Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute

Gaborone, Botswana

Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute

Gaborone, Botswana
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Cohen M.S.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Chen Y.Q.,Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center | McCauley M.,Family Health International | Gamble T.,Family Health International | And 28 more authors.
New England Journal of Medicine | Year: 2011

BACKGROUND: Antiretroviral therapy that reduces viral replication could limit the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in serodiscordant couples. METHODS: In nine countries, we enrolled 1763 couples in which one partner was HIV-1-positive and the other was HIV-1-negative; 54% of the subjects were from Africa, and 50% of infected partners were men. HIV-1-infected subjects with CD4 counts between 350 and 550 cells per cubic millimeter were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive antiretroviral therapy either immediately (early therapy) or after a decline in the CD4 count or the onset of HIV-1-related symptoms (delayed therapy). The primary prevention end point was linked HIV-1 transmission in HIV-1-negative partners. The primary clinical end point was the earliest occurrence of pulmonary tuberculosis, severe bacterial infection, a World Health Organization stage 4 event, or death. RESULTS: As of February 21, 2011, a total of 39 HIV-1 transmissions were observed (incidence rate, 1.2 per 100 person-years; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9 to 1.7); of these, 28 were virologically linked to the infected partner (incidence rate, 0.9 per 100 person-years, 95% CI, 0.6 to 1.3). Of the 28 linked transmissions, only 1 occurred in the earlytherapy group (hazard ratio, 0.04; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.27; P<0.001). Subjects receiving early therapy had fewer treatment end points (hazard ratio, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.40 to 0.88; P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: The early initiation of antiretroviral therapy reduced rates of sexual transmission of HIV-1 and clinical events, indicating both personal and public health benefits from such therapy. (Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and others; HPTN 052 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00074581.) Copyright © 2011 Massachusetts Medical Society.


Grinsztejn B.,Institute Pesquisa Clinica Evandro Chagas | Hosseinipour M.C.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Ribaudo H.J.,Harvard University | Swindells S.,University of Nebraska Medical Center | And 26 more authors.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

Background: Use of antiretroviral treatment for HIV-1 infection has decreased AIDS-related morbidity and mortality and prevents sexual transmission of HIV-1. However, the best time to initiate antiretroviral treatment to reduce progression of HIV-1 infection or non-AIDS clinical events is unknown. We reported previously that early antiretroviral treatment reduced HIV-1 transmission by 96%. We aimed to compare the effects of early and delayed initiation of antiretroviral treatment on clinical outcomes. Methods: The HPTN 052 trial is a randomised controlled trial done at 13 sites in nine countries. We enrolled HIV-1-serodiscordant couples to the study and randomly allocated them to either early or delayed antiretroviral treatment by use of permuted block randomisation, stratified by site. Random assignment was unblinded. The HIV-1-infected member of every couple initiated antiretroviral treatment either on entry into the study (early treatment group) or after a decline in CD4 count or with onset of an AIDS-related illness (delayed treatment group). Primary events were AIDS clinical events (WHO stage 4 HIV-1 disease, tuberculosis, and severe bacterial infections) and the following serious medical conditions unrelated to AIDS: serious cardiovascular or vascular disease, serious liver disease, end-stage renal disease, new-onset diabetes mellitus, and non-AIDS malignant disease. Analysis was by intention-to-treat. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00074581. Findings: 1763 people with HIV-1 infection and a serodiscordant partner were enrolled in the study; 886 were assigned early antiretroviral treatment and 877 to the delayed treatment group (two individuals were excluded from this group after randomisation). Median CD4 counts at randomisation were 442 (IQR 373-522) cells per μL in patients assigned to the early treatment group and 428 (357-522) cells per μL in those allocated delayed antiretroviral treatment. In the delayed group, antiretroviral treatment was initiated at a median CD4 count of 230 (IQR 197-249) cells per μL. Primary clinical events were reported in 57 individuals assigned to early treatment initiation versus 77 people allocated to delayed antiretroviral treatment (hazard ratio 0·73, 95% CI 0·52-1·03; p=0·074). New-onset AIDS events were recorded in 40 participants assigned to early antiretroviral treatment versus 61 allocated delayed initiation (0·64, 0·43-0·96; p=0·031), tuberculosis developed in 17 versus 34 patients, respectively (0·49, 0·28-0·89, p=0·018), and primary non-AIDS events were rare (12 in the early group vs nine with delayed treatment). In total, 498 primary and secondary outcomes occurred in the early treatment group (incidence 24·9 per 100 person-years, 95% CI 22·5-27·5) versus 585 in the delayed treatment group (29·2 per 100 person-years, 26·5-32·1; p=0·025). 26 people died, 11 who were allocated to early antiretroviral treatment and 15 who were assigned to the delayed treatment group. Interpretation: Early initiation of antiretroviral treatment delayed the time to AIDS events and decreased the incidence of primary and secondary outcomes. The clinical benefits recorded, combined with the striking reduction in HIV-1 transmission risk previously reported, provides strong support for earlier initiation of antiretroviral treatment. Funding: US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Novitsky V.,Harvard University | Wang R.,Harvard University | Rossenkhan R.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute | Rossenkhan R.,University of Botswana | And 2 more authors.
Infection, Genetics and Evolution | Year: 2013

Background: HIV-1 nucleotide substitution rates are central for understanding the evolution of HIV-1. Their accurate estimation is critical for analysis of viral dynamics, identification of divergence time of HIV variants, inference of HIV transmission clusters, and modeling of viral evolution. Methods: Intra-patient nucleotide substitution rates in HIV-1C gag and env gp120 V1C5 were analyzed in a longitudinal cohort of 32 individuals infected with a single viral variant. Viral quasispecies were derived by single genome amplification/sequencing from serially sampled blood specimens collected at median (IQR) of 5 (4-6) times per subject from enrollment (during Fiebig stages II to V) over a median (IQR) of 417 (351-471) days post-seroconversion (p/s). HIV-1C evolutionary rates were estimated by BEAST v.1.7 using a relaxed lognormal molecular clock model. The effect of antiretroviral therapy (ART) on substitution rates in gag and env was assessed in a subset of six individuals who started ARV therapy during the follow-up period. Results: During primary HIV-1C infection, the intra-patient substitution rates were estimated at a median (IQR) of 5.22E-03 (3.28E-03-7.55E-03) substitutions per site per year of infection within gag, and 1.58E-02 (9.99E-03-2.04E-02) substitutions per site per year within env gp120 V1C5. The substitution rates in env gp120 V1C5 were higher than in gag (p < 0.001, Wilcoxon signed rank test). The median (IQR) relative rates of evolution at codon positions 1, 2, and 3 were 0.73 (0.48-0.84), 0.67 (0.52-0.86), and 1.54 (1.21-1.71) in gag, and 1.01 (0.86-1.15), 1.05 (0.99-1.21), and 0.86 (0.67-0.94) in env gp120 V1C5, respectively. A first to the third position codon rate ratio >1.0 within env was found in 25 (78.1%) cases, but only in 4 (12.5%) cases in gag, while a second to the third position codon rate ratio >1.0 in env was observed in 26 (81.3%) cases, but in gag only in 2 (6.3%) cases (p < 0.001 for both comparisons, Fisher's exact test). No ART effect on substitution rates in gag and env was found, at least within the first 3-4 months after ART initiation. Individuals with early viral set point ≥4.0 log10 copies/ml had higher substitution rates in env gp120 V1C5 (median (IQR) 1.88E-02 (1.54E-02-2.46E-02) vs. 1.04E (7.24E-03-1.55E-02) substitutions per site per year; p = 0.017, Mann-Whitney sum rank test), while individuals with early viral set point ≥3.0 log10 copies/ml had higher substitution rates in gag (median (IQR) 5.66E-03 (3.45E-03-7.94E-03) vs. 1.78E-03 (4.57E-04-5.15E-03); p = 0.028; Mann-Whitney sum rank test). Conclusions: The results suggest that in primary HIV-1C infection, (1) intra-host evolutionary rates in env gp120 V1C5 are about 3-fold higher than in gag; (2) selection pressure in env is more frequent than in gag; (3) initiation of ART does not change substitution rates in HIV-1C env or gag, at least within the first 3-4 months after starting ART; and (4) intra-host evolutionary rates in gag and env gp120 V1C5 are higher in individuals with elevated levels of early viral set point. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mutapi F.,University of Edinburgh | Rujeni N.,University of Edinburgh | Bourke C.,University of Edinburgh | Mitchell K.,University of Edinburgh | And 6 more authors.
PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases | Year: 2011

Background: Morbidity due to schistosomiasis is currently controlled by treatment of schistosome infected people with the antihelminthic drug praziquantel (PZQ). Children aged up to 5 years are currently excluded from schistosome control programmes largely due to the lack of PZQ safety data in this age group. This study investigated the safety and efficacy of PZQ treatment in such children. Methods: Zimbabwean children aged 1-5 years (n = 104) were treated with PZQ tablets and side effects were assessed by questionnaire administered to their caregivers within 24 hours of taking PZQ. Treatment efficacy was determined 6 weeks after PZQ administration through schistosome egg counts in urine. The change in infection levels in the children 1-5 years old (n = 100) was compared to that in 6-10 year old children (n = 435). Principal Findings: Pre-treatment S. haematobium infection intensity in 1-5 year olds was 14.6 eggs/10 ml urine and prevalence was 21%. Of the 104 children, 3.8% reported side effects within 24 hours of taking PZQ treatment. These were stomach ache, loss of appetite, lethargy and inflammation of the face and body. PZQ treatment significantly reduced schistosome infection levels in 1-5 year olds with an egg reduction rate (ERR) of 99% and cure rate (CR) of 92%. This was comparable to the efficacy of praziquantel in 6-10 year olds where ERR was 96% and CR was 67%. Interpretation/Significance: PZQ treatment is as safe and efficacious in children aged 1-5 years as it is in older children aged 6-10 years in whom PZQ is the drug of choice for control of schistosome infections. © 2011 Mutapi et al.


Mutapi F.,University of Edinburgh | Imai N.,University of Edinburgh | Nausch N.,University of Edinburgh | Bourke C.D.,University of Edinburgh | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

In animal experimental models, parasitic helminth infections can protect the host from auto-immune diseases. We conducted a population-scale human study investigating the relationship between helminth parasitism and auto-reactive antibodies and the subsequent effect of anti-helminthic treatment on this relationship. Levels of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) and plasma IL-10 were measured by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay in 613 Zimbabweans (aged 2-86 years) naturally exposed to the blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium. ANA levels were related to schistosome infection intensity and systemic IL-10 levels. All participants were offered treatment with the anti-helminthic drug praziquantel and 102 treated schoolchildren (5-16 years) were followed up 6 months post-antihelminthic treatment. ANA levels were inversely associated with current infection intensity but were independent of host age, sex and HIV status. Furthermore, after allowing for the confounding effects of schistosome infection intensity, ANA levels were inversely associated with systemic levels of IL-10. ANA levels increased significantly 6 months after anti-helminthic treatment. Our study shows that ANA levels are attenuated in helminth-infected humans and that anti-helminthic treatment of helminth-infected people can significantly increase ANA levels. The implications of these findings are relevant for understanding both the aetiology of immune disorders mediated by auto-reactive antibodies and in predicting the long-term consequences of large-scale schistosomiasis control programs. © 2011 Mutapi et al.


Novitsky V.,Harvard University | Moyo S.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute | Lei Q.,Harvard University | Degruttola V.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses | Year: 2015

To improve the methodology of HIV cluster analysis, we addressed how analysis of HIV clustering is associated with parameters that can affect the outcome of viral clustering. The extent of HIV clustering and tree certainty was compared between 401 HIV-1C near full-length genome sequences and subgenomic regions retrieved from the LANL HIV Database. Sliding window analysis was based on 99 windows of 1,000?bp and 45 windows of 2,000?bp. Potential associations between the extent of HIV clustering and sequence length and the number of variable and informative sites were evaluated. The near full-length genome HIV sequences showed the highest extent of HIV clustering and the highest tree certainty. At the bootstrap threshold of 0.80 in maximum likelihood (ML) analysis, 58.9% of near full-length HIV-1C sequences but only 15.5% of partial pol sequences (ViroSeq) were found in clusters. Among HIV-1 structural genes, pol showed the highest extent of clustering (38.9% at a bootstrap threshold of 0.80), although it was significantly lower than in the near full-length genome sequences. The extent of HIV clustering was significantly higher for sliding windows of 2,000?bp than 1,000?bp. We found a strong association between the sequence length and proportion of HIV sequences in clusters, and a moderate association between the number of variable and informative sites and the proportion of HIV sequences in clusters. In HIV cluster analysis, the extent of detectable HIV clustering is directly associated with the length of viral sequences used, as well as the number of variable and informative sites. Near full-length genome sequences could provide the most informative HIV cluster analysis. Selected subgenomic regions with a high extent of HIV clustering and high tree certainty could also be considered as a second choice. © Copyright 2015, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2015.


Rowley C.F.,Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center | Rowley C.F.,Harvard University | Rowley C.F.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute
Clinical Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

CD4 counts and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) load testing are essential components of HIV care, and making these tests available in resource-limited settings is critical to the roll-out of HIV treatment globally. Until recently, the evidence supporting the importance of laboratory monitoring in resource-limited settings was lacking, but there is now a consensus emerging that testing should become routine to ensure the longevity of treatment programs. Low-cost, point-of-care testing offers the potential to fill this role as it potentially improves all aspects of HIV care, ranging from the diagnosis and staging of HIV infection in both infants and adults to monitoring for treatment failure once antiretroviral therapy has been initiated. It is imperative for low-cost solutions to become a reality, but it is equally imperative that close scrutiny be given to each new device that hits the market to ensure they perform optimally in all settings. © 2013 The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.


Novitsky V.,Harvard University | Moyo S.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute | Lei Q.,Harvard University | Degruttola V.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses | Year: 2014

Identifying and monitoring HIV clusters could be useful in tracking the leading edge of HIV transmission in epidemics. Currently, greater specificity in the definition of HIV clusters is needed to reduce confusion in the interpretation of HIV clustering results. We address sampling density as one of the key aspects of HIV cluster analysis. The proportion of viral sequences in clusters was estimated at sampling densities from 1.0% to 70%. A set of 1,248 HIV-1C env gp120 V1C5 sequences from a single community in Botswana was utilized in simulation studies. Matching numbers of HIV-1C V1C5 sequences from the LANL HIV Database were used as comparators. HIV clusters were identified by phylogenetic inference under bootstrapped maximum likelihood and pairwise distance cut-offs. Sampling density below 10% was associated with stochastic HIV clustering with broad confidence intervals. HIV clustering increased linearly at sampling density >10%, and was accompanied by narrowing confidence intervals. Patterns of HIV clustering were similar at bootstrap thresholds 0.7 to 1.0, but the extent of HIV clustering decreased with higher bootstrap thresholds. The origin of sampling (local concentrated vs. scattered global) had a substantial impact on HIV clustering at sampling densities ≥10%. Pairwise distances at 10% were estimated as a threshold for cluster analysis of HIV-1 V1C5 sequences. The node bootstrap support distribution provided additional evidence for 10% sampling density as the threshold for HIV cluster analysis. The detectability of HIV clusters is substantially affected by sampling density. A minimal genotyping density of 10% and sampling density of 50-70% are suggested for HIV-1 V1C5 cluster analysis. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.


Novitsky V.,Harvard University | Novitsky V.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute | Wang R.,Harvard University | Margolin L.,Harvard University | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

To address whether sequences of viral gag and env quasispecies collected during the early post-acute period can be utilized to determine multiplicity of transmitted HIV's, recently developed approaches for analysis of viral evolution in acute HIV-1 infection [1,2] were applied. Specifically, phylogenetic reconstruction, inter- and intra-patient distribution of maximum and mean genetic distances, analysis of Poisson fitness, shape of highlighter plots, recombination analysis, and estimation of time to the most recent common ancestor (tMRCA) were utilized for resolving multiplicity of HIV-1 transmission in a set of viral quasispecies collected within 50 days post-seroconversion (p/s) in 25 HIV-infected individuals with estimated time of seroconversion. The decision on multiplicity of HIV infection was made based on the model's fit with, or failure to explain, the observed extent of viral sequence heterogeneity. The initial analysis was based on phylogeny, inter-patient distribution of maximum and mean distances, and Poisson fitness, and was able to resolve multiplicity of HIV transmission in 20 of 25 (80%) cases. Additional analysis involved distribution of individual viral distances, highlighter plots, recombination analysis, and estimation of tMRCA, and resolved 4 of the 5 remaining cases. Overall, transmission of a single viral variant was identified in 16 of 25 (64%) cases, and transmission of multiple variants was evident in 8 of 25 (32%) cases. In one case multiplicity of HIV-1 transmission could not be determined. In primary HIV-1 subtype C infection, samples collected within 50 days p/s and analyzed by a single-genome amplification/sequencing technique can provide reliable identification of transmission multiplicity in 24 of 25 (96%) cases. Observed transmission frequency of a single viral variant and multiple viral variants were within the ranges of 64% to 68%, and 32% to 36%, respectively. © 2011 Novitsky et al.


Novitsky V.,Harvard University | Novitsky V.,Botswana Harvard AIDS Institute | Wang R.,Harvard University | Lagakos S.,Harvard University | And 2 more authors.
Viruses | Year: 2010

The diversity of HIV-1 and its propensity to generate escape mutants present fundamental challenges to control efforts, including HIV vaccine design. Intra-host diversification of HIV is determined by immune responses elicited by an HIV-infected individual over the course of the infection. Complex and dynamic patterns of transmission of HIV lead to an even more complex population viral diversity over time, thus presenting enormous challenges to vaccine development. To address inter-patient viral evolution over time, a set of 653 unique HIV-1 subtype C gag sequences were retrieved from the LANL HIV Database, grouped by sampling year as <2000, 2000, 2001-2002, 2003, and 2004-2006, and analyzed for the site-specific frequency of translated amino acid residues. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that a total of 289 out of 653 (44.3%) analyzed sequences were found within 16 clusters defined by aLRT of more than 0.90. Median (IQR) inter-sample diversity of analyzed gag sequences was 8.7% (7.7%; 9.8%). Despite the heterogeneous origins of analyzed sequences, the gamut and frequency of amino acid residues in wild-type Gag were remarkably stable over the last decade of the HIV-1 subtype C epidemic. The vast majority of amino acid residues demonstrated minor frequency fluctuation over time, consistent with the conservative nature of the HIV-1 Gag protein. Only 4.0% (20 out of 500; HXB2 numbering) amino acid residues across Gag displayed both statistically significant (p<0.05 by both a trend test and heterogeneity test) changes in amino acid frequency over time as well as a range of at least 10% in the frequency of the major amino acid. A total of 59.2% of amino acid residues with changing frequency of 10%+ were found within previously identified CTL epitopes. The time of the most recent common ancestor of the HIV-1 subtype C was dated to around 1950 (95% HPD from 1928 to 1962). This study provides evidence for the overall stability of HIV-1 subtype C Gag among viruses circulating in the epidemic over the last decade. However selected sites across HIV-1C Gag with changing amino acid frequency are likely to be under selection pressure at the population level. © 2010 by the authors.

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