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author:("dublin, James")
1.  Safety and Comparability of Controlled Human Plasmodium falciparum Infection by Mosquito Bite in Malaria-Naïve Subjects at a New Facility for Sporozoite Challenge 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e109654.
Background
Controlled human malaria infection (CHMI) studies which recapitulate mosquito-borne infection are a critical tool to identify protective vaccine and drug candidates for advancement to field trials. In partnership with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the CHMI model was established at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute's Malaria Clinical Trials Center (MCTC). Activities and reagents at both centers were aligned to ensure comparability and continued safety of the model. To demonstrate successful implementation, CHMI was performed in six healthy malaria-naïve volunteers.
Methods
All volunteers received NF54 strain Plasmodium falciparum by the bite of five infected Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes under controlled conditions and were monitored for signs and symptoms of malaria and for parasitemia by peripheral blood smear. Subjects were treated upon diagnosis with chloroquine by directly observed therapy. Immunological (T cell and antibody) and molecular diagnostic (real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction [qRT-PCR]) assessments were also performed.
Results
All six volunteers developed patent parasitemia and clinical malaria. No serious adverse events occurred during the study period or for six months post-infection. The mean prepatent period was 11.2 days (range 9–14 days), and geometric mean parasitemia upon diagnosis was 10.8 parasites/µL (range 2–69) by microscopy. qRT-PCR detected parasites an average of 3.7 days (range 2–4 days) earlier than blood smears. All volunteers developed antibodies to the blood-stage antigen merozoite surface protein 1 (MSP-1), which persisted up to six months. Humoral and cellular responses to pre-erythrocytic antigens circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and liver-stage antigen 1 (LSA-1) were limited.
Conclusion
The CHMI model was safe, well tolerated and characterized by consistent prepatent periods, pre-symptomatic diagnosis in 3/6 subjects and adverse event profiles as reported at established centers. The MCTC can now evaluate candidates in the increasingly diverse vaccine and drug pipeline using the CHMI model.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01058226
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109654
PMCID: PMC4236046  PMID: 25405724
2.  In Pursuit of an HIV Vaccine: Designing Efficacy Trials in the Context of Partially Effective Nonvaccine Prevention Modalities 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2013;29(11):1513-1523.
Abstract
The HIV prevention landscape is evolving rapidly, and future efficacy trials of candidate vaccines, which remain the best long-term option for stemming the HIV epidemic, will be conducted in the context of partially effective nonvaccine prevention modalities. It is essential that these trials provide for valid and efficient evaluation of vaccine efficacy and immune correlates. The availability of partially effective prevention modalities presents opportunities to study their interactions with vaccines to maximally reduce HIV incidence. This article proposes an approach for conducting future vaccine efficacy trials in the context of background use of partially effective nonvaccine prevention modalities, and for conducting future vaccine efficacy trials that provide nonvaccine prevention modalities in one or more of the randomized study groups. Strategies are discussed for responding to emerging evidence on nonvaccine prevention modalities during ongoing vaccine trials. Next-generation HIV vaccine efficacy trials will almost certainly be more complex in their design and implementation but may become more relevant to at-risk populations and better suited to the ultimate goal of reducing HIV incidence at the population level.
doi:10.1089/aid.2012.0385
PMCID: PMC3809388  PMID: 23597282
3.  The Immune Space: A Concept and Template for Rationalizing Vaccine Development 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2014;30(11):1017-1022.
Abstract
Empirical testing of candidate vaccines has led to the successful development of a number of lifesaving vaccines. The advent of new tools to manipulate antigens and new methods and vectors for vaccine delivery has led to a veritable explosion of potential vaccine designs. As a result, selection of candidate vaccines suitable for large-scale efficacy testing has become more challenging. This is especially true for diseases such as dengue, HIV, and tuberculosis where there is no validated animal model or correlate of immune protection. Establishing guidelines for the selection of vaccine candidates for advanced testing has become a necessity. A number of factors could be considered in making these decisions, including, for example, safety in animal and human studies, immune profile, protection in animal studies, production processes with product quality and stability, availability of resources, and estimated cost of goods. The “immune space template” proposed here provides a standardized approach by which the quality, level, and durability of immune responses elicited in early human trials by a candidate vaccine can be described. The immune response profile will demonstrate if and how the candidate is unique relative to other candidates, especially those that have preceded it into efficacy testing and, thus, what new information concerning potential immune correlates could be learned from an efficacy trial. A thorough characterization of immune responses should also provide insight into a developer's rationale for the vaccine's proposed mechanism of action. HIV vaccine researchers plan to include this general approach in up-selecting candidates for the next large efficacy trial. This “immune space” approach may also be applicable to other vaccine development endeavors where correlates of vaccine-induced immune protection remain unknown.
doi:10.1089/aid.2014.0040
PMCID: PMC4208609  PMID: 24857015
4.  Safety and Comparative Immunogenicity of an HIV-1 DNA Vaccine in Combination with Plasmid Interleukin 12 and Impact of Intramuscular Electroporation for Delivery 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(5):818-829.
Background. DNA vaccines have been very poorly immunogenic in humans but have been an effective priming modality in prime-boost regimens. Methods to increase the immunogenicity of DNA vaccines are needed.
Methods. HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) studies 070 and 080 were multicenter, randomized, clinical trials. The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) PENNVAX®-B DNA vaccine (PV) is a mixture of 3 expression plasmids encoding HIV-1 Clade B Env, Gag, and Pol. The interleukin 12 (IL-12) DNA plasmid expresses human IL-12 proteins p35 and p40. Study subjects were healthy HIV-1–uninfected adults 18–50 years old. Four intramuscular vaccinations were given in HVTN 070, and 3 intramuscular vaccinations were followed by electroporation in HVTN 080. Cellular immune responses were measured by intracellular cytokine staining after stimulation with HIV-1 peptide pools.
Results. Vaccination was safe and well tolerated. Administration of PV plus IL-12 with electroporation had a significant dose-sparing effect and provided immunogenicity superior to that observed in the trial without electroporation, despite fewer vaccinations. A total of 71.4% of individuals vaccinated with PV plus IL-12 plasmid with electroporation developed either a CD4+ or CD8+ T-cell response after the second vaccination, and 88.9% developed a CD4+ or CD8+ T-cell response after the third vaccination.
Conclusions. Use of electroporation after PV administration provided superior immunogenicity than delivery without electroporation. This study illustrates the power of combined DNA approaches to generate impressive immune responses in humans.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit236
PMCID: PMC3733506  PMID: 23840043
vaccination; electroporation; plasmid cytokine adjuvant
5.  Lessons Learned from HIV Vaccine Clinical Efficacy Trials 
Current HIV research  2013;11(6):441-449.
The past few years have witnessed many promising advances in HIV prevention strategies involving pre-exposure prophylaxis approaches. Some may now wonder whether an HIV vaccine is still needed, and whether developing one is even possible. The partial efficacy reported in the RV144 trial and the encouraging results of the accompanying immune correlates analysis suggest that an effective HIV vaccine is achievable. These successes have provided a large impetus and guidance for conducting more HIV vaccine trials. A key lesson learned from RV144 is that assessment of HIV acquisition is now a feasible and valuable primary objective for HIV preventive vaccine trials. In this article we review how RV144 and other HIV vaccine efficacy trials have instructed the field and highlight some of the HIV vaccine concepts in clinical development. After a long and significant investment, HIV vaccine clinical research is paying off in the form of valuable lessons that, if applied effectively, will accelerate the path toward a safe and effective vaccine. Together with other HIV prevention approaches, preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccines will be invaluable tools in bringing the epidemic to an end.
PMCID: PMC4000156  PMID: 24033299
6.  Predictors of HVTN 503 MRK-AD5 HIV-1 gag/pol/nef Vaccine Induced Immune Responses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e103446.
Background
Phambili, the Merck (MRK)-Adenovirus Type 5 (Ad5) HIV-1 gag/pol/nef subtype B vaccine study, conducted in South Africa, suspended enrollment and vaccination when companion study, Step, was found non-efficacious. Although the vaccine did not prevent HIV-1 infection or lower viral-load setpoint, immune responses recognized clades B and C HIV-1 subtypes. We investigated predictors of the vaccine-induced antigen-specific immune responses.
Methods
Vaccine-induced immunogenicity was ascertained by interferon-γ ELISpot assays on the first 186 enrolled participants receiving two vaccinations. Analyses, stratified by study arm/sex, were performed on baseline demographics [sex, age, Body Mass Index (BMI), site, Adenovirus Type-5 (Ad5) titer, Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 (HSV2) status, heavy drinking]. Multivariate logistic regression determined predictors.
Results
Of the 186 participants, 53.7% (n = 100) were female, median BMI was 22.5 [IQR: 20.4–27.0], 85.5% (n = 159) were Ad5 seropositive, and 18.8% (n = 35) drank heavily. All vaccine recipients responded to both clade B (n = 87; 47%) and/or C (n = 74; 40%), p = 0.17. In multivariate analysis, female sex [Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR): 6.478; p = 0.0159], overweight/obese BMI (AOR: 0.186; p = 0.0452), and heavy drinking (AOR: 0.270; p = 0.048) significantly predicted immune response to clade C for any antigens. A marginally significant predictor of clade C-pol antigen was female sex (AOR: 3.182; p = 0.0500).
Conclusions
Sex, BMI, and heavy drinking affected vaccine-induced HIV-1 specific immune responses to clade C antigens. The role of female sex and overweight/obese BMI boosting and suppressing vaccine-induced HIV-1 specific immune responses, respectively, requires elucidation, including any effect on HIV vaccine efficacy, especially in the era of colliding epidemics (HIV and obesity).
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103446
PMCID: PMC4121165  PMID: 25090110
7.  Efficacy Trial of a DNA/rAd5 HIV-1 Preventive Vaccine 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(22):2083-2092.
Background
A safe and effective vaccine for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection is a global priority. We tested the efficacy of a DNA prime–recombinant adenovirus type 5 boost (DNA/rAd5) vaccine regimen in persons at increased risk for HIV-1 infection in the United States.
Methods
At 21 sites, we randomly assigned 2504 men or transgender women who have sex with men to receive the DNA/rAd5 vaccine (1253 participants) or placebo (1251 participants). We assessed HIV-1 acquisition from week 28 through month 24 (termed week 28+ infection), viral-load set point (mean plasma HIV-1 RNA level 10 to 20 weeks after diagnosis), and safety. The 6-plasmid DNA vaccine (expressing clade B Gag, Pol, and Nef and Env proteins from clades A, B, and C) was administered at weeks 0, 4, and 8. The rAd5 vector boost (expressing clade B Gag-Pol fusion protein and Env glycoproteins from clades A, B, and C) was administered at week 24.
Results
In April 2013, the data and safety monitoring board recommended halting vaccinations for lack of efficacy. The primary analysis showed that week 28+ infection had been diagnosed in 27 participants in the vaccine group and 21 in the placebo group (vaccine efficacy, −25.0%; 95% confidence interval, −121.2 to 29.3; P = 0.44), with mean viral-load set points of 4.46 and 4.47 HIV-1 RNA log10 copies per milliliter, respectively. Analysis of all infections during the study period (41 in the vaccine group and 31 in the placebo group) also showed lack of vaccine efficacy (P = 0.28). The vaccine regimen had an acceptable side-effect profile.
Conclusions
The DNA/rAd5 vaccine regimen did not reduce either the rate of HIV-1 acquisition or the viral-load set point in the population studied. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00865566.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1310566
PMCID: PMC4030634  PMID: 24099601
8.  The HVTN503/Phambili HIV vaccine trial: a comparison of younger and older participants 
By comparing younger to older participants enrolled in a HIV vaccine efficacy trial, we aimed to gain insights into the inclusion of adolescents in future trials. This was a sub-analysis of a multisite HIV vaccine randomized clinical trial in South Africa, conducted January-September, 2007. Motivations for trial enrollment, social harms, adverse events, and loss to follow-up were compared between younger (18-20 years old) and older participants (21-35 years old). Both younger (n=238) and older participants (n=563) were equally likely to report enrolling for altruistic reasons. Younger females were less likely than older participants to join for trial reimbursement (p=0.005), while younger males were more likely to enroll because the vaccine may provide protection from HIV-acquisition (p<0.001). There were no significant differences in the number of social harms reported. Compared to males over 20 years-old, 18-20-year-old females were less likely to experience adverse events (OR=0.1, CI 0.01-0.80) and no more likely to be lost to follow up (OR=0.7, CI 0.39-1.25), while 18-20-year-old males were no more likely to experience adverse events (OR=1.3, CI 0.58-2.83) or loss to follow-up (OR=0.8, CI 0.51-1.41). Our data support the inclusion of younger participants who are at risk for HIV in future HIV vaccine efficacy trials.
doi:10.1177/0956462413506892
PMCID: PMC3968181  PMID: 24104693
HIV; vaccine trials; clinical trials; youth; South Africa
9.  Have the explosive HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa been driven by higher community viral load? 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(6):981-989.
Objective
The HIV epidemic has carved contrasting trajectories around the world with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) being most affected. We hypothesized that mean HIV-1 plasma RNA viral loads (VL) are higher in SSA than other areas, and that these elevated levels may contribute to the scale of epidemics in this region.
Design and Methods
To evaluate this hypothesis, we constructed a database of means of 71,668 VL measurements from 44 cohorts in seven regions of the world. We used linear regression statistical models to estimate differences in VL between regions. We also constructed and analyzed a mathematical model to describe the impact of the regional VL differences on HIV epidemic trajectory.
Results
We found substantial regional VL heterogeneity. The mean VL in SSA was 0.58 log10 copies/mL higher than in North America (95% CI: 0.45 to 0.71); this represents about a 4-fold increase. The highest mean VLs were found in Southern and East Africa, while in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, mean VLs were comparable. Mathematical modeling indicated that conservatively 14% of HIV infections in a representative population in Kenya could be attributed to the enhanced infectiousness of subjects with heightened VL.
Conclusion
We conclude that community VL appears to be higher in SSA than in other regions and this may be a central driver of the massive HIV epidemics in this region. The elevated VLs in SSA may reflect, among other factors, the high burden of co-infections or the preponderance of HIV-1 subtype C infection.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32835cb927
PMCID: PMC3725236  PMID: 23196933
HIV; viral load; co-infection; epidemic; sub-Saharan Africa; mathematical model
10.  HIV-1 Vaccines and Adaptive Trial Designs 
Science translational medicine  2011;3(79):79ps13.
Developing a vaccine against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) poses an exceptional challenge. There are no documented cases of immune-mediated clearance of HIV from an infected individual, and no known correlates of immune protection. Although non-human primate models of lentivirus infection have provided valuable data about HIV pathogenesis, such models do not predict HIV vaccine efficacy in humans. The combined lack of a predictive animal model and undefined biomarkers of immune protection against HIV necessitate that vaccines to this pathogen be tested directly in clinical trials. Adaptive clinical trial designs can accelerate vaccine development by rapidly screening out poor vaccines while extending the evaluation of efficacious ones, thereby improving the characterization of promising vaccine candidates and the identification of correlates of immune protection.
doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3001863
PMCID: PMC3616511  PMID: 21508308
11.  HIV Vaccine Trials Network: activities and achievements of the first decade and beyond 
Clinical investigation  2012;2(3):245-254.
The HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) is an international collaboration of scientists and educators facilitating the development of HIV/AIDS preventive vaccines. The HVTN conducts all phases of clinical trials, from evaluating experimental vaccines for safety and immunogenicity, to testing vaccine efficacy. Over the past decade, the HVTN has aimed to improve the process of designing, implementing and analyzing vaccine trials. Several major achievements include streamlining protocol development while maintaining input from diverse stakeholders, establishing a laboratory program with standardized assays and systems allowing for reliable immunogenicity assessments across trials, setting statistical standards for the field and actively engaging with site communities. These achievements have allowed the HVTN to conduct over 50 clinical trials and make numerous scientific contributions to the field.
doi:10.4155/cli.12.8
PMCID: PMC3521567  PMID: 23243491
clinical trial network; HIV; HIV Vaccine Trials Network; vaccine
12.  A Sequential Phase 2b Trial Design for Evaluating Vaccine Efficacy and Immune Correlates for Multiple HIV Vaccine Regimens 
Five preventative HIV vaccine efficacy trials have been conducted over the last 12 years, all of which evaluated vaccine efficacy (VE) to prevent HIV infection for a single vaccine regimen versus placebo. Now that one of these trials has supported partial VE of a prime-boost vaccine regimen, there is interest in conducting efficacy trials that simultaneously evaluate multiple prime-boost vaccine regimens against a shared placebo group in the same geographic region, for accelerating the pace of vaccine development. This article proposes such a design, which has main objectives (1) to evaluate VE of each regimen versus placebo against HIV exposures occurring near the time of the immunizations; (2) to evaluate durability of VE for each vaccine regimen showing reliable evidence for positive VE; (3) to expeditiously evaluate the immune correlates of protection if any vaccine regimen shows reliable evidence for positive VE; and (4) to compare VE among the vaccine regimens. The design uses sequential monitoring for the events of vaccine harm, non-efficacy, and high efficacy, selected to weed out poor vaccines as rapidly as possible while guarding against prematurely weeding out a vaccine that does not confer efficacy until most of the immunizations are received. The evaluation of the design shows that testing multiple vaccine regimens is important for providing a well-powered assessment of the correlation of vaccine-induced immune responses with HIV infection, and is critically important for providing a reasonably powered assessment of the value of identified correlates as surrogate endpoints for HIV infection.
PMCID: PMC3502884  PMID: 23181167
HIV vaccine efficacy clinical trial; immune correlate of protection; one-way crossover design; surrogate endpoint for HIV infection; two-phase sampling
13.  Safety and Immunogenicity of the MRKAd5 gag HIV Type 1 Vaccine in a Worldwide Phase 1 Study of Healthy Adults 
Abstract
The safety and immunogenicity of the MRK adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) HIV-1 clade B gag vaccine was assessed in an international Phase I trial. Three-hundred and sixty healthy HIV-uninfected adults were enrolled on five continents. Subjects received placebo or 1 × 109 or 1 × 1010 viral particles (vp) per dose of the MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine at day 1, week 4, and week 26. Immunogenicity was evaluated using an IFN-γ ELISPOT gag 15-mer assay with positive responses defined as ≥55 SFC/106 PBMCs and ≥4-fold over mock control. The vaccine was well tolerated. The most common adverse events were injection site reactions, headache, pyrexia, diarrhea, fatigue, and myalgia. At week 30, geometric mean ELISPOT responses were 24, 114, and 226 SFC/106 PBMCs in the placebo, 1 × 109 vp/dose, and 1 × 1010 vp/dose groups, respectively. Overall, responses to 1 × 1010 vp were 85% and 68% in subjects with low (≤200) and high (>200) baseline Ad5 titers, respectively. The MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine was immunogenic in diverse geographic regions. Gag ELISPOT responses were greater in the 1 × 1010 vp/dose groups than in the 1 × 109 vp/dose groups. Data from this first international study indicate that adenovirus-vectored vaccines are well tolerated and may be immunogenic in subjects from regions with high prevalence of preexisting Ad5 immunity.
doi:10.1089/aid.2010.0151
PMCID: PMC3422055  PMID: 20854108
14.  Pregnancy Incidence and Correlates during the HVTN 503 Phambili HIV Vaccine Trial Conducted among South African Women 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e31387.
Background
HIV prevention trials are increasingly being conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. Women at risk for HIV are also at risk of pregnancy. To maximize safety, women agree to avoid pregnancy during trials, yet pregnancies occur. Using data from the HVTN 503/“Phambili” vaccine trial, we report pregnancy incidence during and after the vaccination period and identify factors, measured at screening, associated with incident pregnancy.
Methods
To enrol in the trial, women agreed and were supported to avoid pregnancy until 1 month after their third and final vaccination (“vaccination period”), corresponding to the first 7 months of follow-up. Unsterilized women, pooled across study arms, were analyzed. Poisson regression compared pregnancy rates during and after the vaccination period. Cox proportional hazards regression identified associations with first pregnancy.
Results
Among 352 women (median age 23 yrs; median follow-up 1.5 yrs), pregnancy incidence was 9.6/100 women-years overall and 6.8/100 w-yrs and 11.3/100 w-yrs during and after the vaccination period, respectively [Rate Ratio = 0.60 (0.32–1.14), p = 0.10]. In multivariable analysis, pregnancy was reduced among women who: enrolled at sites providing contraception on-site [HR = 0.43, 95% CI (0.22–0.86)]; entered the trial as injectable contraceptive users [HR = 0.37 (0.21–0.67)] or as consistent condom users (trend) [HR = 0.54 (0.28–1.04)]. Compared with women with a single partner of HIV-unknown status, pregnancy rates were increased among women with: a single partner whose status was HIV-negative [HR = 2.34(1.16–4.73)] and; 2 partners both of HIV-unknown status [HR = 4.42(1.59–12.29)]. Women with 2 more of these risk factors: marijuana use, heavy drinking, or use of either during sex, had increased pregnancy incidence [HR = 2.66 (1.24–5.72)].
Conclusions
It is possible to screen South African women for pregnancy risk at trial entry. Providing injectable contraception for free on-site and supporting consistent condom use may reduce incident pregnancy. Screening should determine the substance use, partnering, and HIV status of both members of the couple for both pregnancy and HIV prevention.
Trial Registration
SA National Health Research Database DOH-27-0207-1539; Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00413725
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031387
PMCID: PMC3331975  PMID: 22532824
15.  Human adenovirus-specific T cells modulate HIV-specific T cell responses to an Ad5-vectored HIV-1 vaccine 
Recombinant viruses hold promise as vectors for vaccines to prevent infectious diseases with significant global health impacts. One of their major limitations is that preexisting anti-vector neutralizing antibodies can reduce T cell responses to the insert antigens; however, the impact of vector-specific cellular immunity on subsequent insert-specific T cell responses has not been assessed in humans. Here, we have identified and compared adenovirus-specific and HIV-specific T cell responses in subjects participating in two HIV-1 vaccine trials using a vaccine vectored by adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5). Higher frequencies of pre-immunization adenovirus-specific CD4+ T cells were associated with substantially decreased magnitude of HIV-specific CD4+ T cell responses and decreased breadth of HIV-specific CD8+ T cell responses in vaccine recipients, independent of type-specific preexisting Ad5-specific neutralizing antibody titers. Further, epitopes recognized by adenovirus-specific T cells were commonly conserved across many adenovirus serotypes, suggesting that cross-reactivity of preexisting adenovirus-specific T cells can extend to adenovirus vectors derived from rare serotypes. These findings provide what we believe to be a new understanding of how preexisting viral immunity may impact the efficacy of vaccines under current evaluation for prevention of HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria.
doi:10.1172/JCI60202
PMCID: PMC3248307  PMID: 22201684
16.  Pre-Existing Adenovirus Immunity Modifies a Complex Mixed Th1 and Th2 Cytokine Response to an Ad5/HIV-1 Vaccine Candidate in Humans 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18526.
The results of the recent Step Study highlight a need to clarify the effects of pre-existing natural immunity to a vaccine vector on vaccine-induced T-cell responses. To investigate this interaction, we examined the relationship between pre-existing Ad5 immunity and T-cell cytokine response profiles in healthy, HIV-uninfected recipients of MRKAd5 HIV-1 gag vaccine (HVTN 050, ClinicalTrials.gov #NCT00849732). Participants were grouped by baseline Ad5 neutralizing antibody titer as either Ad5-seronegative (titer ≤18; n = 36) or Ad5-seropositive (titer >200; n = 34). Samples from vaccine recipients were analyzed for immune responses to either HIV-1 Gag peptide pools or Ad5 empty vector using an ex vivo assay that measures thirty cytokines in the absence of long-term culture. The overall profiles of cytokine responses to Gag and Ad5 had similar combinations of induced Th1- and Th2-type cytokines, including IFN-γ, IL-2, TNF-α, IP-10, IL-13, and IL-10, although the Ad5-specific responses were uniformly higher than the Gag-specific responses (p<0.0001 for 9 out of 11 significantly expressed analytes). At the peak response time point, PBMC from Ad5-seronegative vaccinees secreted significantly more IP-10 in response to Gag (p = 0.008), and significantly more IP-10 (p = 0.0009), IL-2 (p = 0.006) and IL-10 (p = 0.05) in response to Ad5 empty vector than PBMC from Ad5-seropositive vaccinees. Additionally, similar responses to the Ad5 vector prior to vaccination were observed in almost all subjects, regardless of Ad5 neutralizing antibody status, and the levels of secreted IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-1Ra and GM-CSF were blunted following vaccination. The cytokine response profile of Gag-specific T cells mirrored the Ad5-specific response present in all subjects before vaccination, and included a number of Th1- and Th2-associated cytokines not routinely assessed in current vaccine trials, such as IP-10, IL-10, IL-13, and GM-CSF. Together, these results suggest that vector-specific humoral responses may reduce vaccine-induced T-cell responses by previously undetected mechanisms.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018526
PMCID: PMC3076372  PMID: 21533229
17.  Protective efficacy of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis against malaria in HIV exposed children in rural Uganda: a randomised clinical trial 
Objective To evaluate the protective efficacy of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis against malaria in HIV exposed children (uninfected children born to HIV infected mothers) in Africa.
Design Non-blinded randomised control trial
Setting Tororo district, rural Uganda, an area of high malaria transmission intensity
Participants 203 breastfeeding HIV exposed infants enrolled between 6 weeks and 9 months of age
Intervention Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis from enrolment until cessation of breast feeding and confirmation of negative HIV status. All children who remained HIV uninfected (n=185) were then randomised to stop co-trimoxazole prophylaxis immediately or continue co-trimoxazole until 2 years old.
Main outcome measure Incidence of malaria, calculated as the number of antimalarial treatments per person year.
Results The incidence of malaria and prevalence of genotypic mutations associated with antifolate resistance were high throughout the study. Among the 98 infants randomised to continue co-trimoxazole, 299 malaria cases occurred in 92.28 person years (incidence 3.24 cases/person year). Among the 87 infants randomised to stop co-trimoxazole, 400 malaria cases occurred in 71.81 person years (5.57 cases/person year). Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis yielded a 39% reduction in malaria incidence, after adjustment for age at randomisation (incidence rate ratio 0.61 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.81), P=0.001). There were no significant differences in the incidence of complicated malaria, diarrhoea, pneumonia, hospitalisations, or deaths between the two treatment arms.
Conclusions Co-trimoxazole prophylaxis was moderately protective against malaria in HIV exposed infants when continued beyond the period of HIV exposure despite the high prevalence of Plasmodium genotypes associated with antifolate resistance.
Trial registration Clinical Trials NCT00527800
doi:10.1136/bmj.d1617
PMCID: PMC3068910  PMID: 21454456
19.  Post STEP Modifications for Research on HIV Vaccines 
AIDS (London, England)  2009;23(1):3-8.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32830e6d6d
PMCID: PMC2720076  PMID: 19050380
20.  Parasitic Central Nervous System Infections in Immunocompromised Hosts: Malaria, Microsporidiosis, Leishmaniasis, and African Trypanosomiasis 
Immunosuppression associated with HIV infection or following transplantation increases susceptibility to central nervous system (CNS) infections. Because of increasing international travel, parasites that were previously limited to tropical regions pose an increasing infectious threat to populations at risk for acquiring opportunistic infection, especially people with HIV infection or individuals who have received a solid organ or bone marrow transplant. Although long-term immunosuppression caused by medications such as prednisone likely also increases the risk for acquiring infection and for developing CNS manifestations, little published information is available to support this hypothesis. In an earlier article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, we described the neurologic manifestations of some of the more common parasitic CNS infections. This review will discuss the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the following additional parasitic CNS infections: malaria, microsporidiosis, leishmaniasis, and African trypanosomiasis.
doi:10.1086/498510
PMCID: PMC2683841  PMID: 16323101
21.  Association between the Pharmacokinetics and In Vivo Therapeutic Efficacy of Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine in Malawian Children 
Sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has been widely used in recent years to treat acute uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Risk factors for SP therapeutic failure include young age, subtherapeutic SP concentrations, and resistance-conferring genetic mutations in parasite target enzymes. A substantial proportion of patients are able to clear genetically highly resistant P. falciparum genotypes. To determine whether blood SP concentrations independently affect the patient's ability to clear resistant genotypes, we compared SP pharmacokinetics of cases of adequate clinical and parasitological response (ACPR) with cases of treatment failure (TF). When patients with ACPR and TF were compared, mean values were similar for the day 3 blood pyrimethamine (205 ng/ml versus 172 ng/ml; P = 0.25) and estimated maximum sulfadoxine (79 ± 6.52 versus 69 ± 6.27 μg/ml; P = 0.60) concentrations, for sulfadoxine terminal-phase elimination half-lives (7.15 versus 6.41 days; P = 0.42), and for the extents of sulfadoxine absorption (areas under the concentration-time curve of 932 ± 100 versus 888 ± 78.9 μg day ml−1; P = 0.72). Among patients infected with the quintuple resistant parasites, day 3 blood pyrimethamine concentrations were higher in those who cleared the infection than in those who did not (305 ± 35.4 versus 228 ± 21.7 ng/ml; P = 0.037). Within this subgroup, this finding remained significant after adjusting for endogenous folate levels, age, site, and resistance-conferring mutations (odds ratio: 1.011 [1.003 to 1.024]; P = 0.018). However, as a subgroup analysis, our biologically plausible observation that higher blood pyrimethamine concentrations enhance the ability of patients to clear resistant P. falciparum should be interpreted with caution and needs further validation.
doi:10.1128/AAC.49.9.3601-3606.2005
PMCID: PMC1195435  PMID: 16127028
23.  Sustained clinical efficacy of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine for uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Malawi after 10 years as first line treatment: five year prospective study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7439):545.
Objective To measure the efficacy of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment of falciparum malaria in Malawi from 1998 to 2002, after a change from chloroquine to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine as first line treatment in that country in 1993.
Design Prospective open label drug efficacy study.
Setting Health centre in large peri-urban township adjacent to Blantyre, Malawi.
Participants People presenting to a health centre with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
Main outcome measures Therapeutic efficacy and parasitological resistance to standard sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine treatment at 14 days and 28 days of follow up.
Results Therapeutic efficacy remained stable, with adequate clinical response rates of 80% or higher throughout the five years of the study. Analysis of follow up to 28 days showed modest but significant trends towards diminishing clinical and parasitological efficacy over time within the study period.
Conclusion Contrary to expectations, sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine has retained good efficacy after 10 years as the first line antimalarial drug in Malawi. African countries with very low chloroquine efficacy, high sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine efficacy, and no other immediately available alternatives may benefit from interim use of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine while awaiting implementation of combination antimalarial treatments.
doi:10.1136/bmj.37977.653750.EE
PMCID: PMC381042  PMID: 14757706

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