range. The X-ray crystal structure of TR in complex with a compound from this class (compound 3) allowed the identification of its binding site in a pocket at the entrance of the NADPH binding site. Since the binding site of compound 3 identified by the X-ray structure is unique, and is not present in human homologs such as glutathione reductase (hGR), it represents a new target for drug discovery efforts.

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<![CDATA[Effectiveness of deltamethrin-impregnated dog collars on the incidence of canine infection by Leishmania infantum: A large scale intervention study in an endemic area in Brazil]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c18138fd5eed0c4847753bc

To reduce morbidity and mortality caused by visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the Brazilian Visceral Leishmaniasis Control and Surveillance Program promotes the diagnosis and treatment of cases, vector control, euthanasia of seropositive dogs, and health education. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of these measures is questionable as they lead to little reduction in the transmission of the disease. Thus, the effectiveness of strategies such as insecticide-impregnated collars, spot-on insecticides, and immunization of dogs should be assessed. Herein, we evaluated the effectiveness of deltamethrin-impregnated collars on reducing the incidence of Leishmania infantum infection in dogs living in an endemic area of VL. An intervention study was conducted and a total 5,850 dogs were analyzed in baseline. Of these 3,742 seronegative dogs were divided into two groups: collared and uncollared (control). Dogs were followed for 12 months and three interventions were performed. The Cox regression model was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the collar. All analyzes were performed by Intention-to-treat and per-protocol. By intention-to-treat, the incidence rates of L. infantum infection were 7.5 and 7.9 in the collar group, and 6.5 and 13.2 per 1,000 dogs-months in the control group after 6 and 12 months, respectively. In the per-protocol analysis, the incidence rates in the control group were similar to those observed in the intention-to-treat analysis. In the collar group, the incidence rate was 5.1/1,000 dogs-months after 6 and 12 months. The effectiveness by intention-to-treat after adjustment by the multivariate Cox model was 48%. In the analysis per-protocol, the effectiveness increased to 63%. Although collar use was effective when it was evaluated by intention-to-treat, higher effectiveness was found in the per-protocol analysis after one year of follow-up. The data emphasize the importance of the uninterrupted use of deltamethrin-impregnated collars to increase protection against canine VL.

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<![CDATA[Organization of oversight for integrated control of neglected tropical diseases within Ministries of Health]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bff05c7d5eed0c484a33b5b

Background

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are communicable diseases that impact approximately 1 billion people, but receive relatively little research, funding, and attention. Many NTDs have similar treatments, epidemiology, and geographic distribution, and as a result, the integration of control efforts can improve accountability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of programs. Here, we examine the landscape of efforts towards NTD integration across countries with the highest burden of disease, and review the administrative management of integration in order to identify approaches and pathways for integration.

Methodology and principal findings

We utilized a standardized system to score countries for NTD endemnicity to create a list of 25 countries with the highest overall burden of NTDs. We then conducted a literature review to characterize the NTD control programs in the focus countries. Six countries were selected for key informant interviews to validate literature review results and gather additional data on opportunities and obstacles to NTD integration, from an administrative perspective. The majority of countries included in the study were located in Africa, with the remainder from Asia, North America, and South America. Multiple models and pathways were observed for the integration of NTD programs, in combination with other NTD programs, other diseases, or other health programs. Substantial heterogeneity existed with respect to the NTD control programs, and no country had integrated all of their NTD control efforts into a single program. NTDs that can be treated with preventative chemotherapy were frequently integrated into a single program. Leprosy control was also frequently integrated with those of other communicable diseases, and notably tuberculosis. Barriers to NTD integration may result from internal administrative obstacles or external obstacles.

Conclusions

Although many countries have begun to integrate NTD control efforts, additional work will be required to realize the full benefits of integration in most of the countries examined here. Moving forward, NTD integration efforts must ensure that administrative structures are designed to maximize the potential success of integrated programs and account for existing administrative processes.

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<![CDATA[Validation of SYBR green I based closed tube loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay and simplified direct-blood-lysis (DBL)-LAMP assay for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bf71f9ad5eed0c484dcb98e

Background

The World Health Organization has targeted elimination of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the Indian subcontinent (ISC) by 2020. Despite distinctive decline seen in the number of VL cases in ISC, there is still a quest for development of a diagnostic test which has the utility for detection of active infection and relapse cases and as a test of cure. The present study validated the sensitivity and specificity of SYBR Green I based closed tube LAMP assay reported by us for diagnosis of VL.

Methodology

The validation study was carried out at two endemic sites in India, located at Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS), Patna and Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS), Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi. Standard operating protocols were provided at the two sites for applying LAMP assay on confirmed VL cases. The diagnostic accuracy of LAMP assay was evaluated by Receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis. Furthermore, a simplified LAMP assay based on direct blood lysis, DBL-LAMP, was developed and verified for its diagnostic accuracy.

Principal findings

A total of 267 eligible participants were included in the study which comprised of 179 VL cases and 88 controls. Sensitivity and specificity of the LAMP assay were 98.32% (95% C.I– 95.2–99.7%) and 96.59% (95% C.I.-90.4–99.3%), respectively. ROC curve analysis depicted no significant difference between area under curve (AUCROC) for LAMP assay and rK39 RDT, indicative of LAMP as an excellent diagnostic test. DBL-LAMP assay, performed on 67 VL and 100 control samples, yielded a sensitivity of 93.05% (95% C.I- 84.75–97%) and specificity of 100% (95% C.I.- 96.30–100%).

Conclusions/Significance

The validated closed tube LAMP for diagnosis of VL will provide impetus to the ongoing VL elimination programme in ISC. The assay based on direct blood lysis promotes its scope for application in field settings by further reducing time and cost.

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<![CDATA[Multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) reveals host-related population structure in Leishmania infantum from northeastern Italy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4a19d4463d7e428027f8e9

Background

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum is an ongoing health problem in southern Europe, where dogs are considered the main reservoirs of the disease. Current data point to a northward spread of VL and canine leishmaniasis (CanL) in Italy, with new foci in northern regions previously regarded as non-endemic.

Methodology/Principal findings

Multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) was performed to investigate genetic diversity and population structure of L. infantum on 55 samples from infected humans, dogs and sand flies of the E-R region between 2013 and 2017. E-R samples were compared with 10 L. infantum samples from VL cases in other Italian regions (extra E-R) and with 52 strains within the L. donovani complex. Data displayed significant microsatellite polymorphisms with low allelic heterozygosity. Forty-one unique and eight repeated MLMT profiles were recognized among the L. infantum samples from E-R, and ten unique MLMT profiles were assigned to the extra E-R samples. Bayesian analysis assigned E-R samples to two distinct populations, with further sub-structuring within each of them; all CanL samples belonged to one population, genetically related to Mediterranean MON-1 strains, while all but one VL cases as well as the isolate from the sand fly Phlebotomus perfiliewi fell under the second population. Conversely, VL samples from other Italian regions proved to be genetically similar to strains circulating in dogs.

Conclusions/Significance

A peculiar epidemiological situation was observed in northeastern Italy, with the co-circulation of two distinct populations of L. infantum; one population mainly detected in dogs and the other population detected in humans and in a sand fly. While the classical cycle of CanL in Italy fits well into the data obtained for the first population, the population found in infected humans exhibits a different cycle, probably not involving a canine reservoir. This study can contribute to a better understanding of the population structure of L. infantum circulating in northeastern Italy, thus providing useful epidemiologic information for public health authorities.

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<![CDATA[The mass use of deltamethrin collars to control and prevent canine visceral leishmaniasis: A field effectiveness study in a highly endemic area]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b04367d463d7e0f0e6b979d

Background

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a zoonosis of great importance. Limitations in current VL control measures compromise efficacy, indicating the need to implement new strategies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the mass use of deltamethrin-impregnated collars in dogs as a public health measure to control and prevent canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL).

Methodology

An interventional study was implemented in two endemic areas in the district of Monte Gordo (Bahia-Brazil): an intervention area, in which VL seronegative dogs were collared, and a control area in which only conventional CVL control measures were applied. At baseline, seropositive dogs were removed and seronegative dogs were included. Dogs were then reevaluated every 7–8 months for almost two years. At each time point, dogs in the intervention area that remained seronegative received new collars and newly identified seronegative dogs were included and collared. The local zoonosis control authorities were notified of any dogs that tested seropositive in both areas, which were subsequently marked for euthanasia as mandated by the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

Principal findings

In the first serological survey, seroprevalence was similar in both areas. At the second evaluation, significant reductions in seroprevalence were seen in both areas, while seroprevalence in the intervention area reduced to 6.0% during the final evaluation versus an increase of 11.0% in the control area. This significant increase and the estimated relative risk (RR = 0.55) indicated protection against CVL in the intervention area. Although CVL incidence did not differ significantly between the areas, an increased tendency was observed in the control area, which could be due to low seroconversion rates throughout the study or a high loss to follow-up.

Conclusions/Significance

Although our evaluation of the effectiveness of deltamethrin-impregnated collars as a community-wide public health control measure was inconclusive, this measure likely provides protection over time. In endemic areas of Brazil, this strategy represents an operational challenge for local zoonosis control authorities, indicating the need for adjustments, including improved collar design.

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<![CDATA[United States Military Tropical Medicine: Extraordinary Legacy, Uncertain Future]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf7ab0ee8fa60bc3575 ]]> <![CDATA[Antileishmanial Activity of the Estrogen Receptor Modulator Raloxifene]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacdab0ee8fa60bb50e9

Background

The treatment of leishmaniasis relies mostly on parenteral drugs with potentially serious adverse effects. Additionally, parasite resistance in the treatment of leishmaniasis has been demonstrated for the majority of drugs available, making the search for more effective and less toxic drugs and treatment regimens a priority for the control of leishmaniasis. The aims of this study were to evaluate the antileishmanial activity of raloxifene in vitro and in vivo and to investigate its mechanism of action against Leishmania amazonensis.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Raloxifene was shown to possess antileishmanial activity in vitro against several species with EC50 values ranging from 30.2 to 38.0 µM against promastigotes and from 8.8 to 16.2 µM against intracellular amastigotes. Raloxifene's mechanism of action was investigated through transmission electron microscopy and labeling with propidium iodide, DiSBAC2(3), rhodamine 123 and monodansylcadaverine. Microscopic examinations showed that raloxifene treated parasites displayed autophagosomes and mitochondrial damage while the plasma membrane remained continuous. Nonetheless, plasma membrane potential was rapidly altered upon raloxifene treatment with initial hyperpolarization followed by depolarization. Loss of mitochondrial membrane potential was also verified. Treatment of L. amazonensis – infected BALB/c mice with raloxifene led to significant decrease in lesion size and parasite burden.

Conclusions/Significance

The results of this work extend the investigation of selective estrogen receptor modulators as potential candidates for leishmaniasis treatment. The antileishmanial activity of raloxifene was demonstrated in vitro and in vivo. Raloxifene produces functional disorder on the plasma membrane of L. amazonensis promastigotes and leads to functional and morphological disruption of mitochondria, which culminate in cell death.

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<![CDATA[C-Terminal Domain Deletion Enhances the Protective Activity of cpa/cpb Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles against Leishmania major in BALB/c Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3bab0ee8fa60bd4f10

Background

We have demonstrated that vaccination with pDNA encoding cysteine proteinase Type II (CPA) and Type I (CPB) with its unusual C-terminal extension (CTE) can partially protect BALB/c mice against cutaneous leishmanial infection. Unfortunately, this protection is insufficient to completely control infection without booster injection. Furthermore, in developing vaccines for leishmaniasis, it is necessary to consider a proper adjuvant and/or delivery system to promote an antigen specific immune response. Solid lipid nanoparticles have found their way in drug delivery system development against intracellular infections and cancer, but not Leishmania DNA vaccination. Therefore, undefined effect of cationic solid lipid nanoparticles (cSLN) as an adjuvant in enhancing the immune response toward leishmanial antigens led us to refocus our vaccine development projects.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Three pDNAs encoding L. major cysteine proteinase type I and II (with or without CTE) were formulated by cSLN. BALB/c mice were immunized twice by 3-week interval, with cSLN-pcDNA-cpa/b, pcDNA-cpa/b, cSLN-pcDNA-cpa/b-CTE, pcDNA-cpa/b-CTE, cSLN, cSLN-pcDNA and PBS. Mice vaccinated with cSLN-pcDNA-cpa/b-CTE showed significantly higher levels of parasite inhibition related to protection with specific Th1 immune response development, compared to other groups. Parasite inhibition was determined by different techniques currently available in exploration vacciation efficacy, i.e., flowcytometry on footpad and lymph node, footpad caliper based measurements and imaging as well as lymph node microtitration assay. Among these techniques, lymph node flowcytometry was found to be the most rapid, sensitive and easily reproducible method for discrimination between the efficacy of vaccination strategies.

Conclusions/Significance

This report demonstrates cSLN's ability to boost immune response magnitude of cpa/cpb-CTE cocktail vaccination against leishmaniasis so that the average parasite inhibition percent could be increased significantly. Hence, cSLNs can be considered as suitable adjuvant and/or delivery systems for designing third generation cocktail vaccines.

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<![CDATA[A FRET-Based Real-Time PCR Assay to Identify the Main Causal Agents of New World Tegumentary Leishmaniasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da94ab0ee8fa60ba10f1

In South America, various species of Leishmania are endemic and cause New World tegumentary leishmaniasis (NWTL). The correct identification of these species is critical for adequate clinical management and surveillance activities. We developed a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay and evaluated its diagnostic performance using 64 archived parasite isolates and 192 prospectively identified samples collected from individuals with suspected leishmaniasis enrolled at two reference clinics in Lima, Peru. The real-time PCR assay was able to detect a single parasite and provided unambiguous melting peaks for five Leishmania species of the Viannia subgenus that are highly prevalent in South America: L. (V.) braziliensis, L. (V.) panamensis, L. (V.) guyanensis, L. (V.) peruviana and L. (V.) lainsoni. Using kinetoplastid DNA-based PCR as a gold standard, the real-time PCR had sensitivity and specificity values of 92% and 77%, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of conventional tests such as microscopy, culture and the leishmanin skin test (LST). In addition, the real-time PCR identified 147 different clinical samples at the species level, providing an overall agreement of 100% when compared to multilocus sequence typing (MLST) data performed on a subset of these samples. Furthermore, the real-time PCR was three times faster and five times less expensive when compared to PCR - MLST for species identification from clinical specimens. In summary, this new assay represents a cost-effective and reliable alternative for the identification of the main species causing NWTL in South America.

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