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author:("baby, Peter")
1.  Long-lasting effects of BCG vaccination on both heterologous Th1/Th17 responses and innate trained immunity 
Journal of innate immunity  2013;6(2):152-158.
We have recently shown that BCG vaccination in healthy volunteers induces epigenetic reprogramming of monocytes, leading to increased cytokine production in response to non-related pathogens for up to three months after vaccination. This phenomenon was named ‘trained immunity’. In the present study we assessed whether BCG was able to induce long-lasting effects on both trained immunity and heterologous T-helper 1 (Th1) and Th17 immune responses one year after vaccination. The production of TNFα and IL-1β to mycobacteria or unrelated pathogens was higher after two weeks and three3 months post-vaccination, but these effects were less pronounced one year after vaccination. However, monocytes recovered one year after vaccination had an increased expression of pattern recognition receptors such as CD14, TLR4, and mannose receptor, and this correlated with an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine production after stimulation with the TLR4 ligand lipopolysaccharide. The heterologous production of Th1 (IFN-gamma) and Th17 (interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-22) immune responses to non-mycobacterial stimulation remained strongly elevated even one year after BCG vaccination. In conclusion, BCG induces sustained changes in the immune system associated with non-specific response to infections both at the level of innate trained immunity, as well as at the level of heterologous Th1/Th17 responses.
doi:10.1159/000355628
PMCID: PMC3944069  PMID: 24192057
Innate immunity; BCG vaccination; trained immunity
2.  Measles–mumps–rubella vaccination and respiratory syncytial virus-associated hospital contact 
Vaccine  2015;33(1):237-245.
Highlights
•MMR vaccination is given to protect against measles, mumps and rubella.•RSV is an important cause of acute lower respiratory infections in young children.•MMR vaccination was associated with 22% lower rate of RSV hospital contacts.•MMR vaccination may reduce the rate or severity of RSV infection.
Background
The live measles vaccine has been associated with lower non-measles mortality and admissions in low-income countries. The live measles–mumps–rubella vaccine has also been associated with lower rate of admissions with any type of infection in Danish children; the association was strongest for admissions with lower respiratory infections.
Objective
To examine whether measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination was associated with reduced rate of hospital contact related to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in a high-income country.
Methods
Nationwide cohort study of laboratory-confirmed RSV hospital contacts at age 14–23 months in all children born in Denmark 1997–2002 who had already received the vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (acellular), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTaP-IPV-Hib) at the recommended ages of 3, 5, and 12 months.
Results
The study included 888 RSV hospital contacts in 128,588 person years of follow up (rate 6.8/1000 person years). Having MMR as the most recent vaccine was associated with a reduced rate of RSV hospital contacts compared with having DTaP-IPV-Hib as the most recent vaccine (Incidence rate ratio (IRR), 0.75; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.63–0.89). After adjustment for potential confounders including exact age in days the IRR was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.66–0.93). The adjusted IRR was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.60–0.92) in males and 0.84 (95% CI, 0.66–1.06) in females (P Interaction, 0.42). There was no association in the first month after MMR vaccination (adjusted IRR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.76–1.24) but the adjusted IRR was 0.70 (95% CI, 0.58–0.85) from one month after MMR vaccination.
Conclusions
MMR vaccination was associated with reduced rate of hospital contacts related to laboratory-confirmed RSV infection. Further research on the association between MMR vaccination and other unrelated pathogens are warranted.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.110
PMCID: PMC4270443  PMID: 25446818
CI, Confidence interval; DTaP-IPV-Hib, Inactivated vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (acellular), polio, and Haemophilus influenzae type b; GP, general practitioner; IRR, incidence rate ratio; MMR, Live vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella; OPV, Oral polio vaccine; RSV, Respiratory syncytial virus; Heterologous immunity; Immunization; Non-specific effects; Non-targeted effects; Measles–mumps–rubella vaccination; Respiratory syncytial virus
3.  Evolution of Cocirculating Varicella-Zoster Virus Genotypes during a Chickenpox Outbreak in Guinea-Bissau 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(24):13936-13946.
ABSTRACT
Varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a double-stranded DNA alphaherpesvirus, is associated with seasonal outbreaks of varicella in nonimmunized populations. Little is known about whether these outbreaks are associated with a single or multiple viral genotypes and whether new mutations rapidly accumulate during transmission. Here, we take advantage of a well-characterized population cohort in Guinea-Bissau and produce a unique set of 23 full-length genome sequences, collected over 7 months from eight households. Comparative sequence analysis reveals that four distinct genotypes cocirculated among the population, three of which were present during the first week of the outbreak, although no patients were coinfected, which indicates that exposure to infectious virus from multiple sources is common during VZV outbreaks. Transmission of VZV was associated with length polymorphisms in the R1 repeat region and the origin of DNA replication. In two cases, these were associated with the formation of distinct lineages and point to the possible coevolution of these loci, despite the lack of any known functional link in VZV or related herpesviruses. We show that these and all other sequenced clade 5 viruses possess a distinct R1 repeat motif that increases the acidity of an ORF11p protein domain and postulate that this has either arisen or been lost following divergence of the major clades. Thus, sequencing of whole VZV genomes collected during an outbreak has provided novel insights into VZV biology, transmission patterns, and (recent) natural history.
IMPORTANCE VZV is a highly infectious virus and the causative agent of chickenpox and shingles, the latter being particularly associated with the risk of painful complications. Seasonal outbreaks of chickenpox are very common among young children, yet little is known about the dynamics of the virus during person-to-person to transmission or whether multiple distinct viruses seed and/or cocirculate during an outbreak. In this study, we have sequenced chickenpox viruses from an outbreak in Guinea-Bissau that are supported by detailed epidemiological data. Our data show that multiple different virus strains seeded and were maintained throughout the 6-month outbreak period and that viruses transmitted between individuals accumulated new mutations in specific genomic regions. Of particular interest is the potential coevolution of two distinct parts of the genomes and our calculations of the rate of viral mutation, both of which increase our understanding of how VZV evolves over short periods of time in human populations.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02337-14
PMCID: PMC4249134  PMID: 25275123
4.  Risk of Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes Among Young Twins and Singletons in Guinea-Bissau 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(11):3549-3556.
OBJECTIVE
Twins in Africa may be at increased risk of metabolic disorders due to strained conditions in utero, including high exposure to infections. We studied metabolic syndrome (MS) and diabetes mellitus (DM) among young twins and singletons in Guinea-Bissau.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
The study was cross-sectional and occurred from October 2009 until August 2011 at the Bandim Health Project, a demographic surveillance site in the capital Bissau. Twins and singleton controls between 5 and 32 years were visited at home. Fasting blood samples for metabolic measurements were collected. Zygosity was established genetically for a subset. DM was defined as HbA1c ≥6.5% (48 mmol/mol) and MS by the International Diabetes Federation criteria.
RESULTS
HbA1c was available for 574 twins and 463 singletons. Mean age was 15.3 years versus 15.8 years, respectively. Eighteen percent of twins were monozygotic. There were no DM cases among twins but one among singletons. A total of 1.4% (8 of 574) of twins had elevated HbA1c (6.0–6.4%, 42–46 mmol/mol) compared with 2.4% (11 of 463) of singletons (P = 0.28). Mean HbA1c was 5.3% (34 mmol/mol) for both groups. MS data were available for 364 twins and 360 singletons. The MS prevalence was 3.0% (11 of 364) among twins and 3.6% (13 of 360) among singletons (P = 0.66). The prevalence of fasting blood glucose (F-glucose) ≥5.6 mmol/L was 34.9% (127 of 364) for twins versus 24.7% (89 of 360) for singletons (P = 0.003). Median homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance did not differ (P = 0.34).
CONCLUSIONS
The MS and DM prevalences among young individuals in Guinea-Bissau were low. Twins did not have a higher MS and DM burden than singletons, though elevated F-glucose was more common among twins.
doi:10.2337/dc12-2653
PMCID: PMC3816924  PMID: 23949562
5.  BCG coverage and barriers to BCG vaccination in Guinea-Bissau: an observational study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1037.
Background
BCG vaccination is recommended at birth in low-income countries, but vaccination is often delayed. Often 20-dose vials of BCG are not opened unless at least ten children are present for vaccination (“restricted vial-opening policy”). BCG coverage is usually reported as 12-month coverage, not disclosing the delay in vaccination. Several studies show that BCG at birth lowers neonatal mortality. We assessed BCG coverage at different ages and explored reasons for delay in BCG vaccination in rural Guinea-Bissau.
Methods
Bandim Health Project (BHP) runs a health and demographic surveillance system covering women and their children in 182 randomly selected village clusters in rural Guinea-Bissau. BCG coverage was assessed for children born in 2010, when the restricted vial-opening policy was universally implemented, and in 2012–2013, where BHP provided BCG to all children at monthly visits in selected intervention regions. Factors associated with delayed BCG vaccination were evaluated using logistic regression models. Coverage between intervention and control regions were evaluated in log-binomial regression models providing prevalence ratios.
Results
Among 3951 children born in 2010, vaccination status was assessed for 84%. BCG coverage by 1 week of age was 11%, 38% by 1 month, and 92% by 12 months. If BCG had been given at first contact with the health system, 1-week coverage would have been 35% and 1-month coverage 54%. When monthly visits were introduced in intervention regions, 1-month coverage was higher in intervention regions (88%) than in control regions (51%), the prevalence ratio being 1.74 (1.53-2.00). Several factors, including socioeconomic factors, were associated with delayed BCG vaccination in the 2010-birth cohort. When BCG was available at monthly visits these factors were no longer associated with delayed BCG vaccination, only region of residence was associated with delayed BCG vaccination.
Conclusion
BCG coverage during the first months of life is low in Guinea-Bissau. Providing BCG at monthly vaccination visits removes the risk factors associated with delayed BCG vaccination.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1037) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1037
PMCID: PMC4195857  PMID: 25282475
BCG; Coverage; Timeliness of vaccines; Implementation of the vaccination programme
6.  Interaction between neonatal vitamin A supplementation and timing of measles vaccination: A retrospective analysis of three randomized trials from Guinea-Bissau☆ 
Vaccine  2014;32(42):5468-5474.
Highlights
•Early measles vaccine and neonatal vitamin A supplementation may become policy in low-income countries.•Vaccines and vitamin A may interact.•In children who received early measles vaccine, neonatal vitamin A was associated with 5-fold higher overall mortality.•Implementation of both policies at the same time may lead to increased child mortality.•Co-packaging of child health interventions should be investigated for the effect on overall mortality.
Background
In Guinea-Bissau we conducted three trials of neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS) from 2002 to 2008. None of the trials found a beneficial effect on mortality. From 2003 to 2007, an early measles vaccine (MV) trial was ongoing, randomizing children 1:2 to early MV at 4.5 months or no early MV, in addition to the usual MV at 9 months. We have previously found interactions between vitamin A and vaccines.
Objective
We investigated whether there were interactions between NVAS and early MV.
Design
We compared the mortality of NVAS and placebo recipients: first, from 4.5 to 8 months for children randomized to early MV or no early MV; and second, from 9 to 17 months in children who had received two MV or one MV. Mortality rates (MR) were compared in Cox models producing mortality rate ratios (MRR).
Results
A total of 5141 children were randomized to NVAS (N = 3015) or placebo (N = 2126) and were later randomized to early MV (N = 1700) or no early MV (N = 3441). Between 4.5 and 8 months, NVAS compared with placebo was associated with higher mortality in early MV recipients (MR = 30 versus MR = 0, p = 0.01), but not in children who did not receive early MV (p for interaction between NVAS and early MV = 0.03). From 9 to 17 months NVAS was not associated with mortality. Overall, from 4.5 to 17 months NVAS was associated with increased mortality in early MV recipients (Mortality rate ratio = 5.39 (95% confidence interval: 1.62, 17.99)).
Conclusions
These observations indicate that NVAS may interact with vaccines given several months later. This may have implications for the planning of future child intervention programs.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2014.07.090
PMCID: PMC4180001  PMID: 25131735
Measles vaccine; Vitamin A; Children; Mortality; Low-income countries
7.  Neonatal vitamin A supplementation associated with a cluster of deaths and poor early growth in a randomised trial among low-birth-weight boys of vitamin A versus oral polio vaccine at birth 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:214.
Background
The effect of oral polio vaccine administered already at birth (OPV0) on child survival was not examined before being recommended in 1985. Observational data suggested that OPV0 was harmful for boys, and trials have shown that neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS) at birth may be beneficial for boys. We set out to test this research question in a randomised trial.
Methods
The trial was carried out at the Bandim Health Project, Guinea-Bissau. We planned to enrol 900 low-birth weight (LBW) boys in a randomised trial to investigate whether NVAS instead of OPV0 could lower infant mortality for LBW boys. At birth, the children were randomised to OPV (usual treatment) or VAS (intervention treatment) and followed for 6 months for growth and 12 months for survival. Hazard Ratios (HR) for mortality were calculated using Cox regression. We compared the individual anthropometry measurements to the 2006 WHO growth reference. We compared differences in z-scores by linear regression. Relative risks (RR) of being stunted or underweight were calculated in Poisson regression models with robust standard errors.
Results
In the rainy season we detected a cluster of deaths in the VAS group and the trial was halted immediately with 232 boys enrolled. The VAS group had significantly higher mortality than the OPV0 group in the rainy season (HR: 9.91 (1.23 – 80)). All deaths had had contact with the neonatal nursery; of seven VAS boys enrolled during one week in September, six died within two months of age, whereas only one died among the six boys receiving OPV (p = 0.05). Growth (weight and arm-circumference) in the VAS group was significantly worse until age 3 months.
Conclusion
VAS at birth instead of OPV was not beneficial for the LBW boys in this study. With the premature closure of the trial it was not possible to answer the research question. However, the results of this study call for extra caution when testing the effect of NVAS in the future.
Trial registration
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT00625482. Registered 18 February 2008.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-14-214
PMCID: PMC4236664  PMID: 25163399
Vitamin A supplementation; Oral polio vaccine; Neonate; Cluster; Mortality; Growth
8.  Malaria Transmission in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau between 1995 and 2012: Malaria Resurgence Did Not Negatively Affect Mortality 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101167.
Introduction
As Plasmodium falciparum prevalence decreases in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, so does immunity resulting in larger at risk populations and increased risk of malaria resurgence. In Bissau, malaria prevalence decreased from ∼50% to 3% between 1995 and 2003. The epidemiological characteristics of P. falciparum malaria within Bandim health and demographic surveillance site (population ∼100000) between 1995 and 2012 are described.
Methods and Findings
The population was determined by census. 3603 children aged <15 years that were enrolled in clinical trials at the Bandim health centre (1995–2012) were considered incident cases. The mean annual malaria incidence per thousand children in 1995–1997, 1999–2003, 2007, 2011, 2012 were as follows; age <5 years 22→29→4→9→3, age 5–9 years 15→28→4→33→12, age 10–14 years 9→15→1→45→19. There were 4 campaigns (2003–2010) to increase use of insecticide treated bed nets (ITN) amongst children <5 years. An efficacious high-dose chloroquine treatment regime was routinely used until artemisinin based combination therapy (ACT) was introduced in 2008. Long lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLIN) were distributed in 2011. By 2012 there was 1 net per 2 people and 97% usage. All-cause mortality decreased from post-war peaks in 1999 until 2012 in all age groups and was not negatively affected by malaria resurgence.
Conclusion
The cause of decreasing malaria incidence (1995–2007) was probably multifactorial and coincident with the use of an efficacious high-dose chloroquine treatment regime. Decreasing malaria prevalence created a susceptible group of older children in which malaria resurged, highlighting the need to include all age groups in malaria interventions. ACT did not hinder malaria resurgence. Mass distribution of LLINs probably curtailed malaria epidemics. All-cause mortality was not negatively affected by malaria resurgence.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101167
PMCID: PMC4077730  PMID: 24984039
9.  The non-specific effects of vaccines and other childhood interventions: the contribution of INDEPTH Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems 
Most childhood interventions (vaccines, micronutrients) in low-income countries are justified by their assumed effect on child survival. However, usually the interventions have only been studied with respect to their disease/deficiency-specific effects and not for their overall effects on morbidity and mortality. In many situations, the population-based effects have been very different from the anticipated effects; for example, the measles-preventive high-titre measles vaccine was associated with 2-fold increased female mortality; BCG reduces neonatal mortality although children do not die of tuberculosis in the neonatal period; vitamin A may be associated with increased or reduced child mortality in different situations; effects of interventions may differ for boys and girls. The reasons for these and other contrasts between expectations and observations are likely to be that the immune system learns more than specific prevention from an intervention; such training may enhance or reduce susceptibility to unrelated infections. INDEPTH member centres have been in an ideal position to document such additional non-specific effects of interventions because they follow the total population long term. It is proposed that more INDEPTH member centres extend their routine data collection platform to better measure the use and effects of childhood interventions. In a longer perspective, INDEPTH may come to play a stronger role in defining health research issues of relevance to low-income countries.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyu101
PMCID: PMC4052142  PMID: 24920644
BCG; childhood interventions; DTP; INDEPTH Network; measles vaccine; non-specific effects of vaccines
10.  A Randomized Trial of an Early Measles Vaccine at 4½ Months of Age in Guinea-Bissau: Sex-Differential Immunological Effects 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97536.
Background
After measles vaccine (MV), all-cause mortality is reduced more than can be explained by the prevention of measles, especially in females.
Objective
We aimed to study the biological mechanisms underlying the observed non-specific and sex-differential effects of MV on mortality.
Methods
Within a large randomised trial of MV at 4.5 months of age blood samples were obtained before and six weeks after randomisation to early MV or no early MV. We measured concentrations of cytokines and soluble receptors from plasma (interleukin-1 receptor agonist (IL-1Ra), IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor), and secreted cytokines (interferon-γ, TNF-α, IL-5, IL-10, IL-13, IL-17) after in vitro challenge with innate agonists and recall antigens. We analysed the effect of MV in multiple imputation regression, overall and stratified by sex. The majority of the infants had previously been enrolled in a randomised trial of neonatal vitamin A. Post hoc we explored the potential effect modification by neonatal vitamin A.
Results
Overall, MV versus no MV was associated with higher plasma MCP-1 levels, but the effect was only significant among females. Additionally, MV was associated with increased plasma IL-1Ra. MV had significantly positive effects on plasma IL-1Ra and IL-8 levels in females, but not in males. These effects were strongest in vitamin A supplemented infants. Vitamin A shifted the effect of MV in a pro-inflammatory direction.
Conclusions
In this explorative study we found indications of sex-differential effects of MV on several of the plasma biomarkers investigated; in particular MV increased levels in females, most strongly in vitamin A recipients. The findings support that sex and micronutrient supplementation should be taken into account when analysing vaccine effects.
Trial Registration
clinicaltrials.gov number NCT 00168545
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097536
PMCID: PMC4024025  PMID: 24835247
11.  Measles Vaccination in the Presence or Absence of Maternal Measles Antibody: Impact on Child Survival 
In 2-dose trials, early measles vaccination at 4–6 months in presence of maternal measles antibody was associated with significantly better survival to age 5 years than vaccination in absence of measles antibody. Confounding factors did not explain the effect.
Background. Measles vaccine (MV) has a greater effect on child survival when administered in early infancy, when maternal antibody may still be present.
Methods. To test whether MV has a greater effect on overall survival if given in the presence of maternal measles antibody, we reanalyzed data from 2 previously published randomized trials of a 2-dose schedule with MV given at 4–6 months and at 9 months of age. In both trials antibody levels had been measured before early measles vaccination.
Results. In trial I (1993–1995), the mortality rate was 0.0 per 1000 person-years among children vaccinated with MV in the presence of maternal antibody and 32.3 per 1000 person-years without maternal antibody (mortality rate ratio [MRR], 0.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0–.52). In trial II (2003–2007), the mortality rate was 4.2 per 1000 person-years among children vaccinated in presence of maternal measles antibody and 14.5 per 1000 person-years without measles antibody (MRR, 0.29; 95% CI, .09–.91). Possible confounding factors did not explain the difference. In a combined analysis, children who had measles antibody detected when they received their first dose of MV at 4–6 months of age had lower mortality than children with no maternal antibody, the MRR being 0.22 (95% CI, .07–.64) between 4–6 months and 5 years.
Conclusions. Child mortality in low-income countries may be reduced by vaccinating against measles in the presence of maternal antibody, using a 2-dose schedule with the first dose at 4–6 months (earlier than currently recommended) and a booster dose at 9–12 months of age.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT00168558.
doi:10.1093/cid/ciu354
PMCID: PMC4111916  PMID: 24829213
maternal measles antibodies; age of measles vaccination; nonspecific beneficial effects of measles vaccine; 2-dose measles vaccination
12.  Both Very Low- and Very High In Vitro Cytokine Responses Were Associated with Infant Death in Low-Birth-Weight Children from Guinea Bissau 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93562.
Background
The mechanisms behind heterologous immunity and non-specific effects of vaccines on mortality are not well understood. We examined associations between cytokine responses and subsequent mortality in low-birth-weight infants in Guinea-Bissau.
Methods
A low-birth-weight trial randomized children to Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) at birth or later according to local policy. Blood samples were obtained from a sub-group at age 6 weeks. Interleukin (IL)-5, IL-10, IL-13, interferon (IFN)-γ, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α were measured in whole-blood cell cultures stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), or purified protein derivative (PPD). The outcome was mortality between bleeding and 1 year of age. Non-linear associations between cytokine responses and mortality were examined.
Results
Cytokine measurements were available from 390 children. The mortality rate (MR) was high (6.8/100 person-years-observation (PYO)). Both low and high cytokine responses to LPS and PHA were associated with high mortality (MR up to 25/100 PYO in the lowest 10% and 9.2/100 PYO in the highest 10%). In BCG-vaccinated children, higher IFN-γ responses to PPD were associated with better survival (MR ratio = 0.43 (0.24–0.77)).
Conclusions
Data presented a rare opportunity to explore associations between cytokine responses and mortality. Both low and high cytokine responses were associated with high mortality; a balanced response to invading pathogens seems preferable.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093562
PMCID: PMC3979682  PMID: 24714360
13.  A Randomized Trial of a Standard Dose of Edmonston-Zagreb Measles Vaccine Given at 4.5 Months of Age: Effect on Total Hospital Admissions 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2014;209(11):1731-1738.
Observational studies and trials from low-income countries indicate that measles vaccine has beneficial nonspecific effects, protecting against non–measles-related mortality. It is not known whether measles vaccine protects against hospital admissions. Between 2003 and 2007, 6417 children who had received the third dose of diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine were randomly assigned to receive measles vaccine at 4.5 months or no measles vaccine; all children were offered measles vaccine at 9 months of age. Using hospital admission data from the national pediatric ward in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, we compared admission rates between enrollment and the 9-month vaccination in Cox models, providing admission hazard rate ratios (HRRs) for measles vaccine versus no measles vaccine. All analyses were conducted stratified by sex and reception of neonatal vitamin A supplementation (NVAS). Before enrollment the 2 groups had similar admission rates. Following enrollment, the measles vaccine group had an admission HRR of 0.70 (95% confidence interval [CI], .52–.95), with a ratio of 0.53 (95% CI, .32–.86) for girls and 0.86 (95% CI, .58–1.26) for boys. For children who had not received NVAS, the admission HRR was 0.53 (95% CI, .34–.84), with an effect of 0.30 (95% CI, .13–.70) for girls and 0.73 (95% CI, .42–1.28) for boys (P = .08, interaction test). The reduction in admissions was separately significant for measles infection (admission HRR, 0 [95% CI, 0–.24]) and respiratory infections (admission HRR, 0.37 [95% CI, .16–.89]). Early measles vaccine may have major benefits for infant morbidity patterns and healthcare costs.
Clinical trials registration
NCT00168558.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit804
PMCID: PMC4017359  PMID: 24436454
Edmonston-Zagreb; hospital admissions; measles infection; measles vaccination; morbidity reduction; nonspecific effects of vaccine
14.  Trends and determinants of mortality in women of reproductive age in rural Guinea-Bissau, West Africa – a cohort study 
BMC Women's Health  2013;13:48.
Background
There are few studies reporting mortality of women of reproductive age (WRA) in developing countries. The trend and patterns of their mortality may be important for documenting the health status of the population in general.
Methods
We used a prospective open cohort of women aged 12 to 49 years living in the Bandim Health Project’s rural Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) in 5 regions of Guinea-Bissau from 1996 to 2007. Information on in- and out-migration and deaths were collected through the HDSS routine procedures. We assessed the trends in mortality and the associated determinants using Cox regression models.
Results
We followed 27,185 WRA for 141,693 person-years-at-risk (PYO) among whom 9,093 moved out and 1,006 died. Overall standardized mortality rate was 759 per 100,000 PYO. WRA mortality did not decline, but three periods could be distinguished: a stable mortality between 1996–2000 followed by 14% increase in mortality [Hazard rate ratio (HRR) = 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.98-1.32; p = 0.08] between 2001–2003, and then in the last period from 2004–2007 a 25% decline (HRR = 0.75; 95% CI: 0.64-0.87; p < 0.001) in relation to the first period. Compared with the years 1990–1996 mortality increased in the first two periods until 2003; only in the last period did mortality reach the same level as in 1990–1996 (HRR = 0.96; 95% CI: 0.82-1.13; p = 0.62). The level of mortality differed between regions. In the adjusted analysis the eastern regions Bafata (HRR = 1.79; 95% CI: 1.38-2.32; p < 0.001) and Gabu (HRR = 1.70; 95% CI: 1.28-2.26; p < 0.001) had significantly higher mortality, but the hazard rate did not differ by ethnic group. As expected the rate increased with increasing age.
Conclusions
Over the twelve-year period mortality of WRA did not decline. A stable mortality in the beginning was followed by an increase and then a return to the previous levels. Further monitoring of mortality is needed to identify the risk factors for the striking regional differences. Advantage should be taken of the HDSS to monitor progress towards the MDGs and beyond.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-13-48
PMCID: PMC4235026  PMID: 24304945
Women of reproductive age; Mortality; West Africa
15.  Vitamin A supplementation and risk of atopy: long-term follow-up of a randomized trial of vitamin A supplementation at six and nine months of age 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:190.
Background
The World Health Organization recommends high-dose vitamin A supplementation (VAS) for children above six months of age in low-income countries. VAS has been associated with up-regulation of the Th2 response. We aimed to determine if VAS is associated with atopy in childhood.
Methods
Infants in Guinea-Bissau were randomly allocated VAS or placebo, either at six and nine months of age, or only at nine months of age. At six months of age, children were furthermore randomized to measles vaccine or inactivated polio vaccine. At nine months of age all children received measles vaccine. Children were revisited seven years later and skin prick testing was performed. Atopy was defined as a skin prick reaction ≥3 mm.
Results
40 of 263 children (15%) were atopic. Overall VAS had no significant effect on the risk of atopy (Prevalence Ratio 1.23; 95% CI 0.69-2.18). The Prevalence Ratio was 1.60 (0.66-3.90) for males and 1.00 (0.46-2.15) for females.
Conclusions
There was no significant effect of VAS in infancy on atopy later in childhood. The role of infant VAS in the development of atopy is still unclear.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-190
PMCID: PMC3871024  PMID: 24252418
Atopy; Immunization; Measles vaccine; Vitamin A supplementation
16.  Effect of Complement on HIV-2 Plasma Antiviral Activity Is Intratype Specific and Potent 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(1):273-281.
Human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2)-infected individuals develop immunodeficiency with a considerable delay and transmit the virus at rates lower than HIV-1-infected persons. Conceivably, comparative studies on the immune responsiveness of HIV-1- and HIV-2-infected hosts may help to explain the differences in pathogenesis and transmission between the two types of infection. Previous studies have shown that the neutralizing antibody response is more potent and broader in HIV-2 than in HIV-1 infection. In the present study, we have examined further the function of the humoral immune response and studied the effect of complement on the antiviral activity of plasma from singly HIV-1- or HIV-2-infected individuals, as well as HIV-1/HIV-2 dually infected individuals. The neutralization and antibody-dependent complement-mediated inactivation of HIV-1 and HIV-2 isolates were tested in a plaque reduction assay using U87.CD4.CCR5 cells. The results showed that the addition of complement increased intratype antiviral activities of both HIV-1 and HIV-2 plasma samples, although the complement effect was more pronounced with HIV-2 than HIV-1 plasma. Using an area-under-the-curve (AUC)-based readout, multivariate statistical analysis confirmed that the type of HIV infection was independently associated with the magnitude of the complement effect. The analyses carried out with purified IgG indicated that the complement effect was largely exerted through the classical complement pathway involving IgG in both HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections. In summary, these findings suggest that antibody binding to HIV-2 structures facilitates the efficient use of complement and thereby may be one factor contributing to a strong antiviral activity present in HIV-2 infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01640-12
PMCID: PMC3536384  PMID: 23077299
17.  Characteristics of HIV-2 and HIV-1/HIV-2 Dually Seropositive Adults in West Africa Presenting for Care and Antiretroviral Therapy: The IeDEA-West Africa HIV-2 Cohort Study 
Ekouevi, Didier K. | Balestre, Eric | Coffie, Patrick A. | Minta, Daouda | Messou, Eugene | Sawadogo, Adrien | Minga, Albert | Sow, Papa Salif | Bissagnene, Emmanuel | Eholie, Serge P. | Gottlieb, Geoffrey S. | Dabis, François | Zannou, Djimon Marcel | Ahouada, Carin | Akakpo, Jocelyn | Ahomadegbé, Christelle | Bashi, Jules | Gougounon-Houéto, Alice | Azon-Kouanou, Angèle | Houngbé, Fabien | Koumakpaï, Sikiratou | Alihonou, Florence | d’Almeida, Marcelline | Hodonou, Irvine | Hounhoui, Ghislaine | Sagbo, Gracien | Tossa-Bagnan, Leïla | Adjide, Herman | Drabo, Joseph | Bognounou, René | Dienderé, Arnaud | Traore, Eliezer | Zoungrana, Lassane | Zerbo, Béatrice | Sawadogo, Adrien Bruno | Zoungrana, Jacques | Héma, Arsène | Soré, Ibrahim | Bado, Guillaume | Tapsoba, Achille | Yé, Diarra | Kouéta, Fla | Ouedraogo, Sylvie | Ouédraogo, Rasmata | Hiembo, William | Gansonré, Mady | Messou, Eugène | Gnokoro, Joachim Charles | Koné, Mamadou | Kouakou, Guillaume Martial | Bosse, Clarisse Amani | Brou, Kouakou | Assi, Achi Isidore | Chenal, Henri | Hawerlander, Denise | Soppi, Franck | Minga, Albert | Abo, Yao | Bomisso, Germain | Eholié, Serge Paul | Amego, Mensah Deborah Noelly | Andavi, Viviane | Diallo, Zelica | Ello, Frédéric | Tanon, Aristophane Koffi | Koule, Serge Olivier | Anzan, Koffi Charles | Guehi, Calixte | Aka, Edmond Addi | Issouf, Koffi Ladji | Kouakou, Jean-Claude | N’Gbeche, Marie-Sylvie | Touré, Pety | Avit-Edi, Divine | Kouakou, Kouadio | Moh, Magloire | Yao, Valérie Andoblé | Folquet, Madeleine Amorissani | Dainguy, Marie-Evelyne | Kouakou, Cyrille | Méa-Assande, Véronique Tanoh | Oka-Berete, Gladys | Zobo, Nathalie | Acquah, Patrick | Kokora, Marie-Berthe | Eboua, Tanoh François | Timité-Konan, Marguerite | Ahoussou, Lucrèce Diecket | Assouan, Julie Kebé | Sami, Mabéa Flora | Kouadio, Clémence | Renner, Lorna | Goka, Bamenla | Welbeck, Jennifer | Sackey, Adziri | Owiafe, Seth Ntiri | Wejse, Christian | Silva, Zacarias José Da | Paulo, Joao | Rodrigues, Amabelia | da Silva, David | Medina, Candida | Oliviera-Souto, Ines | Østergaard, Lars | Laursen, Alex | Sodemann, Morten | Aaby, Peter | Fomsgaard, Anders | Erikstrup, Christian | Eugen-Olsen, Jesper | Maïga, Moussa Y | Diakité, Fatoumata Fofana | Kalle, Abdoulaye | Katile, Drissa | Traore, Hamar Alassane | Minta, Daouda | Cissé, Tidiani | Dembelé, Mamadou | Doumbia, Mohammed | Fomba, Mahamadou | Kaya, Assétou Soukho | Traoré, Abdoulaye M | Traoré, Hamady | Toure, Amadou Abathina | Dicko, Fatoumata | Sylla, Mariam | Berthé, Alima | Traoré, Hadizatou Coulibaly | Koïta, Anta | Koné, Niaboula | N'Diaye, Clémentine | Coulibaly, Safiatou Touré | Traoré, Mamadou | Traoré, Naïchata | Charurat, Man | Ajayi, Samuel | Dapiap, Stephen | Otu,  | Igbinoba, Festus | Benson, Okwara | Adebamowo, Clément | James, Jesse | Obaseki,  | Osakede, Philip | Olasode, John | Sow, Papa Salif | Diop, Bernard | Manga, Noël Magloire | Tine, Judicael Malick | Signate Sy, Haby | Ba, Abou | Diagne, Aida | Dior, Hélène | Faye, Malick | Gueye, Ramatoulaye Diagne | Mbaye, Aminata Diack | Patassi, Akessiwe | Kotosso, Awèrou | Kariyare, Benjamin Goilibe | Gbadamassi, Gafarou | Komi, Agbo | Mensah-Zukong, Kankoé Edem | Pakpame, Pinuwe | Lawson-Evi, Annette Koko | Atakouma, Yawo | Takassi, Elom | Djeha, Améyo | Ephoévi-gah, Ayoko | Djibril, Sherifa El-Hadj | Dabis, François | Bissagnene, Emmanuel | Arrivé, Elise | Coffie, Patrick | Ekouevi, Didier | Jaquet, Antoine | Leroy, Valériane | Lewden, Charlotte | Sasco, Annie | Azani, Jean-Claude | Allou, Gérard | Balestre, Eric | Bohossou, Franck | Karcher, Sophie | Gonsan, Jules Mahan | Carrou, Jérôme Le | Lenaud, Séverin | Nchot, Célestin | Malateste, Karen | Yao, Amon Roseamonde | Siloué, Bertine | Clouet, Gwenaelle | Djetouan, Hugues | Doring, Alexandra | Kouakou, Adrienne | Rabourdin, Elodie | Rivenc, Jean | Anglaret, Xavier | Ba, Boubacar | Essanin, Jean Bosco | Ciaranello, Andrea | Datté, Sébastien | Desmonde, Sophie | Diby, Jean-Serge Elvis | Gottlieb, Geoffrey S. | Horo, Apollinaire Gninlgninrin | Kangah, Serge N'zoré | Malvy, Denis | Meless, David | Mounkaila-Harouna, Aida | Ndondoki, Camille | Shiboski, Caroline | Thiébaut, Rodolphe | PAC-CI,  | Abidjan,
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66135.
Background
HIV-2 is endemic in West Africa. There is a lack of evidence-based guidelines on the diagnosis, management and antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV-2 or HIV-1/HIV-2 dual infections. Because of these issues, we designed a West African collaborative cohort for HIV-2 infection within the framework of the International epidemiological Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA).
Methods
We collected data on all HIV-2 and HIV-1/HIV-2 dually seropositive patients (both ARV-naive and starting ART) and followed-up in clinical centres in the IeDEA-WA network including a total of 13 clinics in five countries: Benin, Burkina-Faso Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Senegal, in the West Africa region.
Results
Data was merged for 1,754 patients (56% female), including 1,021 HIV-2 infected patients (551 on ART) and 733 dually seropositive for both HIV-1 and HIV 2 (463 on ART). At ART initiation, the median age of HIV-2 patients was 45.3 years, IQR: (38.3–51.7) and 42.4 years, IQR (37.0–47.3) for dually seropositive patients (p = 0.048). Overall, 16.7% of HIV-2 patients on ART had an advanced clinical stage (WHO IV or CDC-C). The median CD4 count at the ART initiation is 166 cells/mm3, IQR (83–247) among HIV-2 infected patients and 146 cells/mm3, IQR (55–249) among dually seropositive patients. Overall, in ART-treated patients, the CD4 count increased 126 cells/mm3 after 24 months on ART for HIV-2 patients and 169 cells/mm3 for dually seropositive patients. Of 551 HIV-2 patients on ART, 5.8% died and 10.2% were lost to follow-up during the median time on ART of 2.4 years, IQR (0.7–4.3).
Conclusions
This large multi-country study of HIV-2 and HIV-1/HIV-2 dual infection in West Africa suggests that routine clinical care is less than optimal and that management and treatment of HIV-2 could be further informed by ongoing studies and randomized clinical trials in this population.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066135
PMCID: PMC3688850  PMID: 23824279
18.  The effect of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on growth in the first year of life among low-birth-weight infants in Guinea-Bissau: two by two factorial randomised controlled trial 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:87.
Background
Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) may amplify the effect of vaccines. We therefore investigated if neonatal VAS given with and without Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine to low-birth-weight (LBW) neonates had an effect on growth in the first year of life. We hypothesised that VAS would be particularly beneficial when provided with BCG.
Methods
We conducted a randomised two-by-two factorial trial in Guinea-Bissau; 1,717 LBW neonates were randomly allocated to VAS or placebo at birth as well as early or the usual postponed BCG vaccination. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at 2, 6, and 12 months after inclusion.
Results
Overall there was no effect of neonatal VAS on growth in the first year of life. By 2 months, VAS tended to have a beneficial effect on weight and head circumference when given with BCG but not when given without BCG (interaction: weight-for-age p = 0.07 and head circumference-for-age: p = 0.06). By 6 months, there was a beneficial effect of VAS on head circumference and weight among children who had not received DTP vaccine 2 months after inclusion (weight: 0.18 (0.00; 0.36) and head circumference 0.27 (0.06; 0.48)), but no beneficial effect among those who had received DTP.
Conclusion
The results support other trials indicating that neonatal VAS does not have consistent effects on childhood growth and if anything the effects seem to be temporary. They also show that the effect may differ by vaccination status, being beneficial when given with BCG at birth and when DTP is delayed.
Trial registration
http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00168610) (nct00168610)
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-87
PMCID: PMC3680237  PMID: 23702185
Neonatal vitamin A supplementation; Low-birth-weight; Growth; Non-specific effects; DTP; BCG
19.  Impact of isoniazid preventive therapy on mortality among children less than 5 years old following exposure to tuberculosis at home in Guinea-Bissau: a prospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(3):e001545.
Objective
In a cohort of children less than 5 years old exposed to adult intrathoracic tuberculosis (TB) in 1996–1998, we found 66% increased mortality compared with community controls. In 2005, we implemented isoniazid preventive therapy (IPT) for children exposed to TB at home, and the present study evaluates the effect of this intervention on mortality.
Setting
This prospective cohort study was conducted in six suburban areas included in the demographic surveillance system of the Bandim Health Project in Bissau, the capital city of Guinea-Bissau.
Participants
All children less than 5 years of age and living in the same house as an adult with intrathoracic TB registered for treatment in the study area between 2005 and 2007 were evaluated for inclusion in the IPT programme.
Main outcome measures (end points)
The all-cause mortality rate ratio (MRR) between exposed children on IPT, exposed without IPT and unexposed community control children.
Results
A total of 1396 children were identified as living in the same houses as 416 adult TB cases; of those, 691 were enrolled in the IPT programme. Compared with community controls, the IPT children had an MRR of 0.30 (95%CI 0.1 to 1.2). The MRR comparing exposed children with and without IPT was 0.21 (0.0 to 1.1). The relative mortality in IPT children compared with community controls in 2005–2008 differed significantly from the relative mortality of exposed untreated children compared with the community controls in 1996–1998 (test of interaction, p=0.01).
Conclusions
In 2005–2008, exposed children on IPT had 70% lower mortality than the community control children, though not significantly. Relative to the community control children, the mortality among TB-exposed children on IPT in 2005–2008 was significantly lower than the mortality among TB-exposed children not on IPT in 1996–1998.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001545
PMCID: PMC3612806  PMID: 23535699
20.  Determinants of vitamin a deficiency in children between 6 months and 2 years of age in Guinea-Bissau 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:172.
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies Guinea-Bissau as having severe vitamin A deficiency (VAD). To date, no national survey has been conducted. We assessed vitamin A status among children in rural Guinea-Bissau to assess status and identify risk factors for VAD.
Methods
In a vitamin A supplementation trial in rural Guinea-Bissau, children aged 6 months to 2 years who were missing one or more vaccines were enrolled, vaccinated and randomized to vitamin A or placebo. Provided consent, a dried blood spot (DBS) sample was obtained from a subgroup of participants prior to supplementation. Vitamin A status and current infection was assessed by an ELISA measuring retinol-binding protein (RBP) and C-reactive protein (CRP). VAD was defined as RBP concentrations equivalent to plasma retinol <0.7 μmol/L; infection was defined as CRP >5 ml/L. In Poisson regression models providing prevalence ratios (PR), we investigated putative risk factors for VAD including sex, age, child factors, maternal factors, season (rainy: June-November; dry: December-May), geography, and use of health services.
Results
Based on DBS from 1102 children, the VAD prevalence was 65.7% (95% confidence interval 62.9-68.5), 11% higher than the WHO estimate of 54.7% (9.9-93.0). If children with infection were excluded, the prevalence was 60.2% (56.7-63.7). In the age group 9–11 months, there was no difference in prevalence of VAD among children who had received previous vaccines in a timely fashion and those who had not. Controlled for infection and other determinants of VAD, the prevalence of VAD was 1.64 (1.49-1.81) times higher in the rainy season compared to the dry, and varied up to 2-fold between ethnic groups and regions. Compared with having an inactivated vaccine as the most recent vaccine, having a live vaccine as the most recent vaccination was associated with lower prevalence of VAD (PR=0.84 (0.74-0.96)).
Conclusions
The prevalence of VAD was high in rural Guinea-Bissau. VAD varied significantly with season, ethnicity, region, and vaccination status.
Trial registration
Clinicaltrials.gov NCT00514891
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-172
PMCID: PMC3599523  PMID: 23442248
Vitamin A deficiency; Children; Guinea-Bissau; Risk factors; Retinol-binding protein
21.  A prospective study of twinning and perinatal mortality in urban Guinea-Bissau 
Background
Despite twinning being common in Africa, few prospective twin studies have been conducted. We studied twinning rate, perinatal mortality and the clinical characteristics of newborn twins in urban Guinea-Bissau.
Methods
The study was conducted at the Bandim Health Project (BHP), a health and demographic surveillance site in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau. The cohort included all newborn twins delivered at the National Hospital Simão Mendes and in the BHP study area during the period September 2009 to August 2011 as well as singleton controls from the BHP study area. Data regarding obstetric history and pregnancy were collected at the hospital. Live children were examined clinically. For a subset of twin pairs zygosity was established by using genetic markers.
Results
Out of the 5262 births from mothers included in the BHP study area, 94 were twin births, i.e. a community twinning rate of 18/1000. The monozygotic rate was 3.4/1000. Perinatal mortality among twins vs. singletons was 218/1000 vs. 80/1000 (RR = 2.71, 95% CI: 1.93-3.80). Among the 13783 hospital births 388 were twin births (28/1000). The hospital perinatal twin mortality was 237/1000.
Birth weight < 2000g (RR = 4.24, CI: 2.39-7.51) and caesarean section (RR = 1.78, CI: 1.06-2.99) were significant risk factors for perinatal twin mortality. Male sex (RR = 1.38, CI: 0.97-1.96), unawareness of twin pregnancy (RR = 1.64, CI: 0.97-2.78) and high blood pressure during pregnancy (RR = 1.77, CI: 0.88-3.57) were borderline non-significant. Sixty-five percent (245/375) of the mothers who delivered at the hospital were unaware of their twin pregnancy.
Conclusions
Twins had a very high perinatal mortality, three-fold higher than singletons. A birth weight < 2000g was the strongest risk factor for perinatal death, and unrecognized twin pregnancy was common. Urgent interventions are needed to lower perinatal twin mortality in Guinea-Bissau.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-140
PMCID: PMC3534574  PMID: 23216795
22.  Vaccination coverage and out-of-sequence vaccinations in rural Guinea-Bissau: an observational cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001509.
Objective
The WHO aims for 90% coverage of the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), which in Guinea-Bissau included BCG vaccine at birth, three doses of diphtheria−tetanus−pertussis vaccine (DTP) and oral polio vaccine (OPV) at 6, 10 and 14 weeks and measles vaccine (MV) at 9 months when this study was conducted. The WHO assesses coverage by 12 months of age. The sequence of vaccines may have an effect on child mortality, but is not considered in official statistics or assessments of programme performance. We assessed vaccination coverage and frequency of out-of-sequence vaccinations by 12 and 24 months of age.
Design
Observational cohort study.
Setting and participants
The Bandim Health Project's (BHP) rural Health and Demographic Surveillance site covers 258 randomly selected villages in all regions of Guinea-Bissau. Villages are visited biannually and vaccination cards inspected to ascertain vaccination status. Between 2003 and 2009 vaccination status by 12 months of age was assessed for 5806 children aged 12–23 months; vaccination status by 24 months of age was assessed for 3792 children aged 24–35 months.
Outcome measures
Coverage of EPI vaccinations and frequency of out-of-sequence vaccinations.
Results
Half of 12-month-old children and 65% of 24-month-old children had completed all EPI vaccinations. Many children received vaccines out of sequence: by 12 months of age 54% of BCG-vaccinated children had received DTP with or before BCG and 28% of measles-vaccinated children had received DTP with or after MV. By 24 months of age the proportion of out-of-sequence vaccinations was 58% and 35%, respectively, for BCG and MV.
Conclusions
In rural Guinea-Bissau vaccination coverage by 12 months of age was low, but continued to increase beyond 12 months of age. More than half of all children received vaccinations out of sequence. This highlights the need to improve vaccination services.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001509
PMCID: PMC3532986  PMID: 23166127
23.  Assessment of simple risk markers for early mortality among HIV-infected patients in Guinea-Bissau: a cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(6):e001587.
Background
Decisions about when to start an antiretroviral therapy (ART) are normally based on CD4 cell counts and viral load (VL). However, these measurements require equipment beyond the capacity of most laboratories in low-income and middle-income settings. Thus, there is an urgent need to identify and test simple markers to guide the optimal time for starting and for monitoring the effect of ART in developing countries.
Objectives
(1) To evaluate anthropometric measurements and measurement of plasma-soluble form of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) levels as potential risk factors for early mortality among HIV-infected patients; (2) to assess whether these markers could help identify patients to whom ART should be prioritised and (3) to determine if these markers may add information to CD4 cell count when VL is not available.
Design
An observational study.
Setting
The largest ART centre in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.
Participants
1083 ART-naïve HIV-infected patients.
Outcome measures
Associations between baseline anthropometric measurements, CD4 cell counts, plasma suPAR levels and survival were examined using Cox proportional hazards models.
Results
Low body mass index (BMI≤18.5 kg/m2), low mid-upper-arm-circumference (MUAC≤250 mm), low CD4 cell count (≤350 cells/μl) and high suPAR plasma levels (>5.3 ng/ml) were independent predictors of death. Furthermore, mortality among patients with low CD4 cell count, low MUAC or low BMI was concentrated in the highest suPAR quartile.
Conclusions
Irrespective of ART initiation and baseline CD4 count, MUAC and suPAR plasma levels were independent predictors of early mortality in this urban cohort. These markers could be useful in identifying patients at the highest risk of short-term mortality and may aid triage for ART when CD4 cell count is not available or when there is shortness of antiretroviral drugs.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001587
PMCID: PMC3532999  PMID: 23151393
Public Health
24.  Utility of the Plasma Level of suPAR in Monitoring Risk of Mortality during TB Treatment 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43933.
Objective
To investigate whether changes in the plasma level of soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) can be used to monitor tuberculosis (TB) treatment efficacy.
Design
This prospective cohort study included 278 patients diagnosed with active pulmonary TB and followed throughout the 8-month treatment period.
Results
Mortality during treatment was higher in the highest inclusion quartile of suPAR (23%) compared to the lowest three quartiles (7%), the risk ratio being 3.1 (95% CI 1.65–6.07). No association between early smear conversion and subsequent mortality or inclusion suPAR was observed. After 1 and 2 months of treatment, an increase in suPAR compared to at diagnosis was associated with a Mortality Rate Ratio (MRR) of 4.5 (95%CI: 1.45–14.1) and 2.1 (95%CI 0.62–6.82), respectively, for the remaining treatment period.
Conclusions
The present study confirmed that elevated suPAR level at time of initiation of TB treatment is associated with increased risk of mortality. Furthermore, increased suPAR levels after one month of treatment was associated with increased risk of mortality during the remaining 7-month treatment period.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043933
PMCID: PMC3429420  PMID: 22937128
25.  Potent Autologous and Heterologous Neutralizing Antibody Responses Occur in HIV-2 Infection across a Broad Range of Infection Outcomes 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(2):930-946.
Few studies have explored the role of neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses in controlling HIV-2 viremia and disease progression. Using a TZM-bl neutralization assay, we assessed heterologous and autologous NAb responses from a community cohort of HIV-2-infected individuals with a broad range of disease outcomes in rural Guinea-Bissau. All subjects (n = 40) displayed exceptionally high heterologous NAb titers (50% inhibitory plasma dilution or 50% inhibitory concentration [IC50], 1:7,000 to 1:1,000,000) against 5 novel primary HIV-2 envelopes and HIV-2 7312A, whereas ROD A and 3 primary envelopes were relatively resistant to neutralization. Most individuals also showed high autologous NAb against contemporaneous envelopes (78% of plasma-envelope combinations in 69 envelopes from 21 subjects), with IC50s above 1:10,000. No association between heterologous or autologous NAb titer and greater control of HIV-2 was found. A subset of envelopes was found to be more resistant to neutralization (by plasma and HIV-2 monoclonal antibodies). These envelopes were isolated from individuals with greater intrapatient sequence diversity and were associated with changes in potential N-linked glycosylation sites but not CD4 independence or CXCR4 use. Plasma collected from up to 15 years previously was able to potently neutralize recent autologous envelopes, suggesting a lack of escape from NAb and the persistence of neutralization-sensitive variants over time, despite significant NAb pressure. We conclude that despite the presence of broad and potent NAb responses in HIV-2-infected individuals, these are not the primary forces behind the dichotomous outcomes observed but reveal a limited capacity for adaptive selection and escape from host immunity in HIV-2 infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.06126-11
PMCID: PMC3255814  PMID: 22072758

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