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author:("hajer, Ali H")
1.  Association of human leukocyte antigen class II alleles with severe Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus infection 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2016;11(3):211-213.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a disease of the lower respiratory tract and is characterized by high mortality. It is caused by a beta coronavirus (CoV) referred to as MERS-CoV. Majority of MERS-CoV cases have been reported from Saudi Arabia.
We investigated the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) Class II alleles in patients with severe MERS who were admitted in our Intensive Care Unit.
A total of 23 Saudi patients with severe MERS-CoV infection were typed for HLA class II, results were compared with those of 161 healthy controls.
Two HLA class II alleles were associated with the disease; HLA-DRB1*11:01 and DQB1*02:02, but not with the disease outcome.
Our results suggest that the HLA-DRB1*11:01 and DQB1*02:02 may be associated with susceptibility to MERS.
PMCID: PMC4966224  PMID: 27512511
Human leukocyte Antigen Class II; Middle East respiratory syndrome-coronavirus; Saudi Arabia
2.  Feasibility of Using Convalescent Plasma Immunotherapy for MERS-CoV Infection, Saudi Arabia 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2016;22(9):1554-1561.
Efficacy testing will be challenging because of the small pool of donors with sufficiently high antibody titers.
We explored the feasibility of collecting convalescent plasma for passive immunotherapy of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection by using ELISA to screen serum samples from 443 potential plasma donors: 196 patients with suspected or laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection, 230 healthcare workers, and 17 household contacts exposed to MERS-CoV. ELISA-reactive samples were further tested by indirect fluorescent antibody and microneutralization assays. Of the 443 tested samples, 12 (2.7%) had a reactive ELISA result, and 9 of the 12 had reactive indirect fluorescent antibody and microneutralization assay titers. Undertaking clinical trials of convalescent plasma for passive immunotherapy of MERS-CoV infection may be feasible, but such trials would be challenging because of the small pool of potential donors with sufficiently high antibody titers. Alternative strategies to identify convalescent plasma donors with adequate antibody titers should be explored, including the sampling of serum from patients with more severe disease and sampling at earlier points during illness.
PMCID: PMC4994343  PMID: 27532807
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Middle East respiratory syndrome; MERS; intensive care; convalescent phase; convalescent plasma; convalescent-phase plasma; feasibility study; immunotherapy; seroreactive; neutralizing antibodies; antibody titers; viruses; ELISA; microneutralization; indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay; IFA; Saudi Arabia; humans; respiratory infections
3.  Feasibility, safety, clinical, and laboratory effects of convalescent plasma therapy for patients with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection: a study protocol 
SpringerPlus  2015;4:709.
As of September 30, 2015, a total of 1589 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). At present there is no effective specific therapy against MERS-CoV. The use of convalescent plasma (CP) has been suggested as a potential therapy based on existing evidence from other viral infections. We aim to study the feasibility of CP therapy as well as its safety and clinical and laboratory effects in critically ill patients with MERS-CoV infection. We will also examine the pharmacokinetics of the MERS-CoV antibody response and viral load over the course of MERS-CoV infection. This study will inform a future randomized controlled trial that will examine the efficacy of CP therapy for MERS-CoV infection. In the CP collection phase, potential donors will be tested by the enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) techniques for the presence of anti-MERS-CoV antibodies. Subjects with anti-MERS-CoV IFA titer of ≥1:160 and no clinical or laboratory evidence of MERS-CoV infection will be screened for eligibility for plasma donation according to standard donation criteria. In the CP therapy phase, 20 consecutive critically ill patients admitted to intensive care unit with laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection will be enrolled and each will receive 2 units of CP. Post enrollment, patients will be followed for clinical and laboratory outcomes that include anti-MERS-CoV antibodies and viral load. This protocol was developed collaboratively by King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Infection Control Center Group and the World Health Organization—International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC-WHO) MERS-CoV Working Group. It was approved in June 2014 by the Ministry of the National Guard Health Affairs Institutional Review Board (IRB). A data safety monitoring board (DSMB) was formulated. The study is registered at (NCT02190799).
PMCID: PMC4653124  PMID: 26618098
Middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus; MERS-CoV; Viral pneumonia; Intensive care; Convalescent plasma; Serology; Genome; Neutralizing antibodies
5.  Low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis and septic shock: a randomized controlled trial 
Recent studies have reported a high prevalence of relative adrenal insufficiency in patients with liver cirrhosis. However, the effect of corticosteroid replacement on mortality in this high-risk group remains unclear. We examined the effect of low-dose hydrocortisone in patients with cirrhosis who presented with septic shock.
We enrolled patients with cirrhosis and septic shock aged 18 years or older in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Relative adrenal insufficiency was defined as a serum cortisol increase of less than 250 nmol/L or 9 μg/dL from baseline after stimulation with 250 μg of intravenous corticotropin. Patients were assigned to receive 50 mg of intravenous hydrocortisone or placebo every six hours until hemodynamic stability was achieved, followed by steroid tapering over eight days. The primary outcome was 28-day all-cause mortality.
The trial was stopped for futility at interim analysis after 75 patients were enrolled. Relative adrenal insufficiency was diagnosed in 76% of patients. Compared with the placebo group (n = 36), patients in the hydrocortisone group (n = 39) had a significant reduction in vasopressor doses and higher rates of shock reversal (relative risk [RR] 1.58, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.98–2.55, p = 0.05). Hydrocortisone use was not associated with a reduction in 28-day mortality (RR 1.17, 95% CI 0.92–1.49, p = 0.19) but was associated with an increase in shock relapse (RR 2.58, 95% CI 1.04–6.45, p = 0.03) and gastrointestinal bleeding (RR 3.00, 95% CI 1.08–8.36, p = 0.02).
Relative adrenal insufficiency was very common in patients with cirrhosis presenting with septic shock. Despite initial favourable effects on hemodynamic parameters, hydrocortisone therapy did not reduce mortality and was associated with an increase in adverse effects. (Current Controlled Trials registry no. ISRCTN99675218.)
PMCID: PMC3001503  PMID: 21059778
6.  Immunophenotyping of Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes in Saudi Men 
Flow cytometry is an important tool for the diagnosis and follow-up of immunodeficiency patients, as well as for pateints with leukemia and lymphoma. Lymphocytes and their subsets show variations with race. The aim of this study was to establish reference ranges for lymphocytes and their subsets in an Saudi adult population by using flow cytometry. Blood samples obtained from 209 healthy Saudi men were used for this study. All blood donors were between 18 and 44 years old. Lymphocytes and their subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry, and the absolute and percentage values were calculated. We investigated the expression of T-cell markers (CD3, CD4, and CD8), B cells (CD19), and natural killer cells (CD16 and CD56). The absolute and percent values of each cell subset were compared with published data from different populations by using the Student t test. Reference ranges, each expressed as the mean ± the standard deviation, were as follows: leukocytes (6,335 ± 1759), total lymphocytes (2,224 ± 717), CD3 cells (1,618 ± 547), CD4 cells (869 ± 310), CD8 cells (615 ± 278), CD19 cells (230 ± 130), and CD3-CD16+/CD56+ cells (262 ± 178). The CD4/CD8 ratio was 1.6 ± 0.7. Our results for B cells, CD4 cells, and CD8 cells and for the CD4/CD8 ratio fell in between the reported results for Ethiopian and Dutch subjects. Our results were also different from previously reported findings in an Saudi adult population that showed no increase in CD8 T cells. We thus establish here the reference ranges for lymphocytes and their subsets in a large cohort of Saudi men. The CD8 cell count was not abnormally high, as previously reported, and fell in between previous results obtained for African and European populations.
PMCID: PMC119953  PMID: 11874863

Results 1-6 (6)