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1.  No Evidence of Sexual Risk Compensation in the iPrEx Trial of Daily Oral HIV Preexposure Prophylaxis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81997.
Preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (FTC/TDF) reduced HIV acquisition in the iPrEx trial among men who have sex with men and transgender women. Self-reported sexual risk behavior decreased overall, but may be affected by reporting bias. We evaluated potential risk compensation using biomarkers of sexual risk behavior.
Design and methods
Sexual practices were assessed at baseline and quarterly thereafter; perceived treatment assignment and PrEP efficacy beliefs were assessed at 12 weeks. Among participants with ≥1 follow-up behavioral assessment, sexual behavior, syphilis, and HIV infection were compared by perceived treatment assignment, actual treatment assignment, and perceived PrEP efficacy.
Overall, acute HIV infection and syphilis decreased during follow-up. Compared with participants believing they were receiving placebo, participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF reported more receptive anal intercourse partners prior to initiating drug (12.8 vs. 7.7, P = 0.04). Belief in receiving FTC/TDF was not associated with an increase in receptive anal intercourse with no condom (ncRAI) from baseline through follow-up (risk ratio [RR] 0.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6–1.4; P = 0.75), nor with a decrease after stopping study drug (RR 0.8, 95% CI: 0.5–1.3; P = 0.46). In the placebo arm, there were trends toward lower HIV incidence among participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.8; P = 0.26) and also believing it was highly effective (IRR 0.5, 95% CI: 0.1–1.7; P = 0.12).
There was no evidence of sexual risk compensation in iPrEx. Participants believing they were receiving FTC/TDF had more partners prior to initiating drug, suggesting that risk behavior was not a consequence of PrEP use.
PMCID: PMC3867330  PMID: 24367497
3.  Faster HIV-1 Disease Progression among Brazilian Individuals Recently Infected with CXCR4-Utilizing Strains 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30292.
Primary HIV infection is usually caused by R5 viruses, and there is an association between the emergence of CCXR4-utilizing strains and faster disease progression. We characterized HIV-1 from a cohort of recently infected individuals in Brazil, predicted the virus's co-receptor use based on the env genotype and attempted to correlate virus profiles with disease progression.
A total of 72 recently infected HIV patients were recruited based on the Serologic Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion and were followed every three to four months for up to 78 weeks. The HIV-1 V3 region was characterized by sequencing nine to twelve weeks after enrollment. Disease progression was characterized by CD4+ T-cell count decline to levels consistently below 350 cells/µL.
Twelve out of 72 individuals (17%) were predicted to harbor CXCR4-utilizing strains; a baseline CD4<350 was more frequent among these individuals (p = 0.03). Fifty-seven individuals that were predicted to have CCR5-utilizing viruses and 10 individuals having CXCR4-utilizing strains presented with baseline CD4>350; after 78 weeks, 33 individuals with CCR5 strains and one individual with CXCR4 strains had CD4>350 (p = 0.001). There was no association between CD4 decline and demographic characteristics or HIV-1 subtype.
Our findings confirm the presence of strains with higher in vitro pathogenicity during early HIV infection, suggesting that even among recently infected individuals, rapid progression may be a consequence of the early emergence of CXCR4-utilizing strains. Characterizing the HIV-1 V3 region by sequencing may be useful in predicting disease progression and guiding treatment initiation decisions.
PMCID: PMC3266896  PMID: 22291931
4.  BED Estimates of HIV Incidence: Resolving the Differences, Making Things Simpler 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29736.
Develop a simple method for optimal estimation of HIV incidence using the BED capture enzyme immunoassay.
Use existing BED data to estimate mean recency duration, false recency rates and HIV incidence with reference to a fixed time period, T.
Compare BED and cohort estimates of incidence referring to identical time frames. Generalize this approach to suggest a method for estimating HIV incidence from any cross-sectional survey.
Follow-up and BED analyses of the same, initially HIV negative, cases followed over the same set time period T, produce estimates of the same HIV incidence, permitting the estimation of the BED mean recency period for cases who have been HIV positive for less than T. Follow-up of HIV positive cases over T, similarly, provides estimates of the false-recent rate appropriate for T. Knowledge of these two parameters for a given population allows the estimation of HIV incidence during T by applying the BED method to samples from cross-sectional surveys. An algorithm is derived for providing these estimates, adjusted for the false-recent rate. The resulting estimator is identical to one derived independently using a more formal mathematical analysis. Adjustments improve the accuracy of HIV incidence estimates. Negative incidence estimates result from the use of inappropriate estimates of the false-recent rate and/or from sampling error, not from any error in the adjustment procedure.
Referring all estimates of mean recency periods, false-recent rates and incidence estimates to a fixed period T simplifies estimation procedures and allows the development of a consistent method for producing adjusted estimates of HIV incidence of improved accuracy. Unadjusted BED estimates of incidence, based on life-time recency periods, would be both extremely difficult to produce and of doubtful value.
PMCID: PMC3250478  PMID: 22235334
5.  Performance of Ultra-Deep Pyrosequencing in Analysis of HIV-1 pol Gene Variation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22741.
Ultra-deep pyrosequencing (UDPS) has been used to detect minority variants within HIV-1 populations. Some aspects of the quality and reproducibility of UDPS have been previously evaluated, but comprehensive studies are still needed.
Principal Finding
In this study the UDPS technology (FLX platform) was evaluated by analyzing a 120 base pair fragment of the HIV-1 pol gene from plasma samples from two patients and artificial mixtures of molecular clones. UDPS was performed using an optimized experimental protocol and an in-house data cleaning strategy. Nine samples and mixtures were analyzed and the average number of reads per sample was 19,404 (range 8,858–26,846). The two patient plasma samples were analyzed twice and quantification of viral variants was found to be highly repeatable for variants representing >0.27% of the virus population, whereas some variants representing 0.11–0.27% were detected in only one of the two UDPS runs. Bland-Altman analysis showed that a repeated measurement would have a 95% likelihood to lie approximately within ±0.5 log10 of the initial estimate. A similar level of agreement was observed for variant frequency estimates in forward vs. reverse sequencing direction, but here the agreement was higher for common variants than for rare variants. UDPS following PCR amplification with alternative primers indicated that some variants may be incorrectly quantified due to primer-related selective amplification. Finally, the in vitro recombination rate during PCR was evaluated using artificial mixtures of clones and was found to be low. The most abundant in vitro recombinant represented 0.25% of all UDPS reads.
This study demonstrates that this UDPS protocol results in low experimental noise and high repeatability, which is relevant for future research and clinical use of the UDPS technology. The low rate of in vitro recombination suggests that this UDPS system can be used to study genetic variants and mutational linkage.
PMCID: PMC3143174  PMID: 21799940
6.  Safety and Immunogenicity Following Administration of a Live, Attenuated Monovalent 2009 H1N1 Influenza Vaccine to Children and Adults in Two Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(10):e13755.
The safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a monovalent intranasal 2009 A/H1N1 live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) were evaluated in children and adults.
Methods/Principal Findings
Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies were completed in children (2–17 y) and adults (18–49 y). Subjects were assigned 4∶1 to receive 2 doses of H1N1 LAIV or placebo 28 days apart. The primary safety endpoint was fever ≥38.3°C during days 1–8 after the first dose; the primary immunogenicity endpoint was the proportion of subjects experiencing a postdose seroresponse. Solicited symptoms and adverse events were recorded for 14 days after each dose and safety data were collected for 180 days post-final dose. In total, 326 children (H1N1 LAIV, n = 261; placebo, n = 65) and 300 adults (H1N1 LAIV, n = 240; placebo, n = 60) were enrolled. After dose 1, fever ≥38.3°C occurred in 4 (1.5%) pediatric vaccine recipients and 1 (1.5%) placebo recipient (rate difference, 0%; 95% CI: –6.4%, 3.1%). No adults experienced fever following dose 1. Seroresponse rates in children (H1N1 LAIV vs. placebo) were 11.1% vs. 6.3% after dose 1 (rate difference, 4.8%; 95% CI: –9.6%, 13.8%) and 32.0% vs. 14.5% after dose 2 (rate difference, 17.5%; 95% CI: 5.5%, 27.1%). Seroresponse rates in adults were 6.1% vs. 0% (rate difference, 6.1%; 95% CI: –5.6%, 12.6%) and 14.9% vs. 5.6% (rate difference, 9.3%; 95% CI: –0.8%, 16.3%) after dose 1 and dose 2, respectively. Solicited symptoms after dose 1 (H1N1 LAIV vs. placebo) occurred in 37.5% vs. 32.3% of children and 41.7% vs. 31.7% of adults. Solicited symptoms occurred less frequently after dose 2 in adults and children. No vaccine-related serious adverse events occurred.
In subjects aged 2 to 49 years, two doses of H1N1 LAIV have a safety and immunogenicity profile similar to other previously studied and efficacious formulations of seasonal trivalent LAIV.
Trial Registration NCT00946101, NCT00945893
PMCID: PMC2966412  PMID: 21060780
7.  Effects of Intermittent IL-2 Alone or with Peri-Cycle Antiretroviral Therapy in Early HIV Infection: The STALWART Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9334.
The Study of Aldesleukin with and without antiretroviral therapy (STALWART) evaluated whether intermittent interleukin-2 (IL-2) alone or with antiretroviral therapy (ART) around IL-2 cycles increased CD4+ counts compared to no therapy.
Participants not on continuous ART with ≥300 CD4+ cells/mm3 were randomized to: no treatment; IL-2 for 5 consecutive days every 8 weeks for 3 cycles; or the same IL-2 regimen with 10 days of ART administered around each IL-2 cycle. CD4+ counts, HIV RNA, and HIV progression events were collected monthly.
Principal Findings
A total of 267 participants were randomized. At week 32, the mean CD4+ count was 134 cells greater in the IL-2 alone group (p<0.001), and 133 cells greater in the IL-2 plus ART group (p<0.001) compared to the no therapy group. Twelve participants in the IL-2 groups compared to 1 participant in the group assigned to no therapy experienced an opportunistic event or died (HR 5.84, CI: 0.59 to 43.57; p = 0.009).
IL-2 alone or with peri-cycle HAART increases CD4+ counts but was associated with a greater number of opportunistic events or deaths compared to no therapy. These results call into question the immunoprotective significance of IL-2-induced CD4+ cells.
Trial Registration NCT00110812
PMCID: PMC2826395  PMID: 20186278
8.  Lactate Dehydrogenase-Elevating Virus Induces Systemic Lymphocyte Activation via TLR7-Dependent IFNα Responses by Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6105.
Lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus (LDV) is a natural infectious agent of mice. Like several other viruses, LDV causes widespread and very rapid but transient activation of both B cells and T cells in lymphoid tissues and the blood. The mechanism of this activation has not been fully described and is the focus of the current studies.
Principal Findings
A known inducer of early lymphocyte activation is IFNα, a cytokine strongly induced by LDV infection. Neutralization of IFNα in the plasma from infected mice ablated its ability to activate lymphocytes in vitro. Since the primary source of virus-induced IFNα in vivo is often plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC's), we depleted these cells prior to LDV infection and tested for lymphocyte activation. Depletion of pDC's in vivo eradicated both the LDV-induced IFNα response and lymphocyte activation. A primary receptor in pDC's for single stranded RNA viruses such as LDV is the toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) pattern recognition receptor. Infection of TLR7-knockout mice revealed that both the IFNα response and lymphocyte activation were dependent on TLR7 signaling in vivo. Interestingly, virus levels in both TLR7 knockout mice and pDC-depleted mice were indistinguishable from controls indicating that LDV is largely resistant to the systemic IFNα response.
Results indicate that LDV-induced activation of lymphocytes is due to recognition of LDV nucleic acid by TLR7 pattern recognition receptors in pDC's that respond with a lymphocyte-inducing IFNα response.
PMCID: PMC2699471  PMID: 19568424
9.  Dynamic Interaction between STLV-1 Proviral Load and T-Cell Response during Chronic Infection and after Immunosuppression in Non-Human Primates 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e6050.
We used mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) naturally infected with simian T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (STLV-1) as a model for evaluating the influence of natural STLV-1 infection on the dynamics and evolution of the immune system during chronic infection. Furthermore, in order to evaluate the role of the immune system in controlling the infection during latency, we induced immunosuppression in the infected monkeys. We first showed that the STLV-1 proviral load was higher in males than in females and increased significantly with the duration of infection: mandrills infected for 10–6 years had a significantly higher proviral load than those infected for 2–4 years. Curiously, this observation was associated with a clear reduction in CD4+ T-cell number with age. We also found that the percentage of CD4+ T cells co-expressing the activation marker HLA-DR and the mean percentage of CD25+ in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were significantly higher in infected than in uninfected animals. Furthermore, the STLV-1 proviral load correlated positively with T-cell activation but not with the frequency of T cells secreting interferon γ in response to Tax peptides. Lastly, we showed that, during immunosuppression in infected monkeys, the percentages of CD8+ T cells expressing HLA-DR+ and of CD4+ T cells expressing the proliferation marker Ki67 decreased significantly, although the percentage of CD8+ T cells expressing HLA-DR+ and Ki67 increased significantly by the end of treatment. Interestingly, the proviral load increased significantly after immunosuppression in the monkey with the highest load. Our study demonstrates that mandrills naturally infected with STLV-1 could be a suitable model for studying the relations between host and virus. Further studies are needed to determine whether the different compartments of the immune response during infection induce the long latency by controlling viral replication over time. Such studies would provide important information for the development of immune-based therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC2698465  PMID: 19557183
10.  Adsorption of Human Papillomavirus 16 to Live Human Sperm 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5847.
Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a diverse group of viruses that infect the skin and mucosal tissues of humans. A high-risk subgroup of HPVs is associated with virtually all cases of cervical cancer [1]–[3]. High-risk HPVs are transmitted sexually; however, the exact mechanisms by which sexual contact promotes virus infection remain uncertain. To study this question we asked whether capsids of HPV type 16 (a high-risk HPV) specifically interact with sperm cells. We tested if purified HPV16 virions directly adsorb to live human sperm cells in native semen and in conditions that resemble the female genital tract. We found that HPV16 capsids bind efficiently to two distinct sites at the equatorial region of the sperm head surface. Moreover, we observed that the interaction of virus with sperm can be reduced by two HPV infection inhibitors, heparin and carrageenan. Our findings suggest that 1) sperm cells may serve as motile carriers that promote virus dispersal and mucosal penetration, and 2) blocking interactions between HPV16 and sperm cells may be an important strategy for the development of antiviral therapies.
PMCID: PMC2689348  PMID: 19513123
11.  Impact of Cytomegalovirus and Grafts versus Host Disease on the Dynamics of CD57+CD28−CD8+ T Cells After Bone Marrow Transplant 
Clinics (Sao Paulo, Brazil)  2008;63(5):667-676.
The present study aimed to evaluate the dynamics of CD28 and CD57 expression in CD8+ T lymphocytes during cytomegalovirus viremia in bone marrow transplant recipients.
In a prospective study, blood samples were obtained once weekly once from 33 healthy volunteers and weekly from 33 patients. To evaluate the expression of CD57 and CD28 on CD8+ T lymphocytes, flow cytometry analysis was performed on blood samples for four months after bone marrow transplant, together with cytomegalovirus antigenemia assays.
Compared to cytomegalovirus-seronegative healthy subjects, seropositive healthy subjects demonstrated a higher percentage of CD57+ and a lower percentage of CD28+ cells (p<0.05). A linear regression model demonstrated a continuous decrease in CD28+ expression and a continuous increase in CD57+ expression after bone marrow transplant. The occurrence of cytomegalovirus antigenemia was associated with a steep drop in the percentage of CD28+ cells (5.94%, p<0.01) and an increase in CD57+ lymphocytes (5.60%, p<0.01). This cytomegalovirus-dependent effect was for the most part concentrated in the allogeneic bone marrow transplant patients. The development of acute graft versus host disease, which occurred at an earlier time than antigenemia (day 26 vs. day 56 post- bone marrow transplant), also had an impact on the CD57+ subset, triggering an increase of 4.9% in CD57+ lymphocytes (p<0.05).
We found continuous relative changes in the CD28+ and CD57+ subsets during the first 120 days post- bone marrow transplant, as part of immune system reconstitution and maturation. A clear correlation was observed between the expansion of the CD57+CD28−CD8+ T lymphocyte subpopulation and the occurrence of graft versus host disease and cytomegalovirus viremia.
PMCID: PMC2664726  PMID: 18925328
Cytomegalovirus; Graft versus host disease; Bone marrow transplant; CD57+ lymphocytes; immuno-constitution
12.  High Genetic Stability of Dengue Virus Propagated in MRC-5 Cells as Compared to the Virus Propagated in Vero Cells 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1810.
This work investigated the replication kinetics of the four dengue virus serotypes (DEN-1 to DEN-4), including dengue virus type 4 (DEN-4) recovered from an infectious cDNA clone, in Vero cells and in MRC-5 cells grown on Cytodex 1 microcarriers. DEN-1 strain Hawaii, DEN-2 strain NGC, DEN-3 strain H-87, and DEN-4 strain H-241 , and DEN-4 strain 814669 derived from cloned DNA, were used to infect Vero cells and MRC-5 cells grown in serum-free or serum-containing microcarrier cultures. Serum-free and serum-containing cultures were found to yield comparable titers of these viruses. The cloned DNA-derived DEN-4 started genetically more homogeneous was used to investigate the genetic stability of the virus propagated in Vero cells and MRC-5 cells. Sequence analysis revealed that the DEN-4 propagated in MRC-5 cells maintained a high genetic stability, compared to the virus propagated in Vero cells. Amino acid substitutions of Gly104Cys and Phe108Ile were detected at 70%, 60%, respectively, in the envelope (E) protein of DEN-4 propagated in Vero cells, whereas a single mutation of Glu345Lys was detected at 50% in E of the virus propagated in MRC-5 cells. Sequencing of multiple clones of three separate DNA fragments spanning 40% of the genome also indicated that DEN-4 propagated in Vero cells contained a higher number of mutations than the virus growing in MRC-5 cells. Although Vero cells yielded a peak virus titer approximately 1 to 17 folds higher than MRC-5 cells, cloned DEN-4 from MRC-5 cells maintained a greater stability than the virus from Vero cells. Serum-free microcarrier cultures of MRC-5 cells offer a potentially valuable system for the large-scale production of live-attenuated DEN vaccines.
PMCID: PMC2265545  PMID: 18350148
13.  Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Activation Induced by Leptospira interrogans Glycolipoprotein  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(4):1677-1683.
Leptospira interrogans glycolipoprotein (GLP) has been implicated in pathological and functional derangement seen in leptospirosis. The goal of this study was to evaluate GLP's ability to induce cellular activation, as assessed by cytokine production and expression of surface activation markers. GLP extracted from either pathogenic L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni or nonpathogenic Leptospira biflexa serovar Patoc (GLPp) was used to stimulate peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures from healthy donors. Supernatant cytokine levels were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Expression of CD69 and HLA-DR on lymphocytes and monocytes, as well as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) binding, were measured by flow cytometry. At 6 h of incubation, GLP induced a significant rise in tumor necrosis factor alpha levels, which dropped progressively until 72 h of incubation. Interleukin-10 peak levels were obtained at between 24 and 48 h, with sustained levels until 72 h of incubation. The response magnitude was proportional to the GLP dose. CD69 expression on T lymphocytes and monocytes increased significantly, as did HLA-DR expression on monocytes. GLPp induced no CD69 or HLA-DR expression. GLP did not block biotinylated LPS binding to monocytes, suggesting that different pathways are used to induce cell activation. In conclusion, GLP induces cellular activation and may play a major role in the pathogenesis of leptospirosis.
PMCID: PMC127819  PMID: 11895929
14.  Inter- and Intra-Host Viral Diversity in a Large Seasonal DENV2 Outbreak 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e70318.
High genetic diversity at both inter- and intra-host level are hallmarks of RNA viruses due to the error-prone nature of their genome replication. Several groups have evaluated the extent of viral variability using different RNA virus deep sequencing methods. Although much of this effort has been dedicated to pathogens that cause chronic infections in humans, few studies investigated arthropod-borne, acute viral infections.
Methods and Principal Findings
We deep sequenced the complete genome of ten DENV2 isolates from representative classical and severe cases sampled in a large outbreak in Brazil using two different approaches. Analysis of the consensus genomes confirmed the larger extent of the 2010 epidemic in comparison to a previous epidemic caused by the same viruses in another city two years before (genetic distance = 0.002 and 0.0008 respectively). Analysis of viral populations within the host revealed a high level of conservation. After excluding homopolymer regions of 454/Roche generated sequences, we found 10 to 44 variable sites per genome population at a frequency of >1%, resulting in very low intra-host genetic diversity. While up to 60% of all variable sites at intra-host level were non-synonymous changes, only 10% of inter-host variability resulted from non-synonymous mutations, indicative of purifying selection at the population level.
Conclusions and Significance
Despite the error-prone nature of RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase, dengue viruses maintain low levels of intra-host variability.
PMCID: PMC3732279  PMID: 23936406
15.  Variability of HIV-1 Genomes among Children and Adolescents from São Paulo, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e62552.
Genetic variability is a major feature of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and considered the key factor to frustrating efforts to halt the virus epidemic. In this study, we aimed to investigate the genetic variability of HIV-1 strains among children and adolescents born from 1992 to 2009 in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were collected from 51 HIV-1-positive children and adolescents on ART followed between September 1992 and July 2009. After extraction, the genetic materials were used in a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the viral near full length genomes (NFLGs) from 5 overlapped fragments. NFLGs and partial amplicons were directly sequenced and data were phylogenetically inferred.
Of the 51 samples studied, the NFLGs and partial fragments of HIV-1 from 42 PBMCs and 25 plasma were successfully subtyped. Results based on proviral DNA revealed that 22 (52.4%) patients were infected with subtype B, 16 (38.1%) were infected with BF1 mosaic variants and 4 (9.5%) were infected with sub-subtype F1. All the BF1 recombinants were unique and distinct from any previously identified unique or circulating recombinant forms in South America. Evidence of dual infections was detected in 3 patients coinfected with the same or distinct HIV-1 subtypes. Ten of the 31 (32.2%) and 12 of the 21 (57.1%) subjects with recovered proviral and plasma, respectively, protease sequences were infected with major mutants resistant to protease inhibitors. The V3 sequences of 14 patients with available sequences from PBMC/or plasma were predicted to be R5-tropic virus except for two patients who harbored an X4 strain.
The high proportion of HIV-1 BF1 recombinant, coinfection rate and vertical transmission in Brazil merits urgent attention and effective measures to reduce the transmission of HIV among spouses and sex partners.
PMCID: PMC3646872  PMID: 23667488
16.  Lack of evidence to support the association of a single IL28B genotype SNP rs12979860 with the HTLV-1 clinical outcomes and proviral load 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:374.
The Interleukin 28B (IL28B) rs12979860 polymorphisms was recently reported to be associated with the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) proviral load (PvL) and the development of the HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP).
In an attempt to examine this hypothesis, we assessed the association of the rs12979860 genotypes with HTLV-1 PvL levels and clinical status in 112 unrelated Brazilian subjects (81 HTLV-1 asymptomatic carriers, 24 individuals with HAM/TSP and 7 with Adult T cell Leukemia/Lymphoma (ATLL)).
All 112 samples were successfully genotyped and their PvLs compared. Neither the homozygote TT nor the heterozygote CT mutations nor the combination genotypes (TT/CT) were associated with a greater PvL. We also observed no significant difference in allele distribution between asymptomatic carriers and patients with HTLV-1 associated HAM/TSP.
Our study failed to support the previously reported positive association between the IL28B rs12979860 polymorphisms and an increased risk of developing HAM/TSP in the Brazilian population.
PMCID: PMC3547796  PMID: 23259930
HTLV-1; ILB 28 polymorphisms; HAM/TSP; Proviral load
17.  Intra-Host Diversity and Emergence of Unique GBV-C Viral Lineages in HIV Infected Subjects in Central China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48417.
GB virus C (GBV-C), which is highly prevalent among HIV/AIDS, seemed to slow the HIV disease progression. The HIV/GBV-C co-infected individuals may represent an interesting model for the investigation of the role played by HIV infection and/or the immune system in driving the evolution of the GBV-C viral populations. The present study investigated the prevalence and population dynamics of GB virus C in HIV infected individuals representing 13 geographic regions of Hubei Province of China. Approximately 37% of HIV-1 infected individuals were infected with GBV-C and genotype 3 is appeared to be predominant. Utilizing the 196 complete E2 nucleotide sequence data from 10 HIV/GBV-C infected individuals and employing coalescence based phylogenetic approaches; the present study has investigated the intra-host dynamics of GBV-C. The results revealed patient-specific unique GBV-C viral lineages and each viral lineage showed the evidence of rapid population expansion in respective HIV-1 infected patients, thus suggesting HIV-1 was unlikely to have been inhibiting effect on the GBV-C viral replication. GBV-C in all patients has experienced intense purifying selection, suggesting the GBV-C viral invasion and subsequent expansion within the HIV-1 infected hosts without any modification of the functional epitopes at their membrane protein. The finding of within host GBV-C recombinant sequences indicated recombination was one of the significant forces in the evolution and divergence of GBV-C.
PMCID: PMC3495943  PMID: 23152773
18.  Frequency of subtype B and F1 dual infection in HIV-1 positive, Brazilian men who have sex with men 
Virology Journal  2012;9:223.
Because various HIV vaccination studies are in progress, it is important to understand how often inter- and intra-subtype co/superinfection occurs in different HIV-infected high-risk groups. This knowledge would aid in the development of future prevention programs. In this cross-sectional study, we report the frequency of subtype B and F1 co-infection in a clinical group of 41 recently HIV-1 infected men who have sex with men (MSM) in São Paulo, Brazil.
Proviral HIV-1 DNA was isolated from subject's peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes that were obtained at the time of enrollment. Each subject was known to be infected with a subtype B virus as determined in a previous study. A small fragment of the integrase gene (nucleotide 4255–4478 of HXB2) was amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using subclade F1 specific primers. The PCR results were further confirmed by phylogenetic analysis. Viral load (VL) data were extrapolated from the medical records of each patient.
For the 41 samples from MSM who were recently infected with subtype B virus, it was possible to detect subclade F1 proviral DNA in five patients, which represents a co-infection rate of 12.2%. In subjects with dual infection, the median VL was 5.3 × 104 copies/ML, whereas in MSM that were infected with only subtype B virus the median VL was 3.8 × 104 copies/ML (p > 0.8).
This study indicated that subtype B and F1 co-infection occurs frequently within the HIV-positive MSM population as suggested by large number of BF1 recombinant viruses reported in Brazil. This finding will help us track the epidemic and provide support for the development of immunization strategies against the HIV.
PMCID: PMC3499372  PMID: 23021203
19.  Characterization of an Isotype-Dependent Monoclonal Antibody against Linear Neutralizing Epitope Effective for Prophylaxis of Enterovirus 71 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e29751.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the main causative agent of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) and is associated with severe neurologic complications and mortalities. At present, there is no vaccine or therapeutic available for treatment.
Methodology/Principal Finding
In this study, we generated two mAbs, denoted as mAb 51 and 53, both targeting the same linear epitope on VP1 capsid protein, spanning amino acids 215–219. In comparison, mAb 51 belonging to isotype IgM possesses neutralizing activity in vitro, whereas, mAb 53 belonging to isotype IgG1 does not have any neutralizing ability, even towards its homologous strain. When mAb 51 at 10 µg/g of body weight was administered to the 2-week-old AG129 mice one day prior to lethal challenge, 100% in vivo passive protection was observed. In contrast, the isotype control group mice, injected with an irrelevant IgM antibody before the challenge, developed limb paralysis as early as day 6 post-infection. Histological examination demonstrated that mAb 51 was able to protect against pathologic changes such as neuropil vacuolation and neuronal loss in the spinal cord, which were typical in unprotected EV-71 infected mice. BLAST analyses of that epitope revealed that it was highly conserved among all EV71 strains, but not coxsachievirus 16 (CA16).
We have defined a linear epitope within the VP1 protein and demonstrated its neutralizing ability to be isotype dependent. The neutralizing property and highly conserved sequence potentiated the application of mAb 51 and 53 for protection against EV71 infection and diagnosis respectively.
PMCID: PMC3261156  PMID: 22279543
20.  Safety and Reactogenicity of Canarypox ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) and HIV-1 gp120 AIDSVAX B/E Vaccination in an Efficacy Trial in Thailand 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27837.
A prime-boost vaccination regimen with ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) administered intramuscularly at 0, 4, 12, and 24 weeks and gp120 AIDSVAX B/E at 12 and 24 weeks demonstrated modest efficacy of 31.2% for prevention of HIV acquisition in HIV-uninfected adults participating in a community-based efficacy trial in Thailand.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Reactogenicity was recorded for 3 days following vaccination. Adverse events were monitored every 6 months for 3.5 years, during which pregnancy outcomes were recorded. Of the 16,402 volunteers, 69% of the participants reported an adverse event any time after the first dose. Only 32.9% experienced an AE within 30 days following any vaccination. Overall adverse event rates and attribution of relatedness did not differ between groups. The frequency of serious adverse events was similar in vaccine (14.3%) and placebo (14.9%) recipients (p = 0.33). None of the 160 deaths (85 in vaccine and 75 in placebo recipients, p = 0.43) was assessed as related to vaccine. The most common cause of death was trauma or traffic accident. Approximately 30% of female participants reported a pregnancy during the study. Abnormal pregnancy outcomes were experienced in 17.1% of vaccine and 14.6% (p = 0.13) of placebo recipients. When the conception occurred within 3 months (estimated) of a vaccination, the majority of these abnormal outcomes were spontaneous or elective abortions among 22.2% and 15.3% of vaccine and placebo pregnant recipients, respectively (p = 0.08). Local reactions occurred in 88.0% of vaccine and 61.0% of placebo recipients (p<0.001) and were more frequent after ALVAC-HIV than AIDSVAX B/E vaccination. Systemic reactions were more frequent in vaccine than placebo recipients (77.2% vs. 59.8%, p<0.001). Local and systemic reactions were mostly mild to moderate, resolving within 3 days.
The ALVAC-HIV and AIDSVAX B/E vaccine regimen was found to be safe, well tolerated and suitable for potential large-scale use in Thailand.
Trial Registration NCT00223080
PMCID: PMC3244387  PMID: 22205930
21.  Characterization of Partial and Near Full-Length Genomes of HIV-1 Strains Sampled from Recently Infected Individuals in São Paulo, Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e25869.
Genetic variability is a major feature of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and is considered the key factor frustrating efforts to halt the HIV epidemic. A proper understanding of HIV-1 genomic diversity is a fundamental prerequisite for proper epidemiology, genetic diagnosis, and successful drugs and vaccines design. Here, we report on the partial and near full-length genomic (NFLG) variability of HIV-1 isolates from a well-characterized cohort of recently infected patients in São Paul, Brazil.
HIV-1 proviral DNA was extracted from the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 113 participants. The NFLG and partial fragments were determined by overlapping nested PCR and direct sequencing. The data were phylogenetically analyzed.
Of the 113 samples (90.3% male; median age 31 years; 79.6% homosexual men) studied, 77 (68.1%) NFLGs and 32 (29.3%) partial fragments were successfully subtyped. Of the successfully subtyped sequences, 88 (80.7%) were subtype B sequences, 12 (11%) BF1 recombinants, 3 (2.8%) subtype C sequences, 2 (1.8%) BC recombinants and subclade F1 each, 1 (0.9%) CRF02 AG, and 1 (0.9%) CRF31 BC. Primary drug resistance mutations were observed in 14/101 (13.9%) of samples, with 5.9% being resistant to protease inhibitors and nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTI) and 4.9% resistant to non-NRTIs. Predictions of viral tropism were determined for 86 individuals. X4 or X4 dual or mixed-tropic viruses (X4/DM) were seen in 26 (30.2%) of subjects. The proportion of X4 viruses in homosexuals was detected in 19/69 (27.5%).
Our results confirm the existence of various HIV-1 subtypes circulating in São Paulo, and indicate that subtype B account for the majority of infections. Antiretroviral (ARV) drug resistance is relatively common among recently infected patients. The proportion of X4 viruses in homosexuals was significantly higher than the proportion seen in other study populations.
PMCID: PMC3193532  PMID: 22022460
22.  Prevalence and Risk Factors Associated to Chronic Kidney Disease in HIV-Infected Patients on HAART and Undetectable Viral Load in Brazil 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26042.
To determine the prevalence and associated factors with chronic kidney disease (CKD) in a cohort of HIV-positive individuals with undetectable viral load on HAART.
From March, 2009 to September 2009, 213 individuals between 18-70 years, period on HAART ≥12 months, viral load < 50 copies/mm3, and CD4 ≥ 200 cells/mm3, were consecutively enrolled at the outpatient clinic of Hospital de Clínicas, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Exclusion criteria were obesity, malnourishment, amputee, paraplegic, previous history of renal disease, pregnancy and hepatic insufficiency. Renal function was determined by estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) assessed by the modification of diet in renal disease. CKD was defined as an eGFR less or equal than 60 ml/min/1.73 m2, for a period of at least 3 months. Poisson regression was used to determine factors associated with CKD.
CKD was diagnosed in 8.4% of the population, and after adjustment, the risk factors were hypertension (RR = 3.88, 95%CI, 1.84 - 8.16), time on HAART (RR = 1.15, 95%CI,1.03–1.27) and tenofovir exposure (RR = 2.25, 95%CI, 1.04–4.95). Higher weight (RR = ,0.88 95%CI, 0.82–0.96) was associated to normal function.
CKD was a common finding in this cohort of patients and was related to hypertension, time on HAART and tenofovir exposure. We suggest a more frequent monitoring of renal function, especially for those with risk factors to early identify renal impairment.
PMCID: PMC3192150  PMID: 22022501
23.  HIV Drug Resistance (HIVDR) in Antiretroviral Therapy-Naïve Patients in Tanzania Not Eligible for WHO Threshold HIVDR Survey Is Dramatically High 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23091.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended guidelines for a HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) survey for resource-limited countries. Eligibility criteria for patients include age below 25 years in order to focus on the prevalence of transmitted HIVDR (tHIVDR) in newly-infected individuals. Most of the participating sites across Africa have so far reported tHIVDR prevalences of below 5%. In this study we investigated whether the rate of HIVDR in patients <25 years is representative for HIVDR in the rest of the therapy-naïve population.
Methods and Findings
HIVDR was determined in 88 sequentially enrolled ART-naïve patients from Mwanza, Tanzania (mean age 35.4 years). Twenty patients were aged <25 years and 68 patients were aged 25–63 years. The frequency of HIVDR in the study population was 14.8% (95%; CI 0.072–0.223) and independent of NVP-resistance induced by prevention of mother-to-child transmission programs. Patients >25 years had a significantly higher HIVDR frequency than younger patients (19.1%; 95% CI 0.095–0.28) versus 0%, P = 0.0344). In 2 out of the 16 patients with HIVDR we found traces of antiretrovirals (ARVs) in plasma.
ART-naïve patients aged over 25 years exhibited significantly higher HIVDR than younger patients. Detection of traces of ARVs in individuals with HIVDR suggests that besides transmission, undisclosed misuse of ARVs may constitute a significant factor in the generation of the observed high HIVDR rate. The current WHO tHIVDR survey that is solely focused on the transmission of HIVDR and that excludes patients over 25 years of age may therefore result in substantial underestimation of the prevalence of HIVDR in the therapy-naïve population. Similar studies should be performed also in other areas to test whether the so far reported optimistic picture of low HIVDR prevalence in young individuals is really representative for the rest of the ART-naïve HIV-infected population.
PMCID: PMC3158766  PMID: 21886779
24.  Early Potent Protection against Heterologous SIVsmE660 Challenge Following Live Attenuated SIV Vaccination in Mauritian Cynomolgus Macaques 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23092.
Live attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vaccines represent the most effective means of vaccinating macaques against pathogenic SIV challenge. However, thus far, protection has been demonstrated to be more effective against homologous than heterologous strains. Immune correlates of vaccine-induced protection have also been difficult to identify, particularly those measurable in the peripheral circulation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we describe potent protection in 6 out of 8 Mauritian-derived cynomolgus macaques (MCM) against heterologous virus challenge with the pathogenic, uncloned SIVsmE660 viral stock following vaccination with live attenuated SIVmac251/C8. MCM provided a characterised host genetic background with limited Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) and TRIM5α allelic diversity. Early protection, observed as soon as 3 weeks post-vaccination, was comparable to that of 20 weeks vaccination. Recrudescence of vaccine virus was most pronounced in breakthrough cases where simultaneous identification of vaccine and challenge viruses by virus-specific PCR was indicative of active co-infection. Persistence of the vaccine virus in a range of lymphoid tissues was typified by a consistent level of SIV RNA positive cells in protected vaccinates. However, no association between MHC class I /II haplotype or TRIM5α polymorphism and study outcome was identified.
This SIV vaccine study, conducted in MHC-characterised MCM, demonstrated potent protection against the pathogenic, heterologous SIVsmE660 challenge stock after only 3 weeks vaccination. This level of protection against this viral stock by intravenous challenge has not been hitherto observed. The mechanism(s) of protection by vaccination with live attenuated SIV must account for the heterologous and early protection data described in this study, including those which relate to the innate immune system.
PMCID: PMC3154277  PMID: 21853072
25.  The Age-Specific Cumulative Incidence of Infection with Pandemic Influenza H1N1 2009 Was Similar in Various Countries Prior to Vaccination 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e21828.
During the influenza pandemic of 2009 estimates of symptomatic and asymptomatic infection were needed to guide vaccination policies and inform other control measures. Serological studies are the most reliable way to measure influenza infection independent of symptoms. We reviewed all published serological studies that estimated the cumulative incidence of infection with pandemic influenza H1N1 2009 prior to the initiation of population-based vaccination against the pandemic strain.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We searched for studies that estimated the cumulative incidence of pandemic influenza infection in the wider community. We excluded studies that did not include both pre- and post-pandemic serological sampling and studies that included response to vaccination. We identified 47 potentially eligible studies and included 12 of them in the review. Where there had been a significant first wave, the cumulative incidence of pandemic influenza infection was reported in the range 16%–28% in pre-school aged children, 34%–43% in school aged children and 12%–15% in young adults. Only 2%–3% of older adults were infected. The proportion of the entire population infected ranged from 11%–18%. We re-estimated the cumulative incidence to account for the small proportion of infections that may not have been detected by serology, and performed direct age-standardisation to the study population. For those countries where it could be calculated, this suggested a population cumulative incidence in the range 11%–21%.
Conclusions and Significance
Around the world, the cumulative incidence of infection (which is higher than the cumulative incidence of clinical disease) was below that anticipated prior to the pandemic. Serological studies need to be routine in order to be sufficiently timely to provide support for decisions about vaccination.
PMCID: PMC3151238  PMID: 21850217

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