register interest

Professor Cameron P Simmons

Research Area: Global Health
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health
Keywords: Dengue virus, Immune response, Anti-virals, Pathogenesis and Genetic susceptibility
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Dengue is the most important arboviral disease of humans and an enormous and growing public health problem. There are no licensed vaccines or anti-virals, no good animal models of disease and no validated methods of identifying patients who might develop complications from their illness. Our research programme is designed to better understand the pathogenesis of dengue and develop better methods of identifying patients at risk of severe disease.
Our studies in dengue patients are conducted in collaboration with clinical partners in hospitals throughout VietNam and particularly the Mekong Delta region. Through genomic studies of the virus and host, combined with investigations of the host immune response, we are gaining a better understanding of the factors associated with severe dengue. From this base we also evaluate new diagnostic tests and anti-viral drugs in randomised, controlled trials. Our research incorporates skills in epidemiology, genomics, bioinformatics, clinical trials, immunology and virology.

Name Department Institution Country
Matt Henn Broad Institute United States
Martin Hibberd Genome Institute of Singapore Singapore
Paul Young University of Queensland Australia
Steve Whitehead Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, NIH United States
Alex Matter Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases Singapore
Yacoub S, Lam PK, Vu LEHM, Le TL, Ha NT, Toan TT, Van NT, Quyen NT et al. 2016. Association of Microvascular Function and Endothelial Biomarkers With Clinical Outcome in Dengue: An Observational Study. J Infect Dis, 214 (5), pp. 697-706. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The hallmark of severe dengue is increased microvascular permeability, but alterations in the microcirculation and their evolution over the course of dengue are unknown. METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study to evaluate the sublingual microcirculation using side-stream dark-field imaging in patients presenting early (<72 hours after fever onset) and patients hospitalized with warning signs or severe dengue in Vietnam. Clinical findings, microvascular function, global hemodynamics assessed with echocardiography, and serological markers of endothelial activation were determined at 4 time points. RESULTS: A total of 165 patients were enrolled. No difference was found between the microcirculatory parameters comparing dengue with other febrile illnesses. The proportion of perfused vessels (PPV) and the mean flow index (MFI) were lower in patients with dengue with plasma than those without leakage (PPV, 88.1% vs 90.6% [P = .01]; MFI, 2.1 vs 2.4 [P = .007]), most markedly during the critical phase. PPV and MFI were correlated with the endothelial activation markers vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (P < .001 for both) and angiopoietin 2 (P < .001 for both), negatively correlated. CONCLUSIONS: Modest microcirculatory alterations occur in dengue, are associated with plasma leakage, and are correlate with molecules of endothelial activation, angiopoietin 2 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1.

Clapham HE, Quyen TH, Kien DT, Dorigatti I, Simmons CP, Ferguson NM. 2016. Modelling Virus and Antibody Dynamics during Dengue Virus Infection Suggests a Role for Antibody in Virus Clearance. PLoS Comput Biol, 12 (5), pp. e1004951. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is an infection of increasing global importance, yet uncertainty remains regarding critical aspects of its virology, immunology and epidemiology. One unanswered question is how infection is controlled and cleared during a dengue infection. Antibody is thought to play a role, but little past work has examined the kinetics of both virus and antibody during natural infections. We present data on multiple virus and antibody titres measurements recorded sequentially during infection from 53 Vietnamese dengue patients. We fit mechanistic mathematical models of the dynamics of viral replication and the host immune response to these data. These models fit the data well. The model with antibody removing virus fits the data best, but with a role suggested for ADCC or other infected cell clearance mechanisms. Our analysis therefore shows that the observed viral and antibody kinetics are consistent with antibody playing a key role in controlling viral replication. This work gives quantitative insight into the relationship between antibody levels and the efficiency of viral clearance. It will inform the future development of mechanistic models of how vaccines and antivirals might modify the course of natural dengue infection.

Nguyen NM, Whitehorn JS, Luong Thi Hue T, Nguyen Thanh T, Mai Xuan T, Vo Xuan H, Nguyen Thi Cam H, Nguyen Thi Hong L et al. 2016. Physicians, Primary Caregivers and Topical Repellent: All Under-Utilised Resources in Stopping Dengue Virus Transmission in Affected Households. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 10 (5), pp. e0004667. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primary health care facilities frequently manage dengue cases on an ambulatory basis for the duration of the patient's illness. There is a great opportunity for specific messaging, aimed to reduce dengue virus (DENV) transmission in and around the home, to be directly targeted toward this high-risk ambulatory patient group, as part of an integrated approach to dengue management. The extent however, to which physicians understand, and can themselves effectively communicate strategies to stop focal DENV transmission around an ambulatory dengue case is unknown; the matter of patient comprehension and recollection then ensues. In addition, the effectiveness of N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET)-based insect repellent in protecting dengue patients from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes' bites has not been investigated. METHODOLOGY: A knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) survey, focusing on the mechanisms of DENV transmission and prevention, was performed using semi-structured questionnaires. This survey was targeted towards the patients and family members providing supportive care, and physicians routinely involved in dengue patient management in Southern Vietnam. An additional clinical observational study was conducted to measure the efficacy of a widely-used 13% DEET-based insect repellent to repel Ae. aegypti mosquitoes from the forearms of dengue cases and matched healthy controls. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Among both the physician (n = 50) and patient (n = 49) groups there were several respondents lacking a coherent understanding of DENV transmission, leading to some inappropriate attitudes and inadequate acute preventive practices in the household. The application of insect repellent to protect patients and their relatives from mosquito bites was frequently recommended by majority of physicians (78%) participating in the survey. Nevertheless, our tested topical application of 13% DEET conferred only ~1hr median protection time from Ae. aegypti landing. This is notably shorter than that advertised on the manufacturer's label. No differences in landing time between febrile dengue cases or matched healthy controls (n = 19 experiments) were observed. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Our study identifies missed opportunities for primary care physicians to improve public health through communication of strategies that could prevent focal dengue transmission in and around a case household. We advocate better access to more efficient communication methods for physicians and auxilliary health workers, supporting to educate those at high risk of DENV transmission. Our empirical testing of a widely-available 13% DEET-based repellent was limited in its protective efficacy against Ae. aegypti mosquito bites, and therefore DENV transmission, suggesting more frequent application is necessary to be beneficial.

Joubert DA, Walker T, Carrington LB, De Bruyne JT, Kien DH, Hoang NLET, Chau NV, Iturbe-Ormaetxe I, Simmons CP, O'Neill SL. 2016. Establishment of a Wolbachia Superinfection in Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes as a Potential Approach for Future Resistance Management. PLoS Pathog, 12 (2), pp. e1005434. | Show Abstract | Read more

Wolbachia pipientis is an endosymbiotic bacterium estimated to chronically infect between 40-75% of all arthropod species. Aedes aegypti, the principle mosquito vector of dengue virus (DENV), is not a natural host of Wolbachia. The transinfection of Wolbachia strains such as wAlbB, wMel and wMelPop-CLA into Ae. aegypti has been shown to significantly reduce the vector competence of this mosquito for a range of human pathogens in the laboratory. This has led to wMel-transinfected Ae. aegypti currently being released in five countries to evaluate its effectiveness to control dengue disease in human populations. Here we describe the generation of a superinfected Ae. aegypti mosquito line simultaneously infected with two avirulent Wolbachia strains, wMel and wAlbB. The line carries a high overall Wolbachia density and tissue localisation of the individual strains is very similar to each respective single infected parental line. The superinfected line induces unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) when crossed to each single infected parental line, suggesting that the superinfection would have the capacity to replace either of the single constituent infections already present in a mosquito population. No significant differences in fitness parameters were observed between the superinfected line and the parental lines under the experimental conditions tested. Finally, the superinfected line blocks DENV replication more efficiently than the single wMel strain when challenged with blood meals from viremic dengue patients. These results suggest that the deployment of superinfections could be used to replace single infections and may represent an effective strategy to help manage potential resistance by DENV to field deployments of single infected strains.

Jaenisch T, Tam DT, Kieu NT, Van Ngoc T, Nam NT, Van Kinh N, Yacoub S, Chanpheaktra N et al. 2016. Clinical evaluation of dengue and identification of risk factors for severe disease: protocol for a multicentre study in 8 countries. BMC Infect Dis, 16 (1), pp. 120. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The burden of dengue continues to increase globally, with an estimated 100 million clinically apparent infections occurring each year. Although most dengue infections are asymptomatic, patients can present with a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms ranging from mild febrile illness through to severe manifestations of bleeding, organ impairment, and hypovolaemic shock due to a systemic vascular leak syndrome. Clinical diagnosis of dengue and identification of which patients are likely to develop severe disease remain challenging. This study aims to improve diagnosis and clinical management through approaches designed a) to differentiate between dengue and other common febrile illness within 72 h of fever onset, and b) among patients with dengue to identify markers that are predictive of the likelihood of evolving to a more severe disease course. METHOD/DESIGN: This is a prospective multi-centre observational study aiming to enrol 7-8000 participants aged ≥ 5 years presenting with a febrile illness consistent with dengue to outpatient health facilities in 8 countries across Asia and Latin America. Patients presenting within 72 h of fever onset who do not exhibit signs of severe disease are eligible for the study. A broad range of clinical and laboratory parameters are assessed daily for up to 6 days during the acute illness, and also at a follow up visit 1 week later. DISCUSSION: Data from this large cohort of patients, enrolled early with undifferentiated fever, will be used to develop a practical diagnostic algorithm and a robust clinical case definition for dengue. Additionally, among patients with confirmed dengue we aim to identify simple clinical and laboratory parameters associated with progression to a more severe disease course. We will also investigate early virological and serological correlates of severe disease, and examine genetic associations in this large heterogeneous cohort. In addition the results will be used to assess the new World Health Organization classification scheme for dengue in practice, and to update the guidelines for "Integrated Management of Childhood Illness" used in dengue-endemic countries. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01550016. Registration Date: March 7, 2012.

Thompson CN, Le TP, Anders KL, Nguyen TH, Lu LV, Nguyen VV, Vu TD, Nguyen NM et al. 2016. The transfer and decay of maternal antibody against Shigella sonnei in a longitudinal cohort of Vietnamese infants. Vaccine, 34 (6), pp. 783-790. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigella sonnei is an emergent and major diarrheal pathogen for which there is currently no vaccine. We aimed to quantify duration of maternal antibody against S. sonnei and investigate transplacental IgG transfer in a birth cohort in southern Vietnam. METHODS AND RESULTS: Over 500-paired maternal/infant plasma samples were evaluated for presence of anti-S. sonnei-O IgG and IgM. Longitudinal plasma samples allowed for the estimation of the median half-life of maternal anti-S. sonnei-O IgG, which was 43 days (95% confidence interval: 41-45 days). Additionally, half of infants lacked a detectable titer by 19 weeks of age. Lower cord titers were associated with greater increases in S. sonnei IgG over the first year of life, and the incidence of S. sonnei seroconversion was estimated to be 4/100 infant years. Maternal IgG titer, the ratio of antibody transfer, the season of birth and gestational age were significantly associated with cord titer. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal anti-S. sonnei-O IgG is efficiently transferred across the placenta and anti-S. sonnei-O maternal IgG declines rapidly after birth and is undetectable after 5 months in the majority of children. Preterm neonates and children born to mothers with low IgG titers have lower cord titers and therefore may be at greater risk of seroconversion in infancy.

Wang C, Katzelnick LC, Montoya M, Hue KD, Simmons CP, Harris E. 2016. Evolutionarily Successful Asian 1 Dengue Virus 2 Lineages Contain One Substitution in Envelope That Increases Sensitivity to Polyclonal Antibody Neutralization. J Infect Dis, 213 (6), pp. 975-984. | Show Abstract | Read more

The 4 dengue virus serotypes (DENV-1-4) cause the most prevalent mosquito-borne viral disease of humans worldwide. DENV-2 Asian 1 (A1) genotype viruses replaced the Asian-American (AA) genotype in Vietnam and Cambodia, after which A1 viruses containing Q or M at envelope (E) residue 160 became more prevalent than those with residue 160K in both countries (2008-2011). We investigated whether these substitutions conferred a fitness advantage by measuring neutralizing antibody titer against reporter virus particles (RVPs) representing AA, A1-160K, A1-160Q, and A1-160M, using patient sera from Vietnam and a well-characterized Nicaraguan cohort. Surprisingly, we found that A1-160Q and A1-160M RVPs were better neutralized by heterologous antisera than A1-160K. Despite this, Vietnamese patients infected with A1-160Q or A1-160M viruses had higher viremia levels than those infected with A1-160K. We thus found that independent lineages in Vietnam and Cambodia acquired a substitution in E that significantly increased polyclonal neutralization but nonetheless were successful in disseminating and infecting human hosts.

Whitehorn J, Nguyen CV, Khanh LP, Kien DT, Quyen NT, Tran NT, Hang NT, Truong NT et al. 2016. Lovastatin for the Treatment of Adult Patients With Dengue: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Clin Infect Dis, 62 (4), pp. 468-476. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue endangers billions of people in the tropical world, yet no therapeutic is currently available. In part, the severe manifestations of dengue reflect inflammatory processes affecting the vascular endothelium. In addition to lipid lowering, statins have pleiotropic effects that improve endothelial function, and epidemiological studies suggest that outcomes from a range of acute inflammatory syndromes are improved in patients already on statin therapy. METHODS: Following satisfactory review of a short pilot phase (40 mg lovastatin vs placebo in 30 cases), we performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 5 days of 80 mg lovastatin vs placebo in 300 Vietnamese adults with a positive dengue NS1 rapid test presenting within 72 hours of fever onset. The primary outcome was safety. Secondary outcomes included comparisons of disease progression rates, fever clearance times, and measures of plasma viremia and quality of life between the treatment arms. RESULTS: Adverse events occurred with similar frequency in both groups (97/151 [64%] placebo vs 82/149 [55%] lovastatin; P = .13), and were in keeping with the characteristic clinical and laboratory features of acute dengue. We also observed no difference in serious adverse events or any of the secondary outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: We found lovastatin to be safe and well tolerated in adults with dengue. However, although the study was not powered to address efficacy, we found no evidence of a beneficial effect on any of the clinical manifestations or on dengue viremia. Continuing established statin therapy in patients who develop dengue is safe.Chinese Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN03147572.

Nguyen TH, Nguyen HL, Nguyen TY, Vu SN, Tran ND, Le TN, Vien QM, Bui TC et al. 2015. Field evaluation of the establishment potential of wMelPop Wolbachia in Australia and Vietnam for dengue control. Parasit Vectors, 8 (1), pp. 563. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Introduced Wolbachia bacteria can influence the susceptibility of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to arboviral infections as well as having detrimental effects on host fitness. Previous field trials demonstrated that the wMel strain of Wolbachia effectively and durably invades Ae. aegypti populations. Here we report on trials of a second strain, wMelPop-PGYP Wolbachia, in field sites in northern Australia (Machans Beach and Babinda) and central Vietnam (Tri Nguyen, Hon Mieu Island), each with contrasting natural Ae. aegypti densities. METHODS: Mosquitoes were released at the adult or pupal stages for different lengths of time at the sites depending on changes in Wolbachia frequency as assessed through PCR assays of material collected through Biogents-Sentinel (BG-S) traps and ovitraps. Adult numbers were also monitored through BG-S traps. Changes in Wolbachia frequency were compared across hamlets or house blocks. RESULTS: Releases of adult wMelPop-Ae. aegypti resulted in the transient invasion of wMelPop in all three field sites. Invasion at the Australian sites was heterogeneous, reflecting a slower rate of invasion in locations where background mosquito numbers were high. In contrast, invasion across Tri Nguyen was relatively uniform. After cessation of releases, the frequency of wMelPop declined in all sites, most rapidly in Babinda and Tri Nguyen. Within Machans Beach the rate of decrease varied among areas, and wMelPop was detected for several months in an area with a relatively low mosquito density. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight challenges associated with releasing Wolbachia-Ae. aegypti combinations with low fitness, albeit strong virus interference properties, as a means of sustainable control of dengue virus transmission.

Katzelnick LC, Fonville JM, Gromowski GD, Bustos Arriaga J, Green A, James SL, Lau L, Montoya M et al. 2015. Dengue viruses cluster antigenically but not as discrete serotypes. Science, 349 (6254), pp. 1338-1343. | Show Abstract | Read more

The four genetically divergent dengue virus (DENV) types are traditionally classified as serotypes. Antigenic and genetic differences among the DENV types influence disease outcome, vaccine-induced protection, epidemic magnitude, and viral evolution. We characterized antigenic diversity in the DENV types by antigenic maps constructed from neutralizing antibody titers obtained from African green monkeys and after human vaccination and natural infections. Genetically, geographically, and temporally, diverse DENV isolates clustered loosely by type, but we found that many are as similar antigenically to a virus of a different type as to some viruses of the same type. Primary infection antisera did not neutralize all viruses of the same DENV type any better than other types did up to 2 years after infection and did not show improved neutralization to homologous type isolates. That the canonical DENV types are not antigenically homogeneous has implications for vaccination and research on the dynamics of immunity, disease, and the evolution of DENV.

Sim S, Aw PP, Wilm A, Teoh G, Hue KD, Nguyen NM, Nagarajan N, Simmons CP, Hibberd ML. 2015. Tracking Dengue Virus Intra-host Genetic Diversity during Human-to-Mosquito Transmission. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (9), pp. e0004052. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue virus (DENV) infection of an individual human or mosquito host produces a dynamic population of closely-related sequences. This intra-host genetic diversity is thought to offer an advantage for arboviruses to adapt as they cycle between two very different host species, but it remains poorly characterized. To track changes in viral intra-host genetic diversity during horizontal transmission, we infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes by allowing them to feed on DENV2-infected patients. We then performed whole-genome deep-sequencing of human- and matched mosquito-derived DENV samples on the Illumina platform and used a sensitive variant-caller to detect single nucleotide variants (SNVs) within each sample. >90% of SNVs were lost upon transition from human to mosquito, as well as from mosquito abdomen to salivary glands. Levels of viral diversity were maintained, however, by the regeneration of new SNVs at each stage of transmission. We further show that SNVs maintained across transmission stages were transmitted as a unit of two at maximum, suggesting the presence of numerous variant genomes carrying only one or two SNVs each. We also present evidence for differences in selection pressures between human and mosquito hosts, particularly on the structural and NS1 genes. This analysis provides insights into how population drops during transmission shape RNA virus genetic diversity, has direct implications for virus evolution, and illustrates the value of high-coverage, whole-genome next-generation sequencing for understanding viral intra-host genetic diversity.

Ye YH, Carrasco AM, Frentiu FD, Chenoweth SF, Beebe NW, van den Hurk AF, Simmons CP, O'Neill SL, McGraw EA. 2015. Wolbachia Reduces the Transmission Potential of Dengue-Infected Aedes aegypti. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (6), pp. e0003894. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue viruses (DENV) are the causative agents of dengue, the world's most prevalent arthropod-borne disease with around 40% of the world's population at risk of infection annually. Wolbachia pipientis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is being developed as a biocontrol strategy against dengue because it limits replication of the virus in the mosquito. The Wolbachia strain wMel, which has been introduced into the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, has been shown to invade and spread to near fixation in field releases. Standard measures of Wolbachia's efficacy for blocking virus replication focus on the detection and quantification of virus in mosquito tissues. Examining the saliva provides a more accurate measure of transmission potential and can reveal the extrinsic incubation period (EIP), that is, the time it takes virus to arrive in the saliva following the consumption of DENV viremic blood. EIP is a key determinant of a mosquito's ability to transmit DENVs, as the earlier the virus appears in the saliva the more opportunities the mosquito will have to infect humans on subsequent bites. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We used a non-destructive assay to repeatedly quantify DENV in saliva from wMel-infected and Wolbachia-free wild-type control mosquitoes following the consumption of a DENV-infected blood meal. We show that wMel lengthens the EIP, reduces the frequency at which the virus is expectorated and decreases the dengue copy number in mosquito saliva as compared to wild-type mosquitoes. These observations can at least be partially explained by an overall reduction in saliva produced by wMel mosquitoes. More generally, we found that the concentration of DENV in a blood meal is a determinant of the length of EIP, saliva virus titer and mosquito survival. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The saliva-based traits reported here offer more disease-relevant measures of Wolbachia's effects on the vector and the virus. The lengthening of EIP highlights another means, in addition to the reduction of infection frequencies and DENV titers in mosquitoes, by which Wolbachia should operate to reduce DENV transmission in the field.

Tuan NM, Nhan HT, Chau NV, Hung NT, Tuan HM, Tram TV, Ha NLED, Loi P et al. 2015. Sensitivity and specificity of a novel classifier for the early diagnosis of dengue. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (4), pp. e0003638. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the commonest arboviral disease of humans. An early and accurate diagnosis of dengue can support clinical management, surveillance and disease control and is central to achieving the World Health Organisation target of a 50% reduction in dengue case mortality by 2020. METHODS: 5729 children with fever of <72 hrs duration were enrolled into this multicenter prospective study in southern Vietnam between 2010-2012. A composite of gold standard diagnostic tests identified 1692 dengue cases. Using statistical methods, a novel Early Dengue Classifier (EDC) was developed that used patient age, white blood cell count and platelet count to discriminate dengue cases from non-dengue cases. RESULTS: The EDC had a sensitivity of 74.8% (95%CI: 73.0-76.8%) and specificity of 76.3% (95%CI: 75.2-77.6%) for the diagnosis of dengue. As an adjunctive test alongside NS1 rapid testing, sensitivity of the composite test was 91.6% (95%CI: 90.4-92.9%). CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that the early diagnosis of dengue can be enhanced beyond the current standard of care using a simple evidence-based algorithm. The results should support patient management and clinical trials of specific therapies.

Anders KL, Thompson CN, Thuy NT, Nguyet NM, Tu LETP, Dung TT, Phat VV, Van NT et al. 2015. The epidemiology and aetiology of diarrhoeal disease in infancy in southern Vietnam: a birth cohort study. Int J Infect Dis, 35 pp. 3-10. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: Previous studies indicate a high burden of diarrhoeal disease in Vietnamese children, however longitudinal community-based data on burden and aetiology are limited. The findings from a large, prospective cohort study of diarrhoeal disease in infants in southern Vietnam are presented herein. METHODS: Infants were enrolled at birth in urban Ho Chi Minh City and a semi-rural district in southern Vietnam, and followed for 12 months (n=6706). Diarrhoeal illness episodes were identified through clinic-based passive surveillance, hospital admissions, and self-reports. RESULTS: The minimum incidence of diarrhoeal illness in the first year of life was 271/1000 infant-years of observation for the whole cohort. Rotavirus was the most commonly detected pathogen (50% of positive samples), followed by norovirus (24%), Campylobacter (20%), Salmonella (18%), and Shigella (16%). Repeat infections were identified in 9% of infants infected with rotavirus, norovirus, Shigella, or Campylobacter, and 13% of those with Salmonella infections. CONCLUSIONS: The minimum incidence of diarrhoeal disease in infants in both urban and semi-rural settings in southern Vietnam was quantified prospectively. A large proportion of laboratory-diagnosed disease was caused by rotavirus and norovirus. These data highlight the unmet need for a rotavirus vaccine in Vietnam and provide evidence of the previously unrecognized burden of norovirus in infants.

Ferguson NM, Kien DT, Clapham H, Aguas R, Trung VT, Chau TN, Popovici J, Ryan PA et al. 2015. Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. Sci Transl Med, 7 (279), pp. 279ra37. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most common arboviral infection of humans and is a public health burden in more than 100 countries. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes stably infected with strains of the intracellular bacterium Wolbachia are resistant to dengue virus (DENV) infection and are being tested in field trials. To mimic field conditions, we experimentally assessed the vector competence of A. aegypti carrying the Wolbachia strains wMel and wMelPop after challenge with viremic blood from dengue patients. We found that wMelPop conferred strong resistance to DENV infection of mosquito abdomen tissue and largely prevented disseminated infection. wMel conferred less resistance to infection of mosquito abdomen tissue, but it did reduce the prevalence of mosquitoes with infectious saliva. A mathematical model of DENV transmission incorporating the dynamics of viral infection in humans and mosquitoes was fitted to the data collected. Model predictions suggested that wMel would reduce the basic reproduction number, R0, of DENV transmission by 66 to 75%. Our results suggest that establishment of wMelPop-infected A. aegypti at a high frequency in a dengue-endemic setting would result in the complete abatement of DENV transmission. Establishment of wMel-infected A. aegypti is also predicted to have a substantial effect on transmission that would be sufficient to eliminate dengue in low or moderate transmission settings but may be insufficient to achieve complete control in settings where R0 is high. These findings develop a framework for selecting Wolbachia strains for field releases and for calculating their likely impact.

Whitehorn J, Kien DT, Nguyen NM, Nguyen HL, Kyrylos PP, Carrington LB, Tran CN, Quyen NT et al. 2015. Comparative Susceptibility of Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti to Dengue Virus Infection After Feeding on Blood of Viremic Humans: Implications for Public Health. J Infect Dis, 212 (8), pp. 1182-1190. | Show Abstract | Read more

Aedes albopictus is secondary to Aedes aegypti as a vector of dengue viruses (DENVs) in settings of endemicity, but it plays an important role in areas of dengue emergence. This study compared the susceptibility of these 2 species to DENV infection by performing 232 direct blood-feeding experiments on 118 viremic patients with dengue in Vietnam. Field-derived A. albopictus acquired DENV infections as readily as A. aegypti after blood feeding. Once infected, A. albopictus permitted higher concentrations of DENV RNA to accumulate in abdominal tissues, compared with A. aegypti. However, the odds of A. albopictus having infectious saliva were lower than the odds observed for A. aegypti (odds ratio, 0.70; 95% confidence interval, .52-.93). These results quantitate the susceptibility of A. albopictus to DENV infection and will assist parameterization of models for predicting disease risk in settings where A. albopictus is present.

Yacoub S, Wertheim H, Simmons CP, Screaton G, Wills B. 2015. Microvascular and endothelial function for risk prediction in dengue: an observational study. Lancet, 385 Suppl 1 pp. S102. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue infection can result in a wide spectrum of disease. The defining feature of severe disease is increased capillary permeability, which can lead to hypovolaemic shock. Microvascular and endothelial dysfunction might underlie hypovolaemic shock, but they have not been assessed clinically. We aimed to investigate the use of microvascular assessment as a prognostic method in dengue. METHODS: This is an ongoing prospective observational study that aims to recruit 300 participants: children over the age of 3 years and adults presenting to two outpatient departments in Vietnam with fever of less than 72 h duration and suspected dengue, and patients admitted to hospital with warning signs or severe disease. Participants are being clinically assessed daily for 6 days, and 2 weeks later. Microvascular imaging using sublingual sidestream darkfield imaging (SDF) and endothelial function testing using peripheral artery tonometry are being performed at enrolment, defervescence, and follow-up FINDINGS: To date, 167 patients have been recruited (92 outpatient arm, 75 inpatient arm, median age 27 years [IQR 21-33], 78 male [47%]). Dengue has been confirmed in 67 individuals in the outpatient arm, of whom 29 (43%) developed warning signs, three (4%) developed severe disease, and 35 had uncomplicated dengue; the other 25 outpatients (27%) were diagnosed as other febrile illness. At enrolment, the reactive hyperaemic index, a marker of endothelial function, was lowest in the patients who went on to develop severe dengue (median 1·54, IQR 1·36-1·77) followed by those who developed warning signs (1·78, 1·43-2·36) and then uncomplicated dengue (2·18, 1·65-2·24). Initial SDF results showed a lower proportion of perfused vessels and mean flow index during the febrile phase of dengue compared with follow-up, and were worst in the severe group at defervescence. INTERPRETATION: This study of vascular function at serial timepoints in dengue is, to our knowledge, the first and most comprehensive. Our preliminary results suggest that microvascular and endothelial dysfunction are associated with severity of dengue, and occur before the appearance of severe clinical manifestations. These techniques might be useful in risk prediction in dengue. A limitation is that a formal sample size could not be calculated because no previous microvascular data in dengue exist. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust.

Anders KL, Nguyen HL, Nguyen NM, Van Thuy NT, Hong Van NT, Hieu NT, Hong Tham NT, Thanh Ha PT et al. 2015. Epidemiology and virology of acute respiratory infections during the first year of life: a birth cohort study in Vietnam. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 34 (4), pp. 361-370. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Understanding viral etiology and age-specific incidence of acute respiratory infections in infants can help identify risk groups and inform vaccine delivery, but community-based data is lacking from tropical settings. METHODS: One thousand four hundred and seventy-eight infants in urban Ho Chi Minh City and 981 infants in a semi-rural district in southern Vietnam were enrolled at birth and followed to 1 year of age. Acute respiratory infection (ARI) episodes were identified through clinic-based illness surveillance, hospital admissions and self-reports. Nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from infants with respiratory symptoms and tested for 14 respiratory pathogens using multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: Estimated incidence of ARI was 542 and 2691 per 1000 infant-years, and hospitalization rates for ARI were 81 and 138 per 1000 infant-years, in urban and semi-rural cohorts, respectively, from clinic- and hospital-based surveillance. However self-reported ARI episodes were just 1.5-fold higher in the semi-rural versus urban cohort, indicating that part of the urban-rural difference was explained by under-ascertainment in the urban cohort. Incidence was higher in infants ≥6 months of age than <6 months, but this was pathogen-specific. One or more viruses were detected in 53% (urban) and 64% (semi-rural) of samples from outpatients with ARI and in 78% and 66% of samples from hospitalized ARI patients, respectively. The most frequently detected viruses were rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus A and bocavirus. ARI-associated hospitalizations were associated with longer stays and more frequent ICU admission than other infections. CONCLUSIONS: ARI is a significant cause of morbidity in Vietnamese infants and influenza virus A is an under-appreciated cause of vaccine-preventable disease and hospitalizations in this tropical setting. Public health strategies to reduce infant ARI incidence and hospitalization rates are needed.

Anders KL, Nga LEH, Thuy NT, Ngoc TV, Tam CT, Tai LT, Truong NT, Duyen HT et al. 2015. Households as foci for dengue transmission in highly urban Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 9 (2), pp. e0003528. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue control programs commonly employ reactive insecticide spraying around houses of reported cases, with the assumption that most dengue virus (DENV) transmission occurs in the home. Focal household transmission has been demonstrated in rural settings, but it is unclear whether this holds true in dense and mobile urban populations. We conducted a prospective study of dengue clustering around households in highly urban Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. METHODS: We enrolled 71 index cases with suspected dengue (subsequently classified as 52 dengue cases and 19 non-dengue controls); each initiated the enrollment of a cluster of 25-35 household members and neighbors who were followed up over 14 days. Incident DENV infections in cluster participants were identified by RT-PCR, NS1-ELISA, and/or DENV-IgM/-IgG seroconversion, and recent infections by DENV-IgM positivity at baseline. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: There was no excess risk of DENV infection within dengue case clusters during the two-week follow-up, compared to control clusters, but the prevalence of recent DENV infection at baseline was two-fold higher in case clusters than controls (OR 2.3, 95%CI 1.0-5.1, p = 0.05). Prevalence of DENV infection in Aedes aegypti was similar in case and control houses, and low overall (1%). Our findings are broadly consistent with household clustering of dengue risk, but indicate that any clustering is at a short temporal scale rather than sustained chains of localized transmission. This suggests that reactive perifocal insecticide spraying may have a limited impact in this setting.

Carrington LB, Nguyen HL, Nguyen NM, Duong TH, Tuan TV, Giang NT, Tuyet NV, Thi DL, Thi LV, Tran CN, Simmons CP. 2015. Naturally-acquired dengue virus infections do not reduce short-term survival of infected Aedes aegypti from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (3), pp. 492-496. | Show Abstract | Read more

Transmission of dengue virus (DENV) from mosquito to human is dependent upon the survival of the mosquito beyond the virus extrinsic incubation period. Previous studies report conflicting results of the effects of DENV on Aedes aegypti survival. Here, we describe the effect of DENV on the short-term survival (up to 12 d) of 4,321 Ae. aegypti mosquitoes blood-fed on 150 NS1-positive dengue patients hospitalized in the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Mosquito survival was not different between cohorts that fed upon blood from which 0% of mosquitoes became DENV infected (N = 88 feeds), or 100% became infected (N = 116 feeds). Subgroup analysis also did not reveal serotype-dependent differences in survival, nor a relationship between survival and human plasma viremia levels. These results suggest that DENV infection adds minimal cost to Ae. aegypti, an important finding when parameterizing the vector competence of this mosquito.

Li Z, Allingham RR, Nakano M, Jia L, Chen Y, Ikeda Y, Mani B, Chen LJ et al. 2015. A common variant near TGFBR3 is associated with primary open angle glaucoma. Hum Mol Genet, 24 (13), pp. 3880-3892. | Show Abstract | Read more

Primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), a major cause of blindness worldwide, is a complex disease with a significant genetic contribution. We performed Exome Array (Illumina) analysis on 3504 POAG cases and 9746 controls with replication of the most significant findings in 9173 POAG cases and 26 780 controls across 18 collections of Asian, African and European descent. Apart from confirming strong evidence of association at CDKN2B-AS1 (rs2157719 [G], odds ratio [OR] = 0.71, P = 2.81 × 10(-33)), we observed one SNP showing significant association to POAG (CDC7-TGFBR3 rs1192415, ORG-allele = 1.13, Pmeta = 1.60 × 10(-8)). This particular SNP has previously been shown to be strongly associated with optic disc area and vertical cup-to-disc ratio, which are regarded as glaucoma-related quantitative traits. Our study now extends this by directly implicating it in POAG disease pathogenesis.

Lam PK, Tam DT, Dung NM, Tien NT, Kieu NT, Simmons C, Farrar J, Wills B, Wolbers M. 2015. A Prognostic Model for Development of Profound Shock among Children Presenting with Dengue Shock Syndrome. PLoS One, 10 (5), pp. e0126134. | Show Abstract | Read more

PURPOSE: To identify risk factors and develop a prediction model for the development of profound and recurrent shock amongst children presenting with dengue shock syndrome (DSS). METHODS: We analyzed data from a prospective cohort of children with DSS recruited at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Hospital for Tropical Disease in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The primary endpoint was "profound DSS", defined as ≥2 recurrent shock episodes (for subjects presenting in compensated shock), or ≥1 recurrent shock episodes (for subjects presenting initially with decompensated/hypotensive shock), and/or requirement for inotropic support. Recurrent shock was evaluated as a secondary endpoint. Risk factors were pre-defined clinical and laboratory variables collected at the time of presentation with shock. Prognostic model development was based on logistic regression and compared to several alternative approaches. RESULTS: The analysis population included 1207 children of whom 222 (18%) progressed to "profound DSS" and 433 (36%) had recurrent shock. Independent risk factors for both endpoints included younger age, earlier presentation, higher pulse rate, higher temperature, higher haematocrit and, for females, worse hemodynamic status at presentation. The final prognostic model for "profound DSS" showed acceptable discrimination (AUC=0.69 for internal validation) and calibration and is presented as a simple score-chart. CONCLUSIONS: Several risk factors for development of profound or recurrent shock among children presenting with DSS were identified. The score-chart derived from the prognostic models should improve triage and management of children presenting with DSS in dengue-endemic areas.

Simmons CP, McPherson K, Van Vinh Chau N, Hoai Tam DT, Young P, Mackenzie J, Wills B. 2015. Recent advances in dengue pathogenesis and clinical management. Vaccine, 33 (50), pp. 7061-7068. | Show Abstract | Read more

This review describes and commentates on recent advances in the understanding of dengue pathogenesis and immunity, plus clinical research on vaccines and therapeutics. We expand specifically on the role of the dermis in dengue virus infection, the contribution of cellular and humoral immune responses to pathogenesis and immunity, NS1 and mechanisms of virus immune evasion. Additionally we review a series of therapeutic intervention trials for dengue, as well as recent clinical research aimed at improving clinical diagnosis, risk prediction and disease classification.

Lambrechts L, Ferguson NM, Harris E, Holmes EC, McGraw EA, O'Neill SL, Ooi EE, Ritchie SA et al. 2015. Assessing the epidemiological effect of wolbachia for dengue control. Lancet Infect Dis, 15 (7), pp. 862-866. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue viruses cause more human morbidity and mortality than any other arthropod-borne virus. Dengue prevention relies mainly on vector control; however, the failure of traditional methods has promoted the development of novel entomological approaches. Although use of the intracellular bacterium wolbachia to control mosquito populations was proposed 50 years ago, only in the past decade has its use as a potential agent of dengue control gained substantial interest. Here, we review evidence that supports a practical approach for dengue reduction through field release of wolbachia-infected mosquitoes and discuss the additional studies that have to be done before the strategy can be validated and implemented. A crucial next step is to assess the efficacy of wolbachia in reducing dengue virus transmission. We argue that a cluster randomised trial is at this time premature because choice of wolbachia strain for release and deployment strategies are still being optimised. We therefore present a pragmatic approach to acquiring preliminary evidence of efficacy through various complementary methods including a prospective cohort study, a geographical cluster investigation, virus phylogenetic analysis, virus surveillance in mosquitoes, and vector competence assays. This multipronged approach could provide valuable intermediate evidence of efficacy to justify a future cluster randomised trial.

Thompson CN, Anders KL, Nhi LETQ, Tuyen HT, Van Minh P, Tu LETP, Nhu TDOH, Nhan NT et al. 2014. A cohort study to define the age-specific incidence and risk factors of Shigella diarrhoeal infections in Vietnamese children: a study protocol. BMC Public Health, 14 (1), pp. 1289. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Shigella spp. are one of the most common causes of paediatric dysentery globally, responsible for a substantial proportion of diarrhoeal disease morbidity and mortality, particularly in industrialising regions. Alarming levels of antimicrobial resistance are now reported in S. flexneri and S. sonnei, hampering treatment options. Little is known, however, about the burden of infection and disease due to Shigella spp. in the community. METHODS/DESIGN: In order to estimate the incidence of this bacterial infection in the community in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam we have designed a longitudinal cohort to follow up approximately 700 children aged 12-60 months for two years with active and passive surveillance for diarrhoeal disease. Children will be seen at 6 month intervals for health checks where blood and stool samples will be collected. Families will also be contacted every two weeks for information on presence of diarrhoea in the child. Upon report of a diarrhoeal disease episode, study nurses will either travel to the family home to perform an evaluation or the family will attend a study hospital at a reduced cost, where a stool sample will also be collected. Case report forms collected at this time will detail information regarding disease history, risk factors and presence of disease in the household.Outcomes will include (i) age-specific incidence of Shigella spp. and other agents of diarrhoeal disease in the community, (ii) risk factors for identified aetiologies, (iii) rates of seroconversion to a host of gastrointestinal pathogens in the first few years of life. Further work regarding the longitudinal immune response to a variety of Shigella antigens, host genetics and candidate vaccine/diagnostic proteins will also be conducted. DISCUSSION: This is the largest longitudinal cohort with active surveillance designed specifically to investigate Shigella infection and disease. The study is strengthened by the active surveillance component, which will likely capture a substantial proportion of episodes not normally identified through passive or hospital-based surveillance. It is hoped that information from this study will aid in the design and implementation of Shigella vaccine trials in the future.

Dejnirattisai W, Wongwiwat W, Supasa S, Zhang X, Dai X, Rouvinski A, Jumnainsong A, Edwards C et al. 2015. A new class of highly potent, broadly neutralizing antibodies isolated from viremic patients infected with dengue virus. Nat Immunol, 16 (2), pp. 170-177. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a rapidly emerging, mosquito-borne viral infection, with an estimated 400 million infections occurring annually. To gain insight into dengue immunity, we characterized 145 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and identified a previously unknown epitope, the envelope dimer epitope (EDE), that bridges two envelope protein subunits that make up the 90 repeating dimers on the mature virion. The mAbs to EDE were broadly reactive across the dengue serocomplex and fully neutralized virus produced in either insect cells or primary human cells, with 50% neutralization in the low picomolar range. Our results provide a path to a subunit vaccine against dengue virus and have implications for the design and monitoring of future vaccine trials in which the induction of antibody to the EDE should be prioritized.

Whitehorn J, Yacoub S, Anders KL, Macareo LR, Cassetti MC, Nguyen Van VC, Shi PY, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2014. Dengue therapeutics, chemoprophylaxis, and allied tools: state of the art and future directions. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (8), pp. e3025. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most common arboviral disease of humans. There is an unmet need for a therapeutic intervention that reduces the duration and severity of dengue symptoms and diminishes the likelihood of severe complications. To this end, there are active discovery efforts in industry and academia to develop interventions, with a focus on small molecule inhibitors of dengue virus replication that are suitable for therapy or chemoprophylaxis. Advancements in animal models of dengue virus infection together with the possibility of a dengue human infection model have further enhanced the platform for dengue drug discovery. Whilst drug discovery efforts gestate, there are ongoing clinical research designed to benefit today's patients, including trials of supportive care interventions, and descriptive studies that should improve the ability of clinicians to make an accurate diagnosis early in the illness course and to identify patients most at risk of progression to severe disease. This review provides a state of the art summary of dengue drug discovery, clinical trials, and supportive allied research and reflects discussions at the 2nd International Dengue Therapeutics Workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in December 2013.

Clapham HE, Tricou V, Van Vinh Chau N, Simmons CP, Ferguson NM. 2014. Within-host viral dynamics of dengue serotype 1 infection. J R Soc Interface, 11 (96), pp. 20140094-20140094. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue, the most common mosquito-borne viral infection of humans, is endemic across much of the world, including much of tropical Asia and is increasing in its geographical range. Here, we present a mathematical model of dengue virus dynamics within infected individuals, detailing the interaction between virus and a simple immune response. We fit this model to measurements of plasma viral titre from cases of primary and secondary DENV 1 infection in Vietnam. We show that variation in model parameters governing the immune response is sufficient to create the observed variation in virus dynamics between individuals. Estimating model parameter values, we find parameter differences between primary and secondary cases consistent with the theory of antibody-dependent enhancement (namely enhanced rates of viral entry to target cells in secondary cases). Finally, we use our model to examine the potential impact of an antiviral drug on the within-host dynamics of dengue. We conclude that the impact of antiviral therapy on virus dynamics is likely to be limited if therapy is only started at the onset of symptoms, owing to the typically late stage of viral pathogenesis reached by the time symptoms are manifested and thus treatment is started.

Whitehorn J, Van VC, Simmons CP. 2014. Dengue human infection models supporting drug development. J Infect Dis, 209 Suppl 2 (suppl 2), pp. S66-S70. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a arboviral infection that represents a major global health burden. There is an unmet need for effective dengue therapeutics to reduce symptoms, duration of illness and incidence of severe complications. Here, we consider the merits of a dengue human infection model (DHIM) for drug development. A DHIM could allow experimentally controlled studies of candidate therapeutics in preselected susceptible volunteers, potentially using smaller sample sizes than trials that recruited patients with dengue in an endemic country. In addition, the DHIM would assist the conduct of intensive pharmacokinetic and basic research investigations and aid in determining optimal drug dosage. Furthermore, a DHIM could help establish proof of concept that chemoprophylaxis against dengue is feasible. The key challenge in developing the DHIM for drug development is to ensure the model reliably replicates the typical clinical and laboratory features of naturally acquired, symptomatic dengue.

Yacoub S, Wertheim H, Simmons CP, Screaton G, Wills B. 2014. Cardiovascular manifestations of the emerging dengue pandemic. Nat Rev Cardiol, 11 (6), pp. 335-345. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is one of the most important emerging viral diseases globally. The majority of symptomatic infections result in a relatively benign disease course. However, a small proportion of patients develop severe clinical manifestations, including bleeding, organ impairment, and endothelial dysfunction with increased capillary permeability causing hypovolaemic shock that can lead to cardiovascular collapse. Evidence is increasing that dengue can also cause myocardial impairment, arrhythmias and, occasionally, fulminant myocarditis. No antiviral agents or vaccines are licensed for dengue, and treatment remains supportive with judicious fluid replacement for patients with severe disease. Defining the role of cardiac dysfunction in the haemodynamic compromise of severe dengue has potentially important management implications. In this Review, we will outline the current understanding of the cardiovascular manifestations of dengue, including myocardial and vascular involvement, and conclude with a discussion of the available therapeutic options and potential future research directions.

Fox A, Whitehead S, Anders KL, Hoa LENM, Mai LEQ, Thai PQ, Yen NT, Duong TN et al. 2014. Investigation of dengue and Japanese encephalitis virus transmission in Hanam, Viet Nam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 90 (5), pp. 892-896. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study investigated whether a large dengue epidemic that struck Hanoi in 2009 also affected a nearby semirural area. Seroconversion (dengue virus-reactive immunoglobulin G enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) was high during 2009 compared with 2008, but neutralization assays showed that it was caused by both dengue virus and Japanese encephalitis virus infections. The findings highlight the importance of continued Japanese encephalitis virus vaccination and dengue surveillance.

Messina JP, Brady OJ, Scott TW, Zou C, Pigott DM, Duda KA, Bhatt S, Katzelnick L et al. 2014. Global spread of dengue virus types: mapping the 70 year history. Trends Microbiol, 22 (3), pp. 138-146. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since the first isolation of dengue virus (DENV) in 1943, four types have been identified. Global phenomena such as urbanization and international travel are key factors in facilitating the spread of dengue. Documenting the type-specific record of DENV spread has important implications for understanding patterns in dengue hyperendemicity and disease severity as well as vaccine design and deployment strategies. Existing studies have examined the spread of DENV types at regional or local scales, or described phylogeographic relationships within a single type. Here we summarize the global distribution of confirmed instances of each DENV type from 1943 to 2013 in a series of global maps. These show the worldwide expansion of the types, the expansion of disease hyperendemicity, and the establishment of an increasingly important infectious disease of global public health significance.

Nongpiur ME, Khor CC, Jia H, Cornes BK, Chen LJ, Qiao C, Nair KS, Cheng CY et al. 2014. ABCC5, a gene that influences the anterior chamber depth, is associated with primary angle closure glaucoma. PLoS Genet, 10 (3), pp. e1004089. | Show Abstract | Read more

Anterior chamber depth (ACD) is a key anatomical risk factor for primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG). We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on ACD to discover novel genes for PACG on a total of 5,308 population-based individuals of Asian descent. Genome-wide significant association was observed at a sequence variant within ABCC5 (rs1401999; per-allele effect size =  -0.045 mm, P = 8.17 × 10(-9)). This locus was associated with an increase in risk of PACG in a separate case-control study of 4,276 PACG cases and 18,801 controls (per-allele OR = 1.13 [95% CI: 1.06-1.22], P = 0.00046). The association was strengthened when a sub-group of controls with open angles were included in the analysis (per-allele OR = 1.30, P = 7.45 × 10(-9); 3,458 cases vs. 3,831 controls). Our findings suggest that the increase in PACG risk could in part be mediated by genetic sequence variants influencing anterior chamber dimensions.

Dunstan SJ, Hue NT, Han B, Li Z, Tram TT, Sim KS, Parry CM, Chinh NT et al. 2014. Variation at HLA-DRB1 is associated with resistance to enteric fever. Nat Genet, 46 (12), pp. 1333-1336. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enteric fever affects more than 25 million people annually and results from systemic infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi or Paratyphi pathovars A, B or C(1). We conducted a genome-wide association study of 432 individuals with blood culture-confirmed enteric fever and 2,011 controls from Vietnam. We observed strong association at rs7765379 (odds ratio (OR) for the minor allele = 0.18, P = 4.5 × 10(-10)), a marker mapping to the HLA class II region, in proximity to HLA-DQB1 and HLA-DRB1. We replicated this association in 595 enteric fever cases and 386 controls from Nepal and also in a second independent collection of 151 cases and 668 controls from Vietnam. Imputation-based fine-mapping across the extended MHC region showed that the classical HLA-DRB1*04:05 allele (OR = 0.14, P = 2.60 × 10(-11)) could entirely explain the association at rs7765379, thus implicating HLA-DRB1 as a major contributor to resistance against enteric fever, presumably through antigen presentation.

Carrington LB, Simmons CP. 2014. Human to mosquito transmission of dengue viruses. Front Immunol, 5 (JUN), pp. 290. | Show Abstract | Read more

The successful transmission of dengue virus from a human host to a mosquito vector requires a complex set of factors to align. It is becoming increasingly important to improve our understanding of the parameters that shape the human to mosquito component of the transmission cycle so that vaccines and therapeutic antivirals can be fully evaluated and epidemiological models refined. Here we describe these factors, and discuss the biological and environmental impacts and demographic changes that are influencing these dynamics. Specifically, we examine features of the human infection required for the mosquito to acquire the virus via natural blood feeding, as well as the biological and environmental factors that influence a mosquito's susceptibility to infection, up to the point that they are capable of transmitting the virus to a new host.

Lam PK, Tam DT, Diet TV, Tam CT, Tien NT, Kieu NT, Simmons C, Farrar J et al. 2013. Clinical characteristics of Dengue shock syndrome in Vietnamese children: a 10-year prospective study in a single hospital. Clin Infect Dis, 57 (11), pp. 1577-1586. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is a severe manifestation of dengue virus infection that particularly affects children and young adults. Despite its increasing global importance, there are no prospective studies describing the clinical characteristics, management, or outcomes of DSS. METHODS: We describe the findings at onset of shock and the clinical evolution until discharge or death, from a comprehensive prospective dataset of 1719 Vietnamese children with laboratory-confirmed DSS managed on a single intensive care unit between 1999 and 2009. RESULTS: The median age of patients was 10 years. Most cases had secondary immune responses, with only 6 clear primary infections, and all 4 dengue virus serotypes were represented during the 10-year study. Shock occurred commonly between days 4 and 6 of illness. Clinical signs and symptoms were generally consistent with empirical descriptions of DSS, although at presentation 153 (9%) were still febrile and almost one-third had no bleeding. Overall, 31 (2%) patients developed severe bleeding, primarily from the gastrointestinal tract, 26 of whom required blood transfusion. Only 8 patients died, although 123 of 1719 (7%) patients had unrecordable blood pressure at presentation and 417 of the remaining 1596 (26%) were hypotensive for age. The majority recovered well with standard crystalloid resuscitation or following a single colloid infusion. All cases were classified as severe dengue, while only 70% eventually fulfilled all 4 criteria for the 1997 World Health Organization classification of dengue hemorrhagic fever. CONCLUSIONS: With prompt intervention and assiduous clinical care by experienced staff, the outcome of this potentially fatal condition can be excellent.

Lam PK, Tam DTH, Diet TV, Tam CT, Tien NTH, Kieu NTT, Simmons C, Farrar J et al. 2013. Dengue shock syndrome in children: clinical features and a prognostic model for profound shock TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 18 pp. 53-54.

Wiszniewski W, Hunter JV, Hanchard NA, Willer JR, Shaw C, Tian Q, Illner A, Wang X et al. 2013. TM4SF20 ancestral deletion and susceptibility to a pediatric disorder of early language delay and cerebral white matter hyperintensities American Journal of Human Genetics, 93 (2), pp. 197-210. | Show Abstract | Read more

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the brain are important markers of aging and small-vessel disease. WMHs are rare in healthy children and, when observed, often occur with comorbid neuroinflammatory or vasculitic processes. Here, we describe a complex 4 kb deletion in 2q36.3 that segregates with early childhood communication disorders and WMH in 15 unrelated families predominantly from Southeast Asia. The premature brain aging phenotype with punctate and multifocal WMHs was observed in ∼70% of young carrier parents who underwent brain MRI. The complex deletion removes the penultimate exon 3 of TM4SF20, a gene encoding a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Minigene analysis showed that the resultant net loss of an exon introduces a premature stop codon, which, in turn, leads to the generation of a stable protein that fails to target to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm. Finally, we report this deletion to be enriched in individuals of Vietnamese Kinh descent, with an allele frequency of about 1%, embedded in an ancestral haplotype. Our data point to a constellation of early language delay and WMH phenotypes, driven by a likely toxic mechanism of TM4SF20 truncation, and highlight the importance of understanding and managing population-specific low-frequency pathogenic alleles. © 2013 The American Society of Human Genetics.

Farrar JJ, Hien TT, Horstick O, Hung NT, Jaenisch T, Junghanns T, Kroeger A, Laksono IS et al. 2013. Dogma in classifying dengue disease. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 89 (2), pp. 198-201. | Read more

Cuong HQ, Vu NT, Cazelles B, Boni MF, Thai KT, Rabaa MA, Quang LC, Simmons CP, Huu TN, Anders KL. 2013. Spatiotemporal dynamics of dengue epidemics, southern Vietnam. Emerg Infect Dis, 19 (6), pp. 945-953. | Show Abstract | Read more

An improved understanding of heterogeneities in dengue virus transmission might provide insights into biological and ecologic drivers and facilitate predictions of the magnitude, timing, and location of future dengue epidemics. To investigate dengue dynamics in urban Ho Chi Minh City and neighboring rural provinces in Vietnam, we analyzed a 10-year monthly time series of dengue surveillance data from southern Vietnam. The per capita incidence of dengue was lower in Ho Chi Minh City than in most rural provinces; annual epidemics occurred 1-3 months later in Ho Chi Minh City than elsewhere. The timing and the magnitude of annual epidemics were significantly more correlated in nearby districts than in remote districts, suggesting that local biological and ecologic drivers operate at a scale of 50-100 km. Dengue incidence during the dry season accounted for 63% of variability in epidemic magnitude. These findings can aid the targeting of vector-control interventions and the planning for dengue vaccine implementation.

Nguyet MN, Duong TH, Trung VT, Nguyen TH, Tran CN, Long VT, Dui LET, Nguyen HL et al. 2013. Host and viral features of human dengue cases shape the population of infected and infectious Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110 (22), pp. 9072-9077. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most prevalent arboviral disease of humans. The host and virus variables associated with dengue virus (DENV) transmission from symptomatic dengue cases (n = 208) to Aedes aegypti mosquitoes during 407 independent exposure events was defined. The 50% mosquito infectious dose for each of DENV-1-4 ranged from 6.29 to 7.52 log10 RNA copies/mL of plasma. Increasing day of illness, declining viremia, and rising antibody titers were independently associated with reduced risk of DENV transmission. High early DENV plasma viremia levels in patients were a marker of the duration of human infectiousness, and blood meals containing high concentrations of DENV were positively associated with the prevalence of infectious mosquitoes 14 d after blood feeding. Ambulatory dengue cases had lower viremia levels compared with hospitalized dengue cases but nonetheless at levels predicted to be infectious to mosquitoes. These data define serotype-specific viremia levels that vaccines or drugs must inhibit to prevent DENV transmission.

Boni MF, Chau NV, Dong N, Todd S, Nhat NT, de Bruin E, van Beek J, Hien NT, Simmons CP, Farrar J, Koopmans M. 2013. Population-level antibody estimates to novel influenza A/H7N9. J Infect Dis, 208 (4), pp. 554-558. | Show Abstract | Read more

There are no contemporary data available describing human immunity to novel influenza A/H7N9. Using 1723 prospectively collected serum samples in southern Vietnam, we tested for antibodies to 5 avian influenza virus antigens, using a protein microarray. General-population antibody titers against subtype H7 virus are higher than antibody titers against subtype H5 and lower than titers against H9. The highest titers were observed for human influenza virus subtypes. Titers to avian influenza virus antigens increased with age and with geometric mean antibody titer to human influenza virus antigens. There were no titer differences between the urban and the rural location in our study.

Bhatt S, Gething PW, Brady OJ, Messina JP, Farlow AW, Moyes CL, Drake JM, Brownstein JS et al. 2013. The global distribution and burden of dengue. Nature, 496 (7446), pp. 504-507. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a systemic viral infection transmitted between humans by Aedes mosquitoes. For some patients, dengue is a life-threatening illness. There are currently no licensed vaccines or specific therapeutics, and substantial vector control efforts have not stopped its rapid emergence and global spread. The contemporary worldwide distribution of the risk of dengue virus infection and its public health burden are poorly known. Here we undertake an exhaustive assembly of known records of dengue occurrence worldwide, and use a formal modelling framework to map the global distribution of dengue risk. We then pair the resulting risk map with detailed longitudinal information from dengue cohort studies and population surfaces to infer the public health burden of dengue in 2010. We predict dengue to be ubiquitous throughout the tropics, with local spatial variations in risk influenced strongly by rainfall, temperature and the degree of urbanization. Using cartographic approaches, we estimate there to be 390 million (95% credible interval 284-528) dengue infections per year, of which 96 million (67-136) manifest apparently (any level of disease severity). This infection total is more than three times the dengue burden estimate of the World Health Organization. Stratification of our estimates by country allows comparison with national dengue reporting, after taking into account the probability of an apparent infection being formally reported. The most notable differences are discussed. These new risk maps and infection estimates provide novel insights into the global, regional and national public health burden imposed by dengue. We anticipate that they will provide a starting point for a wider discussion about the global impact of this disease and will help to guide improvements in disease control strategies using vaccine, drug and vector control methods, and in their economic evaluation.

Duong V, Henn MR, Simmons C, Ngan C, Y B, Gavotte L, Viari A, Ong S et al. 2013. Complex dynamic of dengue virus serotypes 2 and 3 in Cambodia following series of climate disasters. Infect Genet Evol, 15 pp. 77-86. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Dengue National Control Program was established in Cambodia in 2000 and has reported between 10,000 and 40,000 dengue cases per year with a case fatality rate ranging from 0.7 to 1.7. In this study 39 DENV-2 and 57 DENV-3 viruses isolated from patients between 2000 and 2008 were fully sequenced. Five DENV2 and four DENV3 distinct lineages with different dynamics were identified. Each lineage was characterized by the presence of specific mutations with no evidence of recombination. In both DENV-2 and DENV-3 the lineages present prior to 2003 were replaced after that date by unrelated lineages. After 2003, DENV-2 lineages D2-3 and D2-4 cocirculated until 2007 when they were almost completely replaced by a lineage D2-5 which emerged from D2-3 Conversely, all DENV-3 lineages remained, diversified and cocirculated with novel lineages emerging. Years 2006 and 2007 were marked by a high prevalence of DENV-3 and 2007 with a large dengue outbreak and a high proportion of patients with severe disease. Selective sweeps in DENV-1 and DENV-2 were linked to immunological escape to a predominately DENV-3-driven immunological response. The complex dynamic of dengue in Cambodia in the last ten years has been associated with a combination of stochastic climatic events, cocirculation, coevolution, adaptation to different vector populations, and with the human population immunological landscape.

Duong V, Simmons C, Gavotte L, Viari A, Ong S, Chantha N, Lennon NJ, Birren BW et al. 2013. Genetic diversity and lineage dynamic of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1) in Cambodia Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 15 pp. 59-68. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Cambodia, dengue virus (DENV) was first isolated in 1963 and has become endemic with peak epidemic during raining season. Since 2000, the Dengue National Control Program has reported from 10,000 to 40,000 cases per year with fatality rates ranging from 0.7 to 1.7. All four dengue serotypes are found circulating in Cambodia with alternative predominance of serotypes DENV-2 and DENV-3. The DENV-1 represents from 5% to 20% of all circulating viruses, depending upon the year. In this work, 79 clinical strains of DENV-1 were isolated between 2000 and 2009 and their genome fully sequenced. Four distinct lineages with different dynamics were identified. The main evolutionary drive was negative selective pressure but each lineage was characterized by the presence of specific mutations acquired through evolution. Coexistence, extinction and replacement of lineages occurred over the 10-year period. Lineages 1, 2 and 3 were all detected since 2000-2002 and disappeared in 2003, 2004-2005 and 2007, respectively. Lineages 1 and 2 displayed different dynamics. Lineage 1 was very diverse whereas lineage 2 was very homogeneous. Lineage 4 which derived from lineage 3 in 2003 remained the only one at the end of the sampling period in 2008-2009 owing to a selective sweep. The lineages dynamic of DENV-1 viruses and consequences for molecular epidemiology are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

Tam DT, Simmons CP, Wills BA. 2013. Reply to Halstead and Sayce et al. Clin Infect Dis, 56 (6), pp. 903-904. | Read more

Rabaa MA, Simmons CP, Fox A, Le MQ, Nguyen TT, Le HY, Gibbons RV, Nguyen XT, Holmes EC, Aaskov JG. 2013. Dengue virus in sub-tropical northern and central Viet Nam: population immunity and climate shape patterns of viral invasion and maintenance. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (12), pp. e2581. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue virus transmission occurs in both epidemic and endemic cycles across tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. Incidence is particularly high in much of Southeast Asia, where hyperendemic transmission plagues both urban and rural populations. However, endemicity has not been established in some areas with climates that may not support year-round viral transmission. An understanding of how dengue viruses (DENV) enter these environments and whether the viruses persist in inapparent local transmission cycles is central to understanding how dengue emerges in areas at the margins of endemic transmission. Dengue is highly endemic in tropical southern Vietnam, while increasingly large seasonal epidemics have occurred in northern Viet Nam over the last decade. We have investigated the spread of DENV-1 throughout Vietnam to determine the routes by which the virus enters northern and central regions of the country. Phylogeographic analysis of 1,765 envelope (E) gene sequences from Southeast Asia revealed frequent movement of DENV between neighboring human populations and strong local clustering of viral lineages. Long-distance migration of DENV between human population centers also occurred regularly and on short time-scales, indicating human-mediated viral invasion into northern Vietnam. Human populations in southern Vietnam were found to be the primary source of DENV circulating throughout the country, while central and northern Vietnam acted as sink populations, likely due to reduced connectedness to other populations in the case of the central regions and to the influence of temperature variability on DENV replication and vector survival and competence in the north. Finally, phylogeographic analyses suggested that viral movement follows a gravity model and indicates that population immunity and physical and economic connections between populations may play important roles in shaping patterns of DENV transmission.

Nguyen TH, Nguyen TH, Vu TT, Farrar J, Hoang TL, Dong TH, Ngoc Tran V, Phung KL et al. 2013. Corticosteroids for dengue - why don't they work? PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (12), pp. e2592. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dysregulated immune responses may contribute to the clinical complications that occur in some patients with dengue. FINDINGS: In Vietnamese pediatric dengue cases randomized to early prednisolone therapy, 81 gene-transcripts (0.2% of the 47,231 evaluated) were differentially abundant in whole-blood between high-dose (2 mg/kg) prednisolone and placebo-treated patients two days after commencing therapy. Prominent among the 81 transcripts were those associated with T and NK cell cytolytic functions. Additionally, prednisolone therapy was not associated with changes in plasma cytokine levels. CONCLUSION: The inability of prednisolone treatment to markedly attenuate the host immune response is instructive for planning future therapeutic strategies for dengue.

Anders KL, Nguyen NM, Van Thuy NT, Hieu NT, Nguyen HL, Hong Tham NT, Thanh Ha PT, Lien LEB, Vinh Chau NV, Simmons CP. 2013. A birth cohort study of viral infections in Vietnamese infants and children: study design, methods and characteristics of the cohort. BMC Public Health, 13 (1), pp. 937. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, more than one-third of admissions to the two paediatric hospitals are attributable to four infectious syndromes: dengue, diarrhoeal disease, acute respiratory infection, and hand, foot and mouth disease. We have established a large prospective birth cohort study to investigate individual, environmental, virological, and immunological determinants of infection and disease in infants. Specific research questions are focused on the role of maternal antibody in protection against infection in infancy, and the adaptive immune response to vaccination and natural infection. This paper presents the cohort design, methods, and baseline characteristics of the participants enrolled in the first two years. METHODS/DESIGN: Women are enrolled prior to delivery at one hospital in each of two catchment areas: an urban district in central HCMC, and a mixed urban/rural district in the Mekong Delta 150 km southwest of HCMC. Infants are enrolled within 3 days of birth, and maternal and cord blood samples are collected. Routine blood samples and data on growth, health status and vaccinations are collected from infants at scheduled visits at 4, 9 and 12 months. Clinical data and specimens are collected from infants presenting at a study clinic, or admitted to hospital, with any of the the four infectious syndromes of interest. DISCUSSION: In four years since since the study began in July 2009, >6400 infants have been enrolled, and enrolment is ongoing. Attrition is low: 84% of participants have completed the full 12-month follow-up period. Baseline characteristics of the first 4300 enrollees are presented here. We have demonstrated the feasibility of establishing a large prospective study of infectious diseases in infancy in a resource-limited setting, with minimal loss to follow-up. Our linked socio-demographic, clinical and laboratory data will help elucidate the viral aetiology and epidemiology of common infectious diseases of infancy, and can inform the implemention of existing and future vaccines. This study furthermore provides a platform to which additional endpoints could be added in the future.

Wiszniewski W, Hunter JV, Hanchard NA, Willer JR, Shaw C, Tian Q, Illner A, Wang X et al. 2013. TM4SF20 ancestral deletion and susceptibility to a pediatric disorder of early language delay and cerebral white matter hyperintensities. Am J Hum Genet, 93 (2), pp. 197-210. | Show Abstract | Read more

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs) of the brain are important markers of aging and small-vessel disease. WMHs are rare in healthy children and, when observed, often occur with comorbid neuroinflammatory or vasculitic processes. Here, we describe a complex 4 kb deletion in 2q36.3 that segregates with early childhood communication disorders and WMH in 15 unrelated families predominantly from Southeast Asia. The premature brain aging phenotype with punctate and multifocal WMHs was observed in ~70% of young carrier parents who underwent brain MRI. The complex deletion removes the penultimate exon 3 of TM4SF20, a gene encoding a transmembrane protein of unknown function. Minigene analysis showed that the resultant net loss of an exon introduces a premature stop codon, which, in turn, leads to the generation of a stable protein that fails to target to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the cytoplasm. Finally, we report this deletion to be enriched in individuals of Vietnamese Kinh descent, with an allele frequency of about 1%, embedded in an ancestral haplotype. Our data point to a constellation of early language delay and WMH phenotypes, driven by a likely toxic mechanism of TM4SF20 truncation, and highlight the importance of understanding and managing population-specific low-frequency pathogenic alleles.

Whitehorn J, Thi LV, Dui LET, Simmons CP. 2013. Aedes aegypti (L.) survival after exposure to ivermectin. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 44 (2), pp. 179-181. | Show Abstract

Ivermectin has been shown in in vitro studies to have insecticidal properties against Aedes aegypti adults. This study aimed to assess these properties in vivo. Aedes aegypti survival was not affected by acquiring a blood meal from humans both 5 hours and 24 hours after ingestion of a typical dose of ivermectin.

Tam DTH, Simmons CP, Wills BA. 2013. Reply to Halstead and Sayce et al Clinical Infectious Diseases, 56 (6), pp. 903-904. | Read more

Whitehorn J, Chau TN, Nguyet NM, Kien DT, Quyen NT, Trung DT, Pang J, Wills B et al. 2013. Genetic variants of MICB and PLCE1 and associations with non-severe dengue. PLoS One, 8 (3), pp. e59067. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A recent genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified susceptibility loci for dengue shock syndrome (DSS) at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. The aim of this study was to define the extent to which MICB (rs3132468) and PLCE1 (rs3740360) were associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of pediatric and adult dengue. METHODS: 3961 laboratory-confirmed dengue cases and 5968 controls were genotyped at MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360. Per-allele odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each patient cohort. Pooled analyses were performed for adults and paediatrics respectively using a fixed effects model. RESULTS: Pooled analysis of the paediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between MICB rs3132468 and dengue cases without shock (OR  =  1.15; 95%CI: 1.07 - 1.24; P  =  0.0012). Similarly, pooled analysis of pediatric and adult cohorts indicated a significant association between dengue cases without shock and PLCE1 rs3740360 (OR  =  0.92; 95%CI: 0.85 - 0.99; P  =  0.018). We also note significant association between both SNPs (OR  =  1.48; P  =  0.0075 for MICB rs3132468 and OR  =  0.75, P  =  0.041 for PLCE1 rs3740360) and dengue in infants. DISCUSSION: This study confirms that the MICB rs3132468 and PLCE1 rs3740360 risk genotypes are not only associated with DSS, but are also associated with less severe clinical phenotypes of dengue, as well as with dengue in infants. These findings have implications for our understanding of dengue pathogenesis.

Dung TTN, Phat VV, Nga TVT, My PVT, Duy PT, Campbell JI, Thuy CT, Hoang NVM et al. 2013. The validation and utility of a quantitative one-step multiplex RT real-time PCR targeting Rotavirus A and Norovirus Journal of Virological Methods, 187 (1), pp. 138-143. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rotavirus (RoV) and Norovirus (NoV) are the main causes of viral gastroenteritis. Currently, there is no validated multiplex real-time PCR that can detect and quantify RoV and NoV simultaneously. The aim of the study was to develop, validate, and internally control a multiplex one-step RT real-time PCR to detect and quantify RoV and NoV in stool samples. PCR sensitivity was assessed by comparing amplification against the current gold standard, enzyme immunoassay (EIA), on stool samples from 94 individuals with diarrhea and 94 individuals without diarrhea. PCR detected 10% more RoV positive samples than EIA in stools samples from patients with diarrhea. PCR detected 23% more NoV genogroup II positive samples from individuals with diarrhea and 9% more from individuals without diarrhea than EIA, respectively. Genotyping of the PCR positive/EIA negative samples suggested the higher rate of PCR positivity, in comparison to EIA, was due to increased sensitivity, rather than nonspecific hybridization. Quantitation demonstrated that the viral loads of RoV and NoV in the stools of diarrheal patients were an order of magnitude greater than in individuals without diarrhea. This internally controlled real-time PCR method is robust, exhibits a high degree of reproducibility, and may have a greater utility and sensitivity than commercial EIA kits. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Hanh Tien NT, Lam PK, Duyen HT, Ngoc TV, Ha PT, Kieu NT, Simmons C, Wolbers M, Wills B. 2013. Assessment of microalbuminuria for early diagnosis and risk prediction in dengue infections. PLoS One, 8 (1), pp. e54538. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most important arboviral infection of humans. Following an initial febrile period, a small proportion of infected patients develop a vasculopathy, with children at particular risk for severe vascular leakage and shock. Differentiation between dengue and other common childhood illnesses is difficult during the early febrile phase, and risk prediction for development of shock is poor. The presence of microalbuminuria is recognized as a useful early predictor for subsequent complications in a number of other disorders with vascular involvement. Significant proteinuria occurs in association with dengue shock syndrome and it is possible that early-phase microalbuminuria may be helpful both for diagnosis of dengue and for identification of patients likely to develop severe disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We measured formal urine albumin to creatinine ratios (UACRs) in daily samples obtained from a large cohort of children with suspected dengue recruited at two outpatient clinics in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Although UACRs were increased in the 465 confirmed dengue patients, with a significant time trend showing peak values around the critical period for dengue-associated plasma leakage, urine albumin excretion was also increased in the comparison group of 391 patients with other febrile illnesses (OFI). The dengue patients generally had higher UACRs than the OFI patients, but microalbuminuria, using the conventional cutoff of 30 mg albumin/g creatinine discriminated poorly between the two diagnostic groups in the early febrile phase. Secondly UACRs did not prove useful in predicting either development of warning signs for severe dengue or need for hospitalization. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Low-level albuminuria is common, even in relatively mild dengue infections, but is also present in many OFIs. Simple point-of-care UACR tests are unlikely to be useful for early diagnosis or risk prediction in dengue endemic areas.

Wolbers M, Kleinschmidt I, Simmons CP, Donnelly CA. 2012. Considerations in the design of clinical trials to test novel entomological approaches to dengue control. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (11), pp. e1937. | Read more

Dung TT, Phat VV, Nga TV, My PV, Duy PT, Campbell JI, Thuy CT, Hoang NV et al. 2013. The validation and utility of a quantitative one-step multiplex RT real-time PCR targeting rotavirus A and norovirus. J Virol Methods, 187 (1), pp. 138-143. | Show Abstract | Read more

Rotavirus (RoV) and Norovirus (NoV) are the main causes of viral gastroenteritis. Currently, there is no validated multiplex real-time PCR that can detect and quantify RoV and NoV simultaneously. The aim of the study was to develop, validate, and internally control a multiplex one-step RT real-time PCR to detect and quantify RoV and NoV in stool samples. PCR sensitivity was assessed by comparing amplification against the current gold standard, enzyme immunoassay (EIA), on stool samples from 94 individuals with diarrhea and 94 individuals without diarrhea. PCR detected 10% more RoV positive samples than EIA in stools samples from patients with diarrhea. PCR detected 23% more NoV genogroup II positive samples from individuals with diarrhea and 9% more from individuals without diarrhea than EIA, respectively. Genotyping of the PCR positive/EIA negative samples suggested the higher rate of PCR positivity, in comparison to EIA, was due to increased sensitivity, rather than nonspecific hybridization. Quantitation demonstrated that the viral loads of RoV and NoV in the stools of diarrheal patients were an order of magnitude greater than in individuals without diarrhea. This internally controlled real-time PCR method is robust, exhibits a high degree of reproducibility, and may have a greater utility and sensitivity than commercial EIA kits.

Simmons CP, Wolbers M, Nguyen MN, Whitehorn J, Shi PY, Young P, Petric R, Nguyen VV, Farrar J, Wills B. 2012. Therapeutics for dengue: recommendations for design and conduct of early-phase clinical trials. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (9), pp. e1752. | Read more

Vithana EN, Khor CC, Qiao C, Nongpiur ME, George R, Chen LJ, Do T, Abu-Amero K et al. 2012. Genome-wide association analyses identify three new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma. Nat Genet, 44 (10), pp. 1142-1146. | Show Abstract | Read more

Primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) is a major cause of blindness worldwide. We conducted a genome-wide association study including 1,854 PACG cases and 9,608 controls across 5 sample collections in Asia. Replication experiments were conducted in 1,917 PACG cases and 8,943 controls collected from a further 6 sample collections. We report significant associations at three new loci: rs11024102 in PLEKHA7 (per-allele odds ratio (OR)=1.22; P=5.33×10(-12)), rs3753841 in COL11A1 (per-allele OR=1.20; P=9.22×10(-10)) and rs1015213 located between PCMTD1 and ST18 on chromosome 8q (per-allele OR=1.50; P=3.29×10(-9)). Our findings, accumulated across these independent worldwide collections, suggest possible mechanisms explaining the pathogenesis of PACG.

Tam DT, Ngoc TV, Tien NT, Kieu NT, Thuy TT, Thanh LT, Tam CT, Truong NT et al. 2012. Effects of short-course oral corticosteroid therapy in early dengue infection in Vietnamese patients: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Clin Infect Dis, 55 (9), pp. 1216-1224. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Patients with dengue can experience a variety of serious complications including hypovolemic shock, thrombocytopenia, and bleeding. These problems occur as plasma viremia is resolving and are thought to be immunologically mediated. Early corticosteroid therapy may prevent the development of such complications but could also prolong viral clearance. METHODS: We performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded trial of low-dose (0.5 mg/kg) or high-dose (2 mg/kg) oral prednisolone therapy for 3 days in Vietnamese patients aged 5-20 years admitted with dengue and fever for ≤72 hours, aiming to assess potential harms from steroid use during the viremic phase. Intention-to-treat analysis was performed using linear trend tests with a range of clinical and virological endpoints specified in advance. In addition to recognized complications of dengue, we focused on the are under the curve for serial plasma viremia measurements and the number of days after enrollment to negative viremia and dengue nonstructural protein 1 status. RESULTS: Between August 2009 and January 2011, 225 participants were randomized to 1 of the 3 treatment arms. Baseline characteristics were similar across the groups. All patients recovered fully and adverse events were infrequent. Aside from a trend toward hyperglycemia in the steroid recipients, we found no association between treatment allocation and any of the predefined clinical, hematological, or virological endpoints. CONCLUSIONS: Use of oral prednisolone during the early acute phase of dengue infection was not associated with prolongation of viremia or other adverse effects. Although not powered to assess efficacy, we found no reduction in the development of shock or other recognized complications of dengue virus infection in this study.

Nguyen NM, Tran CN, Phung LK, Duong KT, Huynh HLEA, Farrar J, Nguyen QT, Tran HT et al. 2013. A randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial of balapiravir, a polymerase inhibitor, in adult dengue patients. J Infect Dis, 207 (9), pp. 1442-1450. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most common arboviral infection of humans. There are currently no specific treatments for dengue. Balapiravir is a prodrug of a nucleoside analogue (called R1479) and an inhibitor of hepatitis C virus replication in vivo. METHODS: We conducted in vitro experiments to determine the potency of balapiravir against dengue viruses and then an exploratory, dose-escalating, randomized placebo-controlled trial in adult male patients with dengue with <48 hours of fever. RESULTS: The clinical and laboratory adverse event profile in patients receiving balapiravir at doses of 1500 mg (n = 10) or 3000 mg (n = 22) orally for 5 days was similar to that of patients receiving placebo (n = 32), indicating balapiravir was well tolerated. However, twice daily assessment of viremia and daily assessment of NS1 antigenemia indicated balapiravir did not measurably alter the kinetics of these virological markers, nor did it reduce the fever clearance time. The kinetics of plasma cytokine concentrations and the whole blood transcriptional profile were also not attenuated by balapiravir treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Although this trial, the first of its kind in dengue, does not support balapiravir as a candidate drug, it does establish a framework for antiviral treatment trials in dengue and provides the field with a clinically evaluated benchmark molecule. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: NCT01096576.

Chau NVV, Simmons CP, Wills B. 2012. Dengue REPLY NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 367 (2), pp. 181-181.

Anders KL, Nguyet NM, Quyen NT, Ngoc TV, Tram TV, Gan TT, Tung NT, Dung NT, Chau NV, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2012. An evaluation of dried blood spots and oral swabs as alternative specimens for the diagnosis of dengue and screening for past dengue virus exposure. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 87 (1), pp. 165-170. | Show Abstract | Read more

Non-invasive specimens for dengue diagnosis may be preferable where venous blood is difficult to collect and/or process, such as community-based or remote settings or when sampling from young children. We evaluated the performance of oral swabs and dried blood spots (DBS), compared with plasma, in diagnosing acute dengue and screening for past dengue virus (DENV) exposure. DENV-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) M, IgG, and NS1 antigen were detected both in oral swabs and DBS from acute patients. Oral swabs were less sensitive (IgM: 68.7%, IgG: 91.9%, NS1: 64.7%), but retained good specificity (100%, 92.3%, 95.8%, respectively) compared with plasma. DBS displayed high sensitivity (IgM: 100%, IgG: 96%, NS1: 100%) and specificity (IgM: 75%, IgG: 93%). DENV RNA was amplified from DBS (sensitivity 95.6%) but not from oral swabs. DENV-IgG (indicative of past flavivirus exposure) were detected with moderate sensitivity (61.1%) but poor specificity (50%) in oral swabs from healthy volunteers. Dried blood spots allow sensitive and specific diagnosis of acute dengue by serological, molecular, and antigen detection methods. Oral swabs may be an adequate alternative where blood cannot be collected.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NTN, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG et al. 2012. Variation in human genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese Genes and Immunity, 13 (6), pp. 503-508. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic basis for susceptibility to malaria has been studied widely in African populations but less is known of the contribution of specific genetic variants in Asian populations. We genotyped 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1030 severe malaria cases and 2840 controls from Vietnam. After data quality control, genotyping data of 956 cases and 2350 controls were analysed for 65 SNPs (3 gender confirmation, 62 positioned in/near 42 malarial candidate genes). A total of 14 SNPs were monomorphic and 2 (rs8078340 and rs33950507) were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls (P<0.01). In all, 7/46 SNPs in 6 genes (ICAM1, IL1A, IL17RC, IL13, LTA and TNF) were associated with severe malaria, with 3/7 SNPs in the TNF/LTA region. Genotype-phenotype correlations between SNPs and clinical parameters revealed that genotypes of rs708567 (IL17RC) correlate with parasitemia (P=0.028, r2=0.0086), with GG homozygotes having the lowest parasite burden. Additionally, rs708567 GG homozygotes had a decreased risk of severe malaria (P=0.007, OR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.65-0.93)) and death (P=0.028, OR=0.58 (95% CI; 0.37-0.93)) than those with AA and AG genotypes. In summary, variants in six genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Further replicative studies in independent populations will be necessary to confirm these findings. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NT, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG et al. 2012. Variation in human genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Genes Immun, 13 (6), pp. 503-508. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genetic basis for susceptibility to malaria has been studied widely in African populations but less is known of the contribution of specific genetic variants in Asian populations. We genotyped 67 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 1030 severe malaria cases and 2840 controls from Vietnam. After data quality control, genotyping data of 956 cases and 2350 controls were analysed for 65 SNPs (3 gender confirmation, 62 positioned in/near 42 malarial candidate genes). A total of 14 SNPs were monomorphic and 2 (rs8078340 and rs33950507) were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in controls (P<0.01). In all, 7/46 SNPs in 6 genes (ICAM1, IL1A, IL17RC, IL13, LTA and TNF) were associated with severe malaria, with 3/7 SNPs in the TNF/LTA region. Genotype-phenotype correlations between SNPs and clinical parameters revealed that genotypes of rs708567 (IL17RC) correlate with parasitemia (P=0.028, r(2)=0.0086), with GG homozygotes having the lowest parasite burden. Additionally, rs708567 GG homozygotes had a decreased risk of severe malaria (P=0.007, OR=0.78 (95% CI; 0.65-0.93)) and death (P=0.028, OR=0.58 (95% CI; 0.37-0.93)) than those with AA and AG genotypes. In summary, variants in six genes encoding adhesion and proinflammatory molecules are associated with severe malaria in the Vietnamese. Further replicative studies in independent populations will be necessary to confirm these findings.

Yacoub S, Grifiths A, Chau TTH, Simmons C, Wills B, Hien TT, Henein M, Farrar J. 2012. Cardiac function and haemodynamics in Vietnemese patients with different dengue severity grades INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E119-E119. | Read more

Trung DT, Thao LETT, Dung NM, Ngoc TV, Hien TT, Chau NV, Wolbers M, Tam DT, Farrar J, Simmons C, Wills B. 2012. Clinical features of dengue in a large Vietnamese cohort: intrinsically lower platelet counts and greater risk for bleeding in adults than children. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (6), pp. e1679. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: As dengue spreads to new geographical regions and the force of infection changes in existing endemic areas, a greater breadth of clinical presentations is being recognised. Clinical experience suggests that adults manifest a pattern of complications different from those observed in children, but few reports have described the age-related spectrum of disease in contemporaneous groups of patients recruited at the same geographical location. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using detailed prospectively collected information from ongoing studies that encompass the full spectrum of hospitalised dengue cases admitted to a single hospital in southern Vietnam, we compared clinical and laboratory features, management, and outcome for 647 adults and 881 children with confirmed dengue. Signs of vascular leakage and shock were more frequent and more severe in children than adults, while bleeding manifestations and organ involvement were more common in adults. Additionally, adults experienced significantly more severe thrombocytopenia. Secondary infection but not serotype was independently associated with greater thrombocytopenia, although with a smaller effect than age-group. The effect of age-group on platelet count was also apparent in the values obtained several weeks after recovery, indicating that healthy adults have intrinsically lower counts compared to children. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: There are clear distinctions between adults and children in the pattern of complications seen in association with dengue infection, and these depend partly on intrinsic age-dependent physiological differences. Knowledge of such differences is important to inform research on disease pathogenesis, as well as to encourage development of management guidelines that are appropriate to the age-groups at risk.

Whitehorn J, Rodriguez Roche R, Guzman MG, Martinez E, Gomez WV, Nainggolan L, Laksono IS, Mishra A et al. 2012. Prophylactic platelets in dengue: survey responses highlight lack of an evidence base. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 6 (6), pp. e1716. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is the most important arboviral infection of humans. Thrombocytopenia is frequently observed in the course of infection and haemorrhage may occur in severe disease. The degree of thrombocytopenia correlates with the severity of infection, and may contribute to the risk of haemorrhage. As a result of this prophylactic platelet transfusions are sometimes advocated for the prevention of haemorrhage. There is currently no evidence to support this practice, and platelet transfusions are costly and sometimes harmful. We conducted a global survey to assess the different approaches to the use of platelets in dengue. Respondents were all physicians involved with the treatment of patients with dengue. Respondents were asked that their answers reflected what they would do if they were the treating physician. We received responses from 306 physicians from 20 different countries. The heterogeneity of the responses highlights the variation in clinical practice and lack of an evidence base in this area and underscores the importance of prospective clinical trials to address this key question in the clinical management of patients with dengue.

Akbar NA, Allende I, Balmaseda A, Coelho IC, da Cunha RV, Datta B, Devi SS, Farrar J et al. 2012. Regarding "Dengue--how best to classify it". Clin Infect Dis, 54 (12), pp. 1820-1821. | Read more

Tisoncik JR, Korth MJ, Simmons CP, Farrar J, Martin TR, Katze MG. 2012. Into the eye of the cytokine storm. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev, 76 (1), pp. 16-32. | Show Abstract | Read more

The cytokine storm has captured the attention of the public and the scientific community alike, and while the general notion of an excessive or uncontrolled release of proinflammatory cytokines is well known, the concept of a cytokine storm and the biological consequences of cytokine overproduction are not clearly defined. Cytokine storms are associated with a wide variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases. The term was popularized largely in the context of avian H5N1 influenza virus infection, bringing the term into popular media. In this review, we focus on the cytokine storm in the context of virus infection, and we highlight how high-throughput genomic methods are revealing the importance of the kinetics of cytokine gene expression and the remarkable degree of redundancy and overlap in cytokine signaling. We also address evidence for and against the role of the cytokine storm in the pathology of clinical and infectious disease and discuss why it has been so difficult to use knowledge of the cytokine storm and immunomodulatory therapies to improve the clinical outcomes for patients with severe acute infections.

Whitehorn J, Van Vinh Chau N, Truong NT, Tai LT, Van Hao N, Hien TT, Wolbers M, Merson L et al. 2012. Lovastatin for adult patients with dengue: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials, 13 (1), pp. 203. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is the most important vector-borne viral infection of man, with approximately 2 billion people living in areas at risk. Infection results in a range of manifestations from asymptomatic infection through to life-threatening shock and haemorrhage. One of the hallmarks of severe dengue is vascular endothelial disruption. There is currently no specific therapy and clinical management is limited to supportive care. Statins are a class of drug initially developed for lipid lowering. There has been considerable recent interest in their effects beyond lipid lowering. These include anti-inflammatory effects at the endothelium. In addition, it is possible that lovastatin may have an anti-viral effect against dengue. Observational data suggest that the use of statins may improve outcomes for such conditions as sepsis and pneumonia. This paper describes the protocol for a randomised controlled trial investigating a short course of lovastatin therapy in adult patients with dengue. METHODS/DESIGN: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will investigate the effects of lovastatin therapy in the treatment of dengue. The trial will be conducted in two phases with an escalation of dose between phases if an interim safety review is satisfactory. This is an exploratory study focusing on safety and there are no data on which to base a sample size calculation. A target sample size of 300 patients in the second phase, enrolled over two dengue seasons, was chosen based on clinical judgement and feasibility considerations. In a previous randomised trial in dengue, about 10% and 30% of patients experienced at least one serious adverse event or adverse event, respectively. With 300 patients, we will have 80% power to detect an increase of 12% (from 10% to 22%) or 16% (from 30% to 46%) in the frequency of adverse events. Furthermore, this sample size ensures some power to explore the efficacy of statins. DISCUSSION: The development of a dengue therapeutic that can attenuate disease would be an enormous advance in global health. The favourable effects of statins on the endothelium, their good safety profile and their low cost make lovastatin an attractive therapeutic candidate. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number ISRCTN03147572.

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Vithana EN, Khor CC, Qiao C, Nongpiur ME, George R, Chen LJ, Do T, Abu-Amero K et al. 2012. Genome-wide association analyses identify three new susceptibility loci for primary angle closure glaucoma Nature Genetics, 44 (10), pp. 1142-1146. | Show Abstract | Read more

Primary angle closure glaucoma (PACG) is a major cause of blindness worldwide. We conducted a genome-wide association study including 1,854 PACG cases and 9,608 controls across 5 sample collections in Asia. Replication experiments were conducted in 1,917 PACG cases and 8,943 controls collected from a further 6 sample collections. We report significant associations at three new loci: rs11024102 in PLEKHA7 (per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.22; P = 5.33 × 10-12), rs3753841 in COL11A1 (per-allele OR = 1.20; P = 9.22 × 10-10) and rs1015213 located between PCMTD1 and ST18 on chromosome 8q (per-allele OR = 1.50; P = 3.29 × 10-9). Our findings, accumulated across these independent worldwide collections, suggest possible mechanisms explaining the pathogenesis of PACG. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

Van Vinh Chau N, Simmons CP, Wills B. 2012. Dengue New England Journal of Medicine, 367 (2), pp. 180-181. | Read more

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Simmons CP, Farrar JJ, Chau NVV, Wills B. 2012. CURRENT CONCEPTS Dengue NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 366 (15), pp. 1423-1432. | Read more

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Yacoub S, Griffiths A, Hong Chau TT, Simmons CP, Wills B, Hien TT, Henein M, Farrar J. 2012. Cardiac function in Vietnamese patients with different dengue severity grades Critical Care Medicine, 40 (2), pp. 477-483. | Show Abstract | Read more

Objective: Dengue continues to cause significant global morbidity and mortality. Severe disease is characterized by cardiovascular compromise from capillary leakage. Cardiac involvement in dengue has also been reported but has not been adequately studied. Setting: Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Subjects and Design: Seventy-nine patients aged 8-6 yrs with different dengue severity grades were studied using echocardiography including tissue Doppler imaging. The patients were split into severity grades: dengue, dengue with warning signs, and severe dengue. Changes in cardiac functional parameters and hemodynamic indices were monitored over the hospital stay. Intervention: None. Measurements and Main Results; Patients with severe dengue had worse cardiac function compared with dengue in the form of left ventricular systolic dysfunction with increased left myocardial performance index (0.58 [0.26-0.80] vs. 0.38 [0.22-0.70], p = .006). Septal myocardial systolic velocities were reduced (6.4 [4.8-10] vs. 8.1 [6-13] cm/s, p = .01) as well as right ventricular systolic (11.4 [7.5-17] vs. 13.5 [10-17] cm/s, p = .016) and diastolic velocities (13 [8-23] vs. 17 [12-25] cm/s, p = .0026). In the severe group, these parameters improved from hospital admission to discharge; septal myocardial systolic velocities to 8.8 (7-11) cm/s (p = .002), right ventricular myocardial systolic velocities to 15.0 (11.8-23) cm/s, (p = .003), and diastolic velocity to 21 (11-25) cm/s (p = .002). Patients with cardiac impairment were more likely to have significant pleural effusions. Conclusions: Patients with severe dengue have evidence of systolic and diastolic cardiac impairment with septal and right ventricular wall being predominantly affected. Copyright © 2012 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Thai KT, Henn MR, Zody MC, Tricou V, Nguyet NM, Charlebois P, Lennon NJ, Green L et al. 2012. High-resolution analysis of intrahost genetic diversity in dengue virus serotype 1 infection identifies mixed infections. J Virol, 86 (2), pp. 835-843. | Show Abstract | Read more

Little is known about the rate at which genetic variation is generated within intrahost populations of dengue virus (DENV) and what implications this diversity has for dengue pathogenesis, disease severity, and host immunity. Previous studies of intrahost DENV variation have used a low frequency of sampling and/or experimental methods that do not fully account for errors generated through amplification and sequencing of viral RNAs. We investigated the extent and pattern of genetic diversity in sequence data in domain III (DIII) of the envelope (E) gene in serial plasma samples (n = 49) taken from 17 patients infected with DENV type 1 (DENV-1), totaling some 8,458 clones. Statistically rigorous approaches were employed to account for artifactual variants resulting from amplification and sequencing, which we suggest have played a major role in previous studies of intrahost genetic variation. Accordingly, nucleotide sequence diversities of viral populations were very low, with conservative estimates of the average levels of genetic diversity ranging from 0 to 0.0013. Despite such sequence conservation, we observed clear evidence for mixed infection, with the presence of multiple phylogenetically distinct lineages present within the same host, while the presence of stop codon mutations in some samples suggests the action of complementation. In contrast to some previous studies we observed no relationship between the extent and pattern of DENV-1 genetic diversity and disease severity, immune status, or level of viremia.

James S, Simmons CP, James AA. 2011. Ecology. Mosquito trials. Science, 334 (6057), pp. 771-772. | Show Abstract | Read more

Field trials of modified mosquitoes present complex but manageable challenges.

Powell TJ, Fox A, Peng Y, Quynh Mai LET, Lien VT, Hang NL, Wang L, Lee LY et al. 2012. Identification of H5N1-specific T-cell responses in a high-risk cohort in vietnam indicates the existence of potential asymptomatic infections. J Infect Dis, 205 (1), pp. 20-27. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most reported human H5N1 viral infections have been severe and were detected after hospital admission. A case ascertainment bias may therefore exist, with mild cases or asymptomatic infections going undetected. We sought evidence of mild or asymptomatic H5N1 infection by examining H5N1-specific T-cell and antibody responses in a high-risk cohort in Vietnam. METHODS: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were tested using interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot T assays measuring the response to peptides of influenza H5, H3, and H1 hemagglutinin (HA), N1 and N2 neuraminidase, and the internal proteins of H3N2. Horse erythrocyte hemagglutination inhibition assay was performed to detect antibodies against H5N1. RESULTS: Twenty-four of 747 individuals demonstrated H5-specific T-cell responses but little or no cross-reactivity with H3 or H1 HA peptides. H5N1 peptide-specific T-cell lines that did not cross-react with H1 or H3 influenza virus HA peptides were generated. Four individuals also had antibodies against H5N1. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report of ex vivo H5 HA-specific T-cell responses in a healthy but H5N1-exposed population. Our results indicate that the presence of H5N1-specific T cells could be an additional diagnostic tool for asymptomatic H5N1 infection.

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Midgley CM, Bajwa-Joseph M, Vasanawathana S, Limpitikul W, Wills B, Flanagan A, Waiyaiya E, Tran HB et al. 2011. An In-Depth Analysis of Original Antigenic Sin in Dengue Virus Infection (vol 85, pg 410, 2011) JOURNAL OF VIROLOGY, 85 (22), pp. 12100-12100. | Read more

Khor CC, Chau TN, Pang J, Davila S, Long HT, Ong RT, Dunstan SJ, Wills B et al. 2011. Genome-wide association study identifies susceptibility loci for dengue shock syndrome at MICB and PLCE1. Nat Genet, 43 (11), pp. 1139-1141. | Show Abstract | Read more

Hypovolemic shock (dengue shock syndrome (DSS)) is the most common life-threatening complication of dengue. We conducted a genome-wide association study of 2,008 pediatric cases treated for DSS and 2,018 controls from Vietnam. Replication of the most significantly associated markers was carried out in an independent Vietnamese sample of 1,737 cases and 2,934 controls. SNPs at two loci showed genome-wide significant association with DSS. We identified a susceptibility locus at MICB (major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I polypeptide-related sequence B), which was within the broad MHC region on chromosome 6 but outside the class I and class II HLA loci (rs3132468, P(meta) = 4.41 × 10(-11), per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.34 (95% confidence interval: 1.23-1.46)). We identified associated variants within PLCE1 (phospholipase C, epsilon 1) on chromosome 10 (rs3765524, P(meta) = 3.08 × 10(-10), per-allele OR = 0.80 (95% confidence interval: 0.75-0.86)). We identify two loci associated with susceptibility to DSS in people with dengue, suggesting possible mechanisms for this severe complication of dengue.

Yacoub S, Griffiths A, Chau TT, Simmons CP, Wills B, Hien TT, Henein M, Farrar J. 2012. Cardiac function in Vietnamese patients with different dengue severity grades. Crit Care Med, 40 (2), pp. 477-483. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Dengue continues to cause significant global morbidity and mortality. Severe disease is characterized by cardiovascular compromise from capillary leakage. Cardiac involvement in dengue has also been reported but has not been adequately studied. SETTING: Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. SUBJECTS AND DESIGN: Seventy-nine patients aged 8-6 yrs with different dengue severity grades were studied using echocardiography including tissue Doppler imaging. The patients were split into severity grades: dengue, dengue with warning signs, and severe dengue. Changes in cardiac functional parameters and hemodynamic indices were monitored over the hospital stay. INTERVENTION: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patients with severe dengue had worse cardiac function compared with dengue in the form of left ventricular systolic dysfunction with increased left myocardial performance index (0.58 [0.26-0.80] vs. 0.38 [0.22-0.70], p = .006). Septal myocardial systolic velocities were reduced (6.4 [4.8-10] vs. 8.1 [6-13] cm/s, p = .01) as well as right ventricular systolic (11.4 [7.5-17] vs. 13.5 [10-17] cm/s, p = .016) and diastolic velocities (13 [8-23] vs. 17 [12-25] cm/s, p = .0026). In the severe group, these parameters improved from hospital admission to discharge; septal myocardial systolic velocities to 8.8 (7-11) cm/s (p = .002), right ventricular myocardial systolic velocities to 15.0 (11.8-23) cm/s, (p = .003), and diastolic velocity to 21 (11-25) cm/s (p = .002). Patients with cardiac impairment were more likely to have significant pleural effusions. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with severe dengue have evidence of systolic and diastolic cardiac impairment with septal and right ventricular wall being predominantly affected.

Tricou V, Minh NN, Farrar J, Tran HT, Simmons CP. 2011. Kinetics of viremia and NS1 antigenemia are shaped by immune status and virus serotype in adults with dengue. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (9), pp. e1309. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical countries. Exploring the relationships between virological features of infection with patient immune status and outcome may help to identify predictors of disease severity and enable rational therapeutic strategies. METHODS: Clinical features, antibody responses and virological markers were characterized in Vietnamese adults participating in a randomised controlled treatment trial of chloroquine. RESULTS: Of the 248 patients with laboratory-confirmed dengue and defined serological and clinical classifications 29 (11.7%) had primary DF, 150 (60.5%) had secondary DF, 4 (1.6%) had primary DHF and 65 (26.2%) had secondary DHF. DENV-1 was the commonest serotype (57.3%), then DENV-2 (20.6%), DENV-3 (15.7%) and DENV-4 (2.8%). DHF was associated with secondary infection (Odds ratio = 3.13, 95% CI 1.04-12.75). DENV-1 infections resulted in significantly higher viremia levels than DENV-2 infections. Early viremia levels were higher in DENV-1 patients with DHF than with DF, even if the peak viremia level was often not observed because it occurred prior to enrolment. Peak viremias were significantly less often observed during secondary infections than primary for all disease severity grades (P = 0.001). The clearance of DENV viremia and NS1 antigenemia occurs earlier and faster in patients with secondary dengue (P<0.0001). The maximum daily rate of viremia clearance was significantly higher in patients with secondary infections than primary (P<0.00001). CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our findings suggest that the early magnitude of viremia is positively associated with disease severity. The clearance of DENV is associated with immune status, and there are serotype dependent differences in infection kinetics. These findings are relevant for the rational design of randomized controlled trials of therapeutic interventions, especially antivirals.

Hue KD, Tuan TV, Thi HT, Bich CT, Anh HH, Wills BA, Simmons CP. 2011. Validation of an internally controlled one-step real-time multiplex RT-PCR assay for the detection and quantitation of dengue virus RNA in plasma. J Virol Methods, 177 (2), pp. 168-173. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is mosquito-borne virus infection that annually causes ~50 million clinically apparent cases worldwide. An internally controlled one-step real-time multiplex RT-PCR assay was developed for detection and quantitation of DENV RNA in plasma sample by using specific primers and fluorogenic TaqMan probes. All primers and probes targeted sequences near the 3' end of the NS5 gene. The method comprised two multiplex assays and was validated for sensitivity, specificity, linearity, reproducibility and precision. An internal control template was spiked into each clinical specimen to provide quality assurance for each experimental step. The assay allowed for detection of between 0.5 and 3 infectious particles per mL, is rapid and has been operationally characterized in 287 Vietnamese dengue patients from two therapeutic intervention trials at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.

Whitehorn J, Simmons CP. 2011. The pathogenesis of dengue. Vaccine, 29 (42), pp. 7221-7228. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is an important cause of childhood and adult morbidity in Asian and Latin American countries and its geographic footprint is growing. The clinical manifestations of dengue are the expression of a constellation of host and viral factors, some acquired, others intrinsic to the individual. The virulence of the virus plus the flavivirus infection history, age, gender and genotype of the host all appear to help shape the severity of infection. Similarly, the characteristics of the innate and acquired host immune response subsequent to infection are also likely determinants of outcome. This review summarises recent developments in the understanding of dengue pathogenesis and their relevance to dengue vaccine development.

Duong V, Simmons C, Gavotte L, Viari A, Ong S, Chantha N, Lennon NJ, Birren BW et al. 2013. Genetic diversity and lineage dynamic of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1) in Cambodia. Infect Genet Evol, 15 pp. 59-68. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Cambodia, dengue virus (DENV) was first isolated in 1963 and has become endemic with peak epidemic during raining season. Since 2000, the Dengue National Control Program has reported from 10,000 to 40,000 cases per year with fatality rates ranging from 0.7 to 1.7. All four dengue serotypes are found circulating in Cambodia with alternative predominance of serotypes DENV-2 and DENV-3. The DENV-1 represents from 5% to 20% of all circulating viruses, depending upon the year. In this work, 79 clinical strains of DENV-1 were isolated between 2000 and 2009 and their genome fully sequenced. Four distinct lineages with different dynamics were identified. The main evolutionary drive was negative selective pressure but each lineage was characterized by the presence of specific mutations acquired through evolution. Coexistence, extinction and replacement of lineages occurred over the 10-year period. Lineages 1, 2 and 3 were all detected since 2000-2002 and disappeared in 2003, 2004-2005 and 2007, respectively. Lineages 1 and 2 displayed different dynamics. Lineage 1 was very diverse whereas lineage 2 was very homogeneous. Lineage 4 which derived from lineage 3 in 2003 remained the only one at the end of the sampling period in 2008-2009 owing to a selective sweep. The lineages dynamic of DENV-1 viruses and consequences for molecular epidemiology are discussed.

Raghwani J, Rambaut A, Holmes EC, Hang VT, Hien TT, Farrar J, Wills B, Lennon NJ, Birren BW, Henn MR, Simmons CP. 2011. Endemic dengue associated with the co-circulation of multiple viral lineages and localized density-dependent transmission. PLoS Pathog, 7 (6), pp. e1002064. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is one of the most important infectious diseases of humans and has spread throughout much of the tropical and subtropical world. Despite this widespread dispersal, the determinants of dengue transmission in endemic populations are not well understood, although essential for virus control. To address this issue we performed a phylogeographic analysis of 751 complete genome sequences of dengue 1 virus (DENV-1) sampled from both rural (Dong Thap) and urban (Ho Chi Minh City) populations in southern Viet Nam during the period 2003-2008. We show that DENV-1 in Viet Nam exhibits strong spatial clustering, with likely importation from Cambodia on multiple occasions. Notably, multiple lineages of DENV-1 co-circulated in Ho Chi Minh City. That these lineages emerged at approximately the same time and dispersed over similar spatial regions suggests that they are of broadly equivalent fitness. We also observed an important relationship between the density of the human host population and the dispersion rate of dengue, such that DENV-1 tends to move from urban to rural populations, and that densely populated regions within Ho Chi Minh City act as major transmission foci. Despite these fluid dynamics, the dispersion rates of DENV-1 are relatively low, particularly in Ho Chi Minh City where the virus moves less than an average of 20 km/year. These low rates suggest a major role for mosquito-mediated dispersal, such that DENV-1 does not need to move great distances to infect a new host when there are abundant susceptibles, and imply that control measures should be directed toward the most densely populated urban environments.

Fry SR, Meyer M, Semple MG, Simmons CP, Sekaran SD, Huang JX, McElnea C, Huang CY, Valks A, Young PR, Cooper MA. 2011. The diagnostic sensitivity of dengue rapid test assays is significantly enhanced by using a combined antigen and antibody testing approach. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (6), pp. e1199. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Serological tests for IgM and IgG are routinely used in clinical laboratories for the rapid diagnosis of dengue and can differentiate between primary and secondary infections. Dengue virus non-structural protein 1 (NS1) has been identified as an early marker for acute dengue, and is typically present between days 1-9 post-onset of illness but following seroconversion it can be difficult to detect in serum. AIMS: To evaluate the performance of a newly developed Panbio® Dengue Early Rapid test for NS1 and determine if it can improve diagnostic sensitivity when used in combination with a commercial IgM/IgG rapid test. METHODOLOGY: The clinical performance of the Dengue Early Rapid was evaluated in a retrospective study in Vietnam with 198 acute laboratory-confirmed positive and 100 negative samples. The performance of the Dengue Early Rapid in combination with the IgM/IgG Rapid test was also evaluated in Malaysia with 263 laboratory-confirmed positive and 30 negative samples. KEY RESULTS: In Vietnam the sensitivity and specificity of the test was 69.2% (95% CI: 62.8% to 75.6%) and 96% (95% CI: 92.2% to 99.8) respectively. In Malaysia the performance was similar with 68.9% sensitivity (95% CI: 61.8% to 76.1%) and 96.7% specificity (95% CI: 82.8% to 99.9%) compared to RT-PCR. Importantly, when the Dengue Early Rapid test was used in combination with the IgM/IgG test the sensitivity increased to 93.0%. When the two tests were compared at each day post-onset of illness there was clear differentiation between the antigen and antibody markers. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights that using dengue NS1 antigen detection in combination with anti-glycoprotein E IgM and IgG serology can significantly increase the sensitivity of acute dengue diagnosis and extends the possible window of detection to include very early acute samples and enhances the clinical utility of rapid immunochromatographic testing for dengue.

Török ME, Yen NT, Chau TT, Mai NT, Phu NH, Mai PP, Dung NT, Chau NV et al. 2011. Timing of initiation of antiretroviral therapy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)--associated tuberculous meningitis. Clin Infect Dis, 52 (11), pp. 1374-1383. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The optimal time to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated tuberculous meningitis is unknown. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of immediate versus deferred ART in patients with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis to determine whether immediate ART reduced the risk of death. Antiretroviral drugs (zidovudine, lamivudine, and efavirenz) were started either at study entry or 2 months after randomization. All patients were treated with standard antituberculosis treatment, adjunctive dexamethasone, and prophylactic co-trimoxazole and were followed up for 12 months. We conducted intention-to-treat, per-protocol, and prespecified subgroup analyses. RESULTS: A total of 253 patients were randomized, 127 in the immediate ART group and 126 in the deferred ART group; 76 and 70 patients died within 9 months in the immediate and deferred ART groups, respectively. Immediate ART was not significantly associated with 9-month mortality (hazard ratio [HR], 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], .81-1.55; P = .50) or the time to new AIDS events or death (HR, 1.16; 95% CI, .87-1.55; P = .31). The percentage of patients with severe (grade 3 or 4) adverse events was high in both arms (90% in the immediate ART group and 89% in the deferred ART group; P = .84), but there were significantly more grade 4 adverse events in the immediate ART arm (102 in the immediate ART group vs 87 in the deferred ART group; P = .04). CONCLUSIONS: Immediate ART initiation does not improve outcome in patients presenting with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis. There were significantly more grade 4 adverse events in the immediate ART arm, supporting delayed initiation of ART in HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis. Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN63659091.

Duyen HT, Ngoc TV, Ha DOT, Hang VT, Kieu NT, Young PR, Farrar JJ, Simmons CP, Wolbers M, Wills BA. 2011. Kinetics of plasma viremia and soluble nonstructural protein 1 concentrations in dengue: differential effects according to serotype and immune status. J Infect Dis, 203 (9), pp. 1292-1300. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe the magnitude and kinetics of plasma viremia and nonstructural protein 1 (sNS1) levels in sequential samples from 167 children with acute dengue, enrolled early in a community study in Vietnam. All children recovered fully, and only 5 required hospitalization. Among those with dengue virus type 1 (DENV-1), plasma viremia was significantly greater in primary (49) than secondary (44) infections and took longer to resolve. In primary DENV-2 and 3 infections, viremia was significantly lower than among primary DENV-1 infections. Concentrations of sNS1 were significantly higher for DENV-1 than for DENV-2 after adjusting for viremia, with marked differences in the kinetic profiles between primary and secondary infections. Secondary infection and higher viremia were independent predictors of more severe thrombocytopenia, and higher viremia was associated with a small increase in hemoconcentration. Our findings identify clear serotype and immune-status related effects on the dynamics of dengue viremia and sNS1 responses, together with associations with important clinical parameters.

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Khor CC, Chau TNB, Pang J, Davila S, Long HT, Ong RTH, Dunstan SJ, Wills B et al. 2011. Genome-wide association study identifies susceptibility loci for dengue shock syndrome at MICB and PLCE1 Nature Genetics, 43 (11), pp. 1139-1141. | Show Abstract | Read more

Hypovolemic shock (dengue shock syndrome (DSS)) is the most common life-threatening complication of dengue. We conducted a genome-wide association study of 2,008 pediatric cases treated for DSS and 2,018 controls from Vietnam. Replication of the most significantly associated markers was carried out in an independent Vietnamese sample of 1,737 cases and 2,934 controls. SNPs at two loci showed genome-wide significant association with DSS. We identified a susceptibility locus at MICB (major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I polypeptide-related sequence B), which was within the broad MHC region on chromosome 6 but outside the class I and class II HLA loci (rs3132468, P meta = 4.41 × 10 -11, per-allele odds ratio (OR) = 1.34 (95% confidence interval: 1.23-1.46)). We identified associated variants within PLCE1 (phospholipase C, epsilon 1) on chromosome 10 (rs3765524, P meta = 3.08 × 10 -10, per-allele OR = 0.80 (95% confidence interval: 0.75-0.86)). We identify two loci associated with susceptibility to DSS in people with dengue, suggesting possible mechanisms for this severe complication of dengue. © 2011 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Hue KDT, Tuan TV, Thi HTN, Bich CTN, Anh HHL, Wills BA, Simmons CP. 2011. Validation of an internally controlled one-step real-time multiplex RT-PCR assay for the detection and quantitation of dengue virus RNA in plasma Journal of Virological Methods, 177 (2), pp. 168-173. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is mosquito-borne virus infection that annually causes ~50 million clinically apparent cases worldwide. An internally controlled one-step real-time multiplex RT-PCR assay was developed for detection and quantitation of DENV RNA in plasma sample by using specific primers and fluorogenic TaqMan probes. All primers and probes targeted sequences near the 3' end of the NS5 gene. The method comprised two multiplex assays and was validated for sensitivity, specificity, linearity, reproducibility and precision. An internal control template was spiked into each clinical specimen to provide quality assurance for each experimental step. The assay allowed for detection of between 0.5 and 3 infectious particles per mL, is rapid and has been operationally characterized in 287 Vietnamese dengue patients from two therapeutic intervention trials at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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Whitehorn J, Simmons CP. 2011. The pathogenesis of dengue Vaccine, 29 (42), pp. 7221-7228. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is an important cause of childhood and adult morbidity in Asian and Latin American countries and its geographic footprint is growing. The clinical manifestations of dengue are the expression of a constellation of host and viral factors, some acquired, others intrinsic to the individual. The virulence of the virus plus the flavivirus infection history, age, gender and genotype of the host all appear to help shape the severity of infection. Similarly, the characteristics of the innate and acquired host immune response subsequent to infection are also likely determinants of outcome. This review summarises recent developments in the understanding of dengue pathogenesis and their relevance to dengue vaccine development. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Hue KDT, Tuan TV, Thi HTN, Bich CTN, Anh HHL, Wills BA, Simmons CP. 2011. Validation of an internally controlled one-step real-time multiplex RT-PCR assay for the detection and quantitation of dengue virus RNA in plasma Journal of Virological Methods,

Tran CB, Nguyen HT, Phan HT, Tran NV, Wills B, Farrar J, Santangelo JD, Simmons CP. 2011. The seroprevalence and seroincidence of enterovirus71 infection in infants and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. PLoS One, 6 (7), pp. e21116. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enterovirus 71 (EV71)-associated hand, foot and mouth disease has emerged as a serious public health problem in South East Asia over the last decade. To better understand the prevalence of EV71 infection, we determined EV71 seroprevalence and seroincidence amongst healthy infants and children in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. In a cohort of 200 newborns, 55% of cord blood samples contained EV71 neutralizing antibodies and these decayed to undetectable levels by 6 months of age in 98% of infants. The EV71 neutralizing antibody seroconversion rate was 5.6% in the first year and 14% in the second year of life. In children 5-15 yrs of age, seroprevalence of EV71 neutralizing antibodies was 84% and in cord blood it was 55%. Taken together, these data suggest EV71 force of infection is high and highlights the need for more research into its epidemiology and pathogenesis in high disease burden countries.

Fox A, Le NM, Simmons CP, Wolbers M, Wertheim HF, Pham TK, Tran TH, Trinh TM et al. 2011. Immunological and viral determinants of dengue severity in hospitalized adults in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (3), pp. e967. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The relationships between the infecting dengue serotype, primary and secondary infection, viremia and dengue severity remain unclear. This cross-sectional study examined these interactions in adult patients hospitalized with dengue in Ha Noi. METHODS AND FINDINGS: 158 patients were enrolled between September 16 and November 11, 2008. Quantitative RT-PCR, serology and NS1 detection were used to confirm dengue infection, determine the serotype and plasma viral RNA concentration, and categorize infections as primary or secondary. 130 (82%) were laboratory confirmed. Serology was consistent with primary and secondary infection in 34% and 61%, respectively. The infecting serotype was DENV-1 in 42 (32%), DENV-2 in 39 (30%) and unknown in 49 (38%). Secondary infection was more common in DENV-2 infections (79%) compared to DENV-1 (36%, p<0.001). The proportion that developed dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) was 32% for secondary infection compared to 18% for primary infection (p = 0.14), and 26% for DENV-1 compared to 28% for DENV-2. The time until NS1 and plasma viral RNA were undetectable was shorter for DENV-2 compared to DENV-1 (p≤0.001) and plasma viral RNA concentration on day 5 was higher for DENV-1 (p = 0.03). Plasma viral RNA concentration was higher in secondary infection on day 5 of illness (p = 0.046). We didn't find an association between plasma viral RNA concentration and clinical severity. CONCLUSION: Dengue is emerging as a major public health problem in Ha Noi. DENV-1 and DENV-2 were the prevalent serotypes with similar numbers and clinical presentation. Secondary infection may be more common amongst DENV-2 than DENV-1 infections because DENV-2 infections resulted in lower plasma viral RNA concentrations and viral RNA concentrations were higher in secondary infection. The drivers of dengue emergence in northern Viet Nam need to be elucidated and public health measures instituted.

Anders KL, Nguyet NM, Chau NV, Hung NT, Thuy TT, Lien LEB, Farrar J, Wills B, Hien TT, Simmons CP. 2011. Epidemiological factors associated with dengue shock syndrome and mortality in hospitalized dengue patients in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 84 (1), pp. 127-134. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding trends in dengue disease burden and risk factors for severe disease can inform health service allocation, clinical management, and planning for vaccines and therapeutics. Dengue admissions at three tertiary hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, increased between 1996 and 2009, peaking at 22,860 in 2008. Children aged 6-10 years had highest risk of dengue shock syndrome (DSS); however, mortality was highest in younger children and decreased with increasing age (odds ratio [OR] = 0.52, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.36-0.75 in 6- to 10- year-old children and OR = 0.27, 95% CI = 0.16-0.44 in 11- to 15-year-old children compared with 1- to 5-year-old children). Males were overrepresented among dengue cases; however, girls had higher risk of DSS (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.14-1.24) and death (OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.14-2.17). Young children with dengue had greatest risk of death and should be targeted in dengue vaccine and drug trials. The increased risk of severe outcomes in girls warrants further attention in studies of pathogenesis, health-seeking behavior, and clinical care.

Hoang LT, Lynn DJ, Henn M, Birren BW, Lennon NJ, Le PT, Duong KT, Nguyen TT et al. 2010. The early whole-blood transcriptional signature of dengue virus and features associated with progression to dengue shock syndrome in Vietnamese children and young adults. J Virol, 84 (24), pp. 12982-12994. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a pantropic public health problem. In children, dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is the most common life-threatening complication. The ability to predict which patients may develop DSS may improve triage and treatment. To this end, we conducted a nested case-control comparison of the early host transcriptional features in 24 DSS patients and 56 sex-, age-, and virus serotype-matched uncomplicated (UC) dengue patients. In the first instance, we defined the "early dengue" profile. The transcriptional signature in acute rather than convalescent samples (≤72 h post-illness onset) was defined by an overabundance of interferon-inducible transcripts (31% of the 551 overabundant transcripts) and canonical gene ontology terms that included the following: response to virus, immune response, innate immune response, and inflammatory response. Pathway and network analyses identified STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, IRF7, IRF9, IRF1, CEBPB, and SP1 as key transcriptional factors mediating the early response. Strikingly, the only difference in the transcriptional signatures of early DSS and UC dengue cases was the greater abundance of several neutrophil-associated transcripts in patients who progressed to DSS, a finding supported by higher plasma concentrations of several canonical proteins associated with neutrophil degranulation (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein [BPI], elastase 2 [ELA2], and defensin 1 alpha [DEF1A]). Elevated levels of neutrophil-associated transcripts were independent of the neutrophil count and also of the genotype of the infecting virus, as genome-length sequences of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1) (n = 15) and DENV-2 (n = 3) sampled from DSS patients were phylogenetically indistinguishable from those sampled from uncomplicated dengue patients (32 DENV-1 and 9 DENV-2 sequences). Collectively, these data suggest a hitherto unrecognized association between neutrophil activation, pathogenesis, and the development of DSS and point to future strategies for guiding prognosis.

Midgley CM, Bajwa-Joseph M, Vasanawathana S, Limpitikul W, Wills B, Flanagan A, Waiyaiya E, Tran HB et al. 2011. An in-depth analysis of original antigenic sin in dengue virus infection. J Virol, 85 (1), pp. 410-421. | Show Abstract | Read more

The evolution of dengue viruses has resulted in four antigenically similar yet distinct serotypes. Infection with one serotype likely elicits lifelong immunity to that serotype, but generally not against the other three. Secondary or sequential infections are common, as multiple viral serotypes frequently cocirculate. Dengue infection, although frequently mild, can lead to dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) which can be life threatening. DHF is more common in secondary dengue infections, implying a role for the adaptive immune response in the disease. There is currently much effort toward the design and implementation of a dengue vaccine but these efforts are made more difficult by the challenge of inducing durable neutralizing immunity to all four viruses. Domain 3 of the dengue virus envelope protein (ED3) has been suggested as one such candidate because it contains neutralizing epitopes and it was originally thought that relatively few cross-reactive antibodies are directed to this domain. In this study, we performed a detailed analysis of the anti-ED3 response in a cohort of patients suffering either primary or secondary dengue infections. The results show dramatic evidence of original antigenic sin in secondary infections both in terms of binding and enhancement activity. This has important implications for dengue vaccine design because heterologous boosting is likely to maintain the immunological footprint of the first vaccination. On the basis of these findings, we propose a simple in vitro enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to diagnose the original dengue infection in secondary dengue cases.

Trung DT, Thao LETT, Hien TT, Hung NT, Vinh NN, Hien PT, Chinh NT, Simmons C, Wills B. 2010. Liver involvement associated with dengue infection in adults in Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 83 (4), pp. 774-780. | Show Abstract | Read more

Globally, the number of adults hospitalized with dengue has increased markedly in recent years. It has been suggested that hepatic dysfunction is more significant in this group than among children. We describe the spectrum and evolution of disease manifestations among 644 adults with dengue who were prospectively recruited on admission to a major infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam and compare them with a group of patients with similar illnesses not caused by dengue. Transaminase levels increased in virtually all dengue patients and correlated with other markers of disease severity. However, peak enzyme values usually occurred later than other complications. Clinically severe liver involvement was infrequent and idiosyncratic, but usually resulted in severe bleeding. Chronic co-infection with hepatitis B was associated with modestly but significantly increased levels of alanine aminotransferase, but did not otherwise impact the clinical picture.

Guzman MG, Jaenisch T, Gaczkowski R, Ty Hang VT, Sekaran SD, Kroeger A, Vazquez S, Ruiz D et al. 2010. Multi-country evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of two commercially-available NS1 ELISA assays for dengue diagnosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (8), pp. e811-e811. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Early diagnosis of dengue can assist patient triage and management and prevent unnecessary treatments and interventions. Commercially available assays that detect the dengue virus protein NS1 in the plasma/serum of patients offers the possibility of early and rapid diagnosis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The sensitivity and specificity of the Pan-E Dengue Early ELISA and the Platelia Dengue NS1 Ag assays were compared against a reference diagnosis in 1385 patients in 6 countries in Asia and the Americas. Platelia was more sensitive (66%) than Pan-E (52%) in confirmed dengue cases. Sensitivity varied by geographic region, with both assays generally being more sensitive in patients from SE Asia than the Americas. Both kits were more sensitive for specimens collected within the first few days of illness onset relative to later time points. Pan-E and Platelia were both 100% specific in febrile patients without evidence of acute dengue. In patients with other confirmed diagnoses and healthy blood donors, Platelia was more specific (100%) than Pan-E (90%). For Platelia, when either the NS1 test or the IgM test on the acute sample was positive, the sensitivity versus the reference result was 82% in samples collected in the first four days of fever. NS1 sensitivity was not associated to disease severity (DF or DHF) in the Platelia test, whereas a trend for higher sensitivity in DHF cases was seen in the Pan-E test (however combined with lower overall sensitivity). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Collectively, this multi-country study suggests that the best performing NS1 assay (Platelia) had moderate sensitivity (median 64%, range 34-76%) and high specificity (100%) for the diagnosis of dengue. The poor sensitivity of the evaluated assays in some geographical regions suggests further assessments are needed. The combination of NS1 and IgM detection in samples collected in the first few days of fever increased the overall dengue diagnostic sensitivity.

Tran TH, Nguyen TD, Nguyen TT, Ninh TT, Tran NB, Nguyen VM, Tran TT, Cao TT et al. 2010. A randomised trial evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of the novel single oral dose typhoid vaccine M01ZH09 in healthy Vietnamese children. PLoS One, 5 (7), pp. e11778. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of drug resistant typhoid fever is a major public health problem, especially in Asia. An oral single dose typhoid vaccine would have major advantages. M01ZH09 is a live oral single dose candidate typhoid vaccine containing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (Ty2 aroC(-)ssaV(-)) ZH9 with two independently attenuating deletions. Studies in healthy adults demonstrated immunogenicity and an acceptable safety profile. OBJECTIVES: We conducted a randomised placebo controlled, single-blind trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of M01ZH09 in healthy Vietnamese children aged 5 to 14 years. METHODS: Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either a nominal dose of 5x10(9) CFU of M01ZH09 or placebo and were followed up for 28 days. The primary safety outcome was the proportion of subjects with any adverse event attributed to M01ZH09. The primary immunogenicity endpoint was the proportion of subjects who showed a positive immune response to M01ZH09 in the Salmonella Typhi lipopolysaccharide (LPS) specific serum IgA and IgG ELISA. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: One hundred and fifty-one children were enrolled, 101 subjects received M01ZH09 and 50 subjects received placebo. An intention to treat analysis was conducted. There were no serious adverse events and no bacteraemias. In the M01ZH09 group, 26 (26%; 95% CI, 18-5%) of 101 subjects experienced adverse events compared to 11 (22%; 95% CI, 12-36%) of 50 subjects in the placebo group (odds ratio (OR) [95%CI] = 1.23 [0.550-2.747]; p = 0.691). Faecal shedding of S. Typhi (Ty2 aroC(-)ssaV(-)) ZH9 was detected in 51 (51%; 95% CI, 41-61%) of 100 M01ZH09 subjects. No shedding was detected beyond day 3. A positive immune response, defined as 70% increase (1.7 fold change) in LPS specific serum IgG (day 14 or 28) and/or 50% increase (1.5 fold change) in LPS specific serum IgA (day 7 or 14) from baseline was detected in 98 (97%; 95% CI, 92-99%) of 101 M01ZH09 recipients and 8 (16%; 95% CI, 7-29%) of 50 placebo recipients. Twenty-eight (100%; 95% CI, 88-100%) of 28 vaccine recipients who were evaluated in the LPS specific IgA ELISPOT assay showed a positive response compared to none of the 14 placebo recipients tested. CONCLUSIONS: This was the first phase II trial of a novel oral candidate typhoid vaccine in children in an endemic country. M01ZH09 had an appropriate safety profile and was immunogenic in children. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Controlled-trials.com ISRCTN91111837.

Thai KT, Cazelles B, Nguyen NV, Vo LT, Boni MF, Farrar J, Simmons CP, van Doorn HR, de Vries PJ. 2010. Dengue dynamics in Binh Thuan province, southern Vietnam: periodicity, synchronicity and climate variability. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (7), pp. e747. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a major global public health problem with increasing incidence and geographic spread. The epidemiology is complex with long inter-epidemic intervals and endemic with seasonal fluctuations. This study was initiated to investigate dengue transmission dynamics in Binh Thuan province, southern Vietnam. METHODOLOGY: Wavelet analyses were performed on time series of monthly notified dengue cases from January 1994 to June 2009 (i) to detect and quantify dengue periodicity, (ii) to describe synchrony patterns in both time and space, (iii) to investigate the spatio-temporal waves and (iv) to associate the relationship between dengue incidence and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indices in Binh Thuan province, southern Vietnam. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We demonstrate a continuous annual mode of oscillation and a multi-annual cycle of around 2-3-years was solely observed from 1996-2001. Synchrony in time and between districts was detected for both the annual and 2-3-year cycle. Phase differences used to describe the spatio-temporal patterns suggested that the seasonal wave of infection was either synchronous among all districts or moving away from Phan Thiet district. The 2-3-year periodic wave was moving towards, rather than away from Phan Thiet district. A strong non-stationary association between ENSO indices and climate variables with dengue incidence in the 2-3-year periodic band was found. CONCLUSIONS: A multi-annual mode of oscillation was observed and these 2-3-year waves of infection probably started outside Binh Thuan province. Associations with climatic variables were observed with dengue incidence. Here, we have provided insight in dengue population transmission dynamics over the past 14.5 years. Further studies on an extensive time series dataset are needed to test the hypothesis that epidemics emanate from larger cities in southern Vietnam.

Rabaa MA, Ty Hang VT, Wills B, Farrar J, Simmons CP, Holmes EC. 2010. Phylogeography of recently emerged DENV-2 in southern Viet Nam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (7), pp. e766. | Show Abstract | Read more

Revealing the dispersal of dengue viruses (DENV) in time and space is central to understanding their epidemiology. However, the processes that shape DENV transmission patterns at the scale of local populations are not well understood, particularly the impact of such factors as human population movement and urbanization. Herein, we investigated trends in the spatial dynamics of DENV-2 transmission in the highly endemic setting of southern Viet Nam. Through a phylogeographic analysis of 168 full-length DENV-2 genome sequences obtained from hospitalized dengue cases from 10 provinces in southern Viet Nam, we reveal substantial genetic diversity in both urban and rural areas, with multiple lineages identified in individual provinces within a single season, and indicative of frequent viral migration among communities. Focusing on the recently introduced Asian I genotype, we observed particularly high rates of viral exchange between adjacent geographic areas, and between Ho Chi Minh City, the primary urban center of this region, and populations across southern Viet Nam. Within Ho Chi Minh City, patterns of DENV movement appear consistent with a gravity model of virus dispersal, with viruses traveling across a gradient of population density. Overall, our analysis suggests that Ho Chi Minh City may act as a source population for the dispersal of DENV across southern Viet Nam, and provides further evidence that urban areas of Southeast Asia play a primary role in DENV transmission. However, these data also indicate that more rural areas are also capable of maintaining virus populations and hence fueling DENV evolution over multiple seasons.

Thai KT, Phuong HL, Thanh Nga TT, Giao PT, Hung LEQ, Van Nam N, Binh TQ, Simmons C et al. 2010. Clinical, epidemiological and virological features of Dengue virus infections in Vietnamese patients presenting to primary care facilities with acute undifferentiated fever. J Infect, 60 (3), pp. 229-237. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To explore clinical and virological characteristics and describe the epidemiology of dengue in patients who presented with acute undifferentiated fever (AUF) at primary health centers (PHC) in Binh Thuan Province, Vietnam. METHODS: A prospective observational study was conducted from 2001 to 2006 to study the aetiology in AUF patients. Demographic and clinical information was obtained, and dengue polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and serology were performed on a random selection of patients. RESULTS: Three hundred fifty-one serologically confirmed dengue patients including 68 primary and 283 secondary infections were included in this study. In 25% (86/351) dengue virus (DENV) was detected by RT-PCR among which 32 DENV-1, 16 DENV-2, 1 DENV-3 and 37 DENV-4 were identified. The predominant dengue serotype varied by year with seasonal fluctuation: DENV-4 in 2001-2002, DENV-1 and DENV-2 from 2003 to 2006. Primary dengue was more common in children. Higher viraemia levels (P=0.010) were found in primary infections compared to secondary infections. DENV-1 infected patients had higher viraemia levels than DENV-2 (P=0.003) and DENV-4 (P<0.001) infected patients. Clinical symptoms were often seen in adults. Few differences in clinical symptoms were found between primary and secondary infection and no significant differences in clinical symptoms between the serotypes were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide insight in the epidemiology, clinical profile and virological features of mild symptomatic dengue patients who presented to PHC with AUF in Vietnam.

Flohr C, Tuyen LN, Quinnell RJ, Lewis S, Minh TT, Campbell J, Simmons C, Telford G et al. 2010. Reduced helminth burden increases allergen skin sensitization but not clinical allergy: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Vietnam. Clin Exp Allergy, 40 (1), pp. 131-142. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Observational evidence suggests that infection with helminths protects against allergic disease and allergen skin sensitization. It is postulated that such effects are mediated by helminth-induced cytokine responses, in particular IL-10. OBJECTIVE: We tested this hypothesis in a rural area of central Vietnam where hookworm infection is endemic. METHODS: One thousand five hundred and sixty-six schoolchildren aged 6-17 were randomly allocated to receive either anti-helminthic therapy or a placebo at 0, 3, 6, and 9 months. We compared changes in the prevalence of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, allergen skin sensitization, flexural eczema on skin examination, questionnaire-reported allergic disease (wheeze and rhinitis symptoms), and immunological parameters (hookworm-induced IFN-gamma, IL-5, IL-10) between 0 and 12 months. RESULTS: One thousand four hundred and eighty-seven children (95% of these randomized) completed the study. The most common helminth infections were hookworm (65%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (7%). There was no effect of the therapy on the primary outcome, exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (within-participant mean percent fall in peak flow from baseline after anti-helminthic treatment 2.25 (SD 7.3) vs. placebo 2.19 (SD 7.8, P=0.9), or on the prevalence of questionnaire-reported wheeze [adjusted odds ratio (OR)=1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.35-3.82, P=0.8] and rhinitis (adjusted OR=1.39, 0.89-2.15, P=0.1), or flexural dermatitis on skin examination (adjusted OR=1.15, 0.39-3.45, P=0.8). However, anti-helminthic therapy was associated with a significantly higher allergen skin sensitization risk (adjusted OR=1.31, 1.02-1.67, P=0.03). This effect was particularly strong for children infected with A. lumbricoides at baseline (adjusted OR=4.90, 1.48-16.19, P=0.009). Allergen skin sensitization was inversely related to hookworm-specific IL-10 at baseline (adjusted OR=0.76, 0.59-0.99, P=0.04). No cytokine tested, including IL-10, changed significantly after the anti-helminthic therapy compared with the placebo. CONCLUSION: A significant reduction in worm burden over a 12-month period in helminth-infected children increases the risk of allergen skin sensitization but not of clinical allergic disease. The effect on skin sensitization could not be fully explained by any of the immunological parameters tested.

Tricou V, Vu HT, Quynh NV, Nguyen CV, Tran HT, Farrar J, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2010. Comparison of two dengue NS1 rapid tests for sensitivity, specificity and relationship to viraemia and antibody responses. BMC Infect Dis, 10 (1), pp. 142. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical countries. Rapid and easy diagnosis of dengue can assist patient triage and care-management. The detection of DENV NS1 on rapid lateral flow tests offers a fast route to a presumptive dengue diagnosis but careful evaluations are urgently needed as more and more people use them. METHODS: The sensitivity and specificity of the Bio-Rad NS1 Ag Strip and SD Dengue Duo (NS1/IgM/IgG) lateral flow rapid tests were evaluated in a panel of plasma samples from 245 Vietnamese patients with RT-PCR confirmed dengue and 47 with other febrile illnesses. RESULTS: The NS1 rapid tests had similar diagnostic sensitivities (respectively 61.6% and 62.4%) in confirmed dengue cases but were 100% specific. When IgM/IgG results from the SD Dengue Duo were included in the test interpretation, the sensitivity improved significantly from 62.4% with NS1 alone to 75.5% when NS1 and/or IgM was positive and 83.7% when NS1 and/or IgM and/or IgG was positive. Both NS1 assays were significantly more sensitive for primary than secondary dengue. NS1 positivity was associated with the underlying viraemia as NS1-positive samples had a significantly higher viraemia than NS1-negative samples. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that the NS1 test component of these assays are highly specific and have similar levels of sensitivity. The IgM parameter in the SD Duo test improved overall test sensitivity without compromising specificity. The SD Dengue Duo lateral flow rapid test deserves further prospective evaluation in dengue endemic settings.

Fox A, Horby P, Ha NH, Hoa LENM, Lam NT, Simmons C, Farrar J, Van Kinh N, Wertheim H. 2010. Influenza A H5N1 and HIV co-infection: case report. BMC Infect Dis, 10 (1), pp. 167. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of adaptive immunity in severe influenza is poorly understood. The occurrence of influenza A/H5N1 in a patient with HIV provided a rare opportunity to investigate this. CASE PRESENTATION: A 30-year-old male was admitted on day 4 of influenza-like-illness with tachycardia, tachypnea, hypoxemia and bilateral pulmonary infiltrates. Influenza A/H5N1 and HIV tests were positive and the patient was treated with Oseltamivir and broad-spectrum antibiotics. Initially his condition improved coinciding with virus clearance by day 6. He clinically deteriorated as of day 10 with fever recrudescence and increasing neutrophil counts and died on day 16. His admission CD4 count was 100/microl and decreased until virus was cleared. CD8 T cells shifted to a CD27+CD28- phenotype. Plasma chemokine and cytokine levels were similar to those found previously in fatal H5N1. CONCLUSIONS: The course of H5N1 infection was not notably different from other cases. Virus was cleared despite profound CD4 T cell depletion and aberrant CD8 T cell activation but this may have increased susceptibility to a fatal secondary infection.

Vu TT, Holmes EC, Duong V, Nguyen TQ, Tran TH, Quail M, Churcher C, Parkhill J et al. 2010. Emergence of the Asian 1 genotype of dengue virus serotype 2 in viet nam: in vivo fitness advantage and lineage replacement in South-East Asia. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (7), pp. e757. | Show Abstract | Read more

A better description of the extent and structure of genetic diversity in dengue virus (DENV) in endemic settings is central to its eventual control. To this end we determined the complete coding region sequence of 187 DENV-2 genomes and 68 E genes from viruses sampled from Vietnamese patients between 1995 and 2009. Strikingly, an episode of genotype replacement was observed, with Asian 1 lineage viruses entirely displacing the previously dominant Asian/American lineage viruses. This genotype replacement event also seems to have occurred within DENV-2 in Thailand and Cambodia, suggestive of a major difference in viral fitness. To determine the cause of this major evolutionary event we compared both the infectivity of the Asian 1 and Asian/American genotypes in mosquitoes and their viraemia levels in humans. Although there was little difference in infectivity in mosquitoes, we observed significantly higher plasma viraemia levels in paediatric patients infected with Asian 1 lineage viruses relative to Asian/American viruses, a phenotype that is predicted to result in a higher probability of human-to-mosquito transmission. These results provide a mechanistic basis to a marked change in the genetic structure of DENV-2 and more broadly underscore that an understanding of DENV evolutionary dynamics can inform the development of vaccines and anti-viral drugs.

Tricou V, Minh NN, Van TP, Lee SJ, Farrar J, Wills B, Tran HT, Simmons CP. 2010. A randomized controlled trial of chloroquine for the treatment of dengue in Vietnamese adults. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (8), pp. e785. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is currently no licensed antiviral drug for treatment of dengue. Chloroquine (CQ) inhibits the replication of dengue virus (DENV) in vitro. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of CQ in 307 adults hospitalized for suspected DENV infection was conducted at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) between May 2007 and July 2008. Patients with illness histories of 72 hours or less were randomized to a 3-day course of CQ (n = 153) or placebo (n = 154). Laboratory-confirmation of DENV infection was made in 257 (84%) patients. The primary endpoints were time to resolution of DENV viraemia and time to resolution of DENV NS1 antigenaemia. In patients treated with CQ there was a trend toward a longer duration of DENV viraemia (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.80, 95% CI 0.62-1.05), but we did not find any difference for the time to resolution of NS1 antigenaemia (HR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.76-1.51). Interestingly, CQ was associated with a significant reduction in fever clearance time in the intention-to-treat population (HR = 1.37, 95% CI 1.08-1.74) but not in the per-protocol population. There was also a trend towards a lower incidence of dengue hemorrhagic fever (odds ratio = 0.60, PP 95% CI 0.34-1.04) in patients treated with CQ. Differences in levels of T cell activation or pro- or anti-inflammatory plasma cytokine concentrations between CQ- and placebo-treated patients did not explain the trend towards less dengue hemorrhagic fever in the CQ arm. CQ was associated with significantly more adverse events, primarily vomiting. CONCLUSIONS: CQ does not reduce the durations of viraemia and NS1 antigenaemia in dengue patients. Further trials, with appropriate endpoints, would be required to determine if CQ treatment has any clinical benefit in dengue. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials number ISRCTN38002730.

Buchy P, Vong S, Chu S, Garcia JM, Hien TT, Hien VM, Channa M, Ha DOQ et al. 2010. Kinetics of neutralizing antibodies in patients naturally infected by H5N1 virus. PLoS One, 5 (5), pp. e10864. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the kinetics of anti-H5 neutralizing antibodies in naturally H5N1-infected patients with severe clinical illness or asymptomatic infection. METHODS: Using H5N1 microneutralisation (MN) and H5-pseudotype particle-based microneutralisation assays (H5pp) we analyzed sera sequentially obtained from 11 severely ill patients diagnosed by RT-PCR (follow-up range 1-139 weeks of disease onset) and 31 asymptomatically infected individuals detected in a sero-epidemiological study after exposure to H5N1 virus (follow-up range: 1-2 month-11 months after exposure). RESULTS: Of 44 sera from 11 patients with H5N1 disease, 70% tested positive by MN (antibody titre > or = 80) after 2 weeks and 100% were positive by 3 weeks after disease onset. The geometric mean MN titers in severely ill patients were 540 at 1-2 months and 173 at 10-12 months and thus were higher than the titers from asymptomatic individuals (149 at 1-2 months, 62.2 at 10-12 months). Fractional polynomial regression analysis demonstrated that in all severely ill patients, positive titers persisted beyond 2 years of disease onset, while 10 of 23 sera collected 10-11 months after exposure in asymptomatically infected individuals tested negative. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that people with asymptomatic H5N1 infection have lower H5N1 antibody titres compared to those with severe illness and that in many asymptomatically infected patients the antibody titer decreased to levels below the threshold of positivity within one year. These data are essential for the design and interpretation of sero-epidemiological studies.

Chau TN, Anders KL, Lien LEB, Hung NT, Hieu LT, Tuan NM, Thuy TT, Phuong LET et al. 2010. Clinical and virological features of Dengue in Vietnamese infants. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (4), pp. e657. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infants account for a small proportion of the overall dengue case burden in endemic countries but can be clinically more difficult to manage. The clinical and laboratory features in infants with dengue have not been extensively characterised. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This prospective, cross-sectional descriptive study of infants hospitalized with dengue was conducted in Vietnam from November 2004 to December 2007. More than two-thirds of 303 infants enrolled on clinical suspicion of dengue had a serologically confirmed dengue virus (DENV) infection. Almost all were primary dengue infections and 80% of the infants developed DHF/DSS. At the time of presentation and during hospitalization, the clinical signs and symptoms in infants with dengue were difficult to distinguish from those with other febrile illnesses, suggesting that in infants early laboratory confirmation could assist appropriate management. Detection of plasma NS1 antigen was found to be a sensitive marker of acute dengue in infants with primary infection, especially in the first few days of illness. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Collectively, these results provide a systematic description of the clinical features of dengue in infants and highlight the value of NS1 detection for diagnosis.

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Hang VTT, Holmes EC, Veasna D, Quy NT, Hien TT, Quail M, Churcher C, Parkhill J et al. 2010. Emergence of the Asian 1 genotype of dengue Virus serotype 2 in viet Nam: in vivo fitness advantage and lineage replacement in South-East Asia PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 4 (7), | Show Abstract | Read more

A better description of the extent and structure of genetic diversity in dengue virus (DENV) in endemic settings is central to its eventual control. To this end we determined the complete coding region sequence of 187 DENV-2 genomes and 68 E genes from viruses sampled from Vietnamese patients between 1995 and 2009. Strikingly, an episode of genotype replacement was observed, with Asian 1 lineage viruses entirely displacing the previously dominant Asian/American lineage viruses. This genotype replacement event also seems to have occurred within DENV- 2 in Thailand and Cambodia, suggestive of a major difference in viral fitness. To determine the cause of this major evolutionary event we compared both the infectivity of the Asian 1 and Asian/American genotypes in mosquitoes and their viraemia levels in humans. Although there was little difference in infectivity in mosquitoes, we observed significantly higher plasma viraemia levels in paediatric patients infected with Asian 1 lineage viruses relative to Asian/ American viruses, a phenotype that is predicted to result in a higher probability of human-to-mosquito transmission. These results provide a mechanistic basis to a marked change in the genetic structure of DENV-2 and more broadly underscore that an understanding of DENV evolutionary dynamics can inform the development of vaccines and antiviral drugs. © 2010 Ty Hang et al.

Wikramaratna PS, Simmons CP, Gupta S, Recker M. 2010. The effects of tertiary and quaternary infections on the epidemiology of dengue. PLoS One, 5 (8), pp. e12347. | Show Abstract | Read more

The epidemiology of dengue is characterised by irregular epidemic outbreaks and desynchronised dynamics of its four co-circulating virus serotypes. Whilst infection by one serotype appears to convey life-long protection to homologous infection, it is believed to be a risk factor for severe disease manifestations upon secondary, heterologous infection due to the phenomenon of Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE). Subsequent clinical infections are rarely reported and, since the majority of dengue infections are generally asymptomatic, it is not clear if and to what degree tertiary or quaternary infections contribute to dengue epidemiology. Here we investigate the effect of third and subsequent infections on the transmission dynamics of dengue and show that although the qualitative patterns are largely equivalent, the system more readily exhibits the desynchronised serotype oscillations and multi-annual epidemic outbreaks upon their inclusion. More importantly, permitting third and fourth infections significantly increases the force of infection without resorting to high basic reproductive numbers. Realistic age-prevalent patterns and seroconversion rates are therefore easier reconciled with a low value of dengue's transmission potential if allowing for more than two infections; this should have important consequences for dengue control and intervention measures.

Chau TN, Hieu NT, Anders KL, Wolbers M, Lien LEB, Hieu LT, Hien TT, Hung NT, Farrar J, Whitehead S, Simmons CP. 2009. Dengue virus infections and maternal antibody decay in a prospective birth cohort study of Vietnamese infants. J Infect Dis, 200 (12), pp. 1893-1900. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue hemorrhagic fever can occur in primary dengue virus (DENV) infection of infants. The decay of maternally derived DENV immunoglobulin (Ig) G and the incidence of DENV infection were determined in a prospectively studied cohort of 1244 Vietnamese infants. Higher concentrations of total IgG and DENV-reactive IgG were found in cord plasma relative to maternal plasma. Maternally derived DENV-neutralizing and E protein-reactive IgG titers declined to below measurable levels in >90% of infants by 6 months of age. In contrast, IgG reactive with whole DENV virions persisted until 12 months of age in 20% of infants. Serological surveillance identified 10 infants with asymptomatic DENV infection for an incidence of 1.7 cases per 100 person-years. DENV-neutralizing antibodies remained measurable for > or = 1 year after infection. These results suggest that whereas DENV infection in infants is frequently subclinical, there is a window between 4 and 12 months of age where virion-binding but nonneutralizing IgG could facilitate antibody-dependent enhancement.

Mai NT, Tuan TV, Wolbers M, Hoang DM, Nga TV, Chau TT, Chuong LV, Sinh DX et al. 2009. Immunological and biochemical correlates of adjunctive dexamethasone in Vietnamese adults with bacterial meningitis. Clin Infect Dis, 49 (9), pp. 1387-1392. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adjunctive treatment to improve outcome from bacterial meningitis has centered on dexamethasone. Among Vietnamese patients with bacterial meningitis, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) opening pressure and CSF:plasma glucose ratios were significantly improved and levels of CSF cytokines interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10 and were all statistically significantly lower after treatment in patients who were randomized to dexamethasone, compared with levels in patients who received placebo.

Simmons CP, Farrar J. 2009. Changing patterns of dengue epidemiology and implications for clinical management and vaccines. PLoS Med, 6 (9), pp. e1000129. | Read more

Guzman MG, Jaenisch T, Gaczkowski R, Hang VTT, Devi S, Horstick O, Kroeger A, Simmons CP. 2009. Multi-country evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of two commercially available NS1 ELISA assays for dengue diagnosis TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 14 pp. 83-84.

Recker M, Blyuss KB, Simmons CP, Hien TT, Wills B, Farrar J, Gupta S. 2009. Immunological serotype interactions and their effect on the epidemiological pattern of dengue. Proc Biol Sci, 276 (1667), pp. 2541-2548. | Show Abstract | Read more

Long-term epidemiological data reveal multi-annual fluctuations in the incidence of dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever, as well as complex cyclical behaviour in the dynamics of the four serotypes of the dengue virus. It has previously been proposed that these patterns are due to the phenomenon of the so-called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) among dengue serotypes, whereby viral replication is increased during secondary infection with a heterologous serotype; however, recent studies have implied that this positive reinforcement cannot account for the temporal patterns of dengue and that some form of cross-immunity or external forcing is necessary. Here, we show that ADE alone can produce the observed periodicities and desynchronized oscillations of individual serotypes if its effects are decomposed into its two possible manifestations: enhancement of susceptibility to secondary infections and increased transmissibility from individuals suffering from secondary infections. This decomposition not only lowers the level of enhancement necessary for realistic disease patterns but also reduces the risk of stochastic extinction. Furthermore, our analyses reveal a time-lagged correlation between serotype dynamics and disease incidence rates, which could have important implications for understanding the irregular pattern of dengue epidemics.

Khurana S, Suguitan AL, Rivera Y, Simmons CP, Lanzavecchia A, Sallusto F, Manischewitz J, King LR, Subbarao K, Golding H. 2009. Antigenic fingerprinting of H5N1 avian influenza using convalescent sera and monoclonal antibodies reveals potential vaccine and diagnostic targets. PLoS Med, 6 (4), pp. e1000049. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Transmission of highly pathogenic avian H5N1 viruses from poultry to humans have raised fears of an impending influenza pandemic. Concerted efforts are underway to prepare effective vaccines and therapies including polyclonal or monoclonal antibodies against H5N1. Current efforts are hampered by the paucity of information on protective immune responses against avian influenza. Characterizing the B cell responses in convalescent individuals could help in the design of future vaccines and therapeutics. METHODS AND FINDINGS: To address this need, we generated whole-genome-fragment phage display libraries (GFPDL) expressing fragments of 15-350 amino acids covering all the proteins of A/Vietnam/1203/2004 (H5N1). These GFPDL were used to analyze neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies and sera of five individuals who had recovered from H5N1 infection. This approach led to the mapping of two broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies with conformation-dependent epitopes. In H5N1 convalescent sera, we have identified several potentially protective H5N1-specific human antibody epitopes in H5 HA[(-10)-223], neuraminidase catalytic site, and M2 ectodomain. In addition, for the first time to our knowledge in humans, we identified strong reactivity against PB1-F2, a putative virulence factor, following H5N1 infection. Importantly, novel epitopes were identified, which were recognized by H5N1-convalescent sera but did not react with sera from control individuals (H5N1 naïve, H1N1 or H3N2 seropositive). CONCLUSION: This is the first study, to our knowledge, describing the complete antibody repertoire following H5N1 infection. Collectively, these data will contribute to rational vaccine design and new H5N1-specific serodiagnostic surveillance tools.

Long HT, Hibberd ML, Hien TT, Dung NM, Van Ngoc T, Farrar J, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2009. Patterns of gene transcript abundance in the blood of children with severe or uncomplicated dengue highlight differences in disease evolution and host response to dengue virus infection. J Infect Dis, 199 (4), pp. 537-546. | Show Abstract | Read more

DNA microarrays and specific reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction assays were used to reveal transcriptional patterns in the blood of children presenting with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) and well-matched patients with uncomplicated dengue. The transcriptome of patients with acute uncomplicated dengue was characterized by a metabolically demanding "host-defense" profile; transcripts related to oxidative metabolism, interferon signaling, protein ubiquination, apoptosis, and cytokines were prominent. In contrast, the transcriptome of patients with DSS was surprisingly benign, particularly with regard to transcripts derived from apoptotic and type I interferon pathways. These data highlight significant heterogeneity in the type or timing of host transcriptional immune responses precipitated by dengue virus infection independent of the duration of illness. In particular, they suggest that, if transcriptional events in the blood compartment contribute to capillary leakage leading to hypovolemic shock, they occur before cardiovascular decompensation, a finding that has implications for rational adjuvant therapy in this syndrome.

Hang VT, Nguyet NM, Trung DT, Tricou V, Yoksan S, Dung NM, Van Ngoc T, Hien TT, Farrar J, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2009. Diagnostic accuracy of NS1 ELISA and lateral flow rapid tests for dengue sensitivity, specificity and relationship to viraemia and antibody responses. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 3 (1), pp. e360. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is a public health problem in many countries. Rapid diagnosis of dengue can assist patient triage and management. Detection of the dengue viral protein, NS1, represents a new approach to dengue diagnosis. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The sensitivity and specificity of the Platelia NS1 ELISA assay and an NS1 lateral flow rapid test (LFRT) were compared against a gold standard reference diagnostic algorithm in 138 Vietnamese children and adults. Overall, the Platelia NS1 ELISA was modestly more sensitive (82%) than the NS1 LFRT (72%) in confirmed dengue cases. Both ELISA and LFRT assays were more sensitive for primary than secondary dengue, and for specimens collected within 3 days of illness onset relative to later time points. The presence of measurable DENV-reactive IgG and to a lesser extent IgM in the test sample was associated with a significantly lower rate of NS1 detection in both assays. NS1 positivity was associated with the underlying viraemia, as NS1-positive samples had a significantly higher viraemia than NS1-negative samples matched for duration of illness. The Platelia and NS1 LFRT were 100% specific, being negative in all febrile patients without evidence of recent dengue, as well as in patients with enteric fever, malaria, Japanese encephalitis and leptospirosis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Collectively, these data suggest NS1 assays deserve inclusion in the diagnostic evaluation of dengue patients, but with due consideration for the limitations in patients who present late in their illness or have a concomitant humoral immune response.

Thuong NT, Dunstan SJ, Chau TT, Thorsson V, Simmons CP, Quyen NT, Thwaites GE, Thi Ngoc Lan N et al. 2008. Identification of tuberculosis susceptibility genes with human macrophage gene expression profiles. PLoS Pathog, 4 (12), pp. e1000229. | Show Abstract | Read more

Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of >38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by >2- and >5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB.

Simmons C, Farrar J. 2008. Insights into inflammation and influenza. N Engl J Med, 359 (15), pp. 1621-1623. | Read more

Lee LY, Ha DOLA, Simmons C, de Jong MD, Chau NV, Schumacher R, Peng YC, McMichael AJ et al. 2008. Memory T cells established by seasonal human influenza A infection cross-react with avian influenza A (H5N1) in healthy individuals. J Clin Invest, 118 (10), pp. 3478-3490. | Show Abstract | Read more

The threat of avian influenza A (H5N1) infection in humans remains a global health concern. Current influenza vaccines stimulate antibody responses against the surface glycoproteins but are ineffective against strains that have undergone significant antigenic variation. An alternative approach is to stimulate pre-existing memory T cells established by seasonal human influenza A infection that could cross-react with H5N1 by targeting highly conserved internal proteins. To determine how common cross-reactive T cells are, we performed a comprehensive ex vivo analysis of cross-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ memory T cell responses to overlapping peptides spanning the full proteome of influenza A/Viet Nam/CL26/2005 (H5N1) and influenza A/New York/232/2004 (H3N2) in healthy individuals from the United Kingdom and Viet Nam. Memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells isolated from the majority of participants exhibited human influenza-specific responses and showed cross-recognition of at least one H5N1 internal protein. Participant CD4+ and CD8+ T cells recognized multiple synthesized influenza peptides, including peptides from the H5N1 strain. Matrix protein 1 (M1) and nucleoprotein (NP) were the immunodominant targets of cross-recognition. In addition, cross-reactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells recognized target cells infected with recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing either H5N1 M1 or NP. Thus, vaccine formulas inducing heterosubtypic T cell-mediated immunity may confer broad protection against avian and human influenza A viruses.

Chau TN, Quyen NT, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Dung NT, Lien LEB, Quy NT et al. 2008. Dengue in Vietnamese infants--results of infection-enhancement assays correlate with age-related disease epidemiology, and cellular immune responses correlate with disease severity. J Infect Dis, 198 (4), pp. 516-524. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of severe dengue is not well understood. Maternally derived subneutralizing levels of dengue virus-reactive IgG are postulated to be a critical risk factor for severe dengue during infancy. In this study, we found that, in healthy Vietnamese infants, there was a strong temporal association between the Fc-dependent, dengue virus infection-enhancing activity of neat plasma and the age-related epidemiology of severe dengue. We then postulated that disease severity in infants with primary infections would be associated with a robust immune response, possibly as a consequence of higher viral burdens in vivo. Accordingly, in infants hospitalized with acute dengue, the activation phenotype of peripheral-blood NK cells and CD8+ and CD4+ T cells correlated with overall disease severity, but HLA-A*1101-restricted NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells were not measurable until early convalescence. Plasma levels of cytokines/chemokines were generally higher in infants with dengue shock syndrome. Collectively, these data support a model of dengue pathogenesis in infants whereby antibody-dependent enhancement of infection explains the age-related case epidemiology and could account for antigen-driven immune activation and its association with disease severity. These results also highlight potential risks in the use of live attenuated dengue vaccines in infants in countries where dengue is endemic.

Moran E, Simmons C, Vinh Chau N, Luhn K, Wills B, Dung NP, Thao LETT, Hien TT, Farrar J, Rowland-Jones S, Dong T. 2008. Preservation of a critical epitope core region is associated with the high degree of flaviviral cross-reactivity exhibited by a dengue-specific CD4+ T cell clone. Eur J Immunol, 38 (4), pp. 1050-1057. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a member of the Flaviviridae, a large group of related viruses some of which co-circulate in certain regions (e.g. dengue and Yellow fever in South America). Immune responses cross-reactive between different dengue serotypes are important in the pathogenesis of dengue disease but it is not known whether previous infection with one flavivirus might affect the clinical course of subsequent infections with other members of the family. CD4+ T cells have been shown to be important in the production of cytokines in response to dengue infection and can demonstrate significant epitope cross-reactivity. Here, we describe the generation and characterisation of CD4+ T cell clones from a patient experiencing acute dengue infection. These clones were DRB1*15+ and recognised epitope variants not only within other dengue viruses but certain other flaviviruses. This cross-reactivity was dependent upon the presence of a five-amino acid core region, consistent with structural observations of class II MHC binding to TCR demonstrating that only a subset of residues within an epitope bound to a class II molecule are "read out" by the TCR. This capacity of CD4+ T cell clones to recognise a given epitope despite considerable variation between viruses may be of pathological significance, particularly in regions where related viruses co-circulate.

Thwaites G, Caws M, Chau TT, D'Sa A, Lan NT, Huyen MN, Gagneux S, Anh PT et al. 2008. Relationship between Mycobacterium tuberculosis genotype and the clinical phenotype of pulmonary and meningeal tuberculosis. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (4), pp. 1363-1368. | Show Abstract | Read more

We used large sequence polymorphisms to determine the genotypes of 397 isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from human immunodeficiency virus-uninfected Vietnamese adults with pulmonary (n = 235) or meningeal (n = 162) tuberculosis. We compared the pretreatment radiographic appearances of pulmonary tuberculosis and the presentation, response to treatment, and outcome of tuberculous meningitis between the genotypes. Multivariate analysis identified variables independently associated with genotype and outcome. A higher proportion of adults with pulmonary tuberculosis caused by the Euro-American genotype had consolidation on chest X-ray than was the case with disease caused by other genotypes (P = 0.006). Multivariate analysis revealed that meningitis caused by the East Asian/Beijing genotype was independently associated with a shorter duration of illness before presentation and fewer cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytes. Older age, fewer CSF leukocytes, and the presence of hemiplegia (but not strain lineage) were independently associated with death or severe disability, although the East Asian/Beijing genotype was strongly associated with drug-resistant tuberculosis. The genotype of M. tuberculosis influenced the presenting features of pulmonary and meningeal tuberculosis. The association between the East Asian/Beijing lineage and disease progression and CSF leukocyte count suggests the lineage may alter the presentation of meningitis by influencing the intracerebral inflammatory response. In addition, increased drug resistance among bacteria of the East Asian/Beijing lineage might influence the response to treatment. This study suggests the genetic diversity of M. tuberculosis has important clinical consequences.

Tanner L, Schreiber M, Low JG, Ong A, Tolfvenstam T, Lai YL, Ng LC, Leo YS et al. 2008. Decision tree algorithms predict the diagnosis and outcome of dengue fever in the early phase of illness. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 2 (3), pp. e196. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is re-emerging throughout the tropical world, causing frequent recurrent epidemics. The initial clinical manifestation of dengue often is confused with other febrile states confounding both clinical management and disease surveillance. Evidence-based triage strategies that identify individuals likely to be in the early stages of dengue illness can direct patient stratification for clinical investigations, management, and virological surveillance. Here we report the identification of algorithms that differentiate dengue from other febrile illnesses in the primary care setting and predict severe disease in adults. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A total of 1,200 patients presenting in the first 72 hours of acute febrile illness were recruited and followed up for up to a 4-week period prospectively; 1,012 of these were recruited from Singapore and 188 from Vietnam. Of these, 364 were dengue RT-PCR positive; 173 had dengue fever, 171 had dengue hemorrhagic fever, and 20 had dengue shock syndrome as final diagnosis. Using a C4.5 decision tree classifier for analysis of all clinical, haematological, and virological data, we obtained a diagnostic algorithm that differentiates dengue from non-dengue febrile illness with an accuracy of 84.7%. The algorithm can be used differently in different disease prevalence to yield clinically useful positive and negative predictive values. Furthermore, an algorithm using platelet count, crossover threshold value of a real-time RT-PCR for dengue viral RNA, and presence of pre-existing anti-dengue IgG antibodies in sequential order identified cases with sensitivity and specificity of 78.2% and 80.2%, respectively, that eventually developed thrombocytopenia of 50,000 platelet/mm(3) or less, a level previously shown to be associated with haemorrhage and shock in adults with dengue fever. CONCLUSION: This study shows a proof-of-concept that decision algorithms using simple clinical and haematological parameters can predict diagnosis and prognosis of dengue disease, a finding that could prove useful in disease management and surveillance.

Cited:

63

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Thuong NTT, Dunstan SJ, Chau TTH, Thorsson V, Simmons CP, Quyen NTH, Thwaites GE, Lan NTN et al. 2008. Identification of tuberculosis susceptibility genes with human macrophage gene expression profiles PLoS Pathogens, 4 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

Although host genetics influences susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB), few genes determining disease outcome have been identified. We hypothesized that macrophages from individuals with different clinical manifestations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection would have distinct gene expression profiles and that polymorphisms in these genes may also be associated with susceptibility to TB. We measured gene expression levels of >38,500 genes from ex vivo Mtb-stimulated macrophages in 12 subjects with 3 clinical phenotypes: latent, pulmonary, and meningeal TB (n = 4 per group). After identifying differentially expressed genes, we confirmed these results in 34 additional subjects by real-time PCR. We also used a case-control study design to examine whether polymorphisms in differentially regulated genes were associated with susceptibility to these different clinical forms of TB. We compared gene expression profiles in Mtb-stimulated and unstimulated macrophages and identified 1,608 and 199 genes that were differentially expressed by >2- and >5-fold, respectively. In an independent sample set of 34 individuals and a subset of highly regulated genes, 90% of the microarray results were confirmed by RT-PCR, including expression levels of CCL1, which distinguished the 3 clinical groups. Furthermore, 6 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in CCL1 were found to be associated with TB in a case-control genetic association study with 273 TB cases and 188 controls. To our knowledge, this is the first identification of CCL1 as a gene involved in host susceptibility to TB and the first study to combine microarray and DNA polymorphism studies to identify genes associated with TB susceptibility. These results suggest that genome-wide studies can provide an unbiased method to identify critical macrophage response genes that are associated with different clinical outcomes and that variation in innate immune response genes regulate susceptibility to TB. © 2008 Thuong et al.

Simmons CP, Chau TN, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Thien NT, Lien LEB, Quy NT et al. 2007. Maternal antibody and viral factors in the pathogenesis of dengue virus in infants. J Infect Dis, 196 (3), pp. 416-424. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of dengue in infants is poorly understood. We postulated that dengue severity in infants would be positively associated with markers of viral burden and that maternally derived, neutralizing anti-dengue antibody would have decayed before the age at which infants with dengue presented to the hospital. In 75 Vietnamese infants with primary dengue, we found significant heterogeneity in viremia and NS1 antigenemia at hospital presentation, and these factors were independent of disease grade or continuous measures of disease severity. Neutralizing antibody titers, predicted in each infant at the time of their illness, suggested that the majority of infants (65%) experienced dengue hemorrhagic fever when the maternally derived neutralizing antibody titer had declined to <1 : 20. Collectively, these data have important implications for dengue vaccine research because they suggest that viral burden may not solely explain severe dengue in infants and that neutralizing antibody is a reasonable but not absolute marker of protective immunity in infants.

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Farrar J, Focks D, Gubler D, Barrera R, Guzman MG, Simmons C, Kalayanarooj S, Lum L et al. 2007. Editorial: Towards a global dengue research agenda TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 12 (6), pp. 695-699. | Read more

Lühn K, Simmons CP, Moran E, Dung NT, Chau TN, Quyen NT, Thao LETT, Van Ngoc T et al. 2007. Increased frequencies of CD4+ CD25(high) regulatory T cells in acute dengue infection. J Exp Med, 204 (5), pp. 979-985. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue virus infection is an increasingly important tropical disease, causing 100 million cases each year. Symptoms range from mild febrile illness to severe hemorrhagic fever. The pathogenesis is incompletely understood, but immunopathology is thought to play a part, with antibody-dependent enhancement and massive immune activation of T cells and monocytes/macrophages leading to a disproportionate production of proinflammatory cytokines. We sought to investigate whether a defective population of regulatory T cells (T reg cells) could be contributing to immunopathology in severe dengue disease. CD4(+)CD25(high)FoxP3(+) T reg cells of patients with acute dengue infection of different severities showed a conventional phenotype. Unexpectedly, their capacity to suppress T cell proliferation and to secrete interleukin-10 was not altered. Moreover, T reg cells suppressed the production of vasoactive cytokines after dengue-specific stimulation. Furthermore, T reg cell frequencies and also T reg cell/effector T cell ratios were increased in patients with acute infection. A strong indication that a relative rise of T reg cell/effector T cell ratios is beneficial for disease outcome comes from patients with mild disease in which this ratio is significantly increased (P < 0.0001) in contrast to severe cases (P = 0.2145). We conclude that although T reg cells expand and function normally in acute dengue infection, their relative frequencies are insufficient to control the immunopathology of severe disease.

Simmons CP, Popper S, Dolocek C, Chau TN, Griffiths M, Dung NT, Long TH, Hoang DM et al. 2007. Patterns of host genome-wide gene transcript abundance in the peripheral blood of patients with acute dengue hemorrhagic fever. J Infect Dis, 195 (8), pp. 1097-1107. | Show Abstract | Read more

Responses by peripheral blood leukocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). We used DNA microarrays to reveal transcriptional patterns in the blood of 14 adults with DHF. Acute DHF was defined by an abundance of transcripts from cell cycle- and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-related genes, suggesting a proliferative response accompanied by ER stress. Transcript-abundance levels for immunoresponse-associated genes, including cell surface markers, immunoglobulin, and innate response elements, were also elevated. Twenty-four genes were identified for which transcript abundance distinguished patients with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) from those without DSS. All the gene transcripts associated with DSS, many of which are induced by type I interferons, were less abundant in patients with DSS than in those without DSS. To our knowledge, these data provide the first snapshot of gene-expression patterns in peripheral blood during acute dengue and suggest that DSS is associated with attenuation of selected aspects of the innate host response.

Thwaites GE, Macmullen-Price J, Tran TH, Pham PM, Nguyen TD, Simmons CP, White NJ, Tran TH, Summers D, Farrar JJ. 2007. Serial MRI to determine the effect of dexamethasone on the cerebral pathology of tuberculous meningitis: an observational study. Lancet Neurol, 6 (3), pp. 230-236. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Adjunctive dexamethasone increases survival from tuberculous meningitis, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. We aimed to determine the effect of dexamethasone on cerebral MRI changes and their association with intracerebral inflammatory responses and clinical outcome in adults treated for tuberculous meningitis. METHODS: Cerebral MRI was undertaken, when possible, at diagnosis and after 60 days and 270 days of treatment in adults with tuberculous meningitis admitted to two hospitals in Vietnam. Patients were randomly assigned either dexamethasone (n=24) or placebo (n=19) and received 9 months of treatment with standard first-line antituberculosis drugs. We assessed associations between MRI findings, treatment allocation, and resolution of fever, coma, cerebrospinal fluid inflammation, and neurological outcome. FINDINGS: 83 scans were done for 43 patients: 19 given placebo, 24 given dexamethasone. Basal meningeal enhancement (82%) and hydrocephalus (77%) were the most common presenting findings. Fewer patients had hydrocephalus after 60 days of treatment with dexamethasone than after placebo treatment (p=0.217). Tuberculomas developed in 74% of patients during treatment and in equal proportions in the treatment groups; they were associated with long-term fever, but not relapse or poor clinical outcome. The basal ganglia were the most common site of infarction; the proportion with infarction after 60 days was halved in the dexamethasone group (27%vs 58%, p=0.130). INTERPRETATION: Dexamethasone may affect outcome from tuberculous meningitis by reducing hydrocephalus and preventing infarction. The effect may have been under-estimated because the most severe patients could not be scanned.

Simmons CP, Bernasconi NL, Suguitan AL, Mills K, Ward JM, Chau NV, Hien TT, Sallusto F et al. 2007. Prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of human monoclonal antibodies against H5N1 influenza. PLoS Med, 4 (5), pp. e178. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to combat human infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are needed. We generated neutralizing anti-H5N1 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and tested their efficacy for prophylaxis and therapy in a murine model of infection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using Epstein-Barr virus we immortalized memory B cells from Vietnamese adults who had recovered from infections with HPAI H5N1 viruses. Supernatants from B cell lines were screened in a virus neutralization assay. B cell lines secreting neutralizing antibodies were cloned and the mAbs purified. The cross-reactivity of these antibodies for different strains of H5N1 was tested in vitro by neutralization assays, and their prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy in vivo was tested in mice. In vitro, mAbs FLA3.14 and FLD20.19 neutralized both Clade I and Clade II H5N1 viruses, whilst FLA5.10 and FLD21.140 neutralized Clade I viruses only. In vivo, FLA3.14 and FLA5.10 conferred protection from lethality in mice challenged with A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1) in a dose-dependent manner. mAb prophylaxis provided a statistically significant reduction in pulmonary virus titer, reduced associated inflammation in the lungs, and restricted extrapulmonary dissemination of the virus. Therapeutic doses of FLA3.14, FLA5.10, FLD20.19, and FLD21.140 provided robust protection from lethality at least up to 72 h postinfection with A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1). mAbs FLA3.14, FLD21.140 and FLD20.19, but not FLA5.10, were also therapeutically active in vivo against the Clade II virus A/Indonesia/5/2005 (H5N1). CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide proof of concept that fully human mAbs with neutralizing activity can be rapidly generated from the peripheral blood of convalescent patients and that these mAbs are effective for the prevention and treatment of H5N1 infection in a mouse model. A panel of neutralizing, cross-reactive mAbs might be useful for prophylaxis or adjunctive treatment of human cases of H5N1 influenza.

Dong T, Moran E, Vinh Chau N, Simmons C, Luhn K, Peng Y, Wills B, Phuong Dung N et al. 2007. High pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion and loss of high avidity cross-reactive cytotoxic T-cells during the course of secondary dengue virus infection. PLoS One, 2 (12), pp. e1192. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dengue is one of the most important human diseases transmitted by an arthropod vector and the incidence of dengue virus infection has been increasing - over half the world's population now live in areas at risk of infection. Most infections are asymptomatic, but a subset of patients experience a potentially fatal shock syndrome characterised by plasma leakage. Severe forms of dengue are epidemiologically associated with repeated infection by more than one of the four dengue virus serotypes. Generally attributed to the phenomenon of antibody-dependent enhancement, recent observations indicate that T-cells may also influence disease phenotype. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) showing high level cross reactivity between dengue serotypes could be expanded from blood samples taken during the acute phase of secondary dengue infection. These could not be detected in convalescence when only CTL populations demonstrating significant serotype specificity were identified. Dengue cross-reactive CTL clones derived from these patients were of higher avidity than serotype-specific clones and produced much higher levels of both type 1 and certain type 2 cytokines, many previously implicated in dengue pathogenesis. CONCLUSION: Dengue serotype cross-reactive CTL clones showing high avidity for antigen produce higher levels of inflammatory cytokines than serotype-specific clones. That such cells cannot be expanded from convalescent samples suggests that they may be depleted, perhaps as a consequence of activation-induced cell death. Such high avidity cross-reactive memory CTL may produce inflammatory cytokines during the course of secondary infection, contributing to the pathogenesis of vascular leak. These cells appear to be subsequently deleted leaving a more serotype-specific memory CTL pool. Further studies are needed to relate these cellular observations to disease phenotype in a large group of patients. If confirmed they have significant implications for understanding the role of virus-specific CTL in pathogenesis of dengue disease.

Cited:

53

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Dong T, Moran E, Vinh Chau N, Simmons C, Luhn K, Peng Y, Wills B, Phuong Dung N et al. 2007. High pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion and loss of high avidity cross-reactive cytotoxic T-cells during the course of secondary dengue virus infection PLoS ONE, 2 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Dengue is one of the most important human diseases transmitted by an arthropod vector and the incidence of dengue virus infection has been increasing - over half the world's population now live in areas at risk of infection. Most infections are asymptomatic, but a subset of patients experience a potentially fatal shock syndrome characterised by plasma leakage. Severe forms of dengue are epidemiologically associated with repeated infection by more than one of the four dengue virus serotypes. Generally attributed to the phenomenon of antibody-dependent enhancement, recent observations indicate that T-cells may also influence disease phenotype. Methods and Findings: Virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) showing high level cross reactivity between dengue serotypes could be expanded from blood samples taken during the acute phase of secondary dengue infection. These could not be detected in convalescence when only CTL populations demonstrating significant serotype specificity were identified. Dengue cross-reactive CTL clones derived from these patients were of higher avidity than serotype-specific clones and produced much higher levels of both type 1 and certain type 2 cytokines, many previously implicated in dengue pathogenesis. Conclusion: Dengue serotype cross-reactive CTL clones showing high avidity for antigen produce higher levels of inflammatory cytokines than serotype-specific clones. That such cells cannot be expanded from convalescent samples suggests that they maybe depleted, perhaps as a consequence of activation-induced cell death. Such high avidity cross-reactive memory CTL may produce inflammatory cytokines during the course of secondary infection, contributing to the pathogenesis of vascular leak. These cells appear to be subsequently deleted leaving a more serotype-specific memory CTL pool. Further studies are needed to relate these cellular observations to disease phenotype in a large group of patients. If confirmed they have significant implications for understanding the role of virus-specific CTL in pathogenesis of dengue disease. © 2007 Dong et al.

Nguyen D, Dong T, Nguyen VVC, Nguyen MD, Wills B, Rowland-Jones S, Farrar J, Simmons C. 2006. Spectrum and kinetic of T cell responses to dengue virus epitopes and the influence of hla polymorphisms in dengue disease pathogenesis AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 289-290.

Hoang LT, Hibberd ML, Farrar J, Simmons CP. 2006. Global gene expression profiles during acute dengue revealed by microarray analysis AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 290-290.

Popper S, Simmons CP, Dolecek C, Chau TNB, Griffiths M, Dung NTP, Long TH, Hoang DM et al. 2006. Gene expression programs in adults with acute dengue infections AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 290-290.

Hawn TR, Dunstan SJ, Thwaites GE, Simmons CP, Thuong NT, Lan NT, Quy HT, Chau TT et al. 2006. A polymorphism in Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein is associated with susceptibility to meningeal tuberculosis. J Infect Dis, 194 (8), pp. 1127-1134. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Although meningitis is the most severe form of infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the immunopathogenesis of this disease is poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that polymorphisms in Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP), an adaptor protein that mediates signals from Toll-like receptors activated by mycobacteria, are associated with susceptibility to tuberculosis (TB). METHODS: We used a case-population study design in Vietnam with cord-blood control samples (n = 392) and case patients (n = 358) who had either pulmonary (n = 183) or meningeal (n = 175) TB. RESULTS: The TIRAP single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) C558T was associated with increased susceptibility to TB, with a 558T allele frequency of 0.035 in control samples versus 0.074 in case patients (odds ratio [OR], 2.25; P < .001). Subgroup analysis revealed that SNP 558T was more strongly associated with susceptibility to meningeal TB (OR, 3.02; P < .001) than to pulmonary TB (OR, 1.55; P = .22). In comparison to the 558CC genotype, the 558TT genotype was associated with decreased whole-blood interleukin-6 production, which suggests that TIRAP influences disease susceptibility by modulating the inflammatory response. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide the first evidence of an association of a TIRAP SNP with the risk of any disease and also suggest that the Toll-like receptor pathway influences susceptibility to meningeal and pulmonary TB by different immune mechanisms.

de Jong MD, Simmons CP, Thanh TT, Hien VM, Smith GJ, Chau TN, Hoang DM, Chau NV et al. 2006. Fatal outcome of human influenza A (H5N1) is associated with high viral load and hypercytokinemia. Nat Med, 12 (10), pp. 1203-1207. | Show Abstract | Read more

Avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses cause severe disease in humans, but the basis for their virulence remains unclear. In vitro and animal studies indicate that high and disseminated viral replication is important for disease pathogenesis. Laboratory experiments suggest that virus-induced cytokine dysregulation may contribute to disease severity. To assess the relevance of these findings for human disease, we performed virological and immunological studies in 18 individuals with H5N1 and 8 individuals infected with human influenza virus subtypes. Influenza H5N1 infection in humans is characterized by high pharyngeal virus loads and frequent detection of viral RNA in rectum and blood. Viral RNA in blood was present only in fatal H5N1 cases and was associated with higher pharyngeal viral loads. We observed low peripheral blood T-lymphocyte counts and high chemokine and cytokine levels in H5N1-infected individuals, particularly in those who died, and these correlated with pharyngeal viral loads. Genetic characterization of H5N1 viruses revealed mutations in the viral polymerase complex associated with mammalian adaptation and virulence. Our observations indicate that high viral load, and the resulting intense inflammatory responses, are central to influenza H5N1 pathogenesis. The focus of clinical management should be on preventing this intense cytokine response, by early diagnosis and effective antiviral treatment.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NT, Torok E, Hoang DM, Chau TT, Mai PP, Lan NT et al. 2006. Pretreatment intracerebral and peripheral blood immune responses in Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis: diagnostic value and relationship to disease severity and outcome. J Immunol, 176 (3), pp. 2007-2014. | Show Abstract

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most devastating form of tuberculosis. Both intracerebral and peripheral blood immune responses may be relevant to pathogenesis, diagnosis, and outcome. In this study, the relationship between pretreatment host response, disease phenotype, and outcome in Vietnamese adults with TBM was examined. Before treatment, peripheral blood IFN-gamma ELISPOT responses to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ags ESAT-6, CFP-10, and purified protein derivative (PPD) were a poor diagnostic predictor of TBM. Cerebrospinal fluid IL-6 concentrations at presentation were independently associated with severe disease presentation, suggesting an immunological correlate of neurological damage before treatment. Surprisingly however, elevated cerebrospinal fluid inflammatory cytokines were not associated with death or disability in HIV-negative TBM patients at presentation. HIV coinfection attenuated multiple cerebrospinal fluid inflammatory indices. Low cerebrospinal fluid IFN-gamma concentrations were independently associated with death in HIV-positive TBM patients, implying that IFN-gamma contributes to immunity and survival. Collectively, these results reveal the effect of HIV coinfection on the pathogenesis of TBM and suggest that intracerebral immune responses, at least in HIV-negative cases, may not be as intimately associated with disease outcome as previously thought.

Thwaites GE, Duc Bang N, Huy Dung N, Thi Quy H, Thi Tuong Oanh D, Thi Cam Thoa N, Quang Hien N, Tri Thuc N et al. 2005. The influence of HIV infection on clinical presentation, response to treatment, and outcome in adults with Tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 192 (12), pp. 2134-2141. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis occurs more commonly in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals than in HIV-uninfected individuals, but whether HIV infection alters the presentation and outcome of tuberculous meningitis is unknown. METHODS: We performed a prospective comparison of the presenting clinical features and response to treatment in 528 adults treated consecutively for tuberculous meningitis (96 were infected with HIV and 432 were uninfected with HIV) in 2 tertiary-care referral hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Logistic regression was used to model variables associated independently with HIV infection, 9-month survival, and the likelihood of having a relapse or an adverse drug event. Kaplan-Meier estimates were used to compare survival rates and times to fever clearance, coma clearance, relapse, and adverse events. RESULTS: HIV infection did not alter the neurological presentation of tuberculous meningitis, although additional extrapulmonary tuberculosis was more likely to occur in HIV-infected patients. The 9-month survival rate was significantly decreased in HIV-infected patients (relative risk of death from any cause, 2.91 [95% confidence interval, 2.14-3.96]; P < .001), although the times to fever clearance and coma clearance and the number or timing of relapses or adverse drug events were not significantly different between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: HIV infection does not alter the neurological features of tuberculous meningitis but significantly reduces the survival rate.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NT, Chau TT, Mai PP, Dung NT, Stepniewska K, White NJ, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2005. The clinical benefit of adjunctive dexamethasone in tuberculous meningitis is not associated with measurable attenuation of peripheral or local immune responses. J Immunol, 175 (1), pp. 579-590. | Show Abstract

Outcome from tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is believed to be dependent on the severity of the intracerebral inflammatory response. We have recently shown that dexamethasone improved survival in adults with TBM and postulated that the clinical effect would be associated with a measurable systemic and intracerebral impact on immunological markers of inflammation. Prolonged inflammatory responses were detected in all TBM patients irrespective of treatment assignment (placebo or dexamethasone). The inflammatory response in the cerebrospinal fluid was characterized by a leukocytosis (predominantly CD3(+)CD4(+) T lymphocytes, phenotypically distinct from those in the peripheral blood), elevated concentrations of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and evidence of prolonged blood-brain barrier dysfunction. Dexamethasone significantly modulated acute cerebrospinal fluid protein concentrations and marginally reduced IFN-gamma concentrations; other immunological and routine biochemical indices of inflammation were unaffected. Peripheral blood monocyte and T cell responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis Ags were also unaffected. Dexamethasone does not appear to improve survival from TBM by attenuating immunological mediators of inflammation in the subarachnoid space or by suppressing peripheral T cell responses to mycobacterial Ags. These findings challenge previously held theories of corticosteroid action in this disease. An understanding of how dexamethasone acts in TBM may suggest novel and more effective treatment strategies.

Simmons CP, Dong T, Chau NV, Dung NT, Chau TN, Thao LETT, Dung NT, Hien TT, Rowland-Jones S, Farrar J. 2005. Early T-cell responses to dengue virus epitopes in Vietnamese adults with secondary dengue virus infections. J Virol, 79 (9), pp. 5665-5675. | Show Abstract | Read more

T-cell responses to dengue viruses may be important in both protective immunity and pathogenesis. This study of 48 Vietnamese adults with secondary dengue virus infections defined the breadth and magnitude of peripheral T-cell responses to 260 overlapping peptide antigens derived from a dengue virus serotype 2 (DV2) isolate. Forty-seven different peptides evoked significant gamma interferon enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay responses in 39 patients; of these, 34 peptides contained potentially novel T-cell epitopes. NS3 and particularly NS3200-324 were important T-cell targets. The breadth and magnitude of ELISPOT responses to DV2 peptides were independent of the infecting dengue virus serotype, suggesting that cross-reactive T cells dominate the acute response during secondary infection. Acute ELISPOT responses were weakly correlated with the extent of hemoconcentration in individual patients but not with the nadir of thrombocytopenia or overall clinical disease grade. NS3556-564 and Env414-422 were identified as novel HLA-A*24 and B*07-restricted CD8+ T-cell epitopes, respectively. Acute T-cell responses to natural variants of Env414-422 and NS3556-564 were largely cross-reactive and peaked during disease convalescence. The results highlight the importance of NS3 and cross-reactive T cells during acute secondary infection but suggest that the overall breadth and magnitude of the T-cell response is not significantly related to clinical disease grade.

Uren TK, Wijburg OL, Simmons C, Johansen FE, Brandtzaeg P, Strugnell RA. 2005. Vaccine-induced protection against gastrointestinal bacterial infections in the absence of secretory antibodies. Eur J Immunol, 35 (1), pp. 180-188. | Show Abstract | Read more

Secretory IgA (SIgA) is widely held to be responsible for the defense of the mucosae against pathogenics and other potentially harmful agents. In this study, polymeric Ig receptor (pIgR) knockout mice, which lack secretory antibodies (SAb), were used to investigate the role of vaccine-elicited SAb in protection against gastrointestinal bacterial infections. An essential role for specific SAb in protection against Vibrio cholerae was evident from experiments showing that vaccinated pIgR(-/-) mice, but not vaccinated C57BL/6 mice, were susceptible to cholera toxin challenge. Vaccination of C57BL/6 mice with Salmonella typhimurium elicited strong antigen-specific, mucosal responses, which blocked in vitro invasion of epithelia. However, vaccinated C57BL/6 and pIgR(-/-) mice were equally resistant to challenge infection with virulent S. typhimurium. Finally, we investigated the importance of SIgA in protection against recurrent infections with Citrobacter rodentium. Although higher numbers of bacteria were detected early after challenge infection in feces of vaccinated pIgR(-/-) mice compared with vaccinated C57BL/6 mice, both mouse strains showed complete clearance after 9 days. These results suggested that, in immune animals, SIgA is crucial for the protection of gastrointestinal surfaces against secreted bacterial toxins, may inhibit early colonization by C. rodentium, but is not essential for protection against re-infection with S. typhimurium or C. rodentium.

Petrovska L, Aspinall RJ, Barber L, Clare S, Simmons CP, Stratford R, Khan SA, Lemoine NR, Frankel G, Holden DW, Dougan G. 2004. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium interaction with dendritic cells: impact of the sifA gene. Cell Microbiol, 6 (11), pp. 1071-1084. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) and several mutant derivatives were able to enter efficiently murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells using mechanisms predominantly independent of the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 type III secretion system. The levels of intracellular bacteria did not increase significantly over many hours after invasion. Using fluid endocytic tracers and other markers, S. Typhimurium-containing vacuoles (SCVs) were physically distinguishable from early endocytic compartments. Fifty to eighty per cent of SCVs harbouring wild-type S. Typhimurium or aroA, invH and ssaV mutant derivatives were associated with late endosome markers. In contrast, S. Typhimurium sifA was shown to escape the SCVs into the cytosol of infected dendritic cells. S. Typhimurium aroC sifA was more efficient than S. Typhimurium aroC in delivering a eukaryotic promoter-driven green fluorescent protein reporter gene for expression in dendritic cells. In contrast, S. Typhimurium aroC sifA did not detectably increase the efficiency of MHC class I presentation of the model antigen ovalbumin to T cells compared to a similar aroC derivative. Mice infected with the S. Typhimurium aroC sifA expressing ovalbumin did not develop detectably enhanced levels of cytotoxic T cell or interferon-gamma production compared to S. Typhimurium aroC derivatives.

Clare S, Goldin R, Hale C, Aspinall R, Simmons C, Mastroeni P, Dougan G. 2003. Intracellular adhesion molecule 1 plays a key role in acquired immunity to salmonellosis. Infect Immun, 71 (10), pp. 5881-5891. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study investigated the role of intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) during Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection of mice. We show that ICAM-1 is expressed in and around granulomas on day 4 of infection in wild-type mice. However, when naive ICAM-1(-/-) mice were challenged with a sublethal dose of serovar Typhimurium, there were no detectable differences in systemic bacterial burden over the first 9 days of infection compared to wild-type control mice. When mice were immunized with the S. enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccine strain SL2361 and then challenged with the virulent S. enterica serovar Typhimurium strain C5, 100% of the ICAM-1(-/-) mice succumbed to infection, compared to 30% of wild-type mice. T-cell responses, as measured by activation via interleukin-2 production, as well as antibody responses were comparable in the ICAM-1(-/-) and wild-type mice. Following challenge, counts in organs were significantly higher in the ICAM-1(-/-) mice, and histological examination of organs showed pathological differences. Strain SL3261-immunized wild-type mice had cellular infiltrate and normal granuloma formation in the liver and spleen on days 5 and 10 after challenge with strain C5. ICAM-1(-/-) mice had a similar infiltrate on day 5, whereas on day 10 the infiltrate was more widespread and there were fewer macrophages associated with the granulomas. High circulating levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha and gamma interferon, as well as a high burden of strain C5 in the blood, accompanied the differences in histopathology. In this study we show that ICAM-1 plays a critical role during rechallenge of immunized mice with virulent S. enterica serovar Typhimurium.

Simmons CP, Clare S, Ghaem-Maghami M, Uren TK, Rankin J, Huett A, Goldin R, Lewis DJ et al. 2003. Central role for B lymphocytes and CD4+ T cells in immunity to infection by the attaching and effacing pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. Infect Immun, 71 (9), pp. 5077-5086. | Show Abstract | Read more

Citrobacter rodentium, an attaching-effacing bacterial pathogen, establishes an acute infection of the murine colonic epithelium and induces a mild colitis in immunocompetent mice. This study describes the role of T-cell subsets and B lymphocytes in immunity to C. rodentium. C57Bl/6 mice orally infected with C. rodentium resolved infection within 3 to 4 weeks. Conversely, systemic and colonic tissues of RAG1(-/-) mice orally infected with C. rodentium contained high and sustained pathogen loads, and in the colon this resulted in a severe colitis. C57Bl/6 mice depleted of CD4(+) T cells, but not CD8(+) T cells, were highly susceptible to infection and also developed severe colitis. Mice depleted of CD4(+) T cells also had diminished immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA antibody responses to two C. rodentium virulence-associated determinants, i.e., EspA and intimin, despite having a massively increased pathogen burden. Mice with an intact T-cell compartment, but lacking B cells ( micro MT mice), were highly susceptible to C. rodentium infection. Systemic immunity, but not mucosal immunity, could be restored by adoptive transfer of convalescent immune sera to infected micro MT mice. Adoptive transfer of immune B cells, but not naïve B cells, provided highly variable immunity to recipient micro MT mice. The results suggest that B-cell-mediated immune responses are central to resolution of a C. rodentium infection but that the mechanism through which this occurs requires further investigation. These data are relevant to understanding immunity to enteric attaching and effacing bacterial pathogens of humans.

Mundy R, Pickard D, Wilson RK, Simmons CP, Dougan G, Frankel G. 2003. Identification of a novel type IV pilus gene cluster required for gastrointestinal colonization of Citrobacter rodentium. Mol Microbiol, 48 (3), pp. 795-809. | Show Abstract | Read more

Citrobacter rodentium is used as an in vivo model system for clinically significant enteric pathogens such as enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). These pathogens all colonize the lumen side of the host gastrointestinal tract via attaching and effacing (A/E) lesion formation. In order to identify genes required for the colonization of A/E-forming pathogens, a library of signature-tagged transposon mutants of C. rodentium was constructed and screened in mice. Of the 576 mutants tested, 14 were attenuated in their ability to colonize the descending colon. Of these, eight mapped to the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE), which is required for the formation of A/E lesions, underlying the importance of this mechanism for pathogenesis. Another mutant, P5H2, was found to have a transposon insertion in an open reading frame that has strong similarity to type IV pilus nucleotide-binding proteins. The region flanking the transposon insertion was sequenced, identifying a cluster of 12 genes that encode the first described pilus of C. rodentium (named colonization factor Citrobacter, CFC). The proteins encoded by cfc genes have identity to proteins of the type IV COF pilus of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), the toxin co-regulated pilus of Vibrio cholerae and the bundle-forming pilus of EPEC. A non-polar mutation in cfcI, complementation of this strain with wild-type cfcI and complementation of strain P5H2 with wild-type cfcH confirmed that these genes are required for colonization of the gastrointestinal tract by C. rodentium. Thus, CFC provides a convenient model to study type IV pilus-mediated pathogen-host interactions under physiological conditions in the natural colonic environment.

MacDonald TT, Frankel G, Dougan G, Goncalves NS, Simmons C. 2003. Host defences to Citrobacter rodentium. Int J Med Microbiol, 293 (1), pp. 87-93. | Show Abstract | Read more

Citrobacter rodentium is a natural non-invasive bacterial pathogen which infects the distal colon of mice. It uses the same molecular mechanisms of type III secretion as human enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli to colonise the epithelial cells of the gut and is therefore an ideal model to study host-bacterial pathogen interactions in vivo. Infection elicits mucosal inflammation with similarities to inflammatory bowel disease, and so it is a readily accessible model to investigate the relationship between inflammation and anti-bacterial immunity in the gut.

Petrovska L, Lopes L, Simmons CP, Pizza M, Dougan G, Chain BM. 2003. Modulation of dendritic cell endocytosis and antigen processing pathways by Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin and mutant derivatives. Vaccine, 21 (13-14), pp. 1445-1454. | Show Abstract | Read more

Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT) is known to be a potent adjuvant of both the mucosal and systemic immune systems but the mechanism of action leading to adjuvant activity remains incompletely understood. This study investigates the action of LT and LT mutants with impaired enzymatic activity, on the function of dendritic cells. Wild-type LT and LTR72, which retains some ADP ribosyltransferase activity, induced a selective increase in cell surface expression of B7.1, and a selective decrease of CD40 expression on mouse bone marrow derived dendritic cells. LTK63 and LT-B had no obvious effect on the expression of these antigens on similar dendritic cells. LT-treated dendritic cells also showed a profoundly impaired ability to present protein antigen (ovalbumin) to cognate T cells, although this effect was not observed with non-toxic LT mutants. LT and LTR72-treated cells showed a slower rate of receptor-mediated endocytosis as measured by flow cytometric analysis of uptake of fluorescently labelled dextran. Furthermore, confocal microscopy showed changes in the intracellular distribution of endocytosed molecules, and of the class II containing acidic antigen processing compartments. This response of dendritic cells to toxin is likely to play an important role in determining the adjuvant activity of these molecules.

Thwaites GE, Simmons CP, Than Ha Quyen N, Thi Hong Chau T, Phuong Mai P, Thi Dung N, Hoan Phu N, White NP, Tinh Hien T, Farrar JJ. 2003. Pathophysiology and prognosis in vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 188 (8), pp. 1105-1115. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of tuberculous meningitis remains unclear, and there are few data describing the kinetics of the immune response during the course of its treatment. We measured concentrations of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in serial blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 21 adults who were being treated for tuberculous meningitis. CSF concentrations of soluble tumor necrosis factor-alpha receptors and of matrix metalloprotein-9 and its tissue inhibitor were also measured, and blood-brain barrier permeability was assessed by the albumin and IgG partition indices. CSF concentrations of lactate, interleukin-8, and interferon-gamma were high before treatment and then decreased rapidly with antituberculosis chemotherapy. However, significant immune activation and blood-brain barrier dysfunction were still apparent after 60 days of treatment. Death was associated with high initial CSF concentrations of lactate, low numbers of white blood cells, in particular neutrophils, and low CSF glucose levels.

Reece S, Simmons CP, Fitzhenry RJ, Ghaem-Maghami M, Mundy R, Hale C, Matthews S, Dougan G, Phillips AD, Frankel G. 2002. Tyrosine residues at the immunoglobulin-C-type lectin inter-domain boundary of intimin are not involved in Tir-binding but implicated in colonisation of the host. Microbes Infect, 4 (14), pp. 1389-1399. | Show Abstract | Read more

Intimin is an outer membrane adhesion molecule involved in bacterial adhesion to intestinal epithelium by several human and animal enteric pathogens, including enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Citrobacter rodentium. Intimin binds to the translocated intimin receptor, Tir, which is delivered to the plasma membrane of the host cell by a type III protein translocation system. Intimin is also implicated in binding to a host cell-encoded intimin receptor (Hir). The receptor-binding activity of intimin resides within the carboxy terminus 280 amino acids (Int280) of the polypeptide. Structural analysis of this region revealed two immunoglobulin-like domains, the second of which forms a number of contacts with the distal C-type lectin-like module. Specific orientation differences at this inter-domain boundary, which consists of several tyrosine residues, were detected between the crystal and solution structures. In this study, we determined the influence of site-directed mutagenesis of each of four tyrosine residues on intimin-Tir interactions and on intimin-mediated intimate attachment. The mutant intimins were also studied using a variety of in vitro and in vivo infection models. The results show that three of the four Tyr, although not essential for A/E lesion formation in vitro, are required for efficient colonisation of the mouse host following oral challenge.

Reece S, Simmons CP, Fitzhenry RJ, Batchelor M, Hale C, Matthews S, Phillips AD, Dougan G, Frankel G. 2002. Mutagenesis of conserved tryptophan residues within the receptor-binding domain of intimin: influence on binding activity and virulence. Microbiology, 148 (Pt 3), pp. 657-665. | Show Abstract | Read more

Intimate bacterial adhesion to intestinal epithelium is a pathogenic mechanism shared by several human and animal enteric pathogens, including enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli and Citrobacter rodentium. The proteins directly involved in this process are the outer-membrane adhesion molecule intimin and the translocated intimin receptor, Tir. The receptor-binding activity of intimin resides within the carboxy terminus 280 aa (Int280) of the polypeptide. Four tryptophan residues, W117/776, W136/795, W222/881 and W240/899, are conserved within different Int280 molecules that otherwise show considerable sequence variation. In this study the influence of site-directed mutagenesis of each of the four tryptophan residues on intimin-Tir interactions and on intimin-mediated intimate attachment was determined. The mutant intimins were also studied using a variety of in vitro and in vivo infection models. The results show that all the substitutions modulated intimin activity, although some mutations had more profound effects than others.

Simmons CP, Goncalves NS, Ghaem-Maghami M, Bajaj-Elliott M, Clare S, Neves B, Frankel G, Dougan G, MacDonald TT. 2002. Impaired resistance and enhanced pathology during infection with a noninvasive, attaching-effacing enteric bacterial pathogen, Citrobacter rodentium, in mice lacking IL-12 or IFN-gamma. J Immunol, 168 (4), pp. 1804-1812. | Show Abstract

Mice infected with Citrobacter rodentium represent an excellent model in which to examine immune defenses against an attaching-effacing enteric bacterial pathogen. Colonic tissue from mice infected with C. rodentium harbors increased transcripts for IL-12 and IFN-gamma and displays mucosal pathology compared with uninfected controls. In this study, the role of IL-12 and IFN-gamma in host defense and mucosal injury during C. rodentium infection was examined using gene knockout mice. IL-12p40(-/-) and IFN-gamma(-/-) mice were significantly more susceptible to mucosal and gut-derived systemic C. rodentium infection. In particular, a proportion of IL-12p40(-/-) mice died during infection. Analysis of the gut mucosa of IL-12p40(-/-) mice revealed an influx of CD4(+) T cells and a local IFN-gamma response. Infected IL-12p40(-/-) and IFN-gamma(-/-) mice also mounted anti-Citrobacter serum and gut-associated IgA responses and strongly expressed inducible NO synthase (iNOS) in mucosal tissue, despite diminished serum nitrite/nitrate levels. However, iNOS does not detectably contribute to host defense against C. rodentium, as iNOS(-/-) mice were not more susceptible to infection. However, C57BL/6 mice infected with C. rodentium up-regulated expression of the mouse beta-defensin (mBD)-1 and mBD-3 in colonic tissue. In contrast, expression of mBD-3, but not mBD-1, was significantly attenuated during infection of IL-12- and IFN-gamma-deficient mice, suggesting mBD-3 may contribute to host defense. These studies are among the first to examine mechanisms of host resistance to an attaching-effacing pathogen and show an important role for IL-12 and IFN-gamma in limiting bacterial infection of the colonic epithelium.

Gonçalves NS, Ghaem-Maghami M, Monteleone G, Frankel G, Dougan G, Lewis DJ, Simmons CP, MacDonald TT. 2001. Critical role for tumor necrosis factor alpha in controlling the number of lumenal pathogenic bacteria and immunopathology in infectious colitis. Infect Immun, 69 (11), pp. 6651-6659. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infection of mice with the intestinal bacterial pathogen Citrobacter rodentium results in colonic mucosal hyperplasia and a local Th1 inflammatory response similar to that seen in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease. In these latter models, and in patients with Crohn's disease, neutralization of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is of therapeutic benefit. Since there is no information on the role of TNF-alpha in either immunity to noninvasive bacterial pathogens or on the role of TNF-alpha in the immunopathology of infectious colitis, we investigated C. rodentium infection in TNFRp55(-/-) mice. In TNFRp55(-/-) mice, there were higher colonic bacterial burdens, but the organisms were cleared at the same rate as C57BL/6 mice, showing that TNF-alpha is not needed for protective antibacterial immunity. The most striking feature of infection in TNFRp55(-/-) mice, however, was the markedly enhanced pathology, with increased mucosal weight and thickness, increased T-cell infiltrate, and a markedly greater mucosal Th1 response. Interleukin-12 p40 transcripts were markedly elevated in C. rodentium-infected TNFRp55(-/-) mice, and this was associated with enhanced mucosal STAT4 phosphorylation. TNF-alpha is not obligatory for protective immunity to C. rodentium in mice; however, it appears to play some role in downregulating mucosal pathology and Th1 immune responses.

Ghaem-Maghami M, Simmons CP, Daniell S, Pizza M, Lewis D, Frankel G, Dougan G. 2001. Intimin-specific immune responses prevent bacterial colonization by the attaching-effacing pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. Infect Immun, 69 (9), pp. 5597-5605. | Show Abstract | Read more

The formation of attaching and effacing (A/E) lesions on gut enterocytes is central to the pathogenesis of enterohemorrhagic (EHEC) Escherichia coli, enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), and the rodent pathogen Citrobacter rodentium. Genes encoding A/E lesion formation map to a chromosomal pathogenicity island termed the locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE). Here we show that the LEE-encoded proteins EspA, EspB, Tir, and intimin are the targets of long-lived humoral immune responses in C. rodentium-infected mice. Mice infected with C. rodentium developed robust acquired immunity and were resistant to reinfection with wild-type C. rodentium or a C. rodentium derivative, DBS255(pCVD438), which expressed intimin derived from EPEC strain E2348/69. The receptor-binding domain of intimin polypeptides is located within the carboxy-terminal 280 amino acids (Int280). Mucosal and systemic vaccination regimens using enterotoxin-based adjuvants were employed to elicit immune responses to recombinant Int280alpha from EPEC strain E2348/69. Mice vaccinated subcutaneously with Int280alpha, in the absence of adjuvant, were significantly more resistant to oral challenge with DBS255(pCVD438) but not with wild-type C. rodentium. This type-specific immunity could not be overcome by employing an exposed, highly conserved domain of intimin (Int388-667) as a vaccine. These results show that anti-intimin immune responses can modulate the outcome of a C. rodentium infection and support the use of intimin as a component of a type-specific EPEC or EHEC vaccine.

Simmons CP, Clare S, Dougan G. 2001. Understanding mucosal responsiveness: lessons from enteric bacterial pathogens. Semin Immunol, 13 (3), pp. 201-209. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mucosal immune responses must discriminate between commensal flora within the lumen and potential pathogens. These responses are highly adapted to induce protection without excessive inflammation. The balances that regulate mucosal immune and inflammatory responses have to be understood if effective mucosal immunity is to be induced through local immunization. This review will summarize some of the lessons learnt from studies of antigens derived from enteric bacterial pathogens and discuss how the gastrointestinal epithelia can 'fight back' when it encounters pathogens.

Chiesa MD, Martensen PM, Simmons C, Porakishvili N, Justesen J, Dougan G, Roitt IM, Delves PJ, Lund T. 2001. Refocusing of B-cell responses following a single amino acid substitution in an antigen. Immunology, 103 (2), pp. 172-178. | Show Abstract | Read more

Intranasal immunization of BALB/c strain mice was carried out using baculovirus-derived human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) beta-chain, together with Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin. Gonadotrophin-reactive immunoglobulin A (IgA) was induced in a remote mucosal site, the lung, in addition to a systemic IgG response. The extensive sequence homology with luteinizing hormone (LH) results in the production of LH cross-reactive antibodies when holo-hCG is used as an immunogen. In contrast to wild-type hCGbeta, a mutated hCGbeta-chain containing an arginine to glutamic acid substitution at position 68 did not induce the production of antibodies which cross-react with LH. Furthermore, the epitopes utilized in the B-cell response to the mutated hCGbeta shifted away from the immunodominant region of the parent wild-type molecule towards epitopes within the normally weakly immunogenic C terminus. This shift in epitope usage was also seen following intramuscular immunization of rabbits. Thus, a single amino acid change, which does not disrupt the overall structure of the molecule, refocuses the immune response away from a disadvantageous cross-reactive epitope region and towards a normally weakly immunogenic but antigen-unique area. Similar mutational strategies for epitope-refocusing may be applicable to other vaccine candidate molecules.

Reece S, Simmons CP, Fitzhenry RJ, Matthews S, Phillips AD, Dougan G, Frankel G. 2001. Site-directed mutagenesis of intimin alpha modulates intimin-mediated tissue tropism and host specificity. Mol Microbiol, 40 (1), pp. 86-98. | Show Abstract | Read more

The hallmark of enteropathogenic (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC) Escherchia coli adhesion to host cells is intimate attachment leading to the formation of distinctive 'attaching and effacing' lesions. This event is mediated, in part, by binding of the bacterial adhesion molecule intimin to a second bacterial protein, Tir, delivered by a type III secretion system into the host cell plasma membrane. The receptor-binding activity of intimin is localized to the C-terminal 280 amino acids (Int280) and at least five distinct intimin types (alpha, beta, gamma, delta and epsilon) have been identified thus far. In addition to binding to Tir, intimin can also bind to a component encoded by the host. The consequence of latter intimin-binding activity may determine tissue tropism and host specificity. In this study we selected three amino acids in intimin, which are implicated in Tir binding, for site-directed mutagenesis. We used the yeast two-hybrid system and gel overlays to study intimin-Tir protein interaction. In addition, the biological consequences of the mutagenesis was tested using a number of infection models (cultured epithelial cells, human intestinal explants and a mouse model). We report that while an I237/897A substitution (positions numbered according to Int280alpha/whole intimin alpha) in intimin alpha did not have any affect on its biological activity, a T255/914A substitution attenuated intimin activity in vivo. In contrast, the mutation V252/911A affected tissue targeting in the human intestinal explant model and attenuated the biological activity of intimin in the mouse model. This study provides the first clues of the molecular basis of how intimin mediates tissue tropism and host specificity.

Simmons CP, Ghaem-Magami M, Petrovska L, Lopes L, Chain BM, Williams NA, Dougan G. 2001. Immunomodulation using bacterial enterotoxins. Scand J Immunol, 53 (3), pp. 218-226. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunologic unresponsiveness (tolerance) is a key feature of the mucosal immune system, and deliberate vaccination by a mucosal route can effectively induce immune suppression. However, some bacterial-derived proteins, e.g. cholera toxin and the heat labile toxin of Escherichia coli, are immunogenic and immunomodulatory at mucosal surfaces and can effectively adjuvant immune responses to codelivered bystander antigens. This review summarizes some of the structural and biological characteristics of these toxins and provides examples of how these properties have been exploited for tolerance induction and mucosal vaccine development.

Goncalves N, Simmons CP, Ghaem-Maghami M, Monteleone G, Bajaj-Elliott M, Goldin R, Frankel G, Dougan G, MacDonald TT. 2001. The role of IL-12 and IFN-gamma in immunity to Citrobacter rodentium infection GUT, 48 pp. A75-A75.

Goncalves N, Simmons CP, Ghaem-Maghami M, Monteleone G, Frankel G, Dougan G, MacDonald TT. 2001. Increased susceptibility of TNFRp55 deficient mice to Citrobacter rodentium (mouse EPEC) infection GUT, 48 pp. A75-A75.

Simmons CP, Hussell T, Sparer T, Walzl G, Openshaw P, Dougan G. 2001. Mucosal delivery of a respiratory syncytial virus CTL peptide with enterotoxin-based adjuvants elicits protective, immunopathogenic, and immunoregulatory antiviral CD8+ T cell responses. J Immunol, 166 (2), pp. 1106-1113. | Show Abstract

In an effort to develop a safe and effective vaccine against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), we used Escherichia coli heat-labile toxin (LT), and LTK63 (an LT mutant devoid of ADP-ribosyltransferase activity) to elicit murine CD8(+) CTL responses to an intranasally codelivered CTL peptide from the second matrix protein (M2) of RSV. M2(82-90)-specific CD8(+) T cells were detected by IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot and (51)Cr release assay in local and systemic lymph nodes, and their induction was dependent on the use of a mucosal adjuvant. CTL elicited by peptide immunization afforded protection against RSV challenge, but also enhanced weight loss. CTL-mediated viral clearance was not dependent on IFN-gamma since depletion using specific mAb during RSV challenge did not affect cellular recruitment or viral clearance. Depletion of IFN-gamma did, however, reduce the concentration of TNF detected in lung homogenates of challenged mice and largely prevented the weight loss associated with CTL-mediated viral clearance. Mice primed with the attachment glycoprotein (G) develop lung eosinophilia after intranasal RSV challenge. Mucosal peptide vaccination reduced pulmonary eosinophilia in mice subsequently immunized with G and challenged with RSV. These studies emphasize that protective and immunoregulatory CD8(+) CTL responses can be mucosally elicited using enterotoxin-based mucosal adjuvants but that resistance against viral infection may be accompanied by enhanced disease.

Dougan G, Ghaem-Maghami M, Pickard D, Frankel G, Douce G, Clare S, Dunstan S, Simmons C. 2000. The immune responses to bacterial antigens encountered in vivo at mucosal surfaces. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 355 (1397), pp. 705-712. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mammals have evolved a sophisticated immune system for handling antigens encountered at their mucosal surfaces. The way in which mucosally delivered antigens are handled influences our ability to design effective mucosal vaccines. Live attenuated derivatives of pathogens are one route towards the development of mucosal vaccines. However, some molecules, described as mucosal immunogens, are inherently immunogenic at mucosal surfaces. Studies on mucosal immunogens may facilitate the identification of common characteristics that contribute to mucosal immunogenicity and aid the development of novel, non-living mucosal vaccines and immunostimulators.

Goncalves NS, Ghaemmaghami M, Frankel G, Simmons C, Dougan G, MacDonald TT. 2000. Increased bacterial burden and inflammation in TNF receptor knockout mouse infected with Citrobacter rodentium (mouse EPEC). GASTROENTEROLOGY, 118 (4), pp. A574-A574.

Mastroeni P, Simmons C, Fowler R, Hormaeche CE, Dougan G. 2000. Igh-6(-/-) (B-cell-deficient) mice fail to mount solid acquired resistance to oral challenge with virulent Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium and show impaired Th1 T-cell responses to Salmonella antigens. Infect Immun, 68 (1), pp. 46-53. | Show Abstract | Read more

In the present study we evaluated the role of B cells in acquired immunity to Salmonella infection by using gene-targeted B-cell-deficient innately susceptible mice on a C57BL/6 background (Igh-6(-/-)). Igh-6(-/-) mice immunized with a live, attenuated aroA Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium vaccine strain showed impaired long-term acquired resistance against the virulent serovar Typhimurium strain C5. Igh-6(-/-) mice were able to control a primary infection and to clear the inoculum from the reticuloendothelial system. However, Igh-6(-/-) mice, unlike Igh-6(+/+) C57BL/6 controls, did not survive an oral challenge with strain C5 at 4 months after vaccination. Transfer of immune serum did not restore resistance in Igh-6(-/-) mice. Total splenocytes and purified CD4(+) T cells obtained from Igh-6(-/-) mice 4 months after vaccination showed reduced ability to release Th1-type cytokines (interleukin 2 and gamma interferon) upon in vitro restimulation with serovar Typhimurium soluble cell extracts compared to cells obtained from Igh-6(+/+) C57BL/6 control mice. Therefore, the impaired resistance to oral challenge with virulent serovar Typhimurium observed in B-cell-deficient mice, which cannot be restored by passive transfer of Salmonella-immune serum, may be in part due to a reduced serovar Typhimurium-specific T-cell response following primary immunization.

Simmons CP, Mastroeni P, Fowler R, Ghaem-maghami M, Lycke N, Pizza M, Rappuoli R, Dougan G. 1999. MHC class I-restricted cytotoxic lymphocyte responses induced by enterotoxin-based mucosal adjuvants. J Immunol, 163 (12), pp. 6502-6510. | Show Abstract

The ability of enterotoxin-based mucosal adjuvants to induce CD8+ MHC class I-restricted CTL responses to a codelivered bystander Ag was examined. Escherichia coli heat-labile toxin (LT), or derivatives of LT carrying mutations in the A subunit (LTR72, LTK63), were tested in parallel with cholera toxin (CT) or a fusion protein consisting of the A1 subunit of CT fused to the Ig binding domain of Staphylococcus aureus protein A (called CTA1-DD). Intranasal (i.n.) immunization of C57BL/6 mice with CT, CTA1-DD, LT, LTR72, LTK63, but not rLT-B, elicited MHC class I-restricted CD8+ T cell responses to coadministered OVA or the OVA CTL peptide SIINFEKL (OVA257-264). CT, LT, and LTR72 also induced CTL responses to OVA after s.c. or oral coimmunization whereas LTK63 only activated responses after s.c. coimmunization. rLT-B was unable to adjuvant CTL responses to OVA or OVA257-264 administered by any route. Mice treated with an anti-CD4 mAb to deplete CD4+ T cells mounted significant OVA-specific CTL responses after i.n. coadministration of LT with OVA or OVA257-264. Both 51Cr release assays and IFN-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assays indicated that IFN-gamma-/- and IL-12 p40-/- gene knockout mice developed CTL responses equivalent to those detected in normal C57BL/6 mice. The results highlight the versatility of toxin-based adjuvants and suggest that LT potentiates CTL responses independently of IL-12 and IFN-gamma and probably by a mechanism unrelated to cross-priming.

Mastroeni P, Bowe F, Cahill R, Simmons C, Dougan G. 1999. Vaccines against gut pathogens. Gut, 45 (5), pp. 633-635. | Read more

Dunstan SJ, Simmons CP, Strugnell RA. 1999. Use of in vivo-regulated promoters to deliver antigens from attenuated Salmonella enterica var. Typhimurium. Infect Immun, 67 (10), pp. 5133-5141. | Show Abstract

This study describes the construction and analysis of three in vivo-inducible promoter expression plasmids, containing pnirB, ppagC, and pkatG, for the delivery of foreign antigens in the DeltaaroAD mutant of Salmonella enterica var. Typhimurium (hereafter referred to as S. typhimurium). The reporter genes encoding beta-galactosidase and firefly luciferase were used to assess the comparative levels of promoter activity in S. typhimurium in vitro in response to different induction stimuli and in vivo in immunized mice. It was determined that the ppagC construct directed the expression of more beta-galactosidase and luciferase in S. typhimurium than the pnirB and pkatG constructs, both in vitro and in vivo. The gene encoding the C fragment of tetanus toxin was expressed in the aroAD mutant of S. typhimurium (BRD509) under the control of the three promoters. Mice orally immunized with attenuated S. typhimurium expressing C fragment under control of the pagC promoter [BRD509(pKK/ppagC/C frag)] mounted the highest tetanus toxoid-specific serum antibody response. Levels of luciferase expression in vivo and C-fragment expression in vitro from the pagC promoter appeared to be equivalent to if not lower than the levels of expression detected with the constitutive trc promoter. However, mice immunized with BRD509(pKK/ppagC/C frag) induced significantly higher levels of tetanus toxoid-specific antibody than BRD509(pKK/C frag)-immunized mice, suggesting that the specific location of foreign antigen expression may be important for immunogenicity. Mutagenesis of the ribosome binding sites (RBS) in the three promoter/C fragment expression plasmids was also performed. Despite optimization of the RBS in the three different promoter elements, the expression levels in vivo and overall immunogenicity of C fragment when delivered to mice by attenuated S. typhimurium were not affected. These studies suggest that in vivo-inducible promoters may give rise to enhanced immunogenicity and increase the efficacy of S. typhimurium as a vaccine vector.

Hoang LT, Lynn DJ, Henn M, Birren BW, Lennon NJ, Le PT, Duong KT, Nguyen TT et al. 2010. The early whole-blood transcriptional signature of dengue virus and features associated with progression to dengue shock syndrome in Vietnamese children and young adults. J Virol, 84 (24), pp. 12982-12994. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue is a pantropic public health problem. In children, dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is the most common life-threatening complication. The ability to predict which patients may develop DSS may improve triage and treatment. To this end, we conducted a nested case-control comparison of the early host transcriptional features in 24 DSS patients and 56 sex-, age-, and virus serotype-matched uncomplicated (UC) dengue patients. In the first instance, we defined the "early dengue" profile. The transcriptional signature in acute rather than convalescent samples (≤72 h post-illness onset) was defined by an overabundance of interferon-inducible transcripts (31% of the 551 overabundant transcripts) and canonical gene ontology terms that included the following: response to virus, immune response, innate immune response, and inflammatory response. Pathway and network analyses identified STAT1, STAT2, STAT3, IRF7, IRF9, IRF1, CEBPB, and SP1 as key transcriptional factors mediating the early response. Strikingly, the only difference in the transcriptional signatures of early DSS and UC dengue cases was the greater abundance of several neutrophil-associated transcripts in patients who progressed to DSS, a finding supported by higher plasma concentrations of several canonical proteins associated with neutrophil degranulation (bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein [BPI], elastase 2 [ELA2], and defensin 1 alpha [DEF1A]). Elevated levels of neutrophil-associated transcripts were independent of the neutrophil count and also of the genotype of the infecting virus, as genome-length sequences of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1) (n = 15) and DENV-2 (n = 3) sampled from DSS patients were phylogenetically indistinguishable from those sampled from uncomplicated dengue patients (32 DENV-1 and 9 DENV-2 sequences). Collectively, these data suggest a hitherto unrecognized association between neutrophil activation, pathogenesis, and the development of DSS and point to future strategies for guiding prognosis.

Chau TN, Quyen NT, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Dung NT, Lien LEB, Quy NT et al. 2008. Dengue in Vietnamese infants--results of infection-enhancement assays correlate with age-related disease epidemiology, and cellular immune responses correlate with disease severity. J Infect Dis, 198 (4), pp. 516-524. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of severe dengue is not well understood. Maternally derived subneutralizing levels of dengue virus-reactive IgG are postulated to be a critical risk factor for severe dengue during infancy. In this study, we found that, in healthy Vietnamese infants, there was a strong temporal association between the Fc-dependent, dengue virus infection-enhancing activity of neat plasma and the age-related epidemiology of severe dengue. We then postulated that disease severity in infants with primary infections would be associated with a robust immune response, possibly as a consequence of higher viral burdens in vivo. Accordingly, in infants hospitalized with acute dengue, the activation phenotype of peripheral-blood NK cells and CD8+ and CD4+ T cells correlated with overall disease severity, but HLA-A*1101-restricted NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells were not measurable until early convalescence. Plasma levels of cytokines/chemokines were generally higher in infants with dengue shock syndrome. Collectively, these data support a model of dengue pathogenesis in infants whereby antibody-dependent enhancement of infection explains the age-related case epidemiology and could account for antigen-driven immune activation and its association with disease severity. These results also highlight potential risks in the use of live attenuated dengue vaccines in infants in countries where dengue is endemic.

Simmons CP, Chau TN, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Thien NT, Lien LEB, Quy NT et al. 2007. Maternal antibody and viral factors in the pathogenesis of dengue virus in infants. J Infect Dis, 196 (3), pp. 416-424. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of dengue in infants is poorly understood. We postulated that dengue severity in infants would be positively associated with markers of viral burden and that maternally derived, neutralizing anti-dengue antibody would have decayed before the age at which infants with dengue presented to the hospital. In 75 Vietnamese infants with primary dengue, we found significant heterogeneity in viremia and NS1 antigenemia at hospital presentation, and these factors were independent of disease grade or continuous measures of disease severity. Neutralizing antibody titers, predicted in each infant at the time of their illness, suggested that the majority of infants (65%) experienced dengue hemorrhagic fever when the maternally derived neutralizing antibody titer had declined to <1 : 20. Collectively, these data have important implications for dengue vaccine research because they suggest that viral burden may not solely explain severe dengue in infants and that neutralizing antibody is a reasonable but not absolute marker of protective immunity in infants.

Lühn K, Simmons CP, Moran E, Dung NT, Chau TN, Quyen NT, Thao LETT, Van Ngoc T et al. 2007. Increased frequencies of CD4+ CD25(high) regulatory T cells in acute dengue infection. J Exp Med, 204 (5), pp. 979-985. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue virus infection is an increasingly important tropical disease, causing 100 million cases each year. Symptoms range from mild febrile illness to severe hemorrhagic fever. The pathogenesis is incompletely understood, but immunopathology is thought to play a part, with antibody-dependent enhancement and massive immune activation of T cells and monocytes/macrophages leading to a disproportionate production of proinflammatory cytokines. We sought to investigate whether a defective population of regulatory T cells (T reg cells) could be contributing to immunopathology in severe dengue disease. CD4(+)CD25(high)FoxP3(+) T reg cells of patients with acute dengue infection of different severities showed a conventional phenotype. Unexpectedly, their capacity to suppress T cell proliferation and to secrete interleukin-10 was not altered. Moreover, T reg cells suppressed the production of vasoactive cytokines after dengue-specific stimulation. Furthermore, T reg cell frequencies and also T reg cell/effector T cell ratios were increased in patients with acute infection. A strong indication that a relative rise of T reg cell/effector T cell ratios is beneficial for disease outcome comes from patients with mild disease in which this ratio is significantly increased (P < 0.0001) in contrast to severe cases (P = 0.2145). We conclude that although T reg cells expand and function normally in acute dengue infection, their relative frequencies are insufficient to control the immunopathology of severe disease.

Simmons CP, Popper S, Dolocek C, Chau TN, Griffiths M, Dung NT, Long TH, Hoang DM et al. 2007. Patterns of host genome-wide gene transcript abundance in the peripheral blood of patients with acute dengue hemorrhagic fever. J Infect Dis, 195 (8), pp. 1097-1107. | Show Abstract | Read more

Responses by peripheral blood leukocytes may contribute to the pathogenesis of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). We used DNA microarrays to reveal transcriptional patterns in the blood of 14 adults with DHF. Acute DHF was defined by an abundance of transcripts from cell cycle- and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-related genes, suggesting a proliferative response accompanied by ER stress. Transcript-abundance levels for immunoresponse-associated genes, including cell surface markers, immunoglobulin, and innate response elements, were also elevated. Twenty-four genes were identified for which transcript abundance distinguished patients with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) from those without DSS. All the gene transcripts associated with DSS, many of which are induced by type I interferons, were less abundant in patients with DSS than in those without DSS. To our knowledge, these data provide the first snapshot of gene-expression patterns in peripheral blood during acute dengue and suggest that DSS is associated with attenuation of selected aspects of the innate host response.

Thwaites GE, Macmullen-Price J, Tran TH, Pham PM, Nguyen TD, Simmons CP, White NJ, Tran TH, Summers D, Farrar JJ. 2007. Serial MRI to determine the effect of dexamethasone on the cerebral pathology of tuberculous meningitis: an observational study. Lancet Neurol, 6 (3), pp. 230-236. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Adjunctive dexamethasone increases survival from tuberculous meningitis, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. We aimed to determine the effect of dexamethasone on cerebral MRI changes and their association with intracerebral inflammatory responses and clinical outcome in adults treated for tuberculous meningitis. METHODS: Cerebral MRI was undertaken, when possible, at diagnosis and after 60 days and 270 days of treatment in adults with tuberculous meningitis admitted to two hospitals in Vietnam. Patients were randomly assigned either dexamethasone (n=24) or placebo (n=19) and received 9 months of treatment with standard first-line antituberculosis drugs. We assessed associations between MRI findings, treatment allocation, and resolution of fever, coma, cerebrospinal fluid inflammation, and neurological outcome. FINDINGS: 83 scans were done for 43 patients: 19 given placebo, 24 given dexamethasone. Basal meningeal enhancement (82%) and hydrocephalus (77%) were the most common presenting findings. Fewer patients had hydrocephalus after 60 days of treatment with dexamethasone than after placebo treatment (p=0.217). Tuberculomas developed in 74% of patients during treatment and in equal proportions in the treatment groups; they were associated with long-term fever, but not relapse or poor clinical outcome. The basal ganglia were the most common site of infarction; the proportion with infarction after 60 days was halved in the dexamethasone group (27%vs 58%, p=0.130). INTERPRETATION: Dexamethasone may affect outcome from tuberculous meningitis by reducing hydrocephalus and preventing infarction. The effect may have been under-estimated because the most severe patients could not be scanned.

Simmons CP, Bernasconi NL, Suguitan AL, Mills K, Ward JM, Chau NV, Hien TT, Sallusto F et al. 2007. Prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of human monoclonal antibodies against H5N1 influenza. PLoS Med, 4 (5), pp. e178. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: New prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to combat human infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses are needed. We generated neutralizing anti-H5N1 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and tested their efficacy for prophylaxis and therapy in a murine model of infection. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using Epstein-Barr virus we immortalized memory B cells from Vietnamese adults who had recovered from infections with HPAI H5N1 viruses. Supernatants from B cell lines were screened in a virus neutralization assay. B cell lines secreting neutralizing antibodies were cloned and the mAbs purified. The cross-reactivity of these antibodies for different strains of H5N1 was tested in vitro by neutralization assays, and their prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy in vivo was tested in mice. In vitro, mAbs FLA3.14 and FLD20.19 neutralized both Clade I and Clade II H5N1 viruses, whilst FLA5.10 and FLD21.140 neutralized Clade I viruses only. In vivo, FLA3.14 and FLA5.10 conferred protection from lethality in mice challenged with A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1) in a dose-dependent manner. mAb prophylaxis provided a statistically significant reduction in pulmonary virus titer, reduced associated inflammation in the lungs, and restricted extrapulmonary dissemination of the virus. Therapeutic doses of FLA3.14, FLA5.10, FLD20.19, and FLD21.140 provided robust protection from lethality at least up to 72 h postinfection with A/Vietnam/1203/04 (H5N1). mAbs FLA3.14, FLD21.140 and FLD20.19, but not FLA5.10, were also therapeutically active in vivo against the Clade II virus A/Indonesia/5/2005 (H5N1). CONCLUSIONS: These studies provide proof of concept that fully human mAbs with neutralizing activity can be rapidly generated from the peripheral blood of convalescent patients and that these mAbs are effective for the prevention and treatment of H5N1 infection in a mouse model. A panel of neutralizing, cross-reactive mAbs might be useful for prophylaxis or adjunctive treatment of human cases of H5N1 influenza.

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