register interest

Tran Hien

Research Area: Global Health
Scientific Themes: Tropical Medicine & Global Health

Project “Research on Infectious diseases of public health importance in Vietnam” is a scientific research collaboration between the Hospital for Tropical Diseases of Ho Chi Minh City and Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam (OUCRU-VN); sponsored by the Centre for Tropical Medicine, Oxford University, England. This project is the extension of a long-term collaboration on research on infectious diseases between the Oxford University and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases since 1991.

Infectious diseases always create a burden for low - and medium - income countries. Identified, unidentified as well as emerging infectious diseases are threats for global health that the international community should collaborate on in order to deal with effectively. This project is aimed at reducing the burden of infectious diseases locally and globally through a common approach that integrates clinical and epidemiological research with allied laboratory studies in a stimulating training environment.

The project will include scientific activities to investigate infectious diseases of public health importance to establish more efficient measures to control them.

Main objectives are

  • Quantify the burden of infectious disease, and particularly the contribution of bacterial, parasitic, fungal, viral, zoonotic and emerging diseases to that burden, in patients hospitalized with infectious disease syndromes, and a cohort of individuals exposed to high risk of infectious diseases
  • Clinical research aimed at improving the treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Elucidate the origin, nature, and burden of infectious diseases of unknown origin in the human study populations and provide a framework and repository of putative pathogens for further work.
  • Characterize genetic diversity within causal micro-organism populations on either side of the species-barrier in order to understand the process of transmission and disease emergence.
  • Identify socio-demographic, environmental and behavioral risk factors for disease occurrence and emergence.
  • Create a platform and resource for further research in future

There will be 7 main research focus topics: Malaria, Dengue Fever, Central nervous (CNS) infections (meningitis, encephalitis, TB, Fungal, and parasitic) Influenza and Respiratory infections, Enteric infections (typhoid fever, shigellosis, Viral), Tuberculosis, Zoonosis and Emerging Infections

Training & Teaching: full support for PhD and MSc training aboard (UK or other countries); support for undergraduate and postgraduate students who follow training programmes in Vietnam and internationally.

The Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam (OUCRU-VN) staff and doctors scientist from collaborative institutions will implement the project by conducting study protocols related to topics mentioned in the project documents and approved technically and monetary, by both sides and by consolidating, upgrading facilities, equipments necessary for research activities of the project.

Name Department Institution Country
Nicholas White FRS Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Guy Thwaites Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Nicholas Day MA BM BCh DM FRCP FMedSci Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Bangkok Thailand
Jeremy Day Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Stephen Baker Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Dr Marcel Wolbers Tropical Medicine Oxford University, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Laura Merson Tropical Medicine Oxford University, NDM Research Building United Kingdom
WWARN K13 Genotype-Phenotype Study Group. 2019. Association of mutations in the Plasmodium falciparum Kelch13 gene (Pf3D7_1343700) with parasite clearance rates after artemisinin-based treatments-a WWARN individual patient data meta-analysis. BMC Med, 17 (1), pp. 1. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium falciparum infections with slow parasite clearance following artemisinin-based therapies are widespread in the Greater Mekong Subregion. A molecular marker of the slow clearance phenotype has been identified: single genetic changes within the propeller region of the Kelch13 protein (pfk13; Pf3D7_1343700). Global searches have identified almost 200 different non-synonymous mutant pfk13 genotypes. Most mutations occur at low prevalence and have uncertain functional significance. To characterize the impact of different pfk13 mutations on parasite clearance, we conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis of the associations between parasite clearance half-life (PC1/2) and pfk13 genotype based on a large set of individual patient records from Asia and Africa. METHODS: A systematic literature review following the PRISMA protocol was conducted to identify studies published between 2000 and 2017 which included frequent parasite counts and pfk13 genotyping. Four databases (Ovid Medline, PubMed, Ovid Embase, and Web of Science Core Collection) were searched. Eighteen studies (15 from Asia, 2 from Africa, and one multicenter study with sites on both continents) met inclusion criteria and were shared. Associations between the log transformed PC1/2 values and pfk13 genotype were assessed using multivariable regression models with random effects for study site. RESULTS: Both the pfk13 genotypes and the PC1/2 were available from 3250 (95%) patients (n = 3012 from Asia (93%), n = 238 from Africa (7%)). Among Asian isolates, all pfk13 propeller region mutant alleles observed in five or more specific isolates were associated with a 1.5- to 2.7-fold longer geometric mean PC1/2 compared to the PC1/2 of wild type isolates (all p ≤ 0.002). In addition, mutant allele E252Q located in the P. falciparum region of pfk13 was associated with 1.5-fold (95%CI 1.4-1.6) longer PC1/2. None of the isolates from four countries in Africa showed a significant difference between the PC1/2 of parasites with or without pfk13 propeller region mutations. Previously, the association of six pfk13 propeller mutant alleles with delayed parasite clearance had been confirmed. This analysis demonstrates that 15 additional pfk13 alleles are associated strongly with the slow-clearing phenotype in Southeast Asia. CONCLUSION: Pooled analysis associated 20 pfk13 propeller region mutant alleles with the slow clearance phenotype, including 15 mutations not confirmed previously.

Commons RJ, Simpson JA, Thriemer K, Chu CS, Douglas NM, Abreha T, Alemu SG, Añez A, Anstey NM, Aseffa A et al. 2019. The haematological consequences of Plasmodium vivax malaria after chloroquine treatment with and without primaquine: a WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis. BMC Med, 17 (1), pp. 151. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria causes a reduction in haemoglobin that is compounded by primaquine, particularly in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. The aim of this study was to determine the relative contributions to red cell loss of malaria and primaquine in patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax. METHODS: A systematic review identified P. vivax efficacy studies of chloroquine with or without primaquine published between January 2000 and March 2017. Individual patient data were pooled using standardised methodology, and the haematological response versus time was quantified using a multivariable linear mixed effects model with non-linear terms for time. Mean differences in haemoglobin between treatment groups at day of nadir and day 42 were estimated from this model. RESULTS: In total, 3421 patients from 29 studies were included: 1692 (49.5%) with normal G6PD status, 1701 (49.7%) with unknown status and 28 (0.8%) deficient or borderline individuals. Of 1975 patients treated with chloroquine alone, the mean haemoglobin fell from 12.22 g/dL [95% CI 11.93, 12.50] on day 0 to a nadir of 11.64 g/dL [11.36, 11.93] on day 2, before rising to 12.88 g/dL [12.60, 13.17] on day 42. In comparison to chloroquine alone, the mean haemoglobin in 1446 patients treated with chloroquine plus primaquine was - 0.13 g/dL [- 0.27, 0.01] lower at day of nadir (p = 0.072), but 0.49 g/dL [0.28, 0.69] higher by day 42 (p < 0.001). On day 42, patients with recurrent parasitaemia had a mean haemoglobin concentration - 0.72 g/dL [- 0.90, - 0.54] lower than patients without recurrence (p < 0.001). Seven days after starting primaquine, G6PD normal patients had a 0.3% (1/389) risk of clinically significant haemolysis (fall in haemoglobin > 25% to < 7 g/dL) and a 1% (4/389) risk of a fall in haemoglobin > 5 g/dL. CONCLUSIONS: Primaquine has the potential to reduce malaria-related anaemia at day 42 and beyond by preventing recurrent parasitaemia. Its widespread implementation will require accurate diagnosis of G6PD deficiency to reduce the risk of drug-induced haemolysis in vulnerable individuals. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered with PROSPERO: CRD42016053312. The date of the first registration was 23 December 2016.

Commons RJ, Simpson JA, Thriemer K, Abreha T, Adam I, Anstey NM, Assefa A, Awab GR, Baird JK, Barber BE et al. 2019. The efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and artemether-lumefantrine with and without primaquine on Plasmodium vivax recurrence: A systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis. PLoS Med, 16 (10), pp. e1002928. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is recommended for uncomplicated Plasmodium vivax malaria in areas of emerging chloroquine resistance. We undertook a systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis to compare the efficacies of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) with or without primaquine (PQ) on the risk of recurrent P. vivax. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Clinical efficacy studies of uncomplicated P. vivax treated with DP or AL and published between January 1, 2000, and January 31, 2018, were identified by conducting a systematic review registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO): CRD42016053310. Investigators of eligible studies were invited to contribute individual patient data that were pooled using standardised methodology. The effect of mg/kg dose of piperaquine/lumefantrine, ACT administered, and PQ on the rate of P. vivax recurrence between days 7 and 42 after starting treatment were investigated by Cox regression analyses according to an a priori analysis plan. Secondary outcomes were the risk of recurrence assessed on days 28 and 63. Nineteen studies enrolling 2,017 patients were included in the analysis. The risk of recurrent P. vivax at day 42 was significantly higher in the 384 patients treated with AL alone (44.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 38.7-49.8) compared with the 812 patients treated with DP alone (9.3%, 95% CI 7.1-12.2): adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 12.63 (95% CI 6.40-24.92), p < 0.001. The rates of recurrence assessed at days 42 and 63 were associated inversely with the dose of piperaquine: AHRs (95% CI) for every 5-mg/kg increase 0.63 (0.48-0.84), p = 0.0013 and 0.83 (0.73-0.94), p = 0.0033, respectively. The dose of lumefantrine was not significantly associated with the rate of recurrence (1.07 for every 5-mg/kg increase, 95% CI 0.99-1.16, p = 0.0869). In a post hoc analysis, in patients with symptomatic recurrence after AL, the mean haemoglobin increased 0.13 g/dL (95% CI 0.01-0.26) for every 5 days that recurrence was delayed, p = 0.0407. Coadministration of PQ reduced substantially the rate of recurrence assessed at day 42 after AL (AHR = 0.20, 95% CI 0.10-0.41, p < 0.001) and at day 63 after DP (AHR = 0.08, 95% CI 0.01-0.70, p = 0.0233). Results were limited by follow-up of patients to 63 days or less and nonrandomised treatment groups. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed the risk of P. vivax recurrence at day 42 to be significantly lower following treatment with DP compared with AL, reflecting the longer period of post-treatment prophylaxis; this risk was reduced substantially by coadministration with PQ. We found that delaying P. vivax recurrence was associated with a small but significant improvement in haemoglobin. These results highlight the benefits of PQ radical cure and also the provision of blood-stage antimalarial agents with prolonged post-treatment prophylaxis.

Chan X-HS, White NJ, Hien TT. 2019. A Temporizing Solution to "Artemisinin Resistance". N Engl J Med, 381 (10), pp. 989-990. | Read more

Leopold SJ, Watson JA, Jeeyapant A, Simpson JA, Phu NH, Hien TT, Day NPJ, Dondorp AM, White NJ. 2019. Investigating causal pathways in severe falciparum malaria: A pooled retrospective analysis of clinical studies. PLoS Med, 16 (8), pp. e1002858. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Severe falciparum malaria is a medical emergency characterised by potentially lethal vital organ dysfunction. Patient fatality rates even with parenteral artesunate treatment remain high. Despite considerable research into adjuvant therapies targeting organ and tissue dysfunction, none have shown efficacy apart from renal replacement therapy. Understanding the causal contributions of clinical and laboratory abnormalities to mortality is essential for the design and evaluation of novel therapeutic interventions. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used a structural model causal inference approach to investigate causal relationships between epidemiological, laboratory, and clinical variables in patients with severe falciparum malaria enrolled in clinical trials and their in-hospital mortality. Under this causal model, we analysed records from 9,040 hospitalised children (0-12 years, n = 5,635) and adults (n = 3,405, 12-87 years) with severe falciparum malaria from 15 countries in Africa and Asia who were studied prospectively over the past 35 years. On admission, patient covariates associated with increased in-hospital mortality were severity of acidosis (odds ratio [OR] 2.10 for a 7-mEq/L increase in base deficit [95% CI 1.93-2.28]), renal impairment (OR 1.71 for a 2-fold increase in blood urea nitrogen [95% CI 1.58, 1.86]), coma (OR 3.59 [95% CI 3.07-4.21]), seizures (OR 1.40 [95% CI 1.16-1.68]), shock (OR 1.51 [95% CI 1.14-1.99]), and presumed pulmonary oedema (OR 1.58 [95% CI 1.04-2.39]). Lower in-hospital mortality was associated with moderate anaemia (OR 0.87 for a decrease of 10 percentage points in haematocrit [95% CI 0.80-0.95]). Circulating parasite density was not associated with mortality (OR 1.02 for a 6-fold increase [95% CI 0.94-1.11]), so the pathological effects of parasitaemia appear to be mediated entirely by the downstream effects of sequestration. Treatment with an artemisinin derivative decreased mortality compared with quinine (OR 0.64 [95% CI 0.56-0.74]). These estimates were consistent across children and adults (mainly representing African and Asian patients, respectively). Using inverse probability weighting, transfusion was not estimated to be beneficial in children with admission haematocrit values between 15% and 25% (OR 0.99 [95% CI 0.97-1.02]). Except for the effects of artemisinin treatment and transfusion, causal interpretations of these estimates could be biased by unmeasured confounding from severe bacterial sepsis, immunity, and duration of illness. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that moderate anaemia is associated with a reduced risk of death in severe falciparum malaria. This is possibly a direct causal association. The severe anaemia threshold criteria for a definition of severe falciparum malaria should be reconsidered.

Hamilton WL, Amato R, van der Pluijm RW, Jacob CG, Quang HH, Thuy-Nhien NT, Hien TT, Hongvanthong B, Chindavongsa K, Mayxay M et al. 2019. Evolution and expansion of multidrug-resistant malaria in southeast Asia: a genomic epidemiology study. Lancet Infect Dis, 19 (9), pp. 943-951. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A multidrug-resistant co-lineage of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, named KEL1/PLA1, spread across Cambodia in 2008-13, causing high rates of treatment failure with the frontline combination therapy dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. Here, we report on the evolution and spread of KEL1/PLA1 in subsequent years. METHODS: For this genomic epidemiology study, we analysed whole genome sequencing data from P falciparum clinical samples collected from patients with malaria between 2007 and 2018 from Cambodia, Laos, northeastern Thailand, and Vietnam, through the MalariaGEN P falciparum Community Project. Previously unpublished samples were provided by two large-scale multisite projects: the Tracking Artemisinin Resistance Collaboration II (TRAC2) and the Genetic Reconnaissance in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GenRe-Mekong) project. By investigating genome-wide relatedness between parasites, we inferred patterns of shared ancestry in the KEL1/PLA1 population. FINDINGS: We analysed 1673 whole genome sequences that passed quality filters, and determined KEL1/PLA1 status in 1615. Before 2009, KEL1/PLA1 was only found in western Cambodia; by 2016-17 its prevalence had risen to higher than 50% in all of the surveyed countries except for Laos. In northeastern Thailand and Vietnam, KEL1/PLA1 exceeded 80% of the most recent P falciparum parasites. KEL1/PLA1 parasites maintained high genetic relatedness and low diversity, reflecting a recent common origin. Several subgroups of highly related parasites have recently emerged within this co-lineage, with diverse geographical distributions. The three largest of these subgroups (n=84, n=79, and n=47) mostly emerged since 2016 and were all present in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. These expanding subgroups carried new mutations in the crt gene, which arose on a specific genetic background comprising multiple genomic regions. Four newly emerging crt mutations were rare in the early period and became more prevalent by 2016-17 (Thr93Ser, rising to 19·8%; His97Tyr to 11·2%; Phe145Ile to 5·5%; and Ile218Phe to 11·1%). INTERPRETATION: After emerging and circulating for several years within Cambodia, the P falciparum KEL1/PLA1 co-lineage diversified into multiple subgroups and acquired new genetic features, including novel crt mutations. These subgroups have rapidly spread into neighbouring countries, suggesting enhanced fitness. These findings highlight the urgent need for elimination of this increasingly drug-resistant parasite co-lineage, and the importance of genetic surveillance in accelerating malaria elimination efforts. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK Medical Research Council, and UK Department for International Development.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network Methodology Study Group. 2019. Competing risk events in antimalarial drug trials in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: a WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network individual participant data meta-analysis. Malar J, 18 (1), pp. 225. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Therapeutic efficacy studies in uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria are confounded by new infections, which constitute competing risk events since they can potentially preclude/pre-empt the detection of subsequent recrudescence of persistent, sub-microscopic primary infections. METHODS: Antimalarial studies typically report the risk of recrudescence derived using the Kaplan-Meier (K-M) method, which considers new infections acquired during the follow-up period as censored. Cumulative Incidence Function (CIF) provides an alternative approach for handling new infections, which accounts for them as a competing risk event. The complement of the estimate derived using the K-M method (1 minus K-M), and the CIF were used to derive the risk of recrudescence at the end of the follow-up period using data from studies collated in the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network data repository. Absolute differences in the failure estimates derived using these two methods were quantified. In comparative studies, the equality of two K-M curves was assessed using the log-rank test, and the equality of CIFs using Gray's k-sample test (both at 5% level of significance). Two different regression modelling strategies for recrudescence were considered: cause-specific Cox model and Fine and Gray's sub-distributional hazard model. RESULTS: Data were available from 92 studies (233 treatment arms, 31,379 patients) conducted between 1996 and 2014. At the end of follow-up, the median absolute overestimation in the estimated risk of cumulative recrudescence by using 1 minus K-M approach was 0.04% (interquartile range (IQR): 0.00-0.27%, Range: 0.00-3.60%). The overestimation was correlated positively with the proportion of patients with recrudescence [Pearson's correlation coefficient (ρ): 0.38, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.30-0.46] or new infection [ρ: 0.43; 95% CI 0.35-0.54]. In three study arms, the point estimates of failure were greater than 10% (the WHO threshold for withdrawing antimalarials) when the K-M method was used, but remained below 10% when using the CIF approach, but the 95% confidence interval included this threshold. CONCLUSIONS: The 1 minus K-M method resulted in a marginal overestimation of recrudescence that became increasingly pronounced as antimalarial efficacy declined, particularly when the observed proportion of new infection was high. The CIF approach provides an alternative approach for derivation of failure estimates in antimalarial trials, particularly in high transmission settings.

Taylor WRJ, Thriemer K, von Seidlein L, Yuentrakul P, Assawariyathipat T, Assefa A, Auburn S, Chand K, Chau NH, Cheah PY et al. 2019. Short-course primaquine for the radical cure of Plasmodium vivax malaria: a multicentre, randomised, placebo-controlled non-inferiority trial. Lancet, 394 (10202), pp. 929-938. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Primaquine is the only widely used drug that prevents Plasmodium vivax malaria relapses, but adherence to the standard 14-day regimen is poor. We aimed to assess the efficacy of a shorter course (7 days) of primaquine for radical cure of vivax malaria. METHODS: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, non-inferiority trial in eight health-care clinics (two each in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Vietnam). Patients (aged ≥6 months) with normal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and presenting with uncomplicated vivax malaria were enrolled. Patients were given standard blood schizontocidal treatment and randomly assigned (2:2:1) to receive 7 days of supervised primaquine (1·0 mg/kg per day), 14 days of supervised primaquine (0·5 mg/kg per day), or placebo. The primary endpoint was the incidence rate of symptomatic P vivax parasitaemia during the 12-month follow-up period, assessed in the intention-to-treat population. A margin of 0·07 recurrences per person-year was used to establish non-inferiority of the 7-day regimen compared with the 14-day regimen. This trial is registered at (NCT01814683). FINDINGS: Between July 20, 2014, and Nov 25, 2017, 2336 patients were enrolled. The incidence rate of symptomatic recurrent P vivax malaria was 0·18 (95% CI 0·15 to 0·21) recurrences per person-year for 935 patients in the 7-day primaquine group and 0·16 (0·13 to 0·18) for 937 patients in the 14-day primaquine group, a difference of 0·02 (-0·02 to 0·05, p=0·3405). The incidence rate for 464 patients in the placebo group was 0·96 (95% CI 0·83 to 1·08) recurrences per person-year. Potentially drug-related serious adverse events within 42 days of starting treatment were reported in nine (1·0%) of 935 patients in the 7-day group, one (0·1%) of 937 in the 14-day group and none of 464 in the control arm. Four of the serious adverse events were significant haemolysis (three in the 7-day group and one in the 14-day group). INTERPRETATION: In patients with normal G6PD, 7-day primaquine was well tolerated and non-inferior to 14-day primaquine. The short-course regimen might improve adherence and therefore the effectiveness of primaquine for radical cure of P vivax malaria. FUNDING: UK Department for International Development, UK Medical Research Council, UK National Institute for Health Research, and the Wellcome Trust through the Joint Global Health Trials Scheme (MR/K007424/1) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1054404).

van der Pluijm RW, Imwong M, Chau NH, Hoa NT, Thuy-Nhien NT, Thanh NV, Jittamala P, Hanboonkunupakarn B, Chutasmit K, Saelow C et al. 2019. Determinants of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine treatment failure in Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam: a prospective clinical, pharmacological, and genetic study. Lancet Infect Dis, 19 (9), pp. 952-961. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence and spread of resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria to artemisinin combination therapies in the Greater Mekong subregion poses a major threat to malaria control and elimination. The current study is part of a multi-country, open-label, randomised clinical trial (TRACII, 2015-18) evaluating the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of triple artemisinin combination therapies. A very high rate of treatment failure after treatment with dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine was observed in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. The immediate public health importance of our findings prompted us to report the efficacy data on dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine and its determinants ahead of the results of the overall trial, which will be published later this year. METHODS: Patients aged between 2 and 65 years presenting with uncomplicated P falciparum or mixed species malaria at seven sites in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam were randomly assigned to receive dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine with or without mefloquine, as part of the TRACII trial. The primary outcome was the PCR-corrected efficacy at day 42. Next-generation sequencing was used to assess the prevalence of molecular markers associated with artemisinin resistance (kelch13 mutations, in particular Cys580Tyr) and piperaquine resistance (plasmepsin-2 and plasmepsin-3 amplifications and crt mutations). This study is registered with, number NCT02453308. FINDINGS: Between Sept 28, 2015, and Jan 18, 2018, 539 patients with acute P falciparum malaria were screened for eligibility, 292 were enrolled, and 140 received dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine. The overall Kaplan-Meier estimate of PCR-corrected efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine at day 42 was 50·0% (95% CI 41·1-58·3). PCR-corrected efficacies for individual sites were 12·7% (2·2-33·0) in northeastern Thailand, 38·2% (15·9-60·5) in western Cambodia, 73·4% (57·0-84·3) in Ratanakiri (northeastern Cambodia), and 47·1% (33·5-59·6) in Binh Phuoc (southwestern Vietnam). Treatment failure was associated independently with plasmepsin2/3 amplification status and four mutations in the crt gene (Thr93Ser, His97Tyr, Phe145Ile, and Ile218Phe). Compared with the results of our previous TRACI trial in 2011-13, the prevalence of molecular markers of artemisinin resistance (kelch13 Cys580Tyr mutations) and piperaquine resistance (plasmepsin2/3 amplifications and crt mutations) has increased substantially in the Greater Mekong subregion in the past decade. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is not treating malaria effectively across the eastern Greater Mekong subregion. A highly drug-resistant P falciparum co-lineage is evolving, acquiring new resistance mechanisms, and spreading. Accelerated elimination of P falciparum malaria in this region is needed urgently, to prevent further spread and avoid a potential global health emergency. FUNDING: UK Department for International Development, Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Medical Research Council, and National Institutes of Health.

Shetty AC, Jacob CG, Huang F, Li Y, Agrawal S, Saunders DL, Lon C, Fukuda MM, Ringwald P, Ashley EA et al. 2019. Genomic structure and diversity of Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia reveal recent parasite migration patterns. Nat Commun, 10 (1), pp. 2665. | Show Abstract | Read more

Estimates of Plasmodium falciparum migration may inform strategies for malaria elimination. Here we elucidate fine-scale parasite population structure and infer recent migration across Southeast Asia using identity-by-descent (IBD) approaches based on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms called in 1722 samples from 54 districts. IBD estimates are consistent with isolation-by-distance. We observe greater sharing of larger IBD segments between artemisinin-resistant parasites versus sensitive parasites, which is consistent with the recent spread of drug resistance. Our IBD analyses reveal actionable patterns, including isolated parasite populations, which may be prioritized for malaria elimination, as well as asymmetrical migration identifying potential sources and sinks of migrating parasites.

O'Flaherty K, Ataíde R, Zaloumis SG, Ashley EA, Powell R, Feng G, Reiling L, Dondorp AM, Day NP, Dhorda M et al. 2019. Contribution of Functional Antimalarial Immunity to Measures of Parasite Clearance in Therapeutic Efficacy Studies of Artemisinin Derivatives. J Infect Dis, 220 (7), pp. 1178-1187. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antibodies to the blood stages of malaria parasites enhance parasite clearance and antimalarial efficacy. The antibody subclass and functions that contribute to parasite clearance during antimalarial treatment and their relationship to malaria transmission intensity have not been characterized. METHODS: Levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclasses and C1q fixation in response to Plasmodium falciparum merozoite antigens (erythrocyte-binding antigen [EBA] 175RIII-V, merozoite surface protein 2 [MSP-2], and MSP-142) and opsonic phagocytosis of merozoites were measured in a multinational trial assessing the efficacy of artesunate therapy across 11 Southeast Asian sites. Regression analyses assessed the effects of antibody seropositivity on the parasite clearance half-life (PC½), having a PC½ of ≥5 hours, and having parasitemia 3 days after treatment. RESULTS: IgG3, followed by IgG1, was the predominant IgG subclass detected (seroprevalence range, 5%-35% for IgG1 and 27%-41% for IgG3), varied across study sites, and was lowest in study sites with the lowest transmission intensity and slowest mean PC½. IgG3, C1q fixation, and opsonic-phagocytosis seropositivity were associated with a faster PC½ (range of the mean reduction in PC½, 0.47-1.16 hours; P range, .001-.03) and a reduced odds of having a PC½ of ≥5 hours and having parasitemia 3 days after treatment. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of IgG3, complement-fixing antibodies, and merozoite phagocytosis vary according to transmission intensity, are associated with faster parasite clearance, and may be sensitive surrogates of an augmented clearance capacity of infected erythrocytes. Determining the functional immune mechanisms associated with parasite clearance will improve characterization of artemisinin resistance.

Pell CL, Adhikari B, Myo Thwin M, Kajeechiwa L, Nosten S, Nosten FH, Sahan KM, Smithuis FM, Nguyen T-N, Hien TT et al. 2019. Community engagement, social context and coverage of mass anti-malarial administration: Comparative findings from multi-site research in the Greater Mekong sub-Region. PLoS One, 14 (3), pp. e0214280. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Between 2013 and 2017, targeted malaria elimination (TME), a package of interventions that includes mass drug administration (MDA)-was piloted in communities with reservoirs of asymptomatic P. falciparum across the Greater Mekong sub-Region (GMS). Coverage in target communities is a key determinant of the effectiveness of MDA. Drawing on mixed methods research conducted alongside TME pilot studies, this article examines the impact of the community engagement, local social context and study design on MDA coverage. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Qualitative and quantitative data were collected using questionnaire-based surveys, semi-structured and in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, informal conversations, and observations of study activities. Over 1500 respondents were interviewed in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Interview topics included attitudes to malaria and experiences of MDA. Overall coverage of mass anti-malarial administration was high, particularly participation in at least a single round (85%). Familiarity with and concern about malaria prompted participation in MDA; as did awareness of MDA and familiarity with the aim of eliminating malaria. Fear of adverse events and blood draws discouraged people. Hence, community engagement activities sought to address these concerns but their impact was mediated by the trust relationships that study staff could engender in communities. In contexts of weak healthcare infrastructure and (cash) poverty, communities valued the study's ancillary care and the financial compensation. However, coverage did not necessarily decrease in the absence of cash compensation. Community dynamics, affected by politics, village conformity, and household decision-making also affected coverage. CONCLUSIONS: The experimental nature of TME presented particular challenges to achieving high coverage. Nonetheless, the findings reflect those from studies of MDA under implementation conditions and offer useful guidance for potential regional roll-out of MDA: it is key to understand target communities and provide appropriate information in tailored ways, using community engagement that engenders trust.

von Seidlein L, Peto TJ, Landier J, Nguyen T-N, Tripura R, Phommasone K, Pongvongsa T, Lwin KM, Keereecharoen L, Kajeechiwa L et al. 2019. The impact of targeted malaria elimination with mass drug administrations on falciparum malaria in Southeast Asia: A cluster randomised trial. PLoS Med, 16 (2), pp. e1002745. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) threatens global malaria elimination efforts. Mass drug administration (MDA), the presumptive antimalarial treatment of an entire population to clear the subclinical parasite reservoir, is a strategy to accelerate malaria elimination. We report a cluster randomised trial to assess the effectiveness of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) MDA in reducing falciparum malaria incidence and prevalence in 16 remote village populations in Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Lao People's Democratic Republic, where artemisinin resistance is prevalent. METHODS AND FINDINGS: After establishing vector control and community-based case management and following intensive community engagement, we used restricted randomisation within village pairs to select 8 villages to receive early DP MDA and 8 villages as controls for 12 months, after which the control villages received deferred DP MDA. The MDA comprised 3 monthly rounds of 3 daily doses of DP and, except in Cambodia, a single low dose of primaquine. We conducted exhaustive cross-sectional surveys of the entire population of each village at quarterly intervals using ultrasensitive quantitative PCR to detect Plasmodium infections. The study was conducted between May 2013 and July 2017. The investigators randomised 16 villages that had a total of 8,445 residents at the start of the study. Of these 8,445 residents, 4,135 (49%) residents living in 8 villages, plus an additional 288 newcomers to the villages, were randomised to receive early MDA; 3,790 out of the 4,423 (86%) participated in at least 1 MDA round, and 2,520 out of the 4,423 (57%) participated in all 3 rounds. The primary outcome, P. falciparum prevalence by month 3 (M3), fell by 92% (from 5.1% [171/3,340] to 0.4% [12/2,828]) in early MDA villages and by 29% (from 7.2% [246/3,405] to 5.1% [155/3,057]) in control villages. Over the following 9 months, the P. falciparum prevalence increased to 3.3% (96/2,881) in early MDA villages and to 6.1% (128/2,101) in control villages (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.41 [95% CI 0.20 to 0.84]; p = 0.015). Individual protection was proportional to the number of completed MDA rounds. Of 221 participants with subclinical P. falciparum infections who participated in MDA and could be followed up, 207 (94%) cleared their infections, including 9 of 10 with artemisinin- and piperaquine-resistant infections. The DP MDAs were well tolerated; 6 severe adverse events were detected during the follow-up period, but none was attributable to the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Added to community-based basic malaria control measures, 3 monthly rounds of DP MDA reduced the incidence and prevalence of falciparum malaria over a 1-year period in areas affected by artemisinin resistance. P. falciparum infections returned during the follow-up period as the remaining infections spread and malaria was reintroduced from surrounding areas. Limitations of this study include a relatively small sample of villages, heterogeneity between villages, and mobility of villagers that may have limited the impact of the intervention. These results suggest that, if used as part of a comprehensive, well-organised, and well-resourced elimination programme, DP MDA can be a useful additional tool to accelerate malaria elimination. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01872702.

Bancone G, Menard D, Khim N, Kim S, Canier L, Nguong C, Phommasone K, Mayxay M, Dittrich S, Vongsouvath M et al. 2019. Molecular characterization and mapping of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) mutations in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Malar J, 18 (1), pp. 20. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria elimination can only be achieved by the deployment of 8-aminoquinolines (primaquine and tafenoquine) in combination with ACT to kill both blood and liver-stage parasites. However, primaquine and the other 8-aminoquinolines cause dose-dependent haemolysis in subjects with G6PD deficiency, an X-linked disorder of red blood cells that is very common in populations living in tropical and subtropical areas. In order to inform safer use of 8-aminoquinolines in the Greater Mekong Subregion, a multi-centre study was carried out to assess the prevalence of G6PD deficiency and to identify the main G6PD variants in samples collected in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. METHODS: Blood samples were collected in the five countries during National Malaria Surveys or during Population Surveys. During Population Surveys samples were characterized for G6PD phenotype using the Fluorescent Spot Test. Samples were then genotyped for a panel of G6PD mutations. RESULTS: G6PD deficiency was found to be common in the region with an overall mean prevalence of deficient or mutated hemizygous males of 14.0%, ranging from a mean 7.3% in Thailand, 8.1% in Lao PDR, 8.9% in Vietnam, 15.8% in Myanmar and 18.8% in Cambodia. Mahidol and Viangchan mutations were the most common and widespread variants found among the nine investigated. CONCLUSIONS: Owing to the high prevalence of G6PD deficiency in the Greater Mekong Subregion, strategies for vivax malaria elimination should include point-of-care G6PD testing (both qualitative and quantitative) to allow safe and wide treatment with 8-aminoquinolines.

Llanos-Cuentas A, Lacerda MVG, Hien TT, Vélez ID, Namaik-Larp C, Chu CS, Villegas MF, Val F, Monteiro WM, Brito MAM et al. 2019. Tafenoquine versus Primaquine to Prevent Relapse of Plasmodium vivax Malaria. N Engl J Med, 380 (3), pp. 229-241. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tafenoquine, a single-dose therapy for Plasmodium vivax malaria, has been associated with relapse prevention through the clearance of P. vivax parasitemia and hypnozoites, termed "radical cure." METHODS: We performed a phase 3, prospective, double-blind, double-dummy, randomized, controlled trial to compare tafenoquine with primaquine in terms of safety and efficacy. The trial was conducted at seven hospitals or clinics in Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam, and Thailand and involved patients with normal glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) enzyme activity and female patients with moderate G6PD enzyme deficiency; all patients had confirmed P. vivax parasitemia. The patients were randomly assigned, in a 2:1 ratio, to receive a single 300-mg dose of tafenoquine or 15 mg of primaquine once daily for 14 days (administered under supervision); all patients received a 3-day course of chloroquine and were followed for 180 days. The primary safety outcome was a protocol-defined decrease in the hemoglobin level (>3.0 g per deciliter or ≥30% from baseline or to a level of <6.0 g per deciliter). Freedom from recurrence of P. vivax parasitemia at 6 months was the primary efficacy outcome in a planned patient-level meta-analysis of the current trial and another phase 3 trial of tafenoquine and primaquine (per-protocol populations), and an odds ratio for recurrence of 1.45 (tafenoquine vs. primaquine) was used as a noninferiority margin. RESULTS: A protocol-defined decrease in the hemoglobin level occurred in 4 of 166 patients (2.4%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9 to 6.0) in the tafenoquine group and in 1 of 85 patients (1.2%; 95% CI, 0.2 to 6.4) in the primaquine group, for a between-group difference of 1.2 percentage points (95% CI, -4.2 to 5.0). In the patient-level meta-analysis, the percentage of patients who were free from recurrence at 6 months was 67.0% (95% CI, 61.0 to 72.3) among the 426 patients in the tafenoquine group and 72.8% (95% CI, 65.6 to 78.8) among the 214 patients in the primaquine group. The efficacy of tafenoquine was not shown to be noninferior to that of primaquine (odds ratio for recurrence, 1.81; 95% CI, 0.82 to 3.96). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with normal G6PD enzyme activity, the decline in hemoglobin level with tafenoquine did not differ significantly from that with primaquine. Tafenoquine showed efficacy for the radical cure of P. vivax malaria, although tafenoquine was not shown to be noninferior to primaquine. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline and Medicines for Malaria Venture; GATHER number, NCT02216123 .).

Intharabut B, Kingston HW, Srinamon K, Ashley EA, Imwong M, Dhorda M, Woodrow C, Stepniewska K, Silamut K, Day NPJ et al. 2019. Artemisinin Resistance and Stage Dependency of Parasite Clearance in Falciparum Malaria. J Infect Dis, 219 (9), pp. 1483-1489. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in falciparum malaria is associated with kelch13 propeller mutations, reduced ring stage parasite killing, and, consequently, slow parasite clearance. We assessed how parasite age affects parasite clearance in artemisinin resistance. METHODS: Developmental stages of Plasmodium falciparum parasites on blood films performed at hospital admission and their kelch13 genotypes were assessed for 816 patients enrolled in a multinational clinical trial of artemisinin combination therapy. RESULTS: Early changes in parasitemia level (ie, 0-6 hours after admission) were determined mainly by modal stage of asexual parasite development, whereas the subsequent log-linear decline was determined mainly by kelch13 propeller mutations. Older circulating parasites on admission were associated with more-rapid parasite clearance, particularly in kelch13 mutant infections. The geometric mean parasite clearance half-life decreased by 11.6% (95% CI 3.4%-19.1%) in kelch13 wild-type infections and by 30% (95% CI 17.8%-40.4%) in kelch13 mutant infections as the mean age of circulating parasites rose from 3 to 21 hours. CONCLUSION: Following the start of antimalarial treatment, ongoing parasite sequestration and schizogony both affect initial changes in parasitemia. The greater dependency of parasite clearance half-life on parasite age in artemisinin resistant infections is consistent with ring stage resistance and consequent parasite clearance by sequestration. The stage of parasite development should be incorporated in individual assessments of artemisinin resistance.

Ballard E, Wang CYT, Hien TT, Tong NT, Marquart L, Pava Z, Tarning J, O'Rourke P, McCarthy JS. 2019. A validation study of microscopy versus quantitative PCR for measuring Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia. Trop Med Health, 47 (1), pp. 49. | Show Abstract | Read more

Microscopy and 18S qPCR are the most common and field-friendly methods for quantifying malaria parasite density, and it is important that these methods can be interpreted as giving equivalent results. We compared results of quantitative measurement of Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia by microscopy and by 18S qPCR in a phase 2a study. Microscopy positive samples (n = 355; median 810 parasites/μL [IQR 40-10,471]) showed close agreement with 18S qPCR in mean log10/mL transformed parasitemia values by paired t test (difference 0.04, 95%CI - 0.01-0.10, p = 0.088). Excellent intraclass correlation (0.97) and no evidence of systematic or proportional differences by Passing-Bablok regression were observed. 18S qPCR appears to give equivalent parasitemia values to microscopy, which indicates 18S qPCR is an appropriate alternative method to quantify parasitemia in clinical trials.

Nhan LNT, Hong NTT, Nhu LNT, Nguyet LA, Ny NTH, Thanh TT, Han DDK, Van HMT, Thwaites CL, Hien TT et al. 2018. Severe enterovirus A71 associated hand, foot and mouth disease, Vietnam, 2018: preliminary report of an impending outbreak. Euro Surveill, 23 (46), pp. 10-14. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since January 2018, over 53,000 hospitalisations and six deaths due to hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have occurred across Vietnam with most cases from September onward. In a large tertiary referral hospital, Ho Chi Minh City, enterovirus A71 subgenogroup C4 was predominant, while B5 was only sporadically detected. The re-emergence of C4 after causing a severe HFMD outbreak with > 200 deaths in 2011-12 among susceptible young children raises concern of another impending severe outbreak.

Zhu L, Tripathi J, Rocamora FM, Miotto O, van der Pluijm R, Voss TS, Mok S, Kwiatkowski DP, Nosten F, Day NPJ et al. 2018. The origins of malaria artemisinin resistance defined by a genetic and transcriptomic background. Nat Commun, 9 (1), pp. 5158. | Show Abstract | Read more

The predisposition of parasites acquiring artemisinin resistance still remains unclear beyond the mutations in Pfk13 gene and modulation of the unfolded protein response pathway. To explore the chain of casualty underlying artemisinin resistance, we reanalyze 773 P. falciparum isolates from TRACI-study integrating TWAS, GWAS, and eQTL analyses. We find the majority of P. falciparum parasites are transcriptomically converged within each geographic site with two broader physiological profiles across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). We report 8720 SNP-expression linkages in the eastern GMS parasites and 4537 in the western. The minimal overlap between them suggests differential gene regulatory networks facilitating parasite adaptations to their unique host environments. Finally, we identify two genetic and physiological backgrounds associating with artemisinin resistance in the GMS, together with a farnesyltransferase protein and a thioredoxin-like protein which may act as vital intermediators linking the Pfk13 C580Y mutation to the prolonged parasite clearance time.

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn: E, Hao NV, Thanh TT, Dung NTP, Turner HC, Geskus RB, Wolbers M, Tan LV et al. Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus: A randomized controlled 2x2 factorial trial Wellcome Open Research, 3 pp. 58-58. | Show Abstract | Read more

<ns4:p>Despite long-standing availability of an effective vaccine, tetanus remains a significant problem in many countries. Outcome depends on access to mechanical ventilation and intensive care facilities and in settings where these are limited, mortality remains high. Administration of tetanus antitoxin by the intramuscular route is recommended treatment for tetanus, but as the tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system, it has been suggested that intrathecal administration of antitoxin may be beneficial. Previous studies have indicated benefit, but with the exception of one small trial no blinded studies have been performed.</ns4:p><ns4:p> The objective of this study is to establish whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with tetanus. Secondary objectives: to determine whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces autonomic nervous system dysfunction and length of hospital/ intensive care unit stay; whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin in the treatment of tetanus is safe and cost-effective; to provide data to inform recommendation of human rather than equine antitoxin.</ns4:p><ns4:p> This study will enroll adult patients (≥16 years old) with tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. The study is a 2x2 factorial blinded randomized controlled trial. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1:1 manner to the four treatment arms (intrathecal treatment and human intramuscular treatment, intrathecal treatment and equine intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and human intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and equine intramuscular treatment). Primary outcome measure will be requirement for mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcome measures: duration of hospital/ intensive care unit stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, in-hospital and 240-day mortality and disability, new antibiotic prescription, incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia and autonomic nervous system dysfunction, total dose of benzodiazepines and pipecuronium, and incidence of adverse events.</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Trial registration:</ns4:bold> <ns4:ext-link xmlns:ns3="" ext-link-type="uri" ns3:href="">NCT02999815</ns4:ext-link></ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Registration date: </ns4:bold>21 December 2016</ns4:p>

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn E, Hao NV, Mai NTH, Thuy DB, Duong HTH, Dung NTP, Phu NH, Lieu PT et al. 2018. A Pilot Study to Assess Safety and Feasibility of Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for the Treatment of Adults with Tetanus. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 99 (2), pp. 323-326. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tetanus remains a significant burden in many low- and middle-income countries. The tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system and intrathecal antitoxin administration may be beneficial, but there are safety concerns, especially in resource-limited settings. We performed a pilot study to assess the safety and feasibility of intrathecal human tetanus immunoglobulin in five adults with tetanus before the conduct of a large randomized controlled trial. Intrathecal injection via lumbar puncture was given to all patients within a median 140 (range 100-165) minutes of intensive care unit (ICU) admission. There were no serious adverse effects associated with the procedure although three patients had probably related minor adverse events which resolved spontaneously. Median ICU length of stay was 14 (range 5-17) days. Two patients required mechanical ventilation and one developed a deep vein thrombosis. Within 240 days of hospital discharge, no patients died and all patients returned to work.

Goldlust SM, Thuan PD, Giang DDH, Thang ND, Thwaites GE, Farrar J, Thanh NV, Nguyen TD, Grenfell BT, Boni MF, Hien TT. 2018. The decline of malaria in Vietnam, 1991-2014. Malar J, 17 (1), pp. 226. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Despite the well-documented clinical efficacy of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) against malaria, the population-level effects of ACT have not been studied thoroughly until recently. An ideal case study for these population-level effects can be found in Vietnam's gradual adoption of artemisinin in the 1990s. METHODS AND RESULTS: Analysis of Vietnam's national annual malaria reports (1991-2014) revealed that a 10% increase in artemisinin procurement corresponded to a 32.8% (95% CI 27.7-37.5%) decline in estimated malaria cases. There was no consistent national or regional effect of vector control on malaria. The association between urbanization and malaria was generally negative and sometimes statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: The decline of malaria in Vietnam can largely be attributed to the adoption of artemisinin-based case management. Recent analyses from Africa showed that insecticide-treated nets had the greatest effect on lowering malaria prevalence, suggesting that the success of interventions is region-specific. Continuing malaria elimination efforts should focus on both vector control and increased access to ACT.

Loan HT, Yen LM, Kestelyn E, Hao NV, Thanh TT, Dung NTP, Turner HC, Geskus RB, Wolbers M, Tan LV et al. 2018. Intrathecal Immunoglobulin for treatment of adult patients with tetanus: A randomized controlled 2x2 factorial trial. Wellcome Open Res, 3 pp. 58. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite long-standing availability of an effective vaccine, tetanus remains a significant problem in many countries. Outcome depends on access to mechanical ventilation and intensive care facilities and in settings where these are limited, mortality remains high. Administration of tetanus antitoxin by the intramuscular route is recommended treatment for tetanus, but as the tetanus toxin acts within the central nervous system, it has been suggested that intrathecal administration of antitoxin may be beneficial. Previous studies have indicated benefit, but with the exception of one small trial no blinded studies have been performed. The objective of this study is to establish whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces the need for mechanical ventilation in patients with tetanus. Secondary objectives: to determine whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin reduces autonomic nervous system dysfunction and length of hospital/ intensive care unit stay; whether the addition of intrathecal tetanus antitoxin in the treatment of tetanus is safe and cost-effective; to provide data to inform recommendation of human rather than equine antitoxin. This study will enroll adult patients (≥16 years old) with tetanus admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. The study is a 2x2 factorial blinded randomized controlled trial. Eligible patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1:1 manner to the four treatment arms (intrathecal treatment and human intramuscular treatment, intrathecal treatment and equine intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and human intramuscular treatment, sham procedure and equine intramuscular treatment). Primary outcome measure will be requirement for mechanical ventilation. Secondary outcome measures: duration of hospital/ intensive care unit stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, in-hospital and 240-day mortality and disability, new antibiotic prescription, incidence of ventilator associated pneumonia and autonomic nervous system dysfunction, total dose of benzodiazepines and pipecuronium, and incidence of adverse events. Trial registration: NCT02999815 Registration date: 21 December 2016.

Donovan J, Phu NH, Mai NTH, Dung LT, Imran D, Burhan E, Ngoc LHB, Bang ND, Giang DC, Ha DTM et al. Adjunctive dexamethasone for the treatment of HIV-infected adults with tuberculous meningitis (ACT HIV): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial Wellcome Open Research, 3 pp. 31-31. | Show Abstract | Read more

<ns4:p><ns4:bold>Background: </ns4:bold>Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of tuberculosis. Co-infection with HIV increases the risk of developing TBM, complicates treatment, and substantially worsens outcome. Whether corticosteroids confer a survival benefit in HIV-infected patients with TBM remains uncertain. Hepatitis is the most common drug-induced serious adverse event associated with anti-tuberculosis treatment, occurring in 20% of HIV-infected patients. The suggested concentration thresholds for stopping anti-tuberculosis drugs are not evidence-based. This study aims to determine whether dexamethasone is a safe and effective addition to the first 6-8 weeks of anti-tuberculosis treatment of TBM in patients with HIV, and investigate alternative management strategies in a subset of patients who develop drug induced liver injury (DILI) that will enable the safe continuation of rifampicin and isoniazid therapy. </ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Methods: </ns4:bold>We will perform a parallel group, randomised (1:1), double blind, placebo-controlled multi-centre Phase III trial, comparing the effect of dexamethasone versus placebo on overall survival in HIV-infected patients with TBM, in addition to standard anti-tuberculosis and antiretroviral treatment. The trial will be set in two hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and two hospitals in Jakarta, Indonesia. The trial will enrol 520 HIV-infected adults. An ancillary study will perform a randomised comparison of three DILI management strategies with the aim of demonstrating which strategy results in the least interruption in rifampicin and isoniazid treatment. An identical ancillary study will also be performed in the linked randomised controlled trial of dexamethasone in HIV-uninfected adults with TBM stratified by LTA4H genotype (LAST ACT). </ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Discussion: </ns4:bold>Whether corticosteroids confer a survival benefit in HIV-infected patients remains uncertain, and the current evidence base for using corticosteroids in this context is limited. Interruptions in anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy is a risk factor for death from TBM. Alternative management strategies in DILI may allow the safe continuation of rifampicin and isoniazid therapy.</ns4:p>

Thi Ty Hang V, Thi Han Ny N, My Phuc T, Thi Thanh Tam P, Thao Huong D, Dang Trung Nghia H, Tran Anh Vu N, Thi Hong Phuong P, Van Xang N, Dong N et al. 2017. Evaluation of the Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2 assay for detection of multiple respiratory viral pathogens in nasal and throat swabs in Vietnam. Wellcome Open Res, 2 pp. 80. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are among the leading causes of hospitalization in children ≤5 years old. Rapid diagnostics of viral pathogens is essential to avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatment, thereby slowing down antibiotic-resistance. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of the Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2 against viral specific PCR as reference assays for ARI in Vietnam. METHODS: Four hundred and forty two nose and throat swabs were collected in viral transport medium, and were tested with Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2. Multiplex RT-PCR and single RT-PCR were used as references.    Results: Overall, viral pathogens were detected in a total count of 270/294 (91.8%, 95% CI 88.1-94.7) by the Luminex among reference assays, whilst 112/6336 (1.8%, 95% CI, 1.4-2.1) of pathogens were detected by the Luminex, but not by reference assays. Frequency of pathogens detected by Luminex and reference assays was 379 and 292, respectively. The diagnostic yield was 66.7% (295/442, 95%CI 62.1-71.1%) for the Luminex assay and 54.1% (239/442, 95% CI, 49.3-58.8%) for reference assays. The Luminex kit had higher yields for all viruses except influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and human bocavirus. High agreements between both methods [mean (range): 0.91 (0.83-1.00)] were found for 10/15 viral agents. CONCLUSIONS: The Luminex assay is a high throughput multiplex platform for rapid detection of common viral pathogens causing ARI. Although the current high cost may prevent Luminex assays from being widely used, especially in limited resource settings where ARI are felt most, its introduction in clinical diagnostics may help reduce unnecessary use of antibiotic prescription.

Nguyen T-N, von Seidlein L, Nguyen T-V, Truong P-N, Hung SD, Pham H-T, Nguyen T-U, Le TD, Dao VH, Mukaka M et al. 2018. The persistence and oscillations of submicroscopic Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections over time in Vietnam: an open cohort study. Lancet Infect Dis, 18 (5), pp. 565-572. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A substantial proportion of Plasmodium species infections are asymptomatic with densities too low to be detectable with standard diagnostic techniques. The importance of such asymptomatic plasmodium infections in malaria transmission is probably related to their duration and density. To explore the duration of asymptomatic plasmodium infections and changes in parasite densities over time, a cohort of participants who were infected with Plasmodium parasites was observed over a 2-year follow-up period. METHODS: In this open cohort study, inhabitants of four villages in Vietnam were invited to participate in baseline and subsequent 3-monthly surveys up to 24 months, which included the collection of venous blood samples. Samples were batch-screened using ultra-sensitive (u)PCR (lower limit of detection of 22 parasites per mL). Participants found to be infected by uPCR during any of these surveys were invited to join a prospective cohort and provide monthly blood samples. We estimated the persistence of Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections and changes in parasite densities over a study period of 24 months. FINDINGS: Between Dec 1, 2013, and Jan 8, 2016, 356 villagers participated in between one and 22 surveys. These study participants underwent 4248 uPCR evaluations (11·9 tests per participant). 1874 (32%) of 4248 uPCR tests indicated a plasmodium infection; 679 (36%) of 1874 tests were P falciparum monoinfections, 507 (27%) were P vivax monoinfections, 463 (25%) were co-infections with P falciparum and P vivax, and 225 (12%) were indeterminate species of Plasmodium. The median duration of P falciparum infection was 2 months (IQR 1-3); after accounting for censoring, participants had a 20% chance of having parasitaemia for 4 months or longer. The median duration of P vivax infection was 6 months (3-9), and participants had a 59% chance of having parasitaemia for 4 months or longer. The parasite densities of persistent infections oscillated; following ultralow-density infections, high-density infections developed frequently. INTERPRETATION: Persistent largely asymptomatic P vivax and P falciparum infections are common in this area of low seasonal malaria transmission. Infections with low-density parasitaemias can develop into much higher density infections at a later time, which are likely to sustain malaria endemicity. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Donovan J, Phu NH, Mai NTH, Dung LT, Imran D, Burhan E, Ngoc LHB, Bang ND, Giang DC, Ha DTM et al. 2018. Adjunctive dexamethasone for the treatment of HIV-infected adults with tuberculous meningitis (ACT HIV): Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Wellcome Open Res, 3 pp. 31. | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most severe form of tuberculosis. Co-infection with HIV increases the risk of developing TBM, complicates treatment, and substantially worsens outcome. Whether corticosteroids confer a survival benefit in HIV-infected patients with TBM remains uncertain. Hepatitis is the most common drug-induced serious adverse event associated with anti-tuberculosis treatment, occurring in 20% of HIV-infected patients. The suggested concentration thresholds for stopping anti-tuberculosis drugs are not evidence-based. This study aims to determine whether dexamethasone is a safe and effective addition to the first 6-8 weeks of anti-tuberculosis treatment of TBM in patients with HIV, and investigate alternative management strategies in a subset of patients who develop drug induced liver injury (DILI) that will enable the safe continuation of rifampicin and isoniazid therapy.  Methods: We will perform a parallel group, randomised (1:1), double blind, placebo-controlled multi-centre Phase III trial, comparing the effect of dexamethasone versus placebo on overall survival in HIV-infected patients with TBM, in addition to standard anti-tuberculosis and antiretroviral treatment. The trial will be set in two hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and two hospitals in Jakarta, Indonesia. The trial will enrol 520 HIV-infected adults. An ancillary study will perform a randomised comparison of three DILI management strategies with the aim of demonstrating which strategy results in the least interruption in rifampicin and isoniazid treatment. An identical ancillary study will also be performed in the linked randomised controlled trial of dexamethasone in HIV-uninfected adults with TBM stratified by LTA4H genotype (LAST ACT).  Discussion: Whether corticosteroids confer a survival benefit in HIV-infected patients remains uncertain, and the current evidence base for using corticosteroids in this context is limited. Interruptions in anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy is a risk factor for death from TBM. Alternative management strategies in DILI may allow the safe continuation of rifampicin and isoniazid therapy.

Son DH, Thuy-Nhien N, von Seidlein L, Le Phuc-Nhi T, Phu NT, Tuyen NTK, Tran NH, Van Dung N, Van Quan B, Day NPJ et al. 2017. The prevalence, incidence and prevention of Plasmodium falciparum infections in forest rangers in Bu Gia Map National Park, Binh Phuoc province, Vietnam: a pilot study. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 444. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Prophylaxis for high-risk populations, such as forest workers, could be one component for malaria elimination in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. A study was conducted to assess the malaria incidence in forest rangers and the feasibility of malaria prophylaxis for rangers sleeping in forest camps. METHODS: Forest rangers deployed in the Bu Gia Map National Park, Vietnam were invited to participate in the study. Plasmodium infections were cleared using presumptive treatment, irrespective of malaria status, with a 3-day course dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine (DP) and a 14-day course of primaquine. Before returning to the forest, study participants were randomly allocated to a 3-day course of DP or placebo. Fifteen days after returning from their forest deployment the participants were tested for Plasmodium infections using uPCR. RESULTS: Prior to treatment, 30 of 150 study participants (20%) were found to be infected with Plasmodium. Seventeen days (median) after enrolment the rangers were randomized to DP or placebo 2 days before returning to forest camps where they stayed between 2 and 20 days (median 9.5 days). One ranger in the DP-prophylaxis arm and one in the placebo arm were found to be infected with Plasmodium falciparum 15 days (median) after returning from the forest. The evaluable P. falciparum isolates had molecular markers indicating resistance to artemisinins (K13-C580Y) and piperaquine (plasmepsin), but none had multiple copies of pfmdr1 associated with mefloquine resistance. CONCLUSION: Anti-malarial prophylaxis in forest rangers is feasible. The findings of the study highlight the threat of multidrug-resistant malaria. Trial registration NCT02788864.

Imwong M, Hien TT, Thuy-Nhien NT, Dondorp AM, White NJ. 2017. Spread of a single multidrug resistant malaria parasite lineage (PfPailin) to Vietnam. Lancet Infect Dis, 17 (10), pp. 1022-1023. | Read more

Thi Ty Hang V, Thi Han Ny N, My Phuc T, Thi Thanh Tam P, Thao Huong D, Dang Trung Nghia H, Tran Anh Vu N, Thi Hong Phuong P, Van Xang N, Dong N et al. Evaluation of the Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2 assay for detection of multiple respiratory viral pathogens in nasal and throat swabs in Vietnam Wellcome Open Research, 2 pp. 80-80. | Show Abstract | Read more

<ns4:p><ns4:bold>Background</ns4:bold>: Acute respiratory infections (ARI) are among the leading causes of hospitalization in children ≤5 years old. Rapid diagnostics of viral pathogens is essential to avoid unnecessary antibiotic treatment, thereby slowing down antibiotic-resistance. We evaluated the diagnostic performance of the Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2 against viral specific PCR as reference assays for ARI in Vietnam.</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Methods</ns4:bold>: Four hundred and forty two nose and throat swabs were collected in viral transport medium, and were tested with Luminex xTAG Respiratory Viral Panel FAST v2. Multiplex RT-PCR and single RT-PCR were used as references.   </ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Results</ns4:bold>: Overall, sensitivity of the Luminex against reference assays was 91.8%, 95% CI 88.1-94.7 (270/294), whilst 112/6336 (1.8%, 95% CI, 1.4-2.1) of pathogens were detected by the Luminex, but not by reference assays. Frequency of pathogens detected by Luminex and reference assays was 379 and 292, respectively. The diagnostic yield was 66.7% (295/442, 95%CI 62.1-71.1%) for the Luminex assay and 54.1% (239/442, 95% CI, 49.3-58.8%) for reference assays. The Luminex kit had higher yields for all viruses except influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and human bocavirus. High agreements between both methods [mean (range): 0.91 (0.83-1.00)] were found for 10/15 viral agents.</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Conclusions</ns4:bold>: The Luminex assay is a high throughput multiplex platform for rapid detection of common viral pathogens causing ARI. Although the current high cost may prevent Luminex assays from being widely used, especially in limited resource settings where ARI are felt most, its introduction in clinical diagnostics may help reduce unnecessary use of antibiotic prescription.</ns4:p>

Van Toi P, Pouplin T, Tho NDK, Phuong PN, Chau TTH, Thuong Thuong NT, Heemskerk D, Hien TT, Thwaites GE. 2017. High-performance liquid chromatography with time-programmed fluorescence detection for the quantification of Levofloxacin in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci, 1061-1062 pp. 256-262. | Show Abstract | Read more

An accurate and reliable high-performance liquid chromatography with time-programmed fluorescence detection was developed and validated to measure levofloxacin in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). After solid phase extraction process using Evolute® ABN 96 fixed well plate; levofloxacin and internal standard-enoxacin were separated using a mobile phase consisting of phosphate buffer 10mM with 0.025% triethylamine pH 3.0 - acetonitrile (88:12, v/v) on a Purosphere RP-8e column (5μm, 125×4.0mm) at a flow rate of 1.2mL/min at 35°C. The excitation/emission wavelengths were set to 269/400nm and 294/500nm, for enoxacin and levofloxacin, respectively. The method was linear over the concentration range of 0.02 to 20.0μg/mL with a limit of detection of 0.01μg/mL. The relative standard deviation of intra-assay and inter-assay precision for levofloxacin at four quality controls concentrations (0.02, 0.06, 3.0 and 15.0μg/mL) were less than 7% and the accuracies ranged from 96.75% to 101.9% in plasma, and from 93.00% to 98.67% in CSF. The validated method was successfully applied to quantify levofloxacin in a considerable quantity of plasma (826) and CSF (477) samples collected from 232 tuberculous meningitis patients, and the preliminary intensive pharmacokinetics analysis from 14 tuberculous meningitis patients in Vietnam is described in this paper.

Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NK, Tong NT, Vy NT, Thanh NV, Van HT, Huong-Thu P, Quang HH, Boni MF, Dolecek C et al. 2017. K13 Propeller Mutations in Plasmodium falciparum Populations in Regions of Malaria Endemicity in Vietnam from 2009 to 2016. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 61 (4), | Show Abstract | Read more

The spread of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum compromises the therapeutic efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) and is considered the greatest threat to current global initiatives to control and eliminate malaria. This is particularly relevant in Vietnam, where dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is the recommended ACT for P. falciparum infection. The propeller domain gene of K13, a molecular marker of artemisinin resistance, was successfully sequenced in 1,060 P. falciparum isolates collected at 3 malaria hot spots in Vietnam between 2009 and 2016. Eight K13 propeller mutations (Thr474Ile, Tyr493His, Arg539Thr, Ile543Thr, Pro553Leu, Val568Gly, Pro574Leu, and Cys580Tyr), including several that have been validated to be artemisinin resistance markers, were found. The prevalences of K13 mutations were 29% (222/767), 6% (11/188), and 43% (45/105) in the Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan, and Gia Lai Provinces of Vietnam, respectively. Cys580Tyr became the dominant genotype in recent years, with 79.1% (34/43) of isolates in Binh Phuoc Province and 63% (17/27) of isolates in Gia Lai Province carrying this mutation. K13 mutations were associated with reduced ring-stage susceptibility to dihydroartemisinin (DHA) in vitro and prolonged parasite clearance in vivo An analysis of haplotypes flanking K13 suggested the presence of multiple strains with the Cys580Tyr mutation rather than a single strain expanding across the three sites.

Ataide R, Ashley EA, Powell R, Chan J-A, Malloy MJ, O'Flaherty K, Takashima E, Langer C, Tsuboi T, Dondorp AM et al. 2017. Host immunity to Plasmodium falciparum and the assessment of emerging artemisinin resistance in a multinational cohort. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114 (13), pp. 3515-3520. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin-resistant falciparum malaria, defined by a slow-clearance phenotype and the presence of kelch13 mutants, has emerged in the Greater Mekong Subregion. Naturally acquired immunity to malaria clears parasites independent of antimalarial drugs. We hypothesized that between- and within-population variations in host immunity influence parasite clearance after artemisinin treatment and the interpretation of emerging artemisinin resistance. Antibodies specific to 12 Plasmodium falciparum sporozoite and blood-stage antigens were determined in 959 patients (from 11 sites in Southeast Asia) participating in a multinational cohort study assessing parasite clearance half-life (PCt1/2) after artesunate treatment and kelch13 mutations. Linear mixed-effects modeling of pooled individual patient data assessed the association between antibody responses and PCt1/2.P. falciparum antibodies were lowest in areas where the prevalence of kelch13 mutations and slow PCt1/2 were highest [Spearman ρ = -0.90 (95% confidence interval, -0.97, -0.65), and Spearman ρ = -0.94 (95% confidence interval, -0.98, -0.77), respectively]. P. falciparum antibodies were associated with faster PCt1/2 (mean difference in PCt1/2 according to seropositivity, -0.16 to -0.65 h, depending on antigen); antibodies have a greater effect on the clearance of kelch13 mutant compared with wild-type parasites (mean difference in PCt1/2 according to seropositivity, -0.22 to -0.61 h faster in kelch13 mutants compared with wild-type parasites). Naturally acquired immunity accelerates the clearance of artemisinin-resistant parasites in patients with falciparum malaria and may confound the current working definition of artemisinin resistance. Immunity may also play an important role in the emergence and transmission potential of artemisinin-resistant parasites.

McBride A, Chau TTH, Hong NTT, Mai NTH, Anh NT, Thanh TT, Van TTH, Xuan LT, Sieu TPM, Thai LH et al. 2017. Angiostrongylus cantonensis Is an Important Cause of Eosinophilic Meningitis in Southern Vietnam. Clin Infect Dis, 64 (12), pp. 1784-1787. | Show Abstract | Read more

We utilized polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to demonstrate that Angiostrongylus cantonensis was responsible for 67.3% of 55 cases of eosinophilic meningitis from a cohort of 1,690 adult patients with CNS infection at a tertiary hospital in southern Vietnam. Longer duration of illness, depressed consciousness, and peripheral blood eosinophilia were associated with PCR positivity.

Török ME, Aljayyoussi G, Waterhouse D, Chau T, Mai N, Phu NH, Hien TT, Hope W, Farrar JJ, Ward SA. 2018. Suboptimal Exposure to Anti-TB Drugs in a TBM/HIV+ Population Is Not Related to Antiretroviral Therapy. Clin Pharmacol Ther, 103 (3), pp. 449-457. | Show Abstract | Read more

A placebo-controlled trial that compares the outcomes of immediate vs. deferred initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV +ve tuberculous meningitis (TBM) patients was conducted in Vietnam in 2011. Here, the pharmacokinetics of rifampicin, isoniazid, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol were investigated in the presence and absence of anti-HIV treatment in 85 patients. Pharmacokinetic analyses show that HIV therapy has no significant impact on the pharmacokinetics of TB drugs in this cohort. The same population, however, displayed generally low cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and systemic exposures to rifampicin compared to previously reported HIV -ve cohorts. Elevated CSF concentrations of pyrazinamide, on the other hand, were strongly and independently correlated with increased mortality and neurological toxicity. The findings suggest that the current standard dosing regimens may put the patient at risk of treatment failure from suboptimal rifampicin exposure, and potentially increasing the risk of adverse central nervous system events that are independently correlated with pyrazinamide CSF exposure.

Thanh NV, Thuy-Nhien N, Tuyen NTK, Tong NT, Nha-Ca NT, Dong LT, Quang HH, Farrar J, Thwaites G, White NJ et al. 2017. Rapid decline in the susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine in the south of Vietnam. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 27. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in the countries of the Greater Mekong sub-region posing a serious threat to global malaria elimination efforts. The relationship of artemisinin resistance to treatment failure has been unclear. METHODS: In annual studies conducted in three malaria endemic provinces in the south of Vietnam (Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan and Gia Lai) between 2011 and 2015, 489 patients with uncomplicated P. falciparum malaria were enrolled in detailed clinical, parasitological and molecular therapeutic response assessments with 42 days follow up. Patients received the national recommended first-line treatment dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine for three days. RESULTS: Over the 5 years the proportion of patients with detectable parasitaemia on day 3 rose steadily from 38 to 57% (P < 0.001). In Binh Phuoc province, the parasite clearance half-life increased from 3.75 h in 2011 to 6.60 h in 2015 (P < 0.001), while treatment failures rose from 0% in 2012 and 2013, to 7% in 2014 and 26% in 2015 (P < 0.001). Recrudescence was associated with in vitro evidence of artemisinin and piperaquine resistance. In the treatment failures cases of 2015, all 14 parasite isolates carried the C580Y Pfkelch 13 gene, marker of artemisinin resistance and 93% (13/14) of them carried exoE415G mutations, markers of piperaquine resistance. CONCLUSIONS: In the south of Vietnam recent emergence of piperaquine resistant P. falciparum strains has accelerated the reduced response to artemisinin and has led to treatment failure rates of up to 26% to dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, Vietnam's current first-line ACT. Alternative treatments are urgently needed.

Clarke GM, Rockett K, Kivinen K, Hubbart C, Jeffreys AE, Rowlands K, Jallow M, Conway DJ, Bojang KA, Pinder M et al. 2017. Characterisation of the opposing effects of G6PD deficiency on cerebral malaria and severe malarial anaemia. Elife, 6 | Show Abstract | Read more

Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is believed to confer protection against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, but the precise nature of the protective effecthas proved difficult to define as G6PD deficiency has multiple allelic variants with different effects in males and females, and it has heterogeneous effects on the clinical outcome of P. falciparum infection. Here we report an analysis of multiple allelic forms of G6PD deficiency in a large multi-centre case-control study of severe malaria, using the WHO classification of G6PD mutations to estimate each individual's level of enzyme activity from their genotype. Aggregated across all genotypes, we find that increasing levels of G6PD deficiency are associated with decreasing risk of cerebral malaria, but with increased risk of severe malarial anaemia. Models of balancing selection based on these findings indicate that an evolutionary trade-off between different clinical outcomes of P. falciparum infection could have been a major cause of the high levels of G6PD polymorphism seen in human populations.

Nguyen T-N, Thu PNH, Hung NT, Son DH, Tien NT, Van Dung N, Quang HH, Seidlein LV, Cheah PY, Dondorp AM et al. 2017. Community perceptions of targeted anti-malarial mass drug administrations in two provinces in Vietnam: a quantitative survey. Malar J, 16 (1), pp. 17. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: As part of a targeted malaria elimination project, mass drug administrations (MDAs) were conducted in Vietnam. The impact of MDAs on malaria transmission depends largely on the efficacy of the anti-malarial drug regimen, the malaria epidemiology in the site and the population coverage. To explore why some people participate in MDAs and others do not, a quantitative survey of the villagers' perceptions was undertaken in Vietnam. METHODS: In 2013/2014 MDAs were conducted in a village in Binh Phuoc province and a village in Ninh Thuan province. Within three months of the drug administration, 59 respondents in a village in Binh Phuoc and 79 respondents in a village in Ninh Thuan were randomly selected and interviewed. RESULTS: Comprehension of the purpose of the intervention was of paramount importance for participation in the intervention. Respondents aware that the intervention aims to protect against malaria were significantly more likely to participate than respondents who were unaware of the MDA's purpose. Secondly, how and by whom villagers were informed was critical for participation. There was a strong association between sensitization by an informant such as a member of the local health team with participation in the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests several approaches to increase participation in mass drug administration campaigns. Training trustworthy informants to sensitize the study population is critical to maximize village participation in this setting. To achieve high coverage the entire community must understand and agree with the intervention.

Jeeyapant A, Kingston HW, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Hanson J, Herdman MT, Leopold SJ, Ngernseng T, Charunwatthana P, Phu NH et al. 2017. Defining Surrogate Endpoints for Clinical Trials in Severe Falciparum Malaria. PLoS One, 12 (1), pp. e0169307. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials in severe falciparum malaria require a large sample size to detect clinically meaningful differences in mortality. This means few interventions can be evaluated at any time. Using a validated surrogate endpoint for mortality would provide a useful alternative allowing a smaller sample size. Here we evaluate changes in coma score and plasma lactate as surrogate endpoints for mortality in severe falciparum malaria. METHODS: Three datasets of clinical studies in severe malaria were re-evaluated: studies from Chittagong, Bangladesh (adults), the African 'AQUAMAT' trial comparing artesunate and quinine (children), and the Vietnamese 'AQ' study (adults) comparing artemether with quinine. The absolute change, relative change, slope of the normalization over time, and time to normalization were derived from sequential measurements of plasma lactate and coma score, and validated for their use as surrogate endpoint, including the proportion of treatment effect on mortality explained (PTE) by these surrogate measures. RESULTS: Improvements in lactate concentration or coma scores over the first 24 hours of admission, were strongly prognostic for survival in all datasets. In hyperlactataemic patients in the AQ study (n = 173), lower mortality with artemether compared to quinine closely correlated with faster reduction in plasma lactate concentration, with a high PTE of the relative change in plasma lactate at 8 and 12 hours of 0.81 and 0.75, respectively. In paediatric patients enrolled in the 'AQUAMAT' study with cerebral malaria (n = 785), mortality was lower with artesunate compared to quinine, but this was not associated with faster coma recovery. CONCLUSIONS: The relative changes in plasma lactate concentration assessed at 8 or 12 hours after admission are valid surrogate endpoints for severe malaria studies on antimalarial drugs or adjuvant treatments aiming at improving the microcirculation. Measures of coma recovery are not valid surrogate endpoints for mortality.

Hien TT, White NJ, Thuy-Nhien NT, Hoa NT, Thuan PD, Tarning J, Nosten F, Magnusson B, Jain JP, Hamed K. 2017. Estimation of the In Vivo MIC of Cipargamin in Uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum Malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 61 (2), pp. AAC.01940-16. | Show Abstract | Read more

The MIC of an antimalarial drug for a particular infection is the drug level associated with a net parasite multiplication rate of one per asexual cycle. To ensure the cure of malaria, the MIC must be exceeded until all parasites have been eliminated. The development of highly sensitive and accurate PCR quantitation of low-density malaria parasitemia enables the prospective pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) characterization of antimalarial drug effects and now allows identification of the in vivo MIC. An adaptive design and a PK-PD modeling approach were used to determine prospectively the MIC of the new antimalarial cipargamin (KAE609) in adults with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in an open-label, dose-ranging phase 2a study. Vietnamese adults with acute P. falciparum malaria were allocated sequentially to treatment with a single 30-mg (n = 6), 20-mg (n = 5), 10-mg (n = 7), or 15-mg (n = 7) dose of cipargamin. Artemisinin-based combination therapy was given after parasite densities had fallen and then risen as cipargamin levels declined below the MIC but before a return of signs or symptoms. The rates of parasite clearance were dose dependent, with near saturation of the effect being seen at an adult dose of 30 mg. The developed PK-PD model accurately predicted the therapeutic responses in 23/25 patients. The predicted median in vivo MIC was 0.126 ng/ml (range, 0.038 to 0.803 ng/ml). Pharmacometric characterization of the relationship between antimalarial drug concentrations and parasite clearance rates following graded subtherapeutic antimalarial drug dosing is safe and provides a rational framework for dose finding in antimalarial drug development. (This study has been registered at under identifier NCT01836458.).

Grist EPM, Flegg JA, Humphreys G, Mas IS, Anderson TJC, Ashley EA, Day NPJ, Dhorda M, Dondorp AM, Faiz MA et al. 2016. Optimal health and disease management using spatial uncertainty: a geographic characterization of emergent artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum distributions in Southeast Asia. Int J Health Geogr, 15 (1), pp. 37. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites are now present across much of mainland Southeast Asia, where ongoing surveys are measuring and mapping their spatial distribution. These efforts require substantial resources. Here we propose a generic 'smart surveillance' methodology to identify optimal candidate sites for future sampling and thus map the distribution of artemisinin resistance most efficiently. METHODS: The approach uses the 'uncertainty' map generated iteratively by a geostatistical model to determine optimal locations for subsequent sampling. RESULTS: The methodology is illustrated using recent data on the prevalence of the K13-propeller polymorphism (a genetic marker of artemisinin resistance) in the Greater Mekong Subregion. CONCLUSION: This methodology, which has broader application to geostatistical mapping in general, could improve the quality and efficiency of drug resistance mapping and thereby guide practical operations to eliminate malaria in affected areas.

Van Pham T, Pham Nguyen P, Nguyen Duc Khanh T, Nguyen Thanh Thuy N, Nguyen Thuy Nha C, Pouplin T, Farrar J, Thwaites GE, Tran Tinh H. 2016. An HPLC method with diode array detector for the simultaneous quantification of chloroquine and desethylchloroquine in plasma and whole blood samples from Plasmodium vivax patients in Vietnam, using quinine as an internal standard. Biomed Chromatogr, 30 (7), pp. 1104-1111. | Show Abstract | Read more

A sensitive, simple method for quantification of chloroquine (CQ) and desethylchloroquine (MCQ) in whole blood and plasma from Plasmodium vivax patients has been developed using HPLC with diode array detection (DAD). Solid-phase extraction on Isolute-96-CBA was employed to process 100 μL of plasma/whole blood samples. CQ, MCQ and quinine were separated using a mobile phase of phosphate buffer 25 mm, pH 2.60-acetonitrile (88:12, v/v) with 2 mm sodium perchlorate on a Zorbax SB-CN 150 × 4.6 mm, 5 μm column at a flow rate of 1.2 mL/min, at ambient temperature in 10 min, with the DAD wavelength of 343 nm. The method was linear over the range of 10-5000 ng/mL for both CQ and MCQ in plasma and whole blood. The limit of detection was 4 ng/mL and limit of quantification was 10 ng/mL in both plasma and blood for CQ and MCQ. The intra-, inter- and total assay precision were <10% for CQ and MCQ in plasma and whole blood. In plasma, the accuracies varied between 101 and 103%, whereas in whole blood, the accuracies ranged from 97.0 to 102% for CQ and MCQ. The method is an ideal technique with simple facilities and instruments, bringing about good separation in comparison with previous methods. © 2016 The Authors Biomedical Chromatography Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Pearson RD, Amato R, Auburn S, Miotto O, Almagro-Garcia J, Amaratunga C, Suon S, Mao S, Noviyanti R, Trimarsanto H et al. 2016. Genomic analysis of local variation and recent evolution in Plasmodium vivax. Nat Genet, 48 (8), pp. 959-964. | Show Abstract | Read more

The widespread distribution and relapsing nature of Plasmodium vivax infection present major challenges for the elimination of malaria. To characterize the genetic diversity of this parasite in individual infections and across the population, we performed deep genome sequencing of >200 clinical samples collected across the Asia-Pacific region and analyzed data on >300,000 SNPs and nine regions of the genome with large copy number variations. Individual infections showed complex patterns of genetic structure, with variation not only in the number of dominant clones but also in their level of relatedness and inbreeding. At the population level, we observed strong signals of recent evolutionary selection both in known drug resistance genes and at new loci, and these varied markedly between geographical locations. These findings demonstrate a dynamic landscape of local evolutionary adaptation in the parasite population and provide a foundation for genomic surveillance to guide effective strategies for control and elimination of P. vivax.

Thuan PD, Ca NTN, Van Toi P, Nhien NTT, Thanh NV, Anh ND, Phu NH, Thai CQ, Thai LH, Hoa NT et al. 2016. A Randomized Comparison of Chloroquine Versus Dihydroartemisinin-Piperaquine for the Treatment of Plasmodium vivax Infection in Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 94 (4), pp. 879-885. | Show Abstract | Read more

A total of 128 Vietnamese patients with symptomatic Plasmodium vivax mono-infections were enrolled in a prospective, open-label, randomized trial to receive either chloroquine or dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ). The proportions of patients with adequate clinical and parasitological responses were 47% in the chloroquine arm (31 of 65 patients) and 66% in the DHA-PPQ arm (42 of 63 patients) in the Kaplan-Meier intention-to-treat analysis (absolute difference 19%, 95% confidence interval = 0-37%), thus establishing non-inferiority of DHA-PPQ. Fever clearance time (median 24 versus 12 hours,P= 0.02), parasite clearance time (median 36 versus 18 hours,P< 0.001), and parasite clearance half-life (mean 3.98 versus 1.80 hours,P< 0.001) were all significantly shorter in the DHA-PPQ arm. All cases of recurrent parasitemia in the chloroquine arm occurred from day 33 onward, with corresponding whole blood chloroquine concentration lower than 100 ng/mL in all patients. Chloroquine thus remains efficacious for the treatment of P. vivax malaria in southern Vietnam, but DHA-PPQ provides more rapid symptomatic and parasitological recovery.

MalariaGEN Plasmodium falciparum Community Project. 2016. Genomic epidemiology of artemisinin resistant malaria. Elife, 5 (MARCH2016), | Show Abstract | Read more

The current epidemic of artemisinin resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia is the result of a soft selective sweep involving at least 20 independent kelch13 mutations. In a large global survey, we find that kelch13 mutations which cause resistance in Southeast Asia are present at low frequency in Africa. We show that African kelch13 mutations have originated locally, and that kelch13 shows a normal variation pattern relative to other genes in Africa, whereas in Southeast Asia there is a great excess of non-synonymous mutations, many of which cause radical amino-acid changes. Thus, kelch13 is not currently undergoing strong selection in Africa, despite a deep reservoir of variations that could potentially allow resistance to emerge rapidly. The practical implications are that public health surveillance for artemisinin resistance should not rely on kelch13 data alone, and interventions to prevent resistance must account for local evolutionary conditions, shown by genomic epidemiology to differ greatly between geographical regions.

Birgersson S, Van Toi P, Truong NT, Dung NT, Ashton M, Hien TT, Abelö A, Tarning J. 2016. Population pharmacokinetic properties of artemisinin in healthy male Vietnamese volunteers. Malar J, 15 (1), pp. 90. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin-based combination therapy is recommended as first-line anti-malarial treatment worldwide. A combination of artemisinin with the long acting drug piperaquine has shown high efficacy and tolerability in patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum infections. The aim of this study was to characterize the population pharmacokinetic properties of artemisinin in healthy male Vietnamese volunteers after two different dose sizes, formulations and in a combination with piperaquine. A secondary aim was to compare two different methods for the evaluation of bioequivalence of the formulations. METHODS: Fifteen subjects received four different dose regimens of a single dose of artemisinin as a conventional formulation (160 and 500 mg) and as a micronized test formulation (160 mg alone and in combination with piperaquine phosphate, 360 mg) with a washout period of 3 weeks between each period (i.e. four-way cross-over). Venous plasma samples were collected frequently up to 12 h after dose in each period. Artemisinin was quantified in plasma using liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. A nonlinear mixed-effects modelling approach was utilized to evaluate the population pharmacokinetic properties of the drug and to investigate the clinical impact of different formulations. RESULTS: The plasma concentration-time profiles for artemisinin were adequately described by a transit-absorption model with a one-compartment disposition, in all four sequences simultaneously. The mean oral clearance, volume of distribution and terminal elimination half-life was 417 L/h, 1210 L and 1.93 h, respectively. Influence of formulation, dose and possible interaction of piperaquine was evaluated as categorical covariates in full covariate approaches. No clinically significant differences between formulations were shown which was in accordance with the previous results using a non-compartmental bioequivalence approach. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first population pharmacokinetic characterization of artemisinin in healthy volunteers. Increasing the dose resulted in a significant increase in the mean transit-time but the micronized formulation or concomitant piperaquine administration did not affect the pharmacokinetic properties of artemisinin. The results from the traditional bioequivalence evaluation were comparable with results obtained from mixed-effects modelling.

Van Vinh Chau N, Buu Chau L, Desquesnes M, Herder S, Phu Huong Lan N, Campbell JI, Van Cuong N, Yimming B, Chalermwong P, Jittapalapong S et al. 2016. A Clinical and Epidemiological Investigation of the First Reported Human Infection With the Zoonotic Parasite Trypanosoma evansi in Southeast Asia. Clin Infect Dis, 62 (8), pp. 1002-1008. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Trypanosomais a genus of unicellular parasitic flagellate protozoa.Trypanosoma bruceispecies and Trypanosoma cruziare the major agents of human trypanosomiasis; other Trypanosomaspecies can cause human disease, but are rare. In March 2015, a 38-year-old woman presented to a healthcare facility in southern Vietnam with fever, headache, and arthralgia. Microscopic examination of blood revealed infection with Trypanosoma METHODS: Microscopic observation, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of blood samples, and serological testing were performed to identify the infecting species. The patient's blood was screened for the trypanocidal protein apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1), and a field investigation was performed to identify the zoonotic source. RESULTS: PCR amplification and serological testing identified the infecting species as Trypanosoma evansi.Despite relapsing 6 weeks after completing amphotericin B therapy, the patient made a complete recovery after 5 weeks of suramin. The patient was found to have 2 wild-type APOL1 alleles and a normal serum APOL1 concentration. After responsive animal sampling in the presumed location of exposure, cattle and/or buffalo were determined to be the most likely source of the infection, with 14 of 30 (47%) animal blood samples testing PCR positive forT. evansi. CONCLUSIONS: We report the first laboratory-confirmed case ofT. evansiin a previously healthy individual without APOL1 deficiency, potentially contracted via a wound while butchering raw beef, and successfully treated with suramin. A linked epidemiological investigation revealed widespread and previously unidentified burden ofT. evansiin local cattle, highlighting the need for surveillance of this infection in animals and the possibility of further human cases.

Heemskerk AD, Bang ND, Mai NTH, Chau TTH, Phu NH, Loc PP, Chau NVV, Hien TT, Dung NH, Lan NTN et al. 2016. Intensified Antituberculosis Therapy in Adults with Tuberculous Meningitis. N Engl J Med, 374 (2), pp. 124-134. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis is often lethal. Early antituberculosis treatment and adjunctive treatment with glucocorticoids improve survival, but nearly one third of patients with the condition still die. We hypothesized that intensified antituberculosis treatment would enhance the killing of intracerebral Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms and decrease the rate of death among patients. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults and HIV-uninfected adults with a clinical diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis who were admitted to one of two Vietnamese hospitals. We compared a standard, 9-month antituberculosis regimen (which included 10 mg of rifampin per kilogram of body weight per day) with an intensified regimen that included higher-dose rifampin (15 mg per kilogram per day) and levofloxacin (20 mg per kilogram per day) for the first 8 weeks of treatment. The primary outcome was death by 9 months after randomization. RESULTS: A total of 817 patients (349 of whom were HIV-infected) were enrolled; 409 were randomly assigned to receive the standard regimen, and 408 were assigned to receive intensified treatment. During the 9 months of follow-up, 113 patients in the intensified-treatment group and 114 patients in the standard-treatment group died (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.73 to 1.22; P=0.66). There was no evidence of a significant differential effect of intensified treatment in the overall population or in any of the subgroups, with the possible exception of patients infected with isoniazid-resistant M. tuberculosis. There were also no significant differences in secondary outcomes between the treatment groups. The overall number of adverse events leading to treatment interruption did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (64 events in the standard-treatment group and 95 events in the intensified-treatment group, P=0.08). CONCLUSIONS: Intensified antituberculosis treatment was not associated with a higher rate of survival among patients with tuberculous meningitis than standard treatment. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Li Ka Shing Foundation; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN61649292.).

Rosenberger KD, Lum L, Alexander N, Junghanss T, Wills B, Jaenisch T, DENCO Clinical Study Group. 2016. Vascular leakage in dengue--clinical spectrum and influence of parenteral fluid therapy. Trop Med Int Health, 21 (3), pp. 445-453. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: Clinical management of dengue relies on careful monitoring of fluid balance combined with judicious intravenous (IV) fluid therapy. However, in patients with significant vascular leakage, IV fluids may aggravate serosal fluid accumulation and result in respiratory distress. METHODS: Trained physicians followed suspected dengue cases prospectively at seven hospitals across Asia and Latin America, using a comprehensive case report form that included daily clinical assessment and detailed documentation of parenteral fluid therapy. Applying Cox regression, we evaluated risk factors for the development of shock or respiratory distress with fluid accumulation. RESULTS: Most confirmed dengue patients (1524/1734, 88%) never experienced dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Among those with DSS, 176/210 (84%) had fluid accumulation, and in the majority (83%), this was detectable clinically. Among all cases with clinically detectable fluid accumulation, 179/447 (40%) were diagnosed with shock or respiratory distress. The risk for respiratory distress with fluid accumulation increased significantly as the infused volume over the preceding 24 h increased (hazard ratio 1.18 per 10 ml/kg increase; P < 0.001). Longer duration of IV therapy, use of a fluid bolus in the preceding 24 h, female gender and poor nutrition also constituted independent risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: Shock and respiratory distress are relatively rare manifestations of dengue, but some evidence of fluid accumulation is seen in around 50% of cases. IV fluids play a crucial role in management, but they must be administered with caution. Clinically and/or radiologically detectable fluid accumulations have potential as intermediate severity endpoints for therapeutic intervention trials and/or pathogenesis studies.

Thompson CN, Le TPT, Anders KL, Nguyen TH, Lu LV, Nguyen VVC, Vu TD, Nguyen NMC, Tran THC, Ha TT 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.

IMPROV Study Group. 2015. Improving the radical cure of vivax malaria (IMPROV): a study protocol for a multicentre randomised, placebo-controlled comparison of short and long course primaquine regimens. BMC Infect Dis, 15 (1), pp. 558. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasmodium vivax malaria is a major cause of morbidity and recognised as an important contributor to mortality in some endemic areas. The current recommended treatment regimen for the radical cure of P. vivax includes a schizontocidal antimalarial, usually chloroquine, combined with a 14 day regimen of primaquine. The long treatment course frequently results in poor adherence and effectiveness. Shorter courses of higher daily doses of primaquine have the potential to improve adherence and thus effectiveness without compromising safety. The proposed multicentre randomised clinical trial aims to provide evidence across a variety of endemic settings on the safety and efficacy of high dose short course primaquine in glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase (G6PD) normal patients. DESIGN: This study is designed as a placebo controlled, double blinded, randomized trial in four countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. G6PD normal patients diagnosed with vivax malaria are randomized to receive either 7 or 14 days high dose primaquine or placebo. G6PD deficient (G6PDd) patients are allocated to weekly primaquine doses for 8weeks. All treatment is directly observed and recurrent episodes are treated with the same treatment than allocated at the enrolment episode. Patients are followed daily until completion of treatment, weekly until 8 weeks and then monthly until 1 year after initiation of the treatment. The primary endpoint is the incidence rate (per person year) of symptomatic recurrent P. vivax parasitaemia over 12 months of follow-up, for all individuals, controlling for site, comparing the 7 versus 14-day primaquine treatment arms. Secondary endpoints are other efficacy measures such as incidence risk at different time points. Further endpoints are risks of haemolysis and severe adverse events. DISCUSSION: This study has been approved by relevant institutional ethics committees in the UK and Australia, and all participating countries. Results will be disseminated to inform P. vivax malaria treatment policy through peer-reviewed publications and academic presentations. Findings will contribute to a better understanding of the risks and benefits of primaquine which is crucial in persuading policy makers as well as clinicians of the importance of radical cure of vivax malaria, contributing to decreased transmission and a reduce parasite reservoir. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT01814683 . Registered March 18, 2013.

White NJ, Hien TT, Nosten FH. 2015. A Brief History of Qinghaosu. Trends Parasitol, 31 (12), pp. 607-610. | Show Abstract | Read more

The 2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology was awarded to William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discovery of avermectins, and to Tu You You for her contribution to the discovery of artemisinin. The discovery and development of qinghaosu (artemisinin) as an antimalarial drug is a remarkable and convoluted tale.

1000 Genomes Project Consortium, Auton A, Brooks LD, Durbin RM, Garrison EP, Kang HM, Korbel JO, Marchini JL, McCarthy S, McVean GA, Abecasis GR. 2015. A global reference for human genetic variation. Nature, 526 (7571), pp. 68-74. | Show Abstract | Read more

The 1000 Genomes Project set out to provide a comprehensive description of common human genetic variation by applying whole-genome sequencing to a diverse set of individuals from multiple populations. Here we report completion of the project, having reconstructed the genomes of 2,504 individuals from 26 populations using a combination of low-coverage whole-genome sequencing, deep exome sequencing, and dense microarray genotyping. We characterized a broad spectrum of genetic variation, in total over 88 million variants (84.7 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 3.6 million short insertions/deletions (indels), and 60,000 structural variants), all phased onto high-quality haplotypes. This resource includes >99% of SNP variants with a frequency of >1% for a variety of ancestries. We describe the distribution of genetic variation across the global sample, and discuss the implications for common disease studies.

Imwong M, Nguyen TN, Tripura R, Peto TJ, Lee SJ, Lwin KM, Suangkanarat P, Jeeyapant A, Vihokhern B, Wongsaen K et al. 2015. The epidemiology of subclinical malaria infections in South-East Asia: findings from cross-sectional surveys in Thailand-Myanmar border areas, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 381. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The importance of the submicroscopic reservoir of Plasmodium infections for malaria elimination depends on its size, which is generally considered small in low transmission settings. The precise estimation of this reservoir requires more sensitive parasite detection methods. The prevalence of asymptomatic, sub-microscopic malaria was assessed by a sensitive, high blood volume quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction method in three countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. METHODS: Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in three villages in western Cambodia, four villages along the Thailand-Myanmar border and four villages in southwest Vietnam. Malaria parasitaemia was assessed by Plasmodium falciparum/pan malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), microscopy and a high volume ultra-sensitive real-time polymerase chain reaction (HVUSqPCR: limit of detection 22 parasites/mL). All villagers older than 6 months were invited to participate. RESULTS: A census before the surveys identified 7355 residents in the study villages. Parasite prevalence was 224/5008 (4 %) by RDT, 229/5111 (5 %) by microscopy, and 988/4975 (20 %) when assessed by HVUSqPCR. Of these 164 (3 %) were infected with P. falciparum, 357 (7 %) with Plasmodium vivax, 56 (1 %) with a mixed infection, and 411 (8 %) had parasite densities that were too low for species identification. A history of fever, male sex, and age of 15 years or older were independently associated with parasitaemia in a multivariate regression model stratified by site. CONCLUSION: Light microscopy and RDTs identified only a quarter of all parasitaemic participants. The asymptomatic Plasmodium reservoir is considerable, even in low transmission settings. Novel strategies are needed to eliminate this previously under recognized reservoir of malaria transmission.

Rabaa MA, Tue NT, Phuc TM, Carrique-Mas J, Saylors K, Cotten M, Bryant JE, Nghia HDT, Cuong NV, Pham HA et al. 2015. The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS): A Strategic Approach to Studying Emerging Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Ecohealth, 12 (4), pp. 726-735. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effect of newly emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases of zoonotic origin in human populations can be potentially catastrophic, and large-scale investigations of such diseases are highly challenging. The monitoring of emergence events is subject to ascertainment bias, whether at the level of species discovery, emerging disease events, or disease outbreaks in human populations. Disease surveillance is generally performed post hoc, driven by a response to recent events and by the availability of detection and identification technologies. Additionally, the inventory of pathogens that exist in mammalian and other reservoirs is incomplete, and identifying those with the potential to cause disease in humans is rarely possible in advance. A major step in understanding the burden and diversity of zoonotic infections, the local behavioral and demographic risks of infection, and the risk of emergence of these pathogens in human populations is to establish surveillance networks in populations that maintain regular contact with diverse animal populations, and to simultaneously characterize pathogen diversity in human and animal populations. Vietnam has been an epicenter of disease emergence over the last decade, and practices at the human/animal interface may facilitate the likelihood of spillover of zoonotic pathogens into humans. To tackle the scientific issues surrounding the origins and emergence of zoonotic infections in Vietnam, we have established The Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS). This countrywide project, in which several international institutions collaborate with Vietnamese organizations, is combining clinical data, epidemiology, high-throughput sequencing, and social sciences to address relevant one-health questions. Here, we describe the primary aims of the project, the infrastructure established to address our scientific questions, and the current status of the project. Our principal objective is to develop an integrated approach to the surveillance of pathogens circulating in both human and animal populations and assess how frequently they are exchanged. This infrastructure will facilitate systematic investigations of pathogen ecology and evolution, enhance understanding of viral cross-species transmission events, and identify relevant risk factors and drivers of zoonotic disease emergence.

WWARN Parasite Clearance Study Group, Abdulla S, Ashley EA, Bassat Q, Bethell D, Björkman A, Borrmann S, D'Alessandro U, Dahal P, Day NP et al. 2015. Baseline data of parasite clearance in patients with falciparum malaria treated with an artemisinin derivative: an individual patient data meta-analysis. Malar J, 14 (1), pp. 359. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum manifests as slow parasite clearance but this measure is also influenced by host immunity, initial parasite biomass and partner drug efficacy. This study collated data from clinical trials of artemisinin derivatives in falciparum malaria with frequent parasite counts to provide reference parasite clearance estimates stratified by location, treatment and time, to examine host factors affecting parasite clearance, and to assess the relationships between parasite clearance and risk of recrudescence during follow-up. METHODS: Data from 24 studies, conducted from 1996 to 2013, with frequent parasite counts were pooled. Parasite clearance half-life (PC1/2) was estimated using the WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator. Random effects regression models accounting for study and site heterogeneity were used to explore factors affecting PC1/2 and risk of recrudescence within areas with reported delayed parasite clearance (western Cambodia, western Thailand after 2000, southern Vietnam, southern Myanmar) and in all other areas where parasite populations are artemisinin sensitive. RESULTS: PC1/2 was estimated in 6975 patients, 3288 of whom also had treatment outcomes evaluate d during 28-63 days follow-up, with 93 (2.8 %) PCR-confirmed recrudescences. In areas with artemisinin-sensitive parasites, the median PC1/2 following three-day artesunate treatment (4 mg/kg/day) ranged from 1.8 to 3.0 h and the proportion of patients with PC1/2 >5 h from 0 to 10 %. Artesunate doses of 4 mg/kg/day decreased PC1/2 by 8.1 % (95 % CI 3.2-12.6) compared to 2 mg/kg/day, except in populations with delayed parasite clearance. PC1/2 was longer in children and in patients with fever or anaemia at enrolment. Long PC1/2 (HR = 2.91, 95 % CI 1.95-4.34 for twofold increase, p < 0.001) and high initial parasitaemia (HR = 2.23, 95 % CI 1.44-3.45 for tenfold increase, p < 0.001) were associated independently with an increased risk of recrudescence. In western Cambodia, the region with the highest prevalence of artemisinin resistance, there was no evidence for increasing PC1/2 since 2007. CONCLUSIONS: Several factors affect PC1/2. As substantial heterogeneity in parasite clearance exists between locations, early detection of artemisinin resistance requires reference PC1/2 data. Studies with frequent parasite count measurements to characterize PC1/2 should be encouraged. In western Cambodia, where PC1/2 values are longest, there is no evidence for recent emergence of higher levels of artemisinin resistance.

Thompson CN, Zelner JL, Nhu TDH, Phan MV, Hoang Le P, Nguyen Thanh H, Vu Thuy D, Minh Nguyen N, Ha Manh T, Van Hoang Minh T et al. 2015. The impact of environmental and climatic variation on the spatiotemporal trends of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Health Place, 35 pp. 147-154. | Show Abstract | Read more

It is predicted that the integration of climate-based early warning systems into existing action plans will facilitate the timely provision of interventions to diarrheal disease epidemics in resource-poor settings. Diarrhea remains a considerable public health problem in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam and we aimed to quantify variation in the impact of environmental conditions on diarrheal disease risk across the city. Using all inpatient diarrheal admissions data from three large hospitals within HCMC, we developed a mixed effects regression model to differentiate district-level variation in risk due to environmental conditions from the overarching seasonality of diarrheal disease hospitalization in HCMC. We identified considerable spatial heterogeneity in the risk of all-cause diarrhea across districts of HCMC with low elevation and differential responses to flooding, air temperature, and humidity driving further spatial heterogeneity in diarrheal disease risk. The incorporation of these results into predictive forecasting algorithms will provide a powerful resource to aid diarrheal disease prevention and control practices in HCMC and other similar settings.

Le Minh V, Thi Khanh Nhu N, Vinh Phat V, Thompson C, Huong Lan NP, Thieu Nga TV, Thanh Tam PT, Tuyen HT, Hoang Nhu TD, Van Hao N et al. 2015. In vitro activity of colistin in antimicrobial combination against carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii isolated from patients with ventilator-associated pneumonia in Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 64 (10), pp. 1162-1169. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acinetobacter baumannii has become one of the major infection threats in intensive care units (ICUs) globally. Since 2008, A. baumannii has been the leading cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) in our ICU at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. The emergence of this pathogen in our setting is consistent with the persistence of a specific clone exhibiting resistance to carbapenems. Antimicrobial combinations may be a strategy to treat infections caused by these carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii. Therefore, we assessed potential antimicrobial combinations against local carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii by measuring in vitro interactions of colistin with four antimicrobials that are locally certified for treating VAP. We first performed antimicrobial susceptibility testing and multilocus variable number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) genotyping on 74 A. baumannii isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates from patients with VAP over an 18-month period. These 74 isolates could be subdivided into 21 main clusters by MLVA and >80 % were resistant to carbapenems. We selected 56 representative isolates for in vitro combination synergy testing. Synergy was observed in four (7 %), seven (13 %), 20 (36 %) and 38 (68 %) isolates with combinations of colistin with ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, imipenem and meropenem, respectively. Notably, more carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii isolates (36/43; 84 %) exhibited synergistic activity with a combination of colistin and meropenem than carbapenem-susceptible A. baumannii isolates (2/13; 15 %) (P = 0.023; Fisher's exact test). Our findings suggest that combinations of colistin and meropenem should be considered when treating carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii infections in Vietnam, and we advocate clinical trials investigating combination therapy for VAP.

Wertheim HFL, Nadjm B, Thomas S, Agustiningsih, Malik S, Nguyen DNT, Vu DVT, Van Nguyen K, Van Nguyen CV, Nguyen LT et al. 2015. Viral and atypical bacterial aetiologies of infection in hospitalised patients admitted with clinical suspicion of influenza in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. Influenza Other Respir Viruses, 9 (6), pp. 315-322. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Influenza constitutes a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. There is limited information about the aetiology of infection presenting clinically as influenza in hospitalised adults and children in South-East Asia. Such data are important for future management of respiratory infections. OBJECTIVES: To describe the aetiology of infection presenting clinically as influenza in those hospitalised in South-East Asia. METHODS: Respiratory specimens archived from July 2008 to June 2009 from patients hospitalised with suspected influenza from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam were tested for respiratory viruses and atypical bacteria by polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: A total of 1222 patients' samples were tested. Of 1222, 776 patients (63·5%) were under the age of 5. Viruses detected included rhinoviruses in 229 of 1222 patients (18·7%), bocaviruses in 200 (16·4%), respiratory syncytial viruses in 144 (11·8%), parainfluenza viruses in 140 (11·5%; PIV1: 32; PIV2: 12; PIV3: 71; PIV4: 25), adenovirus in 102 (8·4%), influenza viruses in 93 (7·6%; influenza A: 77; influenza B: 16) and coronaviruses in 23 (1·8%; OC43: 14; E229: 9). Bacterial pathogens were Mycoplasma pneumoniae (n = 33, 2·7%), Chlamydophila psittaci (n = 2), C. pneumoniae (n = 1), Bordetella pertussis (n = 1) and Legionella pneumophila (n = 2). Overall, in-hospital case fatality rate was 29 of 1222 (2·4%). CONCLUSION: Respiratory viruses were the most commonly detected pathogens in patients hospitalised with a clinical suspicion of influenza. Rhinovirus was the most frequently detected virus, and M. pneumoniae, the most common atypical bacterium. The low number of detected influenza viruses demonstrates a low benefit for empirical oseltamivir therapy, unless during an influenza outbreak.

Hanson J, Phu NH, Hasan MU, Charunwatthana P, Plewes K, Maude RJ, Prapansilp P, Kingston HWF, Mishra SK, Mohanty S et al. 2015. The clinical implications of thrombocytopenia in adults with severe falciparum malaria: a retrospective analysis. BMC Med, 13 (1), pp. 97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Thrombocytopenia is a common finding in adults with severe falciparum malaria, but its clinical and prognostic utility is incompletely defined. METHODS: Clinical and laboratory data from 647 adults with severe falciparum malaria were analysed retrospectively to determine the relationship between a patient's platelet count on admission to hospital and their subsequent clinical course. RESULTS: On admission, 614 patients (94.9%) were thrombocytopenic (platelet count <150 × 10(9)/L) and 328 (50.7%) had a platelet count <50 × 10(9)/L. The admission platelet count was inversely correlated with parasite biomass (estimated from plasma PfHRP2 concentrations, rs = -0.28, P = 0.003), the degree of microvascular sequestration (measured with orthogonal polarizing spectral imaging, rs = -0.31, P = 0.001) and disease severity (the number of World Health Organization severity criteria satisfied by the patient, rs = -0.21, P <0.001). Platelet counts were lower on admission in the patients who died (median: 30 (interquartile range 22 to 52) × 10(9)/L versus 50 (34 to 78) × 10(9)/L in survivors; P <0.001), but did not predict outcome independently from other established laboratory and clinical prognostic indices. The 39 patients (6%) with profound thrombocytopenia (platelet count <20 × 10(9)/L) were more likely to die (odds ratio: 5.00, 95% confidence interval: 2.56 to 9.75) than patients with higher platelet counts, but these high-risk patients could be identified more rapidly with simple bedside clinical assessment. The admission platelet count did not reliably identify the 50 patients (7.7%) with major bleeding during the study. CONCLUSIONS: Thrombocytopenia is a marker of disease severity in adults with falciparum malaria, but has limited utility in prognostication, triage and management.

Dunstan SJ, Tram TTB, Thwaites GE, Chau TTH, Phu NH, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Wolbers M, Mai NTH. 2015. LTA4H genotype is associated with susceptibility to bacterial meningitis but is not a critical determinant of outcome. PLoS One, 10 (3), pp. e0118789. | Show Abstract | Read more

Adjunctive dexamethasone saves lives in the treatment of tuberculous meningitis but this response is influenced by the patient's LTA4H genotype. Despite less certain benefit, adjunctive dexamethasone is also frequently used in the treatment of pyogenic bacterial meningitis, but the influence of LTA4H genotype on outcomes has not been previously investigated. We genotyped the LTA4H promoter region SNP (rs17525495) in 390 bacterial meningitis patients and 751 population controls. rs17525495 was associated with susceptibility to bacteriologically confirmed bacterial meningitis (P = 0.01, OR 1.27 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.54) but did not influence clinical presentation, disease severity or survival following dexamethasone treatment.

Thompson CN, Phan MVT, Hoang NVM, Minh PV, Vinh NT, Thuy CT, Nga TTT, Rabaa MA, Duy PT, Dung TTN et al. 2015. A prospective multi-center observational study of children hospitalized with diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 1045-1052. | Show Abstract | Read more

We performed a prospective multicenter study to address the lack of data on the etiology, clinical and demographic features of hospitalized pediatric diarrhea in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. Over 2,000 (1,419 symptomatic and 609 non-diarrheal control) children were enrolled in three hospitals over a 1-year period in 2009-2010. Aiming to detect a panel of pathogens, we identified a known diarrheal pathogen in stool samples from 1,067/1,419 (75.2%) children with diarrhea and from 81/609 (13.3%) children without diarrhea. Rotavirus predominated in the symptomatic children (664/1,419; 46.8%), followed by norovirus (293/1,419; 20.6%). The bacterial pathogens Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Shigella were cumulatively isolated from 204/1,419 (14.4%) diarrheal children and exhibited extensive antimicrobial resistance, most notably to fluoroquinolones and third-generation cephalosporins. We suggest renewed efforts in generation and implementation of policies to control the sale and prescription of antimicrobials to curb bacterial resistance and advise consideration of a subsidized rotavirus vaccination policy to limit the morbidity due to diarrheal disease in Vietnam.

Brown TS, Jacob CG, Silva JC, Takala-Harrison S, Djimdé A, Dondorp AM, Fukuda M, Noedl H, Nyunt MM, Kyaw MP et al. 2015. Plasmodium falciparum field isolates from areas of repeated emergence of drug resistant malaria show no evidence of hypermutator phenotype. Infect Genet Evol, 30 pp. 318-322. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multiple transcontinental waves of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum have originated in Southeast Asia before spreading westward, first into the rest of Asia and then to sub-Saharan Africa. In vitro studies have suggested that hypermutator P. falciparum parasites may exist in Southeast Asia and that an increased rate of acquisition of new mutations in these parasites may explain the repeated emergence of drug resistance in Southeast Asia. This study is the first to test the hypermutator hypothesis using field isolates. Using genome-wide SNP data from human P. falciparum infections in Southeast Asia and West Africa and a test for relative rate differences we found no evidence of increased relative substitution rates in P. falciparum isolates from Southeast Asia. Instead, we found significantly increased substitution rates in Mali and Bangladesh populations relative to those in populations from Southeast Asia. Additionally we found no association between increased relative substitution rates and parasite clearance following treatment with artemisinin derivatives.

Mok S, Ashley EA, Ferreira PE, Zhu L, Lin Z, Yeo T, Chotivanich K, Imwong M, Pukrittayakamee S, Dhorda M et al. 2015. Drug resistance. Population transcriptomics of human malaria parasites reveals the mechanism of artemisinin resistance. Science, 347 (6220), pp. 431-435. | Show Abstract | Read more

Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum threatens global efforts to control and eliminate malaria. Polymorphisms in the kelch domain-carrying protein K13 are associated with artemisinin resistance, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. We analyzed the in vivo transcriptomes of 1043 P. falciparum isolates from patients with acute malaria and found that artemisinin resistance is associated with increased expression of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathways involving the major PROSC and TRiC chaperone complexes. Artemisinin-resistant parasites also exhibit decelerated progression through the first part of the asexual intraerythrocytic development cycle. These findings suggest that artemisinin-resistant parasites remain in a state of decelerated development at the young ring stage, whereas their up-regulated UPR pathways mitigate protein damage caused by artemisinin. The expression profiles of UPR-related genes also associate with the geographical origin of parasite isolates, further suggesting their role in emerging artemisinin resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

Day J, Imran D, Ganiem AR, Tjahjani N, Wahyuningsih R, Adawiyah R, Dance D, Mayxay M, Newton P, Phetsouvanh R et al. 2014. CryptoDex: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of adjunctive dexamethasone in HIV-infected adults with cryptococcal meningitis: study protocol for a randomised control trial. Trials, 15 (1), pp. 441. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Cryptococcal meningitis (CM) is a severe AIDS-defining illness with 90-day case mortality as high as 70% in sub-Saharan Africa, despite treatment. It is the leading cause of death in HIV patients in Asia and Africa.No major advance has been made in the treatment of CM since the 1970s. The mainstays of induction therapy are amphotericin B and flucytosine, but these are often poorly available where the disease burden is highest. Adjunctive treatments, such as dexamethasone, have had dramatic effects on mortality in other neurologic infections, but are untested in CM. Given the high death rates in patients receiving current optimal treatment, and the lack of new agents on the horizon, adjuvant treatments, which offer the potential to reduce mortality in CM, should be tested.The principal research question posed by this study is as follows: does adding dexamethasone to standard antifungal therapy for CM reduce mortality? Dexamethasone is a cheap, readily available, and practicable intervention. METHOD: A double-blind placebo-controlled trial with parallel arms in which patients are randomised to receive either dexamethasone or placebo, in addition to local standard of care. The study recruits patients in both Asia and Africa to ensure the relevance of its results to the populations in which the disease burden is highest. The 10-week mortality risk in the control group is expected to be between 30% and 50%, depending on location, and the target hazard ratio of 0.7 corresponds to absolute risk reductions in mortality from 30% to 22%, or from 50% to 38%. Assuming an overall 10-week mortality of at least 30% in our study population, recruitment of 824 patients will be sufficient to observe the expected number of deaths. Allowing for some loss to follow-up, the total sample size for this study is 880 patients. To generate robust evidence across both continents, we aim to recruit roughly similar numbers of patients from each continent. The primary end point is 10-week mortality. Ethical approval has been obtained from Oxford University's Tropical Research Ethics Committee (OxTREC), and as locally mandated at each site. TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number: ISRCTN59144167 26-July-2012.

Dunstan SJ, Hue NT, Han B, Li Z, Tram TTB, Sim KS, Parry CM, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Lan NPH 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.

Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network, Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network. 2014. Reappraisal of known malaria resistance loci in a large multicenter study. Nat Genet, 46 (11), pp. 1197-1204. | Show Abstract | Read more

Many human genetic associations with resistance to malaria have been reported, but few have been reliably replicated. We collected data on 11,890 cases of severe malaria due to Plasmodium falciparum and 17,441 controls from 12 locations in Africa, Asia and Oceania. We tested 55 SNPs in 27 loci previously reported to associate with severe malaria. There was evidence of association at P < 1 × 10(-4) with the HBB, ABO, ATP2B4, G6PD and CD40LG loci, but previously reported associations at 22 other loci did not replicate in the multicenter analysis. The large sample size made it possible to identify authentic genetic effects that are heterogeneous across populations or phenotypes, with a striking example being the main African form of G6PD deficiency, which reduced the risk of cerebral malaria but increased the risk of severe malarial anemia. The finding that G6PD deficiency has opposing effects on different fatal complications of P. falciparum infection indicates that the evolutionary origins of this common human genetic disorder are more complex than previously supposed.

Takala-Harrison S, Jacob CG, Arze C, Cummings MP, Silva JC, Dondorp AM, Fukuda MM, Hien TT, Mayxay M, Noedl H et al. 2015. Independent emergence of artemisinin resistance mutations among Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia. J Infect Dis, 211 (5), pp. 670-679. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Southeast Asia threatens malaria treatment efficacy. Mutations in a kelch protein encoded on P. falciparum chromosome 13 (K13) have been associated with resistance in vitro and in field samples from Cambodia. METHODS: P. falciparum infections from artesunate efficacy trials in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam were genotyped at 33 716 genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Linear mixed models were used to test associations between parasite genotypes and parasite clearance half-lives following artesunate treatment. K13 mutations were tested for association with artemisinin resistance, and extended haplotypes on chromosome 13 were examined to determine whether mutations arose focally and spread or whether they emerged independently. RESULTS: The presence of nonreference K13 alleles was associated with prolonged parasite clearance half-life (P = 1.97 × 10(-12)). Parasites with a mutation in any of the K13 kelch domains displayed longer parasite clearance half-lives than parasites with wild-type alleles. Haplotype analysis revealed both population-specific emergence of mutations and independent emergence of the same mutation in different geographic areas. CONCLUSIONS: K13 appears to be a major determinant of artemisinin resistance throughout Southeast Asia. While we found some evidence of spreading resistance, there was no evidence of resistance moving westward from Cambodia into Myanmar.

Tan LV, Thai LH, Phu NH, Nghia HDT, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Phong ND, Mai NTH, Man DNH, Hien VM et al. 2014. Viral aetiology of central nervous system infections in adults admitted to a tertiary referral hospital in southern Vietnam over 12 years. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 8 (8), pp. e3127. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Central nervous system (CNS) infections are important diseases in both children and adults worldwide. The spectrum of infections is broad, encompassing bacterial/aseptic meningitis and encephalitis. Viruses are regarded as the most common causes of encephalitis and aseptic meningitis. Better understanding of the viral causes of the diseases is of public health importance, in order to better inform immunization policy, and may influence clinical management. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Study was conducted at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, a primary, secondary, and tertiary referral hospital for all southern provinces of Vietnam. Between December 1996 and May 2008, patients with CNS infections of presumed viral origin were enrolled. Laboratory diagnostics consisted of molecular and serological tests targeted at 14 meningitis/encephalitis-associated viruses. Of 291 enrolled patients, fatal outcome and neurological sequelae were recorded in 10% (28/291) and 27% (78/291), respectively. Mortality was especially high (9/19, 47%) amongst those with confirmed herpes simplex encephalitis which is attributed to the limited availability of intravenous acyclovir/valacyclovir. Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue virus, herpes simplex virus, and enteroviruses were the most common viruses detected, responsible for 36 (12%), 19 (6.5%), 19 (6.5%) and 8 (2.7%) respectively, followed by rubella virus (6, 2%), varicella zoster virus (5, 1.7%), mumps virus (2, 0.7%), cytomegalovirus (1, 0.3%), and rabies virus (1, 0.3%). CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Viral infections of the CNS in adults in Vietnam are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Despite extensive laboratory testing, 68% of the patients remain undiagnosed. Together with our previous reports, the data confirm that Japanese encephalitis virus, dengue virus, herpes simplex virus, and enteroviruses are the leading identified causes of CNS viral infections in Vietnam, suggest that the majority of morbidity/mortality amongst patients with a confirmed/probable diagnosis is preventable by adequate vaccination/treatment, and are therefore of public health significance.

Ashley EA, Dhorda M, Fairhurst RM, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S, Anderson JM, Mao S, Sam B et al. 2014. Spread of artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. N Engl J Med, 371 (5), pp. 411-423. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum has emerged in Southeast Asia and now poses a threat to the control and elimination of malaria. Mapping the geographic extent of resistance is essential for planning containment and elimination strategies. METHODS: Between May 2011 and April 2013, we enrolled 1241 adults and children with acute, uncomplicated falciparum malaria in an open-label trial at 15 sites in 10 countries (7 in Asia and 3 in Africa). Patients received artesunate, administered orally at a daily dose of either 2 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or 4 mg per kilogram, for 3 days, followed by a standard 3-day course of artemisinin-based combination therapy. Parasite counts in peripheral-blood samples were measured every 6 hours, and the parasite clearance half-lives were determined. RESULTS: The median parasite clearance half-lives ranged from 1.9 hours in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 7.0 hours at the Thailand-Cambodia border. Slowly clearing infections (parasite clearance half-life >5 hours), strongly associated with single point mutations in the "propeller" region of the P. falciparum kelch protein gene on chromosome 13 (kelch13), were detected throughout mainland Southeast Asia from southern Vietnam to central Myanmar. The incidence of pretreatment and post-treatment gametocytemia was higher among patients with slow parasite clearance, suggesting greater potential for transmission. In western Cambodia, where artemisinin-based combination therapies are failing, the 6-day course of antimalarial therapy was associated with a cure rate of 97.7% (95% confidence interval, 90.9 to 99.4) at 42 days. CONCLUSIONS: Artemisinin resistance to P. falciparum, which is now prevalent across mainland Southeast Asia, is associated with mutations in kelch13. Prolonged courses of artemisinin-based combination therapies are currently efficacious in areas where standard 3-day treatments are failing. (Funded by the U.K. Department of International Development and others; number, NCT01350856.).

Nhu NTK, Lan NPH, Campbell JI, Parry CM, Thompson C, Tuyen HT, Hoang NVM, Tam PTT, Le VM, Nga TVT et al. 2014. Emergence of carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii as the major cause of ventilator-associated pneumonia in intensive care unit patients at an infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. J Med Microbiol, 63 (Pt 10), pp. 1386-1394. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is a serious healthcare-associated infection that affects up to 30 % of intubated and mechanically ventilated patients in intensive care units (ICUs) worldwide. The bacterial aetiology and corresponding antimicrobial susceptibility of VAP is highly variable, and can differ between countries, national provinces and even between different wards in the same hospital. We aimed to understand and document changes in the causative agents of VAP and their antimicrobial susceptibility profiles retrospectively over an 11 year period in a major infectious disease hospital in southern Vietnam. Our analysis outlined a significant shift from Pseudomonas aeruginosa to Acinetobacter spp. as the most prevalent bacteria isolated from quantitative tracheal aspirates in patients with VAP in this setting. Antimicrobial resistance was common across all bacterial species and we found a marked proportional annual increase in carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter spp. over a 3 year period from 2008 (annual trend; odds ratio 1.656, P = 0.010). We further investigated the possible emergence of a carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii clone by multiple-locus variable number tandem repeat analysis, finding a blaOXA-23-positive strain that was associated with an upsurge in the isolation of this pathogen. We additionally identified a single blaNDM-1-positive A. baumannii isolate. This work highlights the emergence of a carbapenem-resistant clone of A. baumannii and a worrying trend of antimicrobial resistance in the ICU of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Huong VTL, Ha N, Huy NT, Horby P, Nghia HDT, Thiem VD, Zhu X, Hoa NT, Hien TT, Zamora J et al. 2014. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and outcomes of Streptococcus suis infection in humans. Emerg Infect Dis, 20 (7), pp. 1105-1114. | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus suis, a bacterium that affects pigs, is a neglected pathogen that causes systemic disease in humans. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize global estimates of the epidemiology, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of this zoonosis. We searched main literature databases for all studies through December 2012 using the search term "streptococcus suis." The prevalence of S. suis infection is highest in Asia; the primary risk factors are occupational exposure and eating of contaminated food. The pooled proportions of case-patients with pig-related occupations and history of eating high-risk food were 38.1% and 37.3%, respectively. The main clinical syndrome was meningitis (pooled rate 68.0%), followed by sepsis, arthritis, endocarditis, and endophthalmitis. The pooled case-fatality rate was 12.8%. Sequelae included hearing loss (39.1%) and vestibular dysfunction (22.7%). Our analysis identified gaps in the literature, particularly in assessing risk factors and sequelae of this infection.

Tanomsing N, Mayxay M, Newton PN, Nosten F, Dolecek C, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NPJ, Dondorp AM, Imwong M. 2014. Genetic variability of Plasmodium malariae dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) in four Asian countries. PLoS One, 9 (4), pp. e93942. | Show Abstract | Read more

The dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) genes of 44 P. malariae strains from four Asian countries were isolated. Only a limited number of polymorphisms were observed. Comparison with homologous mutations in other Plasmodium species showed that these polymorphisms are unlikely to be associated with sulfadoxine resistance.

White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Hien TT, Faiz MA, Mokuolu OA, Dondorp AM. 2014. Malaria (vol 383, pg 723, 2014) LANCET, 383 (9918), pp. 696-696. | Read more

Parry CM, Thompson C, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Phuong LT, Ho VA, Hien TT, Wain J, Farrar JJ, Baker S. 2014. Risk factors for the development of severe typhoid fever in Vietnam. BMC Infect Dis, 14 (1), pp. 73. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Typhoid fever is a systemic infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Age, sex, prolonged duration of illness, and infection with an antimicrobial resistant organism have been proposed risk factors for the development of severe disease or fatality in typhoid fever. METHODS: We analysed clinical data from 581 patients consecutively admitted with culture confirmed typhoid fever to two hospitals in Vietnam during two periods in 1993-1995 and 1997-1999. These periods spanned a change in the antimicrobial resistance phenotypes of the infecting organisms i.e. fully susceptible to standard antimicrobials, resistance to chloramphenicol, ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (multidrug resistant, MDR), and intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (nalidixic acid resistant). Age, sex, duration of illness prior to admission, hospital location and the presence of MDR or intermediate ciprofloxacin susceptibility in the infecting organism were examined by logistic regression analysis to identify factors independently associated with severe typhoid at the time of hospital admission. RESULTS: The prevalence of severe typhoid was 15.5% (90/581) and included: gastrointestinal bleeding (43; 7.4%); hepatitis (29; 5.0%); encephalopathy (16; 2.8%); myocarditis (12; 2.1%); intestinal perforation (6; 1.0%); haemodynamic shock (5; 0.9%), and death (3; 0.5%). Severe disease was more common with increasing age, in those with a longer duration of illness and in patients infected with an organism exhibiting intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin. Notably an MDR phenotype was not associated with severe disease. Severe disease was independently associated with infection with an organism with an intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (AOR 1.90; 95% CI 1.18-3.07; p = 0.009) and male sex (AOR 1.61 (1.00-2.57; p = 0.035). CONCLUSIONS: In this group of patients hospitalised with typhoid fever infection with an organism with intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin was independently associated with disease severity. During this period many patients were being treated with fluoroquinolones prior to hospital admission. Ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin should be used with caution in patients infected with S. Typhi that have intermediate susceptibility to ciprofloxacin.

Le VT, de Jong MD, Nguyen VK, Nguyen VT, Taylor W, Wertheim HFL, van der Ende A, van der Hoek L, Canuti M, Crusat M et al. 2014. Limited geographic distribution of the novel cyclovirus CyCV-VN. Sci Rep, 4 (1), pp. 3967. | Show Abstract | Read more

A novel cyclovirus, CyCV-VN, was recently identified in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with central nervous system (CNS) infections in central and southern Vietnam. To explore the geographic distribution of this novel virus, more than 600 CSF specimens from patients with suspected CNS infections in northern Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and The Netherlands were screened for the presence of CyCV-VN but all were negative. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis between CyCV-VN and another novel cyclovirus recently identified in CSF from Malawian patients indicated that these represent distinct cycloviral species, albeit phylogenetically closely related. The data suggest that CyCV-VN has a limited geographic distribution within southern and central Vietnam. Further research is needed to determine the global distribution and diversity of cycloviruses and importantly their possible association with human disease.

Wang C, Yu H, Horby PW, Cao B, Wu P, Yang S, Gao H, Li H, Tsang TK, Liao Q et al. 2014. Comparison of patients hospitalized with influenza A subtypes H7N9, H5N1, and 2009 pandemic H1N1. Clin Infect Dis, 58 (8), pp. 1095-1103. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Influenza A(H7N9) viruses isolated from humans show features suggesting partial adaptation to mammals. To provide insights into the pathogenesis of H7N9 virus infection, we compared risk factors, clinical presentation, and progression of patients hospitalized with H7N9, H5N1, and 2009 pandemic H1N1 (pH1N1) virus infections. METHODS: We compared individual-level data from patients hospitalized with infection by H7N9 (n = 123), H5N1 (n = 119; 43 China, 76 Vietnam), and pH1N1 (n = 3486) viruses. We assessed risk factors for hospitalization after adjustment for age- and sex-specific prevalence of risk factors in the general Chinese population. RESULTS: The median age of patients with H7N9 virus infection was older than other patient groups (63 years; P < .001) and a higher proportion was male (71%; P < .02). After adjustment for age and sex, chronic heart disease was associated with an increased risk of hospitalization with H7N9 (relative risk, 9.68; 95% confidence interval, 5.24-17.9). H7N9 patients had similar patterns of leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated alanine aminotransferase, creatinine kinase, C-reactive protein, and lactate dehydrogenase to those seen in H5N1 patients, which were all significantly different from pH1N1 patients (P < .005). H7N9 patients had a longer duration of hospitalization than either H5N1 or pH1N1 patients (P < .001), and the median time from onset to death was 18 days for H7N9 (P = .002) vs 11 days for H5N1 and 15 days for pH1N1 (P = .154). CONCLUSIONS: The identification of known risk factors for severe seasonal influenza and the more protracted clinical course compared with that of H5N1 suggests that host factors are an important contributor to H7N9 severity.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Price RN, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK, Tjitra E et al. 2014. Rapid clinical assessment to facilitate the triage of adults with falciparum malaria, a retrospective analysis. PLoS One, 9 (1), pp. e87020. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most adults dying from falciparum malaria will die within 48 hours of their hospitalisation. An essential component of early supportive care is the rapid identification of patients at greatest risk. In resource-poor settings, where most patients with falciparum malaria are managed, decisions regarding patient care must frequently be made using clinical evaluation alone. METHODS: We retrospectively analysed 4 studies of 1801 adults with severe falciparum malaria to determine whether the presence of simple clinical findings might assist patient triage. RESULTS: If present on admission, shock, oligo-anuria, hypo- or hyperglycaemia, an increased respiratory rate, a decreased Glasgow Coma Score and an absence of fever were independently predictive of death. The variables were used to construct a simple clinical algorithm. When applied to the 1801 patients, this algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 99.4 (95% confidence interval (CI) 97.8-99.9) and for survival to discharge 96.9% (95% CI 94.3-98.5). In the 712 patients receiving artesunate, the algorithm's positive predictive value for survival to 48 hours was 100% (95% CI 97.3-100) and to discharge was 98.5% (95% CI 94.8-99.8). CONCLUSIONS: Simple clinical findings are closely linked to the pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria in adults. A basic algorithm employing these indices can facilitate the triage of patients in settings where intensive care services are limited. Patients classified as low-risk by this algorithm can be safely managed initially on a general ward whilst awaiting senior clinical review and laboratory data.

Dunning JW, Merson L, Rohde GGU, Gao Z, Semple MG, Tran D, Gordon A, Olliaro PL, Khoo SH, Bruzzone R et al. 2014. Open source clinical science for emerging infections. Lancet Infect Dis, 14 (1), pp. 8-9. | Read more

White NJ, Pukrittayakamee S, Hien TT, Faiz MA, Mokuolu OA, Dondorp AM. 2014. Erratum: Malaria (The Lancet (2014) 383 (723-735)) The Lancet, 383 (9918), pp. 696.

Preston MD, Assefa SA, Ocholla H, Sutherland CJ, Borrmann S, Nzila A, Michon P, Hien TT, Bousema T, Drakeley CJ et al. 2014. PlasmoView: a web-based resource to visualise global Plasmodium falciparum genomic variation. J Infect Dis, 209 (11), pp. 1808-1815. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a global public health challenge, with drug resistance a major barrier to disease control and elimination. To meet the urgent need for better treatments and vaccines, a deeper knowledge of Plasmodium biology and malaria epidemiology is required. An improved understanding of the genomic variation of malaria parasites, especially the most virulent Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) species, has the potential to yield new insights in these areas. High-throughput sequencing and genotyping is generating large amounts of genomic data across multiple parasite populations. The resulting ability to identify informative variants, particularly single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), will lead to the discovery of intra- and inter-population differences and thus enable the development of genetic barcodes for diagnostic assays and clinical studies. Knowledge of genetic variability underlying drug resistance and other differential phenotypes will also facilitate the identification of novel mutations and contribute to surveillance and stratified medicine applications. The PlasmoView interactive web-browsing tool enables the research community to visualise genomic variation and annotation (eg, biological function) in a geographic setting. The first release contains over 600,000 high-quality SNPs in 631 Pf isolates from laboratory strains and four malaria-endemic regions (West Africa, East Africa, Southeast Asia and Oceania).

Nguyen KV, Thi Do NT, Chandna A, Nguyen TV, Pham CV, Doan PM, Nguyen AQ, Thi Nguyen CK, Larsson M, Escalante S et al. 2013. Antibiotic use and resistance in emerging economies: a situation analysis for Viet Nam. BMC Public Health, 13 (1), pp. 1158. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial resistance is a major contemporary public health threat. Strategies to contain antimicrobial resistance have been comprehensively set forth, however in developing countries where the need for effective antimicrobials is greatest implementation has proved problematic. A better understanding of patterns and determinants of antibiotic use and resistance in emerging economies may permit more appropriately targeted interventions.Viet Nam, with a large population, high burden of infectious disease and relatively unrestricted access to medication, is an excellent case study of the difficulties faced by emerging economies in controlling antimicrobial resistance. METHODS: Our working group conducted a situation analysis of the current patterns and determinants of antibiotic use and resistance in Viet Nam. International publications and local reports published between 1-1-1990 and 31-8-2012 were reviewed. All stakeholders analyzed the findings at a policy workshop and feasible recommendations were suggested to improve antibiotic use in Viet Nam.Here we report the results of our situation analysis focusing on: the healthcare system, drug regulation and supply; antibiotic resistance and infection control; and agricultural antibiotic use. RESULTS: Market reforms have improved healthcare access in Viet Nam and contributed to better health outcomes. However, increased accessibility has been accompanied by injudicious antibiotic use in hospitals and the community, with predictable escalation in bacterial resistance. Prescribing practices are poor and self-medication is common - often being the most affordable way to access healthcare. Many policies exist to regulate antibiotic use but enforcement is insufficient or lacking.Pneumococcal penicillin-resistance rates are the highest in Asia and carbapenem-resistant bacteria (notably NDM-1) have recently emerged. Hospital acquired infections, predominantly with multi-drug resistant Gram-negative organisms, place additional strain on limited resources. Widespread agricultural antibiotic use further propagates antimicrobial resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Future legislation regarding antibiotic access must alter incentives for purchasers and providers and ensure effective enforcement. The Ministry of Health recently initiated a national action plan and approved a multicenter health improvement project to strengthen national capacity for antimicrobial stewardship in Viet Nam. This analysis provided important input to these initiatives. Our methodologies and findings may be of use to others across the world tackling the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) DP Study Group. 2013. The effect of dosing regimens on the antimalarial efficacy of dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine: a pooled analysis of individual patient data. PLoS Med, 10 (12), pp. e1001564. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) is increasingly recommended for antimalarial treatment in many endemic countries; however, concerns have been raised over its potential under dosing in young children. We investigated the influence of different dosing schedules on DP's clinical efficacy. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A systematic search of the literature was conducted to identify all studies published between 1960 and February 2013, in which patients were enrolled and treated with DP. Principal investigators were approached and invited to share individual patient data with the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN). Data were pooled using a standardised methodology. Univariable and multivariable risk factors for parasite recrudescence were identified using a Cox's regression model with shared frailty across the study sites. Twenty-four published and two unpublished studies (n = 7,072 patients) were included in the analysis. After correcting for reinfection by parasite genotyping, Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were 97.7% (95% CI 97.3%-98.1%) at day 42 and 97.2% (95% CI 96.7%-97.7%) at day 63. Overall 28.6% (979/3,429) of children aged 1 to 5 years received a total dose of piperaquine below 48 mg/kg (the lower limit recommended by WHO); this risk was 2.3-2.9-fold greater compared to that in the other age groups and was associated with reduced efficacy at day 63 (94.4% [95% CI 92.6%-96.2%], p<0.001). After adjusting for confounding factors, the mg/kg dose of piperaquine was found to be a significant predictor for recrudescence, the risk increasing by 13% (95% CI 5.0%-21%) for every 5 mg/kg decrease in dose; p = 0.002. In a multivariable model increasing the target minimum total dose of piperaquine in children aged 1 to 5 years old from 48 mg/kg to 59 mg/kg would halve the risk of treatment failure and cure at least 95% of patients; such an increment was not associated with gastrointestinal toxicity in the ten studies in which this could be assessed. CONCLUSIONS: DP demonstrates excellent efficacy in a wide range of transmission settings; however, treatment failure is associated with a lower dose of piperaquine, particularly in young children, suggesting potential for further dose optimisation.

Flegg JA, Guérin PJ, Nosten F, Ashley EA, Phyo AP, Dondorp AM, Fairhurst RM, Socheat D, Borrmann S, Björkman A et al. 2013. Optimal sampling designs for estimation of Plasmodium falciparum clearance rates in patients treated with artemisinin derivatives. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 411. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence of Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins in Southeast Asia threatens the control of malaria worldwide. The pharmacodynamic hallmark of artemisinin derivatives is rapid parasite clearance (a short parasite half-life), therefore, the in vivo phenotype of slow clearance defines the reduced susceptibility to the drug. Measurement of parasite counts every six hours during the first three days after treatment have been recommended to measure the parasite clearance half-life, but it remains unclear whether simpler sampling intervals and frequencies might also be sufficient to reliably estimate this parameter. METHODS: A total of 2,746 parasite density-time profiles were selected from 13 clinical trials in Thailand, Cambodia, Mali, Vietnam, and Kenya. In these studies, parasite densities were measured every six hours until negative after treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). The WWARN Parasite Clearance Estimator (PCE) tool was used to estimate "reference" half-lives from these six-hourly measurements. The effect of four alternative sampling schedules on half-life estimation was investigated, and compared to the reference half-life (time zero, 6, 12, 24 (A1); zero, 6, 18, 24 (A2); zero, 12, 18, 24 (A3) or zero, 12, 24 (A4) hours and then every 12 hours). Statistical bootstrap methods were used to estimate the sampling distribution of half-lives for parasite populations with different geometric mean half-lives. A simulation study was performed to investigate a suite of 16 potential alternative schedules and half-life estimates generated by each of the schedules were compared to the "true" half-life. The candidate schedules in the simulation study included (among others) six-hourly sampling, schedule A1, schedule A4, and a convenience sampling schedule at six, seven, 24, 25, 48 and 49 hours. RESULTS: The median (range) parasite half-life for all clinical studies combined was 3.1 (0.7-12.9) hours. Schedule A1 consistently performed the best, and schedule A4 the worst, both for the individual patient estimates and for the populations generated with the bootstrapping algorithm. In both cases, the differences between the reference and alternative schedules decreased as half-life increased. In the simulation study, 24-hourly sampling performed the worst, and six-hourly sampling the best. The simulation study confirmed that more dense parasite sampling schedules are required to accurately estimate half-life for profiles with short half-life (≤ three hours) and/or low initial parasite density (≤ 10,000 per μL). Among schedules in the simulation study with six or fewer measurements in the first 48 hours, a schedule with measurements at times (time windows) of 0 (0-2), 6 (4-8), 12 (10-14), 24 (22-26), 36 (34-36) and 48 (46-50) hours, or at times 6, 7 (two samples in time window 5-8), 24, 25 (two samples during time 23-26), and 48, 49 (two samples during time 47-50) hours, until negative most accurately estimated the "true" half-life. For a given schedule, continuing sampling after two days had little effect on the estimation of half-life, provided that adequate sampling was performed in the first two days and the half-life was less than three hours. If the measured parasitaemia at two days exceeded 1,000 per μL, continued sampling for at least once a day was needed for accurate half-life estimates. CONCLUSIONS: This study has revealed important insights on sampling schedules for accurate and reliable estimation of Plasmodium falciparum half-life following treatment with an artemisinin derivative (alone or in combination with a partner drug). Accurate measurement of short half-lives (rapid clearance) requires more dense sampling schedules (with more than twice daily sampling). A more intensive sampling schedule is, therefore, recommended in locations where P. falciparum susceptibility to artemisinins is not known and the necessary resources are available. Counting parasite density at six hours is important, and less frequent sampling is satisfactory for estimating long parasite half-lives in areas where artemisinin resistance is present.

Holt KE, Thieu Nga TV, Thanh DP, Vinh H, Kim DW, Vu Tra MP, Campbell JI, Hoang NVM, Vinh NT, Minh PV et al. 2013. Tracking the establishment of local endemic populations of an emergent enteric pathogen. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110 (43), pp. 17522-17527. | Show Abstract | Read more

Shigella sonnei is a human-adapted pathogen that is emerging globally as the dominant agent of bacterial dysentery. To investigate local establishment, we sequenced the genomes of 263 Vietnamese S. sonnei isolated over 15 y. Our data show that S. sonnei was introduced into Vietnam in the 1980s and has undergone localized clonal expansion, punctuated by genomic fixation events through periodic selective sweeps. We uncover geographical spread, spatially restricted frontier populations, and convergent evolution through local gene pool sampling. This work provides a unique, high-resolution insight into the microevolution of a pioneering human pathogen during its establishment in a new host population.

Tanomsing N, Imwong M, Sutherland CJ, Dolecek C, Hien TT, Nosten F, Day NPJ, White NJ, Snounou G. 2013. Genetic marker suitable for identification and genotyping of Plasmodium ovale curtisi and Plasmodium ovale wallikeri. J Clin Microbiol, 51 (12), pp. 4213-4216. | Show Abstract | Read more

We present a seminested PCR method that specifically discriminates between Plasmodium ovale curtisi and P. ovale wallikeri with high sensitivity. The test is based on species-specific amplification of a size-polymorphic fragment of the tryptophan-rich antigen gene, potra, which also permits discrimination of intraspecific sequence variants at this locus.

Crusat M, Liu J, Palma AS, Childs RA, Liu Y, Wharton SA, Lin YP, Coombs PJ, Martin SR, Matrosovich M et al. 2013. Changes in the hemagglutinin of H5N1 viruses during human infection--influence on receptor binding. Virology, 447 (1-2), pp. 326-337. | Show Abstract | Read more

As avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses continue to circulate in Asia and Africa, global concerns of an imminent pandemic persist. Recent experimental studies suggest that efficient transmission between humans of current H5N1 viruses only requires a few genetic changes. An essential step is alteration of the virus hemagglutinin from preferential binding to avian receptors for the recognition of human receptors present in the upper airway. We have identified receptor-binding changes which emerged during H5N1 infection of humans, due to single amino acid substitutions, Ala134Val and Ile151Phe, in the hemagglutinin. Detailed biological, receptor-binding, and structural analyses revealed reduced binding of the mutated viruses to avian-like receptors, but without commensurate increased binding to the human-like receptors investigated, possibly reflecting a receptor-binding phenotype intermediate in adaptation to more human-like characteristics. These observations emphasize that evolution in nature of avian H5N1 viruses to efficient binding of human receptors is a complex multistep process.

Lee JC, Espéli M, Anderson CA, Linterman MA, Pocock JM, Williams NJ, Roberts R, Viatte S, Fu B, Peshu N et al. 2013. Human SNP links differential outcomes in inflammatory and infectious disease to a FOXO3-regulated pathway. Cell, 155 (1), pp. 57-69. | Show Abstract | Read more

The clinical course and eventual outcome, or prognosis, of complex diseases varies enormously between affected individuals. This variability critically determines the impact a disease has on a patient's life but is very poorly understood. Here, we exploit existing genome-wide association study data to gain insight into the role of genetics in prognosis. We identify a noncoding polymorphism in FOXO3A (rs12212067: T > G) at which the minor (G) allele, despite not being associated with disease susceptibility, is associated with a milder course of Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis and with increased risk of severe malaria. Minor allele carriage is shown to limit inflammatory responses in monocytes via a FOXO3-driven pathway, which through TGFβ1 reduces production of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNFα, and increases production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-10. Thus, we uncover a shared genetic contribution to prognosis in distinct diseases that operates via a FOXO3-driven pathway modulating inflammatory responses.

Huy NT, Van Giang T, Thuy DHD, Kikuchi M, Hien TT, Zamora J, Hirayama K. 2013. Factors associated with dengue shock syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 7 (9), pp. e2412. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of dengue shock syndrome (DSS, grade 3 and 4) is not yet completely understood. Several factors are reportedly associated with DSS, a more severe form of dengue infection that reportedly causes 50 times higher mortality compared to that of dengue patients without DSS. However, the results from these reports remain inconclusive. To better understand the epidemiology, clinical manifestation, and pathogenesis of DSS for development of new therapy, we systematically reviewed and performed a meta-analysis of relevant studies that reported factors in both DSS and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF, grade 1 and 2) patients. METHODS AND FINDINGS: PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, Google Scholar, Dengue Bulletin, Cochrane Library, Virtual Health Library, and a manual search of reference lists of articles published before September 2010 were used to retrieve relevant studies. A meta-analysis using fixed- or random-effects models was used to calculate pooled odds ratios (OR) or event rate with corresponding 95% confidence intervals. Assessment of heterogeneity and publication bias, meta-regression analysis, subgroup analysis, sensitivity analysis, and analysis of factor-specific relationships were further performed. There were 198 studies constituting 203 data sets that met our eligibility criteria. Our meta-regression analysis showed a sustained reduction of DSS/dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) ratio over a period of 40 years in Southeast Asia, especially in Thailand. The meta-analysis revealed that age, female sex, neurological signs, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal bleeding, hemoconcentration, ascites, pleural effusion, hypoalbuminemia, hypoproteinemia, hepatomegaly, levels of alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase, thrombocytopenia, prothrombin time, activated partial thromboplastin time, fibrinogen level, primary/secondary infection, and dengue virus serotype-2 were significantly associated with DSS when pooling all original relevant studies. CONCLUSIONS: The results improve our knowledge of the pathogenesis of DSS by identifying the association between the epidemiology, clinical signs, and biomarkers involved in DSS.

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

Badurdeen S, Valladares DB, Farrar J, Gozzer E, Kroeger A, Kuswara N, Ranzinger SR, Tinh HT, Leite P, Mahendradhata Y et al. 2013. Sharing experiences: towards an evidence based model of dengue surveillance and outbreak response in Latin America and Asia. BMC Public Health, 13 (1), pp. 607. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The increasing frequency and intensity of dengue outbreaks in endemic and non-endemic countries requires a rational, evidence based response. To this end, we aimed to collate the experiences of a number of affected countries, identify strengths and limitations in dengue surveillance, outbreak preparedness, detection and response and contribute towards the development of a model contingency plan adaptable to country needs. METHODS: The study was undertaken in five Latin American (Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru) and five in Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Vietnam). A mixed-methods approach was used which included document analysis, key informant interviews, focus-group discussions, secondary data analysis and consensus building by an international dengue expert meeting organised by the World Health Organization, Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (WHO-TDR). RESULTS: Country information on dengue is based on compulsory notification and reporting ("passive surveillance"), with laboratory confirmation (in all participating Latin American countries and some Asian countries) or by using a clinical syndromic definition. Seven countries additionally had sentinel sites with active dengue reporting, some also had virological surveillance. Six had agreed a formal definition of a dengue outbreak separate to seasonal variation in case numbers. Countries collected data on a range of warning signs that may identify outbreaks early, but none had developed a systematic approach to identifying and responding to the early stages of an outbreak. Outbreak response plans varied in quality, particularly regarding the early response. The surge capacity of hospitals with recent dengue outbreaks varied; those that could mobilise additional staff, beds, laboratory support and resources coped best in comparison to those improvising a coping strategy during the outbreak. Hospital outbreak management plans were present in 9/22 participating hospitals in Latin-America and 8/20 participating hospitals in Asia. CONCLUSIONS: Considerable variation between countries was observed with regard to surveillance, outbreak detection, and response. Through discussion at the expert meeting, suggestions were made for the development of a more standardised approach in the form of a model contingency plan, with agreed outbreak definitions and country-specific risk assessment schemes to initiate early response activities according to the outbreak phase. This would also allow greater cross-country sharing of ideas.

South East Asia Infectious Disease Clinical Research Network. 2013. Effect of double dose oseltamivir on clinical and virological outcomes in children and adults admitted to hospital with severe influenza: double blind randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 346 (may30 2), pp. f3039. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the validity of recommendations in treatment guidelines to use higher than approved doses of oseltamivir in patients with severe influenza. DESIGN: Double blind randomised trial. SETTING: Thirteen hospitals in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥ 1 year admitted to hospital with confirmed severe influenza. INTERVENTIONS: Oral oseltamivir at double dose (150 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent) versus standard dose (75 mg twice a day/paediatric equivalent). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Viral status according to reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for influenza RNA in nasal and throat swabs on day five. RESULTS: Of 326 patients (including 246 (75.5%) children aged <15), 165 and 161 were randomised to double or standard dose oseltamivir, respectively. Of these, 260 (79.8%) were infected with influenza virus A (133 (40.8%) with A/H3N2, 72 (22.1%) with A/H1N1-pdm09, 38 (11.7%) with seasonal A/H1N1, 17 (5.2%) with A/H5N1) and 53 (16.2%) with influenza virus B. A further 3.9% (13) were false positive by rapid antigen test (negative by RT-PCR and no rise in convalescent haemagglutination inhibition titers). Similar proportions of patients were negative for RT-PCR on day five of treatment: 115/159 (72.3%, 95% confidence interval 64.9% to 78.7%) double dose recipients versus 105/154 (68.2%, 60.5% to 75.0%) standard dose recipients; difference 4.2% (-5.9 to 14.2); P=0.42. No differences were found in clearance of virus in subgroup analyses by virus type/subtype, age, and duration of illness before randomisation. Mortality was similar: 12/165 (7.3%, 4.2% to 12.3%) in double dose recipients versus 9/161 (5.6%, 3.0% to 10.3%) in standard dose recipients. No differences were found between double and standard dose arms in median days on supplemental oxygen (3 (interquartile range 2-5) v 3.5 (2-7)), in intensive care (4.5 (3-6) v 5 (2-11), and on mechanical ventilation (2.5 (1-16) v 8 (1-16)), respectively. No important differences in tolerability were found. CONCLUSIONS: There were no virological or clinical advantages with double dose oseltamivir compared with standard dose in patients with severe influenza admitted to hospital. REGISTRATION: Clinical Trials NCT00298233.

Tan LV, van Doorn HR, Nghia HDT, Chau TTH, Tu LTP, de Vries M, Canuti M, Deijs M, Jebbink MF, Baker S et al. 2013. Identification of a new cyclovirus in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with acute central nervous system infections. mBio, 4 (3), pp. e00231-e00213. | Show Abstract | Read more

Acute central nervous system (CNS) infections cause substantial morbidity and mortality, but the etiology remains unknown in a large proportion of cases. We identified and characterized the full genome of a novel cyclovirus (tentatively named cyclovirus-Vietnam [CyCV-VN]) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens of two Vietnamese patients with CNS infections of unknown etiology. CyCV-VN was subsequently detected in 4% of 642 CSF specimens from Vietnamese patients with suspected CNS infections and none of 122 CSFs from patients with noninfectious neurological disorders. Detection rates were similar in patients with CNS infections of unknown etiology and those in whom other pathogens were detected. A similar detection rate in feces from healthy children suggested food-borne or orofecal transmission routes, while high detection rates in feces from pigs and poultry (average, 58%) suggested the existence of animal reservoirs for such transmission. Further research is needed to address the epidemiology and pathogenicity of this novel, potentially zoonotic virus.

Miotto O, Almagro-Garcia J, Manske M, Macinnis B, Campino S, Rockett KA, Amaratunga C, Lim P, Suon S, Sreng S et al. 2013. Multiple populations of artemisinin-resistant Plasmodium falciparum in Cambodia. Nat Genet, 45 (6), pp. 648-655. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe an analysis of genome variation in 825 P. falciparum samples from Asia and Africa that identifies an unusual pattern of parasite population structure at the epicenter of artemisinin resistance in western Cambodia. Within this relatively small geographic area, we have discovered several distinct but apparently sympatric parasite subpopulations with extremely high levels of genetic differentiation. Of particular interest are three subpopulations, all associated with clinical resistance to artemisinin, which have skewed allele frequency spectra and high levels of haplotype homozygosity, indicative of founder effects and recent population expansion. We provide a catalog of SNPs that show high levels of differentiation in the artemisinin-resistant subpopulations, including codon variants in transporter proteins and DNA mismatch repair proteins. These data provide a population-level genetic framework for investigating the biological origins of artemisinin resistance and for defining molecular markers to assist in its elimination.

Day JN, Chau TTH, Wolbers M, Mai PP, Dung NT, Mai NH, Phu NH, Nghia HD, Phong ND, Thai CQ et al. 2013. Combination antifungal therapy for cryptococcal meningitis. N Engl J Med, 368 (14), pp. 1291-1302. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Combination antifungal therapy (amphotericin B deoxycholate and flucytosine) is the recommended treatment for cryptococcal meningitis but has not been shown to reduce mortality, as compared with amphotericin B alone. We performed a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether combining flucytosine or high-dose fluconazole with high-dose amphotericin B improved survival at 14 and 70 days. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, three-group, open-label trial of induction therapy for cryptococcal meningitis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. All patients received amphotericin B at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day; patients in group 1 were treated for 4 weeks, and those in groups 2 and 3 for 2 weeks. Patients in group 2 concurrently received flucytosine at a dose of 100 mg per kilogram per day for 2 weeks, and those in group 3 concurrently received fluconazole at a dose of 400 mg twice daily for 2 weeks. RESULTS: A total of 299 patients were enrolled. Fewer deaths occurred by days 14 and 70 among patients receiving amphotericin B and flucytosine than among those receiving amphotericin B alone (15 vs. 25 deaths by day 14; hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30 to 1.08; unadjusted P=0.08; and 30 vs. 44 deaths by day 70; hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.97; unadjusted P=0.04). Combination therapy with fluconazole had no significant effect on survival, as compared with monotherapy (hazard ratio for death by 14 days, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.44 to 1.41; P=0.42; hazard ratio for death by 70 days, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.45 to 1.11; P=0.13). Amphotericin B plus flucytosine was associated with significantly increased rates of yeast clearance from cerebrospinal fluid (-0.42 log10 colony-forming units [CFU] per milliliter per day vs. -0.31 and -0.32 log10 CFU per milliliter per day in groups 1 and 3, respectively; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of adverse events were similar in all groups, although neutropenia was more frequent in patients receiving a combination therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Amphotericin B plus flucytosine, as compared with amphotericin B alone, is associated with improved survival among patients with cryptococcal meningitis. A survival benefit of amphotericin B plus fluconazole was not found. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Infection Society; number, ISRCTN95123928.).

Prapansilp P, Medana I, Mai NTH, Day NPJ, Phu NH, Yeo TW, Hien TT, White NJ, Anstey NM, Turner GDH. 2013. A clinicopathological correlation of the expression of the angiopoietin-Tie-2 receptor pathway in the brain of adults with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malar J, 12 (1), pp. 50. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Plasma angiopoietin (Ang)-2 is associated with disease severity and mortality in adults and children with falciparum malaria. However the mechanism of action of the angiopoietins in fatal malaria is unclear. This study aimed to determine whether the expression of Ang-1 and Ang-2 and their receptor Tie-2 in cerebral endothelial or parenchymal cells was specific to cerebral malaria (CM), correlated with coma or other severe clinical features, and whether plasma and CSF levels of these markers correlated with the clinical and neuropathological features of severe and fatal malaria in Vietnamese adults. METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed for Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 on post-mortem brain tissue from fatal malaria cases and controls. Quantitative ELISA for plasma and cerebrospinal fluid levels of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was done to compare fatal cases with surviving patients from the same study. RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry revealed significant differences in expression in endothelial and parenchymal cells compared to controls. However there was no significant difference in expression of these markers on endothelial cells, astroglial cells or neurons between CM and non-cerebral malaria cases. Immunostaining of Ang-1, Ang-2 and Tie-2 was also not associated with Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocyte sequestration in the brain. However Ang-1 and Ang-2 expression in neurons was significantly correlated with the incidence of microscopic haemorrhages. Plasma levels of Ang-2 and Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio were associated with the number of severe malaria complications and were significant and independent predictors of metabolic acidosis and fatal outcome. CONCLUSIONS: The independent prognostic significance of Ang-2 and the Ang-2/Ang-1 ratio in severe malaria was confirmed, although immunohistochemistry in fatal cases did not reveal increased expression on brain endothelium in cerebral versus non-cerebral cases. Activation of the Ang-Tie-2 pathway in severe malaria is therefore related to acidosis, number of severity criteria and outcome, but is not a specific event in the brain during cerebral malaria.

Khanh TH, Sabanathan S, Thanh TT, Thoa LPK, Thuong TC, Hang VTT, Farrar J, Hien TT, Chau NVV, van Doorn HR. 2012. Enterovirus 71-associated hand, foot, and mouth disease, Southern Vietnam, 2011. Emerg Infect Dis, 18 (12), pp. 2002-2005. | Show Abstract | Read more

We prospectively studied 3,791 children hospitalized during 2011 during a large outbreak of enterovirus 71-associated hand, foot, and mouth disease in Vietnam. Formal assessment of public health interventions, use of intravenous immunoglobulin and other therapies, and factors predisposing for progression of disease is needed to improve clinical management.

Whitehorn J, Van Vinh Chau N, Truong NT, Tai LTH, Van Hao N, Hien TT, Wolbers M, Merson L, Dung NTP, Peeling R 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.

Hien TT, Thuy-Nhien NT, Phu NH, Boni MF, Thanh NV, Nha-Ca NT, Thai LH, Thai CQ, Toi PV, Thuan PD et al. 2012. In vivo susceptibility of Plasmodium falciparum to artesunate in Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam. Malar J, 11 (1), pp. 355. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: By 2009, there were worrying signs from western Cambodia that parasitological responses to artesunate-containing treatment regimens for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria were slower than elsewhere which suggested the emergence of artemisinin resistance. Vietnam shares a long land border with Cambodia with a large number of migrants crossing it on a daily basis. Therefore, there is an urgent need to investigate whether there is any evidence of a change in the parasitological response to the artemisinin derivatives in Vietnam. METHODS: From August 2010 to May 2011, a randomized controlled clinical trial in uncomplicated falciparum malaria was conducted to compare two doses of artesunate (AS) (2mg/kg/day versus 4 mg/kg/day for three days) followed by dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ) and a control arm of DHA-PPQ. The goal was characterization of the current efficacy of artesunate in southern Vietnam. The primary endpoint of this study was the parasite clearance half-life; secondary endpoints included the parasite reduction ratios at 24 and 48 hours and the parasite clearance time. RESULTS: 166 patients were recruited into the study. The median parasite clearance half-lives were 3.54 (AS 2mg/kg), 2.72 (AS 4mg/kg), and 2.98 hours (DHA-PPQ) (p=0.19). The median parasite-reduction ratio at 24 hours was 48 in the AS 2mg/kg group compared with 212 and 113 in the other two groups, respectively (p=0.02). The proportions of patients with a parasite clearance time of >72 hours for AS 2mg/kg, AS 4mg/kg and DHA-PPQ were 27%, 27%, and 22%, respectively. Early treatment failure occurred in two (4%) and late clinical failure occurred in one (2%) of the 55 patients in the AS 2mg/kg group, as compared with none in the other two study arms. The PCR-corrected adequate clinical and parasitological response (APCR) rates in the three groups were 94%, 100%, and 100% (p=0.04). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated faster P. falciparum parasite clearance in southern Vietnam than in western Cambodia but slower clearance in comparison with historical data from Vietnam. Further studies to determine whether this represents the emergence of artemisinin resistance in this area are needed. Currently, the therapeutic response to DHA-PPQ remains satisfactory in southern Vietnam. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NTC01165372.

White NJ, Dondorp AM, Faiz A, Mishra S, Hien TT. 2012. New global estimates of malaria deaths. Lancet, 380 (9841), pp. 559-560. | Read more

Tam DTH, Ngoc TV, Tien NTH, Kieu NTT, Thuy TTT, Thanh LTC, Tam CT, Truong NT, Dung NT, Qui PT 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 CNB, Phung LK, Duong KTH, Huynh HLA, Farrar J, Nguyen QTH, Tran HT, Nguyen CVV, Merson L 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.

Tham NT, Hang VTT, Khanh TH, Viet DC, Hien TT, Farrar J, Chau NVV, van Doorn HR. 2012. Comparison of the Roche RealTime ready Influenza A/H1N1 Detection Set with CDC A/H1N1pdm09 RT-PCR on samples from three hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis, 74 (2), pp. 131-136. | Show Abstract | Read more

Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can be considered the gold standard for detection of influenza viruses due to its high sensitivity and specificity. Roche has developed the RealTime ready Influenza A/H1N1 Detection Set, consisting of a generic influenza virus A PCR targeting the M2 gene (M2 PCR) and a specific PCR targeting the hemagglutinin (HA) of A/H1N1-pdm09 (HA PCR, 2009 H1N1), with the intention to make a reliable, rapid, and simple test to detect and quantify 2009 H1N1 in clinical samples. We evaluated this kit against the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC)/World Health Organization real-time PCR for influenza virus using 419 nose and throat swabs from 210 patients collected in 3 large hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In the per-patient analysis, when compared to CDC PCR, the sensitivity and specificity of the M2 PCR were 85.8% and 97.6%, respectively; the sensitivity and specificity of HA PCR were 88.2% and 100%, respectively. In the per-sample analysis, the sensitivity and specificity in nose swabs were higher than those in throat swabs for both M2 and HA PCRs. The viral loads as determined with the M2 and HA PCRs correlated well with the Ct values of the CDC PCR. Compared with the CDC PCR, the kit has a reasonable sensitivity and very good specificity for the detection and quantification of influenza A virus and A/H1N1-pdm09. However, given the current status of 2009 H1N1, a kit that can detect all circulating seasonal influenza viruses would be preferable.

Dunstan SJ, Rockett KA, Quyen NTN, Teo YY, Thai CQ, Hang NT, Jeffreys A, Clark TG, Small KS, Simmons CP 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.

Whitehorn J, Rodriguez Roche R, Guzman MG, Martinez E, Gomez WV, Nainggolan L, Laksono IS, Mishra A, Lum L, Faiz 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.

Trung DT, Thao LTT, Dung NM, Ngoc TV, Hien TT, Chau NVV, Wolbers M, Tam DTH, 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.

Khanh TH, Sabanathan S, Thoa LPK, Thuong TC, Farrar J, Hien TT, van Doorn HR. 2012. A large epidemic of enterovirus 71 associated hand, foot and mouth disease in southern Vietnam, 2011 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E274-E274. | Read more

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

Hien TT. 2012. Clinical features and pathogenesis of H5N1 influenza in humans INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 16 pp. E41-E41. | Read more

Ho Dang Trung N, Le Thi Phuong T, Wolbers M, Nguyen Van Minh H, Nguyen Thanh V, Van MP, Thieu NTV, Van TL, Song DT, Thi PL et al. 2012. Aetiologies of central nervous system infection in Viet Nam: a prospective provincial hospital-based descriptive surveillance study. PLoS One, 7 (5), pp. e37825. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infectious diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) remain common and life-threatening, especially in developing countries. Knowledge of the aetiological agents responsible for these infections is essential to guide empiric therapy and develop a rational public health policy. To date most data has come from patients admitted to tertiary referral hospitals in Asia and there is limited aetiological data at the provincial hospital level where most patients are seen. METHODS: We conducted a prospective Provincial Hospital-based descriptive surveillance study in adults and children at thirteen hospitals in central and southern Viet Nam between August 2007-April 2010. The pathogens of CNS infection were confirmed in CSF and blood samples by using classical microbiology, molecular diagnostics and serology. RESULTS: We recruited 1241 patients with clinically suspected infection of the CNS. An aetiological agent was identified in 640/1241 (52%) of the patients. The most common pathogens were Streptococcus suis serotype 2 in patients older than 14 years of age (147/617, 24%) and Japanese encephalitis virus in patients less than 14 years old (142/624, 23%). Mycobacterium tuberculosis was confirmed in 34/617 (6%) adult patients and 11/624 (2%) paediatric patients. The acute case fatality rate (CFR) during hospital admission was 73/617 (12%) in adults and to 42/624 (7%) in children. CONCLUSIONS: Zoonotic bacterial and viral pathogens are the most common causes of CNS infection in adults and children in Viet Nam.

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

Ponsford MJ, Medana IM, Prapansilp P, Hien TT, Lee SJ, Dondorp AM, Esiri MM, Day NPJ, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2012. Sequestration and microvascular congestion are associated with coma in human cerebral malaria. J Infect Dis, 205 (4), pp. 663-671. | Show Abstract | Read more

The pathogenesis of coma in severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains poorly understood. Obstruction of the brain microvasculature because of sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (pRBCs) represents one mechanism that could contribute to coma in cerebral malaria. Quantitative postmortem microscopy of brain sections from Vietnamese adults dying of malaria confirmed that sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature was significantly higher in patients with cerebral malaria (CM; n = 21) than in patients with non-CM (n = 23). Sequestration of pRBCs and CM was also significantly associated with increased microvascular congestion by infected and uninfected erythrocytes. Clinicopathological correlation showed that sequestration and congestion were significantly associated with deeper levels of premortem coma and shorter time to death. Microvascular congestion and sequestration were highly correlated as microscopic findings but were independent predictors of a clinical diagnosis of CM. Increased microvascular congestion accompanies coma in CM, associated with parasite sequestration in the cerebral microvasculature.

Gillrie MR, Lee K, Gowda DC, Davis SP, Monestier M, Cui L, Hien TT, Day NPJ, Ho M. 2012. Plasmodium falciparum histones induce endothelial proinflammatory response and barrier dysfunction. Am J Pathol, 180 (3), pp. 1028-1039. | Show Abstract | Read more

Plasmodium falciparum is a protozoan parasite of human erythrocytes that causes the most severe form of malaria. Severe P. falciparum infection is associated with endothelial activation and permeability, which are important determinants of the outcome of the infection. How endothelial cells become activated is not fully understood, particularly with regard to the effects of parasite subcomponents. We demonstrated that P. falciparum histones extracted from merozoites (HeH) directly stimulated the production of IL-8 and other inflammatory mediators by primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells through a signaling pathway that involves Src family kinases and p38 MAPK. The stimulatory effect of HeH and recombinant P. falciparum H3 (PfH3) was abrogated by histone-specific antibodies. The release of nuclear contents on rupture of infected erythrocytes was captured by live cell imaging and confirmed by detecting nucleosomes in the supernatants of parasite cultures. HeH and recombinant parasite histones also induced endothelial permeability through a charge-dependent mechanism that resulted in disruption of junctional protein expression and cell death. Recombinant human activated protein C cleaved HeH and PfH3 and abrogated their proinflammatory effects. Circulating nucleosomes of both human and parasite origin were detected in the plasma of patients with falciparum malaria and correlated positively with disease severity. These results support a pathogenic role for both host- and pathogen-derived histones in P. falciparum-caused malaria.

Nga TVT, Parry CM, Le T, Lan NPH, Diep TS, Campbell JI, Hoang NVM, Dung LT, Wain J, Dolecek C et al. 2012. The decline of typhoid and the rise of non-typhoid salmonellae and fungal infections in a changing HIV landscape: bloodstream infection trends over 15 years in southern Vietnam. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 106 (1), pp. 26-34. | Show Abstract | Read more

The etiological spectrum of bloodstream infections is variable between industrialized and developing countries and even within a defined location over time. We investigated trends in bloodstream infections at an infectious disease hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from 1994-2008. Amongst 66,111 blood cultures performed, a clinically relevant pathogen was isolated in 7645 episodes (positivity rate; 116/1000 cultures). Salmonella Typhi was the predominant pathogen until 2002; however, a considerable annual decline in the proportion of S. Typhi was observed (OR 0.6993, 95% CI [0.6885, 0.7103], p<0.0001). Conversely, there was a significant increase in the proportions of non-typhoidal Salmonella (NTS), Cryptococcus neoformans and Penicillium marneffei, concurrent with increasing HIV prevalence. These data document a substantial longitudinal shift in bloodstream infection etiology in southern Vietnam. We propose such changes are related to increasing economic prosperity and HIV prevalence, and this pattern marks a substantial change in the epidemiology of invasive salmonellosis in Southeast Asia.

Török ME, Nguyen DB, Tran THC, Nguyen TBY, Thwaites GE, Hoang TQ, Nguyen HD, Tran TH, Nguyen TC, Hoang HTT et al. 2011. Dexamethasone and long-term outcome of tuberculous meningitis in Vietnamese adults and adolescents. PLoS One, 6 (12), pp. e27821. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dexamethasone has been shown to reduce mortality in patients with tuberculous meningitis but the long-term outcome of the disease is unknown. METHODS: Vietnamese adults and adolescents with tuberculous meningitis recruited to a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of adjunctive dexamethasone were followed-up at five years, to determine the effect of dexamethasone on long-term survival and neurological disability. RESULTS: 545 patients were randomised to receive either dexamethasone (274 patients) or placebo (271 patients). 50 patients (9.2%) were lost to follow-up at five years. In all patients two-year survival, probabilities tended to be higher in the dexamethasone arm (0.63 versus 0.55; p = 0.07) but five-year survival rates were similar (0.54 versus 0.51, p = 0.51) in both groups. In patients with grade 1 TBM, but not with grade 2 or grade 3 TBM, the benefit of dexamethasone treatment tended to persist over time (five-year survival probabilities 0.69 versus 0.55, p = 0.07) but there was no conclusive evidence of treatment effect heterogeneity by TBM grade (p = 0.36). The dexamethasone group had a similar proportion of severely disabled patients among survivors at five years as the placebo group (17/128, 13.2% vs. 17/116, 14.7%) and there was no significant association between dexamethasone treatment and disability status at five years (p = 0.32). CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive dexamethasone appears to improve the probability of survival in patients with TBM, until at least two years of follow-up. We could not demonstrate a five-year survival benefit of dexamethasone treatment which may be confined to patients with grade 1 TBM. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01317654.

Aaron FD, Alexa C, Andreev V, Backovic S, Baghdasaryan A, Baghdasaryan S, Barrelet E, Bartel W, Begzsuren K, Belousov A et al. 2011. Measurement of the diffractive longitudinal structure function F-L(D) at HERA EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL C, 71 (12), | Show Abstract | Read more

© The Author(s) 2011. First measurements are presented of the diffrac-tive cross section σ<inf>ep→e</inf>XY at centre-of-mass energies √s of 225 and 252 GeV, together with a precise new measurement at √s of 319 GeV, using data taken with the H1 detector in the years 2006 and 2007. Together with previous H1 data at √s of 301 GeV, the measurements are used to extract the diffractive longitudinal structure function FD in the range of photon virtualities 4.0 < Q<sup>2</sup> < 44.0 GeV<sup>2</sup> and fractional proton longitudinal momentum loss 5 x 10-<sup>4</sup>≤xp ≤ 3×10<sup>−3</sup>. The measured F<sup>D</sup> <inf>L</inf> is compared with leading twist predictions based on diffractive parton densities extracted in NLO QCD fits to previous measurements of diffractive Deep-Inelastic Scattering and with a model which additionally includes a higher twist contribution derived from a colour dipole approach. The ratio of the diffractive cross section induced by longitudinally polarised photons to that for transversely polarised photons is extracted and compared with the analogous quantity for inclusive Deep-Inelastic Scattering.

Do LAH, van Doorn HR, Bryant JE, Nghiem MN, Nguyen Van VC, Vo CK, Nguyen MD, Tran TH, Farrar J, de Jong MD. 2012. A sensitive real-time PCR for detection and subgrouping of human respiratory syncytial virus. J Virol Methods, 179 (1), pp. 250-255. | Show Abstract | Read more

Improved diagnostic tools for rapid detection, quantitation, and subgrouping of human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are needed to aid the development and evaluation of novel intervention strategies. A quantitative real-time RT-PCR using specific locked nucleic acid (LNA) probes was developed to identify RSV and to distinguish RSV subgroups A and B (RSV LNA assay). RSV subgroup diversity and the relationship between viral load and disease severity in confirmed RSV infections were also explored. 264 archived respiratory specimens from pediatric patients were tested in parallel using the commercial multiplex Seeplex™ RV detection kit (Seegene) and the novel RSV LNA assay. The LNA assay demonstrated a significantly higher sensitivity than Seeplex, improving overall detection rates from 24% (64/264) to 32% (84/264). Detection limits of 9.0×10(1) and 6.0×10(2)copies/mL were observed for RSV A and B, respectively. RSV A was detected in 53/84 (63%) cases, and 31/84 (37%) were positive for RSV B. This novel method offers a rapid, quantitative, highly specific and sensitive approach to laboratory diagnosis of RSV.

Thai KTD, Henn MR, Zody MC, Tricou V, Nguyet NM, Charlebois P, Lennon NJ, Green L, de Vries PJ, Hien TT 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.

Yacoub S, Griffiths A, Chau TTH, 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.

Medana IM, Day NPJ, Sachanonta N, Mai NTH, Dondorp AM, Pongponratn E, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2011. Coma in fatal adult human malaria is not caused by cerebral oedema. Malar J, 10 (1), pp. 267. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The role of brain oedema in the pathophysiology of cerebral malaria is controversial. Coma associated with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria is multifactorial, but associated with histological evidence of parasitized erythrocyte sequestration and resultant microvascular congestion in cerebral vessels. To determine whether these changes cause breakdown of the blood-brain barrier and resultant perivascular or parenchymal cerebral oedema, histology, immunohistochemistry and image analysis were used to define the prevalence of histological patterns of oedema and the expression of specific molecular pathways involved in water balance in the brain in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. METHODS: The brains of 20 adult Vietnamese patients who died of severe malaria were examined for evidence of disrupted vascular integrity. Immunohistochemistry and image analysis was performed on brainstem sections for activation of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 and expression of the aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channel protein. Fibrinogen immunostaining was assessed as evidence of blood-brain barrier leakage and perivascular oedema formation. Correlations were performed with clinical, biochemical and neuropathological parameters of severe malaria infection. RESULTS: The presence of oedema, plasma protein leakage and evidence of VEGF signalling were heterogeneous in fatal falciparum malaria and did not correlate with pre-mortem coma. Differences in vascular integrity were observed between brain regions with the greatest prevalence of disruption in the brainstem, compared to the cortex or midbrain. There was a statistically non-significant trend towards higher AQP4 staining in the brainstem of cases that presented with coma (P = .02). CONCLUSIONS: Histological evidence of cerebral oedema or immunohistochemical evidence of localised loss of vascular integrity did not correlate with the occurrence of pre-mortem coma in adults with fatal falciparum malaria. Enhanced expression of AQP4 water channels in the brainstem may, therefore, reflect a mix of both neuropathological or attempted neuroprotective responses to oedema formation.

Manabe T, Pham TPT, Vu VC, Takasaki J, Dinh TTH, Nguyen TMC, Shimbo T, Bui TTH, Izumi S, Tran TH et al. 2011. Impact of educational intervention concerning awareness and behaviors relating to avian influenza (H5N1) in a high-risk population in Vietnam. PLoS One, 6 (8), pp. e23711. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Early initiation of treatment is essential for treatment of avian influenza A/H5N1 viral infection in humans, as the disease can lead to rapid development of severe pneumonia which can result in death. Contact with infected poultry is known to be a significant risk factor for contraction of H5N1 infection. However, handling and encountering poultry are a part of most peoples' daily lives, especially in rural communities in Vietnam where epidemic outbreaks among poultry have been continuously reported. Enhancing proper knowledge relating to H5N1 and to the importance of early initiation of treatment are crucial. The aim of this study was to develop an effective educational program to enhance awareness of H5N1 and motivate people to access to health care earlier when H5N1 infection is suspected or likely. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A study was conducted in two agricultural communities (intervention and control groups) in the Ninh Binh province in Vietnam, where epidemic outbreaks of avian influenza have recently occurred in birds. A unique educational intervention was developed and provided to the intervention group, and no intervention was provided to the control group. A knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) survey was conducted in both groups with a face-to-face interview by trained local healthcare workers at time points before and after the educational intervention. KAP scores were compared between the different time points and between the groups. How educational intervention influenced awareness relating to H5N1 and accessibility of healthcare in the population was analyzed. The study indicated an increased awareness of H5N1 and increased reliance on local health care workers. CONCLUSIONS: The novel educational program which was developed for this study impacted awareness of H5N1, and resulted in more people seeking early access to healthcare, and also resulted in earlier medical intervention for patients with H5N1 avian influenza infection in Vietnam.

Nga TVT, Nghia HDT, Tu LTP, Diep TS, Mai NTH, Chau TTH, Sinh DX, Phu NH, Nga TTT, Chau NVV et al. 2011. Real-time PCR for detection of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 in cerebrospinal fluid of human patients with meningitis. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis, 70 (4), pp. 461-467. | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus suis serotype 2 is an emerging zoonotic pathogen and is the main cause of acute bacterial meningitis in adult patients in Vietnam. We developed an internally controlled real-time PCR for detection of S. suis serotype 2 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples targeted at the cps2J gene. Sensitivity and specificity in culture-confirmed clinical samples were 100%. The PCR detected S. suis serotype 2 infection in 101 of 238 (42.4%) prospectively collected CSF samples, of which 55 (23%) were culture positive. Culture-negative but PCR-positive CSF samples were significantly associated with the use of antimicrobial agents before admission. S. suis serotype 2 infection was more common than infections with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Neisseria meningitidis combined. Our results strikingly illustrate the additional diagnostic value of PCR in patients who are pretreated with antimicrobial agents and demonstrate the extremely high prevalence of S. suis infections among Vietnamese adult patients with bacterial meningitis.

Nguyen-Pouplin J, Pouplin T, Van TP, The TD, Thi DN, Farrar J, Tinh HT, Wills B. 2011. Dextran fractional clearance studies in acute dengue infection. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (8), pp. e1282. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Although increased capillary permeability is the major clinical feature associated with severe dengue infections the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon remain unclear. Dextran clearance methodology has been used to investigate the molecular sieving properties of the microvasculature in clinical situations associated with altered permeability, including during pregnancy and in various renal disorders. In order to better understand the characteristics of the vascular leak associated with dengue we undertook formal dextran clearance studies in Vietnamese dengue patients and healthy volunteers. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We carried out serial clearance studies in 15 young adult males with acute dengue and evidence of vascular leakage a) during the phase of maximal leakage and b) one and three months later, as well as in 16 healthy control subjects. Interestingly we found no difference in the clearance profiles of neutral dextran solutions among the dengue patients at any time-point or in comparison to the healthy volunteers. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The surface glycocalyx layer, a fibre-matrix of proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, and plasma proteins, forms a complex with the underlying endothelial cells to regulate plasma volume within circumscribed limits. It is likely that during dengue infections loss of plasma proteins from this layer alters the permeability characteristics of the complex; physical and/or electrostatic interactions between the dextran molecules and the glycocalyx structure may temporarily restore normal function, rendering the technique unsuitable for assessing permeability in these patients. The implications for resuscitation of patients with dengue shock syndrome (DSS) are potentially important. It is possible that continuous low-dose infusions of dextran may help to stabilize the permeability barrier in patients with profound or refractory shock, reducing the need for repeated boluses, limiting the total colloid volume required. Formal clinical studies should help to assess this strategy as an alternative to conventional fluid resuscitation for severe DSS.

Thwaites GE, Bhavnani SM, Chau TTH, Hammel JP, Török ME, Van Wart SA, Mai PP, Reynolds DK, Caws M, Dung NT et al. 2011. Randomized pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic comparison of fluoroquinolones for tuberculous meningitis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (7), pp. 3244-3253. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most lethal form of tuberculosis, and new treatments that improve outcomes are required. We randomly assigned adults with TBM to treatment with standard antituberculosis treatment alone or in combination with ciprofloxacin (750 mg/12 h), levofloxacin (500 mg/12 h), or gatifloxacin (400 mg/24 h) for the first 60 days of therapy. Fluoroquinolone concentrations were measured with plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) specimens taken at predetermined, randomly assigned times throughout treatment. We aimed to describe the pharmacokinetics of each fluoroquinolone during TBM treatment and evaluate the relationship between drug exposure and clinical response over 270 days of therapy (Controlled Trials number ISRCTN07062956). Sixty-one patients with TBM were randomly assigned to treatment with no fluoroquinolone (n = 15), ciprofloxacin (n = 16), levofloxacin (n = 15), or gatifloxacin (n = 15). Cerebrospinal fluid penetration, measured by the ratio of the plasma area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC(0-24)) to the cerebrospinal fluid AUC(0-24), was greater for levofloxacin (median, 0.74; range, 0.58 to 1.03) than for gatifloxacin (median, 0.48; range, 0.47 to 0.50) or ciprofloxacin (median, 0.26; range, 0.11 to 0.77). Univariable and multivariable analyses of fluoroquinolone exposure against a range of different treatment responses revealed worse outcomes among patients with lower and higher plasma and CSF exposures than for patients with intermediate exposures (a U-shaped exposure-response). TBM patients most likely to benefit from fluoroquinolone therapy were identified, along with exposure-response relationships associated with improved outcomes. Fluoroquinolones add antituberculosis activity to the standard treatment regimen, but to improve outcomes of TBM, they must be started early, before the onset of coma.

Török ME, Yen NTB, Chau TTH, Mai NTH, Phu NH, Mai PP, Dung NT, Chau NVV, Bang ND, Tien NA 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.

Parry CM, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Wain J, Campbell JI, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Baker S. 2011. The influence of reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi on the clinical response to ofloxacin therapy. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (6), pp. e1163. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi) with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones has been associated with fluoroquinolone treatment failure. We studied the relationship between ofloxacin treatment response and the ofloxacin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of the infecting isolate. Individual patient data from seven randomised controlled trials of antimicrobial treatment in enteric fever conducted in Vietnam in which ofloxacin was used in at least one of the treatment arms was studied. Data from 540 patients randomised to ofloxacin treatment was analysed to identify an MIC of the infecting organism associated with treatment failure. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The proportion of patients failing ofloxacin treatment was significantly higher in patients infected with S. Typhi isolates with an MIC≥0.25 µg/mL compared with those infections with an MIC of ≤0.125 µg/mL (p<0.001). Treatment success was 96% when the ofloxacin MIC was ≤0.125 µg/mL, 73% when the MIC was between 0.25 and 0.50 µg/mL and 53% when the MIC was 1.00 µg/mL. This was despite a longer duration of treatment at a higher dosage in patients infected with isolates with an MIC≥0.25 µg/mL compared with those infections with an MIC of ≤0.125 µg/mL. SIGNIFICANCE: There is a clear relationship between ofloxacin susceptibility and clinical outcome in ofloxacin treated patients with enteric fever. An ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 µg/mL, or the presence of nalidixic acid resistance, can be used to define S. Typhi infections in which the response to ofloxacin may be impaired.

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.

Fisher D, Hui DS, Gao Z, Lee C, Oh M-D, Cao B, Hien TT, Patlovich K, Farrar J. 2011. Pandemic response lessons from influenza H1N1 2009 in Asia. Respirology, 16 (6), pp. 876-882. | Show Abstract | Read more

During April 2009, a novel H1N1 influenza A virus strain was identified in Mexico and the USA. Within weeks the virus had spread globally and the first pandemic of the 21st Century had been declared. It is unlikely to be the last and it is crucial that real lessons are learned from the experience. Asia is considered a hot spot for the emergence of new pathogens including past influenza pandemics. On this occasion while preparing for an avian, highly virulent influenza virus (H5N1 like) originating in Asia in fact the pandemic originated from swine, and was less virulent. This discrepancy between what was planned for and what emerged created its own challenges. The H1N1 pandemic has tested national health-care infrastructures and exposed shortcomings in our preparedness as a region. Key health challenges include communication throughout the region, surge capacity, access to reliable information and access to quality care, health-care worker skills, quality, density and distribution, access to essential medicines and lack of organizational infrastructure for emergency response. Despite years of preparation the public health and clinical research community were not ready to respond and opportunities for an immediate research response were missed. Despite warm words and pledges efforts to engage the international community to ensure equitable sharing of limited resources such as antivirals and vaccines fell short and stockpiles in the main remained in the rich world. This manuscript with authors from across the region describes some of the major challenges faced by Asia in response to the pandemic and draws lessons for the future.

Alexander N, Balmaseda A, Coelho ICB, Dimaano E, Hien TT, Hung NT, Jänisch T, Kroeger A, Lum LCS, Martinez E et al. 2011. Multicentre prospective study on dengue classification in four South-east Asian and three Latin American countries. Trop Med Int Health, 16 (8), pp. 936-948. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the existing WHO dengue classification across all age groups and a wide geographical range and to develop a revised evidence-based classification that would better reflect clinical severity. METHODS: We followed suspected dengue cases daily in seven countries across South-east Asia and Latin America and then categorised them into one of three intervention groups describing disease severity according to the overall level of medical and nursing support required. Using a pre-defined analysis plan, we explored the clinical and laboratory profiles characteristic of these intervention categories and presented the most promising options for a revised classification scheme to an independent group of WHO dengue experts for consideration. Potential warning signs were also evaluated by comparing contemporaneous data of patients who progressed to severe disease with the data of those who did not. RESULTS: A total of 2259 patients were recruited during 2006-2007 and 230 (13%) of the 1734 laboratory-confirmed patients required major intervention. Applying the existing WHO system, 47/210 (22%) of patients with shock did not fulfil all the criteria for dengue haemorrhagic fever. However, no three-tier revision adequately described the different severity groups either. Inclusion of readily discernible complications (shock/severe vascular leakage and/or severe bleeding and/or severe organ dysfunction) was necessary to devise a system that identified patients requiring major intervention with sufficient sensitivity and specificity to be practically useful. Only a small number of subjects (5%) progressed to severe disease while under observation; several warning signs were identified, but much larger studies are necessary to fully characterize features associated with disease progression. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, a revised classification system comprised of two entities, 'Dengue' and 'Severe Dengue', was proposed and has now been incorporated into the new WHO guidelines.

Pouplin T, Pouplin JN, Van Toi P, Lindegardh N, Rogier van Doorn H, Hien TT, Farrar J, Török ME, Chau TTH. 2011. Valacyclovir for herpes simplex encephalitis. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 55 (7), pp. 3624-3626. | Show Abstract | Read more

The recommended treatment for herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) remains intravenous acyclovir. In resource-poor countries, however, intravenous formulations are usually unavailable or unaffordable. We report the penetration of acyclovir into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with HSE, treated with the oral prodrug valacyclovir at 1,000 mg three times daily. The oral therapy achieved adequate acyclovir concentrations in the CSF and may be an acceptable early treatment for suspected HSE in resource-limited settings.

Hien TT, Hanpithakpong W, Truong NT, Dung NT, Toi PV, Farrar J, Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Ashton M. 2011. Orally formulated artemisinin in healthy fasting Vietnamese male subjects: a randomized, four-sequence, open-label, pharmacokinetic crossover study. Clin Ther, 33 (5), pp. 644-654. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Artemisinin derivatives are used in antimalarial drug combination therapy. Artemisinin and piperaquine have recently been proven to be prospective candidates for combination therapy in the treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate the relative bioavailability and to characterize the pharmacokinetic properties of a new micronized powder formulation of artemisinin against the previous standard Vietnamese formulation when administered as a single oral dose or in combination with piperaquine. METHODS: This was a single-center, randomized, 4-sequence, open-label, crossover study conducted in 15 healthy male Vietnamese volunteers under fasting conditions with a washout period of 3 weeks between study visits. A single oral dose of 160 or 500 mg of artemisinin was administered alone or in combination with piperaquine. Potential adverse events were monitored daily by the clinician and by using laboratory test results. Frequent blood samples were drawn for 12 hours after dose. Artemisinin was quantified in plasma using LC-MS/MS. Pharmacokinetic parameters were computed from the plasma concentration-time profiles using a noncompartmental analysis method. RESULTS: Pharmacokinetic parameters T(max), C(max), AUC(0-∞), V(d)/F, CL/F, and t(1/2) (mean [SD]) for the new formulation of artemisinin were 1.83 (0.88) hours, 178 (97) ng/mL, 504 (210) h × ng/mL, 1270 (780) L, 401 (260) L/h, and 2.21 (0.29) hours, respectively. The mean percentage of the test/reference formulation ratio for the logarithmically transformed values of C(max), AUC(0-last,) and AUC(0-∞) were 121% (90% CI, 92.5-158), 122% (90% CI, 101-148), and 120% (90% CI, 98.0-146), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This single-dose study found that the dose-normalized C(max), AUC(0-last), and AUC(0-∞) mean geometric differences between the test and reference formulations were relatively small (<40%) and will probably not have a clinical impact in the treatment of malaria infections.

Barniol J, Gaczkowski R, Barbato EV, da Cunha RV, Salgado D, Martínez E, Segarra CS, Pleites Sandoval EB, Mishra A, Laksono IS et al. 2011. Usefulness and applicability of the revised dengue case classification by disease: multi-centre study in 18 countries. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 106. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In view of the long term discussion on the appropriateness of the dengue classification into dengue fever (DF), dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS), the World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined in its new global dengue guidelines a revised classification into levels of severity: dengue fever with an intermediary group of "dengue fever with warning sings", and severe dengue. The objective of this paper was to compare the two classification systems regarding applicability in clinical practice and surveillance, as well as user-friendliness and acceptance by health staff. METHODS: A mix of quantitative (prospective and retrospective review of medical charts by expert reviewers, formal staff interviews), semi-quantitative (open questions in staff interviews) and qualitative methods (focus group discussions) were used in 18 countries. Quality control of data collected was undertaken by external monitors. RESULTS: The applicability of the DF/DHF/DSS classification was limited, even when strict DHF criteria were not applied (13.7% of dengue cases could not be classified using the DF/DHF/DSS classification by experienced reviewers, compared to only 1.6% with the revised classification). The fact that some severe dengue cases could not be classified in the DF/DHF/DSS system was of particular concern. Both acceptance and perceived user-friendliness of the revised system were high, particularly in relation to triage and case management. The applicability of the revised classification to retrospective data sets (of importance for dengue surveillance) was also favourable. However, the need for training, dissemination and further research on the warning signs was highlighted. CONCLUSIONS: The revised dengue classification has a high potential for facilitating dengue case management and surveillance.

Ngo TH, Tran TBC, Tran TTN, Nguyen VD, Campbell J, Pham HA, Huynh HT, Nguyen VVC, Bryant JE, Tran TH et al. 2011. Slaughterhouse pigs are a major reservoir of Streptococcus suis serotype 2 capable of causing human infection in southern Vietnam. PLoS One, 6 (3), pp. e17943. | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus suis is a pathogen of major economic significance to the swine industry and is increasingly recognized as an emerging zoonotic agent in Asia. In Vietnam, S. suis is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in adult humans. Zoonotic transmission is most frequently associated with serotype 2 strains and occupational exposure to pigs or consumption of infected pork. To gain insight into the role of pigs for human consumption as a reservoir for zoonotic infection in southern Vietnam, we determined the prevalence and diversity of S. suis carriage in healthy slaughterhouse pigs. Nasopharyngeal tonsils were sampled from pigs at slaughterhouses serving six provinces in southern Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City area from September 2006 to November 2007. Samples were screened by bacterial culture. Isolates of S. suis were serotyped and characterized by multi locus sequence typing (MLST) and pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Antibiotic susceptibility profiles and associated genetic resistance determinants, and the presence of putative virulence factors were determined. 41% (222/542) of pigs carried S. suis of one or multiple serotypes. 8% (45/542) carried S. suis serotype 2 which was the most common serotype found (45/317 strains, 14%). 80% of serotype 2 strains belonged to the MLST clonal complex 1,which was previously associated with meningitis cases in Vietnam and outbreaks of severe disease in China in 1998 and 2005. These strains clustered with representative strains isolated from patients with meningitis in PFGE analysis, and showed similar antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor profiles. Slaughterhouse pigs are a major reservoir of S. suis serotype 2 capable of causing human infection in southern Vietnam. Strict hygiene at processing facilities, and health education programs addressing food safety and proper handling of pork should be encouraged.

Do AHL, van Doorn HR, Nghiem MN, Bryant JE, Hoang THT, Do QH, Van TL, Tran TT, Wills B, Nguyen VCV et al. 2011. Viral etiologies of acute respiratory infections among hospitalized Vietnamese children in Ho Chi Minh City, 2004-2008. PLoS One, 6 (3), pp. e18176. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The dominant viral etiologies responsible for acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are poorly understood, particularly among hospitalized children in resource-limited tropical countries where morbidity and mortality caused by ARIs are highest. Improved etiological insight is needed to improve clinical management and prevention. OBJECTIVES: We conducted a three-year prospective descriptive study of severe respiratory illness among children from 2 months to 13 years of age within the largest referral hospital for infectious diseases in southern Vietnam. METHODS: Molecular detection for 15 viral species and subtypes was performed on three types of respiratory specimens (nose, throat swabs and nasopharyngeal aspirates) using a multiplex RT-PCR kit (Seeplex™ RV detection, Seegene) and additional monoplex real-time RT-PCRs. RESULTS: A total of 309 children were enrolled from November 2004 to January 2008. Viruses were identified in 72% (222/309) of cases, including respiratory syncytial virus (24%), influenza virus A and B (17%), human bocavirus (16%), enterovirus (9%), human coronavirus (8%), human metapneumovirus (7%), parainfluenza virus 1-3 (6%), adenovirus (5%), and human rhinovirus A (4%). Co-infections with multiple viruses were detected in 20% (62/309) of patients. When combined, diagnostic yields in nose and throat swabs were similar to nasopharyngeal aspirates. CONCLUSION: Similar to other parts in the world, RSV and influenza were the predominant viral pathogens detected in Vietnamese hospitalized children. Combined nasal and throat swabs are the specimens of choice for sensitive molecular detection of a broad panel of viral agents. Further research is required to better understand the clinical significance of single versus multiple viral coinfections and to address the role of bacterial (co-)infections involved in severe respiratory illness.

Nghia HDT, Tu LTP, Wolbers M, Thai CQ, Hoang NVM, Nga TVT, Thao LTP, Phu NH, Chau TTH, Sinh DX et al. 2011. Risk factors of Streptococcus suis infection in Vietnam. A case-control study. PLoS One, 6 (3), pp. e17604. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Streptococcus suis infection, an emerging zoonosis, is an increasing public health problem across South East Asia and the most common cause of acute bacterial meningitis in adults in Vietnam. Little is known of the risk factors underlying the disease. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A case-control study with appropriate hospital and matched community controls for each patient was conducted between May 2006 and June 2009. Potential risk factors were assessed using a standardized questionnaire and investigation of throat and rectal S. suis carriage in cases, controls and their pigs, using real-time PCR and culture of swab samples. We recruited 101 cases of S. suis meningitis, 303 hospital controls and 300 community controls. By multivariate analysis, risk factors identified for S. suis infection as compared to either control group included eating "high risk" dishes, including such dishes as undercooked pig blood and pig intestine (OR(1) = 2.22; 95%CI = [1.15-4.28] and OR(2) = 4.44; 95%CI = [2.15-9.15]), occupations related to pigs (OR(1) = 3.84; 95%CI = [1.32-11.11] and OR(2) = 5.52; 95%CI = [1.49-20.39]), and exposures to pigs or pork in the presence of skin injuries (OR(1) = 7.48; 95%CI = [1.97-28.44] and OR(2) = 15.96; 95%CI = [2.97-85.72]). S. suis specific DNA was detected in rectal and throat swabs of 6 patients and was cultured from 2 rectal samples, but was not detected in such samples of 1522 healthy individuals or patients without S. suis infection. CONCLUSIONS: This case control study, the largest prospective epidemiological assessment of this disease, has identified the most important risk factors associated with S. suis bacterial meningitis to be eating 'high risk' dishes popular in parts of Asia, occupational exposure to pigs and pig products, and preparation of pork in the presence of skin lesions. These risk factors can be addressed in public health campaigns aimed at preventing S. suis infection.

Fox A, Le NMH, Simmons CP, Wolbers M, Wertheim HFL, Pham TK, Tran THN, Trinh TML, Nguyen TL, Nguyen VT 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.

Hoa NT, Chieu TTB, Nghia HDT, Mai NTH, Anh PH, Wolbers M, Baker S, Campbell JI, Chau NVV, Hien TT et al. 2011. The antimicrobial resistance patterns and associated determinants in Streptococcus suis isolated from humans in southern Vietnam, 1997-2008. BMC Infect Dis, 11 (1), pp. 6. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Streptococcus suis is an emerging zoonotic pathogen and is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in Vietnam. Systematic data on the antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of S. suis strains isolated from human cases are lacking. We studied antimicrobial resistance and associated resistance determinants in S. suis isolated from patients with meningitis in southern Vietnam. METHODS: S. suis strains isolated between 1997 and 2008 were investigated for their susceptibility to six antimicrobial agents. Strains were screened for the presence and expression of tetracycline and erythromycin resistance determinants and the association of tet(M) genes with Tn916- like transposons. The localization of tetracycline resistance gene tet(L) was determined by pulse field gel electrophoresis and Southern blotting. RESULTS: We observed a significant increase in resistance to tetracycline and chloramphenicol, which was concurrent with an increase in multi-drug resistance. In tetracycline resistance strains, we identified tet(M), tet(O), tet(W) and tet(L) and confirmed their expression. All tet(M) genes were associated with a Tn916-like transposon. The co-expression of tet(L) and other tetracycline resistance gene(s) encoding for ribosomal protection protein(s) was only detected in strains with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of tetracycline of ≥ 64 mg/L. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that multi-drug resistance in S. suis causing disease in humans in southern Vietnam has increased over the 11-year period studied. We report the presence and expression of tet(L) in S. suis strains and our data suggest that co-expression of multiple genes encoding distinct mechanism is required for an MIC ≥ 64 mg/L to tetracycline.

Anders KL, Nguyet NM, Chau NVV, Hung NT, Thuy TT, Lien LB, 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.

Holt KE, Dolecek C, Chau TT, Duy PT, La TTP, Hoang NVM, Nga TVT, Campbell JI, Manh BH, Vinh Chau NV et al. 2011. Temporal fluctuation of multidrug resistant salmonella typhi haplotypes in the mekong river delta region of Vietnam. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 5 (1), pp. e929. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: typhoid fever remains a public health problem in Vietnam, with a significant burden in the Mekong River delta region. Typhoid fever is caused by the bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. Typhi), which is frequently multidrug resistant with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolone-based drugs, the first choice for the treatment of typhoid fever. We used a GoldenGate (Illumina) assay to type 1,500 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and analyse the genetic variation of S. Typhi isolated from 267 typhoid fever patients in the Mekong delta region participating in a randomized trial conducted between 2004 and 2005. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: the population of S. Typhi circulating during the study was highly clonal, with 91% of isolates belonging to a single clonal complex of the S. Typhi H58 haplogroup. The patterns of disease were consistent with the presence of an endemic haplotype H58-C and a localised outbreak of S. Typhi haplotype H58-E2 in 2004. H58-E2-associated typhoid fever cases exhibited evidence of significant geo-spatial clustering along the Sông H u branch of the Mekong River. Multidrug resistance was common in the established clone H58-C but not in the outbreak clone H58-E2, however all H58 S. Typhi were nalidixic acid resistant and carried a Ser83Phe amino acid substitution in the gyrA gene. SIGNIFICANCE: the H58 haplogroup dominates S. Typhi populations in other endemic areas, but the population described here was more homogeneous than previously examined populations, and the dominant clonal complex (H58-C, -E1, -E2) observed in this study has not been detected outside Vietnam. IncHI1 plasmid-bearing S. Typhi H58-C was endemic during the study period whilst H58-E2, which rarely carried the plasmid, was only transient, suggesting a selective advantage for the plasmid. These data add insight into the outbreak dynamics and local molecular epidemiology of S. Typhi in southern Vietnam.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Kamanikom B, Farrar J, Hien TT, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2011. Quantification of the anti-influenza drug zanamivir in plasma using high-throughput HILIC-MS/MS. Bioanalysis, 3 (2), pp. 157-165. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: parenteral zanamivir is a promising drug for the treatment of severe influenza. However, quantification of this polar drug in biological matrices has traditionally been difficult and the methods developed have been relatively insensitive. RESULTS: a high-throughput bioanalytical method for the analysis of zanamivir in human plasma using SPE in the 96-well plate format and LC coupled to positive MS/MS has been developed and validated according to US FDA guidelines. The method uses 50 microl of plasma and covers a large working range from 1-50, 000 ng/ml with a LOD of 0.50 ng/ml. CONCLUSION: this new LC-MS/MS assay is more sensitive than previous methods despite using a small plasma volume sample. It is particularly suitable for clinical studies on both parenteral and inhaled zanamivir.

Nguyen HP, Hanson J, Bethell D, Nguyen THM, Tran THC, Ly VC, Pham PL, Dinh XS, Dondorp A, White N et al. 2011. A retrospective analysis of the haemodynamic and metabolic effects of fluid resuscitation in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. PLoS One, 6 (10), pp. e25523. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Optimising the fluid resuscitation of patients with severe malaria is a simple and potentially cost-effective intervention. Current WHO guidelines recommend central venous pressure (CVP) guided, crystalloid based, resuscitation in adults. METHODS: Prospectively collected haemodynamic data from intervention trials in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria were analysed retrospectively to assess the responses to fluid resuscitation. RESULTS: 43 patients were studied of whom 24 received a fluid load. The fluid load resulted in an increase in cardiac index (mean increase: 0.75 L/min/m(2) (95% Confidence interval (CI): 0.41 to 1.1)), but no significant change in acid-base status post resuscitation (mean increase base deficit 0.6 mmol/L (95% CI: -0.1 to 1.3). The CVP and PAoP (pulmonary artery occlusion pressure) were highly inter-correlated (r(s) = 0.7, p<0.0001), but neither were correlated with acid-base status (arterial pH, serum bicarbonate, base deficit) or respiratory status (PaO(2)/FiO(2) ratio). There was no correlation between the oxygen delivery (DO(2)) and base deficit at the 63 time-points where they were assessed simultaneously (r(s) = -0.09, p = 0.46). CONCLUSIONS: In adults with severe falciparum malaria there was no observed improvement in patient outcomes or acid-base status with fluid loading. Neither CVP nor PAoP correlated with markers of end-organ perfusion or respiratory status, suggesting these measures are poor predictors of their fluid resuscitation needs.

Day JN, Hoang TN, Duong AV, Hong CTT, Diep PT, Campbell JI, Sieu TPM, Hien TT, Bui T, Boni MF et al. 2011. Most cases of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-uninfected patients in Vietnam are due to a distinct amplified fragment length polymorphism-defined cluster of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii VN1. J Clin Microbiol, 49 (2), pp. 658-664. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cryptococcal disease most commonly occurs in patients with an underlying immune deficit, most commonly HIV infection, and is due to Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii. Occasionally disease due to this variety occurs in apparently immunocompetent patients. The relationship between strains infecting immunosuppressed and immunocompetent patients is not clear. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was used to characterize the relationship between strains infecting HIV-infected and uninfected patients. Isolates from 51 HIV-uninfected patients and 100 HIV-infected patients with cryptococcal meningitis were compared. C. neoformans var. grubii VNI was responsible for infections in 73% of HIV-uninfected and 100% of HIV-infected patients. AFLP analysis defined two distinct clusters, VNIγ and VNIδ. The majority (84%) of isolates from HIV-uninfected patients were VNIγ, compared with only 38% of isolates from HIV-infected patients (odds ratio, 8.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.04 to 26.6; P < 0.0001). In HIV-uninfected patients, underlying disease was less frequent in those with VNIγ infections. Two clusters of C. neoformans var. grubii VN1 are responsible for the majority of cases of cryptococcal meningitis in Vietnam. The distribution of these clusters differs according to the immune status of the host.

Tran TH, Jarrell A, Zentner GE, Welsh A, Brownell I, Scacheri PC, Atit R. 2010. Role of canonical Wnt signaling/ß-catenin via Dermo1 in cranial dermal cell development. Development, 137 (23), pp. 3973-3984. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cranial dermis develops from cephalic mesoderm and neural crest cells, but what signal(s) specifies the dermal lineage is unclear. Using genetic tools to fate map and manipulate a cranial mesenchymal progenitor population in the supraorbital region, we show that the dermal progenitor cells beneath the surface ectoderm process canonical Wnt signaling at the time of specification. We show that Wnt signaling/β-catenin is absolutely required and sufficient for Dermo1 expression and dermal cell identity in the cranium. The absence of the Wnt signaling cue leads to formation of cartilage in craniofacial and ventral trunk regions at the expense of dermal and bone lineages. Dermo1 can be a direct transcription target and may mediate the functional role of Wnt signaling in dermal precursors. This study reveals a lineage-specific role of canonical Wnt signaling/β-catenin in promoting dermal cell fate in distinct precursor populations.

Cha K-H, Tran T-H, Kim M-S, Kim J-S, Park HJ, Park J, Cho W, Hwang S-J. 2010. pH-independent sustained release matrix tablet containing doxazosin mesylate: effect of citric acid. Arch Pharm Res, 33 (12), pp. 2003-2009. | Show Abstract | Read more

The aim of this study was to develop a pH-independent sustained release matrix tablets of doxazosin mesylate. The matrix tablets were prepared by direct compression technique using polyethylene oxide, sodium alginate and citric acid as a pH modifier. Formulations were evaluated for an in vitro drug release study, erosion study, and the microenvironmental pH was studied using the pH indicator methyl red. For formulations without citric acid, the extent and rate of drug release in simulated gastric fluid were much higher than those in simulated intestinal fluid. By adding the citric acid, the drug release rate in simulated intestinal fluid was increased, and microenvironmental pH values within the tablets were maintained at low pH during drug release. Furthermore, drug release from the matrix tablet containing 20% w/w citric acid was comparable to that from a commercial product, Cardura® XL, and a pH-independent release could be achieved. Therefore, the incorporation of citric acid as a pH modifier to Polyethylene oxide-sodium alginate matrix tablets effectively produced pH-independent doxazosin mesylate release profiles.

Trung DT, Thao LTT, Hien TT, Hung NT, Vinh NN, Hien PTD, 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.

Parry CM, Thuy CT, Dongol S, Karkey A, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Duy PT, Thieu Nga TV, Campbell JI, Van Minh Hoang N et al. 2010. Suitable disk antimicrobial susceptibility breakpoints defining Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 54 (12), pp. 5201-5208. | Show Abstract | Read more

Infections with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates that have reduced susceptibility to ofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.25 μg/ml) or ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 0.125 μg/ml) have been associated with a delayed response or clinical failure following treatment with these antimicrobials. These isolates are not detected as resistant using current disk susceptibility breakpoints. We examined 816 isolates of S. Typhi from seven Asian countries. Screening for nalidixic acid resistance (MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml) identified isolates with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 97.3% (253/260) and specificity of 99.3% (552/556). For isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml, the sensitivity was 92.9% (248/267) and specificity was 98.4% (540/549). A zone of inhibition of ≤28 mm around a 5-μg ofloxacin disc detected strains with an ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.6% (246/260) and specificity of 94.2% (524/556). A zone of inhibition of ≤30 mm detected isolates with a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml with a sensitivity of 94.0% (251/267) and specificity of 94.2% (517/549). An ofloxacin MIC of ≥0.25 μg/ml and a ciprofloxacin MIC of ≥0.125 μg/ml detected 74.5% (341/460) of isolates with an identified quinolone resistance-inducing mutation and 81.5% (331/406) of the most common mutant (carrying a serine-to-phenylalanine mutation at codon 83 in the gyrA gene). Screening for nalidixic acid resistance or ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin disk inhibition zone are suitable for detecting S. Typhi isolates with reduced fluoroquinolone susceptibility.

Bui HM, Clements ACA, Nguyen QT, Nguyen MH, Le XH, Hay SI, Tran TH, Wertheim HFL, Snow RW, Horby P. 2011. Social and environmental determinants of malaria in space and time in Viet Nam. Int J Parasitol, 41 (1), pp. 109-116. | Show Abstract | Read more

The malaria burden in Viet Nam has been in decline in recent decades, but localised areas of high transmission remain. We used spatiotemporal analytical tools to determine the social and environmental drivers of malaria risk and to identify residual high-risk areas where control and surveillance resources can be targeted. Counts of reported Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria cases by month (January 2007-December 2008) and by district were assembled. Zero-inflated Poisson regression models were developed in a bayesian framework. Models had the percentage of the district's population living below the poverty line, percent of the district covered by forest, median elevation, median long-term average precipitation, and minimum temperature included as fixed effects, and terms for temporal trend and residual district-level spatial autocorrelation. Strong temporal and spatial heterogeneity in counts of malaria cases was apparent. Poverty and forest cover were significantly associated with an increased count of malaria cases but the magnitude and direction of associations between climate and malaria varied by socio-ecological zone. There was a declining trend in counts of malaria cases during the study period. After accounting for the social and environmental fixed effects, substantial spatial heterogeneity was still evident. Unmeasured factors which may contribute to this residual variation include malaria control activities, population migration and accessibility to health care. Forest-related activities and factors encompassed by poverty indicators are major drivers of malaria incidence in Viet Nam.

Medana IM, Day NPJ, Roberts R, Sachanonta N, Turley H, Pongponratn E, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2010. Induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor pathway in the brain of adults with fatal falciparum malaria is a non-specific response to severe disease. Histopathology, 57 (2), pp. 282-294. | Show Abstract | Read more

AIMS: Pathological or neuroprotective mechanisms in the brain in severe malaria may arise from microvascular obstruction with malaria-parasitized erythrocytes. This study aimed to investigate the role of hypoxia and induction of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway in the neuropathophysiology of severe malaria. METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on post mortem brain tissue sections from 20 cases of severe malaria and examined for the expression of transcriptional regulators of VEGF [hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1alpha), HIF-2alpha], DEC-1, VEGF, VEGF receptors 1 and 2, and the activated, phosphorylated VEGF receptor 2 (pKDR). HIFs showed limited protein expression and/or translocation to cell nuclei in severe malaria, but DEC-1, which is more stable and regulated by HIF-1alpha, was observed. There was heterogeneous expression of VEGF and its receptors in severe malaria and non-malarial disease controls. pKDR expression on vessels was greater in malaria cases than in controls but did not correlate with parasite sequestration. VEGF uptake by malaria parasites was observed. CONCLUSIONS: VEGF and its receptor expression levels in severe malaria reflect a non-specific response to severe systemic disease. Potential manipulation of events at the vasculature by the parasite requires further investigation.

Tran TH, Nguyen TD, Nguyen TT, Ninh TTV, Tran NBC, Nguyen VMH, Tran TTN, Cao TT, Pham VM, Nguyen TCB 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: ISRCTN91111837.

Chau TT, Mai NH, Phu NH, Nghia HD, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Duong VA, Diep PT, Campbell JI, Baker S et al. 2010. A prospective descriptive study of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV uninfected patients in Vietnam - high prevalence of Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii in the absence of underlying disease. BMC Infect Dis, 10 (1), pp. 199. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Most cases of cryptococcal meningitis occur in patients with HIV infection: the course and outcome of disease in the apparently immunocompetent is much more poorly understood. We describe a cohort of HIV uninfected Vietnamese patients with cryptococcal meningitis in whom underlying disease is uncommon, and relate presenting features of patients and the characteristics of the infecting species to outcome. METHODS: A prospective descriptive study of HIV negative patients with cryptococcal meningitis based at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City. All patients had comprehensive clinical assessment at baseline, were cared for by a dedicated study team, and were followed up for 2 years. Clinical presentation was compared by infecting isolate and outcome. RESULTS: 57 patients were studied. Cryptococcus neoformans var grubii molecular type VN1 caused 70% of infections; C. gattii accounted for the rest. Most patients did not have underlying disease (81%), and the rate of underlying disease did not differ by infecting species. 11 patients died while in-patients (19.3%). Independent predictors of death were age > or = 60 years and a history of convulsions (odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals 8.7 (1 - 76), and 16.1 (1.6 - 161) respectively). Residual visual impairment was common, affecting 25 of 46 survivors (54.3%). Infecting species did not influence clinical phenotype or outcome. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of flucytosine and amphotericin B were significantly higher for C. neoformans var grubii compared with C. gattii (p < 0.001 and p = 0.01 respectively). CONCLUSION: In HIV uninfected individuals in Vietnam, cryptococcal meningitis occurs predominantly in people with no clear predisposing factor and is most commonly due to C. neoformans var grubii. The rates of mortality and visual loss are high and independent of infecting species. There are detectable differences in susceptibility to commonly used antifungal drugs between species, but the clinical significance of this is not clear.

Khor CC, Vannberg FO, Chapman SJ, Guo H, Wong SH, Walley AJ, Vukcevic D, Rautanen A, Mills TC, Chang K-C et al. 2010. CISH and susceptibility to infectious diseases. N Engl J Med, 362 (22), pp. 2092-2101. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The interleukin-2-mediated immune response is critical for host defense against infectious pathogens. Cytokine-inducible SRC homology 2 (SH2) domain protein (CISH), a suppressor of cytokine signaling, controls interleukin-2 signaling. METHODS: Using a case-control design, we tested for an association between CISH polymorphisms and susceptibility to major infectious diseases (bacteremia, tuberculosis, and severe malaria) in blood samples from 8402 persons in Gambia, Hong Kong, Kenya, Malawi, and Vietnam. We had previously tested 20 other immune-related genes in one or more of these sample collections. RESULTS: We observed associations between variant alleles of multiple CISH polymorphisms and increased susceptibility to each infectious disease in each of the study populations. When all five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (at positions -639, -292, -163, +1320, and +3415 [all relative to CISH]) within the CISH-associated locus were considered together in a multiple-SNP score, we found an association between CISH genetic variants and susceptibility to bacteremia, malaria, and tuberculosis (P=3.8x10(-11) for all comparisons), with -292 accounting for most of the association signal (P=4.58x10(-7)). Peripheral-blood mononuclear cells obtained from adult subjects carrying the -292 variant, as compared with wild-type cells, showed a muted response to the stimulation of interleukin-2 production--that is, 25 to 40% less CISH expression. CONCLUSIONS: Variants of CISH are associated with susceptibility to diseases caused by diverse infectious pathogens, suggesting that negative regulators of cytokine signaling have a role in immunity against various infectious diseases. The overall risk of one of these infectious diseases was increased by at least 18% among persons carrying the variant CISH alleles.

Kim HG, Hien TT, Han EH, Chung YC, Jeong HG. 2010. Molecular mechanism of endothelial nitric-oxide synthase activation by Platycodon grandiflorum root-derived saponins. Toxicol Lett, 195 (2-3), pp. 106-113. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nitric oxide (NO) produced by endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) has antithrombotic and antiatherosclerotic properties in the vasculature. Previously, we demonstrated that saponins derived from the roots of Platycodon grandiflorum (CKS) inhibited the tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced expression of adhesion molecules in human endothelial cells. In this study, we found that CKS increased eNOS phosphorylation and NO production in human endothelial cells. Treatment with CKS increased the phosphorylation of Akt, p38/MAPK, AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMK II) leading to increased NO production in human endothelial cells. Moreover, inhibitors of Akt (LY294002), p38/MAPK (SB203580), AMPK (compound C), and CaMK II (W7) failed to suppress CKS-induced eNOS phosphorylation. In addition, CKS-induced eNOS phosphorylation was inhibited by the overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant form of AMPK (DN-AMPK). Taken together, these results indicate that CKS stimulates eNOS phosphorylation and NO production via the activation of PI3K/Akt, p38/MAPK, AMPK, and CaMK II.

Niederer HA, Willcocks LC, Rayner TF, Yang W, Lau YL, Williams TN, Scott JAG, Urban BC, Peshu N, Dunstan SJ et al. 2010. Copy number, linkage disequilibrium and disease association in the FCGR locus. Hum Mol Genet, 19 (16), pp. 3282-3294. | Show Abstract | Read more

The response of a leukocyte to immune complexes (ICs) is modulated by receptors for the Fc region of IgG (FcgammaRs), and alterations in their affinity or function have been associated with risk of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The low-affinity FcgammaR genomic locus is complex, containing regions of copy number variation (CNV) which can alter receptor expression and leukocyte responses to IgG. Combined paralogue ratio tests (PRTs) were used to distinguish three intervals within the FCGR locus which undergo CNV, and to determine FCGR gene copy number (CN). There were significant differences in FCGR3B and FCGR3A CNV profiles between Caucasian, East Asian and Kenyan populations. A previously noted association of low FCGR3B CN with SLE in Caucasians was supported [OR = 1.57 (1.08-2.27), P = 0.018], and replicated in Chinese [OR = 1.65 (1.25-2.18), P = 4 x 10(-4)]. There was no association of FCGR3B CNV with vasculitis, nor with malarial or bacterial infection. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) between multi-allelic FCGR3B CNV and SLE-associated SNPs in the FCGR locus was defined for the first time. Despite LD between FCGR3B CNV and a variant in FcgammaRIIB (I232T) which abolishes inhibitory function, both reduced CN of FCGR3B and homozygosity of the FcgammaRIIB-232T allele were individually strongly associated with SLE risk. Thus CN of FCGR3B, which controls IC responses and uptake by neutrophils, and variations in FCGR2B, which controls factors such as antibody production and macrophage activation, are important in SLE pathogenesis. Further interpretations of contributions to pathogenesis by FcgammaRs must be made in the context of LD involving CNV regions.

O'Riordan S, Hien TT, Miles K, Allen A, Quyen NN, Hung NQ, Anh DQ, Tuyen LN, Khoa DB, Thai CQ et al. 2010. Large scale screening for haemoglobin disorders in southern Vietnam: implications for avoidance and management. Br J Haematol, 150 (3), pp. 359-364. | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to obtain an approximate assessment of the public health burden that will be posed by the inherited disorders of haemoglobin in southern Vietnam, several thousand individuals were screened for these conditions. A smaller sample was screened for glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. The important haemoglobin disorders identified were beta thalassaemia, haemoglobin E and a variety of different forms of alpha thalassaemia. There were sufficient G6PD-deficient individuals to materially affect malaria control programme design. The most remarkable finding was wide variation in the gene frequencies of these conditions among the ethnic groups sampled. The approximate number of babies expected to be born with clinically significant haemoglobin disorders in Vietnam was estimated from the gene-frequency data. This study emphasizes the importance of wide-scale population screening, including ethnic subgroups, to establish the requirements for inherited haemoglobin disorder programmes in resource-limited settings.

Sutherland CJ, Tanomsing N, Nolder D, Oguike M, Jennison C, Pukrittayakamee S, Dolecek C, Hien TT, do Rosário VE, Arez AP et al. 2010. Two nonrecombining sympatric forms of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium ovale occur globally. J Infect Dis, 201 (10), pp. 1544-1550. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Malaria in humans is caused by apicomplexan parasites belonging to 5 species of the genus Plasmodium. Infections with Plasmodium ovale are widely distributed but rarely investigated, and the resulting burden of disease is not known. Dimorphism in defined genes has led to P. ovale parasites being divided into classic and variant types. We hypothesized that these dimorphs represent distinct parasite species. METHODS: Multilocus sequence analysis of 6 genetic characters was carried out among 55 isolates from 12 African and 3 Asia-Pacific countries. RESULTS: Each genetic character displayed complete dimorphism and segregated perfectly between the 2 types. Both types were identified in samples from Ghana, Nigeria, São Tomé, Sierra Leone, and Uganda and have been described previously in Myanmar. Splitting of the 2 lineages is estimated to have occurred between 1.0 and 3.5 million years ago in hominid hosts. CONCLUSIONS: We propose that P. ovale comprises 2 nonrecombining species that are sympatric in Africa and Asia. We speculate on possible scenarios that could have led to this speciation. Furthermore, the relatively high frequency of imported cases of symptomatic P. ovale infection in the United Kingdom suggests that the morbidity caused by ovale malaria has been underestimated.

Dung NTP, Duyen HTL, Thuy NTV, Ngoc TV, Chau NVV, Hien TT, Rowland-Jones SL, Dong T, Farrar J, Wills B, Simmons CP. 2010. Timing of CD8+ T cell responses in relation to commencement of capillary leakage in children with dengue. J Immunol, 184 (12), pp. 7281-7287. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immune activation is a feature of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) and CD8+ T cell responses in particular have been suggested as having a role in the vasculopathy that characterizes this disease. By phenotyping CD8+ T cells (CD38+/HLA-DR+, CD38+/Ki-67+, or HLA-DR+/Ki-67+) in serial blood samples from children with dengue, we found no evidence of increased CD8+ T cell activation prior to the commencement of resolution of viremia or hemoconcentration. Investigations with MHC class I tetramers to detect NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells in two independent cohorts of children suggested the commencement of hemoconcentration and thrombocytopenia in DHF patients generally begins before the appearance of measurable frequencies of NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells. The temporal mismatch between the appearance of measurable surface activated or NS3(133-142)-specific CD8+ T cells suggests that these cells are sequestered at sites of infection, have phenotypes not detected by our approach, or that other mechanisms independent of CD8+ T cells are responsible for early triggering of capillary leakage in children with DHF.

Phu NH, Tuan PQ, Day N, Mai NTH, Chau TTH, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, White NJ, Farrar J, Hien TT. 2010. Randomized controlled trial of artesunate or artemether in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. Malar J, 9 (1), pp. 97. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Both artemether and artesunate have been shown to be superior to quinine for the treatment of severe falciparum malaria in Southeast Asian adults, although the magnitude of the superiority has been greater for artesunate than artemether. These two artemisinin derivatives had not been compared in a randomized trial. METHODS: A randomized double blind trial in 370 adults with severe falciparum malaria; 186 received intramuscular artesunate (2.4 mg/kg immediately followed by 1.2 mg/kg at 12 hours then 24 hours then daily) and 184 received intramuscular artemether (3.6 mg per kilogram immediately followed by 1.8 mg per kilogram daily) was conducted in Viet Nam. Both drugs were given for a minimum of 72 hours. RESULTS: There were 13 deaths in the artesunate group (7 percent) and 24 in the artemether group (13 percent); P = 0.052; relative risk of death in the patients given artesunate, 0.54; (95 percent confidence interval 0.28-1.02). Parasitaemia declined more rapidly in the artesunate group. Both drugs were very well tolerated. CONCLUSIONS: Intramuscular artesunate may be superior to intramuscular artemether for the treatment of severe malaria in adults.

Thanh TT, Pawestri HA, Ngoc NM, Hien VM, Syahrial H, Trung NV, van Doorn RH, Wertheim HFL, Chau NVV, Ha do Q et al. 2010. A real-time RT-PCR for detection of clade 1 and 2 H5N1 influenza A virus using locked nucleic acid (LNA) TaqMan probes. Virol J, 7 (1), pp. 46. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The emergence and co-circulation of two different clades (clade 1 and 2) of H5N1 influenza viruses in Vietnam necessitates the availability of a diagnostic assay that can detect both variants. RESULTS: We developed a single real-time RT-PCR assay for detection of both clades of H5N1 viruses, directly from clinical specimens, using locked nucleic acid TaqMan probes. Primers and probe used in this assay were designed based on a highly conserved region in the HA gene of H5N1 viruses. The analytical sensitivity of the assay was < 0.5 PFU and 10-100 ssDNA plasmid copies. A total of 106 clinical samples (58 from patients infected with clade 1, 2.1 or 2.3 H5N1 viruses and 48 from uninfected or seasonal influenza A virus-infected individuals) were tested by the assay. The assay showed 97% concordance with initial diagnostics for H5 influenza virus infection with a specificity of 100%. CONCLUSIONS: This assay is a useful tool for diagnosis of H5N1 virus infections in regions where different genetic clades are co-circulating.

Hanson J, Lee SJ, Mohanty S, Faiz MA, Anstey NM, Charunwatthana P, Yunus EB, Mishra SK, Tjitra E, Price RN et al. 2010. A simple score to predict the outcome of severe malaria in adults. Clin Infect Dis, 50 (5), pp. 679-685. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: World Health Organization treatment guidelines recommend that adults with severe malaria be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). However, ICU facilities are limited in the resource-poor settings where most malaria occurs. Identification of patients at greater risk of complications may facilitate their triage and resource allocation. METHODS: With use of data from a trial conducted in Southeast Asia (n=868), a logistic regression model was built to identify independent predictors of mortality among adults with severe malaria. A scoring system based on this model was tested in the original dataset and then validated in 2 series from Bangladesh (n=188) and Vietnam (n=292). RESULTS: Acidosis (base deficit) and cerebral malaria (measured as Glasgow Coma Score) were the main independent predictors of outcome. The 5-point Coma Acidosis Malaria (CAM) score was simply derived from these 2 variables. Mortality increased steadily with increasing score. A CAM score <2 predicted survival with a positive predictive value (PPV) of 95.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93%- 97.7%). Of the 14 of 331 patients who died with a CAM score <2, 11 (79%) had renal failure and death occurred late after hospital admission (median, 108 h; range, 40-360 h). Substitution of plasma bicarbonate as the measure of acidosis only slightly reduced the prognostic value of the model. Use of respiratory rate was inferior, but a score <2 still predicted survival with a PPV of 92.2% (95% CI, 89.1%-94.7%). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a CAM score <2 at hospital admission may be safely treated in a general ward, provided that renal function can be monitored.

Thai KTD, Phuong HL, Thanh Nga TT, Giao PT, Hung LQ, Van Nam N, Binh TQ, Simmons C, Farrar J, Hien TT 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.

Buchy P, Vong S, Chu S, Garcia JM, Hien TT, Hien VM, Channa M, Ha Q, Chau NV, Simmons C et al. 2010. Kinetics of neutralizing antibodies in patients naturally infected by H5N1 virus. PloS one, 5 (5),

Flohr C, Tuyen LN, Quinnell RJ, Lewis S, Minh TT, Campbell J, Simmons C, Telford G, Brown A, Hien TT 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.

Hien TT, Boni MF, Bryant JE, Ngan TT, Wolbers M, Nguyen TD, Truong NT, Dung NT, Ha DQ, Hien VM et al. 2010. Early pandemic influenza (2009 H1N1) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: a clinical virological and epidemiological analysis. PLoS Med, 7 (5), pp. e1000277. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: To date, little is known about the initial spread and response to the 2009 pandemic of novel influenza A ("2009 H1N1") in tropical countries. Here, we analyse the early progression of the epidemic from 26 May 2009 until the establishment of community transmission in the second half of July 2009 in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. In addition, we present detailed systematic viral clearance data on 292 isolated and treated patients and the first three cases of selection of resistant virus during treatment in Vietnam. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data sources included all available health reports from the Ministry of Health and relevant health authorities as well as clinical and laboratory data from the first confirmed cases isolated at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in HCMC. Extensive reverse transcription (RT)-PCR diagnostics on serial samples, viral culture, neuraminidase-inhibition testing, and sequencing were performed on a subset of 2009 H1N1 confirmed cases. Virological (PCR status, shedding) and epidemiological (incidence, isolation, discharge) data were combined to reconstruct the initial outbreak and the establishment of community transmission. From 27 April to 24 July 2009, approximately 760,000 passengers who entered HCMC on international flights were screened at the airport by a body temperature scan and symptom questionnaire. Approximately 0.15% of incoming passengers were intercepted, 200 of whom tested positive for 2009 H1N1 by RT-PCR. An additional 121 out of 169 nontravelers tested positive after self-reporting or contact tracing. These 321 patients spent 79% of their PCR-positive days in isolation; 60% of PCR-positive days were spent treated and in isolation. Influenza-like illness was noted in 61% of patients and no patients experienced pneumonia or severe outcomes. Viral clearance times were similar among patient groups with differing time intervals from illness onset to treatment, with estimated median clearance times between 2.6 and 2.8 d post-treatment for illness-to-treatment intervals of 1-4 d, and 2.0 d (95% confidence interval 1.5-2.5) when treatment was started on the first day of illness. CONCLUSIONS: The patients described here represent a cross-section of infected individuals that were identified by temperature screening and symptom questionnaires at the airport, as well as mildly symptomatic to moderately ill patients who self-reported to hospitals. Data are observational and, although they are suggestive, it is not possible to be certain whether the containment efforts delayed community transmission in Vietnam. Viral clearance data assessed by RT-PCR showed a rapid therapeutic response to oseltamivir.

Taylor WRJ, Burhan E, Wertheim H, Soepandi PZ, Horby P, Fox A, Benamore R, de Simone L, Hien TT, Chappuis F. 2010. Avian influenza--a review for doctors in travel medicine. Travel Med Infect Dis, 8 (1), pp. 1-12. | Show Abstract | Read more

First identified in humans in Hong Kong, influenza A/H5N1, known commonly as avian influenza, has caused human disease in 15 countries around the world. Although the current number of confirmed patients is tiny compared to seasonal and the recently emerged H1N1 'swine' influenza, H5N1 remains a candidate for the next highly pathogenic influenza pandemic. Currently, H5N1 has very limited ability to spread from person-to-person but this may change because of mutation or reassortment with other influenza viruses leading to an influenza pandemic with high mortality. If this occurs travellers are likely to be affected and travel medicine doctors will need to consider avian influenza in returning febrile travellers. The early clinical features may be dismissed easily as 'the flu' resulting in delayed treatment. Treatment options are limited. Oral oseltamivir alone has been the most commonly used drug but mortality remains substantial, up to 80% in Indonesia. Intravenous peramivir has been filed for registration and IV zanamivir is being developed. This review will focus on the epidemiological and clinical features of influenza A/H5N1 avian influenza and will highlight aspects relevant to travel medicine doctors.

Lang TA, White NJ, Tran HT, Farrar JJ, Day NPJ, Fitzpatrick R, Angus BJ, Denis E, Merson L, Cheah PY et al. 2010. Clinical research in resource-limited settings: enhancing research capacity and working together to make trials less complicated. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (6), pp. e619. | Read more

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.

Le VT, Phan TQ, Do QH, Nguyen BH, Lam QB, Bach VC, Truong HK, Tran TH, Nguyen VVC, Tran TT et al. 2010. Viral etiology of encephalitis in children in southern Vietnam: results of a one-year prospective descriptive study. PLoS Negl Trop Dis, 4 (10), pp. e854. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Acute encephalitis is an important and severe disease in children in Vietnam. However, little is known about the etiology while such knowledge is essential for optimal prevention and treatment. To identify viral causes of encephalitis, in 2004 we conducted a one-year descriptive study at Children's Hospital Number One, a referral hospital for children in southern Vietnam including Ho Chi Minh City. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Children less than 16 years of age presenting with acute encephalitis of presumed viral etiology were enrolled. Diagnostic efforts included viral culture, serology and real time (RT)-PCRs. A confirmed or probable viral causative agent was established in 41% of 194 enrolled patients. The most commonly diagnosed causative agent was Japanese encephalitis virus (n = 50, 26%), followed by enteroviruses (n = 18, 9.3%), dengue virus (n = 9, 4.6%), herpes simplex virus (n = 1), cytomegalovirus (n = 1) and influenza A virus (n = 1). Fifty-seven (29%) children died acutely. Fatal outcome was independently associated with patient age and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on admission. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Acute encephalitis in children in southern Vietnam is associated with high mortality. Although the etiology remains unknown in a majority of the patients, the result from the present study may be useful for future design of treatment and prevention strategies of the disease. The recognition of GCS and age as predictive factors may be helpful for clinicians in managing the patient.

Buchy P, Vong S, Chu S, Garcia J-M, Hien TT, Hien VM, Channa M, Ha DQ, Chau NVV, Simmons C 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.

Vu TTH, Holmes EC, Duong V, Nguyen TQ, Tran TH, Quail M, Churcher C, Parkhill J, Cardosa J, Farrar 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.

Chau TNB, Hieu NT, Anders KL, Wolbers M, Lien LB, Hieu LTM, 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.

Thompson LJ, Dunstan SJ, Dolecek C, Perkins T, House D, Dougan G, Nguyen TH, Tran TPL, Doan CD, Le TP et al. 2009. Transcriptional response in the peripheral blood of patients infected with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 106 (52), pp. 22433-22438. | Show Abstract | Read more

We used microarrays and transcriptional profiling of peripheral blood to investigate the host response of 29 individuals who contracted typhoid fever in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Samples were taken over a nine month period encompassing acute disease, convalescence, and recovery. We found that typhoid fever induced a distinct and highly reproducible signature in the peripheral blood that changed during treatment and convalescence, returning in the majority of cases to the "normal" profile as measured in healthy uninfected controls. Unexpectedly, there was a strong, distinct signature of convalescence present at day 9 after infection that remained virtually unchanged one month after acute infection and in some cases persisted as long as nine months despite a complete clinical recovery in all patients. Patients who retain the convalescent signature may be genetically or temporarily incapable of developing an effective immune response and may be more susceptible to reinfection, relapse, or the establishment of a carrier state.

Mai NTH, Tuan TV, Wolbers M, Hoang DM, Nga TVT, Chau TTH, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Nghia HDT, Phong ND 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.

Taylor WRJ, Tran GV, Nguyen TQ, Dang DV, Nguyen VK, Nguyen CT, Nguyen LT, Luong CQ, Scott T, Dang TCT et al. 2009. Acute febrile myalgia in Vietnam due to trichinellosis following the consumption of raw pork. Clin Infect Dis, 49 (7), pp. e79-e83. | Show Abstract | Read more

Trichinellosis outbreaks occur occasionally in Vietnam following the consumption of undercooked pork. Diagnosing trichinella can be problematic because fever and myalgia are nonspecific, and diagnosis may be delayed. We describe 5 Vietnamese patients in whom trichinellosis was diagnosed after several weeks of illness.

Jaenisch T, Wills B, Alexander N, Arana B, Balmaseda A, Jr SJB, Castelobranco I, Dimaano E, Farrar J, Gaczkowski R et al. 2009. Evidence for a revised dengue classification: a multi-centre prospective study across Southeast Asia and Latin America TROPICAL MEDICINE & INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, 14 pp. 39-40.

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.

Tran TH, Ruiz-Palacios GM, Hayden FG, Farrar J. 2009. Patient-oriented pandemic influenza research. Lancet, 373 (9681), pp. 2085-2086. | Read more

Liem NT, Tung CV, Hien ND, Hien TT, Chau NQ, Long HT, Hien NT, Mai LQ, Taylor WRJ, Wertheim H et al. 2009. Clinical features of human influenza A (H5N1) infection in Vietnam: 2004-2006. Clin Infect Dis, 48 (12), pp. 1639-1646. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The first cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) in humans in Vietnam were detected in early 2004, and Vietnam has reported the second highest number of cases globally. METHODS: We obtained retrospective clinical data through review of medical records for laboratory confirmed cases of influenza A (H5N1) infection diagnosed in Vietnam from January 2004 through December 2006. Standard data was abstracted regarding clinical and laboratory features, treatment, and outcome. RESULTS: Data were obtained for 67 (72%) of 93 cases diagnosed in Vietnam over the study period. Patients presented to the hospital after a median duration of illness of 6 days with fever (75%), cough (89%), and dyspnea (81%). Diarrhea and mucosal bleeding at presentation were more common in fatal than in nonfatal cases. Common findings were bilateral pulmonary infiltrates on chest radiograph (72%), lymphopenia (73%), and increased serum transaminase levels (aspartate aminotransferase, 69%; alanine aminotransferase, 61%). Twenty-six patients died (case fatality rate, 39%; 95% confidence interval, 27%-51%) and the most reliable predictor of a fatal outcome was the presence of both neutropenia and raised alanine aminotransferase level at admission, which correctly predicted 91% of deaths and 82% of survivals. The risk of death was higher among persons aged < or =16 years, compared with older persons (P < .001), and the risk of death was higher among patients who did not receive oseltamivir treatment (P = .048). The benefit of oseltamivir treatment remained after controlling for potential confounding by 1 measure of severity (odds ratio, 0.15; 95% confidence interval, 0.026-0.893; P = .034). CONCLUSION: In cases of infection with Influenza A (H5N1), the presence of both neutropenia and raised serum transaminase levels predicts a poor outcome. Oseltamivir treatment shows benefit, but treatment with corticosteroids is associated with an increased risk of death.

Jallow M, Teo YY, Small KS, Rockett KA, Deloukas P, Clark TG, Kivinen K, Bojang KA, Conway DJ, Pinder M et al. 2009. Genome-wide and fine-resolution association analysis of malaria in West Africa. Nat Genet, 41 (6), pp. 657-665. | Show Abstract | Read more

We report a genome-wide association (GWA) study of severe malaria in The Gambia. The initial GWA scan included 2,500 children genotyped on the Affymetrix 500K GeneChip, and a replication study included 3,400 children. We used this to examine the performance of GWA methods in Africa. We found considerable population stratification, and also that signals of association at known malaria resistance loci were greatly attenuated owing to weak linkage disequilibrium (LD). To investigate possible solutions to the problem of low LD, we focused on the HbS locus, sequencing this region of the genome in 62 Gambian individuals and then using these data to conduct multipoint imputation in the GWA samples. This increased the signal of association, from P = 4 × 10(-7) to P = 4 × 10(-14), with the peak of the signal located precisely at the HbS causal variant. Our findings provide proof of principle that fine-resolution multipoint imputation, based on population-specific sequencing data, can substantially boost authentic GWA signals and enable fine mapping of causal variants in African populations.

Campbell JI, Lam TMY, Huynh TL, To SD, Tran TTN, Nguyen VMH, Le TS, Nguyen VVC, Parry C, Farrar JJ et al. 2009. Microbiologic characterization and antimicrobial susceptibility of Clostridium tetani isolated from wounds of patients with clinically diagnosed tetanus. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 80 (5), pp. 827-831. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clostridium tetani is the etiologic agent of the muscle-spasming disease tetanus. Despite an effective vaccine, tetanus is an ongoing problem in some developing countries. Diagnosis by bacterial culture is not done because it is generally unnecessary and the entry of route of the bacteria can be inapparent. We attempted to isolate and evaluate C. tetani from the wounds of 84 patients with tetanus. We effectively isolated C. tetani from 45 patients. All strains tested positive by polymerase chain reaction for the gene encoding tetanus neurotoxin. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined by disc diffusion and E-test. All C. tetani isolates were susceptible to penicillin and metronidazole but resistant to co-trimoxazole. Despite treatment with high doses of penicillin, C. tetani was isolated after 16 days of intravenous penicillin in two cases. These data show that the intravenous route for penicillin may be inadequate for clearing the infection and emphasizes wound debridement in the treatment of tetanus.

Lindegardh N, Tarning J, Toi PV, Hien TT, Farrar J, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Ashton M, Day NPJ. 2009. Quantification of artemisinin in human plasma using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. J Pharm Biomed Anal, 49 (3), pp. 768-773. | Show Abstract | Read more

A liquid chromatographic tandem mass spectroscopy method for the quantification of artemisinin in human heparinised plasma has been developed and validated. The method uses Oasis HLB mu-elution solid phase extraction 96-well plates to facilitate a high throughput of 192 samples a day. Artesunate (internal standard) in a plasma-water solution was added to plasma (50 microL) before solid phase extraction. Artemisinin and its internal standard artesunate were analysed by liquid chromatography and MS/MS detection on a Hypersil Gold C18 (100 mm x 2.1 mm, 5 microm) column using a mobile phase containing acetonitrile-ammonium acetate 10mM pH 3.5 (50:50, v/v) at a flow rate of 0.5 mL/min. The method has been validated according to published FDA guidelines and showed excellent performance. The within-day, between-day and total precisions expressed as R.S.D., were lower than 8% at all tested quality control levels including the upper and lower limit of quantification. The limit of detection was 0.257 ng/mL for artemisinin and the calibration range was 1.03-762 ng/mL using 50 microL plasma. The method was free from matrix effects as demonstrated both graphically and quantitatively.

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.

Medana IM, Day NPJ, Hien TT, White NJ, Turner GDH. 2009. Erythropoietin and its receptors in the brainstem of adults with fatal falciparum malaria. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 261. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Facilitation of endogenous neuroprotective pathways, such as the erythropoietin (Epo) pathway, has been proposed as adjuvant treatment strategies in cerebral malaria. Whether different endogenous protein expression levels of Epo or differences in the abundance of its receptor components could account for the extent of structural neuropathological changes or neurological complications in adults with severe malaria was investigated. METHODS: High sensitivity immunohistochemistry was used to assess the frequency, distribution and concordance of Epo and components of its homodimeric and heteromeric receptors, Epo receptor and CD131, within the brainstem of adults who died of severe malaria. The following relationships with Epo and its receptor components were also defined: (i) sequestration and indicators of hypoxia; (ii) vascular damage in the form of plasma protein leakage and haemorrhage; (iii) clinical complications and neuropathological features of severe malaria disease. Brainstems of patients dying in the UK from unrelated non-infectious causes were examined for comparison. RESULTS: The incidence of endogenous Epo in parenchymal brain cells did not greatly differ between severe malaria and non-neurological UK controls at the time of death. However, EpoR and CD131 labelling of neurons was greater in severe malaria compared with non-neurological controls (P = .009). EpoR labelling of vessels was positively correlated with admission peripheral parasite count (P = .01) and cerebral sequestration (P < .0001). There was a strong negative correlation between arterial oxygen saturation and EpoR labelling of glia (P = .001). There were no significant correlations with indicators of vascular damage, neuronal chromatolysis, axonal swelling or vital organ failure. CONCLUSION: Cells within the brainstem of severe malaria patients showed protein expression of Epo and its receptor components. However, the incidence of endogeneous expression did not reflect protection from vascular or neuronal injury, and/or clinical manifestations, such as coma. These findings do not provide support for Epo as an adjuvant neuroprotective agent in adults with severe malaria.

Bethell D, Farrar J, Hien TT. 2009. Diphtheria pp. 436-440. | Read more

Boni MF, Manh BH, Thai PQ, Farrar J, Hien TT, Hien NT, Van Kinh N, Horby P. 2009. Modelling the progression of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) in Vietnam and the opportunities for reassortment with other influenza viruses. BMC Med, 7 (1), pp. 43. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: A novel variant of influenza A (H1N1) is causing a pandemic and, although the illness is usually mild, there are concerns that its virulence could change through reassortment with other influenza viruses. This is of greater concern in parts of Southeast Asia, where the population density is high, influenza is less seasonal, human-animal contact is common and avian influenza is still endemic. METHODS: We developed an age- and spatially-structured mathematical model in order to estimate the potential impact of pandemic H1N1 in Vietnam and the opportunities for reassortment with animal influenza viruses. The model tracks human infection among domestic animal owners and non-owners and also estimates the numbers of animals may be exposed to infected humans. RESULTS: In the absence of effective interventions, the model predicts that the introduction of pandemic H1N1 will result in an epidemic that spreads to half of Vietnam's provinces within 57 days (interquartile range (IQR): 45-86.5) and peaks 81 days after introduction (IQR: 62.5-121 days). For the current published range of the 2009 H1N1 influenza's basic reproductive number (1.2-3.1), we estimate a median of 410,000 cases among swine owners (IQR: 220,000-670,000) with 460,000 exposed swine (IQR: 260,000-740,000), 350,000 cases among chicken owners (IQR: 170,000-630,000) with 3.7 million exposed chickens (IQR: 1.9 M-6.4 M), and 51,000 cases among duck owners (IQR: 24,000 - 96,000), with 1.2 million exposed ducks (IQR: 0.6 M-2.1 M). The median number of overall human infections in Vietnam for this range of the basic reproductive number is 6.4 million (IQR: 4.4 M-8.0 M). CONCLUSION: It is likely that, in the absence of effective interventions, the introduction of a novel H1N1 into a densely populated country such as Vietnam will result in a widespread epidemic. A large epidemic in a country with intense human-animal interaction and continued co-circulation of other seasonal and avian viruses would provide substantial opportunities for H1N1 to acquire new genes.

Hue NT, Charlieu JP, Chau TTH, Day N, Farrar JJ, Hien TT, Dunstan SJ. 2009. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) mutations and haemoglobinuria syndrome in the Vietnamese population. Malar J, 8 (1), pp. 152. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In Vietnam the blackwater fever syndrome (BWF) has been associated with malaria infection, quinine ingestion and G6PD deficiency. The G6PD variants within the Vietnamese Kinh contributing to the disease risk in this population, and more generally to haemoglobinuria, are currently unknown. METHOD: Eighty-two haemoglobinuria patients and 524 healthy controls were screened for G6PD deficiency using either the methylene blue reduction test, the G-6-PDH kit or the micro-methaemoglobin reduction test. The G6PD gene variants were screened using SSCP combined with DNA sequencing in 82 patients with haemoglobinuria, and in 59 healthy controls found to be G6PD deficient. RESULTS: This study confirmed that G6PD deficiency is strongly associated with haemoglobinuria (OR = 15, 95% CI [7.7 to 28.9], P < 0.0001). Six G6PD variants were identified in the Vietnamese population, of which two are novel (Vietnam1 [Glu3Lys] and Vietnam2 [Phe66Cys]). G6PD Viangchan [Val291Met], common throughout south-east Asia, accounted for 77% of the variants detected and was significantly associated with haemoglobinuria within G6PD-deficient ethnic Kinh Vietnamese (OR = 5.8 95% CI [114-55.4], P = 0.022). CONCLUSION: The primary frequency of several G6PD mutations, including novel mutations, in the Vietnamese Kinh population are reported and the contribution of G6PD mutations to the development of haemoglobinuria are investigated.

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.

Nguyen TH, Mai NL, Le TP, Ha V, Nguyen TC, Tran TH, Nguyen TH, Farrar JJ, Dunstan SJ. 2009. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and typhoid fever in Vietnam. PLoS One, 4 (3), pp. e4800. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding the host genetic susceptibility to typhoid fever may provide a better understanding of pathogenesis and help in the development of new therapeutics and vaccines. Here we determine the genetic variation within the human TLR4 gene encoding the principal receptor for bacterial endotoxin recognition in typhoid fever patients. It is possible that genetic variants of TLR4 could detrimentally affect the innate immune response against S. typhi infection. Mutation detection and genotyping of TLR4 was performed on DNA from 414 Vietnamese typhoid fever patients and 372 population controls. dHPLC detected a total of 10 polymorphisms within the upstream and exonic regions of TLR4, of which 7 are novel. Two SNPs, T4025A and C4215G, were more frequent in typhoid cases than in controls however due to their low allele frequencies they showed borderline significance (T4025A: OR 1.9, 95%CI 0.9-4.3, P 0.07 and C4215G: OR 6.7, 95%CI 0.8-307, P 0.04). Six missense mutations were identified, with 5/6 positioned in the ectoplasmic domain. Four missense mutations and one promoter SNP (A-271G) were only present in typhoid cases, albeit at low allele frequencies. Here we determined the extent of genetic variation within TLR4 in a Vietnamese population and suggest that TLR4 may be involved in defense against typhoid fever in this population.

Lindegardh N, Hanpithakpong W, Phakdeeraj A, Singhasivanon P, Farrar J, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2008. Development and validation of a high-throughput zwitterionic hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography solid-phase extraction-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for determination of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in plasma. J Chromatogr A, 1215 (1-2), pp. 145-151. | Show Abstract | Read more

An assay for the analysis for the quantification of the anti-influenza drug peramivir in human plasma using high-throughput zwitterionic (ZIC) hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) solid-phase extraction (SPE) in a 96-wellplate format and liquid chromatography coupled to positive tandem mass spectroscopy has been developed and validated. The ZIC-HILIC SPE efficiently removed sources of interference present in the supernatant after protein precipitation of plasma proteins. The main advantage of the ZIC-HILIC SPE sample preparation step was that it allowed load and elution conditions to be optimised to extract only peramivir and minimize co-extraction of lipophilic phospholipids. The method was validated according to published US Food and Drugs Administration guidelines and showed excellent performance. The assay was validated over two calibration ranges (0.952-500 and 50-50,000 ng/mL) to support analysis of peramivir after intra-venous administration. The lower limit of quantification for peramivir in plasma was 1 ng/mL and the upper limit of quantification was 50,000 ng/mL. The within-day and between-day precisions expressed as RSD, were lower than 8% at all tested quality control concentrations and below 11% at the lower limit of quantification. Validation of over-curve samples ensured that it would be possible with dilution if samples went outside the calibration range.

Nguyen H, Jamieson SE, Lanh MN, Phuong LT, Chinh NT, Hien TT, Blackwell JM, Farrar JJ, Dunstan SJ. 2008. Human Chromosome 17q11.2-q22 Contains Typhoid Fever Susceptibility Genes INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E50-E50. | Read more

Tran TC, Campbell JI, Galindo C, Tran TH, Nguyen TC, Acosta CJ, Clemens JD, Farrar J, Dolecek C. 2008. Antimicrobial Drug Resistance of Salmonella Typhi in Asia INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, 12 pp. E120-E120. | Read more

Chau TNB, Quyen NTH, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Dung NTP, Lien LB, Quy NT, Hieu NT, Hieu LTM 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.

Van Agtmael MA, Tinh Hien T, Gyssens IC, Verbrugh HA. 2008. A: Treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases Drug Benefits and Risks: International Textbook of Clinical Pharmacology, pp. 521-548.

Van Agtmael MA, Tinh Hien T, Gyssens IC, Verbrugh HA. 2008. A: Treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases pp. 521-548.

Moran E, Simmons C, Chau NV, Luhn K, Wills B, Phuong Dung N, Thao LTT, 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 TTH, D'Sa A, Lan NTN, Huyen MNT, Gagneux S, Anh PTH, Tho DQ, Torok E 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.

Caws M, Thwaites G, Dunstan S, Hawn TR, Lan NTN, Thuong NTT, Stepniewska K, Huyen MNT, Bang ND, Loc TH et al. 2008. The influence of host and bacterial genotype on the development of disseminated disease with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS Pathog, 4 (3), pp. e1000034. | Show Abstract | Read more

The factors that govern the development of tuberculosis disease are incompletely understood. We hypothesized that some strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) are more capable of causing disseminated disease than others and may be associated with polymorphisms in host genes responsible for the innate immune response to infection. We compared the host and bacterial genotype in 187 Vietnamese adults with tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and 237 Vietnamese adults with uncomplicated pulmonary tuberculosis. The host genotype of tuberculosis cases was also compared with the genotype of 392 cord blood controls from the same population. Isolates of M. tuberculosis were genotyped by large sequence polymorphisms. The hosts were defined by polymorphisms in genes encoding Toll-interleukin 1 receptor domain containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) and Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR-2). We found a significant protective association between the Euro-American lineage of M. tuberculosis and pulmonary rather than meningeal tuberculosis (Odds ratio (OR) for causing TBM 0.395, 95% confidence intervals (C.I.) 0.193-0.806, P = 0.009), suggesting these strains are less capable of extra-pulmonary dissemination than others in the study population. We also found that individuals with the C allele of TLR-2 T597C allele were more likely to have tuberculosis caused by the East-Asian/Beijing genotype (OR = 1.57 [95% C.I. 1.15-2.15]) than other individuals. The study provides evidence that M. tuberculosis genotype influences clinical disease phenotype and demonstrates, for the first time, a significant interaction between host and bacterial genotypes and the development of tuberculosis.

Wain J, Diep TS, Bay PVB, Walsh AL, Vinh H, Duong NM, Ho VA, Hien TT, Farrar J, White NJ et al. 2008. Specimens and culture media for the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever. J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (6), pp. 469-474. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Culture of S. Typhi is necessary for the definitive diagnosis of typhoid fever and provides isolates for antibiotic susceptibility testing and epidemiological studies. However, current methods are not fully optimised and sourcing culture media and bottles for culture media may be problematic. METHODOLOGY: In two hospital laboratories in Viet Nam, comparisons of media for blood and stool culture were conducted. The effect of the volume of blood or stool on culture positivity rate was examined and direct plating of the blood buffy coat was trialed. RESULTS: For 148 suspected typhoid fever cases, ox bile broth (58 positive) and brain-heart infusion broth containing saponin (63 positive), performed equally well. For 69 confirmed adult typhoid fever cases, large-volume (15 ml) blood culture gave the same sensitivity as 1 ml of bone marrow culture. For 44 confirmed typhoid fever cases, the direct plating of the buffy coat was positive in 28 cases. For 263 positive stool cultures, selenite F and selenite mannitol performed equally well and culturing 2 g rather than 1g increased the isolation rate by 10.5%. CONCLUSIONS: For the diagnosis of typhoid fever by blood culture the medium should be a rich nutrient broth containing a lysing agent. In adults 1 ml bone marrow or 15 ml blood culture gave similar results. Where isolates are needed for susceptibility testing or epidemiological studies, but resources for culture are scarce, direct plating of the blood buffy coat can be used with a 50% fall in sensitivity compared to standard blood culture.

Nguyen HT, Duc NB, Shrivastava R, Tran TH, Nguyen TA, Thang PH, McNicholl JM, Leelawiwat W, Chonwattana W, Sidibe K et al. 2008. HIV drug resistance threshold survey using specimens from voluntary counselling and testing sites in Hanoi, Vietnam. Antivir Ther, 13 Suppl 2 (SUPPL. 2), pp. 115-121. | Show Abstract

BACKGROUND: In countries where antiretroviral therapy has been available or is being rapidly expanded, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends surveillance for transmitted HIV drug resistance (HIVDR) by threshold surveillance methods using specimens from antenatal clinics or voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) sites. The aim of this study was to implement the HIVDR threshold survey in VCT sites in Vietnam, where HIV prevalence is high. Estimating transmitted resistance in the infected population will enable the appropriateness of current antiretroviral drug regimens to be assessed and will inform plans for future HIVDR surveillance. METHODS: Consecutive blood specimens were collected from 70 newly diagnosed HIV-positive clients 18-24 years of age at two sites in Hanoi, Vietnam. Informed consent and serum specimens were obtained from each eligible client, with serum frozen at -70 degrees C until shipping to Thailand for resistance testing using the TruGene system. RESULTS: From February until August 2006, 559 clients were eligible to participate in this survey. Of the 535 clients (95.7%) who agreed to participate, 70 (13%) were HIV-positive and were included in the survey. Of the 70 specimens sent for genotyping, 52 consecutive samples were amplified, 49 of which could be genotyped. Only 1 of 49 genotyped specimens had mutations associated with drug resistance (L74V and Y181C) in the reverse transcriptase gene, indicating that the prevalence of transmitted HIVDR to all drugs and drug classes evaluated was <5%. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of transmitted HIVDR was low in Hanoi as determined using threshold surveillance methods. The Ministry of Health plans to repeat this survey methodology in one more province and to confirm these findings by expanded HIVDR surveillance.

House D, Ho VA, Diep TS, Chinh NT, Bay PV, Vinh H, Duc M, Parry CM, Dougan G, White NJ et al. 2008. Antibodies to the Vi capsule of Salmonella Typhi in the serum of typhoid patients and healthy control subjects from a typhoid endemic region. J Infect Dev Ctries, 2 (4), pp. 308-312. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: There is very little published data on the antibody response to the Vi capsular polysaccharide (Vi-CPS) of S. Typhi during naturally acquired typhoid fever in an endemic area. METHODOLOGY: An indirect ELISA, using tyraminated, purified Vi-CPS, was used to assay anti-Vi-CPS antibodies from typhoid fever cases and controls living in the Ho Chi Minh City and Mekong Delta region of Viet Nam. RESULTS: Antibody response to Vi-CPS is significantly higher in typhoid patients who have been ill for more than two weeks than those who are in the first two weeks of illness. The anti-Vi-CPS response is similar for adults and children. Anti-Vi-CPS antibodies can be detected in the sera of non-typhoid patients. The frequency with which this occurs increases with age, probably reflecting increased exposure to S. Typhi. CONCLUSIONS: Anti-Vi_CPS is elicited in persons infected with S. Typhi but only after a prolonged duration of illness. Vaccine trials have shown anti-Vi-CPS antibodies to be protective; thus early treatment of typhoid patients, i.e. in the first two week of illness before the Vi-CPS response is elicited, may inhibit the development of this protective immune response.

Hien BTT, Scheutz F, Cam PD, Serichantalergs O, Huong TT, Thu TM, Dalsgaard A. 2008. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli and Shigella strains isolated from children in a hospital case-control study in Hanoi, Vietnam. J Clin Microbiol, 46 (3), pp. 996-1004. | Show Abstract | Read more

This case-control study detected and characterized Shigella and diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) types among Vietnamese children less than 5 years old. In 249 children with diarrhea and 124 controls, Shigella spp. was an important cause of diarrhea (P < 0.05). We used multiplex PCR and DNA probes to detect enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), enteroaggregative E. coli (EAggEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), attaching and effacing E. coli (A/EEC), verocytotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC), and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). The prevalences of DEC in the diarrhea and control groups were 25.7 and 10.5%, respectively. In 62 children with diarrhea, 64 DEC strains included 22 EAggEC (8.8%), 2 EIEC (0.8%), 23 A/EEC (9.2%), 7 EPEC (2.8%), and 10 ETEC strains (4.0%). Among controls, 13 DEC strains included 5 EAggEC strains (4.0%), 7 A/EEC strains (5.6%), and 1 EPEC strain. The characterization of DEC by serotypes, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, virulence genes, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed the occurrence of many different and highly heterogenic DEC subtypes, but common serotypes were found among ETEC, EIEC and EPEC, respectively. Serotyping was used to distinguish between A/EEC and EPEC. However, A/EEC, EPEC, and EAggEC were isolated at high frequency from both cases and controls. Further in-depth studies are needed to better understand important virulence factors of DEC, especially A/EEC, EPEC, and EAggEC.

Nghia HDT, Hoa NT, Linh LD, Campbell J, Diep TS, Chau NVV, Mai NTH, Hien TT, Spratt B, Farrar J, Schultsz C. 2008. Human case of Streptococcus suis serotype 16 infection. Emerg Infect Dis, 14 (1), pp. 155-157. | Show Abstract | Read more

Streptococcus suis infection is an emerging zoonosis in Southeast Asia. We report a fatal case of S. suis serotype 16 infection in a Vietnamese man in 2001.

Dolecek C, Tran TPL, Nguyen NR, Le TP, Ha V, Phung QT, Doan CD, Nguyen TBB, Duong TL, Luong BH et al. 2008. A multi-center randomised controlled trial of gatifloxacin versus azithromycin for the treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever in children and adults in Vietnam. PLoS One, 3 (5), pp. e2188. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Drug resistant typhoid fever is a major clinical problem globally. Many of the first line antibiotics, including the older generation fluoroquinolones, ciprofloxacin and ofloxacin, are failing. OBJECTIVES: We performed a randomised controlled trial to compare the efficacy and safety of gatifloxacin (10 mg/kg/day) versus azithromycin (20 mg/kg/day) as a once daily oral dose for 7 days for the treatment of uncomplicated typhoid fever in children and adults in Vietnam. METHODS: An open-label multi-centre randomised trial with pre-specified per protocol analysis and intention to treat analysis was conducted. The primary outcome was fever clearance time, the secondary outcome was overall treatment failure (clinical or microbiological failure, development of typhoid fever-related complications, relapse or faecal carriage of S. typhi). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We enrolled 358 children and adults with suspected typhoid fever. There was no death in the study. 287 patients had blood culture confirmed typhoid fever, 145 patients received gatifloxacin and 142 patients received azithromycin. The median FCT was 106 hours in both treatment arms (95% Confidence Interval [CI]; 94-118 hours for gatifloxacin versus 88-112 hours for azithromycin), (logrank test p = 0.984, HR [95% CI] = 1.0 [0.80-1.26]). Overall treatment failure occurred in 13/145 (9%) patients in the gatifloxacin group and 13/140 (9.3%) patients in the azithromycin group, (logrank test p = 0.854, HR [95% CI] = 0.93 [0.43-2.0]). 96% (254/263) of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolates were resistant to nalidixic acid and 58% (153/263) were multidrug resistant. CONCLUSIONS: Both antibiotics showed an excellent efficacy and safety profile. Both gatifloxacin and azithromycin can be recommended for the treatment of typhoid fever particularly in regions with high rates of multidrug and nalidixic acid resistance. The cost of a 7-day treatment course of gatifloxacin is approximately one third of the cost of azithromycin in Vietnam. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN67946944.

Torok ME, Chau TTH, Mai PP, Phong ND, Dung NT, Chuong LV, Lee SJ, Caws M, de Jong MD, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2008. Clinical and microbiological features of HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis in Vietnamese adults. PLoS One, 3 (3), pp. e1772. | Show Abstract | Read more

METHODS: The aim of this prospective, observational cohort study was to determine the clinical and microbiological features, outcome, and baseline variables predictive of death, in Vietnamese adults with HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis (TBM). 58 patients were admitted to the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City and underwent routine clinical and laboratory assessments. Treatment was with standard antituberculous therapy and adjunctive dexamethasone; antiretroviral therapy was not routinely available. Patients were followed up until the end of TB treatment or death. RESULTS: The median symptom duration was 11 days (range 2-90 days), 21.8% had a past history of TB, and 41.4% had severe (grade 3) TBM. The median CD4 count was 32 cells/mm(3). CSF findings were as follows: median leucocyte count 438 x 10(9)cells/l (63% neutrophils), 69% smear positive and 87.9% culture positive. TB drug resistance rates were high (13% mono-resistance 32.6% poly-resistance 8.7% multidrug resistance). 17% patients developed further AIDS-defining illnesses. 67.2% died (median time to death 20 days). Three baseline variables were predictive of death by multivariate analysis: increased TBM grade [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) 1.73, 95% CI 1.08-2.76, p = 0.02], lower serum sodium (AHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.98, p = 0.002) and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage (AHR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97 to 0.99, p = 0.003). CONCLUSIONS: HIV-associated TBM is devastating disease with a dismal prognosis. CSF findings included CSF neutrophil predominance, high rates of smear and culture positivity, and high rates of antituberculous drug resistance. Three baseline variables were independently associated with death: increased TBM grade; low serum sodium and decreased CSF lymphocyte percentage.

Hien TT, Truong NT, Minh NH, Dat HD, Dung NT, Hue NT, Dung TK, Tuan PQ, Campbell JI, Farrar JJ, Day JN. 2008. A randomized controlled pilot study of artesunate versus triclabendazole for human fascioliasis in central Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 78 (3), pp. 388-392. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human fascioliasis caused by Fasciola hepatica or Fasciola gigantica is an increasing global problem. The mainstay of current treatment is triclabendazole, but resistance in animals has been described, and it is not available in many countries. The antimalarial artesunate has an excellent safety profile, and there is increasing evidence of its efficacy against other parasites both in vitro and in vivo. We performed a study to investigate the usefulness of artesunate in symptomatic human fascioliasis; 100 patients were enrolled. Patients treated with artesunate were significantly more likely to be free of abdominal pain at hospital discharge (50/50 versus 44/50, P = 0.027, relative risk 1.14, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.26), but the complete response rate at 3 months was lower than for patients treated with triclabendazole (38/50 versus 46/50, P = 0.05, RR 0.83, 95% CI 0.69-0.98, artesunate versus triclabendazole). There may be a role for artesunate in fascioliasis.

Mai NTH, Hoa NT, Nga TVT, Linh LD, Chau TTH, Sinh DX, Phu NH, Chuong LV, Diep TS, Campbell J et al. 2008. Streptococcus suis meningitis in adults in Vietnam. Clin Infect Dis, 46 (5), pp. 659-667. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Streptococcus suis infection is an emerging zoonosis in Asia. We determined the detailed epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological characteristics of S. suis meningitis in adults. METHODS: We prospectively studied 450 patients with suspected bacterial meningitis. Four hundred thirty-five (96.7%) of the patients participated in a trial to determine the effect of adjunctive dexamethasone treatment. For patients with S. suis infection, bacterial DNA load at hospital admission and during treatment was analyzed in cerebrospinal fluid specimens using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. S. suis strains were characterized using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and multilocus sequence typing. Putative virulence factors, including extracellular protein factor, suilysin, and muramidase released protein, were detected using polymerase chain reaction and Western blot assay. Predictors of outcome were identified using logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: S. suis was the most common pathogen and was detected in 151 (33.6%) of the patients. Fifty (33.1%) of these 151 patients reported exposure to pigs or pork. Mortality was low (2.6%; 4 of 151 patients died), but mild to severe hearing loss occurred in 93 (66.4%) of 140 patients. Severe deafness at hospital discharge was associated with age >50 years (odds ratio, 3.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.15-11.6), a strain carrying the epf gene (odds ratio, 3.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-11.4), and dexamethasone therapy (odds ratio, 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.06-0.78) but was not associated with cerebrospinal fluid bacterial DNA load. Bacterial DNA was still detectable in 58 (63%) of 92 cerebrospinal fluid samples after 6-10 days of antimicrobial treatment. Ninety-one of 92 S. suis strains had serotype 2. Thirty-three (36%) of these epidemiologically unrelated strains belonged to 1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis cluster of multilocus sequence type 1, indicating clonal spread. CONCLUSION: S. suis serotype 2 is the most frequent cause of bacterial meningitis in adults in southern Vietnam and is associated with substantial morbidity attributable to hearing loss.




Kwiatkowski D, Epidemiology MG. 2008. A global network for investigating the genomic epidemiology of malaria NATURE, 456 (7223), pp. 732-U39. | Show Abstract | Read more

Large-scale studies of genomic variation could assist efforts to eliminate malaria. But there are scientific, ethical and practical challenges to carrying out such studies in developing countries, where the burden of disease is greatest. The Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network (MalariaGEN) is now working to overcome these obstacles, using a consortial approach that brings together researchers from 21 countries. © 2008 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Chau TT, Campbell JI, Galindo CM, Van Minh Hoang N, Diep TS, Nga TTT, Van Vinh Chau N, Tuan PQ, Page AL, Ochiai RL et al. 2007. Antimicrobial drug resistance of Salmonella enterica serovar typhi in asia and molecular mechanism of reduced susceptibility to the fluoroquinolones. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 51 (12), pp. 4315-4323. | Show Abstract | Read more

This study describes the pattern and extent of drug resistance in 1,774 strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi isolated across Asia between 1993 and 2005 and characterizes the molecular mechanisms underlying the reduced susceptibilities to fluoroquinolones of these strains. For 1,393 serovar Typhi strains collected in southern Vietnam, the proportion of multidrug resistance has remained high since 1993 (50% in 2004) and there was a dramatic increase in nalidixic acid resistance between 1993 (4%) and 2005 (97%). In a cross-sectional sample of 381 serovar Typhi strains from 8 Asian countries, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Nepal, Pakistan, and central Vietnam, collected in 2002 to 2004, various rates of multidrug resistance (16 to 37%) and nalidixic acid resistance (5 to 51%) were found. The eight Asian countries involved in this study are home to approximately 80% of the world's typhoid fever cases. These results document the scale of drug resistance across Asia. The Ser83-->Phe substitution in GyrA was the predominant alteration in serovar Typhi strains from Vietnam (117/127 isolates; 92.1%). No mutations in gyrB, parC, or parE were detected in 55 of these strains. In vitro time-kill experiments showed a reduction in the efficacy of ofloxacin against strains harboring a single-amino-acid substitution at codon 83 or 87 of GyrA; this effect was more marked against a strain with a double substitution. The 8-methoxy fluoroquinolone gatifloxacin showed rapid killing of serovar Typhi harboring both the single- and double-amino-acid substitutions.

Nguansangiam S, Day NPJ, Hien TT, Mai NTH, Chaisri U, Riganti M, Dondorp AM, Lee SJ, Phu NH, Turner GDH et al. 2007. A quantitative ultrastructural study of renal pathology in fatal Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Trop Med Int Health, 12 (9), pp. 1037-1050. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To use electron microscopy to examine the role of parasitized red blood cell (PRBC) sequestration in the pathogenesis of acute renal failure in severe falciparum malaria. METHODS: Ultrastructural pathological examination of renal tissues from Southeast Asian adults (n = 63) who died from severe falciparum malaria. Qualitative and quantitative determination of the major pathological features of disease, including PRBC and leukocyte sequestration. Clinico-pathological correlation with the pre-mortem clinical picture and peripheral parasite count. RESULTS: There was a high incidence of malaria-associated renal failure in this population (> 40%) and a correlation between this incidence, severe malarial anaemia and shock. Pathological features included PRBC sequestration in glomerular and tubulo-interstitial vessels, acute tubular damage and mild glomerular hypercellularity resulting from the accumulation of host monocytes within glomerular capillaries. No evidence for an immune complex mediated glomerulonephritis was found. There was a correlation between parasite sequestration in the kidney and pre-mortem renal failure, although overall levels of sequestration were relatively low. Levels of sequestration (Knob+ PRBC) were significantly higher in malaria-associated renal failure than in fatal cases without renal failure (P = 0.005). CONCLUSION: Malaria-associated renal failure is a common and serious complication of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in this population, associated with acute tubular injury rather than glomerulonephritis, and linked to localization of host monocytes in the kidney as well as sequestration of PRBCs.

Simmons CP, Chau TNB, Thuy TT, Tuan NM, Hoang DM, Thien NT, Lien LB, Quy NT, Hieu NT, Hien TT 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.

Dunstan SJ, Nguyen TH, Rockett K, Forton J, Morris AP, Diakite M, Mai NL, Le TP, House D, Parry CM et al. 2007. A TNF region haplotype offers protection from typhoid fever in Vietnamese patients. Hum Genet, 122 (1), pp. 51-61. | Show Abstract | Read more

The genomic region surrounding the TNF locus on human chromosome 6 has previously been associated with typhoid fever in Vietnam (Dunstan et al. in J Infect Dis 183:261-268, 2001). We used a haplotypic approach to understand this association further. Eighty single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning a 150 kb region were genotyped in 95 Vietnamese individuals (typhoid case/mother/father trios). A subset of data from 33 SNPs with a minor allele frequency of >4.3% was used to construct haplotypes. Fifteen SNPs, which tagged the 42 constructed haplotypes were selected. The haplotype tagging SNPs (T1-T15) were genotyped in 380 confirmed typhoid cases and 380 Vietnamese ethnically matched controls. Allelic frequencies of seven SNPs (T1, T2, T3, T5, T6, T7, T8) were significantly different between typhoid cases and controls. Logistic regression results support the hypothesis that there is just one signal associated with disease at this locus. Haplotype-based analysis of the tag SNPs provided positive evidence of association with typhoid (posterior probability 0.821). The analysis highlighted a low-risk cluster of haplotypes that each carry the minor allele of T1 or T7, but not both, and otherwise carry the combination of alleles *12122*1111 at T1-T11, further supporting the one associated signal hypothesis. Finally, individuals that carry the typhoid fever protective haplotype *12122*1111 also produce a relatively low TNF-alpha response to LPS.

Thuong NTT, Hawn TR, Thwaites GE, Chau TTH, Lan NTN, Quy HT, Hieu NT, Aderem A, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, Dunstan SJ. 2007. A polymorphism in human TLR2 is associated with increased susceptibility to tuberculous meningitis. Genes Immun, 8 (5), pp. 422-428. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) results from the haematogenous dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the lung to the brain. Dissemination is believed to occur early during infection, before the development of adaptive immunity. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) mediates recognition of M. tuberculosis and initiates the innate immune response to infection. We hypothesized that polymorphisms in the TLR2 gene influence bacterial dissemination and the development of TBM. A case-control study was designed to test the hypothesis. Cases of bacteriologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) (n=183) and TBM (n=175), and cord blood controls (n=389) were enrolled in Vietnam. TLR2 genotype 597CC was associated with susceptibility to TB (odds ratio (OR)=2.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.23-3.99). The association was found with meningeal rather than pulmonary TB (TBM vs control, OR=3.26, 95% CI: 1.72-6.18), and was strongest when miliary TB was found on chest radiography (controls vs TBM with miliary TB, OR=5.28, 95% CI: 2.20-12.65). Furthermore, the association increased with the severity of neurologic symptoms (grade I TBM, OR=1.93, 95% CI: 0.54-6.92; grade II, OR=3.32, 95% CI: 0.84-13.2; and grade III, OR=5.70, 95% CI: 1.81-18.0). These results demonstrate a strong association of TLR2 SNP T597C with the development of TBM and miliary TB and indicate that TLR2 influences the dissemination of M. tuberculosis.

Lindegardh N, Davies GR, Hien TT, Farrar J, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2007. Importance of collection tube during clinical studies of oseltamivir. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 51 (5), pp. 1835-1836. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ex vivo conversion of the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir to its active metabolite can be inhibited by the esterase inhibitor dichlorvos or by using commercial fluoride-oxalate tubes. Oseltamivir and its active metabolite remain intact in plasma samples during a proposed virus heat inactivation step: incubation at 60 degrees C for 45 min.

Schünemann HJ, Hill SR, Kakad M, Vist GE, Bellamy R, Stockman L, Wisløff TF, Del Mar C, Hayden F, Uyeki TM et al. 2007. Transparent development of the WHO rapid advice guidelines. PLoS Med, 4 (5), pp. e119. | Show Abstract | Read more

Emerging health problems require rapid advice. We describe the development and pilot testing of a systematic, transparent approach used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop rapid advice guidelines in response to requests from member states confronted with uncertainty about the pharmacological management of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection. We first searched for systematic reviews of randomized trials of treatment and prevention of seasonal influenza and for non-trial evidence on H5N1 infection, including case reports and animal and in vitro studies. A panel of clinical experts, clinicians with experience in treating patients with H5N1, influenza researchers, and methodologists was convened for a two-day meeting. Panel members reviewed the evidence prior to the meeting and agreed on the process. It took one month to put together a team to prepare the evidence profiles (i.e., summaries of the evidence on important clinical and policy questions), and it took the team only five weeks to prepare and revise the evidence profiles and to prepare draft guidelines prior to the panel meeting. A draft manuscript for publication was prepared within 10 days following the panel meeting. Strengths of the process include its transparency and the short amount of time used to prepare these WHO guidelines. The process could be improved by shortening the time required to commission evidence profiles. Further development is needed to facilitate stakeholder involvement, and evaluate and ensure the guideline's usefulness.

Simmons CP, Popper S, Dolocek C, Chau TNB, Griffiths M, Dung NTP, Long TH, Hoang DM, Chau NV, Thao LTT 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.

Medana IM, Day NP, Hien TT, Mai NTH, Bethell D, Phu NH, Turner GD, Farrar J, White NJ, Esiri MM. 2007. Cerebral calpain in fatal falciparum malaria. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 33 (2), pp. 179-192. | Show Abstract | Read more

Disruption of axonal transport may represent a final common pathway leading to neurological dysfunction in cerebral malaria (CM). Calpains are calcium (Ca2+)-activated cysteine proteases which have been implicated in axonal injury in neurological diseases of various aetiologies. In this study we examined the association between mu- and m-calpain, the specific inhibitor calpastatin, and axonal injury in post mortem brain tissue from patients who died from severe malaria. Calpains were associated with axons labelled for the beta-amyloid precursor protein that detects impaired axonal transport. Elevated levels of calpastatin were rarely observed in injured axons. There were increased numbers of neurones with mu-calpain in the nuclear compartment in severe malaria cases compared with non-neurological controls, and increased numbers of glia with nuclear mu-calpain in CM patients compared with non-CM malaria cases and non-neurological controls. There was marked redistribution of calpastatin in the sequestered Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes. Responses specific to malaria infection were ascertained following analysis of brain samples from fatal cases with acute axonal injury, HIV encephalitis, and progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy. Our findings implicate a role for calpains in the modulation of disease progression in CM.

Flohr C, Tuyen LN, Lewis S, Minh TT, Campbell J, Britton J, Williams H, Hien TT, Farrar J, Quinnell RJ. 2007. Low efficacy of mebendazole against hookworm in Vietnam: two randomized controlled trials. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 76 (4), pp. 732-736. | Show Abstract | Read more

Vietnam is participating in a global de-worming effort that aims to treat 650 million school children regularly by 2010. The treatment used in Vietnam is single dose oral mebendazole (Phardazone) 500 mg. We tested the efficacy of single dose mebendazole 500 mg in the therapy of hookworm infection in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among 271 Vietnamese schoolchildren. The treatment efficacy of single dose mebendazole in children did not differ significantly from placebo, with a reduction in mean eggs per gram of feces relative to placebo of 31% (95% CI -9 to 56%, P = 0.1). In light of these findings we then carried out a similar randomized trial comparing triple dose mebendazole, single dose albendazole, and triple dose albendazole against placebo in 209 adults in the same area. The estimated reduction in mean post-treatment eggs per gram of feces relative to placebo was 63% (95% CI 30-81%) for triple mebendazole, 75% (47-88%) for single albendazole, and 88% (58-97%) for triple albendazole. Our results suggest that single dose oral mebendazole has low efficacy against hookworm infection in Vietnam, and that it should be replaced by albendazole. These findings are of major public health relevance given the opportunity costs of treating entire populations with ineffective therapies. We recommend that efficacy of anti-helminth therapies is pilot tested before implementation of national gut worm control programs.

Thwaites GE, Macmullen-Price J, Tran THC, 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.

Nguyen-Pouplin J, Tran H, Tran H, Phan TA, Dolecek C, Farrar J, Tran TH, Caron P, Bodo B, Grellier P. 2007. Antimalarial and cytotoxic activities of ethnopharmacologically selected medicinal plants from South Vietnam. J Ethnopharmacol, 109 (3), pp. 417-427. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria is a major global public health problem and the alarming spread of drug resistance and limited number of effective drugs now available underline how important it is to discover new antimalarial compounds. An ethnopharmacological investigation was undertaken of medicinal plants traditionally used to treat malaria in the South Vietnam. Forty-nine plants were identified, 228 extracts were prepared and tested for their in vitro activity against Plasmodium falciparum, and assessed for any cytotoxicity against the human cancer cell line HeLa and the embryonic lung MRC5 cell line. In a first screening at a concentration of 10 microg/ml, 92 extracts from 46 plants showed antiplasmodial activity (parasite growth inhibition >30%). The IC(50) values of the most active extracts were determined as well as their selectivity towards Plasmodium falciparum in comparison to their cytotoxic effects against the human cell lines. Six plants showed interesting antiplasmodial activity (IC(50) ranging from 0.4 to 8.6 microg/ml) with a good selectivity: two Menispermaceae, Arcangelisia flava (L.) Merr. and Fibraurea tinctoria Lour., and also Harrisonia perforata (Blanco) Merr. (Simaroubaceae), Irvingia malayana Oliv. ex Benn. (Irvingiaceae), Elaeocarpus kontumensis Gagn. (Elaeocarpaceae) and Anneslea fragrans Wall. (Theaceae).

Tang CT, Nguyen DT, Ngo TH, Nguyen TM, Le VT, To SD, Lindsay J, Nguyen TD, Bach VC, Le QT et al. 2007. An outbreak of severe infections with community-acquired MRSA carrying the Panton-Valentine leukocidin following vaccination. PloS one, 2 (9), | Show Abstract

BACKGROUND: Infections with community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are emerging worldwide. We investigated an outbreak of severe CA-MRSA infections in children following out-patient vaccination. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We carried out a field investigation after adverse events following immunization (AEFI) were reported. We reviewed the clinical data from all cases. S. aureus recovered from skin infections and from nasal and throat swabs were analyzed by pulse-field gel electrophoresis, multi locus sequence typing, PCR and microarray. In May 2006, nine children presented with AEFI, ranging from fatal toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing soft tissue infection, purulent abscesses, to fever with rash. All had received a vaccination injection in different health centres in one District of Ho Chi Minh City. Eight children had been vaccinated by the same health care worker (HCW). Deficiencies in vaccine quality, storage practices, or preparation and delivery were not found. Infection control practices were insufficient. CA-MRSA was cultured in four children and from nasal and throat swabs from the HCW. Strains from children and HCW were indistinguishable. All carried the Panton-Valentine leukocidine (PVL), the staphylococcal enterotoxin B gene, the gene complex for staphylococcal-cassette-chromosome mec type V, and were sequence type 59. Strain HCM3A is epidemiologically unrelated to a strain of ST59 prevalent in the USA, although they belong to the same lineage. CONCLUSIONS: We describe an outbreak of infections with CA-MRSA in children, transmitted by an asymptomatic colonized HCW during immunization injection. Consistent adherence to injection practice guidelines is needed to prevent CA-MRSA transmission in both in- and outpatient settings.

Dong T, Moran E, Vinh Chau N, Simmons C, Luhn K, Peng Y, Wills B, Phuong Dung N, Thi Thu Thao L, Hien TT 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.

Caws M, Dang TMH, Torok E, Campbell J, Do DAT, Tran THC, Nguyen VVC, Nguyen TC, Farrar J. 2007. Evaluation of the MODS culture technique for the diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis. PLoS One, 2 (11), pp. e1173. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is a devastating condition. The rapid instigation of appropraite chemotherapy is vital to reduce morbidity and mortality. However rapid diagnosis remains elusive; smear microscopy has extremely low sensitivity on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in most laboratories and PCR requires expertise with advanced infrastructure and has sensitivity of only around 60% under optimal conditions. Neither technique allows for the microbiological isolation of M. tuberculosis and subsequent drug susceptibility testing. We evaluated the recently developed microscopic observation drug susceptibility (MODS) assay format for speed and accuracy in diagnosing TBM. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Two hundred and thirty consecutive CSF samples collected from 156 patients clinically suspected of TBM on presentation at a tertiary referal hospital in Vietnam were enrolled into the study over a five month period and tested by Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) smear, MODS, Mycobacterial growth Indicator tube (MGIT) and Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ) culture. Sixty-one samples were from patients already on TB therapy for >1day and 19 samples were excluded due to untraceable patient records. One hundred and fifty samples from 137 newly presenting patients remained. Forty-two percent (n = 57/137) of patients were deemed to have TBM by clinical diagnostic and microbiological criteria (excluding MODS). Sensitivity by patient against clinical gold standard for ZN smear, MODS MGIT and LJ were 52.6%, 64.9%, 70.2% and 70.2%, respectively. Specificity of all microbiological techniques was 100%. Positive and negative predictive values for MODS were 100% and 78.7%, respectively for HIV infected patients and 100% and 82.1% for HIV negative patients. The median time to positive was 6 days (interquartile range 5-7), significantly faster than MGIT at 15.5 days (interquartile range 12-24), and LJ at 24 days (interquartile range 18-35 days) (P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: We have shown MODS to be a sensitive, rapid technique for the diagnosis of TBM with high sensitivity, ease of performance and low cost (0.53 USD/sample).

Schünemann HJ, Hill SR, Kakad M, Bellamy R, Uyeki TM, Hayden FG, Yazdanpanah Y, Beigel J, Chotpitayasunondh T, Del Mar C et al. 2007. WHO Rapid Advice Guidelines for pharmacological management of sporadic human infection with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus. Lancet Infect Dis, 7 (1), pp. 21-31. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent spread of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus to poultry and wild birds has increased the threat of human infections with H5N1 virus worldwide. Despite international agreement to stockpile antivirals, evidence-based guidelines for their use do not exist. WHO assembled an international multidisciplinary panel to develop rapid advice for the pharmacological management of human H5N1 virus infection in the current pandemic alert period. A transparent methodological guideline process on the basis of the Grading Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to develop evidence-based guidelines. Our development of specific recommendations for treatment and chemoprophylaxis of sporadic H5N1 infection resulted from the benefits, harms, burden, and cost of interventions in several patient and exposure groups. Overall, the quality of the underlying evidence for all recommendations was rated as very low because it was based on small case series of H5N1 patients, on extrapolation from preclinical studies, and high quality studies of seasonal influenza. A strong recommendation to treat H5N1 patients with oseltamivir was made in part because of the severity of the disease. Similarly, strong recommendations were made to use neuraminidase inhibitors as chemoprophylaxis in high-risk exposure populations. Emergence of other novel influenza A viral subtypes with pandemic potential, or changes in the pathogenicity of H5N1 virus strains, will require an update of these guidelines and WHO will be monitoring this closely.

Hawn TR, Misch EA, Dunstan SJ, Thwaites GE, Lan NTN, Quy HT, Chau TTH, Rodrigues S, Nachman A, Janer M et al. 2007. A common human TLR1 polymorphism regulates the innate immune response to lipopeptides. Eur J Immunol, 37 (8), pp. 2280-2289. | Show Abstract | Read more

Toll-like receptors (TLR) are critical mediators of the immune response to pathogens and human polymorphisms in this gene family regulate inflammatory pathways and are associated with susceptibility to infection. Lipopeptides are present in a wide variety of microbes and stimulate immune responses through TLR1/2 or TLR2/6 heterodimers. It is not currently known whether polymorphisms in TLR1 regulate the innate immune response. We stimulated human whole blood with triacylated lipopeptide, a ligand for TLR1/2 heterodimers, and found substantial inter-individual variation in the immune response. We sequenced the coding region of TLR1 and found a non-synonymous polymorphism, I602S (base pair T1805G), that regulated signalling. In comparison to TLR1_602S, the 602I variant mediated substantially greater basal and lipopeptide-induced NF-kappaB signalling in transfected HEK293 cells. These signalling differences among TLR1 variants were also found with stimulation by extracts of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, individuals with the 602II genotype produced substantially more IL-6 than those with the 602SS variant in a lipopeptide-stimulated whole-blood cytokine assay. Together, these observations demonstrate that variation in the inflammatory response to bacterial lipopeptides is regulated by a common TLR1 transmembrane domain polymorphism that could potentially impact the innate immune response and clinical susceptibility to a wide spectrum of pathogens.

Simmons CP, Bernasconi NL, Suguitan AL, Mills K, Ward JM, Chau NVV, Hien TT, Sallusto F, Ha DQ, Farrar J 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.

Parry CM, Ho VA, Phuong LT, Bay PVB, Lanh MN, Tung LT, Tham NTH, Wain J, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2007. Randomized controlled comparison of ofloxacin, azithromycin, and an ofloxacin-azithromycin combination for treatment of multidrug-resistant and nalidixic acid-resistant typhoid fever. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 51 (3), pp. 819-825. | Show Abstract | Read more

Isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi that are multidrug resistant (MDR, resistant to chloramphenicol, ampicillin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) and have reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones (nalidixic acid resistant, Na(r)) are common in Asia. The optimum treatment for infections caused by such isolates is not established. This study compared different antimicrobial regimens for the treatment of MDR/Na(r) typhoid fever. Vietnamese children and adults with uncomplicated typhoid fever were entered into an open randomized controlled trial. Ofloxacin (20 mg/kg of body weight/day for 7 days), azithromycin (10 mg/kg/day for 7 days), and ofloxacin (15 mg/kg/day for 7 days) combined with azithromycin (10 mg/kg/day for the first 3 days) were compared. Of the 241 enrolled patients, 187 were eligible for analysis (186 S. enterica serovar Typhi, 1 Salmonella enterica serovar Paratyphi A). Eighty-seven percent (163/187) of the patients were children; of the S. enterica serovar Typhi isolates, 88% (165/187) were MDR and 93% (173/187) were Na(r). The clinical cure rate was 64% (40/63) with ofloxacin, 76% (47/62) with ofloxacin-azithromycin, and 82% (51/62) with azithromycin (P = 0.053). The mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) fever clearance time for patients treated with azithromycin (5.8 days [5.1 to 6.5 days]) was shorter than that for patients treated with ofloxacin-azithromycin (7.1 days [6.2 to 8.1 days]) and ofloxacin (8.2 days [7.2 to 9.2 days]) (P < 0.001). Positive fecal carriage immediately posttreatment was detected in 19.4% (12/62) of patients treated with ofloxacin, 6.5% (4/62) of those treated with the combination, and 1.6% (1/62) of those treated with azithromycin (P = 0.006). Both antibiotics were well tolerated. Uncomplicated typhoid fever due to isolates of MDR S. enterica serovar Typhi with reduced susceptibility to fluoroquinolones (Na(r)) can be successfully treated with a 7-day course of azithromycin.

Schultsz C, Vien LM, Campbell JI, Chau NVV, Diep TS, Hoang NVM, Nga TTT, Savelkoul P, Stepnieuwska K, Parry C et al. 2007. Changes in the nasal carriage of drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in urban and rural Vietnamese schoolchildren. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 101 (5), pp. 484-492. | Show Abstract | Read more

Studying the antimicrobial drug resistance of nasopharyngeal or nasal carriage isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae in children is likely to have predictive potential for invasive isolates. Streptococcus pneumoniae nasal carriage was studied in 1422 Vietnamese children. Forty-six percent of 536 isolates showed reduced susceptibility to penicillin and 7% showed intermediate susceptibility to ceftriaxone; and 50% of 518 isolates showed resistance to erythromycin. All isolates were sensitive to levofloxacin and gatifloxacin. Urban and suburban children were significantly more likely to carry drug-resistant isolates than rural children. Rates of non-susceptibility to penicillin and erythromycin increased significantly in the rural province Khanh Hoa in 2003/2004 compared with rates obtained in 1997. An emerging clone of penicillin non-susceptible S. pneumoniae of serogroup 15 was identified, which was widely distributed in addition to the pandemic clones Spain(23F)-1 and Taiwan(19F)-14. Although resistance to fluoroquinolones was not observed, 6 (18%) of 34 isolates had a Lys137Asn mutation in the parC gene. This study shows that drug resistance is increasing in carriage isolates of S. pneumoniae in rural areas in Vietnam owing to spread of pandemic and emerging resistant clones.

Tang CT, Nguyen DT, Ngo TH, Nguyen TMP, Le VT, To SD, Lindsay J, Nguyen TD, Bach VC, Le QT et al. 2007. An outbreak of severe infections with community-acquired MRSA carrying the Panton-Valentine leukocidin following vaccination. PLoS One, 2 (9), pp. e822. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Infections with community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are emerging worldwide. We investigated an outbreak of severe CA-MRSA infections in children following out-patient vaccination. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We carried out a field investigation after adverse events following immunization (AEFI) were reported. We reviewed the clinical data from all cases. S. aureus recovered from skin infections and from nasal and throat swabs were analyzed by pulse-field gel electrophoresis, multi locus sequence typing, PCR and microarray. In May 2006, nine children presented with AEFI, ranging from fatal toxic shock syndrome, necrotizing soft tissue infection, purulent abscesses, to fever with rash. All had received a vaccination injection in different health centres in one District of Ho Chi Minh City. Eight children had been vaccinated by the same health care worker (HCW). Deficiencies in vaccine quality, storage practices, or preparation and delivery were not found. Infection control practices were insufficient. CA-MRSA was cultured in four children and from nasal and throat swabs from the HCW. Strains from children and HCW were indistinguishable. All carried the Panton-Valentine leukocidine (PVL), the staphylococcal enterotoxin B gene, the gene complex for staphylococcal-cassette-chromosome mec type V, and were sequence type 59. Strain HCM3A is epidemiologically unrelated to a strain of ST59 prevalent in the USA, although they belong to the same lineage. CONCLUSIONS: We describe an outbreak of infections with CA-MRSA in children, transmitted by an asymptomatic colonized HCW during immunization injection. Consistent adherence to injection practice guidelines is needed to prevent CA-MRSA transmission in both in- and outpatient settings.

Thwaites GE, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2007. Reply to "Dr D Dhasmana and Dr R Davidson: Multi-drug resistant tuberculous meningitis" JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 54 (2), pp. 206-206. | Read more

Nguyen THM, Tran THC, Thwaites G, Ly VC, Dinh XS, Ho Dang TN, Dang QT, Nguyen DP, Nguyen HP, To SD et al. 2007. Dexamethasone in Vietnamese adolescents and adults with bacterial meningitis. N Engl J Med, 357 (24), pp. 2431-2440. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: It is uncertain whether all adults with bacterial meningitis benefit from treatment with adjunctive dexamethasone. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of dexamethasone in 435 patients over the age of 14 years who had suspected bacterial meningitis. The goal was to determine whether dexamethasone reduced the risk of death at 1 month and the risk of death or disability at 6 months. RESULTS: A total of 217 patients were assigned to the dexamethasone group, and 218 to the placebo group. Bacterial meningitis was confirmed in 300 patients (69.0%), probable meningitis was diagnosed in 123 patients (28.3%), and an alternative diagnosis was made in 12 patients (2.8%). An intention-to-treat analysis of all the patients showed that dexamethasone was not associated with a significant reduction in the risk of death at 1 month (relative risk, 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45 to 1.39) or the risk of death or disability at 6 months (odds ratio, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.17). In patients with confirmed bacterial meningitis, however, there was a significant reduction in the risk of death at 1 month (relative risk, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.94) and in the risk of death or disability at 6 months (odds ratio, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.32 to 0.98). These effects were not found in patients with probable bacterial meningitis. Results of multivariate analysis indicated that dexamethasone treatment for patients with probable bacterial meningitis was significantly associated with an increased risk of death at 1 month, an observation that may be explained by cases of tuberculous meningitis in the treatment group. CONCLUSIONS: Dexamethasone does not improve the outcome in all adolescents and adults with suspected bacterial meningitis; a beneficial effect appears to be confined to patients with microbiologically proven disease, including those who have received prior treatment with antibiotics. (Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN42986828 [] .).

Qureshi NR, Hien TT, Farrar J, Gleeson FV. 2006. The radiologic manifestations of H5N1 avian influenza. J Thorac Imaging, 21 (4), pp. 259-264. | Show Abstract | Read more

Avian influenza is caused by the H5N1 subtype of the influenza A virus. Human transmission is either directly through close contact with infected birds usually poultry or their secretions. To date 178 people throughout South East Asia have been infected with 85 deaths. Patients usually present with a rapidly progressive pneumonia that can result in respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The chest radiograph therefore remains the most convenient and accessible imaging modality. Studies have shown that most radiographs are abnormal at the time of presentation with multifocal consolidation the commonest radiographic finding. During the course of disease, pleural effusions and cavitation can also develop. Consolidation that involves > or = 4 zones on presentation or at day 7 after the onset of symptoms and subsequent development of acute respiratory distress syndrome are generally associated with an adverse outcome. Chest CT examinations performed during the convalescent period have demonstrated persistent ground glass attenuation and segmental consolidation. Additional features included pseudocavitation, pneumatocoele formation, lymphadenopathy, and centrilobular nodules. Overall the appearances are suggestive of mild fibrosis.

Caws M, Thwaites G, Stepniewska K, Nguyen TNL, Nguyen THD, Nguyen TP, Mai NTH, Phan MD, Tran HL, Tran THC et al. 2006. Beijing genotype of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is significantly associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection and multidrug resistance in cases of tuberculous meningitis. J Clin Microbiol, 44 (11), pp. 3934-3939. | Show Abstract | Read more

Multidrug-resistant tuberculous meningitis is fatal without rapid diagnosis and use of second-line therapy. It is more common in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients. Beijing genotype strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are associated with drug resistance, particularly multidrug resistance, and their prevalence is increasing worldwide. The prevalence of Beijing genotype strains among Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolates from the cerebrospinal fluid of HIV-positive (n = 35) and HIV-negative (n = 187) patients in Ho Chi Minh City was determined. The Beijing genotype was significantly associated with HIV status (odds ratio [OR] = 2.95 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.38 to 6.44]; P = 0.016), resistance to any drug (OR = 3.34 [95% CI, 1.87 to 5.95]; P < 0.001) and multidrug resistance (Fisher's exact test; P = 0.001). The association of the Beijing genotype with drug resistance was independent of HIV status. This is the first report of Beijing genotype association with HIV status, which may be an association unique to tuberculous meningitis.

Flohr C, Tuyen LN, Lewis S, Quinnell R, Minh TT, Liem HT, Campbell J, Pritchard D, Hien TT, Farrar J et al. 2006. Poor sanitation and helminth infection protect against skin sensitization in Vietnamese children: A cross-sectional study AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE, 75 (5), pp. 321-321.

Popper S, Simmons CP, Dolecek C, Chau TNB, Griffiths M, Dung NTP, Long TH, Hoang DM, Van Vinh Chau N, Thao LTT 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 NTN, Quy HT, Chau TTH, Hieu NT, Rodrigues S 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.

Lindegårdh N, Hien TT, Farrar J, Singhasivanon P, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2006. A simple and rapid liquid chromatographic assay for evaluation of potentially counterfeit Tamiflu. J Pharm Biomed Anal, 42 (4), pp. 430-433. | Show Abstract | Read more

A simple and rapid liquid chromatographic assay for the evaluation of potentially counterfeit oseltamivir (Tamiflu has been developed and assessed. The assay uses approximately 1mg Tamiflu powder when used for authentication and content estimate. The procedure was validated using 50 replicates analysed during five independent series with a total R.S.D. of 11.2%. The assay can also be used to monitor the exact content of oseltamivir in Tamiflu capsules. One Tamiflu capsule was transferred to a 250mL volumetric flask and 150mL water was added. The flask was placed in an ultrasonic bath at 40 degrees C for 20min to dissolve the capsule. The solution was allowed to cool to room temperature before the flask was filled up to the mark (250mL). A small aliquot was centrifuged and then directly injected into the LC-system for quantification. Oseltamivir was analysed by liquid chromatography with UV detection on a Hypersil Gold column (150mmx4.6mm) using a mobile phase containing methanol-phosphate buffer (pH 2.5; 0.1M) (50:50, v/v) at a flow rate of 1.0mL/min. The assay was implemented for the analysis of Tamiflu purchased over the Internet and at local pharmacies in Thailand and Vietnam.

Le Bas C, Tran TH, Nguyen TT, Dang DT, Ngo CT. 2006. Prevalence and epidemiology of Salmonella spp. in small pig abattoirs of Hanoi, Vietnam. Ann N Y Acad Sci, 1081 (1), pp. 269-272. | Show Abstract | Read more

The prevalence of Salmonella spp. in pigs was evaluated in a survey of small abattoirs in Hanoi, Vietnam. Cecal contents, carcass swabs, and tank water samples were collected for bacterial isolation in various media. Prevalence rates exceeded 50% in pig samples and 62% in water samples. This increased prevalence indicates the need for risk assessment evaluations along the entire production chain.

de Jong MD, Simmons CP, Thanh TT, Hien VM, Smith GJD, Chau TNB, Hoang DM, Chau NVV, Khanh TH, Dong VC 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.

Lindegardh N, Davies GR, Tran TH, Farrar J, Singhasivanon P, Day NPJ, White NJ. 2006. Rapid degradation of oseltamivir phosphate in clinical samples by plasma esterases. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 50 (9), pp. 3197-3199. | Show Abstract | Read more

The anti-influenza drug oseltamivir is an ester prodrug activated by hepatic carboxylesterases. Plasma esterases also convert up to 31.8% of the parent compound to the active metabolite after 4 h ex vivo, with wide interindividual variation. This source of error is removed by adding the esterase inhibitor dichlorvos to blood collection tubes.

Deen JL, Harris E, Wills B, Balmaseda A, Hammond SN, Rocha C, Dung NM, Hung NT, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2006. The WHO dengue classification and case definitions: time for a reassessment. Lancet, 368 (9530), pp. 170-173. | Read more

Smith GJD, Naipospos TSP, Nguyen TD, de Jong MD, Vijaykrishna D, Usman TB, Hassan SS, Nguyen TV, Dao TV, Bui NA et al. 2006. Evolution and adaptation of H5N1 influenza virus in avian and human hosts in Indonesia and Vietnam. Virology, 350 (2), pp. 258-268. | Show Abstract | Read more

Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 is endemic in poultry in East and Southeast Asia with disease outbreaks recently spreading to parts of central Asia, Europe and Africa. Continued interspecies transmission to humans has been reported in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and China, causing pandemic concern. Here, we genetically characterize 82 H5N1 viruses isolated from poultry throughout Indonesia and Vietnam and 11 human isolates from southern Vietnam together with sequence data available in public databases to address questions relevant to virus introduction, endemicity and evolution. Phylogenetic analysis shows that all viruses from Indonesia form a distinct sublineage of H5N1 genotype Z viruses suggesting this outbreak likely originated from a single introduction that spread throughout the country during the past two years. Continued virus activities in Indonesia were attributed to transmission via poultry movement within the country rather than through repeated introductions by bird migration. Within Indonesia and Vietnam, H5N1 viruses have evolved over time into geographically distinct groups within each country. Molecular analysis of the H5N1 genotype Z genome shows that only the M2 and PB1-F2 genes were under positive selection, suggesting that these genes might be involved in adaptation of this virus to new hosts following interspecies transmission. At the amino acid level 12 residues were under positive selection in those genotype Z viruses, in the HA and PB1-F2 proteins. Some of these residues were more frequently observed in human isolates than in avian isolates and are related to viral antigenicity and receptor binding. Our study provides insight into the ongoing evolution of H5N1 influenza viruses that are transmitting in diverse avian species and at the interface between avian and human hosts.

de Jong MD, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2006. Oseltamivir resistance in influenza A (H5N1) infection - Reply NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 354 (13), pp. 1424-1424.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NTH, Torok E, Hoang DM, Chau TTH, Mai PP, Lan NTN, Dung NH, Quy HT 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 | Read more

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.

De Jong MD, Tran TH, Farrar J. 2006. Infliximab for Ulcerative Colitis New England Journal of Medicine, 354 (13), pp. 1424-1426. | Read more

de Jong MD, Hien TT. 2006. Avian influenza A (H5N1). J Clin Virol, 35 (1), pp. 2-13. | Show Abstract | Read more

Since their reemergence in 2003, highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses have reached endemic levels among poultry in several southeast Asian countries and have caused a still increasing number of more than 100 reported human infections with high mortality. These developments have ignited global fears of an imminent influenza pandemic. The current knowledge of the virology, clinical spectrum, diagnosis and treatment of human influenza H5N1 virus infections is reviewed herein.




PHUONG NT, HAI TN, HIEN TTT, BUI TV, HUONG DTT, SON VN, MOROOKA Y, FUKUDA Y, WILDER MN. 2006. Current status of freshwater prawn culture in Vietnam and the development and transfer of seed production technology Fisheries Science, 72 (1), pp. 1-12. | Show Abstract | Read more

In Vietnam, the giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii is becoming an increasingly important targeted species, as its culture, especially in rice fields, is considered to have the potential to raise income among impoverished farmers. The production of M. rosenbergii based on aquaculture reached over 10 000 tons per year in 2002, having increased from about 2500 tons since the 1990s. Until recently, lack of a stable supply of seed had been an important obstacle to the further expansion and development of M. rosenbergii culture, but cumulative research on larval rearing, especially in the 1990s, has led to the development of new seed production technology based on the 'modified stagnant green water system'. Following its dissemination by the efforts of provincial authorities, hatchery operators, and farmers, the freshwater prawn seed production industry developed rapidly in the Mekong Delta with over 90 hatcheries producing 76.5 million postlarvae in 2003. This is considered to have affected the expansion of rice-prawn farming in the Mekong Delta, leading to increased aquacultural production in the region. This paper reviews the current status of freshwater prawn culture in Vietnam and background history, and presents a socioeconomic evaluation of seed production technology implementation.

de Jong MD, Tran TT, Truong HK, Vo MH, Smith GJD, Nguyen VC, Bach VC, Phan TQ, Do QH, Guan Y et al. 2005. Oseltamivir resistance during treatment of influenza A (H5N1) infection. N Engl J Med, 353 (25), pp. 2667-2672. | Show Abstract | Read more

Influenza A (H5N1) virus with an amino acid substitution in neuraminidase conferring high-level resistance to oseltamivir was isolated from two of eight Vietnamese patients during oseltamivir treatment. Both patients died of influenza A (H5N1) virus infection, despite early initiation of treatment in one patient. Surviving patients had rapid declines in the viral load to undetectable levels during treatment. These observations suggest that resistance can emerge during the currently recommended regimen of oseltamivir therapy and may be associated with clinical deterioration and that the strategy for the treatment of influenza A (H5N1) virus infection should include additional antiviral agents.

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, Ngoc Hai N, Thi Ngoc Lan 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.

Anderson TJC, Nair S, Sudimack D, Williams JT, Mayxay M, Newton PN, Guthmann J-P, Smithuis FM, Tran TH, van den Broek IVF et al. 2005. Geographical distribution of selected and putatively neutral SNPs in Southeast Asian malaria parasites. Mol Biol Evol, 22 (12), pp. 2362-2374. | Show Abstract | Read more

Loci targeted by directional selection are expected to show elevated geographical population structure relative to neutral loci, and a flurry of recent papers have used this rationale to search for genome regions involved in adaptation. Studies of functional mutations that are known to be under selection are particularly useful for assessing the utility of this approach. Antimalarial drug treatment regimes vary considerably between countries in Southeast Asia selecting for local adaptation at parasite loci underlying resistance. We compared the population structure revealed by 10 nonsynonymous mutations (nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [nsSNPs]) in four loci that are known to be involved in antimalarial drug resistance, with patterns revealed by 10 synonymous mutations (synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms [sSNPs]) in housekeeping genes or genes of unknown function in 755 Plasmodium falciparum infections collected from 13 populations in six Southeast Asian countries. Allele frequencies at known nsSNPs underlying resistance varied markedly between locations (F(ST) = 0.18-0.66), with the highest frequencies on the Thailand-Burma border and the lowest frequencies in neighboring Lao PDR. In contrast, we found weak but significant geographic structure (F(ST) = 0-0.14) for 8 of 10 sSNPs. Importantly, all 10 nsSNPs showed significantly higher F(ST) (P < 8 x 10(-5)) than simulated neutral expectations based on observed F(ST) values in the putatively neutral sSNPs. This result was unaffected by the methods used to estimate allele frequencies or the number of populations used in the simulations. Given that dense single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) maps and rapid SNP assay methods are now available for P. falciparum, comparing genetic differentiation across the genome may provide a valuable aid to identifying parasite loci underlying local adaptation to drug treatment regimes or other selective forces. However, the high proportion of polymorphic sites that appear to be under balancing selection (or linked to selected sites) in the P. falciparum genome violates the central assumption that selected sites are rare, which complicates identification of outlier loci, and suggests that caution is needed when using this approach.

House D, Chinh NT, Diep TS, Parry CM, Wain J, Dougan G, White NJ, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2005. Use of paired serum samples for serodiagnosis of typhoid fever. J Clin Microbiol, 43 (9), pp. 4889-4890. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay we demonstrate that, in adult patients with typhoid fever, the sensitivity of a serological test based on the detection of anti-lipopolysaccharide immunoglobulin G is increased when used with paired serum samples taken 1 week apart.

Medana IM, Lindert R-B, Wurster U, Hien TT, Day NPJ, Phu NH, Mai NTH, Chuong LV, Chau TTH, Turner GDH et al. 2005. Cerebrospinal fluid levels of markers of brain parenchymal damage in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 99 (8), pp. 610-617. | Show Abstract | Read more

A retrospective study of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers of brain parenchymal damage was conducted in Vietnamese adults with severe malaria. Three markers were analysed by immunoassays: the microtubule-associated protein tau, for degenerated axons; neuron-specific enolase (NSE), for neurons; and S100B for astrocytes. The mean concentration of tau proteins in the CSF was significantly raised in patients with severe malaria compared with controls (P=0.0003) as reported for other central nervous system diseases. By contrast, the mean concentration of NSE and S100B remained within the normal range. Tau levels were associated with duration of coma (P=0.004) and S100B was associated with convulsions (P=0.006). Concentrations of axonal and astrocyte degeneration markers also were associated with vital organ dysfunction. No association was found between the level of markers of brain parenchymal damage on admission and a fatal outcome. On admission to hospital, patients with severe malaria had biochemical evidence of brain parenchymal damage predominantly affecting axons.

Simmons CP, Thwaites GE, Quyen NTH, Chau TTH, 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 | Read more

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.

Thwaites GE, Lan NTN, Dung NH, Quy HT, Oanh DTT, Thoa NTC, Hien NQ, Thuc NT, Hai NN, Bang ND et al. 2005. Effect of antituberculosis drug resistance on response to treatment and outcome in adults with tuberculous meningitis. J Infect Dis, 192 (1), pp. 79-88. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to 1 or more antituberculosis drugs is an increasingly common clinical problem, although the impact on outcome is uncertain. METHODS: We performed a prospective study of 180 Vietnamese adults admitted consecutively for TBM. M. tuberculosis was cultured from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of all patients and was tested for susceptibility to first-line antituberculosis drugs. Presenting clinical features, time to CSF bacterial clearance, clinical response to treatment, and 9-month morbidity and mortality were compared between adults infected with susceptible and those infected with drug-resistant organisms. RESULTS: Of 180 isolates, 72 (40.0%) were resistant to at least 1 antituberculosis drug, and 10 (5.6%) were resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin. Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance was associated with slower CSF bacterial clearance but not with any differences in clinical response or outcome. Combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance was strongly predictive of death (relative risk of death, 11.63 [95% confidence interval, 5.21-26.32]) and was independently associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Isoniazid and/or streptomycin resistance probably has no detrimental effect on the outcome of TBM when patients are treated with first-line antituberculosis drugs, but combined isoniazid and rifampicin resistance is strongly predictive of death.

Schultsz C, Dong VC, Chau NVV, Le NTH, Lim W, Thanh TT, Dolecek C, de Jong MD, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2005. Avian influenza H5N1 and healthcare workers. Emerg Infect Dis, 11 (7), pp. 1158-1159. | Read more

Simmons CP, Dong T, Chau NV, Dung NTP, Chau TNB, Thao LTT, 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.

Urban BC, Hien TT, Day NP, Phu NH, Roberts R, Pongponratn E, Jones M, Mai NTH, Bethell D, Turner GDH et al. 2005. Fatal Plasmodium falciparum malaria causes specific patterns of splenic architectural disorganization. Infect Immun, 73 (4), pp. 1986-1994. | Show Abstract | Read more

The spleen is critical for host defense against pathogens, including Plasmodium falciparum. It has a dual role, not only removing aged or antigenically altered erythrocytes from the blood but also as the major lymphoid organ for blood-borne or systemic infections. The human malaria parasite P. falciparum replicates within erythrocytes during asexual blood stages and causes repeated infections that can be associated with severe disease. In spite of the crucial role of the spleen in the innate and acquired immune response to malaria, there is little information on the pathology of the spleen in human malaria. We performed a histological and quantitative immunohistochemical study of spleen sections from Vietnamese adults dying from severe falciparum malaria and compared the findings with the findings for spleen sections from control patients and patients dying from systemic bacterial sepsis. Here we report that the white pulp in the spleens of patients dying from malaria showed a marked architectural disorganization. We observed a marked dissolution of the marginal zones with relative loss of B cells. Furthermore, we found strong HLA-DR expression on sinusoidal lining cells but downregulation on cordal macrophages. P. falciparum infection results in alterations in splenic leukocytes, many of which are not seen in sepsis.

Dunstan SJ, Hawn TR, Hue NT, Parry CP, Ho VA, Vinh H, Diep TS, House D, Wain J, Aderem A et al. 2005. Host susceptibility and clinical outcomes in toll-like receptor 5-deficient patients with typhoid fever in Vietnam. J Infect Dis, 191 (7), pp. 1068-1071. | Show Abstract | Read more

Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) mediates innate immune responses to bacterial pathogens by binding to flagellin. A polymorphism in the TLR5 gene introduces a premature stop codon (TLR5(392STOP)) that is associated with susceptibility to legionnaires disease. Here we investigated whether TLR5(392STOP) was associated with typhoid fever. The frequency of TLR5(392STOP) was not significantly different in 565 patients with typhoid fever and 281 ethnically matched control subjects. Furthermore, TLR5 deficiency had no measurable effect on a number of clinical parameters associated with typhoid fever, including fever clearance time, pathogen burden, disease severity, or age at acquisition of disease. TLR5 may not play an important role in TLR-stimulated innate immune responses to human infection with Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. Initiation of these responses may rely on other TLRs that recognize different bacterial ligands.

Bishop AL, Baker S, Jenks S, Fookes M, Gaora PO, Pickard D, Anjum M, Farrar J, Hien TT, Ivens A, Dougan G. 2005. Analysis of the hypervariable region of the Salmonella enterica genome associated with tRNA(leuX). J Bacteriol, 187 (7), pp. 2469-2482. | Show Abstract | Read more

The divergence of Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli is estimated to have occurred approximately 140 million years ago. Despite this evolutionary distance, the genomes of these two species still share extensive synteny and homology. However, there are significant differences between the two species in terms of genes putatively acquired via various horizontal transfer events. Here we report on the composition and distribution across the Salmonella genus of a chromosomal region designated SPI-10 in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and located adjacent to tRNA(leuX). We find that across the Salmonella genus the tRNA(leuX) region is a hypervariable hot spot for horizontal gene transfer; different isolates from the same S. enterica serovar can exhibit significant variation in this region. Many P4 phage, plasmid, and transposable element-associated genes are found adjacent to tRNA(leuX) in both Salmonella and E. coli, suggesting that these mobile genetic elements have played a major role in driving the variability of this region.

Torok ME, Day JN, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2005. Immediate or deferred antiretroviral therapy for central nervous system opportunistic infections? AIDS, 19 (5), pp. 535-536. | Read more

de Jong MD, Bach VC, Phan TQ, Vo MH, Tran TT, Nguyen BH, Beld M, Le TP, Truong HK, Nguyen VVC et al. 2005. Fatal avian influenza A (H5N1) in a child presenting with diarrhea followed by coma. N Engl J Med, 352 (7), pp. 686-691. | Show Abstract | Read more

In southern Vietnam, a four-year-old boy presented with severe diarrhea, followed by seizures, coma, and death. The cerebrospinal fluid contained 1 white cell per cubic millimeter, normal glucose levels, and increased levels of protein (0.81 g per liter). The diagnosis of avian influenza A (H5N1) was established by isolation of the virus from cerebrospinal fluid, fecal, throat, and serum specimens. The patient's nine-year-old sister had died from a similar syndrome two weeks earlier. In both siblings, the clinical diagnosis was acute encephalitis. Neither patient had respiratory symptoms at presentation. These cases suggest that the spectrum of influenza H5N1 is wider than previously thought.

Hien TT, Davis TME, Chuong LV, Ilett KF, Sinh DXT, Phu NH, Agus C, Chiswell GM, White NJ, Farrar J. 2005. Comparative pharmacokinetics of intramuscular artesunate and artemether in patients with severe Falciparum malaria (vol 11, pg 4234, 2004) ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, 49 (2), pp. 871-871. | Read more

Beigel JH, Farrar J, Han AM, Hayden FG, Hyer R, de Jong MD, Lochindarat S, Nguyen TKT, Nguyen TH, Tran TH et al. 2005. Avian influenza A (H5N1) infection in humans. N Engl J Med, 353 (13), pp. 1374-1385. | Read more

Quy HT, Lan NH, Dung NH, Hien TT, Duc NH, Couturaud F, Leroyer C. 2005. A case of avian influenza (H5N1) pulmonary infection with early expansion of lung bulla formations Respiratory Medicine Extra, 1 (3), pp. 61-64. | Show Abstract | Read more

A 22 year old previously healthy male subject was admitted to hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with fever and severe pneumonia. On interviewing the patient a recent close contact with poultry was revealed and a RT-PCR test for H5 and N1 influenza antigen was found positive following nose and throat swabs. Partial recovery was highlighted by the development of extensive bulla formations in the left lung. We herein report clinical and radiological features in a 22 year old male Vietnamese patient who developed severe acute pneumonia and in whose RT-PCR test for H5 and N1 influenza antigen was found positive following nose and throat swabs. Partial recovery was highlighted by the development of extensive bulla formations in the left lung. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

HIEN TTT, HAI TN, PHUONG NT, OGATA HY, WILDER MN. 2005. The effects of dietary lipid sources and lecithin on the production of giant freshwater prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii larvae in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam Fisheries Science, 71 (2), pp. 279-286. | Show Abstract | Read more

The giant freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium rosenbergii, is cultured widely in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam but it is often difficult or expensive for hatchery operators to purchase commercial diets used as a feeding supplement to Artemia nauplii. Therefore, in the present study, the effects of lipid sources and lecithin on the growth and survival rate of M. rosenbergii larvae were examined in order to develop suitable hand-prepared larval diets for seed production of M. rosenbergii in this area. Six egg custard diets consisting of various ratios of lipid (originating from soybean oil and squid oil) and lecithin were used for rearing Macrobrachium rosenbergii larvae. Treatments in which larvae were fed diets containing squid oil exhibited the highest body length and survival rates (7.14-7.43 mm and 51.1-68.1%, respectively), and differed significantly from other treatments (P < 0.05). Use of dietary soybean oil yielded the lowest body length and survival rates (6.29-6.75 mm and 22.0-48.7%, respectively). The supplementation of dietary lecithin did not increase final body weight but did improve larval survival rates. The n-3 HUFA content of prawns fed dietary squid oil was higher than those of animals provided with other diets. These results indicated that the most appropriate diet for rearing M. rosenbergii larvae is the diet containing 3% squid oil and 1.5% lecithin.

Thwaites GE, Tran TH. 2005. Tuberculous meningitis: many questions, too few answers. Lancet Neurol, 4 (3), pp. 160-170. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis (TM) is difficult to diagnose and treat; clinical features are non-specific, conventional bacteriology is widely regarded as insensitive, and assessment of newer diagnostic methods is not complete. Treatment includes four drugs, which were developed more than 30 years ago, and prevents death or disability in less than half of patients. Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistant to these drugs threatens a return to the prechemotherapeutic era in which all patients with TM died. Research findings suggest that adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids improve survival but probably do not prevent severe disability, although how or why is not known. There are many important unanswered questions about the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of TM. Here we review the available evidence to answer some of these questions, particularly those on the diagnosis and treatment of TM.

Hien TT, de Jong M, Farrar J. 2004. Avian influenza--a challenge to global health care structures. N Engl J Med, 351 (23), pp. 2363-2365. | Read more

Dondorp AM, Newton PN, Mayxay M, Van Damme W, Smithuis FM, Yeung S, Petit A, Lynam AJ, Johnson A, Hien TT et al. 2004. Fake antimalarials in Southeast Asia are a major impediment to malaria control: multinational cross-sectional survey on the prevalence of fake antimalarials. Trop Med Int Health, 9 (12), pp. 1241-1246. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of counterfeit antimalarial drugs in Southeast (SE) Asia. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Pharmacies and shops selling antimalarial drugs in Myanmar (Burma), Lao PDR, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of artemisinin derivatives or mefloquine containing drugs of substandard quality. RESULTS: Of the 188 tablet packs purchased which were labelled as 'artesunate' 53% did not contain any artesunate. All counterfeit artesunate tablets were labelled as manufactured by 'Guilin Pharma', and refinements of the fake blisterpacks made them often hard to distinguish from their genuine counterparts. No other artemisinin derivatives were found to be counterfeited. Of the 44 mefloquine samples, 9% contained <10% of the expected amount of active ingredient. CONCLUSIONS: An alarmingly high proportion of antimalarial drugs bought in pharmacies and shops in mainland SE Asia are counterfeit, and the problem has increased significantly compared with our previous survey in 1999-2000. This is a serious threat to public health in the region.

Stepniewska K, Taylor WRJ, Mayxay M, Price R, Smithuis F, Guthmann J-P, Barnes K, Myint HY, Adjuik M, Olliaro P et al. 2004. In vivo assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria: duration of follow-up. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 48 (11), pp. 4271-4280. | Show Abstract | Read more

To determine the optimum duration of follow-up for the assessment of drug efficacy against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, 96 trial arms from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with follow-up of 28 days or longer that were conducted between 1990 and 2003 were analyzed. These trials enrolled 13,772 patients, and participating patients comprised 23% of all patients enrolled in RCTs over the past 40 years; 61 (64%) trial arms were conducted in areas where the rate of malaria transmission was low, and 58 (50%) trial arms were supported by parasite genotyping to distinguish true recrudescences from reinfections. The median overall failure rate reported was 10% (range, 0 to 47%). The widely used day 14 assessment had a sensitivity of between 0 and 37% in identifying treatment failures and had no predictive value. Assessment at day 28 had a sensitivity of 66% overall (28 to 100% in individual trials) but could be used to predict the true failure rate if either parasite genotyping was performed (r(2) = 0.94) or if the entomological inoculation rate was known. In the assessment of drug efficacy against falciparum malaria, 28 days should be the minimum period of follow-up.

Hien TT, Davis TME, Chuong LV, Ilett KF, Sinh DXT, Phu NH, Agus C, Chiswell GM, White NJ, Farrar J. 2004. Comparative pharmacokinetics of intramuscular artesunate and artemether in patients with severe falciparum malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 48 (11), pp. 4234-4239. | Show Abstract | Read more

The first-dose pharmacokinetic properties of intramuscular (i.m.) artesunate (ARTS; 2.4 mg/kg immediately [stat], followed by 1.2 mg/kg i.m. daily) and artemether (ARM; 3.2 mg/kg i.m. stat, followed by 1.6 mg/kg i.m. daily) were compared in Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. A total of 19 patients were studied; 9 received ARTS, and 10 received ARM. ARTS was absorbed very rapidly; concentrations in plasma peaked between 1,362 and 8,388 nmol/liter (median, 5,710 nmol/liter) within 20 min of injection and then declined with a median (range) half-life (t(1/2)) of 30 (3 to 67) min. ARTS was hydrolyzed rapidly and completely to the biologically active metabolite dihydroartemisinin (DHA). Peak DHA concentrations in plasma ranged between 1,718 and 7,080 nmol/liter (median, 3,060 nmol/liter) and declined with a t(1/2) of 52 (26 to 69) min. In contrast, ARM was slowly and erratically absorbed. The absorption profile appeared biphasic. Maximum ARM concentrations in plasma ranged between 67 nmol/liter (a value close to the 50% inhibitory concentration for some Plasmodium falciparum isolates) and 1,631 nmol/liter (median, 574 nmol/liter) and occurred at a median (range) of 10 (1.5 to 24) h. There was relatively little conversion to DHA. After i.m. injection in cases of severe malaria, absorption of the water-soluble ARTS is rapid and extensive, whereas the oil-based ARM is slowly and erratically absorbed, with relatively little conversion to the more active DHA. On the basis of this pharmacological study, parenteral ARTS is preferable to ARM as an initial antimalarial therapy, particularly in the most seriously ill patients. These findings should be formally assessed by a randomized clinical trial.

Thwaites GE, Nguyen DB, Nguyen HD, Hoang TQ, Do TTO, Nguyen TCT, Nguyen QH, Nguyen TT, Nguyen NH, Nguyen TNL et al. 2004. Dexamethasone for the treatment of tuberculous meningitis in adolescents and adults. N Engl J Med, 351 (17), pp. 1741-1751. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Tuberculous meningitis kills or disables more than half of those affected with the disease. Previous studies have been too small to determine whether adjunctive treatment with corticosteroids can reduce the risk of disability or death among adults with tuberculous meningitis, and the effect of coinfection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is unclear. METHODS: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Vietnam in patients over 14 years of age who had tuberculous meningitis, with or without HIV infection, to determine whether adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone reduced the risk of death or severe disability after nine months of follow-up. We conducted prespecified subgroup analyses and intention-to-treat analyses. RESULTS: A total of 545 patients were randomly assigned to groups that received either dexamethasone (274 patients) or placebo (271 patients). Only 10 patients (1.8 percent) had been lost to follow-up at nine months of treatment. Treatment with dexamethasone was associated with a reduced risk of death (relative risk, 0.69; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.92; P=0.01). It was not associated with a significant reduction in the proportion of severely disabled patients (34 of 187 patients [18.2 percent] among survivors in the dexamethasone group vs. 22 of 159 patients [13.8 percent] in the placebo group, P=0.27) or in the proportion of patients who had either died or were severely disabled after nine months (odds ratio, 0.81; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.58 to 1.13; P=0.22). The treatment effect was consistent across subgroups that were defined by disease-severity grade (stratified relative risk of death, 0.68; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.91; P=0.007) and by HIV status (stratified relative risk of death, 0.78; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.59 to 1.04; P=0.08). Significantly fewer serious adverse events occurred in the dexamethasone group than in the placebo group (26 of 274 patients vs. 45 of 271 patients, P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Adjunctive treatment with dexamethasone improves survival in patients over 14 years of age with tuberculous meningitis but probably does not prevent severe disability.

Dondorp AM, Chau TTH, Phu NH, Mai NTH, Loc PP, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Taylor A, Hien TT, White NJ, Day NPJ. 2004. Unidentified acids of strong prognostic significance in severe malaria. Crit Care Med, 32 (8), pp. 1683-1688. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To calculate, using the Stewart approach to acid-base disorders, the strong anion gap as an estimate for the contribution of unmeasured plasma anions other than lactate to the metabolic acidosis that characterizes severe falciparum malaria and to assess its relative prognostic significance. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in southern Vietnam. PATIENTS: Consecutive adult patients (n = 268) with severe falciparum malaria. INTERVENTIONS: The intervention was clinical management in a dedicated unit. We measured baseline venous lactate, electrolytes, biochemical variables, admission arterial blood pH, and gas tensions for calculation of the strong anion gap. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: The mean (95% confidence interval) admission strong anion gap was 11.1 (10.4-11.9) mEq/L, compared with lactate (geometric mean, 95% confidence interval) at 2.9 (2.7-3.2) mmol/L. Strong anion gap had a high predictive value for mortality (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.73 (95% confidence interval, 0.65-0.82), which was independent of plasma lactate and creatinine concentrations. Renal failure and hepatic dysfunction were both associated with, but were not the sole determinants of, high levels of strong anion gap. CONCLUSIONS: In severe malaria, unidentified anions other than lactate are the most important contributors to metabolic acidosis, a major cause of death. The strong anion gap is a powerful prognostic indicator in patients with severe malaria.

Nguyen QC, Everest P, Tran TK, House D, Murch S, Parry C, Connerton P, Phan VB, To SD, Mastroeni P et al. 2004. A clinical, microbiological, and pathological study of intestinal perforation associated with typhoid fever. Clin Infect Dis, 39 (1), pp. 61-67. | Show Abstract | Read more

One of the most serious complications of typhoid fever is intestinal perforation. Of 27 patients admitted to a provincial hospital in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam who had gastrointestinal perforation secondary to suspected typhoid fever, 67% were male, with a median age of 23 years and a median duration of illness of 10 days. Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serotype Typhi (S. Typhi) was isolated from 11 (41%) of 27 patients; of 27 patients, only 4 (15%) had positive cultures from gut biopsies. S. Typhi DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction for all perforation biopsy samples. Detailed histological examination of the gastrointestinal mucosa at the site of perforation in all cases showed a combination of discrete acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation at the serosal surface indicated additional tissue damage after perforation. Immunohistochemical results showed that the predominant infiltrating cell types at the site of perforation were CD68+ leukocytes (macrophages) or CD3+ leukocytes (T lymphocytes).

Tran TH, Nguyen TL, Nguyen TD, Luong TS, Pham PM, Nguyen VVC, Pham TS, Vo CD, Le TQM, Ngo TT et al. 2004. Avian influenza A (H5N1) in 10 patients in Vietnam. N Engl J Med, 350 (12), pp. 1179-1188. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Recent outbreaks of avian influenza A (H5N1) in poultry throughout Asia have had major economic and health repercussions. Human infections with this virus were identified in Vietnam in January 2004. METHODS: We report the clinical features and preliminary epidemiologic findings among 10 patients with confirmed cases of avian influenza A (H5N1) who presented to hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, in December 2003 and January 2004. RESULTS: In all 10 cases, the diagnosis of influenza A (H5N1) was confirmed by means of viral culture or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction with primers specific for H5 and N1. None of the 10 patients (mean age, 13.7 years) had preexisting medical conditions. Nine of them had a clear history of direct contact with poultry (median time before onset of illness, three days). All patients presented with fever (temperature, 38.5 to 40.0 degrees C), respiratory symptoms, and clinically significant lymphopenia (median lymphocyte count, 700 per cubic millimeter). The median platelet count was 75,500 per cubic millimeter. Seven patients had diarrhea. In all patients, there were marked abnormalities on chest radiography. There was no definitive evidence of human-to-human transmission. Eight patients died, one patient has recovered, and one is recovering. CONCLUSIONS: Influenza A (H5N1) infection, characterized by fever, respiratory symptoms, and lymphopenia, carries a high risk of death. Although in all 10 cases the infection appears to have been acquired directly from infected poultry, the potential exists for genetic reassortment with human influenzaviruses and the evolution of human-to-human transmission. Containment of influenza A (H5N1) in poultry throughout Asia is therefore urgently required.

Thwaites GE, Caws M, Chau TTH, Dung NT, Campbell JI, Phu NH, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2004. Comparison of conventional bacteriology with nucleic acid amplification (amplified mycobacterium direct test) for diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis before and after inception of antituberculosis chemotherapy. J Clin Microbiol, 42 (3), pp. 996-1002. | Show Abstract | Read more

The role of nucleic acid amplification techniques in the rapid diagnosis of tuberculous meningitis remains uncertain. We compared the performance of Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) staining, the Gen-Probe amplified Mycobacterium tuberculosis direct test (MTD), and culture with 341 cerebrospinal fluid specimens from 152 adults (73 with and 79 without tuberculous meningitis) before and after inception of antituberculosis chemotherapy. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of ZN staining before treatment were 34/66 (52%), 79/79 (100%), 34/34 (100%), and 79/111 (71%), compared with 25/66 (38%), 78/79 (99%), 25/26 (96%), and 79/120 (66%) for MTD. The sensitivity of combined ZN staining and MTD (either positive) was 45/66 (68%). The sensitivity of staining and culture fell more rapidly than that of MTD after the start of treatment: after 5 to 15 days of treatment, MTD was more sensitive than ZN staining (12/43 [28%] versus 2/43 [2%]; P = 0.013). Slower bacterial clearance was observed if M. tuberculosis was resistant to isoniazid and/or streptomycin: resistant organisms were more likely to be cultured from cerebrospinal fluid after 2 to 5 days of treatment than fully sensitive organisms (P < 0.001). The sensitivities of ZN staining, MTD, and the two tests combined were improved by repeated sampling to 38/59 (64%), 35/59 (59%), and 49/59 (83%), respectively. In conclusion, ZN staining of the cerebrospinal fluid is at least as good as MTD for the rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis and is much faster and less expensive. However, the combination of these methods on serial samples detects more cases. Alternative tests are still urgently required.

Day JN, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2004. Expiry-date tampering. Lancet, 363 (9403), pp. 172. | Read more

Tran TH, Dolecek C, Pham PM, Nguyen TD, Nguyen TT, Le HT, Dong THA, Tran TT, Stepniewska K, White NJ, Farrar J. 2004. Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine against multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Vietnam: randomised clinical trial. Lancet, 363 (9402), pp. 18-22. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Southeast Asia has the most resistant malaria parasites in the world, which severely limits treatment options. There is general acceptance that to combat resistance, combinations of antimalarial drugs that include an artemisinin derivative should be used, and, if possible, these should be formulated in a single tablet. METHODS: We did a pilot randomised study in a tertiary referral hospital in Vietnam to compare the efficacy of 3-day regimens of dihydroartemisinin-trimethoprim-piperaquine (DHA-TP total dose 4.8/13.6/48 mg/kg, respectively) with the standard antimalarial regimen in Vietnam, artesunate-mefloquine (A3M total dose 12/25 mg/kg, respectively) in non-immune patients with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. 114 patients were randomised, 76 to DHA-TP and 38 to A3M. The subsequent open randomised trial at a Provincial Health Station compared DHA-TP, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, and A3M in 400 patients. In both studies all patients received directly observed therapy and were followed up for 56 days. The primary endpoint was reappearance of P falciparum malaria within 56 days of treatment. Analysis was by intention to treat. FINDINGS: The 56-day cure rate in the pilot study, adjusted for reinfections identified by PCR genotyping, was 97.4% (74/76) in the DHA-TP group and 100% (38/38) in the A3M group. In the second study, cure rates were similar in the three groups; DHA-TP 97.4% (153/157), dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine 98.7% (164/166), and A3M 98.7% (76/77). The DHA-TP and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine regimens were well tolerated; fewer than 3% of patients had side-effects that might have been related to treatment, compared with 16% of A3M patients (p<0.001). No patients were lost to follow-up. INTERPRETATION: Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine is an inexpensive, safe, highly efficacious fixed-dose antimalarial combination treatment that could make an important contribution to the control of multidrug-resistant falciparum malaria.

Freeman HR, Mai NT, Diep TS, Parry C, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2004. The role of the polymerase chain reaction in the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis in Vietnam. Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 98 (1), pp. 65-70. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacterial meningitis remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality in Vietnam. Diagnosis is hampered by the ready availability of antibiotics in the community, leading to late presentation, masked clinical signs, and poor organism detection during the microscopical examination and culture of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). In order to improve organism detection at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, a diagnostic PCR-based protocol was developed. This protocol was followed in the investigation of CSF samples from 36 patients with clinical signs of bacterial meningitis. Each sample was first tested in a semi-nested PCR using primers for the 16sRNA gene common to all bacteria. The products of this reaction were then amplified using a 16sru8 primer and primers specific for Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus spp. The samples found positive for Streptococcus were further investigated in a nested PCR using primers specific for the pneumolysin gene of S. pneumoniae. The sensitivity of detection was increased from 36% with culture to 44% with PCR. Although the sample size was small, the results indicate that PCR would be a feasible and useful adjunct in the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, particularly in areas where community antibiotic use is common.

Pongponratn E, Turner GDH, Day NPJ, Phu NH, Simpson JA, Stepniewska K, Mai NTH, Viriyavejakul P, Looareesuwan S, Hien TT et al. 2003. An ultrastructural study of the brain in fatal Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 69 (4), pp. 345-359. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cerebral malaria (CM) is a major cause of death in severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. We present quantitative electron microscopic findings of the neuropathologic features in a prospective clinicopathologic study of 65 patients who died of severe malaria in Thailand and Vietnam. Sequestration of parasitized red blood cells (PRBCs) in cerebral microvessels was significantly higher in the brains of patients with CM compared with those with non-cerebral malaria (NCM) in all parts of the brain (cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata). There was a hierarchy of sequestration with more in the cerebrum and cerebellum than the brain stem. When cerebral sequestration was compared with the peripheral parasitemia pre mortem, there were 26.6 times more PRBCs in the brain microvasculature than in the peripheral blood. The sequestration index was significantly higher in CM patients (median = 50.7) than in NCM patients (median = 6.9) (P = 0.042). The degree of sequestration of P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes in cerebral microvessels is quantitatively associated with pre-mortem coma.

Nair S, Williams JT, Brockman A, Paiphun L, Mayxay M, Newton PN, Guthmann J-P, Smithuis FM, Hien TT, White NJ et al. 2003. A selective sweep driven by pyrimethamine treatment in southeast asian malaria parasites. Mol Biol Evol, 20 (9), pp. 1526-1536. | Show Abstract | Read more

Malaria parasites (Plasmodium falciparum) provide an excellent system in which to study the genomic effects of strong selection in a recombining eukaryote because the rapid spread of resistance to multiple drugs during the last the past 50 years has been well documented, the full genome sequence and a microsatellite map are now available, and haplotype data can be easily generated. We examined microsatellite variation around the dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) gene on chromosome 4 of P. falciparum. Point mutations in dhfr are known to be responsible for resistance to the antimalarial drug pyrimethamine, and resistance to this drug has spread rapidly in Southeast (SE) Asia after its introduction in 1970s. We genotyped 33 microsatellite markers distributed across chromosome 4 in 61 parasites from a location on the Thailand/Myanmar border. We observed minimal microsatellite length variation in a 12-kb (0.7-cM) region flanking the dhfr gene and diminished variation for approximately 100 kb (6 cM), indicative of a single origin of resistant alleles. Furthermore, we found the same or similar microsatellite haplotypes flanked resistant dhfr alleles sampled from 11 parasite populations in five SE Asian countries indicating recent invasion of a single lineage of resistant dhfr alleles in locations 2000 km apart. Three features of these data are of especially interest. (1). Pyrimethamine resistance is generally assumed to have evolved multiple times because the genetic basis is simple and resistance can be selected easily in the laboratory. Yet our data clearly indicate a single origin of resistant dhfr alleles sampled over a large region of SE Asia. (2). The wide valley ( approximately 6 cM) of reduced variation around dhfr provides "proof-of-principle" that genome-wide association may be an effective way to locate genes under strong recent selection. (3). The width of the selective valley is consistent with predictions based on independent measures of recombination, mutation, and selection intensity, suggesting that we have reasonable estimates of these parameters. We conclude that scanning the malaria parasite genome for evidence of recent selection may prove an extremely effective way to locate genes underlying recently evolved traits such as drug resistance, as well as providing an opportunity to study the dynamics of selective events that have occurred recently or are currently in progress.

Hien TT, Turner GDH, Mai NTH, Phu NH, Bethell D, Blakemore WF, Cavanagh JB, Dayan A, Medana I, Weller RO et al. 2003. Neuropathological assessment of artemether-treated severe malaria. Lancet, 362 (9380), pp. 295-296. | Show Abstract | Read more

In animals, high doses of intramuscular artemether and artemotil have been shown to cause an unusual pattern of selective damage to certain brainstem nuclei, especially those implicated in hearing and balance. We aimed to investigate whether a similar pattern arises in human adults. We examined the brainstems of adults who died after treatment with high dose artemether or quinine for severe falciparum malaria for evidence of a pattern of selective neuronal damage. Neuropathological findings were similar in recipients of quinine (n=15) and artemether (n=6; total artemether doses received 4-44 mg/kg). No evidence was recorded for artemether-induced neurotoxic effects.

Pointon JJ, Viprakasit V, Miles KL, Livesey KJ, Steiner M, O'Riordan S, Hien TT, Merryweather-Clarke AT, Robson KJH. 2003. Hemochromatosis gene (HFE) mutations in South East Asia: a potential for iron overload. Blood Cells Mol Dis, 30 (3), pp. 302-306. | Show Abstract | Read more

Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in the HFE gene that mainly affects populations of European descent. Recently a novel mutation (IVS5+1 G-->A) has been described in a Vietnamese patient with HH that was not detected in a European control population. We have developed a novel method to screen for this mutation based on restriction enzyme digestion of a PCR product using a modified forward primer. We have screened 314 Vietnamese people from several ethnic groups and 154 people from Thailand for this mutation and have detected two heterozygotes in the Vietnamese subjects (allele frequency 0.003). Analysis of these heterozygotes indicates that the mutation is on the same haplotype as that found in the original proband. Screening for the widely distributed HFE mutation, H63D, gave an allele frequency of 0.049 in the Vietnamese subjects and 0.032 in the subjects from Thailand. This is the first report of H63D allele frequencies in these populations. We suggest that the presence of the IVS5+1 G-->A and H63D mutations should be considered when investigating iron overload in Vietnamese patients and those of mixed origin as co-inheritance of both mutations is likely to be a risk factor for iron overload.

Thwaites G, Thwaites L, Hien TT, Farrar J. 2003. Ethics of large clinical trials in rapidly lethal diseases. Lancet, 361 (9365), pp. 1296. | Read more

Parry CM, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2003. Typhoid fever - Reply NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 348 (12), pp. 1184-1184.

Phu NH, Hien TT, Day N. 2003. Hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in infection-associated acute renal failure - Reply NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 348 (9), pp. 860-860.

Janssen van Doorn K, Pierard D, Verbeelen D. 2003. Typhoid fever. N Engl J Med, 348 (12), pp. 1182-1184. | Read more

Rao PS, Modi KS. 2003. Hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in infection-associated acute renal failure. N Engl J Med, 348 (9), pp. 858-860. | Read more

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.

Quagliarello AB, Parry CM, Hien TT, Farrar JJ. 2003. Factors associated with carriage of penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae among Vietnamese children: a rural-urban divide. J Health Popul Nutr, 21 (4), pp. 316-324. | Show Abstract

This study examined the relationship between antimicrobial resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae and patterns of antimicrobial usage and over-the-counter dispensing by pharmacies in urban and rural districts of Vietnam. The antimicrobial susceptibility of S. pneumoniae carried by healthy urban and rural school children was determined. Questionnaires were distributed to parents to describe their healthcare-seeking behaviour. Mock parents presented standardized cases of mild respiratory infection and acute watery diarrhoea to pharmacies in the district surrounding each school. Penicillin resistance was significantly more common in S. pneumoniae carried by urban children compared to rural children as was recent antibiotic usage. Both urban and rural pharmacies showed high rates of dispensing inadequate antimicrobial regimens. The high level of antimicrobial resistance in S. pneumoniae may be related to greater antimicrobial usage. This may result from the much easier access to healthcare providers in urban areas and may suggest that relying solely on education without limiting access to outlets may have only limited impact. The results suggest a greater understanding of the subtleties of healthcare-seeking behaviour, and access to healthcare is needed to help refine and guide rationale suggestions to reduce the continued spread of drug resistance.

Parry CM, Hien TT, Dougan G, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2002. Typhoid fever. N Engl J Med, 347 (22), pp. 1770-1782. | Read more

Parry CM, Duong NM, Zhou J, Mai NTH, Diep TS, Thinh LQ, Wain J, Van Vinh Chau N, Griffiths D, Day NPJ et al. 2002. Emergence in Vietnam of Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents as a result of dissemination of the multiresistant Spain(23F)-1 clone. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 46 (11), pp. 3512-3517. | Show Abstract | Read more

Surveillance for Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant to penicillin and other antimicrobial agents is necessary to define the optimal empirical antibiotic therapy for meningitis in resource-poor countries such as Vietnam. The clinical and microbiological features of 100 patients admitted to the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, between 1993 and 2002 with invasive pneumococcal disease were studied. A penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococcus (MIC, > or =0.1 micro g/ml) was isolated from the blood or cerebrospinal fluid of 8% of patients (2 of 24) between 1993 and 1995 but 56% (20 of 36) during 1999 to 2002 (P < 0.0001). Pneumococcal isolates resistant to penicillin (MIC, > or =2.0 micro g/ml) increased from 0% (0 of 24) to 28% (10 of 36) (P = 0.002). Only one isolate was ceftriaxone resistant (MIC, 2.0 micro g/ml). Penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci were isolated from 78% of children younger than 15 years (28 of 36) compared with 25% of adults (16 of 64) (P = 0.0001). Isolation of a penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococcus in adults with meningitis was independently associated with referral from another hospital (P = 0.005) and previous antibiotic therapy (P = 0.025). Multilocus sequence typing showed that 86% of the invasive penicillin-resistant pneumococcus isolates tested (12 of 14) were of the Spain(23F)-1 clone. The serotypes of >95% of the penicillin-nonsusceptible pneumococci were included in the currently available pneumococcal vaccines. Our findings point to the recent introduction and spread of the Spain(23F)-1 clone of penicillin-resistant pneumococci in Vietnam. Simple clinical predictors can be used to guide empirical antibiotic therapy of meningitis. Pneumococcal vaccination may help to control this problem.

Phu NH, Hien TT, Mai NTH, Chau TTH, Chuong LV, Loc PP, Winearls C, Farrar J, White N, Day N. 2002. Hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in infection-associated acute renal failure in Vietnam. N Engl J Med, 347 (12), pp. 895-902. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: In some parts of the world, peritoneal dialysis is widely used for renal replacement in acute renal failure. In resource-rich countries, it has been supplanted in recent years by hemodialysis and, most recently, by hemofiltration and associated techniques. The relative efficacy of peritoneal dialysis and hemofiltration is not known. METHODS: We conducted an open, randomized comparison of pumped venovenous hemofiltration and peritoneal dialysis in patients with infection-associated acute renal failure in an infectious-disease referral hospital in Vietnam. RESULTS: Seventy adult patients with severe falciparum malaria (48 patients) or sepsis (22 patients) were enrolled; 34 were assigned to hemofiltration and 36 to peritoneal dialysis. The mortality rate was 47 percent (17 patients) in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis, as compared with 15 percent (5 patients) in the group assigned to hemofiltration (P=0.005). The rates of resolution of acidosis and of decline in the serum creatinine concentration in the group assigned to hemofiltration were more than twice those in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis (P<0.005), and renal-replacement therapy was required for a significantly shorter period. In a multivariate analysis, the odds ratio for death was 5.1 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 16) and that for a need for future dialysis was 4.7 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 17) in the group assigned to peritoneal dialysis. The cost of hemofiltration per survivor was less than half that of peritoneal dialysis, and the cost per life saved was less than one third. CONCLUSIONS: Hemofiltration is superior to peritoneal dialysis in the treatment of infection-associated acute renal failure.

House D, Chinh NT, Hien TT, Parry CP, Ly NT, Diep TS, Wain J, Dunstan S, White NJ, Dougan G, Farrar JJ. 2002. Cytokine release by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated whole blood from patients with typhoid fever. J Infect Dis, 186 (2), pp. 240-245. | Show Abstract | Read more

The ex vivo cytokine response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of whole blood from patients with typhoid fever was investigated. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha release by LPS-stimulated blood was found to be lower during acute typhoid fever than after a course of antimicrobial therapy (P<or=.001). Ex vivo interleukin (IL)-1beta, but not IL-1 receptor antagonist, release was also depressed during the acute stage of typhoid fever. Low ex vivo production of TNF-alpha was associated with delayed recovery. No association was found between the TNFA-308 promoter polymorphism and LPS-induced TNF-alpha release, either during an active infection or after treatment. In acute typhoid fever, the ability of peripheral blood leukocytes to release proinflammatory cytokines in response to an inflammatory stimulus is depressed, and this may contribute to delayed recovery following antibiotic treatment.

Chau TTH, Mai NTH, Phu NH, Luxemburger C, Chuong LV, Loc PP, Trang TTM, Vinh H, Cuong BM, Waller DJ et al. 2002. Malaria in injection drug abusers in Vietnam. Clin Infect Dis, 34 (10), pp. 1317-1322. | Show Abstract | Read more

A prospective case-control study was conducted in a referral hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to compare the clinical and laboratory features and outcome of severe falciparum malaria in injection drug abusers (IDAs) with those of patients who had acquired malaria by mosquito bite. From 1991 to 1996, 70 IDAs were admitted to the hospital, of whom at least 32 had acquired malaria by needle sharing. Although IDAs were more likely than control patients with severe malaria to be malnourished and to have coincident hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and human immunodeficiency virus infections, the overall rates of mortality, complications, and recovery were similar in the 2 groups. The route of malaria acquisition did not affect the outcome of severe malaria. The management of severe malaria in IDAs is similar to that for other patients.

Bartley LM, Carabin H, Vinh Chau N, Ho V, Luxemburger C, Hien TT, Garnett GP, Farrar J. 2002. Assessment of the factors associated with flavivirus seroprevalence in a population in Southern Vietnam. Epidemiol Infect, 128 (2), pp. 213-220. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue and Japanese encephalitis flaviviruses cause severe disease and are hyperendemic in southern Vietnam. This study assesses associations between sociodemographic factors and flavivirus seroprevalence in this region. Sera were collected from 308 community and hospital-based subjects between April 1996 and August 1997 and tested with an indirect ELISA. The factors associated with seroprevalence were assessed using multivariate logistic regression. In this first report of adjusted prevalence odds ratios (POR) for flavivirus infection in Vietnam, seropositivity was associated with increasing age in children (multiple regression coefficients for a child compared to an adult = -4.975 and for age in children = 0.354) and residence in the city compared to surrounding rural districts. The association with age indicates that subjects were most likely to have acquired infection in early childhood. This is key to the design of Vietnamese health education and immunization programmes.

Medana IM, Hien TT, Day NP, Phu NH, Mai NTH, Chu'ong LV, Chau TTH, Taylor A, Salahifar H, Stocker R et al. 2002. The clinical significance of cerebrospinal fluid levels of kynurenine pathway metabolites and lactate in severe malaria. J Infect Dis, 185 (5), pp. 650-656. | Show Abstract | Read more

A retrospective study of 261 Vietnamese adults with severe malaria was conducted to determine the relationship between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of metabolites of the kynurenine pathway, the incidence of neurologic complications, and the disease outcome. Three metabolites were measured: the excitotoxin quinolinic acid (QA); the protective receptor antagonist kynurenic acid (KA); and the proinflammatory mediator picolinic acid (PA). These measurements were related prospectively to CSF lactate levels. QA and PA levels were elevated, compared with those of controls. There was no difference in the levels of KA between these groups. Although >40% of malaria patients had QA CSF concentrations in the micromolar range, there was no association with convulsions or depth of coma. Levels of QA and PA were associated significantly with death, but a multivariate analysis suggested that these elevations were a consequence of impaired renal function. CSF lactate remained an independent and significant predictor of poor outcome.

Barcus MJ, Hien TT, White NJ, Laras K, Farrar J, Schwartz IK, Corwin A, Baird JK. 2002. Short report: hepatitis b infection and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Vietnamese adults. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 66 (2), pp. 140-142. | Show Abstract | Read more

We investigated the prevalence of infection with hepatitis B virus among adult Vietnamese patients hospitalized for severe Plasmodiumfalciparum malaria. Sera from patients admitted with severe malaria in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, between May 1991 and January 1996 were assayed for hepatitis B surface antigen (HB(s)Ag) by a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. The overall prevalence of HB(s)Ag was 23.77% (77 of 324). This was higher than reported estimates of prevalence in the general catchment population for the study hospital (mean, 9.8%; range, 9-16%). No association was found between risk of death caused by severe malaria and HB(s)Ag. Patients admitted with cerebral malaria had a slightly greater risk of registering positive for HB(s)Ag (relative risk, 1.28; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-1.58) relative to other manifestations of severe malaria. Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus may be a risk factor for severe malaria.

Medana IM, Day NP, Hien TT, Mai NTH, Bethell D, Phu NH, Farrar J, Esiri MM, White NJ, Turner GD. 2002. Axonal injury in cerebral malaria. Am J Pathol, 160 (2), pp. 655-666. | Show Abstract | Read more

Impairment of consciousness and other signs of cerebral dysfunction are common complications of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Although the majority of patients make a complete recovery a significant minority, particularly children, have sequelae. The pathological process by which P. falciparum malaria induces severe but usually reversible neurological complications has not been elucidated. Impairment of transport within nerve fibers could induce neurological dysfunction and may have the potential either to resolve or to progress to irreversible damage. Beta-amyloid precursor protein (beta-APP) immunocytochemistry, quantified using digital image analysis, was used to detect defects in axonal transport in brain sections from 54 Vietnamese cases with P. falciparum malaria. The frequency and extent of beta-APP staining were more severe in patients with cerebral malaria than in those with no clinical cerebral involvement. Beta-APP staining was often associated with hemorrhages and areas of demyelination, suggesting that multiple processes may be involved in neuronal injury. The age of focal axonal damage, as determined by the extent of the associated microglial response, varied considerably within tissue sections from individual patients. These findings suggest that axons are vulnerable to a broad range of cerebral insults that occur during P. falciparum malaria infection. Disruption in axonal transport may represent a final common pathway leading to neurological dysfunction in cerebral malaria.

Medana IM, Mai NT, Day NP, Hien TT, Bethell D, Phu NH, Farrar J, White NJ, Turner GD. 2001. Cellular stress and injury responses in the brains of adult Vietnamese patients with fatal Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 27 (6), pp. 421-433. | Show Abstract | Read more

Immunohistochemical techniques have been used to investigate specific patterns of potentially reversible cellular injury, DNA damage, and apoptosis in the brainstems of Vietnamese patients who died of severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria. The degree and pattern of neuronal and glial stress responses were compared between patients with cerebral and non-cerebral malaria (CM), and appropriate non-malaria infected controls. The following markers were examined: (i) heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), for reversible injury; (ii) heme oxygenase-1, for oxidative stress; (iii & iv) two DNA-repair proteins, poly(ADP) ribose polymerase (PARP) and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit; (v) poly(ADP) ribose, an end-product of PARP activity; and (vi) caspase-3-active, for apoptosis. Stress responses were found in a range of cell types as reflected by the widespread expression of HSP70. Oxidative stress predominated in the vicinity of vessels and haemorrhages. Some degree of DNA damage was found in the majority of malaria patients, but the distribution and frequency of the damage was much less than that observed in controls with irreversible neuronal injury. Similarly, caspase-3-active expression, as a measure of apoptosis, was no higher in the majority of malaria patients than the negative control cases, although 40% of CM cases expressed caspase-3-active in a small number of neurones of the pontine nuclei or within swollen axons of the pontocerebellar and corticospinal tracts. In conclusion, cells within the brainstem of all patients who died from severe malaria showed staining patterns indicative of considerable stress response and reversible neuronal injury. There was no evidence for a specific pattern of widespread irreversible cell damage in those patients with cerebral malaria.

Artemether-Quinine Meta-analysis Study Group. 2001. A meta-analysis using individual patient data of trials comparing artemether with quinine in the treatment of severe falciparum malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 95 (6), pp. 637-650. | Show Abstract | Read more

We conducted a meta-analysis using individual patient data from randomized controlled trials comparing artemether and quinine in severe falciparum malaria. Eleven trials were identified, of which 8 were clearly randomized. Original individual patient data on 1919 patients were obtained from 7 trials, representing 85% of the patients in the original 11 studies. Overall there were 136 deaths among the 961 patients treated with artemether, compared with 164 in the 958 treated with quinine [14% vs 17%, odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 0.8 (0.62 to 1.02), P = 0.08]. There were no differences between the 2 treatment groups in coma recovery or fever clearance times, or the development of neurological sequelae. However, the combined 'adverse outcome' of either death or neurological sequelae was significantly less common in the artemether group [odds ratio (95% CI) 0.77 (0.62 to 0.96), P = 0.02], and treatment with artemether was associated with significantly faster parasite clearance [hazard ratio (95% CI) 0.62 (0.56 to 0.69), P < 0.001]. In subgroup analyses artemether was associated with a significantly lower mortality than quinine in adults with multisystem failure. In the treatment of severe falciparum malaria artemether is at least as effective as quinine in terms of mortality and superior to quinine in terms of overall serious adverse events. There was no evidence of clinical neurotoxicity or any other major side-effects associated with its use.

Parkhill J, Dougan G, James KD, Thomson NR, Pickard D, Wain J, Churcher C, Mungall KL, Bentley SD, Holden MT et al. 2001. Complete genome sequence of a multiple drug resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi CT18. Nature, 413 (6858), pp. 848-852. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi) is the aetiological agent of typhoid fever, a serious invasive bacterial disease of humans with an annual global burden of approximately 16 million cases, leading to 600,000 fatalities. Many S. enterica serovars actively invade the mucosal surface of the intestine but are normally contained in healthy individuals by the local immune defence mechanisms. However, S. typhi has evolved the ability to spread to the deeper tissues of humans, including liver, spleen and bone marrow. Here we have sequenced the 4,809,037-base pair (bp) genome of a S. typhi (CT18) that is resistant to multiple drugs, revealing the presence of hundreds of insertions and deletions compared with the Escherichia coli genome, ranging in size from single genes to large islands. Notably, the genome sequence identifies over two hundred pseudogenes, several corresponding to genes that are known to contribute to virulence in Salmonella typhimurium. This genetic degradation may contribute to the human-restricted host range for S. typhi. CT18 harbours a 218,150-bp multiple-drug-resistance incH1 plasmid (pHCM1), and a 106,516-bp cryptic plasmid (pHCM2), which shows recent common ancestry with a virulence plasmid of Yersinia pestis.

Dunstan SJ, Ho VA, Duc CM, Lanh MN, Phuong CX, Luxemburger C, Wain J, Dudbridge F, Peacock CS, House D et al. 2001. Typhoid fever and genetic polymorphisms at the natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1. J Infect Dis, 183 (7), pp. 1156-1160. | Show Abstract | Read more

Control of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) infection in the mouse model of typhoid fever is critically dependent on the natural resistance-associated macrophage protein 1 (Nramp1). In this study, we examined the role of genetic polymorphisms in the human homologue, NRAMP1, in resistance to typhoid fever in southern Vietnam. Patients with blood-culture-confirmed typhoid fever and healthy control subjects were genotyped for 6 polymorphic markers within and near NRAMP1 on chromosome 2q35. Four single base-pair polymorphisms (274 C/T, 469+14 G/C, 1465-85 G/A, and D543N), a (GT)(n) repeat in the promoter region of NRAMP1 and D2S1471, and a microsatellite marker approximately 130-kb downstream of NRAMP1 were examined. The allelic and genotypic frequencies for each polymorphism were compared in case patients and control subjects. No allelic association was identified between the NRAMP1 alleles and typhoid fever susceptibility. In addition, neither homozygotes nor heterozygotes for any NRAMP1 variants were at increased risk of typhoid fever.

Wain J, Pham VB, Ha V, Nguyen NM, To SD, Walsh AL, Parry CM, Hasserjian RP, HoHo VA, Tran TH et al. 2001. Quantitation of bacteria in bone marrow from patients with typhoid fever: relationship between counts and clinical features. J Clin Microbiol, 39 (4), pp. 1571-1576. | Show Abstract | Read more

Enteric fever is the only bacterial infection of humans for which bone marrow examination is routinely recommended. A prospective study of the concentrations of bacteria in the bone marrow and their relationship to clinical features was conducted with 120 Vietnamese patients with suspected enteric fever, of whom 89 had confirmed typhoid fever. Ninety-three percent of the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi samples isolated were resistant to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and co-trimoxazole. For 81 patients with uncomplicated typhoid and satisfactory bone marrow aspirates, the number of serovar Typhi CFU in bone marrow aspirates was a median value of 9 (interquartile range [IQR], 1 to 85; range, 0.1 to 1,580) compared to 0.3 (IQR, 0.1 to 10; range, 0.1 to 399) CFU/ml in simultaneously sampled blood. The ratio of individual blood counts to bone marrow counts was 10 (IQR, 2.3 to 97.5). The number of bacteria in blood but not bone marrow was correlated inversely with the duration of preceding fever. Thus, with increasing duration of illness the ratio of bone marrow-to-blood bacterial concentrations increased; the median ratio was 4.8 (IQR, 1 to 27.5) during the first week compared with 158 (IQR, 60 to 397) during the third week. After lysing the host cells, the median ratio of viable bone marrow to blood increased, reflecting the higher concentration of intracellular serovar Typhi in the bone marrow. Effective antibiotic pretreatment had a significantly greater effect in reducing blood counts compared to bone marrow counts (P < 0.001). Thus, bacteria in the bone marrow of typhoid patients are less affected by antibiotic treatment than bacteria in the blood. The numbers of bacteria in bone marrow correlated negatively with the white blood cell (R = -0.3, P = 0.006) and platelet counts (R = -0.32, P = 0.01) and positively with fever clearance time after treatment (R = 0.4, P < 0.001). The bacterial load in bone marrow therefore may reflect the clinical course of the infection, and high levels may suppress neutrophil proliferation.

Prentice MB, James KD, Parkhill J, Baker SG, Stevens K, Simmonds MN, Mungall KL, Churcher C, Oyston PC, Titball RW et al. 2001. Yersinia pestis pFra shows biovar-specific differences and recent common ancestry with a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi plasmid. J Bacteriol, 183 (8), pp. 2586-2594. | Show Abstract | Read more

Population genetic studies suggest that Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague, is a clonal pathogen that has recently emerged from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis. Plasmid acquisition is likely to have been a key element in this evolutionary leap from an enteric to a flea-transmitted systemic pathogen. However, the origin of Y. pestis-specific plasmids remains obscure. We demonstrate specific plasmid rearrangements in different Y. pestis strains which distinguish Y. pestis bv. Orientalis strains from other biovars. We also present evidence for plasmid-associated DNA exchange between Y. pestis and the exclusively human pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi.

Price NM, Farrar J, Tran TT, Nguyen TH, Tran TH, Friedland JS. 2001. Identification of a matrix-degrading phenotype in human tuberculosis in vitro and in vivo. J Immunol, 166 (6), pp. 4223-4230. | Show Abstract | Read more

Tuberculous meningitis is characterized by cerebral tissue destruction. Monocytes, pivotal in immune responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, secrete matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), which facilitates leukocyte migration across the blood-brain barrier, but may cause cerebral injury. In vitro, human monocytic (THP-1) cells infected by live, virulent M. tuberculosis secreted MMP-9 in a dose-dependent manner. At 24 h, MMP-9 concentrations increased 10-fold to 239 +/- 75 ng/ml (p = 0.001 vs controls). MMP-9 mRNA became detectable at 24--48 h. In contrast, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) gene expression and secretion were similar to constitutive levels from controls at 24 h and increased just 5-fold by 48 h. In vivo investigation revealed MMP-9 concentration per leukocyte in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from tuberculous meningitis patients (n = 23; median (range), 3.19 (0.19--31.00) ng/ml/cell) to be higher than that in bacterial (n = 12; 0.23 (0.01--18.37) ng/ml/cell) or viral meningitis (n = 20; 0.20 (0.04--31.00) ng/ml/cell; p < 0.01). TIMP-1, which was constitutively secreted into CSF, was not elevated in tuberculous compared with bacterial meningitis or controls. Thus, a phenotype in which MMP-9 activity is relatively unrestricted by TIMP-1 developed both in vitro and in vivo. This is functionally significant, since MMP-9 concentrations per CSF leukocyte (but not TIMP-1 concentrations) were elevated in fatal tuberculous meningitis and in patients with signs of cerebral tissue damage (unconsciousness, confusion, or neurological deficit; p < 0.05). However, MMP-9 activity was unrelated to the severity of systemic illness. In summary, M. tuberculosis-infected monocytic cells develop a matrix-degrading phenotype, which was observed in vivo and relates to clinical signs reflecting cerebral injury in tuberculous meningitis.

House D, Wain J, Ho VA, Diep TS, Chinh NT, Bay PV, Vinh H, Duc M, Parry CM, Dougan G et al. 2001. Serology of typhoid fever in an area of endemicity and its relevance to diagnosis. J Clin Microbiol, 39 (3), pp. 1002-1007. | Show Abstract | Read more

Currently, the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever is dependent upon either the isolation of Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serotype Typhi from a clinical sample or the detection of raised titers of agglutinating serum antibodies against the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (O) or flagellum (H) antigens of serotype Typhi (the Widal test). In this study, the serum antibody responses to the LPS and flagellum antigens of serotype Typhi were investigated with individuals from a region of Vietnam in which typhoid is endemic, and their usefulness for the diagnosis of typhoid fever was evaluated. The antibody responses to both antigens were highly variable among individuals infected with serotype Typhi, and elevated antibody titers were also detected in a high proportion of serum samples from healthy subjects from the community. In-house enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for the detection of specific classes of anti-LPS and antiflagellum antibodies were compared with other serologically based tests for the diagnosis of typhoid fever (Widal TO and TH, anti-serotype Typhi immunoglobulin M [IgM] dipstick, and IDeaL TUBEX). At a specificity of > or =0.93, the sensitivities of the different tests were 0.75, 0.55, and 0.52 for the anti-LPS IgM, IgG, and IgA ELISAs, respectively; 0.28 for the antiflagellum IgG ELISA; 0.47 and 0.32 for the Widal TO and TH tests, respectively; and 0.77 for the anti-serotype Typhi IgM dipstick assay. The specificity of the IDeaL TUBEX was below 0.90 (sensitivity, 0.87; specificity, 0.76). The serological assays based on the detection of IgM antibodies against either serotype Typhi LPS (ELISA) or whole bacteria (dipstick) had a significantly higher sensitivity than the Widal TO test when used with a single acute-phase serum sample (P < or = 0.007). These tests could be of use for the diagnosis of typhoid fever in patients who have clinical typhoid fever but are culture negative or in regions where bacterial culturing facilities are not available.

Dunstan SJ, Stephens HA, Blackwell JM, Duc CM, Lanh MN, Dudbridge F, Phuong CX, Luxemburger C, Wain J, Ho VA et al. 2001. Genes of the class II and class III major histocompatibility complex are associated with typhoid fever in Vietnam. J Infect Dis, 183 (2), pp. 261-268. | Show Abstract | Read more

The influence of genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II and class III loci on typhoid fever susceptibility was investigated. Individuals with blood culture-confirmed typhoid fever and control subjects from 2 distinct geographic locations in southern Vietnam were genotyped for HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQB1 alleles, the gene that encodes tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (TNFA [-238] and TNFA [-308]), the gene that encodes lymphotoxin-alpha, and alleles of the TNF-alpha microsatellite. HLA-DRB1*0301/6/8, HLA-DQB1*0201-3, and TNFA*2 (-308) were associated with susceptibility to typhoid fever, whereas HLA-DRB1*04, HLA-DQB1*0401/2, and TNFA*1 (-308) were associated with disease resistance. The frequency of all possible haplotypes of the 3 individually associated loci were estimated and were found to be significantly different in typhoid case patients and control subjects (chi2=55.56, 32 df; P=.006). Haplotypes that were either protective (TNFA*1 [-308].DRB1*04) or predisposed individuals to typhoid fever (TNFA*2 [-308].DRB1*0301) were determined. This report identifies a genetic association in humans between typhoid fever and MHC class II and III genes.

Bethell DB, Gamble J, Pham PL, Nguyen MD, Tran TH, Ha TH, Tran TN, Dong TH, Gartside IB, White NJ, Day NP. 2001. Noninvasive measurement of microvascular leakage in patients with dengue hemorrhagic fever. Clin Infect Dis, 32 (2), pp. 243-253. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue shock syndrome (DSS) is a potentially lethal complication of dengue virus infection associated with hypotension and leakage of plasma water into the extravascular space. To determine whether the underlying pathophysiology of DSS is distinct from that in milder forms of the disease, we assessed microvascular permeability, by use of strain gauge plethysmography, in Vietnamese children with DSS (n=19), or dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) without shock (n=16), and in healthy control children (n=15). At admission and after fluid resuscitation, the mean coefficient of microvascular permeability (K(f)) for the patients with dengue was approximately 50% higher than that for the control patients (P=.02). There was no significant difference in K(f) between the 2 groups of patients with dengue; this suggests the same underlying pathophysiology. We hypothesize that in patients with DSS, the fluctuations in K(f) are larger than those in patients with DHF, which leads to short-lived peaks of markedly increased microvascular permeability and consequent hemodynamic shock.

Luxemburger C, Chau MC, Mai NL, Wain J, Tran TH, Simpson JA, Le HK, Nguyen TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2001. Risk factors for typhoid fever in the Mekong delta, southern Viet Nam: a case-control study. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 95 (1), pp. 19-23. | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to identify risk factors for typhoid fever in a highly endemic area, we undertook a case-control study in the Mekong delta, Viet Nam. Cases were 144 consecutive patients admitted to hospital with blood culture-confirmed typhoid fever. Two controls (1 in the hospital and 1 in the community) were chosen for each case. Standardized interviews were conducted with questions regarding recent contact with a typhoid fever patient, eating habits, hygiene and socio-economic level. Cases were more likely to have been in contact with a patient with typhoid fever than hospital controls (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 5.2, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.7-15.9) or community controls (adjusted OR = 11.9, 95% CI 2.3-60.7); 11% and 14% of typhoid fever cases (compared to hospital or community controls, respectively) were attributable to recent contact with a patient with this disease. These findings suggest that strategies directed towards the persons in contact with a patient might reduce the incidence of secondary cases of typhoid fever.

Newton CR, Hien TT, White N. 2000. Cerebral malaria. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 69 (4), pp. 433-441. | Show Abstract | Read more

Cerebral malaria may be the most common non-traumatic encephalopathy in the world. The pathogenesis is heterogeneous and the neurological complications are often part of a multisystem dysfunction. The clinical presentation and pathophysiology differs between adults and children. Recent studies have elucidated the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis and raised possible interventions. Antimalarial drugs, however, remain the only intervention that unequivocally affects outcome, although increasing resistance to the established antimalarial drugs is of grave concern. Artemisinin derivatives have made an impact on treatment, but other drugs may be required. With appropriate antimalarial drugs, the prognosis of cerebral malaria often depends on the management of other complications-for example, renal failure and acidosis. Neurological sequelae are increasingly recognised, but further research on the pathogenesis of coma and neurological damage is required to develop other ancillary treatments.

Brown HC, Chau TT, Mai NT, Day NP, Sinh DX, White NJ, Hien TT, Farrar J, Turner GD. 2000. Blood-brain barrier function in cerebral malaria and CNS infections in Vietnam. Neurology, 55 (1), pp. 104-111. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The intraerythrocytic parasite Plasmodium falciparum induces the life-threatening neurologic syndrome of cerebral malaria (CM) from within cerebral blood vessels, without entering the brain parenchyma. OBJECTIVES: 1) To assess the use of CSF as an indicator of specific pathologic processes occurring in the brain during CM; 2) to compare this with other neurologic and infectious diseases to understand the distinct pathogenic features of CM; 3) to test the hypothesis that CM involves a specific functional breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). METHODS: 1) Radial immunodiffusion assays to detect albumin and IgG in matched plasma and CSF samples as indicators of BBB integrity and intrathecal IgG production; and 2) ELISA for soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and sE-selectin, the cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha and transforming growth factor-beta1, and the matrix metalloproteinase MMP-9, to detect cellular activation and inflammatory responses within the brain. RESULTS: Albumin and IgG indices implied only minimal degree of BBB breakdown in a few cases of CM, with most remaining within the normal range. In contrast, cryptococcal, tubercular, and acute bacterial meningitis produced detectable changes in the composition of the CSF and evidence of BBB breakdown. CONCLUSIONS: CM appears to involve only subtle functional changes in BBB integrity with minimal intraparenchymal inflammatory responses compared with other neurologic infections. This focuses attention on local events within and around the cerebral microvasculature in CM, rather than indicating widespread parenchymal disease.

Kissinger E, Hien TT, Hung NT, Nam ND, Tuyen NL, Dinh BV, Mann C, Phu NH, Loc PP, Simpson JA et al. 2000. Clinical and neurophysiological study of the effects of multiple doses of artemisinin on brain-stem function in Vietnamese patients. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 63 (1-2), pp. 48-55. | Show Abstract | Read more

The qinghaosu (artemisinin) group of drugs is the most important new class of antimalarials developed in the last fifty years. Although there has been no clinical evidence of neurotoxicity, an unusual pattern of damage to specific brain-stem nuclei has been reported in experimental animals receiving high doses of arteether or artemether. Detailed clinical examinations, audiometry, and brain stem auditory evoked potentials (BSAEPs) were assessed in 242 Vietnamese subjects who had previously received up to 21 antimalarial treatment courses of artemisinin or artesunate alone and 108 controls from the same location who had not received these drugs. There was no evidence of a drug effect on the clinical or neurophysiological parameters assessed. In this population there was no clinical or neurophysiological evidence of brain-stem toxicity that could be attributed to exposure to artemisinin or artesunate.

Day NP, Phu NH, Mai NT, Chau TT, Loc PP, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Holloway P, Hien TT, White NJ. 2000. The pathophysiologic and prognostic significance of acidosis in severe adult malaria. Crit Care Med, 28 (6), pp. 1833-1840. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the pathophysiology and prognostic significance of acidosis in severe adult malaria. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in southern Vietnam. PATIENTS: Three hundred forty-six consecutive adult patients with severe falciparum malaria. INTERVENTIONS: Measurements of baseline venous lactate and pyruvate concentrations and an extensive range of clinical and laboratory variables were made, and patients were followed up carefully until death or discharge from the hospital. Admission arterial blood pH and gas tensions were recorded in 296 patients, and hepatic venous sampling was done in 12 patients. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Overall, 198 (67%) patients were acidotic (standard base deficit [SBD], >3.3 mmol/L [n = 196], or arterial Pco2, >45 torr [6 kPa] [n = 3]). Hyperlactatemia (plasma lactate, >4 mmol/L) occurred in 120 (35%) of the 346 patients and was associated significantly with acidosis (p < .0001). The hepatosplanchnic lactate extraction ratio was negatively correlated with mixed venous plasma lactate (r2 = .50; p = .006). Hyperlactatemia, metabolic acidosis (SBD, >3.3), and acidemia (pH <7.35) were strongly positively associated with a fatal outcome (relative risks [95% confidence interval], 4.3 [range, 1.8-10.6], 5.0 [range, 3.0-8.1], and 2.7 [range, 1.8-4.1], respectively). The SBD was the single best clinical or laboratory predictor of fatal outcome. The overall median lactate/pyruvate ratio was raised at 30.6 (range, 20.6-62.3; normal range, <15), suggesting hypoxia and anaerobic glycolysis, and was significantly higher in fatal cases (p < .0001). In an additive multivariate model, the two main independent contributors to metabolic acidosis were plasma creatinine, as a measure of renal dysfunction, and venous plasma lactate, together accounting for 63% of the variance in SBD. In univariate analyses, they contributed 29% and 38%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the importance of acidosis in the pathophysiology of severe adult malaria and suggest a multifactorial origin involving tissue hypoxia, liver dysfunction, and impaired renal handling of bicarbonate.

Day NP, Phu NH, Mai NT, Bethell DB, Chau TT, Loc PP, Chuong LV, Sinh DX, Solomon T, Haywood G et al. 2000. Effects of dopamine and epinephrine infusions on renal hemodynamics in severe malaria and severe sepsis. Crit Care Med, 28 (5), pp. 1353-1362. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare the effects of dopamine and epinephrine in various doses on renal hemodynamics and oxygen transport in patients with severe malaria and severe sepsis. DESIGN: Prospective, controlled, crossover trial. SETTING: The intensive care unit of an infectious diseases hospital in Viet Nam. PATIENTS: Fourteen patients with severe falciparum malaria and five with severe sepsis. INTERVENTIONS: In an open, crossover design, we observed the effects on renal and systemic hemodynamics and oxygen transport of separate stepped infusions of epinephrine and dopamine. We measured renal blood flow (RBF) and cardiac output by the thermodilution method using fluoroscopically guided catheters. Creatinine clearance at each time point was calculated from the renal plasma flow and the renal arteriovenous difference in plasma creatinine. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Dopamine at a "renal" dose (2.5 microg/kg/min) was associated with a mean (95% confidence interval) fractional increase in the absolute renal blood flow index (RBFI) of 37% (13% to 61%) and in RBF as a fraction of cardiac output (RBF/CO) of 35% (10% to 59%; p = .007 and p = .014, respectively). The consequent 39% (14% to 64%) increase in renal oxygen supply (p = .002) was accompanied by a 32% (20% to 44%) decrease in the renal oxygen extraction ratio (p = .0003), leading to no net change in renal oxygen consumption. At higher doses (10 microg/kg/min), both RBF and RBF/CO were not significantly different from baseline values and decreased further as the dose was reduced again. There was no obvious explanation for this hysteresis. There was no change in renal oxygen consumption throughout the study. Because lactic acidosis developed, epinephrine was only given to eight of the 19 patients, and the full stepped epinephrine infusion was given to four patients. Epinephrine infusion was associated, both in absolute terms and when compared with dopamine, with a significant increase in renal vascular resistance (p = .0008 and .0005, respectively), a decrease in RBF/CO (p = .002 and .03), and a compensatory increase in the renal oxygen extraction ratio (p = .005 and .0001). RBFI and renal oxygen consumption remained constant throughout the epinephrine infusion profile. Neither epinephrine nor dopamine significantly affected creatinine clearance or urine output. Twelve patients (63%) were in established renal failure (plasma creatinine, >3 mg/dL) at the time of the study, although the presence or absence of renal failure did not significantly influence the effects of the study drugs. However, overall, the presence of renal failure was associated with a lower mean renal oxygen consumption, a lower mean renal oxygen consumption as a fraction of systemic oxygen consumption, and a higher mean renal vascular resistance. CONCLUSION: Although dopamine increased and epinephrine decreased fractional renal blood flow, there was no evidence that either drug produced either a beneficial or a deleterious effect on renal oxygen metabolism or function at any of the doses investigated.

Parry CM, Diep TS, Wain J, Hoa NT, Gainsborough M, Nga D, Davies C, Phu NH, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 2000. Nasal carriage in Vietnamese children of Streptococcus pneumoniae resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 44 (3), pp. 484-488. | Show Abstract | Read more

Resistance to antimicrobial agents in Streptococcus pneumoniae is increasing rapidly in many Asian countries. There is little recent information concerning resistance levels in Vietnam. A prospective study of pneumococcal carriage in 911 urban and rural Vietnamese children, of whom 44% were nasal carriers, was performed. Carriage was more common in children <5 years old than in those >/=5 years old (192 of 389 [49.4%] versus 212 of 522 [40.6%]; P, 0.01). A total of 136 of 399 isolates (34%) had intermediate susceptibility to penicillin (MIC, 0.1 to 1 mg/liter), and 76 of 399 isolates (19%) showed resistance (MIC, >1.0 mg/liter). A total of 54 of 399 isolates (13%) had intermediate susceptibility to ceftriaxone, and 3 of 399 isolates (1%) were resistant. Penicillin resistance was 21.7 (95% confidence interval, 7.0 to 67.6) times more common in urban than in rural children (35 versus 2%; P, <0.001). More than 40% of isolates from urban children were also resistant to erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. Penicillin resistance was independently associated with an urban location when the age of the child was controlled for. Multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more antimicrobial agent groups) was present in 32% of isolates overall but in 39% of isolates with intermediate susceptibility to penicillin and 86% of isolates with penicillin resistance. The predominant serotypes of the S. pneumoniae isolates were 19, 23, 14, 6, and 18. Almost half of the penicillin-resistant isolates serotyped were serotype 23, and these isolates were often multidrug resistant. This study suggests that resistance to penicillin and other antimicrobial agents is common in carriage isolates of S. pneumoniae from children in Vietnam.

Connerton P, Wain J, Hien TT, Ali T, Parry C, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Ho VA, Diep TS, Day NP et al. 2000. Epidemic typhoid in vietnam: molecular typing of multiple-antibiotic-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype typhi from four outbreaks. J Clin Microbiol, 38 (2), pp. 895-897. | Show Abstract

Multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serotype Typhi isolates from four outbreaks of typhoid fever in southern Vietnam between 1993 and 1997 were compared. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, bacteriophage and plasmid typing, and antibiotic susceptibilities showed that independent outbreaks of multidrug-resistant typhoid fever in southern Vietnam are caused by single bacterial strains. However, different outbreaks do not derive from the clonal expansion of a single multidrug-resistant serotype Typhi strain.

Derakhshan I. 2000. "Can't you use another vaccine"? Postrabies vaccination encephalitis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 68 (6), pp. 798. | Read more

Beales PF, Brabin B, Dorman E, Gilles HM, Loutain L, Marsh K, Molyneux ME, Olliaro P, Schapira A, Touze JE et al. 2000. Severe falciparum malaria. World Health Organization, Communicable Diseases Cluster. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 94 Suppl 1 (SUPPL.1), pp. S1-90.

Parry CM, Wuthiekanun V, Hoa NT, Diep TS, Thao LT, Loc PV, Wills BA, Wain J, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 1999. Melioidosis in Southern Vietnam: clinical surveillance and environmental sampling. Clin Infect Dis, 29 (5), pp. 1323-1326. | Show Abstract | Read more

From 1992-1998, Burkholderia pseudomallei was isolated from only 9 (0.25%) of 3653 cultures of blood from febrile patients admitted to the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, an infectious disease referral center for southern Vietnam. Soil was sampled from 407 sites in 147 rice fields along the 5 major roads radiating from Ho Chi Minh City. B. pseudomallei was isolated from 73 sites (18%) in 39 rice fields (27%), but only 15 (21%) of the 71 isolates from 9 (6%) of 147 fields were the virulent l-arabinose (ara)-negative biotype. All except 1 of the fields with the ara-negative biotype were close to the homes of the patients with melioidosis. The low incidence of melioidosis in the provinces around Ho Chi Minh City may be explained by the restricted distribution of ara-negative B. pseudomallei in the soil in this area.

Chau NV, Hien TT, Sellar R, Kneen R, Farrar JJ. 1999. "Can't you use another vaccine?" Postrabies vaccination encephalitis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 67 (4), pp. 555-556. | Read more

Solomon T, Hien TT. 1999. Clinical research in the tropics: some thoughts for the beginner. Ann Trop Med Parasitol, 93 (7), pp. 773-776. | Read more

Day NP, Hien TT, Schollaardt T, Loc PP, Chuong LV, Chau TT, Mai NT, Phu NH, Sinh DX, White NJ, Ho M. 1999. The prognostic and pathophysiologic role of pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines in severe malaria. J Infect Dis, 180 (4), pp. 1288-1297. | Show Abstract | Read more

Pro- and antiinflammatory cytokines were measured on admission in 287 consecutive Vietnamese adults with severe falciparum malaria. Plasma interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha concentrations and the IL-6: IL-10 ratio were significantly higher in patients who died than in survivors (P<.001). On multivariate analysis, hyperparasitemia, jaundice, and shock were all associated independently with raised IL-6, IL-10, and interferon-gamma, and acute renal failure specifically with raised TNF-alpha levels. Cerebral malaria patients, particularly those without other vital organ dysfunction, had significantly lower levels of these cytokines (P=.006), reflecting a more localized pathology. Serial IL-6 and IL-10 measurements made on 43 patients who died and matched survivors indicated a relative deficiency in IL-10 production as death approached. Elevated plasma cytokines in severe malaria are associated with systemic pathologic abnormalities, not cerebral involvement. Both the overall magnitude of the cytokine responses and the eventual imbalance between the pro- and antiinflammatory responses are important determinants of mortality.

Dung NM, Day NP, Tam DT, Loan HT, Chau HT, Minh LN, Diet TV, Bethell DB, Kneen R, Hien TT et al. 1999. Fluid replacement in dengue shock syndrome: a randomized, double-blind comparison of four intravenous-fluid regimens. Clin Infect Dis, 29 (4), pp. 787-794. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome (DSS) are major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in many tropical countries. Increased intravascular permeability leading to shock is the cardinal feature of DSS. Fluid resuscitation to counteract massive plasma leakage is the mainstay of treatment. A double-blind, randomized trial comparing four intravenous-fluid regimens for acute resuscitation of 50 children with DSS was conducted. Colloids (dextran 70 or the protein digest gelafundin 35,000) restored cardiac index and blood pressure and normalized hematocrit more rapidly than crystalloids (Ringer's lactate or 0.9%-weight/volume saline). Dextran 70 provided the most rapid normalization of the hematocrit and restoration of the cardiac index, without adverse effects, and may be the preferred solution for acute resuscitation in DSS. Further large-scale double-blind trials are required to provide an evidence-based approach to the management of DSS.

Parry CM, Hoa NT, Diep TS, Wain J, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Hien TT, White NJ, Farrar JJ. 1999. Value of a single-tube widal test in diagnosis of typhoid fever in Vietnam. J Clin Microbiol, 37 (9), pp. 2882-2886. | Show Abstract

The diagnostic value of an acute-phase single-tube Widal test for suspected typhoid fever was evaluated with 2,000 Vietnamese patients admitted to an infectious disease referral hospital between 1993 and 1998. Test patients had suspected typhoid fever and a blood culture positive for Salmonella typhi (n= 1,400) or Salmonella paratyphi A (n = 45). Control patients had a febrile illness for which another cause was confirmed (malaria [n = 103], dengue [n = 76], or bacteremia due to another microorganism [n = 156] or tetanus (n = 265). An O-agglutinin titer of >/=100 was found in 18% of the febrile controls and 7% of the tetanus patients. Corresponding values for H agglutinins were 8 and 1%, respectively. The O-agglutinin titer was >/=100 in 83% of the blood culture-positive typhoid fever cases, and the H-agglutinin titer was >/=100 in 67%. The disease prevalence in investigated patients in this hospital was 30.8% (95% confidence interval, 26.8 to 35.1%); at this prevalence, an elevated level of H agglutinins gave better positive predictive values for typhoid fever than did O agglutinins. With a cutoff titer of >/=200 for O agglutinin or >/=100 for H agglutinin, the Widal test would diagnose correctly 74% of the blood culture-positive cases of typhoid fever. However, 14% of the positive results would be false-positive, and 10% of the negative results would be false-negative. The Widal test can be helpful in the laboratory diagnosis of typhoid fever in Vietnam if interpreted with care.

Brown H, Hien TT, Day N, Mai NT, Chuong LV, Chau TT, Loc PP, Phu NH, Bethell D, Farrar J et al. 1999. Evidence of blood-brain barrier dysfunction in human cerebral malaria. Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol, 25 (4), pp. 331-340. | Show Abstract | Read more

Patients infected with the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum may develop a diffuse reversible encephalopathy, termed cerebral malaria. It is unclear how the intraerythrocytic parasite, which sequesters in the cerebral microvasculature but does not enter the brain parenchyma, induces this neurological syndrome. Adhesion of parasitized red blood cells in the brain microvasculature is mediated by specific receptors on the host endothelium, including intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, CD36 and CD31. Leucocyte binding to cerebral endothelial cells in culture induces intracellular signalling via ICAM-1. The hypothesis that parasitized red blood cells binding to receptors on cerebral endothelial cells causes changes in the integrity of the blood-brain barrier was tested. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine the blood-brain barrier in human cerebral malaria, with antibodies to macrophage and endothelial activation markers, intercellular junction proteins, and plasma proteins. The distribution of the cell junction proteins occludin, vinculin and ZO-1 were altered in cerebral malaria cases compared to controls. While fibrinogen was the only plasma protein detected in the perivascular space, there was widespread perivascular macrophage activation, suggesting that these cells had been exposed to plasma proteins. It was concluded that functional changes to the blood-brain barrier occur in cerebral malaria, possibly as a result of the binding of parasitized red blood cells to cerebral endothelial cells. These changes require further examination in vitro.

Wain J, Hien TT, Connerton P, Ali T, Parry CM, Chinh NT, Vinh H, Phuong CX, Ho VA, Diep TS et al. 1999. Molecular typing of multiple-antibiotic-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi from Vietnam: application to acute and relapse cases of typhoid fever. J Clin Microbiol, 37 (8), pp. 2466-2472. | Show Abstract

The rate of multiple-antibiotic resistance is increasing among Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi strains in Southeast Asia. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and other typing methods were used to analyze drug-resistant and -susceptible organisms isolated from patients with typhoid fever in several districts in southern Vietnam. Multiple PFGE and phage typing patterns were detected, although individual patients were infected with strains of a single type. The PFGE patterns were stable when the S. enterica serovar Typhi strains were passaged many times in vitro on laboratory medium. Paired S. enterica serovar Typhi isolates recovered from the blood and bone marrow of individual patients exhibited similar PFGE patterns. Typing of S. enterica serovar Typhi isolates from patients with relapses of typhoid indicated that the majority of relapses were caused by the same S. enterica serovar Typhi strain that was isolated during the initial infection. However, some individuals were infected with distinct and presumably newly acquired S. enterica serovar Typhi isolates.

Silamut K, Phu NH, Whitty C, Turner GD, Louwrier K, Mai NT, Simpson JA, Hien TT, White NJ. 1999. A quantitative analysis of the microvascular sequestration of malaria parasites in the human brain. Am J Pathol, 155 (2), pp. 395-410. | Show Abstract | Read more

Microvascular sequestration was assessed in the brains of 50 Thai and Vietnamese patients who died from severe malaria (Plasmodium falciparum, 49; P. vivax, 1). Malaria parasites were sequestered in 46 cases; in 3 intravascular malaria pigment but no parasites were evident; and in the P. vivax case there was no sequestration. Cerebrovascular endothelial expression of the putative cytoadherence receptors ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin, and chondroitin sulfate and also HLA class II was increased. The median (range) ratio of cerebral to peripheral blood parasitemia was 40 (1.8 to 1500). Within the same brain different vessels had discrete but different populations of parasites, indicating that the adhesion characteristics of cerebrovascular endothelium change asynchronously during malaria and also that significant recirculation of parasitized erythrocytes following sequestration is unlikely. The median (range) ratio of schizonts to trophozoites (0.15:1; 0.0 to 11.7) was significantly lower than predicted from the parasite life cycle (P < 0.001). Antimalarial treatment arrests development at the trophozoite stages which remain sequestered in the brain. There were significantly more ring form parasites (age < 26 hours) in the cerebral microvasculature (median range: 19%; 0-90%) than expected from free mixing of these cells in the systemic circulation (median range ring parasitemia: 1.8%; 0-36.2%). All developmental stages of P. falciparum are sequestered in the brain in severe malaria.

White NJ, Nosten F, Looareesuwan S, Watkins WM, Marsh K, Snow RW, Kokwaro G, Ouma J, Hien TT, Molyneux ME et al. 1999. Averting a malaria disaster. Lancet, 353 (9168), pp. 1965-1967. | Read more

Hau CH, Hien TT, Tien NT, Khiem HB, Sac PK, Nhung VT, Larasati RP, Laras K, Putri MP, Doss R et al. 1999. Prevalence of enteric hepatitis A and E viruses in the Mekong River delta region of Vietnam. Am J Trop Med Hyg, 60 (2), pp. 277-280. | Show Abstract | Read more

A study of antibody prevalence for hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis E virus (HEV) was carried out in southwestern Vietnam in an area adjacent to a known focus of epidemic HEV transmission. The purpose of this investigation was first to provide a prevalence measure of hepatitis infections, and second to determine the outbreak potential of HEV as a function of the susceptible population. Blood specimens collected from 646 persons in randomly selected village hamlets were examined by an ELISA for anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG. The prevalences of anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG were 9% and 97%, respectively. There was a significant increase (P < 0.01) in age-specific anti-HEV IgG. A notable increase in anti-HAV IgG prevalence (P < 0.0001) occurred between child populations 0-4 (64%) and 5-9 (95%) years of age. No evidence of familial clustering of anti-HEV IgG-positive individuals was detected, and household crowding was not associated with the spread of HEV. Boiling of water was found to be of protective value against HEV transmission. A relatively low prevalence of anti-HEV indicates considerable HEV outbreak potential, against a background of 1) poor, water-related hygiene/sanitation, 2) dependence on a (likely human/animal waste)-contaminated Mekong riverine system, and 3) periodic river flooding.

Verdrager J. 1999. Averting a malaria disaster. Lancet, 354 (9187), pp. 1389-1390. | Read more

Van CT, Thuy NT, San NH, Hien TT, Baranton G, Perolat P. 1998. Human leptospirosis in the Mekong delta, Viet Nam. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 92 (6), pp. 625-628. | Show Abstract | Read more

To estimate the seroprevalence of human leptospirosis in the Mekong delta in Viet Nam, an epidemiological survey was conducted in the province of Tien Giang, which is representative of the socioeconomic activities of the region (rice growing and cattle breeding). A cross-sectional study included 35 clusters representing 1400 people randomly selected and aged 15-60 years. Sex, age, occupation, contact with animals, type of water supply, and individual habits were recorded. Leptospiral agglutinins were detected by the microagglutination test, with a battery of 22 live antigens representing the main pathogenic serogroups of Leptospira species and additional local strains. 263 sera (18.8%) gave positive results and 41 (2.9%) had a titre of agglutinins > or = 400, suggesting recent infection. No significant difference was found between females and males. The distribution of seroprevalence was homogeneous throughout the population studied, with the exception of the 15-25 years age group, in which leptospiral antibodies were less frequent. Fifteen serogroups were found, the most prevalent being Bataviae (21.7%), Panama (15.2%), Icterohaemorrhagiae (13.7%) and Australis (8.7%). No significant link between leptospiral seropositivity and professional activities or contacts with animals was found, indicating that leptospirosis in the Mekong delta may be considered as an environmentally linked disease. Leptospirosis is known to be endemic in south-east Asia, and these data demonstrated the high level of circulation of leptospires and the potential importance of leptospiral infections among the rural population in this area.

Kneen R, Pham NG, Solomon T, Tran TM, Nguyen TT, Tran BL, Wain J, Day NP, Tran TH, Parry CM, White NJ. 1998. Penicillin vs. erythromycin in the treatment of diphtheria. Clin Infect Dis, 27 (4), pp. 845-850. | Show Abstract | Read more

In an open-label, randomized trial, 44 Vietnamese children with diphtheria were given penicillin therapy (intramuscular benzylpenicillin, 50,000 U/[kg.d] for 5 days and then oral penicillin, 50 mg/[kg.d] for 5 days), and 42 were given erythromycin therapy (50 mg/[kg.d] orally for 10 days). There were no differences in times to membrane clearance or bacteriologic clearance, but median times to fever clearance were 27 hours (95% confidence interval [CI], 19-30; range, 0-124 hours) for penicillin recipients and 46 hours (95% CI, 34-54; range, 0-148 hours) for erythromycin recipients (P = .0004). In the penicillin group, acute treatment failed for one patient, and one patient relapsed. Three patients in the penicillin group developed diphtheritic myocarditis as evidenced by abnormal electrocardiograms. Erythromycin did not cause prolongation of the QT interval corrected for heart rate. Cultures of specimens from 15 patients (17.4%) were positive for toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae. All isolates were susceptible to penicillin, but for isolates (27%), all of which were from patients who received penicillin treatment, were resistant to erythromycin (minimum inhibitory concentrations, > 64 mg/L). Penicillin is recommended as first-line treatment for diphtheria in Vietnam.

Hoa NT, Diep TS, Wain J, Parry CM, Hien TT, Smith MD, Walsh AL, White NJ. 1998. Community-acquired septicaemia in southern Viet Nam: the importance of multidrug-resistant Salmonella typhi. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 92 (5), pp. 503-508. | Show Abstract | Read more

In a prospective study conducted between mid 1993 and 1994, 437 adults and children were admitted with community-acquired septicaemia to an infectious diseases hospital in southern Viet Nam. Gram-negative aerobes accounted for 90% of isolates and were predominantly Salmonella typhi (67%), Sal. para-typhi A (3%), Escherichia coli (10%), and Klebsiella spp. (5%). Other Salmonella spp. (1%), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (1%), Neisseria meningitidis (0.5%) and Haemophilus influenzae (0.2%) were uncommon. Staphylococcus aureus (5.5%) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (2%) were the most common Gram-positive isolates. Patients with enteric fever were younger (median age 16 years, range 1-63) than the other patients (median age 43 years, range 1-88) (P < 0.001) and had a lower mortality rate (0.3% vs. 23%; relative risk 69.5, 95% confidence interval 9.5-507.8; P < 0.0001). Over 70% of the Sal. typhi isolated were multi-drug-resistant, and 4% were resistant to nalidixic acid. Multidrug-resistant Sal. typhi is a major cause of community-acquired septicaemia in Viet Nam.

Solomon T, Thao LT, Dung NM, Kneen R, Hung NT, Nisalak A, Vaughn DW, Farrar J, Hien TT, White NJ, Cardosa MJ. 1998. Rapid diagnosis of Japanese encephalitis by using an immunoglobulin M dot enzyme immunoassay. J Clin Microbiol, 36 (7), pp. 2030-2034. | Show Abstract

Japanese encephalitis (JE) occurs in rural settings in southern and eastern Asia, where diagnostic facilities are limited. For the diagnosis of JE virus (JEV) infection, we developed a nitrocellulose membrane-based immunoglobulin M (IgM) capture dot enzyme immunoassay (MAC DOT) that is rapid, simple to use, requires no specialized equipment, and can distinguish JEV from dengue infection. In a prospective field study in southern Vietnam, 155 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and 341 serum samples were collected from 111 children and 83 adults with suspected encephalitis. The JEV MAC DOT, performed on site, was scored visually from negative to strongly positive by two observers, and the results were compared subsequently with those of the standard IgM capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. For the 179 patients with adequate specimens, the MAC DOT correctly identified 59 of 60 JEV-positive patients and 118 of 119 JEV-negative patients (sensitivity [95% confidence intervals], 98.3% [92.1 to 99.91%]; specificity, 99.2% [95.9 to 100.0%]; positive predictive value, 0.98; negative predictive value, 0.99). The MAC DOT also correctly identified three patients with dengue encephalopathy. Admission specimens were positive for 73% of JE patients. Interobserver agreement for MAC DOT diagnosis was excellent (kappa = 0.94). The JEV MAC DOT is a simple and reliable rapid diagnostic test for JE in rural hospitals.

Turner GD, Ly VC, Nguyen TH, Tran TH, Nguyen HP, Bethell D, Wyllie S, Louwrier K, Fox SB, Gatter KC et al. 1998. Systemic endothelial activation occurs in both mild and severe malaria. Correlating dermal microvascular endothelial cell phenotype and soluble cell adhesion molecules with disease severity. Am J Pathol, 152 (6), pp. 1477-1487. | Show Abstract

Fatal Plasmodium falciparum malaria is accompanied by systemic endothelial activation. To study endothelial activation directly during malaria and sepsis in vivo, the expression of cell adhesion molecules on dermal microvascular endothelium was examined in skin biopsies and correlated with plasma levels of soluble (circulating) ICAM-1, E-selectin, and VCAM-1 and the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha. Skin biopsies were obtained from 61 cases of severe malaria, 42 cases of uncomplicated malaria, 10 cases of severe systemic sepsis, and 17 uninfected controls. Systemic endothelial activation, represented by the up-regulation of inducible cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) on endothelium and increased levels of soluble CAMs (sCAMs), were seen in both severe and uncomplicated malaria and sepsis when compared with uninfected controls. Plasma levels of sICAM-1, sVCAM-1, and sE-selectin correlated positively with the severity of malaria whereas TNF-alpha was raised nonspecifically in malaria and sepsis. Immunohistochemical evidence of endothelial activation in skin biopsies did not correlate with sCAM levels or disease severity. This indicates a background of systemic endothelial activation, which occurs in both mild and severe malaria and sepsis. The levels of sCAMs in malaria are thus not an accurate reflection of endothelial cell expression of CAMs in a particular vascular bed, and other factors must influence their levels during disease.

Taylor AM, Day NP, Sinh DX, Loc PP, Mai TT, Chau TT, Phu NH, Hien TT, White NJ. 1998. Reactive nitrogen intermediates and outcome in severe adult malaria. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 92 (2), pp. 170-175. | Show Abstract | Read more

The role of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and nitric oxide (NO) in the pathophysiology of severe falciparum malaria remains unclear. We conducted a retrospective case-control study of Vietnamese adults with severe malaria to determine the relationship between outcome and admission plasma reactive nitrogen intermediates (RNI), the stable metabolites of NO. The study was designed to take into account the potential confounders of recent dietary nitrogen intake and renal function. Seventy-six patients who died from severe malaria were matched for age and sex with 76 survivors from a prospectively studied series of 560 patients. Median untransformed unadjusted plasma RNI levels were slightly higher in fatal cases (45 mumol/L, range 0-482) than in survivors (24.1 mumol/L, range 1.4-466) (P = 0.031, Wilcoxon signed-rank). There was a significant positive correlation between RNI levels and plasma creatinine (Spearman's rho = 0.35, P < 0.0001), and the addition of plasma creatinine as a covariate in a multivariate analysis abolished the trend towards higher RNI levels in fatal cases (P for the coefficient for RNI = 0.96). There was no association between RNI levels and either depth of coma on admission or time to regain consciousness. These findings do not support a pivotal role for systemic generation of NO in the pathogenesis of severe malaria in general, or cerebral malaria in particular.

Nosten F, Hien TT, White NJ. 1998. Use of artemisinin derivatives for the control of malaria. Med Trop (Mars), 58 (3 Suppl), pp. 45-49. | Show Abstract

Since 1994, the combination of mefloquine and artesunate is the standard treatment for uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria in the population of displaced persons on the Western border of Thailand. As a result, the fall of mefloquine efficacy was stopped and the incidence of falciparum malaria reduced. This is attributed to the effects of the artemisinin derivatives on transmissibility. Similar trends were observed in Vietnam where artemisinin is widely used. Combination therapies that include an artemisinin derivative could have a major role in the control of malaria and the spread of drug resistance.

House DL, Vinh H, Chinh NT, Wain JR, Parry CM, Quyen NT, Diep TS, Hien TT, Farrar JJ, White NJ, Dougan G. 1998. Serum antibody response in patients with mild Typhoid fever from southern Vietnam Medical Journal of Indonesia, 7 pp. 269-269. | Show Abstract | Read more

© 1998, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Indonesia. All rights reserved. The aim of this study was to describe the antibody response to Salmonella typhi (S. typhij antigens (lipolysaccharide (LPS), flagella, Vi) m patients with non-severe typhoid fever from an endemic region. Acute serum samples were obtained from 164 patients with blood culture proven typhoid fever. Serum levels of anti-LPS (total Immunoglobulin (Ig), IgA, IgG, IgM), anti-flagella (total Ig, IgG) and anti-Vi (total Ig, IgG) antibodies were determined. Inter-individual variation was high for all antibody-antigen combinations investigated. Correlation analyses showed this was due, in part, to differences in age and duration of fever. Some patients had relatively low antibody levels despite a long history of illness, particularly children. Our results suggest that serological diagnostic tests based on the antigens used in this study may have limited sensitivity, particularly in young children, in patient with a short history of illness, and in those living in endemic areas.

Houston S. 1997. The role of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency in blackwater fever. Clin Infect Dis, 25 (5), pp. 1275. | Read more

Hien TT, VinhChau NV, Vinh NN, Hung NT, Phung MQ, Toan LM, Mai PP, Dung NT, HoaiTam DT, Arnold K. 1997. Management of multiple drug-resistant malaria in Viet Nam. Ann Acad Med Singapore, 26 (5), pp. 659-663. | Show Abstract

Malaria is still the most common infectious cause of mortality and morbidity in Viet Nam as it is in many developing countries in the tropics. The presence of resistance to available antimalarials and compliance in the target population are factors that influence the choice of drugs and regimens. In order to develop an ideal treatment for malaria, we conducted several clinical trials in patients with the disease in different settings. The results of these trials suggest that a combination of single dose artemisinin (or its derivatives) and mefloquine is the most effective, safe and practical treatment for acute non-complicated malaria due to multidrug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Concerning severe and complicated malaria, parenteral or rectal multi-doses of artemisinin or analogues are recommended due to their rapid parasite clearance time and other possible anti-cytoadherence effects. With its rapid parasite clearance, very early treatment of uncomplicated cases with artemisinin (and derivatives), especially at a health post level may help to prevent the development of complications, consequently reducing the number of severe cases and the malaria mortality rate.

Ha V, Nguyen NH, Tran TB, Bui MC, Nguyen HP, Tran TH, Phan TQ, Arnold K, Tran TH. 1997. Severe and complicated malaria treated with artemisinin, artesunate or artemether in Viet Nam. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg, 91 (4), pp. 465-467. | Show Abstract | Read more

One hundred and seventy five Vietnamese adults with severe and complicated malaria admitted to a rural district hospital were entered into an open randomized comparative study to compare 4 treatment regimens based on artemisinin and its derivatives. The median time of defervescence was 48 h (95% confident interval [CI] 38-58 h) in those given intramuscular (i.m.) artemether, 42 h (95% CI 36-48 h) in those given artemisinin suppositories, 36 h (95% CI 30-42 h) in those receiving artesunate (i.m.) and 30 h (95% CI 18-42 h) in those receiving intravenous artesunate (P = 0.13). The respective median parasite clearance times were 30 h (95% CI 26-34 h), 30 h (95% CI 24-36 h), 24 h (95% CI 15-33 h), and 24 h (95% CI 15-33 h) (P = 0.30); the median times for recovery of consciousness were 47 h (95% CI 31-63 h), 24 h (95% CI 18-30 h), 30 h (95% CI 18-42 h), and 24 h (95% CI 4-44 h) (P = 0.18); and the mortality rates were 11.1%, 17.6%, 10.2% and 16.6%, respectively (P = 0.64). There was no significant difference in efficacy between the 4 treatments.

Parry CM, Hoa NTT, Wain J, Kneen R, Dung NM, Giao PN, Hien TT, White NJ. 1997. The In-vitro susceptibilities of toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae isolated between 1992 and 1996 in Viet nam Clinical Infectious Diseases, 25 (2), pp. 493. | Show Abstract

The in-vitro activities of 12 antibiotics against 88 toxigenic strains of C.diphtheriae isolated from children with clinical diphtheria between 1992 and 19% were determined by agar dilution. All isolates were susceptible to penicillin, ampicillin, cefuroxime, ceftriaxone, ciprofloxacin and gentamicin. 27/88 (31%) isolates were resistant to one or more of the other antibiotics including tetracycline in 21/88 (24%), erythromycin and azithromycin in 13/88 (15%), chloramphenicol in 7/88 (8%), trimethoprim in 3/88 (3%) and rifampicin in 1/88(1%). 14/88 isolates were resistant to several antibiotics [TetREryR (7), TetRChlorR (2), TetREryR ChlorR (2) and TetRChlorRTrimRRifR (1)]. The emergence of resistance to multiple antibiotics in C.diphtheriae is of concern.

Hien TT, Day NPJ, White NJ. 1996. Artemether in severe malaria NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, 335 (25), pp. 1923-1924.

Day NP, Pham TD, Phan TL, Dinh XS, Pham PL, Ly VC, Tran TH, Nguyen TH, Bethell DB, Nguyan HP et al. 1996. Clearance kinetics of parasites and pigment-containing leukocytes in severe malaria. Blood, 88 (12), pp. 4694-4700. | Show Abstract | Read more

In tropical areas, where unsupervised use of antimalarial drugs is common, patients with an illness consistent clinically with severe malaria but with negative blood smears pose a management dilemma. Malaria pigment is evident in peripheral blood leukocytes in greater than 90% of patients with severe malaria. To characterize the clearance kinetics of parasitized erythrocytes and malaria pigment-containing leukocytes, sequential peripheral blood and intradermal smears were assessed in 27 adult Vietnamese patients with severe falciparum malaria. The clearance of parasitized erythrocytes and pigment-containing monocytes (PCMs) followed first order kinetics. The elimination of pigment-containing neutrophils (PCNs) was first order initially, but deviated from this when counts were low. Clearance of peripheral blood PCMs (median clearance time, 216 hours; range, 84 to 492 hours) was significantly slower than that of parasitized erythrocytes (median, 96 hours; range, 36 to 168 hours) or PCNs (median, 72 hours; range, 0 to 168 hours; P < .0001). Intradermal PCM clearance times were the longest of all (median, 12 days; range, 6 to 23 days; significantly longer than peripheral blood PCM clearance, P < .001). Twenty-one (88%) patients still had signs, symptoms, or laboratory features of severe malaria after parasite clearance but before phagocyte pigment clearance. Sixteen of the 23 surviving patients (70%; 95% confidence interval, 50% to 87%) still had intraleukocytic malaria pigment on peripheral blood films 72 hours after parasite clearance. Thus, by determining the distribution of malaria pigment in peripheral blood and intradermal phagocytes, the time since effective antimalarial treatment started can be estimated. Microscopy for intraleukocytic pigment is valuable in the differential diagnosis of severe febrile illnesses in malarious areas where uncontrolled use of antimalarial drugs is widespread.

Dollow S. 1996. Neurological sequelae of cerebral malaria. Lancet, 348 (9042), pp. 1658-1659. | Read more

Tran TH, Day NP, Ly VC, Nguyen TH, Pham PL, Nguyen HP, Bethell DB, Dihn XS, Tran TH, White NJ. 1996. Blackwater fever in southern Vietnam: a prospective descriptive study of 50 cases. Clin Infect Dis, 23 (6), pp. 1274-1281. | Show Abstract | Read more

We prospectively studied 50 Vietnamese patients with blackwater fever (BWF). All patients had fever and hemoglobinuria, 40 (80%) were jaundiced, 25 (50%) had hepatomegaly, 15 (34%) had splenomegaly, and 9 (18%) had hepatosplenomegaly. Twenty-one patients (42%) had impaired renal function, with creatinine clearances of < 50 mL/min/m2; however, only four (8%) developed oliguric renal failure, three (6%) of whom required dialysis. Forty-four patients (88%) developed anemia, which