Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme

Blantyre, Malawi

Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme

Blantyre, Malawi
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Everett D.B.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Everett D.B.,University of Liverpool | Cornick J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Cornick J.,University of Liverpool | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Background: Malawi commenced the introduction of the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) into the routine infant immunisation schedule in November 2011. Here we have tested the utility of high throughput whole genome sequencing to provide a high-resolution view of pre-vaccine pneumococcal epidemiology and population evolutionary trends to predict potential future change in population structure post introduction.Methods: One hundred and twenty seven (127) archived pneumococcal isolates from randomly selected adults and children presenting to the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi underwent whole genome sequencing.Results: The pneumococcal population was dominated by serotype 1 (20.5% of invasive isolates) prior to vaccine introduction. PCV13 is likely to protect against 62.9% of all circulating invasive pneumococci (78.3% in under-5-year-olds). Several Pneumococcal Molecular Epidemiology Network (PMEN) clones are now in circulation in Malawi which were previously undetected but the pandemic multidrug resistant PMEN1 lineage was not identified. Genome analysis identified a number of novel sequence types and serotype switching.Conclusions: High throughput genome sequencing is now feasible and has the capacity to simultaneously elucidate serotype, sequence type and as well as detailed genetic information. It enables population level characterization, providing a detailed picture of population structure and genome evolution relevant to disease control. Post-vaccine introduction surveillance supported by genome sequencing is essential to providing a comprehensive picture of the impact of PCV13 on pneumococcal population structure and informing future public health interventions. © 2012 Everett et al.


Meghji J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Miller R.F.,University College London | Miller R.F.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Ferrand R.A.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Seminars in Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine | Year: 2016

Respiratory tract infection, particularly tuberculosis, is a major cause of mortality among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has resulted in a dramatic increase in survival, although coverage of HIV treatment remains low in many parts of the world. There is a concurrent growing burden of chronic noninfectious respiratory disease as a result of increased survival. Many risk factors associated with the development of respiratory disease, such as cigarette smoking and intravenous drug use, are overrepresented among people living with HIV. In addition, there is emerging evidence that HIV infection may directly cause or accelerate the course of chronic lung disease. This review summarizes the clinical spectrum and epidemiology of respiratory tract infections and noninfectious pulmonary pathologies, and factors that explain the global variation in HIV-associated respiratory disease. The potential for enhancing diagnoses of noninfective chronic conditions through the use of clinical algorithms is discussed. We also consider issues in assessment and management of HIV-related respiratory disease in view of the increasing global scale up of ART. © 2016 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.


Waitt C.J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Waitt C.J.,University of Liverpool
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease | Year: 2011

BACKGROUND: Despite effective anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy, case-fatality rates of up to 25% are described in both industrialised and resource-poor settings. An understanding of the factors predisposing to poor outcome may allow the development of adjunctive treatment strategies or closer clinical monitoring in high-risk individuals. OBJECTIVES: To describe the definitions and timing of deaths due to tuberculosis (TB), and the reported range of risk factors for death. METHODS: All electronically available studies investigating risk factors for death in TB patients from 1966 to 2010 were analysed. Included were peer-reviewed reports of cohort, case control or cross-sectional studies with the primary objective of determination of quantitative effect estimates of the relationship between risk factors and death in adults treated for TB. Many studies were limited by their retrospective design, reliance on data from registries and charts, and risk of reporting bias. RESULTS: Most studies reported risk factors for all-cause mortality throughout anti-tuberculosis treatment. In the context of high TB incidence and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence, risk factors for death are HIV positivity, advancing immunosuppression, smear-negative disease and malnutrition. In regions of low TB incidence and HIV prevalence, risk factors include non-infective comorbidities, sputum smear-positive disease and alcohol and substance misuse. CONCLUSIONS: There remains a need for prospective clinical studies, particularly with a focus on deaths occurring during the first months of anti-tuberculosis treatment. Qualitative research should be used to further explore the relationship between sex and health-seeking behaviour, and to optimise delivery of health care to socially marginalised groups. © 2011 The Union.


Meghji J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Background: Tuberculosis is an important risk factor for chronic respiratory disease in resource poor settings. The persistence of abnormal spirometry and symptoms after treatment are well described, but the structural abnormalities underlying these changes remain poorly defined, limiting our ability to phenotype post-TB lung disease in to meaningful categories for clinical management, prognostication, and ongoing research. The relationship between post-TB lung damage and patient-centred outcomes including functional impairment, respiratory symptoms, and health related quality of life also remains unclear. Methods: We performed a systematic literature review to determine the prevalence and pattern of imaging-defined lung pathology in adults after medical treatment for pleural, miliary, or pulmonary TB disease. Data were collected on study characteristics, and the modality, timing, and findings of thoracic imaging. The proportion of studies relating imaging findings to spirometry results and patient morbidity was recorded. Study quality was assessed using a modified Newcastle-Ottowa score. (Prospero Registration number CRD42015027958) Results: We identified 37 eligible studies. The principle features seen on CXR were cavitation (8.3-83.7%), bronchiectasis (4.3-11.2%), and fibrosis (25.0-70.4%), but prevalence was highly variable. CT imaging identified a wider range of residual abnormalities than CXR, including nodules (25.0-55.8%), consolidation (3.7-19.2%), and emphysema (15.0-45.0%). The prevalence of cavitation was generally lower (7.4-34.6%) and bronchiectasis higher (35.0-86.0%) on CT vs. CXR imaging. A paucity of prospective data, and data from HIV-infected adults and sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) was noted. Few studies related structural damage to physiological impairment, respiratory symptoms, or patient morbidity. Conclusions: Post-TB structural lung pathology is common. Prospective data are required to determine the evolution of this lung damage and its associated morbidity over time. Further data are required from HIV-infected groups and those living in sSA. © 2016 Meghji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Waitt C.J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Waitt C.J.,University of Liverpool | Joekes E.C.,University of Liverpool | Waitt P.I.,Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital | And 3 more authors.
European Radiology | Year: 2013

Objectives: In low-resource settings, limitations in diagnostic accuracy of chest X-rays (CXR) for pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) relate partly to non-expert interpretation. We piloted a TB CXR Image Reference Set (TIRS) to improve non-expert performance in an operational setting in Malawi. Methods: Nineteen doctors and clinical officers read 60 CXR of patients with suspected PTB, at baseline and using TIRS. Two officers also used the CXR Reading and Recording System (CRRS). Correct treatment decisions were assessed against a "gold standard" of mycobacterial culture and expert performance. Results: TIRS significantly increased overall non-expert sensitivity from 67.6 (SD 14.9) to 75.5 (SD 11.1, P = 0.013), approaching expert values of 84.2 (SD 5.2). Among doctors, correct decisions increased from 60.7 % (SD 7.9) to 67.1 % (SD 8.0, P = 0.054). Clinical officers increased in sensitivity from 68.0 % (SD 15) to 77.4 % (SD 10.7, P = 0.056), but decreased in specificity from 55.0 % (SD 23.9) to 40.8 % (SD 10.4, P = 0.049). Two officers made correct treatment decisions with TIRS in 62.7 %. CRRS training increased this to 67.8 %. Conclusion: Use of a CXR image reference set increased correct decisions by doctors to treat PTB. This tool may provide a low-cost intervention improving non-expert performance, translating into improved clinical care. Further evaluation is warranted. Key Points: • Tuberculosis treatment decisions are influenced by CXR findings, despite improved laboratory diagnostics. • In low-resource settings, CXR interpretation is performed largely by non-experts. • We piloted the effect of a simple reference training set of CXRs. • Use of the reference set increased the number of correct treatment decisions. This effect was more marked for doctors than clinical officers. • Further evaluation of this simple training tool is warranted. © 2013 The Author(s).


PubMed | Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Tuberculosis is an important risk factor for chronic respiratory disease in resource poor settings. The persistence of abnormal spirometry and symptoms after treatment are well described, but the structural abnormalities underlying these changes remain poorly defined, limiting our ability to phenotype post-TB lung disease in to meaningful categories for clinical management, prognostication, and ongoing research. The relationship between post-TB lung damage and patient-centred outcomes including functional impairment, respiratory symptoms, and health related quality of life also remains unclear.We performed a systematic literature review to determine the prevalence and pattern of imaging-defined lung pathology in adults after medical treatment for pleural, miliary, or pulmonary TB disease. Data were collected on study characteristics, and the modality, timing, and findings of thoracic imaging. The proportion of studies relating imaging findings to spirometry results and patient morbidity was recorded. Study quality was assessed using a modified Newcastle-Ottowa score. (Prospero Registration number CRD42015027958).We identified 37 eligible studies. The principle features seen on CXR were cavitation (8.3-83.7%), bronchiectasis (4.3-11.2%), and fibrosis (25.0-70.4%), but prevalence was highly variable. CT imaging identified a wider range of residual abnormalities than CXR, including nodules (25.0-55.8%), consolidation (3.7-19.2%), and emphysema (15.0-45.0%). The prevalence of cavitation was generally lower (7.4-34.6%) and bronchiectasis higher (35.0-86.0%) on CT vs. CXR imaging. A paucity of prospective data, and data from HIV-infected adults and sub-Saharan Africa (sSA) was noted. Few studies related structural damage to physiological impairment, respiratory symptoms, or patient morbidity.Post-TB structural lung pathology is common. Prospective data are required to determine the evolution of this lung damage and its associated morbidity over time. Further data are required from HIV-infected groups and those living in sSA.


PubMed | University of Liverpool, University of Malawi, Cornell University, Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme and University of Aberdeen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Household air pollution in low income countries is an important cause of mortality from respiratory infection. We hypothesised that chronic smoke exposure is detrimental to alveolar macrophage function, causing failure of innate immunity. We report the relationship between macrophage function and prior smoke exposure in healthy Malawians.Healthy subjects exposed daily to cooking smoke at home volunteered for bronchoalveolar lavage. Alveolar macrophage particulate content was measured as a known correlate of smoke exposure. Phagocytosis and intraphagosomal function (oxidative burst and proteolysis) were measured by a flow cytometric assay. Cytokine responses in macrophages were compared following re-exposure in vitro to wood smoke, before and after glutathione depletion.Volunteers had a range of alveolar macrophage particulate loading. The macrophage capacity for phagosomal oxidative burst was negatively associated with alveolar macrophage particulate content (n = 29, r2 = 0.16, p = 0.033), but phagocytosis per se and proteolytic function were unaffected. High particulate content was associated with lower baseline CXCL8 release (ratio 0.51, CI 0.29-0.89) and lower final concentrations on re-exposure to smoke in vitro (ratio 0.58, CI 0.34-0.97). Glutathione depletion augmented CXCL8 responses by 1.49x (CI 1.02-2.17) compared with wood smoke alone. This response was specific to smoke as macrophages response to LPS were not modulated by glutathione.Chronic smoke exposure is associated with reduced human macrophage oxidative burst, and dampened inflammatory cytokine responses. These are critical processes in lung defence against infection and likely to underpin the relationship between air pollution and pneumonia.


Cook J.,Lewisham Hospital National Health Service Trust | Jefferis O.,Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital | Matchere P.,Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital | Mbale E.,Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital | Rylance J.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease | Year: 2013

BACKGROUND: A proportion of children with sicklecell disease (SCD) demonstrate clinical findings consistent with the diagnosis of asthma. These children are at increased risk of complications, including acute chest syndrome. OBJECTIVE: To assess lung function and symptoms of asthma in children with SCD in Blantyre, Malawi. DESIGN: Twenty-five children aged 7-16 years with electrophoretically confirmed SCD were recruited to u ndergo spirometry and questionnaire screening of asthma symptoms. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and FEV1/FVC ratio were compared with local and international reference ranges. Symptoms were assessed using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. RESULTS: Mean spirometric indices, represented as Zscores derived from international reference ranges, were low: FEV1 -1.64 (95%CI -2.04 to -1.23), FVC -1.49 (95%CI -1.90 to -1.09), FEV1/FVC -0.39 (95%CI -0.76 to -0.03). Comparison with local reference ranges, represented as percentage of predicted value, revealed similar impairments: FEV1 86.9 (95%CI 81.1 to 92.7), FVC 89.0 (95%CI 83.5 to 94.4), FEV1/FVC ratio 97.7 (95%CI 95.4 to 99.9). The prevalence of wheeze was 16.7%. CONCLUSION: We present spirometric abnormalities suggestive of restrictive lung disease with no evidence of obstructive defects or increased prevalence of wheeze. © 2013 The Union.


Gay C.L.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Mwapasa V.,Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme | Murdoch D.M.,Duke University | Kwiek J.J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | And 4 more authors.
Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease | Year: 2010

There are limited data on acute HIV infection (AHI) prevalence during pregnancy. Malawian pregnant women admitted in the third trimester and meeting eligibility criteria underwent dual HIV rapid antibody testing. AHI prevalence was retrospectively detected through HIV RNA pooling of seronegative plasma. Among 3,825 pregnant women screened, dual HIV rapid testing indicated that 30.2% were HIV positive, 69.7% were HIV negative, and 0.1% were indeterminate. Sensitivity and specificity of dual rapid testing was 99.0% and 98.7%, respectively. Of 2,666 seronegative specimens, 2,327 had samples available for HIV RNA pooling; 5 women (0.21%) (95% confidence interval, 0.03-0.40%) had AHI with a median peripartum viral load of 1,324,766 copies/mL. Pregnant women are at risk for AHI, warranting counseling of all women and their sexual partners about incident HIV during pregnancy. Dual HIV rapid tests have high sensitivity and specificity. HIV testing should be repeated in the third trimester and/or at delivery. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Clinical Research Programme
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of infectious diseases | Year: 2014

Endothelial dysregulation is central to the pathogenesis of acute Plasmodium falciparum infection. It has been assumed that this dysregulation resolves rapidly after treatment, but this return to normality has been neither demonstrated nor quantified. We therefore measured a panel of plasma endothelial markers acutely and in convalescence in Malawian children with uncomplicated or cerebral malaria. Evidence of persistent endothelial activation and inflammation, indicated by increased plasma levels of soluble intracellular adhesion molecule 1, angiopoetin 2, and C-reactive protein, were observed at 1 month follow-up visits. These vascular changes may represent a previously unrecognized contributor to ongoing malaria-associated morbidity and mortality.

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