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1.  The levels of anti-HPV16/18 and anti-HPV31/33/35/45/52/58 antibodies among AS04-adjuvanted HPV16/18 vaccinated and non-vaccinated Ugandan girls aged 10–16 years 
Data on Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine immune response in sub-Saharan Africa is still sparse yet such knowledge is critical for optimal implementation and monitoring of HPV vaccines. Our primary objective was to evaluate levels of anti-HPV-16/18 antibodies and six other ‘high risk’ HPV (hrHPV) types among the vaccinated and unvaccinated Ugandan girls.
We conducted a cross sectional study among AS04-adjuvanted HPV-16/18 vaccinated and unvaccinated school girls aged 10–16 years in Western Uganda using purposive sampling. The vaccinated girls were at 18 months post vaccination. After consenting and assenting, data was collected using interviewer administered questionnaires for demographics and sexual history. Blood was drawn from which serum samples were analysed by the multiplex HPV serology technology to determine anti-HPV antibody levels to HPV-16/18 and six other hrHPV types (31, 33, 35, 45, 52 and 58). The antibody levels were expressed as Median Fluorescent Intensity (MFI).
A total of 207 vaccinated [mean age 13.1 years (SD 1.5); range 10-16 years] and 197 unvaccinated girls [mean age 13.6 years (SD 1.3); range 10-16 years] participated in the study. Sexual activity was self reported among 14/207 (6.8%) vaccinated and 5/197 (2.5%) unvaccinated girls. The MFI levels for HPV-16 and HPV-18 were 15 and 20 times higher respectively in the vaccinated girls than in the unvaccinated girls. HPV-16 mean MFI level was 4691(SD 1812; 95% CI: 4438-4958) among the vaccinated compared to 218 (SD 685; 95% CI: 190-252) among the unvaccinated girls. For HPV-18 the mean MFI level was 1615 (SD 1326; 95% CI: 1470-1776) among the vaccinated compared to MFI 103 (SD 506; 95% CI: 88 -121) among unvaccinated girls.
In addition antibody levels to non vaccine hrHPV types (31, 33, 35, 45, 52 and 58) were all significantly higher in the vaccinated group than in the unvaccinated group (p<0.01).
The AS04-Adjuvanted HPV-16/18 vaccinated girls showed a higher level of antibodies to HPV-16/18 and other non-vaccine hrHPV types compared to the unvaccinated girls. This may translate into protection against HPV-16/18 and other hrHPV types.
PMCID: PMC4158334  PMID: 25206925
Human Papilloma Virus; Bivalent HPV vaccine; Immune response; Uganda; Adolescents
2.  Impact of smoking on the quantity and quality of antibodies induced by human papillomavirus type 16 and 18 AS04-adjuvanted virus-like-particle vaccine – a pilot study 
BMC Research Notes  2014;7:445.
The AS04-adjuvanted bivalent L1 virus-like-particle (VLP) vaccine (Cervarix™) against infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16/18 holds great promise to prevent HPV16/18 infections and associated neoplasias, but it is important to rule out significant co-factors of the neoplasias like smoking.
We conducted a pilot study to compare the quantity and quality of HPV16/18 antibody response at baseline and 7 months post vaccination in 104 non-smoking and 112 smoking female participants vaccinated at 0, 1 and 6 months with Cervarix™ (55 and 48 study participants) or with Hepatitis A vaccine (HAVRIX™) (48 and 64 participants, respectively). These 216 women were a sub-sample of 4808 baseline 16- to 17-year old Finnish women initially enrolled in the double-blind, randomized controlled phase III PATRICIA trial. Following end-of-study unblinding in 2009 they were randomly chosen out of all the participants of the three major Finnish PATRICIA study sites in the Helsinki metropolitan area (University of Helsinki, N = 535, and Family Federation Finland, N = 432) and Tampere (University of Tampere, N = 428). Following enrolment, serum samples were collected at month 0 and month 7 post 1st vaccination shot, and were analysed for levels and avidity of IgG antibodies to HPV16 and HPV18 using standard and modified (4 M urea elution) VLP ELISAs.
We found that at month 7 post vaccination women who smoked (cotinine level > 20 ng/ml) had levels of anti-HPV16/18 antibodies comparable to those of non-smoking women. Low-avidity HPV16/18 IgG antibodies were observed in 16% of the vaccinated women, and active smoking conferred a three-fold increased risk (95% CI 1.0-9.3) of having the low-avidity antibodies.
Our data suggest that while smoking does not interfere with the quantity of vaccine-induced peak IgG levels, it may affect the avidity of IgG induced by HPV16/18 vaccination.
PMCID: PMC4105789  PMID: 25011477
Antibody; Avidity; Human papillomavirus; AS04 adjuvanted vaccines; Cotinine; PATRICIA; Finland
3.  Universal routine HPV vaccination for young girls in Uganda: a review of opportunities and potential obstacles 
This article reviews the existing realities in Uganda to identify opportunities and potential obstacles of providing universal routine HPV vaccination to young adolescent girls. Cervical cancer is a public health priority in Uganda where it contributes to about 50–60% of all female malignancies. It is associated with a dismal 5-year relative survival of approximately 20%. With adequate financial resources, primary prevention through vaccination is feasible using existing education and health infrastructure. Cost-effectiveness studies show that at a cost of US$2 per dose, the current vaccines would be cost effective. With optimal (≥70%) coverage of the target population, the lifetime risk of cervical cancer could be reduced by >50%. Uganda fulfils 4 out of the 5 criteria set by the WHO for the introduction of routine HPV vaccination to young adolescent girls. The existing political commitment, community support for immunization and the favorable laws and policy environment all provide an opportunity that should not be missed to introduce this much needed vaccine to the young adolescent girls. However, sustainable financing by the government without external assistances remains a major obstacle. Also, the existing health delivery systems would require strengthening to cope with the delivery of HPV vaccine to a population that is normally not targeted for routine vaccination. Given the high incidence of cervical cancer and in the absence of a national screening program, universal HPV vaccination of Ugandan adolescent girls is critical for cervical cancer prevention.
PMCID: PMC3523036  PMID: 22950658
4.  Epidemiology of HPV genotypes in Uganda and the role of the current preventive vaccines: A systematic review 
Limited data are available on the distribution of human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypes in the general population and in invasive cervical cancer (ICC) in Uganda. Yet, with the advent of preventive HPV vaccines that target HPV 16 and 18 responsible for causing about 70% of ICC cases in the world, such information is crucial to predict how vaccination and HPV-based screening will influence prevention of ICC.
To review the distribution of HPV infection and prevalent genotypes, electronic databases (e.g. PubMed/MEDLINE and HINARI) were searched for peer reviewed English articles on HPV infection up to November 30, 2010. Eligible studies were selected according to the following criteria: DNA-confirmed cervical or male genital HPV prevalence and genotypes, HPV incidence estimates and HPV seroprevalence among participants.
Twenty studies were included in the review. Among HIV negative adult women, the prevalence of HR-HPV infections ranged from 10.2% -40.0% compared to 37.0% -100.0% among HIV positive women. Among HIV positive young women aged below 25 years, the prevalence of HR-HPV genotypes ranged from 41.6% -75.0% compared to 23.7% -67.1% among HIV negative women. Multiple infections with non vaccine HR-HPV genotypes were frequent in both HIV positive and HIV negative women. The main risk factors for prevalent HPV infections were age, lifetime number of sexual partners and HIV infection. Incident infections with HR-HPV genotypes were more frequent among adult HIV positive than HIV negative women estimated at 17.3 and 7.0 per 100 person-years, respectively. Similarly, incident HR-HPV among young women aged below 25 years were more frequent among HIV positive (40.0 per 100 person-years) than HIV negative women (20.3 per 100 person-years) women. The main risk factor for incident infection was HIV infection. HPV 16 and 18 were the most common genotypes in ICC with HPV 16/18 contributing up to 73.5% of cases with single infections.
Among uncircumcised adult HIV positive males, HR-HPV prevalence ranged from 55.3% -76.6% compared to 38.6% -47.6% in HIV negative males. Incident and multiple HR-HPV infections were frequent in HIV positive males. Being uncircumcised was the main risk factor for both prevalent and incident HPV infection.
Infections with HR-HPV genotypes were very common particularly among HIV positive individuals and young women irrespective of HIV status. Given the high prevalence of HIV infection, HPV-associated conditions represent a major public health burden in Uganda. However, although the most common HPV genotypes in ICC cases in Uganda were those targeted by current preventive vaccines, there were a large number of individuals infected with other HR-HPV genotypes. Technology allowing, these other HR-HPV types should be considered in the development of the next generation of vaccines.
PMCID: PMC3163594  PMID: 21749691
5.  Low avidity of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 antibodies is associated with increased risk of low-risk but not high-risk HPV type prevalence 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:170.
Low avidity of antibodies against viral, bacterial and parasitic agents has been used for differential diagnosis of acute versus recent/past infections. The low-avidity antibodies may however, persist for a longer period in some individuals.
We studied the association of human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 antibody avidity with seroprevalence to HPV types 6/11/18/31/33/45. Antibody avidity was analysed for 365 HPV16 seropositive pregnant Finnish and Ugandan women using a modified ELISA.
Low avidity of HPV16 antibodies was found in 15% of Finnish and 26% of Ugandan women. Ugandan women with low-avidity HPV16 antibodies had an increased risk estimate for HPV6/11 (odds ratio, OR 2.9; 95%CI 1.01-8.4) seropositivity but not to high-risk HPV types 18/31/33/45.
Association of the low avidity HPV16 antibody "phenotype" with possible susceptibility to infections with other HPV types warrants investigation.
PMCID: PMC3118998  PMID: 21645376
antibody; avidity; genital infection; HPV; prevalence
6.  Effect of single-dose anthelmintic treatment during pregnancy on an infant's response to immunisation and on susceptibility to infectious diseases in infancy: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial 
Lancet  2011;377(9759):52-62.
Helminth infections affect the human immune response. We investigated whether prenatal exposure to and treatment of maternal helminth infections affects development of an infant's immune response to immunisations and unrelated infections.
In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we enrolled 2507 women in the second or third trimester of pregnancy who were planning to deliver in Entebbe General Hospital, Entebbe, Uganda. With a computer-generated random number sequence in blocks of 100, we assigned patients to 440 mg albendazole and 40 mg/kg praziquantel (n=628), 440 mg albendazole and a praziquantel-matching placebo (n=625), 40 mg/kg praziquantel and an albendazole-matching placebo (n=626), or an albendazole-matching placebo and praziquantel-matching placebo (n=628). All participants and hospital staff were masked to allocation. Primary outcomes were immune response at age 1 year to BCG, tetanus, and measles immunisation; incidence of infectious diseases during infancy; and vertical HIV transmission. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered, number ISRCTN32849447.
Data were available at delivery for 2356 women, with 2345 livebirths; 2115 (90%) of liveborn infants remained in follow-up at 1 year of age. Neither albendazole nor praziquantel treatments affected infant response to BCG, tetanus, or measles immunisation. However, in infants of mothers with hookworm infection, albendazole treatment reduced interleukin-5 (geometric mean ratio 0·50, 95% CI 0·30–0·81, interaction p=0·02) and interleukin-13 (0·52, 0·34–0·82, 0·0005) response to tetanus toxoid. The rate per 100 person-years of malaria was 40·9 (95% CI 38·3–43·7), of diarrhoea was 134·1 (129·2–139·2), and of pneumonia was 22·3 (20·4–24·4). We noted no effect on infectious disease incidence for albendazole treatment (malaria [hazard ratio 0·95, 95% CI 0·79–1.14], diarrhoea [1·06, 0·96–1·16], pneumonia [1·11, 0·90–1·38]) or praziquantel treatment (malaria [1·00, 0·84–1·20], diarrhoea [1·07, 0·98–1·18], pneumonia [1·00, 0·80–1·24]). In HIV-exposed infants, 39 (18%) were infected at 6 weeks; vertical transmission was not associated with albendazole (odds ratio 0·70, 95% CI 0·35–1·42) or praziquantel (0·60, 0·29–1·23) treatment.
These results do not accord with the recently advocated policy of routine antenatal anthelmintic treatment, and the value of such a policy may need to be reviewed.
Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC3018567  PMID: 21176950
7.  Effects of maternal and infant co-infections, and of maternal immunisation, on the infant response to BCG and tetanus immunisation 
Vaccine  2010;29(2-2):247-255.
Some vaccines show poor efficacy in tropical countries. Within a birth cohort in Uganda, we investigated factors that might influence responses to BCG and tetanus immunisation. Whole blood assay responses to crude culture filtrate proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (cCFP)) and tetanus toxoid (TT) were examined among 1506 and 1433 one-year-olds, respectively. Maternal Mansonella perstans infection was associated with higher interleukin (IL)-10 responses to both immunogens but no reduction in gamma interferon (IFN-γ), IL-5 and IL-13 responses; other maternal helminth infections showed little effect. Tetanus immunisation during pregnancy was associated with higher infant responses to TT; maternal BCG scar (from past immunisation) with lower infant IL-5 and IL-13 responses to cCFP. IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-13 to TT were reduced in HIV-exposed-uninfected infants; infant malaria and HIV were associated with lower IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-13 responses to both immunogens. We conclude that maternal helminth infections are unlikely to explain poor vaccine efficacy in the tropics. Effects of maternal immunisation on infant responses to vaccines should be explored. Prevention of infant malaria and HIV could contribute to effectiveness of immunisation programmes.
PMCID: PMC3021124  PMID: 21040693
BCG; Tetanus; Immunisation
8.  The impact of helminths on the response to immunization and on the incidence of infection and disease in childhood in Uganda: design of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, factorial trial of deworming interventions delivered in pregnancy and early childhood [ISRCTN32849447] 
Helminths have profound effects on the immune response, allowing long-term survival of parasites with minimal damage to the host. Some of these effects "spill-over", altering responses to non-helminth antigens or allergens. It is suggested that this may lead to impaired responses to immunizations and infections, while conferring benefits against inflammatory responses in allergic and autoimmune disease. These effects might develop in utero, through exposure to maternal helminth infections, or through direct exposure in later life.
To determine the effects of helminths and their treatment in pregnancy and in young children on immunological and disease outcomes in childhood.
The trial has three randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled interventions at two times, in two people: a pregnant woman and her child. Pregnant women are randomized to albendazole or placebo and praziquantel or placebo. At age 15 months their children are randomized to three-monthly albendazole or placebo, to continue to age five years. The proposed designation for this sequence of interventions is a 2 X 2(x2) factorial design.
Children are immunized with BCG and against polio, Diphtheria, tetanus, Pertussis, Haemophilus, hepatitis B and measles. Primary immunological outcomes are responses to BCG antigens and tetanus toxoid in whole blood cytokine assays and antibody assays at one, three and five years of age. Primary disease outcomes are incidence of malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, measles, vertical HIV transmission, and atopic disease episodes, measured at clinic visits and twice-monthly home visits. Effects on anaemia, growth and intellectual development are also assessed.
This trial, with a novel design comprising related interventions in pregnant women and their offspring, is the first to examine effects of helminths and their treatment in pregnancy and early childhood on immunological, infectious disease and allergic disease outcomes. The results will enhance understanding of both detrimental and beneficial effects of helminth infection and inform policy. Clinical Trials 2007; 4: 42–57.
PMCID: PMC2643383  PMID: 17327245
9.  A randomised controlled trial of the effects of albendazole in pregnancy on maternal responses to mycobacterial antigens and infant responses to bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunisation [ISRCTN32849447] 
Maternal schistosomiasis and filariasis have been shown to influence infant responses to neonatal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) immunisation but the effects of maternal hookworm, and of de-worming in pregnancy, are unknown.
In Entebbe, Uganda, we conducted a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of a single dose of 400 mg of albendazole in the second trimester of pregnancy. Neonates received BCG. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and interleukin (IL)-5 responses to a mycobacterial antigen (crude culture filtrate proteins (CFP) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis) were measured in a whole blood assay. We analysed results for binary variables using χ2 tests and logistic regression. We analysed continuous variables using Wilcoxon's tests.
Maternal hookworm was associated with reduced maternal IFN-γ responses to CFP (adjusted odds ratio for IFN-γ > median response: 0.14 (95% confidence interval 0.02–0.83, p = 0.021). Conversely, maternal hookworm was associated with subsequent increased IFN-γ responses in their one-year-old infants (adjusted OR 17.65 (1.20–258.66; p = 0.013)). Maternal albendazole tended to reduce these effects.
Untreated hookworm infection in pregnancy was associated with reduced maternal IFN-γ responses to mycobacterial antigens, but increased responses in their infants one year after BCG immunisation. The mechanisms of these effects, and their implications for protective immunity remain, to be determined.
PMCID: PMC1352364  PMID: 16371154

Results 1-9 (9)