Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV / 20.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ashish Deshmukh, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor UTHealth School of Public Health Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Anal cancer is one of the six human papillomavirus associated cancers.  Rates of anal cancer are increasing in the US, but no prior study quantified the contemporary trends (i.e., increase in rates over time) in anal cancer incidence. It was unknown whether the rise is real or driven by increased screening in some high-risk populations. Incidence trends according to age and stage at diagnosis was also never comprehensively studied. Furthermore, it was unknown whether the rise in incidence has led to a rise in mortality. Our objective was to answer these questions. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health, STD, Technology, UCSD / 09.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alicia Nobles, PhD, MS Research Fellow Department of Medicine UC San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at record-high rates according to the Centers for Disease Control. Between STDs being highly stigmatized infections and people lacking access to health care, people may elect to turn to social media to connect with others. This is precisely why social media sites are so popular - because they do allow for people to talk with others rapidly. Reddit, a social media site that rivals Twitter with 330 million active users and is the 6th most visited website in the United States, is organized into online communities, many of which discuss health topics. We monitored all r/STD (www.reddit.com/r/STD/) posts, where users can find “anything and everything STD related,” from its inception in November 2010 through February 2019.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, JAMA, OBGYNE / 07.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel L. Winer, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology School of Public Health HPV Research Group University of Washington Seattle, WARachel L. Winer, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology School of Public Health HPV Research Group University of Washington Seattle, WA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the U.S., 25% of women do not receive recommended cervical cancer screening. Increasing screening participation is a high priority, because over half of the 12,000 cervical cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. are in women who are underscreened. Currently available options for cervical cancer screening in the U.S. include Pap testing or HPV testing, either alone or in combination. HPV self-sampling is an emerging option for screening because HPV tests – unlike Pap tests – can be performed on either clinician- or self-collected samples, with similar accuracy. Internationally, several countries (including Australia and the Netherlands) include HPV self-sampling as a cervical cancer screening option for underscreened women.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Infections / 30.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barun Mathema PhD Assistant Professor,Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2005 a major outbreak of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) causing over 90% mortality was reported in rural town of Tugela Ferry, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The strain that caused the outbreak was resistant to all first and most second line antibiotics. This strain has since been recovered throughout the district and accounts for over 79% of all XDR-TB. We were interested in understanding the basic epidemiological and evolutionary forces that enabled this strain to proliferate. More simply, when and where this strain emerged, and how and why it became dominant.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, HIV / 14.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rosalie Hayes Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer NAT (National AIDS Trust) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The international community has committed to the Sustainable Development Goal of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 (SDG 3.3). Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV infection involves the use of antiretroviral drugs by people at high risk of acquiring HIV, and its efficacy of PrEP is well-documented. To help achieve SDG 3.3, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has recommended as one of its global targets that 3 million people access PrEP by 2020. For this paper, we examined European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and UNAIDS monitoring data from Europe and Central Asia (the 53 countries of the WHO European Region plus Kosovo* and Liechtenstein) to identify what progress has been made in implementing PrEP in these countries. We also used data on self-reported PrEP use and expressed need for PrEP among men who have sex with men (MSM) from the European MSM Internet Survey (EMIS-2017) to calculate an estimate of the level of unmet need for PrEP in each country, what we term the ‘PrEP gap’.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Infections / 13.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hean Teik Humphrey Ko PhD candidate School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University Perth, Western Australia, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bacterial skin infections consume precious healthcare resources because such infections are common and may sometimes be severe. Statins are relatively affordable and extensively prescribed worldwide to prevent cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, the safety/adverse effects of statins have been well documented. Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of bacterial skin infections, and statins have been separately reported to exert antibacterial effects against S. aureus, as well as reduce the risk of S. aureus related blood infections. As such, it seemed plausible that statins may prove beneficial in S. aureus related skin infections. However, statins may also induce new-onset diabetes mellitus, a condition which in turn, is a risk factor for skin infections. Therefore, in order to determine if statins could potentially serve as a novel therapeutic agent for skin infections to reduce healthcare costs, this study was conducted to examine the interrelationships between statins, diabetes, and skin infections.  (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, C. difficile, Dental Research, Infections / 05.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan E. Gross, PharmD Clinical Assistant Professor University of Illinois Chicago, IL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dentists prescribe 10% of all outpatient antibiotics. Most of this prescribing is for infection prophylaxis prior to dental procedures. Our prior research has found that 80% of prescriptions for dental prophylaxis is unnecessary. Although antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental procedures is often for a short course (e.g. one time amoxicillin dose), there may be patient harm associated with this. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, STD, UCSD / 05.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin Hoenigl, MD Assistant Professor UCSD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Technology has changed the way men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) seek sex. Over 60% of MSM in the US use the internet and/or smartphone-based geospatial networking apps to find sex partners. Grindr™, a sophisticated geosocial networking app, is the most frequently used dating app among MSM in the United States. Previous research has shown that MSM who use Grindr™ have a greater frequency risky sexual behavior, and more sexual partners, but little is known about the association between Grindr™ use and prevention behavior such as the use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We evaluated risk behavior, PrEP use, and Grindr™ usage among MSM receiving community-based HIV and bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening in central San Diego. Participants who tested negative for HIV and who were not on PrEP were offered immediate PrEP.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 04.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel C. Payne, PhD, MSPH Senior Scientific Advisor Viral Gastroenteritis Branch US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Rotavirus vaccines have been recommended for US infants for more than 10 years.  This study used seven years of active surveillance data from seven hospitals around the US to evaluate the effectiveness of rotavirus vaccines in the US.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, OBGYNE, USPSTF / 01.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa A. Simon, M.D., M.P.H. Member, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force George H. Gardner professor of clinical gynecology, Vice chair of clinical research Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Professor of preventive medicine and medical social sciences Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Asymptomatic bacteriuria, or ASB, is when someone has bacteria in their urine but does not have any signs or symptoms of a urinary tract infection. For pregnant people, this can be a major health concern resulting in severe, even life-threatening, infections that can lead to serious harms for both the mother and the baby. The Task Force’s primary finding in updating its recommendation on this topic was that screening for ASB continues to be beneficial in preventing complications and preserving the health of mothers and their babies during pregnancy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Science, University of Pennsylvania, Vaccine Studies / 23.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Harvey M. Friedman, MD Professor of Medicine/Infectious Diseases University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104-6073  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  Mice and guinea pigs are the animal models used to evaluate candidate vaccines for preventing genital herpes. My lab has been working on such a vaccine. Our candidate vaccine contains 3 immunogens. One immunogen is a protein on the virus that is required for the virus to enter cells (viruses need to enter cells to replicate). The other two immunogens are proteins on the virus that help the virus escape immune attack. Our intent is to produce antibodies to these 3 proteins by immunization and that the antibodies will bind to the proteins on the virus and block the protein functions. The virus then will not be able to enter cells and will not be able to use its evasion strategies to avoid the immune responses generated by the vaccine. Our vaccine aimed at preventing immune evasion is novel as a component of a genital herpes vaccine.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dengue, Duke, Vaccine Studies / 21.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Shee-Mei Lok, PhD Professor in the Emerging Infectious Disease program Duke-NUS, a school of National University of Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dengue virus consists of four different serotypes (DENV1-4) and within each serotypes, there are multiple strains. In terms of the viral particle shape, our previous research work using some laboratory adapted strains showed these DENV2 strains are very interesting in that it can change shape from the smooth spherical surface particles when grown at mosquito physiological temperature (29oC) and then becomes bumpy surfaced particles when incubated at human physiological temperature (37oC). This ability to transform into different virus surface structures helps the virus to escape from the immune system of the human host. Hence understanding the mechanism of how this occur is important for therapeutics and vaccine development. Here we also identified a laboratory adapted virus strain that do not showed this structural changes. We showed some differences in their amino acid sequences and We showed some differences in their amino acid sequences and mutating these residues coupled with observing their surface structures showed which residues are important for this temperature induced structural change. Results showed that subtle mutations at different places on the envelope protein can destabilize the virus allowing them to change in structure when temperature is elevated. Due to the poor selection pressure of the artificial laboratory tissue culture system, gradual mutations of the virus is accumulated causing the virus to have bumpy surface morphology. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lyme / 18.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jorge Benach, PhD Distinguished Toll Professor Molecular Genetics & Microbiology and Pathology Renaissance School of Medicine Stony Brook University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The increases in the numbers of cases of tick-borne diseases in the nation, and the increases in the number of cases in our area were the catalysts to document the levels of infection with a number of pathogens in the vector ticks. In addition, there were indications that an invasive tick species, the lone star tick, had taken a foothold in our area and had brought new tick-borne pathogens. Identification of the multiple pathogens was made possible by the molecular probes developed by Dr Rafal Tokarz, another corresponding author of our study  (more…)
Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Genetic Research, Infections, JAMA / 17.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: QiPing Feng, PhD Division of Clinical Pharmacology Department of Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nashville, Tennessee MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sepsis is one of the leading causes of hospital mortality. Yet, there are no specific effective treatments for it. Recent information suggests that drugs that inhibit proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) could have potential as a new treatment for sepsis. We used a genetic approach to test if variation in PCSK9 affected the risk of sepsis. In patients admitted to hospital with infection, neither variants in the PCSK9 gene nor predicted expression of PCSK9 were associated with risk of sepsis or poorer outcomes after sepsis.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, HPV / 16.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ashish A. Deshmukh UT Health School of Public Health Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The HPV vaccination is recommended for females and males for prevention of 6 cancers (cervical, oropharyngeal, anal, penile, vaginal, and vulvar). Nearly 43,000 HPV-associated cancer cases are diagnosed every year in the US. Yet, it is extremely unfortunate and something that continues to bother us that HPV vaccination coverage remains low (50% in 2018) in the US and completion rate is nearly 5% lower in boys. Different from some industrialized nations where vaccination policy is school-based, vaccination policy in the US is clinic-based and parents are generally responsible for making vaccination decisions for their children. Generally, there are two main factors that drive parents’ decision-making: (1) how much knowledge they have of HPV and (2) recommendation from a healthcare professional. We analyzed the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trend Survey (HINTS) of over 6000 participants focusing on their knowledge of HPV and HPV vaccination and whether participants received any vaccination recommendation from their health care provider.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections, Pediatrics / 16.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carrie C. Coughlin, MD Member of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology Assistant Professor, Dermatology Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics Washington University School of Medicine / St. Louis Children's Hospital   Cristopher C. Briscoe, MD Dermatology Resident, PGY-2 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis    MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Briscoe: Superinfection of atopic dermatitis (AD) in pediatric patients is a common complication. Our study sought to determine the best empiric antibiotic choice for these patients while a bacterial culture is pending. We retrospectively analyzed 182 skin cultures from pediatric atopic dermatitis patients seen in the outpatient setting over five years and found that 170 (93.4%) grew Staphylococcus aureus. Of these, 130 (76.5%) grew methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), 37 (21.8%) grew methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and 3 (1.8%) grew both MSSA and MRSA. There was no statistically significant relationship between age, sex, race, or dilute bleach bath usage and MRSA infection. Interestingly, as compared to a separate group of pediatric atopic dermatitis patients seen in the emergency room, our patients had lower rates of MSSA susceptibility to doxycycline and MRSA susceptibility to TMP-SMX. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Infections / 13.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Kai-feng Pan Director. Department of Cancer Epidemiology Peking University School of Oncology Beijing Cancer Hospital & Institute Peking University Cancer Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Based on a high-risk population in China, we have conducted a large randomized factorial-designed intervention trial (Shandong Intervention Trial) to examine the effect of short-term Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) treatment and 7.3-year vitamin and garlic supplementation on gastric cancer. During 14.7-years’ follow-up in the trial, 2-week treatment for H. pylori resulted in statistically significant reduction in gastric cancer incidence. Results for gastric cancer mortality and for the effects of garlic and vitamin supplementation, though promising, were not statistically significant. Longer follow-up was needed to determine whether the reductions in gastric cancer incidence from H. pylori treatment would persist and lead to a demonstrable reduction in gastric cancer mortality. It also remained unknown whether vitamin and garlic supplementation would yield a statistically significant reduction in gastric cancer incidence and mortality with additionally extended follow-up. In addition, the entire spectrum of effects of these interventions needs to be understood.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Genetic Research, PNAS / 10.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacob S. Yount, PhD Associate Professor Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity The Ohio State University, College of Medicine Co-Director, Viruses and Emerging Pathogens Program OSU Infectious Diseases Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Genetic defects in a human protein known as IFITM3 are linked to hospitalization and death upon influenza virus infections.  IFITM3 is an immune system protein that can inhibit virus entry into cells and it is produced as an early response to virus infections.  In order to better study the role of IFITM3 during infections, we engineered a mouse model that lacks this protein.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Nutrition, PLoS, Red Meat / 05.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher A. McDevitt B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D , Associate Professor Group Leader, ARC Future Fellow The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne | Victoria | Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Zinc-deficiency affects nearly one-third of the world’s population and is associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and enteric infections. The foremost global respiratory disease is pneumonia, which kills more than 1 million people per year with young children and the elderly being at greatest risk. This study investigated how zinc-deficiency affected Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Pulmonary Disease, Stem Cells, University of Pennsylvania / 22.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrew E. Vaughan, PhD Assistant Professor, Biomedical Sciences School of Veterinary Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Severe respiratory infections, including influenza, can progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), wherein barrier function and gas exchange are compromised.  It’s a very life threatening scenario.  This is due in part to loss of alveolar type 2 (surfactant producing) and type 1 cells (gas exchanging).  Interestingly alveolar type 2 cells are also stem cells in the lung.  We wondered whether transplant of these cells might aid in recovery from severe influenza infection, and sure enough, it did! (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Global Health, Infections, Lancet, Pediatrics / 21.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tori Cowger, MPH Ph.D Student | Population Health Sciences Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Globally, approximately one million cases of tuberculosis disease (TB) and 233,000 TB-related deaths occurred among children aged younger than 15 years during 2018. TB in children and adolescents is clinically and epidemiologically heterogeneous, making diagnosis, care, and prevention challenging. Understanding this heterogeneity can inform TB care and prevention efforts, and efforts to eliminate disparities in TB incidence and mortality in these groups. In this study, we describe the epidemiology of TB among children and adolescents in the United States, and report TB incidence rates for US territories and freely associated states and by parental country of birth, which have not been previously described. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Ophthalmology / 20.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nuadum Konne Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: An estimated 45 million Americans enjoy the benefits of contact lens wear. Most of them practice some behaviors that put them at risk for serious eye infections. Surveys of contact lens wearers and eye care providers were conducted in 2018. One third of lens wearers recalled never hearing any lens care recommendations. Most eye care providers reported sharing recommendations always or most of the time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, JAMA / 20.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Todd Campbell Lee MD MPH FACP FIDSA Consultant in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Director, MI4 Clinical Trials Platform Associate Professor of Medicine, McGill University Montreal, Quebec  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For a number of years people have been advocating for a move towards single-patient rooms in hospital design.  This was articulately argued for in an opinion piece by Detsky and Etchells in 2008 (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/182433) as being important for a move to safe and patient-centered design. One of the major selling points has always been a reduction in the risk of nosocomial, or hospital-associated, infections given reduced opportunities for contamination between patients; however, only a few studies have specifically looked at this issue.  Overall, despite some strong work, many of these studies were limited by only looking at specific units, over limited periods of time,  and using before-after comparisons which did not account for change over time either within or outside of the institution. We knew that in 2015 our old hospital would close and within the same day all patients would be moved to a brand new hospital with 100% single patient rooms -- most of which have a private bathroom for patients and a separate hand-washing sink for staff.  So in 2014, we designed this study, obtained ethics review, and then waited patiently for several years to pass after the move so that we could rigorously evaluate the impact.  We looked at monthly rates of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) colonizations and infections, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization and infections, and Clostridium (now Clostrideroidesdifficile infections (CDI). We chose these because we had good long term data on their rates and because we could compare the rates over time before and after the move and contrast them with the province of Quebec as a whole. (more…)
Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses / 15.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tejabhiram Yadavalli, Ph.D Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Chicago, IL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Charcoal black is a common ingredient used in the cosmetic industry, especially for the eye in products such as eyeliners. Traditionally, black soot obtained from burning clarified butter was used as an eyeliner and is still used today in various cultures across the world. Activated charcoal is highly porous in nature and has a surface area far greater than any other nanoparticle or microparticle known to materials science. Since our lab works on ocular herpes infection we wanted to see whether activated charcoal can influence viral infection potentially by trapping the virus particles and rendering them ineffective. As hypothesized, we found excellent restriction of the virus from infecting the host. The most interesting results came when we applied charcoal in tandem with existing clinical antiviral (Acyclovir). This is where we saw that charcoal can absorb the drug on its surface and slowly release it over a period of time conferring protection for an extended period of time from viral infection. These antiviral drugs have to be taken multiple times a day to show comprehensive protection against the virus. However, we found that the drugs mixed with charcoal were need to be given with much reduced frequency to show excellent antiviral activity. This charcoal platform termed as DECON was effective in controlling both ocular and genital herpes infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, OBGYNE / 15.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Eloit, D.V.M, Ph.D. Pathogen Discovery Laboratory, Biology of Infection Unit, Institut Pasteur Paris, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are responsible for >99% of cervical cancers. Currently, cervical cancer screening either focuses on testing for the presence of HPV or identifying abnormal cervical cells with cytology (Pap test). However, molecular diagnostic tests based on the detection of viral DNA or RNA have low positive predictive values for the identification of cancer or precancerous lesions, and analysis of cervical cells with the Pap test, even when combined with molecular detection of high-risk HPV, results in a significant number of unnecessary colposcopies. We have developed HPV RNA-Seq, a new “two-for-one” molecular diagnostic test that not only detects the type of HPV, but also identifies precancerous markers. This test is therefore designed to diagnose the riskiest forms of HPV infection, provide rapid results at moderate cost, and helps avoiding unnecessary diagnostic procedures. HPV RNA-Seq is based on the dual combination of multiplexed reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS). RT-PCR is a sensitive way to detect small amounts of RNA, the genetic material that reflects the activity of the HPV genes, and NGS finely characterizes the amplified viral sequences. This enables detection of up to 16 high-risk or putative high-risk HPV in a sample as well as the presence of precancerous markers. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Pediatrics / 07.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Larry K. Kociolek, MD MSCI Attending Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, Associate Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridioides (Clostridium) difficile colonization is very common among infants, yet infants almost never develop symptoms of infection. In adults, it is known that immunity against the toxins that C. difficile produces protect against C. difficile infection (CDI). Our goal was to determine whether or not infants who become colonized with C. difficile develop an immune response against these toxins. We collected stool from healthy infants at multiple time points during the first year of life to determine whether or not they became colonized with C. difficile. Then at 9-12 months old, we collected blood to see if we can identify antibodies in their blood that protect against these toxins. We discovered that colonization with C. difficile during infancy was strongly associated with the development of antibodies. These antibodies were able to protect against the harmful effects of these toxins in a laboratory cell culture model. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, CDC, Hospital Acquired, Infections / 02.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Snigdha Vallabhaneni, MD, MPH Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: We are concerned about the fungus Candida auris (or C. auris) because it causes serious infections, is often resistant to medications, and continues to spread at alarming rates in U.S. healthcare settings. Candida. auris  primarily affects patients in who are hospitalized for a long time or are residents of nursing homes that take care of patients on ventilators. C. auris is still rare in the United States and most people are at low risk of getting infected. People who get C. auris or other Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions and often have invasive medical care, including ventilators for breathing support, feeding tubes, central venous catheters, and have received lots of antibiotics. Many patients infected and colonized with C. auris move frequently between post-acute care facilities and hospitals, which increases the risk of spreading C. auris between facilities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, HIV, NEJM / 17.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard J. Hayes, DSc, FMedSci Professor of Epidemiology and International Health London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV incidence rates remain at very high levels in many parts of southern Africa. Universal testing and treatment (i.e., ensuring that everyone in a community tests for HIV and that everyone diagnosed with HIV is started on treatment as soon as possible) has been proposed as a strategy to achieve steep reductions in HIV incidence in generalized epidemics. Prior trials have shown inconsistent results as to whether this strategy could be effective. HPTN 071 (PopART) was carried out in 21 urban communities in Zambia and South Africa, with individual communities randomly assigned into one of three arms: A, B or C. The 14 communities in Arms A and B received annual rounds of home-based HIV testing by community health workers who supported linkage to care, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and other HIV services. The seven communities in Arm C received the local standard of care. We looked to see if the HIV incidence in the communities receiving universal testing and treatment would be lower (over time) compared to the incidence in the standard of care communities. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, University of Michigan / 15.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rogério Meireles Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Dean for Research University of Michigan School of Social Work MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In order to decrease the rate of HIV infection, interventions to scale up PrEP will need to address identified barriers at multiple ecological levels. In the past decade, interventions proposed to address PrEP implementation barriers were limited to one ecological level or another (e.g., individual or community). The failure to consider interventions targeting multiple ecological levels simultaneously may help explain why PrEP implementation is lagging. This failure is also due to methodological limitations of PrEP implementation studies.This high-quality paper presents a thorough and theoretically grounded review of original research on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation in the U.S. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurological Disorders / 12.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. Patrick Küry Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How do these viruses in our DNA differ from others such as the herpes family of viruses? Response: The background of our current two published studies is elucidating the role of endogenous retroviruses such as the HERV-W in contributing to neurological disease initiation and progression. Our new paper in PNAS (Kremer et al., PNAS 2019) describes a novel axon damage scenario for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in which a "toxic" protein called ENV from HERV-W instructs so called microglial cells in the human brain to attack and damage myelinated axons. Our second review article (Gruchot et al., Front Genet 2019) summarizes currently known effects on endogenous retroviruses exerted towards neural cells, that means cells other than the infiltrating immune cells. There is currently a shift of attention and research in the MS field in that resident neural cells such as oligodendrocytes, precursor cells, stem cells and microglial cells and their reactions are intensively investigated. HERVs are evolutionary acquired retroviruses (RNA viruses able to integrate into host DNA via reverse transcription from RNA to DNA) that were collected during evolution by our ancestors. Some of them remained in our genome (8% of our genome is HERV related) and in most cases appear to be non-functional, mutated or genetically silenced. A few of them, as for example HERV-W in MS or HERV-K in ALS, can apparently be activated, woken up so to say, and one of the mechanisms leading to activation might be an infection by Herpesviruses. Note that herpesviruses such as for example the Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) are long known suspected triggers of MS, however, a direct correlation could never be demonstrated. HERVs such as HERV-W might therefore constitute the missing link. (more…)