Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies, Vanderbilt / 18.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Vacuna influenza / Flu vaccine" by El Alvi is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathryn M. Edwards, M.D. Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Pediatrics Professor of Pediatrics Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Dr. Edwards discusses the statement from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) regarding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new data on child vaccine rates across the United States. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To monitor the uptake of vaccines the CDC conducts a National Immunization Survey each year.  This survey is conducted by random-digit dialing (cell phones or landlines) of parents and guardians of children 19-35 months of age.  The interviewers ask the families who provides the vaccines for their children and if these providers can be contacted to inquire about the immunizations received.  The overall response rate to the telephone survey was 26% and immunization records were provided on 54% of the children where permission was granted.  Overall 15, 333 children had their immunization records reviewed. When comparing immunization rates for 2017 and 2016, the last two years of the study, several new findings were discovered. First the overall coverage rate for 3 doses of polio vaccine, one dose of MMR, 3 doses of Hepatitis b, and 1 dose of chickenpox vaccine was 90%, a high rate of coverage.  Children were less likely to be up to date on the hepatitis A vaccine (70%) and rotavirus vaccine (73%). Coverage was lower for children living in rural areas when compared with urban areas and children living in rural areas had higher percentages of no vaccine receipt at all (1.9%) compared with those living in urban areas (1%). There were more uninsured children in 2017 at 2.8% and these children had lower immunization rates.  In fact 7.1% of the children with no insurance were totally unimmunized when compared with 0.8% unimmunized in those with private insurance. Vaccine coverage varies by state and by vaccine.
Author Interviews, Hand Washing, Hospital Acquired, Infections, JAMA / 13.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Hand Washing" by Anthony Albright is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0Dr. Daniel J. Livorsi, MD Assistant Professor INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST University of Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the Joint Commission’s standards is that hospitals audit and provide feedback on hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers. Audit-and-feedback is therefore commonly practiced in US hospitals, but the effective design and delivery of this intervention is poorly defined, particularly in relation to hand hygiene improvement. We studied how 8 hospitals had implemented audit-and-feedback for hand hygiene improvement. We found that hospitals were encountering several barriers in their implementation of audit-and-feedback. Audit data on hand hygiene compliance was challenging to collect and was frequently questioned. The feedback of audit results did not motivate positive change. 
Antibiotic Resistance, Author Interviews, Infections / 08.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44950" align="alignleft" width="130"]David G. Thanassi, Ph.D. Professor and Interim Chair Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Center for Infectious Diseases Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-5222 Dr. Thanassi[/caption] David G. Thanassi, Ph.D. Professor and Interim Chair Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology Center for Infectious Diseases Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-5222 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli use hair-like surface appendages termed pili to colonize tissues within the host and initiate infection.  Together with our collaborators - the group of Huilin Li at the Van Andel Research Institute - we used an advanced imaging technique termed cryo-electron microscopy to determine snapshots of bacterial pili as they are being assembled.  The pili we studied are critical for uropathogenic strains of E. coli to colonize the urinary tract and cause urinary tract infections.  Our work revealed a new stage in the pilus assembly process and new details about how these structures are built on the bacterial surface.  
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections / 07.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard Hengel, MD, FRCPC, FACP Atlanta ID Group Richard Hengel, MD, FRCPC, FACP Atlanta ID Group MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does Bezlotoxumab differ from other medications for recurrent C. difficile infections? Response: Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is now the most common hospital acquired infection in the United States, accounting for significant morbidity and mortality, not only in the US, but around the world. Despite standard antibiotic therapy targeting the Clostridium difficile bacterium directly, recurrent infection is common, occurring in a quarter to a third of patients, often frail individuals with other concurrent medical problems. These patients can have multiple recurrences leading to their progressive deterioration over time. Until recently, the only treatment for CDI included antibiotics. More recently, fecal microbiota transplant is a promising, but as yet, FDA unapproved therapy. Bezlotoximab is a new FDA approved treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI) that compliments standard antibiotics. Bezlotoxumab is a monoclonal antibody targeting toxin B produced by Clostridium difficile during CDI. In two large treatment trials, bezotoxumab, in addition to standard-of-care antibiotics, reduced the frequency of CDI recurrences from about 28% to about 18%. In this study, we set out to see if this new drug performed as well in actual clinical practice as it did in the published clinical trials.
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, STD, USPSTF / 09.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44364" align="alignleft" width="170"]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 Dr. Simon[/caption] 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? What are the main findings? Response: The number of babies born with syphilis is increasing, mirroring the recent increase of syphilis among women. Syphilis infection passed from a pregnant woman to her baby, also known as congenital syphilis, can lead to serious health complications for the baby including premature birth, low birthweight, birth defects, and even death. The Task Force recommends that all pregnant women be screened for syphilis as early in pregnancy as possible to prevent congenital syphilis. 
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Infections, Pediatrics, Respiratory / 18.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41246" align="alignleft" width="200"]Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology Intermountain Heart Institute Intermountain Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah  Dr. Horne[/caption] Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology Intermountain Heart Institute Intermountain Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Evidence suggests that short-term elevations (even for just a few days) of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5, which is particulate matter less than 2.5 um or about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair) is associated with various poor health outcomes among adults, including myocardial infarction, heart failure exacerbation, and worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms. Studies of long-term exposure to moderately elevated levels of PM2.5 indicate that chronic daily air pollution exposure may contribute to death due to pneumonia and influenza. Research regarding the association of short-term elevations in PM2.5 has provided some limited evidence of a possible association between short-term PM2.5 increases and infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or bronchiolitis in children, but scientifically these reports have been weak and unreliable, probably because they have only looked at a period of a few days to a week after short-term PM2.5 elevations. An evaluation of a very large population in a geographic location that provides a wide variation in PM2.5 levels from lowest to highest levels and that examines longer periods of time after the PM2.5 elevations is needed to determine whether a PM2.5 association with lower respiratory infection exists.
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, Lancet, STD / 12.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38868" align="alignleft" width="155"]Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France  Prof. Molina[/caption] Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Pre-exposure prophylaxis users and we wished to assess whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with doxycycline could reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in this population. We have found indeed a high rate of STIs most of them (71%) being asymptomatic and warranting therefore systematic testing. Also PEP reduced the incidence of syphilis and chlamydiae infection by 70%, not for gonorrhea due to the high rate of detection in throat swabs without any impact of PEP.
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections / 05.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Ciccozzi Massimo Clinical Pathology and Microbiology Laboratory University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy; Department of Infectious, Parasitic, and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Epidemiology Unit, Reference Centre on Phylogeny, Molecular Epidemiology, and Microbial Evolution (FEMEM), National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy. Prof. Ciccozzi Massimo Clinical Pathology and Microbiology Laboratory University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Italy; Department of Infectious, Parasitic, and Immune-Mediated Diseases, Epidemiology Unit, Reference Centre on Phylogeny, Molecular Epidemiology, and Microbial Evolution (FEMEM), National Institute of Health, Rome, Italy.   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Prof. Massimo: In the spring 2011 civil war becoming in Syria providing condition for diseases outbreaks In the Syrian Arab Republic before the crisis, the access to health services increased since the 1980s, with better equity between the rural populations and the middle class. the capacity of the health system, so as the quality of care, were not sufficient to improve the decrease the inequity. As normally happens the onset of civil war can led to the complete deterioration of the health infrastructure through the destruction of facilities. We describe a group of 48 Syrian migrants arrived in the second week of October 2015 in the asylum seekers centre (ASC) in Rome (Italy) where they receive social, legal and health assistance. An internal healthcare facility (IHF) is operative where specialized personnel (e.g. infectivologist, nurses and psychologist) was prompt to receive the Syrian people making them all the tests for microbial agents presence (bacterial and virus agents). This group is of importance not only because refugee from the tremendous civil war but also because stopped in this Centre for only twenty days. Our aim was the knowledge of their health status, this is important for people that have to travel in north Europe facing many kilometers again. Rectal, nasal and pharyngeal swabs were collected from all refugees, whereas serum samples were available from 30/48 subjects. Eighteen refugees refused phlebotomy for blood collection for religious reasons. All refugees resulted negative for HBV, HBC and HIV infections. Bacterial microorganism and fungi isolated from surveillance swabs were found with Gram-negative bacteria representing by a larger number of species than Gram-positive and fungi microorganisms. These reports enforce the hypothesis that circulation of new emerging pathogens found, can be source of infection in susceptible patients or nosocomial settings. Interestingly, in some subjects, polymicrobial colonization was found and in some cases until to six different microorganisms, potentially pathogens, were isolated in the same individual. The microbiological surveillance performed in this group of Syrian migrants upon their arrival in Italy evidenced the carriage of unusual microorganism, potentially pathogens and carriers of antimicrobial resistance in some cases, that could be introduced in the country giving asylum. These migrants moving from a country to another could promote the diffusion of these microorganisms within different settings during their traveling around the world.
Author Interviews, Duke, Genetic Research, Infections / 24.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20931" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Ephraim Tsalik assesses Charles Watts for a respiratory infection in the ER at the Durham VA Medical Center on Wednesday, January 13, 2016. Dr. Ephraim Tsalik
Duke Health[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ephraim L. Tsalik, MD MHS PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine Duke University Medical Center Emergency Department Service Line Durham VA Medical Center  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tsalik: This study was motivated by the convergence of two research interests.  The first was spearheaded by Dr. Sack, leading our collaboration at Johns Hopkins.  Dr. Sack and his colleagues have a long history and expertise in studying enteric infections such as E. coli.  The second is our group here at Duke’s Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine as well as the Durham VA Medical Center.  Specifically, we have an interest in studying the host response to infectious disease.  One of the ways we’ve done that historically is through challenge studies where healthy volunteers are exposed to a pathogen in a controlled setting.  Despite everyone getting the same exposure, not everyone gets sick.  That observation gives us a unique opportunity to study the host biology of symptomatic individuals, asymptomatic individuals, and what distinguishes the two from each other.  That is precisely what we did here. Volunteers ingested Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), which is a common cause of traveler’s diarrhea.  Some subjects became ill with diarrhea while others remained well.  In this study, we focused on gene expression patterns, which is a snapshot of how genes in the body are being used in response to this infection.  Some genes are more active, some are less.  The pattern of those changes that occur in response to infection is what we call a “signature”. This approach allowed us to generate some key findings.  First of all, we were able to define the genes involved in the body’s response to this type of E. coli infection.  Second, we discovered genes that were differentially expressed at baseline that could distinguish people who would go on to become ill from those that would remain healthy.  Although this study was not designed to identify the mechanism for that resilience to infection, it does focus our attention on where to look.  We suspect the genes we identified are likely to play a role in infectious disease resilience and susceptibility based on their known immune function roles.  We also have data, which wasn’t published in this study, that implicates some of these genes in the resilience to other infections such as influenza. The last major finding was something called Drug Repositioning Analysis.  This is a tool that allowed us to identify drugs and drug classes that could be used to mitigate infections caused by ETEC.  That analysis highlighted some compounds already known to be effective such as Zinc.  But it also identified several other drug classes that have not previously been investigated and could be important tools to combat such infections especially as antibiotic resistance looms.
Author Interviews, PLoS, Urinary Tract Infections / 18.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_20180" align="alignleft" width="277"]Dr Sandra A. Wilks PhD Senior Research Fellow IfLS Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow in Healthcare Technologies Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science & Faculty of Health Sciences Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK Dr. Sandra Wilks[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Sandra A. Wilks PhD Senior Research Fellow IfLS Knowledge Mobilisation Fellow in Healthcare Technologies Faculty of Natural and Environmental Science & Faculty of Health Sciences Centre for Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wilks: The use of indwelling Foley urinary catheters for extended periods of time results in high risks of urinary tract infections (UTI) and catheter blockages. Blockages are often caused by the presence of Proteus mirabilis, a urease-producing bacterium which results in an increase of the urine pH and the development of crystalline biofilms. Biofilms develop when bacteria attach to a surface, forming a community structure, held together by extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). Once in a biofilm, bacteria exhibit high resistance to the action of antibiotics and are protected by other stress factors. The crystalline biofilms resulting from the presence of Proteus are highly complex environments and cause complete blockage of the catheter within days. Such blockages cause pain and trauma for patients, and result in high demands on healthcare resources. In this study, we have used an advanced microscopy technique (episcopic differential interference contrast, EDIC microscopy developed by Best Scientific) to track the development of these crystalline encrustations on two commonly used catheter materials; silicone and hydrogel latex. We have identified four distinct stages to crystalline biofilm formation;
  • (1) an initial foundation layer (conditioning film) formed by individual 'colonising' P. mirabilis cells, which occurred in less than 1 hour;
  • (2) this was rapidly followed by a sheet-like microcrystalline material (after 24 hours) that covers this conditioning film;
  • (3) after 4 days exposure, large amounts of crystalline material was seen to extend out from the surface with;
  • (4) defined struvite crystals embedded within the structure and P. mirabilis visible throughout. This pattern was the same on both materials.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emory, Infections, Pharmacology / 17.12.2015

[caption id="attachment_20151" align="alignleft" width="150"]Carlos del Rio, MD Chair, HIV Medicine Association Department of Medicine Hubert Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases Emory University School of Medicine Dr. Carlos del Rio[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview Questions Carlos del Rio, MD Chair, HIV Medicine Association Department of Medicine Hubert Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health at the Rollins School of Public Health Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases Emory University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Editor's note:  Dr. Carlos del Rio discusses the statement from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) regarding the news that Express Scripts is taking steps to improve access to obtaining pyrimethamine for patients with toxoplasmosis. Medical Research: What is the background for this Express Scripts announcement? Dr. del Rio: The HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America initially heard from our members (ID and HIV clinicians) in August about the 5000% price increase in Daraprim® (from $13.50 to $750 per tablet) following Turing Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition of the rights to distribute Daraprim® from Impax Laboratories, Inc.[1] ID and HIV clinicians told us they had been having difficulties obtaining pyrimethamine since earlier in the summer when Impax implemented a controlled distribution system making the drug available only through Walgreen’s Specialty Pharmacy. Despite HIVMA, IDSA and others urging Turing to reverse the price hike, no action was taken and providers continued to report the scarcity of the drug due to the cost and issues with the distribution system. [2] Due to these ongoing challenges, HIVMA and IDSA thought it was important to provide information to our members and other providers regarding the new lower cost option so they could evaluate this option in consultation with their patients. Initially Turing agreed to reconsider the price increase and to lower it; however, on Nov. 24th Turing announced that they would not lower the list price of Daraprim but instead planned to offer discounts of up to 50% to some hospitals. [3] The announcement reinforced the urgent need for affordable treatment options and failed to address that a majority of the eight to twelve month treatment course occurs on an outpatient basis.
Author Interviews, Infections / 10.07.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. J. Todd Kuenstner MD Clinical Laboratories Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, Virginia West Virginia School of Medicine, Charleston, West Virginia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kuenstner: Prior to the advent of recent antiviral therapies with sustained virologic response rates (SVR) of 94%, ultraviolet blood irradiation (UVBI) was proposed as a method to improve the outcome of treatment with interferon and ribavirin which had an virologic response rates of 50%. This therapy was invented by Dr. Emmett Knott in 1928 and used to treat viral and bacterial infectious disease in the 1930s through the 1950s and an estimated 60,000 treatments were conducted in the United States by 1948. The AVIcure hemo-irradiator is a modification of the Knott Hemo-irradiator and meets contemporary safety standards. This study describes the FDA phase II controlled clinical trial that was conducted before the advent of sofosbuvir and ledipasvir with the AVIcure hemo-irradiator using ultraviolet blood irradiation (UVBI) for the treatment of 10 patients infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This study is significant because of the potential of this device for treating other infectious diseases with few treatment options. This therapy was safe and beneficial in the 10 patients that were studied. At the nadir of the viral load, the mean reduction of hepatitis C viral load was 45% (p=0.0048) or 0.35 log viral load (p=0.015). Three of the patients in the group achieved a greater than 0.5 log viral load reduction at some point in the trial. The phase I controlled clinical trial of UVBI in patients with HCV infection on 10 patients (submitted for publication) showed that 7 of 10 patients had a greater than 0.5 log reduction in viral load and a mean viral load reduction of 56% and a mean log viral load reduction of 0.60 (p=0.039). In the phase II clinical trial, 8 of 10 patients also showed a concurrent reduction in their serum transaminase levels, mean reduction in AST of 15% (p=0.0069) and mean reduction in ALT of 19% (p=0.0031). The above phase II trial results were achieved in spite of two therapeutic “holidays” of 7 weeks duration during the trial and during these therapeutic “holidays” the patients did not receive any treatments.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Infections / 11.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Philip Molloy, MD Imugen Medical Director Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a newly described tick-borne infection in the US, first case published in NEJM Man 2013 (from Imugen researchers).  We then developed and validated both PCR and serologic blood tests.  Physicians  started ordering these tests, and many additional cases were uncovered, 51 of which are described in this paper. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Response: Be aware of yet another pathogen transmitted to humans from ticks, and don't assume it's Lyme.  Tests are available to help sort it out.  Imugen has been offering these tests commercially since 2013.
Author Interviews, MRSA, University of Pennsylvania / 17.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Valerie Cluzet, MD Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Division of Infectious Diseases Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cluzet: MRSA is a major cause of skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) in the community and we know that colonization is an important risk factor for subsequent infection. Past studies have calculated duration of colonization based on colonization at hospital admission or focused on populations not representative of the typical community-dwelling patient. We wanted to identify the factors associated with duration of colonization in a typical patient that clinicians would see (i.e. adults and children presenting to ambulatory setting with a MRSA SSTI), so that the findings would be generalizable and relevant to their practice. In addition, there has been an increasing focus on the role of the household in transmission of MRSA, so wanted to specifically examine that in a longitudinal, systematic way. There are a few major points that emerged from our study. 1) The first is that the duration of colonization after treatment for a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) is relatively short, but there is a significant subset of patients (approximately 20%) who will have persistent colonization. 2) We also found that treatment of the MRSA SSTI with clindamycin was associated with shorter duration of colonization, an association we did not see with other MRSA-active agents. 3) Finally, this study highlights the potential role of MRSA colonization among household members as a contributing factor in duration of colonization in patients.