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1.  Efficacy of human rotavirus vaccine against severe gastroenteritis in Malawian children in the first two years of life: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial 
Vaccine  2012;30(0 1):A36-A43.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among African infants and young children. A phase III, placebo-controlled, multi-centre clinical trial of a live, oral G1P[8] human rotavirus vaccine (RIX4414) undertaken in Malawi and South Africa significantly reduced the incidence of severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in the first year of life. We now report on vaccine efficacy in the Malawi cohort of children who were followed into the second year of life. A total of 1,773 healthy infants were enrolled in Blantyre, Malawi into three groups. Two groups received three doses of RIX4414 or placebo at age 6, 10, and 14 weeks and the third group received placebo at 6 weeks and RIX4414 at age 10 and 14 weeks. Subjects were followed by weekly home visits for episodes of gastroenteritis until 1 year of age, and were then re-consented for further follow-up to 18-24 months of age. Severity of gastroenteritis episodes was graded according to the Vesikari scoring system. Seroconversion for anti-rotavirus IgA was determined on a subset of children by using ELISA on pre- and post-vaccine blood samples. Rotavirus VP7 (G) and VP4 (P) genotypes were determined by RT-PCR. A total of 70/1030 (6.8%, 95% CI 5.3 - 8.5) subjects in the pooled (2 dose plus 3 dose) RIX4414 group compared with 53/483 (11.0%, 8.3 – 14.1) subjects in the placebo group developed severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in the entire follow-up period (Vaccine Efficacy 38.1% (9.8 – 57.3). The point estimate of efficacy in the second year of life (17.6%; −59.2 – 56.0) was lower than in the first year of life (49.4%; 19.2 – 68.3). There were non-significant trends towards a higher efficacy in the second year of life among children who received the three-dose schedule compared with the two-dose schedule, and a higher anti-rotavirus IgA seroresponse rate in the three-dose RIX4414 group. Rotavirus strains detected included genotype G12 (31%); G9 (23%); and G8 (18%); only 18% of strains belonged to the G1P[8] genotype. While the optimal dosing schedule of RIX4414 in African infants requires further investigation, vaccination with RIX4414 significantly reduced the incidence of severe gastroenteritis caused by diverse rotavirus strains in an impoverished African population with high rotavirus disease burden in the first two years of life.
PMCID: PMC3982044  PMID: 22520135
Gastroenteritis; Rotavirus; Vaccine; Genotypes
2.  Memory immune response and safety of a booster dose of Japanese encephalitis chimeric virus vaccine (JE-CV) in JE-CV-primed children 
Japanese encephalitis chimeric virus vaccine (JE-CV) is a licensed vaccine indicated in a single dose administration for primary immunization. This controlled phase III comparative trial enrolled children aged 36–42 mo in the Philippines. 345 children who had received one dose of JE-CV in a study two years earlier, received a JE-CV booster dose. 105 JE-vaccine-naïve children in general good health were randomized to receive JE-CV (JE-vaccine naïve group; 46 children) or varicella vaccine (safety control group; 59 children). JE neutralizing antibody titers were assessed using PRNT50. Immunological memory was observed in children who had received the primary dose of JE-CV before. Seven days after the JE-CV booster dose administration, 96.2% and 66.8% of children were seroprotected and had seroconverted, respectively, and the geometric mean titer (GMT) was 231 1/dil. Twenty-eight days after the JE-CV booster dose seroprotection and seroconversion were achieved in 100% and 95.3% of children, respectively, and the GMT was 2,242 1/dil. In contrast, only 15.4% of JE-CV-vaccine naïve children who had not received any prior JE vaccine were seroprotected seven days after they received JE-CV. One year after receiving the JE-CV booster dose, 99.4% of children remained seroprotected. We conclude that JE-CV is effective and safe, both as a single dose and when administrated as a booster dose. A booster dose increases the peak GMT above the peak level reached after primary immunization and the antibody persistence is maintained at least one year after the JE-CV booster dose administration. Five year follow up is ongoing.
PMCID: PMC3903909  PMID: 23442823
Japanese encephalitis vaccines; attenuated vaccines; humoral immune response; active immunization; booster immunization
3.  Immune response to live-attenuated Japanese encephalitis vaccine (JE-CV) neutralizes Japanese encephalitis virus isolates from South-East Asia and India 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2014;14:156.
During clinical development of the licensed Japanese encephalitis chimeric virus vaccine (JE-CV), the neutralization capacity of vaccine-induced antibodies was assessed against the vaccine virus and against well characterized wild-type (wt) viruses isolated between 1949–1991. We assessed whether JE-CV-induced antibodies can also neutralize more recent wt Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) isolates including a genotype 1 isolate.
Sera from 12–18 month-old children who received a single dose of JE-CV in a phase III study in Thailand and the Philippines ( NCT00735644) were randomly selected and pooled according to neutralization titer against JE-CV into eight samples. Neutralization was assessed by plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT50) against three recent isolates from JEV genotypes 1 and 3 in addition to four JEV previously tested.
Neutralization titers against the three recent JEV strains were comparable to those observed previously against other strains and the vaccine virus. The observed differences between responses to genotype 1 and 3 viruses were within assay variability for the PRNT50.
The results were consistent with previously generated data on the neutralization of wt JEV isolates, immune responses induced by JE-CV neutralize recently isolated virus from southeast (SE) Asia and India.
PMCID: PMC3994458  PMID: 24656175
Japanese encephalitis vaccines; Humoral immune response; JEV; Wild-type strains
4.  Dengue and Other Common Causes of Acute Febrile Illness in Asia: An Active Surveillance Study in Children 
Common causes of acute febrile illness in tropical countries have similar symptoms, which often mimic those of dengue. Accurate clinical diagnosis can be difficult without laboratory confirmation and disease burden is generally under-reported. Accurate, population-based, laboratory-confirmed incidence data on dengue and other causes of acute fever in dengue-endemic Asian countries are needed.
Methods and principal findings
This prospective, multicenter, active fever surveillance, cohort study was conducted in selected centers in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to determine the incidence density of acute febrile episodes (≥38°C for ≥2 days) in 1,500 healthy children aged 2–14 years, followed for a mean 237 days. Causes of fever were assessed by testing acute and convalescent sera from febrile participants for dengue, chikungunya, hepatitis A, influenza A, leptospirosis, rickettsia, and Salmonella Typhi. Overall, 289 participants had acute fever, an incidence density of 33.6 per 100 person-years (95% CI: 30.0; 37.8); 57% were IgM-positive for at least one of these diseases. The most common causes of fever by IgM ELISA were chikungunya (in 35.0% of in febrile participants) and S. Typhi (in 29.4%). The overall incidence density of dengue per 100 person-years was 3.4 by nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) antigen positivity (95% CI: 2.4; 4.8) and 7.3 (95% CI: 5.7; 9.2) by serology. Dengue was diagnosed in 11.4% (95% CI: 8.0; 15.7) and 23.9% (95% CI: 19.1; 29.2) of febrile participants by NS1 positivity and serology, respectively. Of the febrile episodes not clinically diagnosed as dengue, 5.3% were dengue-positive by NS1 antigen testing and 16.0% were dengue-positive by serology.
During the study period, the most common identified causes of pediatric acute febrile illness among the seven tested for were chikungunya, S. Typhi and dengue. Not all dengue cases were clinically diagnosed; laboratory confirmation is essential to refine disease burden estimates.
Author Summary
Acute febrile episodes are common in children living in tropical countries. Diagnosis can be challenging because symptoms of the more common infectious causes are similar and often mimic those of dengue. Asia Pacific has over 70% of the worldwide dengue disease burden, although dengue incidence is generally underestimated because most surveillance systems are passive or based on clinical diagnosis without laboratory confirmation. Understanding the local etiology of febrile illness and the incidence of dengue is important when planning large-scale vaccine trials. This prospective, active fever surveillance, cohort study was carried out in children in five dengue-endemic Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – during 2010–2011. Acute febrile episodes occurred in 289 (19.3%) of the cohort of 1,500 children. Among the diseases for which antibodies were tested using commercial kits, the top three causes of acute fever were chikungunya, Salmonella Typhi and dengue, followed by influenza A, rickettsia and hepatitis A. Dengue was confirmed in 11.4% of the febrile children by viral protein detection and in 23.9% by serology. Clinical diagnosis was not sufficient to detect all dengue cases. These findings are of relevance to those planning clinical studies of vaccines against these infectious agents in Southeast Asia.
PMCID: PMC3723539  PMID: 23936565
5.  Persistence of Th1/Tc1 responses one year after tetravalent dengue vaccination in adults and adolescents in Singapore 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(11):2317-2325.
To characterize the cell mediated immunity (CMI) induced by the investigational CYD tetravalent dengue vaccine (TDV), we developed a whole-blood, intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assay and a multiplex assay, each requiring 3 mL of blood. We assessed CMI before and 28 d after a first and third injection of CYD-TDV and one year after the third injection in a subset of 80 adolescents and adults enrolled in a phase II trial in Singapore ( NCT NCT00880893). CD4/IFNγ/TNFα responses specific to dengue NS3 were detected before vaccination. Vaccination induced YF-17D-NS3-specific CD8/IFNγ responses, without significant TNFα, and a CYD-specific Th1/Tc1 cellular response in all participants, which was characterized by predominant IFNγ secretion compared with TNFα, associated with low level IL-13 secretion in multiplex analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) supernatants after restimulation with each the CYD vaccine viruses. Responses were directed mainly against CYD-4 after the first vaccination, and were more balanced against all four serotypes after the third vaccination. The same qualitative profile was observed one year after the third vaccination, with approximately 2-fold lower NS3-specific responses, and 3-fold lower serotype-specific cellular responses. These findings confirm previous observations regarding both the nature and specificity of cellular responses induced by CYD-TDV, and for the first time demonstrate the persistence of cellular responses after one year. We also established the feasibility of analyzing CMI with small blood samples, allowing such analysis to be considered for pediatric trials.
PMCID: PMC3981840  PMID: 23839107
cell mediated immunity; intracellular cytokine staining; whole blood; cytokines; tetravalent dengue vaccine
6.  Human rotavirus vaccine Rotarix™ provides protection against diverse circulating rotavirus strains in African infants: a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:213.
Rotaviruses are the most important cause of severe acute gastroenteritis worldwide in children <5 years of age. The human, G1P[8] rotavirus vaccine Rotarix™ significantly reduced severe rotavirus gastroenteritis episodes in a Phase III clinical trial conducted in infants in South Africa and Malawi. This paper examines rotavirus vaccine efficacy in preventing severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, during infancy, caused by the various G and P rotavirus types encountered during the first rotavirus-season.
Healthy infants aged 5–10 weeks were enrolled and randomized into three groups to receive either two (10 and 14 weeks) or three doses of Rotarix™ (together forming the pooled Rotarix™ group) or three doses of placebo at a 6,10,14-week schedule. Weekly home visits were conducted to identify gastroenteritis episodes. Rotaviruses were detected by ELISA and genotyped by RT-PCR and nucleotide sequencing. The percentage of infants with severe rotavirus gastroenteritis caused by the circulating G and P types from 2 weeks post-last dose until one year of age and the corresponding vaccine efficacy was calculated with 95% CI.
Overall, 4939 infants were vaccinated and 4417 (pooled Rotarix™ = 2974; placebo = 1443) were included in the per protocol efficacy cohort. G1 wild-type was detected in 23 (1.6%) severe rotavirus gastroenteritis episodes from the placebo group. This was followed in order of detection by G12 (15 [1%] in placebo) and G8 types (15 [1%] in placebo). Vaccine efficacy against G1 wild-type, G12 and G8 types were 64.1% (95% CI: 29.9%; 82%), 51.5% (95% CI:-6.5%; 77.9%) and 64.4% (95% CI: 17.1%; 85.2%), respectively. Genotype P[8] was the predominant circulating P type and was detected in 38 (2.6%) severe rotavirus gastroenteritis cases in placebo group. The remaining circulating P types comprised of P[4] (20 [1.4%] in placebo) and P[6] (13 [0.9%] in placebo). Vaccine efficacy against P[8] was 59.1% (95% CI: 32.8%; 75.3%), P[4] was 70.9% (95% CI: 37.5%; 87.0%) and P[6] was 55.2% (95% CI: -6.5%; 81.3%)
Rotarix™ vaccine demonstrated efficacy against severe gastroenteritis caused by diverse circulating rotavirus types. These data add to a growing body of evidence supporting heterotypic protection provided by Rotarix™.
Trial registration number
PMCID: PMC3462149  PMID: 22974466
7.  Immunogenicity and safety of recombinant tetravalent dengue vaccine (CYD-TDV) in individuals aged 2–45 years 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2012;8(9):1259-1271.
This was a multicenter, blinded, Phase II study (NCT00880893) conducted in Singapore. The primary objectives were to evaluate the safety of a tetravalent dengue vaccine (TDV) comprising four recombinant, live, attenuated viruses (CYD-TDV) and the dengue virus serotype-specific antibody responses before and 28 d after each vaccination. Participants were randomized 3:1 to receive three doses of CYD-TDV or a control vaccine at 0, 6 and 12 mo. Control vaccine was placebo for the first dose (all ages) and for subsequent doses, licensed hepatitis-A for children (aged 2–11 years) or influenza vaccine for adolescents (12–17 years) and adults (18–45 years). Between April and October 2009, 317 children, 187 adolescents and 696 adults were enrolled. In all age groups, reactogenicity was higher after the first injection of CYD-TDV than after placebo control. Reactogenicity after subsequent CYD-TDV doses was no higher than after the first dose, and tended to be lower or similar to that seen after active control vaccination. Seropositivity rates and geometric mean neutralizing antibody titers (GMTs; 1/dil) against all four dengue virus serotypes increased in all age groups after each of the three CYD-TDV doses. Post-dose 3, 66.5% of all participants were seropositive to all four serotypes, and 87.2% were seropositive to ≥ 3 serotypes; GMTs for all participants ranged from 43.0 against dengue virus serotype 1 to 100 against dengue virus serotype 4. GMTs were higher in children than in adolescents. These results support the continued development of CYD-TDV for the prevention of dengue disease.
PMCID: PMC3579907  PMID: 22894958
CYD vaccine; Singapore; dengue; immunogenicity; phase II trial; recombinant live vaccine; safety; tetravalent dengue vaccine
8.  The Epidemiology of Dengue in the Americas Over the Last Three Decades: A Worrisome Reality 
We have reported the epidemic patterns of dengue disease in the Region of the Americas from 1980 through 2007. Dengue cases reported to the Pan American Health Organization were analyzed from three periods: 1980–1989 (80s), 1990–1999 (90s), and 2000–2007 (2000–7). Age distribution data were examined from Brazil, Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico. Cases increased over time: 1,033,417 (80s) to 2,725,405 (90s) to 4,759,007 (2000–7). The highest concentrations were reported in the Hispanic Caribbean (39.1%) in the 80s shifting to the Southern Cone in the 90s (55%) and 2000–7 (62.9%). From 1980 through 1987, 242 deaths were reported compared with 1,391 during 2000–7. The most frequently isolated serotypes were DENV-1 and DENV-2 (90s) and DENV-2 and DENV-3 (2000–7). The highest incidence was observed among adolescents and young adults; dengue hemorrhagic fever incidence was highest among infants in Venezuela. Increasing dengue morbidity/mortality was observed in the Americas in recent decades.
PMCID: PMC2803522  PMID: 20065008
9.  Intestinal Secretory Immunoglobulin A Response to Enteroaggregative Escherichia coli in Travelers with Diarrhea 
We examined stool samples from travelers for secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) to enteroaggregative Escherichia coli (EAEC) during episodes of acute diarrhea. Ten paired samples from 10 patients with diarrhea caused by EAEC were examined for the presence of specific sIgA by dot blot and Western blot immunoassays. Five samples were positive by dot blotting, and two samples were positive by Western blotting.
PMCID: PMC95901  PMID: 10799468

Results 1-9 (9)