Infectious Diseases - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 251
Ensemble model for estimating continental-scale patterns of human movement: a case study of Australia
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-02-26)
Understanding human movement patterns at local, national and international scales is critical in a range of fields, including transportation, logistics and epidemiology. Data on human movement is increasingly available, and when combined with statistical models, enables predictions of movement patterns across broad regions. Movement characteristics, however, strongly depend on the scale and type of movement captured for a given study. The models that have so far been proposed for human movement are best suited to specific spatial scales and types of movement. Selecting both the scale of data collection, and the appropriate model for the data remains a key challenge in predicting human movements. We used two different data sources on human movement in Australia, at different spatial scales, to train a range of statistical movement models and evaluate their ability to predict movement patterns for each data type and scale. Whilst the five commonly-used movement models we evaluated varied markedly between datasets in their predictive ability, we show that an ensemble modelling approach that combines the predictions of these models consistently outperformed all individual models against hold-out data.
Multiply spliced HIV RNA is a predictive measure of virus production ex vivo and in vivo following reversal of HIV latency
BACKGROUND: One strategy being pursued to clear latently infected cells that persist in people living with HIV (PLWH) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is to activate latent HIV infection with a latency reversing agent (LRA). Surrogate markers that accurately measure virus production following an LRA are needed. METHODS: We quantified cell-associated unspliced (US), multiply spliced (MS) and supernatant (SN) HIV RNA by qPCR from total and resting CD4+ T cells isolated from seven PLWH on ART before and after treatment ex vivo with different LRAs, including histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi). MS and plasma HIV RNA were also quantified from PLWH on ART (n-11) who received the HDACi panobinostat. FINDINGS: In total and resting CD4+ T cells from PLWH on ART, detection of US RNA was common while detection of MS RNA was infrequent. Primers used to detect MS RNA, in contrast to US RNA, bound sites of the viral genome that are commonly mutated or deleted in PLWH on ART. Following ex vivo stimulation with LRAs, we identified a strong correlation between the fold change increase in SN and MS RNA, but not the fold change increase in SN and US RNA. In PLWH on ART who received panobinostat, MS RNA was significantly higher in samples with detectable compared to non0detectable plasma HIV RNA. INTERPRETATION: Following administration of an LRA, quantification of MS RNA is more likely to reflect an increase in virion production and is therefore a better indicator of meaningful latency reversal. FUNDING: NHMRC, NIH DARE collaboratory.
A clinical trial of non-invasive imaging with an anti-HIV antibody labelled with copper-64 in people living with HIV and uninfected controls
BACKGROUND: A research priority in finding a cure for HIV is to establish methods to accurately locate and quantify where and how HIV persists in people living with HIV (PLWH) receiving suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART). Infusing copper-64 (64Cu) radiolabelled broadly neutralising antibodies targeting HIV envelope (Env) with CT scan and positron emission tomography (PET) identified HIV Env in tissues in SIV infected non-human primates . We aimed to determine if a similar approach was effective in people living with HIV (PLWH). METHODS: Unmodified 3BNC117 was compared with 3BNC117 bound to the chelator MeCOSar and 64Cu (64Cu-3BNC117) in vitro to assess binding and neutralization. In a clinical trial 64Cu-3BNC117 was infused into HIV uninfected (Group 1), HIV infected and viremic (viral load, VL >1000 c/mL; Group 2) and HIV infected aviremic (VL <20 c/mL; Group 3) participants using two dosing strategies: high protein (3mg/kg unlabeled 3BNC117 combined with <5mg 64Cu-3BNC117) and trace (<5mg 64Cu-3BNC117 only). All participants were screened for 3BNC117 sensitivity from virus obtained from viral outgrowth. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/PET and pharmacokinetic assessments (ELISA for serum 3BNC117 concentrations and gamma counting for 64Cu) were performed 1, 24- and 48-hours post dosing. The trial (clincialtrials.gov NCT03063788) primary endpoint was comparison of PET standard uptake values (SUVs) in regions of interest (e.g lymph node groups and gastrointestinal tract). FINDINGS: Comparison of unmodified and modified 3BNC117 in vitro demonstrated no difference in HIV binding or neutralisation. 17 individuals were enrolled of which 12 were dosed including Group 1 (n=4, 2 high protein, 2 trace dose), Group 2 (n=6, 2 high protein, 4 trace) and Group 3 (n=2, trace only). HIV+ participants had a mean CD4 of 574 cells/microL and mean age 43 years. There were no drug related adverse effects and no differences in tissue uptake in regions of interest (e.g lymph node gut, pharynx) between the 3 groups. In the high protein dosing group, serum concentrations of 3BNC117 and gamma counts were highly correlated demonstrating that 64Cu-3BNC117 remained intact in vivo. INTERPRETATION: In PLWH on or off ART, the intervention of infusing 64Cu-3BNC117 and MRI/PET imaging over 48 hours, was unable to detect HIV-1 env expression in vivo. Future studies should investigate alternative radiolabels such as zirconium which have a longer half-life in vivo. FUNDING: Funded by the Alfred Foundation, The Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research with additional support from the Division of AIDS, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, US National Institutes of Health (USAI126611). JHM and SRL are supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council.
Interaction between a haptoglobin genetic variant and coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors on CAD severity in Singaporean Chinese population.
BACKGROUND: Haptoglobin (Hp) is a plasma protein with strong anti-inflammation and antioxidant activities. Its plasma level is known to be inversely associated with many inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. However, the association of HP genetic variants with coronary artery disease (CAD) severity/mortality, and how they interact with common CAD risk factors are largely unknown. METHODS: We conducted the analysis in a Singaporean Chinese CAD population with Gensini severity scores (N = 582) and subsequently evaluated the significant findings in an independent cohort with cardiovascular mortality (excluding stroke) as outcome (917 cases and 19,093 controls). CAD risk factors were ascertained from questionnaires, and stenosis information from medical records. Mortality was identified through linkage with the nationwide registry of births and deaths in Singapore. Linear regression analysis between HP genetic variant (rs217181) and disease outcome were performed. Interaction analyses were performed by introducing an interaction term in the same regression models. RESULTS: Although rs217181 was not significantly associated with CAD severity and cardiovascular mortality (excluding stroke) in all subjects, when stratified by hypertension status, hypertensive individuals with the minor T allele have more severe CAD (β = 0.073, SE = 0.030, p = 0.015) and non-hypertensive individuals with the T allele have lower risk for mortality (odds ratio = 0.771 (0.607-0.980), p = 0.033). CONCLUSION: HP genetic variant is not associated with CAD severity and mortality in the general population. However, hypertensive individuals with the rs217181 T allele associated with higher Hp levels had more severe CAD while non-hypertensive individuals with the same allele had lower risk for mortality in the Chinese population.
Effect of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acid levels on leukocyte telomere lengths in the Singaporean Chinese population.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-10-30)
BACKGROUND: Shorter telomere length (TL) has been associated with poor health behaviors, increased risks of chronic diseases and early mortality. Excessive shortening of telomere is a marker of accelerated aging and can be influenced by oxidative stress and nutritional deficiency. Plasma n6:n3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratio may impact cell aging. Increased dietary intake of marine n-3 PUFA is associated with reduced telomere attrition. However, the effect of plasma PUFA on leukocyte telomere length (LTL) and its interaction with genetic variants are not well established. METHODS: A nested coronary artery disease (CAD) case-control study comprising 711 cases and 638 controls was conducted within the Singapore Chinese Health Study (SCHS). Samples genotyped with the Illumina ZhongHua-8 array. Plasma n-3 and n-6 PUFA were quantified using mass spectrometry (MS). LTL was measured with quantitative PCR method. Linear regression was used to test the association between PUFA and LTL. The interaction between plasma PUFAs and genetic variants was assessed by introducing an additional term (PUFA×genetic variant) in the regression model. Analysis was carried out in cases and controls separately and subsequently meta-analyzed using the inverse-variance weighted method. We further assessed the association of PUFA and LTL with CAD risk by Cox Proportional-Hazards model and whether the effect of PUFA on CAD was mediated through LTL by using structural equation modeling. RESULTS: Higher n6:n3 ratio was significantly associated with shorter LTL (p = 0.018) and increased CAD risk (p = 0.005). These associations were mainly driven by elevated plasma total n-3 PUFAs, especially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (p < 0.05). There was a statistically significant interaction for an intergenic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs529143 with plasma total n-3 PUFA and DHA on LTL beyond the genome-wide threshold (p < 5 × 10- 8). Mediation analysis showed that PUFA and LTL affected CAD risk independently. CONCLUSIONS: Higher plasma n6:n3 PUFA ratio, and lower EPA and DHA n-3 PUFAs were associated with shorter LTL and increased CAD risk in this Chinese population. Furthermore, genetic variants may modify the effect of PUFAs on LTL. PUFA and LTL had independent effect on CAD risk in our study population.
Symptoms and laboratory manifestations of mild COVID-19 in a repatriated cruise ship cohort
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2021-02-10)
Much of our current understanding about novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) comes from hospitalised patients. However, the spectrum of mild and subclinical disease has implications for population-level screening and control. Forty-nine participants were recruited from a group of 99 adults repatriated from a cruise ship with a high incidence of COVID-19. Respiratory and rectal swabs were tested by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Sera were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and microneutralisation assay. Symptoms, viral shedding and antibody response were examined. Forty-five participants (92%) were considered cases based on either positive PCR or positive ELISA for immunoglobulin G. Forty-two percent of cases were asymptomatic. Only 15% of symptomatic cases reported fever. Serial respiratory and rectal swabs were positive for 10% and 5% of participants respectively about 3 weeks after median symptom onset. Cycle threshold values were high (range 31-45). Attempts to isolate live virus were unsuccessful. The presence of symptoms was not associated with demographics, comorbidities or antibody response. In closed settings, incidence of COVID-19 could be almost double that suggested by symptom-based screening. Serology may be useful in diagnosis of mild disease and in aiding public health investigations.
Longitudinal whole-genome based comparison of carriage and infection associated Staphylococcus aureus in northern Australian dialysis clinics
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-02-05)
BACKGROUND: The study objective was to reveal reservoirs potentially leading to Staphylococcus aureus infections in haemodialysis clinic clients in the tropical north of the Australian Northern Territory (NT). This client population are primarily Aboriginal Australians who have a greater burden of ill health than other Australians. Reservoir identification will enhance infection control in this client group, including informing potential S. aureus decolonisation strategies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The study participants were 83 clients of four haemodialysis clinics in the Darwin region of the NT, and 46 clinical staff and researchers who had contact with the clinic clients. The study design was longitudinal, encompassing swabbing of anatomical sites at two month intervals to yield carriage isolates, and also progressive collection of infection isolates. Swab sampling was performed for all participants, and infection isolates collected for dialysis clients only. Analysis was based on the comparison of 139 carriage isolates and 27 infection isolates using whole genome sequencing. Genome comparisons were based on of 20,651 genome-wide orthologous SNPs, presence/absence of the mecA and pvl genes, and inferred multilocus sequence type and clonal complex. Pairs of genomes meeting the definition of "not discriminated" were classed as defining potential transmission events. The primary outcome was instances of potential transmission between a carriage site other than a skin lesion and an infection site, in the same individual. Three such instances were identified. Two involved ST762 (CC1) PVL- MRSA, and one instance ST121 PVL+ MSSA. Three additional instances were identified where the carriage strains were derived from skin lesions. Also identified were six instances of potential transmission of a carriage strains between participants, including transmission of strains between dialysis clients and staff/researchers, and one potential transmission of a clinical strain between participants. There were frequent occurrences of longitudinal persistence of carriage strains in individual participants, and two examples of the same strain causing infection in the same participants at different times. Strains associated with infections and skin lesions were enriched for PVL and mecA in comparison to strains associated with long term carriage. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicated that strains differ with respect to propensity to stably colonise sites such as the nose, and cause skin infections. PVL+ strains were associated with infection and skin lesions and were almost absent from the carriage sites. PVL- MRSA (mainly CC1) strains were associated with infection and also with potential transmission events involving carriage sites, while PVL- MSSA were frequently observed to stably colonise individuals without causing infection, and to be rarely transmitted. Current clinical guidelines for dialysis patients suggest MRSA decolonisation. Implementation in this client group may impact infections by PVL- MRSA, but may have little effect on infection by PVL+ strains. In this study, the PVL+ strains were predominant causes of infection but rarely colonised typical carriage sites such as the nose, and in the case of ST121, were MSSA. The important reservoirs for infection by PVL+ strains appeared to be prior infections.
Integrated immune dynamics define correlates of COVID-19 severity and antibody responses
SARS-CoV-2 causes a spectrum of COVID-19 disease, the immunological basis of which remains ill defined. We analyzed 85 SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals at acute and/or convalescent time points, up to 102 days after symptom onset, quantifying 184 immunological parameters. Acute COVID-19 presented with high levels of IL-6, IL-18, and IL-10 and broad activation marked by the upregulation of CD38 on innate and adaptive lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Importantly, activated CXCR3+cTFH1 cells in acute COVID-19 significantly correlate with and predict antibody levels and their avidity at convalescence as well as acute neutralization activity. Strikingly, intensive care unit (ICU) patients with severe COVID-19 display higher levels of soluble IL-6, IL-6R, and IL-18, and hyperactivation of innate, adaptive, and myeloid compartments than patients with moderate disease. Our analyses provide a comprehensive map of longitudinal immunological responses in COVID-19 patients and integrate key cellular pathways of complex immune networks underpinning severe COVID-19, providing important insights into potential biomarkers and immunotherapies.
Influenza, but not SARS-CoV-2, infection induces a rapid interferon response that wanes with age and diminished tissue-resident memory CD8(+) T cells
Older individuals exhibit a diminished ability to respond to and clear respiratory pathogens and, as such, experience a higher rate of lung infections with a higher mortality rate. It is unclear why respiratory pathogens impact older people disproportionately. Using human lung tissue from donors aged 22-68 years, we assessed how the immune cell landscape in lungs changes throughout life and investigated how these immune cells respond following in vitro exposure to influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2, two clinically relevant respiratory viruses. While the frequency of most immune cell subsets profiled in the human lung remained stable with age, memory CD8+ T cells declined, with the tissue-resident memory (Trm) CD8+ T-cell subset being most susceptible to age-associated attrition. Infection of lung tissue with influenza virus resulted in an age-associated attenuation in the antiviral immune response, with aged donors producing less type I interferon (IFN), GM-CSF and IFNγ, the latter correlated with a reduction of IFNγ-producing memory CD8+ T cells. In contrast, irrespective of donor age, exposure of human lung cells to SARS-CoV-2, a pathogen for which all donors were immunologically naïve, did not trigger activation of local immune cells and did not result in the induction of an early IFN response. Our findings show that the attrition of tissue-bound pathogen-specific Trm in the lung that occurs with advanced age, or their absence in immunologically naïve individuals, results in a diminished early antiviral immune response which creates a window of opportunity for respiratory pathogens to gain a greater foothold.
Divergent and Convergent Attitudes and Views of General Practitioners and Community Pharmacists to Collaboratively Implement Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs in Australia: A Nationwide Study
Setting up an interprofessional team for antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) to improve the quality and safety of antimicrobial use in primary care is essential but challenging. This study aimed to investigate the convergent and divergent attitudes and views of general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists (CPs) about AMS implementation and their perceived challenges of collaboration to design a GP-pharmacist collaborative AMS (GPPAS) model. Nationwide surveys of GPs and CPs across Australia were conducted January-October 2019. Chi square statistics and a theoretical framework were used for comparative analyses of quantitative and qualitative data, respectively. In total, 999 participants responded to the surveys with 15.4% (n = 386) response rates for GPs and 30.7% (n = 613) for CPs. GPs and CPs were aware about AMS however their interprofessional perceptions varied to the benefits of AMS programs. CPs indicated that they would need AMS training; significantly higher than GPs (GP vs. CP; 46.4% vs. 76.5%; p < 0.0001). GPs' use of the Therapeutic Guideline Antibiotic was much higher than CPs (83.2% vs. 45.5%; p < 0.0001). No interprofessional difference was found in the very-limited use of patient information leaflets (p < 0.1162) and point-of-care tests (p < 0.7848). While CPs were more willing (p < 0.0001) to collaborate with GPs, both groups were convergent in views that policies that support GP-CP collaboration are needed to implement GPPAS strategies. GP-pharmacist collaborative group meetings (54.9% vs. 82.5%) and antimicrobial audit (46.1% vs. 86.5%) models were inter-professionally supported to optimise antimicrobial therapy, but an attitudinal divergence was significant (p < 0.001). The challenges towards GP-CP collaboration in AMS were identified by both at personal, logistical and organisational environment level. There are opportunities for GP-CP collaboration to improve AMS in Australian primary care. However, strengthening GP-pharmacy collaborative system structure and practice agreements is a priority to improve interprofessional trust, competencies, and communications for AMS and to establish a GPPAS model in future.
Relationship between CD4 T cell turnover, cellular differentiation and HIV persistence during ART
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-01-01)
The precise role of CD4 T cell turnover in maintaining HIV persistence during antiretroviral therapy (ART) has not yet been well characterized. In resting CD4 T cell subpopulations from 24 HIV-infected ART-suppressed and 6 HIV-uninfected individuals, we directly measured cellular turnover by heavy water labeling, HIV reservoir size by integrated HIV-DNA (intDNA) and cell-associated HIV-RNA (caRNA), and HIV reservoir clonality by proviral integration site sequencing. Compared to HIV-negatives, ART-suppressed individuals had similar fractional replacement rates in all subpopulations, but lower absolute proliferation rates of all subpopulations other than effector memory (TEM) cells, and lower plasma IL-7 levels (p = 0.0004). Median CD4 T cell half-lives decreased with cell differentiation from naïve to TEM cells (3 years to 3 months, p<0.001). TEM had the fastest replacement rates, were most highly enriched for intDNA and caRNA, and contained the most clonal proviral expansion. Clonal proviruses detected in less mature subpopulations were more expanded in TEM, suggesting that they were maintained through cell differentiation. Earlier ART initiation was associated with lower levels of intDNA, caRNA and fractional replacement rates. In conclusion, circulating integrated HIV proviruses appear to be maintained both by slow turnover of immature CD4 subpopulations, and by clonal expansion as well as cell differentiation into effector cells with faster replacement rates.