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1.  Evaluation of a Density-Based Rapid Diagnostic Test for Sickle Cell Disease in a Clinical Setting in Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114540.
Although simple and low-cost interventions for sickle cell disease (SCD) exist in many developing countries, child mortality associated with SCD remains high, in part, because of the lack of access to diagnostic tests for SCD. A density-based test using aqueous multiphase systems (SCD-AMPS) is a candidate for a low-cost, point-of-care diagnostic for SCD. In this paper, the field evaluation of SCD-AMPS in a large (n = 505) case-control study in Zambia is described. Of the two variations of the SCD-AMPS used, the best system (SCD-AMPS-2) demonstrated a sensitivity of 86% (82–90%) and a specificity of 60% (53–67%). Subsequent analysis identified potential sources of false positives that include clotting, variation between batches of SCD-AMPS, and shipping conditions. Importantly, SCD-AMPS-2 was 84% (62–94%) sensitive in detecting SCD in children between 6 months and 1 year old. In addition to an evaluation of performance, an assessment of end-user operability was done with health workers in rural clinics in Zambia. These health workers rated the SCD-AMPS tests to be as simple to use as lateral flow tests for malaria and HIV.
PMCID: PMC4260838  PMID: 25490722
2.  Pediatric Malignancies, Treatment Outcomes and Abandonment of Pediatric Cancer Treatment in Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89102.
There exist significant challenges to the receipt of comprehensive oncologic treatment for children diagnosed with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. To better define those challenges, we investigated treatment outcomes and risk factors for treatment abandonment in a cohort of children diagnosed with cancer at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), the site of the only pediatric oncology ward in Zambia.
Using an established database, a retrospective cohort study was conducted of children aged 0–15 years admitted to the pediatric oncology ward between July 2008 and June 2010 with suspected cancer. Diagnosis, mode of diagnosis, treatment outcome, and risk factors for abandonment of treatment were abstracted from this database and clinical medical records.
Among 162 children treated at the UTH during the study time period that met inclusion criteria, only 8.0% completed a treatment regimen with most of the patients dying during treatment or abandoning care. In multivariable analysis, shorter distance from home to the UTH was associated with a lower risk of treatment abandonment (Adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR] = 0.48 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.23–0.97). Conversely maternal education less than secondary school was associated with increased risk for abandonment (aOR = 1.65; 95% CI 1.05–2.58).
Despite availability of dedicated pediatric oncology treatment, treatment completion rates are poor, due in part to the logistical challenges faced by families, low educational status, and significant distance from the hospital. Alternative treatment delivery strategies are required to bring effective pediatric oncology care to the patients in need, as their ability to come to and remain at a central tertiary care facility for treatment is limited. We suggest that the extensive system now in place in most of sub-Saharan Africa that sustains life-long antiretroviral therapy for children with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection be adapted for pediatric cancer treatment to improve outcome.
PMCID: PMC3931678  PMID: 24586527
3.  Clinical patterns of juvenile idiopathic arthritis in Zambia 
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a heterogeneous group of disorders with different disease manifestations among various populations. There are few reports of JIA among indigenous Africans especially sub-Saharan Africa. We present herein the clinical patterns of JIA encountered at a tertiary hospital in Lusaka, Zambia.
Hospital records of patients with a diagnosis of chronic arthritis with onset at the age of 16 years or less presenting to University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka, Zambia for the periods 1994–98 and 2006–2010 were retrospectively reviewed and reclassified as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) based on the International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILA R) JIA diagnostic criteria.
In total, 126 patients with chronic arthritis of onset at age 16 years or less were evaluated over these periods at the hospital. Of these, 85 could further be analyzed by ILAR JIA criteria but 7 (8.24%) were HIV seropositive and were assessed separately. The average age at disease onset among the 78 JIA patients was 8.70 years (range: 1–15 years) with average age at first visit to hospital being 11.3 years (range: 2 to 25 years) and with a female to male ratio of 1.2:1. Polyarticular rheumatoid factor negative JIA, at 34.62%, was the most frequent type of chronic arthritis encountered. Oligoarthritis was found in 32.05% while 11.54% and 14.10% were polyarticular rheumatoid factor positive and systemic JIA, respectively. Enthesitis-related arthritis was found in 6.41% and only 1.28% were determined to have psoriatic arthritis among this population.
JIA is predominantly a polyarticular rheumatoid factor negative disease in Zambia. Late presentation is an issue with major implications for educational input and resource acquisition. There is need to elucidate the genetics and environmental factors of JIA in this region.
PMCID: PMC3848636  PMID: 24034206
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis; Zambia; JIA Clinical patterns; HIV-1 seropositivity
4.  The evolution of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in route to acquisition of Q151M multi-drug resistance is complex and involves mutations in multiple domains 
Retrovirology  2011;8:31.
The Q151M multi-drug resistance (MDR) pathway in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) confers reduced susceptibility to all nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) excluding tenofovir (TDF). This pathway emerges after long term failure of therapy, and is increasingly observed in the resource poor world, where antiretroviral therapy is rarely accompanied by intensive virological monitoring. In this study we examined the genotypic, phenotypic and fitness correlates associated with the development of Q151M MDR in the absence of viral load monitoring.
Single-genome sequencing (SGS) of full-length RT was carried out on sequential samples from an HIV-infected individual enrolled in ART rollout. The emergence of Q151M MDR occurred in the order A62V, V75I, and finally Q151M on the same genome at 4, 17 and 37 months after initiation of therapy, respectively. This was accompanied by a parallel cumulative acquisition of mutations at 20 other codon positions; seven of which were located in the connection subdomain. We established that fourteen of these mutations are also observed in Q151M-containing sequences submitted to the Stanford University HIV database. Phenotypic drug susceptibility testing demonstrated that the Q151M-containing RT had reduced susceptibility to all NRTIs except for TDF. RT domain-swapping of patient and wild-type RTs showed that patient-derived connection subdomains were not associated with reduced NRTI susceptibility. However, the virus expressing patient-derived Q151M RT at 37 months demonstrated ~44% replicative capacity of that at 4 months. This was further reduced to ~22% when the Q151M-containing DNA pol domain was expressed with wild-type C-terminal domain, but was then fully compensated by coexpression of the coevolved connection subdomain.
We demonstrate a complex interplay between drug susceptibility and replicative fitness in the acquisition Q151M MDR with serious implications for second-line regimen options. The acquisition of the Q151M pathway occurred sequentially over a long period of failing NRTI therapy, and was associated with mutations in multiple RT domains.
PMCID: PMC3113953  PMID: 21569325
5.  Excellent Adherence to Antiretrovirals in HIV+ Zambian Children Is Compromised by Disrupted Routine, HIV Nondisclosure, and Paradoxical Income Effects 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18505.
A better understanding of pediatric antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence in sub-Saharan Africa is necessary to develop interventions to sustain high levels of adherence.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Adherence among 96 HIV-infected Zambian children (median age 6, interquartile range [IQR] 2,9) initiating fixed-dose combination ART was measured prospectively (median 23 months; IQR 20,26) with caregiver report, clinic and unannounced home-based pill counts, and medication event monitoring systems (MEMS). HIV-1 RNA was determined at 48 weeks. Child and caregiver characteristics, socio-demographic status, and treatment-related factors were assessed as predictors of adherence. Median adherence was 97.4% (IQR 96.1,98.4%) by visual analog scale, 94.8% (IQR 86,100%) by caregiver-reported last missed dose, 96.9% (IQR 94.5,98.2%) by clinic pill count, 93.4% (IQR 90.2,96.7%) by unannounced home-based pill count, and 94.8% (IQR 87.8,97.7%) by MEMS. At 48 weeks, 72.6% of children had HIV-1 RNA <50 copies/ml. Agreement among adherence measures was poor; only MEMS was significantly associated with viral suppression (p = 0.013). Predictors of poor adherence included changing residence, school attendance, lack of HIV disclosure to children aged nine to 15 years, and increasing household income.
Adherence among children taking fixed-dose combination ART in sub-Saharan Africa is high and sustained over two years. However, certain groups are at risk for treatment failure, including children with disrupted routines, no knowledge of their HIV diagnosis among older children, and relatively high household income, possibly reflecting greater social support in the setting of greater poverty.
PMCID: PMC3080873  PMID: 21533031
6.  Role of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in reducing mortality in HIV infected adults being treated for tuberculosis: randomised clinical trial 
Objective To assess the impact of prophylactic oral co-trimoxazole in reducing mortality in HIV positive Zambian adults being treated for pulmonary tuberculosis.
Design Double blind placebo controlled randomised clinical trial.
Participants Two groups of antiretroviral treatment naive adults with HIV infection: patients newly diagnosed as having tuberculosis and receiving tuberculosis treatment either for the first time or for retreatment after relapse; previously treated patients not receiving treatment.
Intervention Oral co-trimoxazole or matching placebo daily.
Primary outcome measures Time to death and occurrence of serious adverse events related to study drug.
Results 1003 patients were randomised: 835 (416 co-trimoxazole, 419 placebo) were receiving treatment for tuberculosis, 762 (376 co-trimoxazole, 386 placebo) of them newly diagnosed previously untreated patients and 73 (40 co-trimoxazole, 33 placebo) receiving a retreatment regimen; 168 (84 co-trimoxazole, 84 placebo) were not on treatment but had received treatment in the past. Of 835 participants receiving tuberculosis treatment, follow-up information was available for 757, with a total of 1012.6 person years of follow-up. A total of 310 (147 co-trimoxazole, 163 placebo) participants died, corresponding to death rates of 27.3 and 34.4 per 100 person years. In the Cox regression analysis, the hazard ratio for death (co-trimoxazole:placebo) was 0.79 (95% confidence interval 0.63 to 0.99). The effect of co-trimoxazole waned with time, possibly owing to falling adherence levels; in a per protocol analysis based on patients who spent at least 90% of their time at risk supplied with study drug, the hazard ratio was 0.65 (0.45 to 0.93).
Conclusions Prophylaxis with co-trimoxazole reduces mortality in HIV infected adults with pulmonary tuberculosis. Co-trimoxazole was generally safe and well tolerated.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN15281875.
PMCID: PMC2656923  PMID: 18617486

Results 1-6 (6)