ResearchPad - necator-americanus https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Harnessing helminth-driven immunoregulation in the search for novel therapeutic modalities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14550 Parasitic helminths have coevolved with humans over millennia, intricately refining and developing an array of mechanisms to suppress or skew the host’s immune system, thereby promoting their long-term survival. Some helminths, such as hookworms, cause little to no overt pathology when present in modest numbers and may even confer benefits to their human host. To exploit this evolutionary phenomenon, clinical trials of human helminth infection have been established and assessed for safety and efficacy for a range of immune dysfunction diseases and have yielded mixed outcomes. Studies of live helminth therapy in mice and larger animals have convincingly shown that helminths and their excretory/secretory products possess anti-inflammatory drug-like properties and represent an untapped pharmacopeia. These anti-inflammatory moieties include extracellular vesicles, proteins, glycans, post-translational modifications, and various metabolites. Although the concept of helminth-inspired therapies holds promise, it also presents a challenge to the drug development community, which is generally unfamiliar with foreign biologics that do not behave like antibodies. Identification and characterization of helminth molecules and vesicles and the molecular pathways they target in the host present a unique opportunity to develop tailored drugs inspired by nature that are efficacious, safe, and have minimal immunogenicity. Even so, much work remains to mine and assess this out-of-the-box therapeutic modality. Industry-based organizations need to consider long-haul investments aimed at unraveling and exploiting unique and differentiated mechanisms of action as opposed to toe-dipping entries with an eye on rapid and profitable turnarounds.

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<![CDATA[Application of a Multiplex Quantitative PCR to Assess Prevalence and Intensity Of Intestinal Parasite Infections in a Controlled Clinical Trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da72ab0ee8fa60b95661

Background

Accurate quantitative assessment of infection with soil transmitted helminths and protozoa is key to the interpretation of epidemiologic studies of these parasites, as well as for monitoring large scale treatment efficacy and effectiveness studies. As morbidity and transmission of helminth infections are directly related to both the prevalence and intensity of infection, there is particular need for improved techniques for assessment of infection intensity for both purposes. The current study aimed to evaluate two multiplex PCR assays to determine prevalence and intensity of intestinal parasite infections, and compare them to standard microscopy.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Faecal samples were collected from a total of 680 people, originating from rural communities in Timor-Leste (467 samples) and Cambodia (213 samples). DNA was extracted from stool samples and subject to two multiplex real-time PCR reactions the first targeting: Necator americanus, Ancylostoma spp., Ascaris spp., and Trichuris trichiura; and the second Entamoeba histolytica, Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia. duodenalis, and Strongyloides stercoralis. Samples were also subject to sodium nitrate flotation for identification and quantification of STH eggs, and zinc sulphate centrifugal flotation for detection of protozoan parasites. Higher parasite prevalence was detected by multiplex PCR (hookworms 2.9 times higher, Ascaris 1.2, Giardia 1.6, along with superior polyparasitism detection with this effect magnified as the number of parasites present increased (one: 40.2% vs. 38.1%, two: 30.9% vs. 12.9%, three: 7.6% vs. 0.4%, four: 0.4% vs. 0%). Although, all STH positive samples were low intensity infections by microscopy as defined by WHO guidelines the DNA-load detected by multiplex PCR suggested higher intensity infections.

Conclusions/Significance

Multiplex PCR, in addition to superior sensitivity, enabled more accurate determination of infection intensity for Ascaris, hookworms and Giardia compared to microscopy, especially in samples exhibiting polyparasitism. The superior performance of multiplex PCR to detect polyparasitism and more accurately determine infection intensity suggests that it is a more appropriate technique for use in epidemiologic studies and for monitoring large-scale intervention trials.

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<![CDATA[Isothermal Diagnostic Assays for Monitoring Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Necator americanus Associated with Benzimidazole Drug Resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da19ab0ee8fa60b7c205

Background

Soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) are the most prevalent intestinal helminths of humans, and a major cause of morbidity in tropical and subtropical countries. The benzimidazole (BZ) drugs albendazole (ABZ) and mebendazole (MBZ) are used for treatment of human STH infections and this use is increasing dramatically with massive drug donations. Frequent and prolonged use of these drugs could lead to the emergence of anthelmintic resistance as has occurred in nematodes of livestock. Previous molecular assays for putative resistance mutations have been based mainly on PCR amplification and sequencing. However, these techniques are complicated and time consuming and not suitable for resource-constrained situations. A simple, rapid and sensitive genotyping method is required to monitor for possible developing resistance to BZ drugs.

Methods

To address this problem, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection assays were developed based on the Smart amplification method (SmartAmp2) to target codons 167, 198, and 200 in the β-tubulin isotype 1 gene for the hookworm Necator americanus.

Findings

Diagnostic assays were developed and applied to analyze hookworm samples by both SmartAmp2 and conventional sequencing methods and the results showed high concordance. Additionally, fecal samples spiked with N. americanus larvae were assessed and the results showed that the Aac polymerase used has high tolerance to inhibitors in fecal samples.

Conclusion

The N. americanus SmartAmp2 SNP detection assay is a new genotyping tool that is rapid, sensitive, highly specific and efficient with the potential to be used as a field tool for monitoring SNPs associated with BZ resistance. However, further validation on large numbers of field samples is required.

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<![CDATA[Status of soil-transmitted helminth infections in schoolchildren in Laguna Province, the Philippines: Determined by parasitological and molecular diagnostic techniques]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab184a0463d7e5ca175d92c

Background

Soil-transmitted helminths (STH) are the most common parasitic infections in impoverished communities, particularly among children. Current STH control is through school-based mass drug administration (MDA), which in the Philippines is done twice annually. As expected, MDA has decreased the intensity and prevalence of STH over time. As a result, the common Kato Katz (KK) thick smear method of detecting STH is less effective because it lacks sensitivity in low intensity infections, making it difficult to measure the impact of deworming programs.

Methodology/Principal findings

A cross-sectional study was carried out over a four-week period from October 27, 2014 until November 20, 2014 in Laguna province, the Philippines. Stool samples were collected from 263 schoolchildren, to determine the prevalence of STH and compare diagnostic accuracy of multiplex quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with the KK. A large discrepancy in the prevalence between the two techniques was noted for the detection of at least one type of STH infection (33.8% by KK vs. 78.3% by qPCR), Ascaris lumbricoides (20.5% by KK vs. 60.8% by qPCR) and Trichuris trichiura (23.6% by KK vs. 38.8% by qPCR). Considering the combined results of both methods, the prevalence of at least one type of helminth infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 83.3%, 67.7%, and 53.6%, respectively. Sensitivity of the qPCR for detecting at least one type of STH infection, A. lumbricoides, and T. trichiura were 94.1%, 89.9%, and 72.3% respectively; whereas KK sensitivity was 40.6%, 30.3%, and 44.0%, respectively. The qPCR method also detected infections with Ancylostoma spp. (4.6%), Necator americanus (2.3%), and Strongyloides stercoralis (0.8%) that were missed by KK.

Conclusion/Significance

qPCR may provide new and important diagnostic information to improve assessment of the effectiveness and impact of integrated control strategies particularly in areas where large-scale STH control has led to low prevalence and/or intensity of infection.

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<![CDATA[Improved PCR-Based Detection of Soil Transmitted Helminth Infections Using a Next-Generation Sequencing Approach to Assay Design]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacaab0ee8fa60bb40aa

Background

The soil transmitted helminths are a group of parasitic worms responsible for extensive morbidity in many of the world’s most economically depressed locations. With growing emphasis on disease mapping and eradication, the availability of accurate and cost-effective diagnostic measures is of paramount importance to global control and elimination efforts. While real-time PCR-based molecular detection assays have shown great promise, to date, these assays have utilized sub-optimal targets. By performing next-generation sequencing-based repeat analyses, we have identified high copy-number, non-coding DNA sequences from a series of soil transmitted pathogens. We have used these repetitive DNA elements as targets in the development of novel, multi-parallel, PCR-based diagnostic assays.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Utilizing next-generation sequencing and the Galaxy-based RepeatExplorer web server, we performed repeat DNA analysis on five species of soil transmitted helminths (Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale, Trichuris trichiura, Ascaris lumbricoides, and Strongyloides stercoralis). Employing high copy-number, non-coding repeat DNA sequences as targets, novel real-time PCR assays were designed, and assays were tested against established molecular detection methods. Each assay provided consistent detection of genomic DNA at quantities of 2 fg or less, demonstrated species-specificity, and showed an improved limit of detection over the existing, proven PCR-based assay.

Conclusions/Significance

The utilization of next-generation sequencing-based repeat DNA analysis methodologies for the identification of molecular diagnostic targets has the ability to improve assay species-specificity and limits of detection. By exploiting such high copy-number repeat sequences, the assays described here will facilitate soil transmitted helminth diagnostic efforts. We recommend similar analyses when designing PCR-based diagnostic tests for the detection of other eukaryotic pathogens.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Identification of Hookworm Isolates in Humans, Dogs and Soil in a Tribal Area in Tamil Nadu, India]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9feab0ee8fa60b73295

Background

Hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) remain a major public health problem worldwide. Infections with hookworms (e.g., A. caninum, A. ceylanicum and A. braziliense) are also prevalent in dogs, but the role of dogs as a reservoir for zoonotic hookworm infections in humans needs to be further explored.

Methodology/Principal Findings

As part of an open-label community based cluster-randomized trial in a tribal area in Tamil Nadu (India; 2013–2015), a total of 143 isolates of hookworm eggs from human stool were speciated based on a previously described PCR-RFLP methodology. The presence of hookworm DNA was confirmed in 119 of 143 human samples. N. americanus (100%) was the most prevalent species, followed by A. caninum (16.8%) and A. duodenale (8.4%). Because of the high prevalence of A. caninum in humans, dog samples were also collected to assess the prevalence of A. caninum in dogs. In 68 out of 77 canine stool samples the presence of hookworms was confirmed using PCR-RFLP. In dogs, both A. caninum (76.4%) and A. ceylanicum (27.9%) were identified. Additionally, to determine the contamination of soil with zoonotic hookworm larvae, topsoil was collected from defecating areas. Hookworm DNA was detected in 72 out of 78 soil samples that revealed presence of hookworm-like nematode larvae. In soil, different hookworm species were identified, with animal hookworms being more prevalent (A. ceylanicum: 60.2%, A. caninum: 29.4%, A. duodenale: 16.6%, N. americanus: 1.4%, A. braziliense: 1.4%).

Conclusions/Significance

In our study we regularly detected the presence of A. caninum DNA in the stool of humans. Whether this is the result of infection is currently unknown but it does warrant a closer look at dogs as a potential reservoir.

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<![CDATA[An environmental assessment and risk map of Ascaris lumbricoides and Necator americanus distributions in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be022c

Background

In Timor-Leste there have been intermittent and ineffective soil-transmitted helminth (STH) deworming programs since 2004. In a resource-constrained setting, having information on the geographic distribution of STH can aid in prioritising high risk communities for intervention. This study aimed to quantify the environmental risk factors for STH infection and to produce a risk map of STH in Manufahi district, Timor-Leste.

Methodology/Principal findings

Georeferenced cross-sectional data and stool samples were obtained from 2,194 participants in 606 households in 24 villages in the Manufahi District as part of cross sectional surveys done in the context of the “WASH for Worms” randomised controlled trial. Infection status was determined for Ascaris lumbricoides and Necator americanus using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Baseline infection data were linked to environmental data obtained for each household. Univariable and multivariable multilevel mixed-effects logistic regression analysis with random effects at the village and household level were conducted, with all models adjusted for age and sex. For A. lumbricoides, being a school-aged child increased the odds of infection, whilst higher temperatures in the coolest quarter of the year, alkaline soils, clay loam/loam soils and woody savannas around households were associated with decreased infection odds. For N. americanus, greater precipitation in the driest month, higher average enhanced vegetation index, age and sandy loam soils increased infection odds, whereas being female and living at higher elevations decreased the odds of infection. Predictive risk maps generated for Manufahi based upon these final models highlight the high predicted risk of N. americanus infection across the district and the more focal nature of A. lumbricoides infection. The predicted risk of any STH infection is high across the entire district.

Conclusions/Significance

The widespread predicted risk of any STH infection in 6 to 18 year olds provides strong evidence to support strategies for control across the entire geographical area. As few studies include soil texture and pH in their analysis, this study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting these factors influence STH infection distribution. This study also further supports that A. lumbricoides prefers acidic soils, highlighting a potential relatively unexplored avenue for control.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov ACTRN12614000680662.

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<![CDATA[Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and environmental risk factors for soil-transmitted helminth intensity of infection in Timor-Leste, using real time PCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcd6b

Background

No investigations have been undertaken of risk factors for intensity of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection in Timor-Leste. This study provides the first analysis of risk factors for intensity of STH infection, as determined by quantitative PCR (qPCR), examining a broad range of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and environmental factors, among communities in Manufahi District, Timor-Leste.

Methods

A baseline cross-sectional survey of 18 communities was undertaken as part of a cluster randomised controlled trial, with additional identically-collected data from six other communities. qPCR was used to assess STH infection from stool samples, and questionnaires administered to collect WASH, demographic, and socioeconomic data. Environmental information was obtained from open-access sources and linked to infection outcomes. Mixed-effects multinomial logistic regression was undertaken to assess risk factors for intensity of Necator americanus and Ascaris infection.

Results

2152 participants provided stool and questionnaire information for this analysis. In adjusted models incorporating WASH, demographic and environmental variables, environmental variables were generally associated with infection intensity for both N. americanus and Ascaris spp. Precipitation (in centimetres) was associated with increased risk of moderate-intensity (adjusted relative risk [ARR] 6.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9–19.3) and heavy-intensity (ARR 6.6; 95% CI 3.1–14.1) N. americanus infection, as was sandy-loam soil around households (moderate-intensity ARR 2.1; 95% CI 1.0–4.3; heavy-intensity ARR 2.7; 95% CI 1.6–4.5; compared to no infection). For Ascaris, alkaline soil around the household was associated with reduced risk of moderate-intensity infection (ARR 0.21; 95% CI 0.09–0.51), and heavy-intensity infection (ARR 0.04; 95% CI 0.01–0.25). Few WASH risk factors were significant.

Conclusion

In this high-prevalence setting, strong risk associations with environmental factors indicate that anthelmintic treatment alone will be insufficient to interrupt STH transmission, as conditions are favourable for ongoing environmental transmission. Integrated STH control strategies should be explored as a priority.

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