The latest medical research on Infectious Disease

The research magnet gathers the latest research from around the web, based on your specialty area. Below you will find a sample of some of the most recent articles from reputable medical journals about infectious disease gathered by our medical AI research bot.

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Time to rethink endpoints for new antiretroviral regimen registration? HIV RNA re-suppression in the ADVANCE trial.


: In the ADVANCE study of first-line treatment, there were 48 participants with HIV RNA ≥50 copies/mL in the week 48 window who had subsequent foll...

Growth and Neurodevelopment of HIV-Exposed Uninfected Children: a Conceptual Framework.

Current HIV/AIDS Reports

The population of HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) children is expanding rapidly, and over one million HEU infants are born each year globally. Several recent studies have reported that HEU children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, are at risk of poor outcomes, including impaired growth and neurodevelopment. However, the reasons for poor clinical outcomes amongst HEU children remain unclear.

We summarise the findings from recent large studies that have characterised growth and neurodevelopment in HEU children, identified risk factors and explored underlying mechanistic pathways. We propose a conceptual framework to explain how exposure to HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) may lead to adverse growth and neurodevelopment in uninfected children, and review the available evidence and research gaps. We propose that HEU children are affected both indirectly, through the augmentation of universal risk factors underlying poor growth and neurodevelopment, and directly through HIV/ART-specific pathways, which ultimately may converge through a series of common pathogenic mechanisms. In the era of universal ART, a better understanding of these pathways is crucial to inform future prevention and intervention strategies.

Serum extracellular vesicles expressing bone activity markers associate with bone loss after HIV antiretroviral therapy.


We tested whether bone-related extracellular vesicle phenotypes changed after initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) and determined whether changes in levels of extracellular vesicles correlated with changes in bone mineral density (BMD).

Extracellular vesicles were stained for osteocalcin (OC), RANKL (CD254), RANK (CD265), M-CSF (macrophage colony stimulating factor), and CD34. Serum OC, procollagen type I N-terminal propeptide (P1NP), and C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTx) were also measured.

BMD significantly decreased from baseline to 12 months. Levels of OC+EVs, serum OC, serum P1NP, and CTx were significantly higher at early and late time points compared with baseline. Increases in EVs expressing OC, RANKL, RANK, and CD34 from baseline to TP1 were associated with decreases in total hip BMD from baseline to 12 months. Change in serum OC, P1NP, and CTx from baseline to TP1 or TP2 did not correlate with change in BMD.

Early changes in extracellular vesicles as expressing markers of bone activity were associated with total hip bone loss 12 months after ART initiation. These data suggest that serum extracellular vesicles may serve as novel biomarkers of bone remodeling. Future studies are required to determine if extracellular vesicles contribute to the effects of ART on changes in bone turnover markers and BMD.

Cognitive impairment severity in relation to signs of subclinical Wernicke's encephalopathy in HIV and alcoholism comorbidity.


The comorbidity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and alcoholism (ALC) is prevalent. Wernicke's encephalopathy (WE), a neurological disorder resulting from thiamine depletion, has been generally associated with alcoholism but has also been reported in HIV infection. This study examined whether subclinical WE signs could contribute to the heterogeneity of cognitive and motor deficits observed in individuals with both disease conditions (HIV+ALC).

Using Caine criteria (dietary deficiency, oculomotor abnormality, cerebellar dysfunction, and altered mental state), HIV+ALC individuals were classified by subclinical WE risk factors.

Signs of subclinical WE were present in 20% of the HIV+ALC participants. For attention/working memory, delayed memory, and upper limb motor function, HIV+ALCCaine 2+ (i.e., meeting two or three criteria) demonstrated the most severe deficits, scoring lower than HIV+ALC Caine 1 (i.e., meeting one criterion), HIV+ALC Caine 0 (i.e., meeting no criteria), and controls.

The high prevalence of subclinical signs of WE and relevance to performance indicate that this condition should be considered in assessment of HIV-infected individuals, especially when alcoholism comorbidity is known or suspected. Above and beyond clinical factors such as depression, alcoholism and HIV disease-related variables, AIDS, hepatitis C and drug history known to mediate neuropsychological performance, subclinical WE signs could partly explain the heterogeneity in patterns and severity of cognitive and motor impairments in HIV-infected individuals with alcoholism comorbidity.

Associations between alcohol use and HIV care cascade outcomes among adults undergoing population-based HIV testing in East Africa.


To assess the impact of alcohol use on HIV care cascade outcomes.

We evaluated HIV care cascade outcomes and alcohol use in adults (≥15 years) during baseline (2013--2014) population-based HIV testing in 28 Kenyan and Ugandan communities. 'Alcohol use' included any current use and was stratified by Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Concise (AUDIT-C) scores: nonhazardous/low (1--3 men/1--2 women), hazardous/medium (4--5 men/3--5 women), hazardous/high (6--7), hazardous/very-high (8--12). We estimated cascade outcomes and relative risks associated with each drinking level using targeted maximum likelihood estimation, adjusting for confounding and missing measures.

Among 118 923 adults, 10 268 (9%) tested HIV-positive. Of those, 10 067 (98%) completed alcohol screening: 1626 (16%) reported drinking, representing 7% of women (467/6499) and 33% of men (1 159/3568). Drinking levels were: low (48%), medium (34%), high (11%), very high (7%). Drinkers were less likely to be previously HIV diagnosed (58% [95% CI: 55--61%]) than nondrinkers [66% (95% CI: 65-67%); RR: 0.87 (95% CI: 0.83-0.92)]. If previously diagnosed, drinkers were less likely to be on ART [77% (95% CI: 73-80%)] than nondrinkers [83% (95% CI 82-84%); RR: 0.93 (95% CI: 0.89-0.97)]. If on ART, there was no association between alcohol use and viral suppression; however, very-high-level users were less likely to be suppressed [RR: 0.80 (95% CI: 0.68-0.94)] versus nondrinkers. On a population level, viral suppression was 38% (95% CI: 36-41%) among drinkers and 44% (95% CI: 43-45%) among nondrinkers [RR: 0.87 (95% CI 0.82-0.94)], an association seen at all drinking levels.

Alcohol use was associated with lower viral suppression; this may be because of decreased HIV diagnosis and ART use.

Regional brain volumetric changes despite two years of treatment initiated during acute HIV infection.


To assess changes in regional brain volumes after 24 months among individuals who initiated combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) within weeks of HIV exposure.

Thirty-four acutely HIV-infected individuals (AHI; Fiebig I-V) underwent brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy at 1.5T and immediately initiated cART. Imaging was repeated at 24 months. Regional brain volumes were quantified using FreeSurfer's longitudinal pipeline. Voxel-wise analyses using tensor-based morphometry (TBM) were conducted to verify regional assessments. Baseline brain metabolite levels, blood and cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers assessed by ELISA, and peripheral blood monocyte phenotypes measured by flow cytometry were examined as predictors of significant volumetric change.

Participants were 31 ± 8 years old. The estimated mean duration of infection at cART initiation was 15 days. Longitudinal analyses revealed reductions in volumes of putamen (p < 0.001) and caudate (p = 0.006). TBM confirmed significant atrophy in the putamen and caudate, as well as in thalamic and hippocampal regions. In exploratory post-hoc analyses, higher baseline frequency of P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 (PSGL-1)-expressing total monocytes correlated with greater caudate volumetric decrease (ρ = 0.67, p = 0.017), while the baseline density of PSGL-1-expressing inflammatory (CD14CD16) monocytes correlated with putamen atrophy (ρ = 0.65, p = 0.022).

Suppressive cART initiated during AHI may not prevent brain atrophy. Volumetric decrease appears greater than expected age-related decline, although examination of longitudinal change in demographically similar HIV-uninfected Thai individuals is needed. Mechanisms underlying progressive HIV-related atrophy may include early activation and enhanced adhesive and migratory capacity of circulating monocyte populations.

EPP-ASM and the r-hybrid model: new tools for estimating HIV incidence trends in sub-Saharan Africa.


Improve models for estimating HIV epidemic trends in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

We modified EPP to incorporate age and sex stratification (EPP-ASM) to more accurately capture the shifting demographics of maturing HIV epidemics. Secondly, we developed a new functional form, termed 'r-hybrid', for the HIV transmission rate which combines a four-parameter logistic function for the initial epidemic growth, peak, and decline followed by a first-order random walk for recent trends after epidemic stabilization. We fitted the r-hybrid model along with previously developed r-spline and r-trend models to HIV prevalence data from household surveys and ANC-SS in 177 regions in 34 SSA countries. We used leave-one-out cross validation with household survey HIV prevalence to compare model predictions.

The r-hybrid and r-spline models typically provided similar HIV prevalence trends, but sometimes qualitatively different assessments of recent incidence trends due to different structural assumptions about the HIV transmission rate. The r-hybrid model had the lowest average continuous ranked probability score, indicating the best model predictions. Coverage of 95% posterior predictive intervals was 91.5% for the r-hybrid model, versus 87.2% and 85.5% for r-spline and r-trend, respectively.

The EPP-ASM and r-hybrid models improve consistency of EPP and Spectrum, improve the epidemiological assumptions underpinning recent HIV incidence estimates, and improve estimates and short-term projections of HIV prevalence trends. Countries that use general population survey and ANC-SS data to estimate HIV epidemic trends should consider using these tools.

Subclinical cardiovascular disease in HIV controller and long-term nonprogressor populations.

HIV Medicine

Elite controllers (ECs), viraemic controllers (VCs), and long-term nonprogressors (LTNPs) control HIV viral replication or maintain CD4 T-cell counts without antiretroviral therapy, but may have increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk compared to HIV-uninfected persons. We evaluated subclinical carotid and coronary atherosclerosis and inflammatory biomarker levels among HIV controllers, LTNPs and noncontrollers and HIV-uninfected individuals in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) and the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS).

We measured carotid plaque presence and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) in 1729 women and 1308 men, and the presence of coronary artery calcium and plaque in a subgroup of men. Associations between HIV control category and carotid and coronary plaque prevalences were assessed by multivariable regression analyses adjusting for demographics and CVD risk factors. Serum inflammatory biomarker concentrations [soluble CD163 (sCD163), soluble CD14 (sCD14), galectin-3 (Gal-3), galectin-3 binding protein (Gal-3BP) and interleukin (IL)-6] were measured and associations with HIV control category assessed.

We included 135 HIV controllers (30 ECs) and 135 LTNPs in the study. Carotid plaque prevalence and carotid IMT were similar in HIV controllers, LTNPs and HIV-uninfected individuals. HIV controllers and LTNPs had lower prevalences of carotid plaque compared to viraemic HIV-infected individuals. The prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis was similar in HIV controllers/LTNPs compared to HIV-uninfected and viraemic HIV-infected men. Controllers and LTNPs had higher concentrations of sCD163 and sCD14 compared to HIV-uninfected persons.

Subclinical CVD was similar in HIV controllers, LTNPs and HIV-uninfected individuals despite elevated levels of some inflammatory biomarkers. Future studies of HIV controllers and LTNPs are needed to characterize the risk of CVD among HIV-infected persons.

HIV testing strategies employed in health care settings in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA): evidence from a systematic review.

HIV Medicine

Despite the availability of HIV testing guidelines to facilitate prompt diagnosis, late HIV diagnosis remains high across Europe. The study synthesizes recent evidence on HIV testing strategies adopted in health care settings in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA).

Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed and systematic searches were run in five databases (2010-2017) to identify studies describing HIV testing interventions in health care settings in the EU/EEA. The grey literature was searched for unpublished studies (2014-2017). Two reviewers independently performed study selection, data extraction and critical appraisal.

One hundred and thirty intervention and/or feasibility studies on HIV testing in health care settings were identified. Interventions included testing provision (n = 94), campaigns (n = 14) and education and training for staff and patients (n = 20). HIV test coverage achieved through testing provision varied: 2.9-94% in primary care compared to 3.9-66% in emergency departments. HIV test positivity was lower in emergency departments (0-1.3%) and antenatal services (0-0.05%) than in other hospital departments (e.g. inpatients: 0-5.3%). Indicator condition testing programmes increased HIV test coverage from 3.9-72% before to 12-85% after their implementation, with most studies reporting a 10-20% increase. There were 51 feasibility and/or acceptability studies that demonstrated that HIV testing interventions were generally acceptable to patients and providers in health care settings (e.g. general practitioner testing acceptable: 77-93%).

This review has identified several strategies that could be adopted to achieve high HIV testing coverage across a variety of health care settings and populations in the EU/EEA. Very few studies compared the intervention under investigation to a baseline, but, where this was assessed, data suggested increases in testing.

Potential lung cancer screening outcomes using different age and smoking thresholds in the ANRS-CO4 French Hospital Database on HIV cohort.

HIV Medicine

In most lung screening programmes, only subjects ≥ 55 years old and smoking ≥ 30 pack-years are eligible to undergo chest low-dose computed tomography. Whether the same criteria should apply to people living with HIV (PLHIV) is uncertain, given the increased lung cancer risks associated with immunodeficiency and high rates of smoking. We assessed different outcomes obtained from simulating one round of lung cancer screening in PLHIV using different age and smoking thresholds for eligibility.

Data from the French Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le SIDA et les Hépatites Virales (ANRS)-CO4 French Hospital Database on HIV (FHDH) cohort of PLHIV and a national representative survey of PLHIV in care in 2011 (the ANRS-VESPA2 [enquête sur les personnes atteintes] study) were used to estimate the maximum proportion of incident lung cancers occurring between 2012 and 2016 that would have potentially been detected by screening in 2011. Secondary outcomes were numbers of eligible subjects in the cohort and numbers of subjects needed to screen (NNS) to detect one lung cancer.

Among 77819 PLHIV in 2011 (median age 46 years; 66% men), 285 subjects subsequently developed lung cancer. Adoption of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations (55-80 years; ≥ 30 pack-years) would have detected 31% of lung cancers at most. Lowering the minimum age to 50 and 45 years would have detected 49% and 60% of cancers, respectively, but would have greatly increased the number of eligible subjects and the NNS to detect one case of lung cancer.

Use of the USPSTF criteria would have detected only a minority of lung cancers in a large French cohort of PLHIV in 2011. Screening PLHIV at younger ages (45 or 50 years) and/or the use of lower smoking thresholds (20 pack-years) may be beneficial, despite the consequently higher numbers of eligible subjects and NNS to detect one case of lung cancer, and should be evaluated in future studies.

Post-exposure prophylaxis following consented sexual exposure: impact of national recommendations on user profile, drug regimens and estimates of averted HIV infections.

HIV Medicine

The aim of the study was to describe the characteristics, impact and outreach of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for sexual exposure in Brazil.

We used secondary data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health to describe the impact of national guidelines on the frequency of prescription, user profile and antiretroviral regimens. We also estimated the number of potentially averted HIV infections attributable to PEP for consented sexual exposure between 2009 and 2017.

A total of 260 457 PEP regimens were prescribed to individuals ≥ 14 years old; 104 613 (40.2%) were prescribed for consented sexual exposure, with an increasing frequency since 2011. Drugs used in PEP regimens underwent significant modifications during the period, reflecting national recommendations. We estimated that there were up to 3138 potentially averted HIV infections attributable to PEP for consented sexual exposure between 2009 and 2017.

In the context of a combined HIV prevention strategy, PEP is still an essential tool for individuals for whom other methods are contraindicated or fail to be applied.

BK Polyomavirus-associated nephropathy managed by screening policy in a real-life setting.

Transplant Infectious Disease

BK polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (PyVAN) is an important complication after kidney transplantation. Prevalence ranges from 1 to 10%, and graft loss occurs in approximately 50% of the cases. There is no effective treatment, so early viral detection with immunosuppression tapering is the current strategy to prevent PyVAN.

To verify the frequency of PyVAN in a single center and evaluate the response to immunosuppressive adjustments through graft survival analysis.

Retrospective evaluation of a cohort of kidney transplant recipients with biopsy-proven PyVAN, compared with no-PyVAN patients regarding clinical aspects, immunosuppression and graft survival over at least 2 years.

There were 1404 kidney transplants analysed in the study period, 58 with biopsy-proven PyVAN. Cumulative incidence was 4.1%. Median time from transplantation to PyVAN diagnosis was 6 (1-41) months. PyVAN was associated with recipient male gender (p = 0.041) and deceased donation (p = 0.005). Graft survival was inferior for PyVAN compared to no-PyVAN patients, 81.8% vs. 75.2%, p = 0.019. Thirteen (22.4%) PyVAN patients lost their grafts, 9 (15.5%) losses attributed to BKPyV infection. Three patients with BKPyV-associated graft losses were submitted to a successful second kidney transplant, with no evidence of viral replication during follow-up.

PyVAN still is an important cause of kidney graft failure. Even though implementing active vigilance and immunosuppressive adjustment, this real life single center study demonstrated inferior graft survival in PyVAN patients compared to non-PyVAN.