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1.  Malaria infection does not affect the sensitivity of peripheral receptor neurons in Anopheles stephensi 
Parasites & Vectors  2013;6:134.
Mosquitoes transmit many important diseases including malaria, dengue and yellow fever. Disease transmission from one vertebrate host to another depends on repeated blood feedings by single mosquitoes. In order for the mosquito to acquire the blood that it needs to complete oogenesis, the insect must locate a suitable host. Olfactory cues (including carbon dioxide) released by the host and detected by the mosquito are the primary signals that vector insects use for host location. Previous studies have suggested that the physiological status - including bacterial, fungal, viral and Plasmodium infections - can modulate aspects of behavior in haematophagous insects.
Standard electrophysiological techniques were used to record extracellular responses from the receptor neurons located in sensilla found on the maxillary palps of the insects. The recording microelectrode was inserted through the cuticle at the base of an individual sensillum and the extracellular electrical signals obtained from the three neurons within the sensillum were recorded. Stimulations consisted of 2 s pulses of the desired concentrations of CO2 or dosages of 1-octen-3-ol.
Accordingly, we were interested in determining whether Plasmodium infection affects the sensitivity of those peripheral olfactory sensors that are involved in host-seeking in mosquitoes. Our studies indicate that infection of female Anopheles stephensi with Plasmodium berghei does not alter the response characteristics of the neurons innervating the maxillary palp sensilla that respond to the attractants carbon dioxide and 1-octen-3-ol. Although the response characteristics of the peripheral sensory neurons are not affected by infection status, we found that the age of the mosquito alone does affect the threshold of sensitivity of these neurons to carbon dioxide. The proportion of older insects (21–30 d post-emergence) that responds to 150 ppm carbon dioxide is higher than the proportion that responds among younger insects (1–10 d post-emergence).
Anopheles stephensi infected with Plasmodium berghei exhibit sensitivities to stimulation with carbon dioxide and 1-octen-3-ol similar to those of uninfected mosquitoes. However, the age of the infected or uninfected mosquito does affect the threshold of sensitivity of these neurons to carbon dioxide.
PMCID: PMC3659000  PMID: 23642231
Anopheles stephensi; Plasmodium berghei; Infection; Carbon dioxide; 1-Octen-3-ol; Electrophysiology
2.  Efficient Quantification of HIV-1 in Heparin Plasma Spiked with Cultured HIV-1 by the Roche Cobas TaqMan and Abbott RealTime HIV-1 Tests 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2012;50(8):2804-2806.
The current automated real-time HIV-1 viral load assays, the Roche Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan test and the Abbott RealTime test, are FDA cleared for use with EDTA plasma. We show that both real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) tests reliably quantify HIV-1 RNA in heparin plasma specimens spiked with HIV-1 isolate MN.
PMCID: PMC3421498  PMID: 22675128
3.  Short Communication: Investigation of Incident HIV Infections Among U.S. Army Soldiers Deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001–2007 
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses  2012;28(10):1308-1312.
The U.S. Army initiated an investigation in response to observations of a possible increase in HIV incidence among soldiers deployed to combat. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected U.S. Army soldiers are not eligible to deploy. Combat presents a health hazard to HIV-infected soldiers and they pose a threat to the safety of the battlefield blood supply and their contacts. All soldiers are routinely screened for HIV every 2 years and those who deploy are also screened both prior to and after deployment. Seroconversion rates were estimated for all soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq in the period 2001–2007 and all active duty soldiers who did not. Seroconverters with an estimated date of infection, based on calculation of the midpoint between the last seronegative and first seropositive test date, that was either before or during deployment were eligible for inclusion. Confidential interviews and medical record reviews were conducted to determine the most likely time, geographic location, and mode of infection. Reposed predeployment samples were tested for HIV ribonucleic acid. The HIV seroconversion rate among all soldiers who deployed was less than the rate among those who did not deploy: 1.04 and 1.42 per 10,000 person-years, respectively. Among 48 cases, most were determined to have been infected in the United States or Germany and prior to deployment (n=20, 42%) or during rest and relaxation leave (n=13, 27%). Seven seronegative acute infections were identified in the predeployment period. Subtype was determined for 40 individuals; all were subtype B infections. All were acquired through sexual contact. These findings can inform development of preventive interventions and refinement of existing screening policy to further reduce HIV-infected deployed soldier person time.
PMCID: PMC3448093  PMID: 22280248
4.  Vaccine-Induced IgG Antibodies to V1V2 Regions of Multiple HIV-1 Subtypes Correlate with Decreased Risk of HIV-1 Infection 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87572.
In the RV144 HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trial, IgG antibody (Ab) binding levels to variable regions 1 and 2 (V1V2) of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 were an inverse correlate of risk of HIV-1 infection. To determine if V1V2-specific Abs cross-react with V1V2 from different HIV-1 subtypes, if the nature of the V1V2 antigen used to asses cross-reactivity influenced infection risk, and to identify immune assays for upcoming HIV-1 vaccine efficacy trials, new V1V2-scaffold antigens were designed and tested. Protein scaffold antigens carrying the V1V2 regions from HIV-1 subtypes A, B, C, D or CRF01_AE were assayed in pilot studies, and six were selected to assess cross-reactive Abs in the plasma from the original RV144 case-control cohort (41 infected vaccinees, 205 frequency-matched uninfected vaccinees, and 40 placebo recipients) using ELISA and a binding Ab multiplex assay. IgG levels to these antigens were assessed as correlates of risk in vaccine recipients using weighted logistic regression models. Levels of Abs reactive with subtype A, B, C and CRF01_AE V1V2-scaffold antigens were all significant inverse correlates of risk (p-values of 0.0008–0.05; estimated odds ratios of 0.53–0.68 per 1 standard deviation increase). Thus, levels of vaccine-induced IgG Abs recognizing V1V2 regions from multiple HIV-1 subtypes, and presented on different scaffolds, constitute inverse correlates of risk for HIV-1 infection in the RV144 vaccine trial. The V1V2 antigens provide a link between RV144 and upcoming HIV-1 vaccine trials, and identify reagents and methods for evaluating V1V2 Abs as possible correlates of protection against HIV-1 infection.
Trial Registration NCT00223080
PMCID: PMC3913641  PMID: 24504509
5.  Hepatitis B Vaccine Antibody Response and the Risk of Clinical AIDS or Death 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33488.
Whether seroresponse to a vaccine such as hepatitis B virus (HBV) vaccine can provide a measure of the functional immune status of HIV-infected persons is unknown.This study evaluated the relationship between HBV vaccine seroresponses and progression to clinical AIDS or death.
Methods and Findings
From a large HIV cohort, we evaluated those who received HBV vaccine only after HIV diagnosis and had anti-HBs determination 1–12 months after the last vaccine dose. Non-response and positive response were defined as anti-HBs <10 and ≥10 IU/L, respectively. Participants were followed from date of last vaccination to clinical AIDS, death, or last visit. Univariate and multivariable risk of progression to clinical AIDS or death were evaluated with Cox regression models. A total of 795 participants vaccinated from 1986–2010 were included, of which 41% were responders. During 3,872 person-years of observation, 122 AIDS or death events occurred (53% after 1995). Twenty-two percent of non-responders experienced clinical AIDS or death compared with 5% of responders (p<0.001). Non-response to HBV vaccine was associated with a greater than 2-fold increased risk of clinical AIDS or death (HR 2.47; 95% CI, 1.38–4.43) compared with a positive response, after adjusting for CD4 count, HIV viral load, HAART use, and delayed type hypersensitivity skin test responses (an in vivo marker of cell-mediated immunity). This association remained evident among those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3 (HR 3.40; 95% CI, 1.39–8.32).
HBV vaccine responses may have utility in assessing functional immune status and risk stratificating HIV-infected individuals, including those with CD4 count ≥500 cells/mm3.
PMCID: PMC3310879  PMID: 22457767
6.  The Timing of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Immunization Relative to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Diagnosis and the Risk of HBV Infection Following HIV Diagnosis 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;173(1):84-93.
To assess associations between the timing of hepatitis B virus (HBV) immunization relative to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnosis and vaccine effectiveness, US Military HIV Natural History Study cohort participants without HBV infection at the time of HIV diagnosis were grouped by vaccination status, retrospectively followed from HIV diagnosis for incident HBV infection, and compared using Cox proportional hazards models. A positive vaccine response was defined as hepatitis B surface antibody level ≥10 IU/L. Of 1,877 participants enrolled between 1989 and 2008, 441 (23%) were vaccinated prior to HIV diagnosis. Eighty percent of those who received vaccine doses only before HIV diagnosis had a positive vaccine response, compared with 66% of those who received doses both before and after HIV and 41% of those who received doses only after HIV (P < 0.01 for both compared with persons vaccinated before HIV only). Compared with the unvaccinated, persons vaccinated only before HIV had reduced risk of HBV infection after HIV diagnosis (hazard ratio = 0.38, 95% confidence interval: 0.20, 0.75). No reduction in HBV infection risk was observed for other vaccination groups. These data suggest that completion of the vaccine series prior to HIV infection may be the optimal strategy for preventing this significant comorbid infection in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3025642  PMID: 21051446
hepatitis B vaccines; hepatitis B virus; HIV; immunization; vaccination
7.  Hepatitis B Vaccination and Risk of Hepatitis B Infection in HIV-Infected Individuals 
AIDS (London, England)  2010;24(4):545-555.
To assess the association of HBV vaccination with risk of HBV infection among HIV-infected patients and HBV infection risk factors among vaccinees.
Observational cohort study
Participants enrolled from 1986 through 2004, unvaccinated and serologically negative for HBV infection at the time of HIV diagnosis, were followed longitudinally through 2007 for the occurrence of HBV infection. Risk factors for HBV infection were evaluated using time to event methods, including Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazards models.
During 11,632 person-years of follow-up, the rate of HBV infection was 2.01 (95% CI 1.75–2.27) /100 person-years. Receipt of at least one dose of vaccine was not associated with reduced risk of HBV (unadjusted HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.7–1.1; adjusted HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.8–1.4). Receipt of three or more doses of vaccine was also not associated with reduced risk (HR 0.96; 95% CI 0.56–1.64). Among 409 vaccinees with HBsAb <10 IU/L, 46 (11.2%) developed HBV infection compared to 11 of 217 (5.1%) vaccinees with HBsAb ≥10 IU/L (HR 0.51; 95% CI 0.3–1.0). In participants with initial HBsAb <10 IU/L, 16/46 (35%) infections were chronic, compared to 0/11 in those with initial HBsAb ≥10 IU/L (p=0.02).
Overall, HBV vaccination was not associated with reduced risk of HBV infection in our cohort of HIV-infected individuals. However, the small subset of vaccinees with a positive vaccine response may have had reduced HBV infection risk, including chronic disease. Improvements in vaccine delivery and immunogenicity are needed to increase HBV vaccine effectiveness in HIV-infected patients.
PMCID: PMC2831117  PMID: 19487908
Hepatitis B virus; hepatitis B vaccine; human immunodeficiency virus; vaccination; immunization
8.  CCL3L1-CCR5 genotype influences durability of immune recovery during antiretroviral therapy of HIV-1–infected individuals 
Nature medicine  2008;14(4):413-420.
The basis for the extensive variability seen in the reconstitution of CD4+ T cell counts in HIV-infected individuals receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is not fully known. Here, we show that variations in CCL3L1 gene dose and CCR5 genotype, but not major histocompatibility complex HLA alleles, influence immune reconstitution, especially when HAART is initiated at <350 CD4+ T cells/mm3. The CCL3L1-CCR5 genotypes favoring CD4+ T cell recovery are similar to those that blunted CD4+ T cell depletion during the time before HAART became available (pre-HAART era), suggesting that a common CCL3L1-CCR5 genetic pathway regulates the balance between pathogenic and reparative processes from early in the disease course. Hence, CCL3L1-CCR5 variations influence HIV pathogenesis even in the presence of HAART and, therefore, may prospectively identify subjects in whom earlier initiation of therapy is more likely to mitigate immunologic failure despite viral suppression by HAART. Furthermore, as reconstitution of CD4+ cells during HAART is more sensitive to CCL3L1 dose than to CCR5 genotypes, CCL3L1 analogs might be efficacious in supporting immunological reconstitution.
PMCID: PMC2630879  PMID: 18376407
9.  CCL3L1-CCR5 Genotype Improves the Assessment of AIDS Risk in HIV-1-Infected Individuals 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(9):e3165.
Whether vexing clinical decision-making dilemmas can be partly addressed by recent advances in genomics is unclear. For example, when to initiate highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) during HIV-1 infection remains a clinical dilemma. This decision relies heavily on assessing AIDS risk based on the CD4+ T cell count and plasma viral load. However, the trajectories of these two laboratory markers are influenced, in part, by polymorphisms in CCR5, the major HIV coreceptor, and the gene copy number of CCL3L1, a potent CCR5 ligand and HIV-suppressive chemokine. Therefore, we determined whether accounting for both genetic and laboratory markers provided an improved means of assessing AIDS risk.
Methods and Findings
In a prospective, single-site, ethnically-mixed cohort of 1,132 HIV-positive subjects, we determined the AIDS risk conveyed by the laboratory and genetic markers separately and in combination. Subjects were assigned to a low, moderate or high genetic risk group (GRG) based on variations in CCL3L1 and CCR5. The predictive value of the CCL3L1-CCR5 GRGs, as estimated by likelihood ratios, was equivalent to that of the laboratory markers. GRG status also predicted AIDS development when the laboratory markers conveyed a contrary risk. Additionally, in two separate and large groups of HIV+ subjects from a natural history cohort, the results from additive risk-scoring systems and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis revealed that the laboratory and CCL3L1-CCR5 genetic markers together provided more prognostic information than either marker alone. Furthermore, GRGs independently predicted the time interval from seroconversion to CD4+ cell count thresholds used to guide HAART initiation.
The combination of the laboratory and genetic markers captures a broader spectrum of AIDS risk than either marker alone. By tracking a unique aspect of AIDS risk distinct from that captured by the laboratory parameters, CCL3L1-CCR5 genotypes may have utility in HIV clinical management. These findings illustrate how genomic information might be applied to achieve practical benefits of personalized medicine.
PMCID: PMC2522281  PMID: 18776933
10.  Large-Scale Human Immunodeficiency Virus Rapid Test Evaluation in a Low-Prevalence Ugandan Blood Bank Population▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(10):3281-3285.
The use of rapid tests for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become standard in HIV testing algorithms employed in resource-limited settings. We report an extensive HIV rapid test validation study conducted among Ugandan blood bank donors at low risk for HIV infection. The operational characteristics of four readily available commercial HIV rapid test kits were first determined with 940 donor samples and were used to select a serial testing algorithm. Uni-Gold Recombigen HIV was used as the screening test, followed by HIV-1/2 STAT-PAK for reactive samples. OraQuick HIV-1 testing was performed if the first two test results were discordant. This algorithm was then tested with 5,252 blood donor samples, and the results were compared to those of enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) and Western blotting. The unadjusted algorithm sensitivity and specificity were 98.6 and 99.9%, respectively. The adjusted sensitivity and specificity were 100 and 99.96%, respectively. This HIV testing algorithm is a suitable alternative to EIAs and Western blotting for Ugandan blood donors.
PMCID: PMC2045340  PMID: 17699650
11.  Sensitivity of the Multispot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test Using Samples from Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1-Positive Individuals with Various Levels of Exposure to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(5):1831-1833.
The Multispot HIV-1/HIV-2 rapid test detects human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) gp41 antibodies, which can wane over time in some HIV-1-infected populations, resulting in false-negative screening results. Multispot sensitivity was 100% using 248 sera from one such population, and it correctly identified serostatus in individuals who previously tested false negative with rapid testing.
PMCID: PMC1479184  PMID: 16672414
12.  Increased HIV-1 vaccine efficacy against viruses with genetic signatures in Env-V2 
Nature  2012;490(7420):417-420.
The RV144 trial demonstrated 31% vaccine efficacy (VE) at preventing HIV-1 infection1. Antibodies against the HIV-1 envelope variable loops 1 and 2 (V1/V2) domain correlated inversely with infection risk2. We hypothesized that vaccine-induced immune responses against V1/V2 would selectively impact, or sieve, HIV-1 breakthrough viruses. 936 HIV-1 genome sequences from 44 vaccine and 66 placebo recipients were examined. We show that vaccine-induced immune responses were associated with two signatures in V1/V2 at amino-acid positions 169 and 181. VE against viruses matching the vaccine at position 169 was 48% (CI: 18 to 66%; p=0.0036), whereas VE against viruses mismatching the vaccine at position 181 was 78% (CI: 35% to 93%; p=0.0028). Residue 169 is in a cationic glycosylated region recognized by broadly neutralizing and RV144-derived antibodies. The predicted distance between the two signatures sites (21±7 Å), and their match/mismatch dichotomy, suggest that multiple factors may be involved in the protection observed in RV144. Genetic signatures of RV144 vaccination in V2 complement the finding of an association between high V1/V2 binding antibodies and reduced risk of HIV-1 acquisition and provide evidence that vaccine-induced V2 responses plausibly played a role in the partial protection conferred by the RV144 regimen.
PMCID: PMC3551291  PMID: 22960785
13.  Performance of the OraQuick Rapid Antibody Test for Diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Infection in Patients with Various Levels of Exposure to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2003;41(5):2153-2155.
With oral mucosal transudate and serum samples from 101 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected subjects and 100 HIV-1-negative volunteers, the OraQuick HIV-1 test demonstrated 100% specificity and 96% sensitivity. Four false-negative subjects, who were characterized by early initiation of effective antiretroviral therapy, demonstrated waning serum anti-gp41 titers and Western blot band intensities.
PMCID: PMC154669  PMID: 12734265
14.  Analysis of V2 Antibody Responses Induced in Vaccinees in the ALVAC/AIDSVAX HIV-1 Vaccine Efficacy Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53629.
The RV144 clinical trial of a prime/boost immunizing regimen using recombinant canary pox (ALVAC-HIV) and two gp120 proteins (AIDSVAX B and E) was previously shown to have a 31.2% efficacy rate. Plasma specimens from vaccine and placebo recipients were used in an extensive set of assays to identify correlates of HIV-1 infection risk. Of six primary variables that were studied, only one displayed a significant inverse correlation with risk of infection: the antibody (Ab) response to a fusion protein containing the V1 and V2 regions of gp120 (gp70-V1V2). This finding prompted a thorough examination of the results generated with the complete panel of 13 assays measuring various V2 Abs in the stored plasma used in the initial pilot studies and those used in the subsequent case-control study. The studies revealed that the ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX vaccine induced V2-specific Abs that cross-react with multiple HIV-1 subgroups and recognize both conformational and linear epitopes. The conformational epitope was present on gp70-V1V2, while the predominant linear V2 epitope mapped to residues 165–178, immediately N-terminal to the putative α4β7 binding motif in the mid-loop region of V2. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to compare the risk of infection with data from 12 V2 assays, and in 11 of these, the ORs were ≤1, reaching statistical significance for two of the variables: Ab responses to gp70-V1V2 and to overlapping V2 linear peptides. It remains to be determined whether anti-V2 Ab responses were directly responsible for the reduced infection rate in RV144 and whether anti-V2 Abs will prove to be important with other candidate HIV vaccines that show efficacy, however, the results support continued dissection of Ab responses to the V2 region which may illuminate mechanisms of protection from HIV-1 infection and may facilitate the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3547933  PMID: 23349725
15.  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
16.  Outcomes of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the context of universal access to healthcare: the U.S. Military HIV Natural History Study 
To examine the outcomes of highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for individuals with free access to healthcare, we evaluated 2327 patients in a cohort study composed of military personnel and beneficiaries with HIV infection who initiated HAART from 1996 to the end of 2007.
Outcomes analyzed were virologic suppression (VS) and failure (VF), CD4 count changes, AIDS and death. VF was defined as never suppressing or having at least one rebound event. Multivariate (MV) analyses stratified by the HAART initiation year (before or after 2000) were performed to identify risk factors associated with these outcomes.
Among patients who started HAART after 2000, 81% had VS at 1 year (N = 1,759), 85% at 5 years (N = 1,061), and 82% at 8 years (N = 735). Five years post-HAART, the median CD4 increase was 247 cells/ml and 34% experienced VF. AIDS and mortality rates at 5 years were 2% and 0.3%, respectively. In a MV model adjusted for known risk factors associated with treatment response, being on active duty (versus retired) at HAART initiation was associated with a decreased risk of AIDS (HR = 0.6, 95% CI 0.4-1.0) and mortality (0.6, 0.3-0.9), an increased probability of CD4 increase ≥ 50% (1.2, 1.0-1.4), but was not significant for VF.
In this observational cohort, VS rates approach those described in clinical trials. Initiating HAART on active duty was associated with even better outcomes. These findings support the notion that free access to healthcare likely improves the response to HAART thereby reducing HIV-related morbidity and mortality.
PMCID: PMC2894737  PMID: 20507622

Results 1-16 (16)