PCOM Library / Hot Topics in Research / Internal Medicine / Archive for "Infectious Disease"

Category: Infectious Disease

Hot Topics: Color-Changing Bandages Treat Infection

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Colorimetric Band-aids for Point-of-Care Sensing and Treating Bacterial Infection

Sun Y, Zhao C, Niu J, Ren J, Qu X. Colorimetric band-aids for point-of-care sensing and treating bacterial infection. ACS Cent Sci. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1021/acscentsci.9b01104.

Sensing bacterial infections and monitoring drug resistance are very important for the selection of treatment options. However, the common methods of sensing resistance are limited by time-consuming, the requirement for professional personnel, and expensive instruments. Moreover, the abuse of antibiotics causes the accelerated process of bacterial resistance. Herein, we construct a portable paper-based band-aid (PBA) which implements a selective antibacterial strategy after sensing of drug resistance. The colors of PBA indicate bacterial infection (yellow) and drug resistance (red), just like a bacterial resistance colorimetric card. On the basis of color, antibiotic-based chemotherapy and Zr-MOF PCN-224-based photodynamic therapy (PDT) are used on site to treat sensitive and resistant strains, respectively. Eventually, it takes 4 h to sense, and the limit of detection is 104 CFU/mL for drug-resistant E. coli. Compared with traditional PDT-based antibacterial strategies, our design can alleviate off-target side effects, maximize therapeutic efficacy, and track the drug resistance in real time with the naked eye. This work develops a new way for the rational use of antibiotics. Given the low cost and easy operation of this point-of-care device, it can be developed for practical applications.

Hot Topics: Neurotoxin Targets Malaria Mosquitos

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

A neurotoxin that specifically targets Anopheles mosquitoes

Contreras E, Masuyer G, Qureshi N, et al. A neurotoxin that specifically targets anopheles mosquitoes. Nature Communications. 2019;10(1):2869. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10732-w.

Clostridial neurotoxins, including tetanus and botulinum neurotoxins, generally target vertebrates. We show here that this family of toxins has a much broader host spectrum, by identifying PMP1, a clostridial-like neurotoxin that selectively targets anopheline mosquitoes. Isolation of PMP1 from Paraclostridium bifermentans strains collected in anopheline endemic areas on two continents indicates it is widely distributed. The toxin likely evolved from an ancestral form that targets the nervous system of similar organisms, using a common mechanism that disrupts SNARE-mediated exocytosis. It cleaves the mosquito syntaxin and employs a unique receptor recognition strategy. Our research has an important impact on the study of the evolution of clostridial neurotoxins and provides the basis for the use of P. bifermentans strains and PMP1 as innovative, environmentally friendly approaches to reduce malaria through anopheline control.

Hot Topics: Online Intervention May Decrease HIV Risk

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease, Psychology and Psychiatry

Acceptability and Preliminary Efficacy of an Online HIV Prevention Intervention for Single Young Men Who Have Sex with Men Seeking Partners Online: The myDEx Project

Bauermeister JA, Tingler RC, Demers M, et al. Acceptability and preliminary efficacy of an online HIV prevention intervention for single young men who have sex with men seeking partners online: The myDEx project. AIDS and Behavior. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02426-7.

Prevention of new cases of HIV among young gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YGBMSM; ages 18–24) remains a priority. We developed and pilot tested an online intervention (myDEx) using a pilot randomized trial design with 180 online-recruited single YGBMSM who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse, self-reporting as HIV negative or status-unaware, and who met sexual partners through online dating applications. myDEx participants reported higher overall satisfaction (d = 0.46) and willingness to recommend the intervention to friends (d = 0.48) than controls. myDEx participants were less likely to report foregoing condoms to achieve an emotional connection with a partner (d =0 .43), and more likely to report greater emotional regulation during their partner-seeking behaviors (d = 0.44). myDEx participants reported fewer partners with whom they had condomless receptive anal sex (d = 0.48). Our pilot results demonstrate the potential of the myDEx intervention, suggesting that a larger efficacy trial may be warranted in the future.

Hot Topics: Flu Vaccine Antibodies Inhibit Two Viral Proteins

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Neuraminidase inhibition contributes to influenza A virus neutralization by anti-hemagglutinin stem antibodies

Kosik I, Angeletti D, Gibbs JS, et al. Neuraminidase inhibition contributes to influenza A virus neutralization by anti-hemagglutinin stem antibodies. J Exp Med. 2019. dx.doi.org/10.1084/jem.20181624.

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (Abs) that bind the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) stem may enable universal influenza vaccination. Here, we show that anti-stem Abs sterically inhibit viral neuraminidase (NA) activity against large substrates, with activity inversely proportional to the length of the fibrous NA stalk that supports the enzymatic domain. By modulating NA stalk length in recombinant IAVs, we show that anti-stem Abs inhibit virus release from infected cells by blocking NA, accounting for their in vitro neutralization activity. NA inhibition contributes to anti-stem Ab protection in influenza-infected mice, likely due at least in part to NA-mediated inhibition of FcγR-dependent activation of innate immune cells by Ab bound to virions. Food and Drug Administration–approved NA inhibitors enhance anti-stem–based Fc-dependent immune cell activation, raising the possibility of therapeutic synergy between NA inhibitors and anti-stem mAb treatment in humans.

Hot Topics: New Drug Found Effective for Influenza

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease, Pharmaceutical Sciences

Baloxavir Marboxil for Uncomplicated Influenza in Adults and Adolescents

Hayden FG, Sugaya N, Hirotsu N, et al. Baloxavir marboxil for uncomplicated influenza in adults and adolescents. N Engl J Med. 2018;379(10):913-923. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1716197.


Baloxavir marboxil is a selective inhibitor of influenza cap-dependent endonuclease. It has shown therapeutic activity in preclinical models of influenza A and B virus infections, including strains resistant to current antiviral agents.


We conducted two randomized, double-blind, controlled trials involving otherwise healthy outpatients with acute uncomplicated influenza. After a dose-ranging (10 to 40 mg) placebo-controlled trial, we undertook a placebo- and oseltamivir-controlled trial of single, weight-based doses of baloxavir (40 or 80 mg) in patients 12 to 64 years of age during the 2016–2017 season. The dose of oseltamivir was 75 mg twice daily for 5 days. The primary efficacy end point was the time to alleviation of influenza symptoms in the intention-to-treat infected population.


In the phase 2 trial, the median time to alleviation of influenza symptoms was 23.4 to 28.2 hours shorter in the baloxavir groups than in the placebo group (P<0.05). In the phase 3 trial, the intention-to-treat infected population included 1064 patients; 84.8 to 88.1% of patients in each group had influenza A(H3N2) infection. The median time to alleviation of symptoms was 53.7 hours (95% confidence interval [CI], 49.5 to 58.5) with baloxavir, as compared with 80.2 hours (95% CI, 72.6 to 87.1) with placebo (P<0.001). The time to alleviation of symptoms was similar with baloxavir and oseltamivir. Baloxavir was associated with greater reductions in viral load 1 day after initiation of the regimen than placebo or oseltamivir. Adverse events were reported in 20.7% of baloxavir recipients, 24.6% of placebo recipients, and 24.8% of oseltamivir recipients. The emergence of polymerase acidic protein variants with I38T/M/F substitutions conferring reduced susceptibility to baloxavir occurred in 2.2% and 9.7% of baloxavir recipients in the phase 2 trial and phase 3 trial, respectively.


Single-dose baloxavir was without evident safety concerns, was superior to placebo in alleviating influenza symptoms, and was superior to both oseltamivir and placebo in reducing the viral load 1 day after initiation of the trial regimen in patients with uncomplicated influenza. Evidence for the development of decreased susceptibility to baloxavir after treatment was also observed.

Hot Topics: Flu May Be Spread By Breathing

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Infectious virus in exhaled breath of symptomatic seasonal influenza cases from a college community

Yan J, Grantham M, Pantelic J, et al. Infectious virus in exhaled breath of symptomatic seasonal influenza cases from a college community. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2018. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1716561115

Little is known about the amount and infectiousness of influenza virus shed into exhaled breath. This contributes to uncertainty about the importance of airborne influenza transmission. We screened 355 symptomatic volunteers with acute respiratory illness and report 142 cases with confirmed influenza infection who provided 218 paired nasopharyngeal (NP) and 30-minute breath samples (coarse >5-µm and fine ≤5-µm fractions) on days 1–3 after symptom onset. We assessed viral RNA copy number for all samples and cultured NP swabs and fine aerosols. We recovered infectious virus from 52 (39%) of the fine aerosols and 150 (89%) of the NP swabs with valid cultures. The geometric mean RNA copy numbers were 3.8 × 104/30-minutes fine-, 1.2 × 104/30-minutes coarse-aerosol sample, and 8.2 × 108 per NP swab. Fine- and coarse-aerosol viral RNA were positively associated with body mass index and number of coughs and negatively associated with increasing days since symptom onset in adjusted models. Fine-aerosol viral RNA was also positively associated with having influenza vaccination for both the current and prior season. NP swab viral RNA was positively associated with upper respiratory symptoms and negatively associated with age but was not significantly associated with fine- or coarse-aerosol viral RNA or their predictors. Sneezing was rare, and sneezing and coughing were not necessary for infectious aerosol generation. Our observations suggest that influenza infection in the upper and lower airways are compartmentalized and independent.

Hot Topics: Resistance to HIV Drugs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries Rising

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

HIV-1 drug resistance before initiation or re-initiation of first-line antiretroviral therapy in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis

Gupta RK, Gregson J, Parkin N, et al. HIV-1 drug resistance before initiation or re-initiation of first-line antiretroviral therapy in low-income and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseaseshttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30702-8.

Pretreatment drug resistance in people initiating or re-initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) containing non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) might compromise HIV control in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to assess the scale of this problem and whether it is associated with the intiation or re-initiation of ART in people who have had previous exposure to antiretroviral drugs.

This study was a systematic review and meta-regression analysis. We assessed regional prevalence of pretreatment drug resistance and risk of pretreatment drug resistance in people initiating ART who reported previous ART exposure. We systematically screened publications and unpublished datasets for pretreatment drug-resistance data in individuals in LMICs initiating or re-initiating first-line ART from LMICs. We searched for studies in PubMed and Embase and conference abstracts and presentations from the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, the International AIDS Society Conference, and the International Drug Resistance Workshop for the period Jan 1, 2001, to Dec 31, 2016. To assess the prevalence of drug resistance within a specified region at any specific timepoint, we extracted study level data and pooled prevalence estimates within the region using an empty logistic regression model with a random effect at the study level. We used random effects meta-regression to relate sampling year to prevalence of pretreatment drug resistance within geographical regions.

We identified 358 datasets that contributed data to our analyses, representing 56 044 adults in 63 countries. Prevalence estimates of pretreatment NNRTI resistance in 2016 were 11·0% (7·5–15·9) in southern Africa, 10·1% (5·1–19·4) in eastern Africa, 7·2% (2·9–16·5) in western and central Africa, and 9·4% (6·6–13·2) in Latin America and the Caribbean. There were substantial increases in pretreatment NNRTI resistance per year in all regions. The yearly increases in the odds of pretreatment drug resistance were 23% (95% CI 16–29) in southern Africa, 17% (5–30) in eastern Africa, 17% (6–29) in western and central Africa, 11% (5–18) in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 11% (2–20) in Asia. Estimated increases in the absolute prevalence of pretreatment drug resistance between 2015 and 2016 ranged from 0·3% in Asia to 1·8% in southern Africa.

Pretreatment drug resistance is increasing at substantial rate in LMICs, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, the prevalence of pretreatment NNRTI resistance was near WHO’s 10% threshold for changing first-line ART in southern and eastern Africa and Latin America, underscoring the need for routine national HIV drug-resistance surveillance and review of national policies for first-line ART regimen composition.

Hot Topics: Shortened Tuberculosis Treatment As Effective as Current Recommended Treatment

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Short-course treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: the STREAM trials.

Moodley, R., Godec, T. R., & STREAM Trial Team. (2016). Short-course treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis: The STREAM trials. European Respiratory Review : An Official Journal of the European Respiratory Society, 25(139), 29-35. doi:10.1183/16000617.0080-2015

Multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) is a threat to global TB control, as suboptimal and poorly tolerated treatment options have resulted in largely unfavourable outcomes for these patients. The last of six cohort studies conducted in Bangladesh which assessed a new shorter regimen using currently available TB drugs showed promising results and offered the possibility of a more acceptable and more effective regimen than the one recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The aims of stage 1 of the STREAM (Evaluation of a Standardised Treatment Regimen of Anti-tuberculosis Drugs for Patients with Multidrug-resistant Tuberculosis) trial are to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this regimen, compared to the current WHO-recommended standard of care. Stage 2 evaluates two new bedaquiline-containing regimens: one an all-oral regimen and the second a further shortened and simplified version of the stage 1 study regimen, comparing the efficacy and safety of each to that of the stage 1 study regimen and also to the WHO-recommended standard of care. Success of the stage 1 study regimen would in all probability provide a new standard of care for MDR-TB patients, while positive results from the bedaquiline-containing regimens in stage 2 may allow for even greater progress in the management of this difficult population.

Hot Topics: Monthly Injections Could Replace Pills for HIV Treatment

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Long-acting intramuscular cabotegravir and rilpivirine in adults with HIV-1 infection (LATTE-2): 96-week results of a randomised, open-label, phase 2b, non-inferiority trial

Margolis DA, Gonzalez-Garcia J, Stellbrink H, et al. Long-acting intramuscular cabotegravir and rilpivirine in adults with HIV-1 infection (LATTE-2): 96-week results of a randomised, open-label, phase 2b, non-inferiority trial. The Lancethttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31917-7.

Cabotegravir and rilpivirine are antiretroviral drugs in development as long-acting injectable formulations. The LATTE-2 study evaluated long-acting cabotegravir plus rilpivirine for maintenance of HIV-1 viral suppression through 96 weeks.

In this randomised, phase 2b, open-label study, treatment-naive adults infected with HIV-1 initially received oral cabotegravir 30 mg plus abacavir–lamivudine 600–300 mg once daily. The objective of this study was to select an intramuscular dosing regimen based on a comparison of the antiviral activity, tolerability, and safety of the two intramuscular dosing regimens relative to oral cabotegravir plus abacavir–lamivudine. After a 20-week induction period on oral cabotegravir plus abacavir–lamivudine, patients with viral suppression (plasma HIV-1 RNA <50 copies per mL) were randomly assigned (2:2:1) to intramuscular long-acting cabotegravir plus rilpivirine at 4-week intervals (long-acting cabotegravir 400 mg plus rilpivirine 600 mg; two 2 mL injections) or 8-week intervals (long-acting cabotegravir 600 mg plus rilpivirine 900 mg; two 3 mL injections) or continued oral cabotegravir plus abacavir–lamivudine. Randomisation was computer-generated with stratification by HIV-1 RNA (<50 copies per mL, yes or no) during the first 12 weeks of the induction period. The primary endpoints were the proportion of patients with viral suppression at week 32 (as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration snapshot algorithm), protocol-defined virological failures, and safety events through 96 weeks. All randomly assigned patients who received at least one dose of study drug during the maintenance period were included in the primary efficacy and safety analyses. The primary analysis used a Bayesian approach to evaluate the hypothesis that the proportion with viral suppression for each long-acting regimen is not worse than the oral regimen proportion by more than 10% (denoted comparable) according to a prespecified decision rule (ie, posterior probability for comparability >90%). Difference in proportions and associated 95% CIs were supportive to the primary analysis. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02120352.

Among 309 enrolled patients, 286 were randomly assigned to the maintenance period (115 to each of the 4-week and 8-week groups and 56 to the oral treatment group). This study is currently ongoing. At 32 weeks following randomisation, both long-acting regimens met primary criteria for comparability in viral suppression relative to the oral comparator group. Viral suppression was maintained at 32 weeks in 51 (91%) of 56 patients in the oral treatment group, 108 (94%) of 115 patients in the 4-week group (difference 2·8% [95% CI −5·8 to 11·5] vs oral treatment), and 109 (95%) of 115 patients in the 8-week group (difference 3·7% [−4·8 to 12·2] vs oral treatment). At week 96, viral suppression was maintained in 47 (84%) of 56 patients receiving oral treatment, 100 (87%) of 115 patients in the 4-week group, and 108 (94%) of 115 patients in the 8-week group. Three patients (1%) experienced protocol-defined virological failure (two in the 8-week group; one in the oral treatment group). Injection-site reactions were mild (3648 [84%] of 4360 injections) or moderate (673 [15%] of 4360 injections) in intensity and rarely resulted in discontinuation (two [<1%] of 230 patients); injection-site pain was reported most frequently. Serious adverse events during maintenance were reported in 22 (10%) of 230 patients in the intramuscular groups (4-week and 8-week groups) and seven (13%) of 56 patients in the oral treatment group; none were drug related.

The two-drug combination of all-injectable, long-acting cabotegravir plus rilpivirine every 4 weeks or every 8 weeks was as effective as daily three-drug oral therapy at maintaining HIV-1 viral suppression through 96 weeks and was well accepted and tolerated.

Hot Topics: Most Pediatric Flu Deaths Could Be Prevented With Flu Shot

Jackie Werner Hot Topics in Research, Infectious Disease

Influenza vaccine effectiveness against pediatric deaths: 2010–2014

Flannery B, Reynolds SB, Blanton L, et al. Influenza vaccine effectiveness against pediatric deaths: 2010–2014. Pediatrics. 2017;139(5). doi: 10.1542/peds.2016-4244.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths since 2004 has shown that most deaths occur in unvaccinated children. We assessed whether influenza vaccination reduced the risk of influenza-associated death in children and adolescents.

METHODS: We conducted a case–cohort analysis comparing vaccination uptake among laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths with estimated vaccination coverage among pediatric cohorts in the United States. Case vaccination and high-risk status were determined by case investigation. Influenza vaccination coverage estimates were obtained from national survey data or a national insurance claims database. We estimated odds ratios from logistic regression comparing odds of vaccination among cases with odds of vaccination in comparison cohorts. We used Bayesian methods to compute 95% credible intervals (CIs) for vaccine effectiveness (VE), calculated as (1 − odds ratio) × 100.

RESULTS: From July 2010 through June 2014, 358 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported among children aged 6 months through 17 years. Vaccination status was determined for 291 deaths; 75 (26%) received vaccine before illness onset. Average vaccination coverage in survey cohorts was 48%. Overall VE against death was 65% (95% CI, 54% to 74%). Among 153 deaths in children with underlying high-risk medical conditions, 47 (31%) were vaccinated. VE among children with high-risk conditions was 51% (95% CI, 31% to 67%), compared with 65% (95% CI, 47% to 78%) among children without high-risk conditions.

CONCLUSIONS: Influenza vaccination was associated with reduced risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric death. Increasing influenza vaccination could prevent influenza-associated deaths among children and adolescents.