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.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Sexual Health / 04.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49588" align="alignleft" width="135"]Monika K. Goyal, M.D., MSCE Assistant chief of Children’s Division Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services Dr. Goyal[/caption] Monika K. Goyal, M.D., MSCE Assistant chief of Children’s Division Emergency Medicine and Trauma Services  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adolescents are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and often present to the emergency department for care. I have devoted almost 15 years of my career trying to improve the sexual health of teens through advocacy and the development of novel interventions in the emergency department to increase access to sexual health services for youths.
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Sexual Health, STD / 21.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lee Warner, PhD Chief of the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch Division of Reproductive Health CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous research has found lower prevalence of condom use combined with the most effective reversible contraceptive methods among teens, but this is the first study to our knowledge to confirm the finding among sexually active teen mothers in the postpartum period. Our new paper finds that only 3 in 10 postpartum teen mothers report using condoms combined with a more effective contraceptive method (either long-acting reversible contraception or LARC or a non-LARC hormonal method). Dual use was 50 percent lower among LARC users compared with users of non-LARC hormonal methods.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Infections, STD, Vaccine Studies / 01.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48302" align="alignleft" width="143"]Lisa T. Wigfall, PhD, MCHES(R)Assistant Professor, Health and KinesiologyTexas A&M Dr. Wigfall[/caption] Lisa T. Wigfall, PhD, MCHES(R) Assistant Professor, Health and Kinesiology Texas A&M MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papilloma virus (or HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection that can cause some types of cancer. These include anal, cervical, oral, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Some people such as people who are HIV-positive and men who have sex with men have a greater risk for developing HPV-associated cancers. The risk of developing anal cancer is significantly higher for men who have sex with men who are also HIV-positive. Our study included adults who were at risk for becoming HIV-positive, which included having unprotected anal sex.
Author Interviews, NEJM, STD / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45787" align="alignleft" width="200"]Intracellular Gram-negative, Neisseria gonorrhoeae diplococcal bacteria, - CDC image Intracellular Gram-negative, Neisseria gonorrhoeae diplococcal bacteria, - CDC image[/caption] Edward W. Hook, III, MD University of Alabama at Birmingham Medicine / Infectious Diseases Birmingham, AL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Zoliflodacin represents a new class of antibiotics (spiropyrimidinetriones) with in vitro activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae, as well as other STD  pathogens (Chlamydia trachomatis and Mycoplasma genitalium).  Because of this promising data and the fact that the manufacturer (Entasis Pharmaceuticals) was willing to pursue the possibility of using this drug to treat gonorrhea, a Phase II trial was conducted which showed he drug to be 96% effective for genital or rectal infections.  The drug was well tolerated as well making it a promising drug for gonorrhea treatment which might help to combat the increasing problem of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea. 
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, HIV, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, STD / 24.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43452" align="alignleft" width="135"]Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., senior study author Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine Children’s National Health System Washington, DC Dr. Goyal[/caption] Monika K. Goyal, M.D., M.S.C.E., senior study author Assistant professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine Children’s National Health System Washington, DC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are at an increased risk for syphilis and HIV. We know that adolescents account for 20 percent of the 1 million cases of PID that are diagnosed each year. We also know that an estimated one in four sexually active adolescent females has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). While screening for syphilis and HIV is recommended when diagnosing PID, actual screening rates among adolescents have been understudied. This multi-center study aimed to quantify rates of HIV and syphilis screening in young women diagnosed with . pelvic inflammatory disease in pediatric emergency departments and to explore patient- and hospital-specific characteristics associated with screening for these two sexually transmitted infections.
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, Gender Differences, HIV, Sexual Health / 09.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38140" align="alignleft" width="116"]Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing  Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214 Dr. Juarez[/caption] Adrian Juarez, PhD, RN Assistant Professor The State University of New York School of Nursing Department of Family, Community and Health Systems Sciences Buffalo, New York 14214     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: HIV testing is considered the initial component of HIV eradication strategies such as “seek, test, treat, and retain.” This study examines the characteristics of an urban, transgender population in western New York when volunteering for an HIV test. The use of an intersectional lens was observed in order to determine the level of influence of sexual partnership types, previous HIV and STD testing, substance use, housing status referral source and racial/gender identification on HIV testing.
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet, STD, Vaccine Studies / 11.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Helen Petousis-Harris. BSc, PhD Senior Lecturer, Dept General Practice and Primary Health Care Academic Head, Immunisation Research and Vaccinology Immunisation Advisory Centre School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences University of Auckland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Early thinking came from two quarters. One, the observation that the NZ OMV vaccine appeared broadly protective – beyond the clone it was based on and two, the observation of graphs depicting annual number of cases from both Cuba and NZ. There is nothing to suggest other types of meningococcal vaccine have had any effect on gonorrhoea so we are interested in the OMV vaccines. This led to the hypothesis that as these two Neisseria species are related the meningococcal OMV in the form of a vaccine may offer some kind of cross protection. To explore this possibility we conducted a case-control study that compared the vaccination status of cases (gonorrhoea) and controls (Clamydia). We found that the cases with gonorrhoea were less likely to be vaccinated than the controls and after we controlled for confounders – ethnicity, SE deprivation, age we found a vaccine effectiveness of 31%.
Author Interviews, BMJ, HIV, STD / 17.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31241" align="alignleft" width="200"]Michael Rekart, MD, DTM&H Clinical Professor, Medicine and Global Health The University of British Columbia .... On behalf of my co-authors Dr. Michael Rekart[/caption] Michael Rekart, MD, DTM&H Clinical Professor, Medicine and Global Health The University of British Columbia .... On behalf of my co-authors MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for this study is the observation that new syphilis cases over the last decade in British Columbia, Canada, have been escalating more rapidly than anyone could have predicted and that syphilis incidence has outpaced the incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and chlamydia. This unexpected increase in syphilis has been almost wholly concentrated in men who have sex with men (MSM). Most of these MSM are HIV-1 infected and many are taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). In fact, the expansion in HAART coverage in MSM parallels the growth in syphilis in the same population. In addition, my co-authors and I had serious doubts as to whether 'treatment optimism', the generally accepted explanation for this phenomenon, was robust enough to account for such a dramatic increase in new syphilis cases. Treatment optimism posits that HAART availability and effectiveness have led to the perception in both HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-uninfected individuals that HIV-1 transmission has become much less likely, and the effects of HIV-1 infection less deadly. This is expected to result in increased sexual risk-taking, especially unprotected anal intercourse, leading to more non-HIV-1 STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.
Author Interviews, Fertility, HPV, OBGYNE, STD / 12.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_26136" align="alignleft" width="149"]Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil Dr. Dejan Nonato[/caption] Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) share the same route of sexual transmission and possess similar risk factors, indicating that co-infection may act synergistically in the induction of epithelial cell abnormalities.
Author Interviews, Infections, PLoS, Sexual Health, STD / 07.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24009" align="alignleft" width="151"]Charu Kaushic. PhD. Professor OHTN Applied HIV Research Chair Department of Pathology and Mol. Medicine McMaster Immunology Research Center, McMaster University Dr. Charu Kaushic[/caption] Charu Kaushic. PhD. Professor OHTN Applied HIV Research Chair Department of Pathology and Mol. Medicine McMaster Immunology Research Center, McMaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kaushic: Female sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone have been shown to regulate immune responses in many experimental and clinical studies. We and others have shown previously that these hormones also regulate susceptibility to and outcome of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Chlamydia, HSV-2, SIV and HIV-1. Most studies show that progesterone generally increases susceptibility while estradiol generally confers protection against STIs. This has recently gained much more widespread attention because of the controversy surrounding use of injectable hormonal contraceptives in geographical areas where there is high prevalence of HIV-1. The most frequently used injectable contraceptive uses a progestin-based formulation which has been correlated with 2-fold increase in HIV acquisition and transmission in epidemiological studies. Oral contraceptives that contain a combination of estradiol and progesterone do not show similar correlation with increased infection. This is currently a very important women’s health issue, which is being carefully monitored by many public health agencies, including WHO. Many researchers are focusing efforts in understanding how sex hormones can increase or decrease susceptibility of women to STIs. We have published in this area for more than a decade, including a series of papers showing that in a mouse model, the outcome of genital herpes (HSV-2) infection can depend on which hormone we treat the mice with. A few years ago, we showed for the first time that mice that received an HSV-2 vaccine under the influence of estradiol were much better protected and showed less disease pathology (Bhavanam et al, Vaccine 2008). These results were reproduced a year later by another group, using an actual HSV-2 vaccine formulation. Since then, we have been working to understand at a cellular level, the underlying mechanism of estradiol-mediated enhanced protection. In this PLOS Pathogens paper, we report for the first time a cellular mechanism by which estradiol was seen to enhance immune protection against HSV-2 infection in mice. The main findings are that estradiol primes dendritic cells in the vaginal tract to induce enhanced anti-viral T cell responses. Dendritic cells are key immune cells that decide what type of immune responses will be mounted against an infection. Under the influence of estradiol, the dendritic cells in the vaginal tract of mice induced Th17 cells which in turn helped enhance anti-viral T cell responses (Th1), resulting in better protection against genital HSV-2. This regulation of anti-viral immunity was seen only in the reproductive tract.
Author Interviews, STD / 18.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Pam Sonnenberg  Reader in Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research Department of Infection & Population Health University College London London MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sonnenberg:  This study strengthens growing evidence that Mycoplasma genitalium (MG) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Analyses of over 4500 of urine samples from Britain’s third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3) showed that MG was prevalent in up to 1% of the general population aged 16-44, who had reported at least one sexual partner. Prevalence was much higher in those who had reported more than four sexual partners in the past year – 5.2% in men and 3.1% in women. Absence of the infection in over 200 16-17 year olds who had not had vaginal, anal, or oral sex provided further evidence that MG is transmitted sexually. The study also analysed risk factors for  Mycoplasma genitalium, such as ethnicity, number of partners, and areas of deprivation. There were strong associations with risky sexual behaviours, with similar behavioural risk factors to other known STIs. The authors found that men of Black ethnicity and those living in the most deprived areas were more likely to test positive for MG. Over 90% of Mycoplasma genitalium in men and over two-thirds of MG cases in women were in those aged 25–44 years; an age group who would not be included in STI prevention measures currently aimed at young people in Britain. Interestingly, the majority of participants who tested positive for MG did not report any STI symptoms in the last month. Over half of women did not report any symptoms, but among those who did, bleeding after sex was most common. Over 90% of MG positive men did not report any symptoms.
Author Interviews, Infections, Technology / 09.02.2015

[caption id="attachment_11496" align="alignleft" width="200"]Smartphone dongles performed a point-of-care HIV and syphilis test from finger prick whole blood in 15 minutes, operated by health care workers trained on a software app. Credit: Samiksha Nayak, Columbia Engineering Smartphone dongles performed a point-of-care HIV and syphilis test from finger prick whole blood in 15 minutes, operated by health care workers trained on a software app. Credit: Samiksha Nayak, Columbia Engineering[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tassaneewan Laksanasopin PhD Candidate Molecular and Microscale Bioengineering Lab Columbia University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We miniaturized and integrated all components needed for blood test (similar to ELISA) to be run on a smartphone accessory for point-of-care testing of infectious diseases.  The device simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers for HIV, treponemal syphilis and nontreponemal syphilis from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes.  In a blinded experiment in three health clinics in Rwanda, local health care workers obtained diagnostic results from 96 patients enrolled in prevention of mother-to-child transmission and voluntary counseling programs.  The test performance from our triplexed test was 92-100% sensitivity and 79-92% specificity compared to the gold standard of lab-based HIV ELISA, Treponema pallidum haemagglutination and rapid plasma reagin.  Importantly, patient preference for the dongle was 97% compared to lab-based tests, with most pointing to the convenience of obtaining quick results with a single finger prick.  This work suggests coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones.
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics / 27.08.2014

Dr. Ralph Joseph Diclemente PhD Behavoral Sciences & Health School Of Public Health Emory University Atlanta GeorgiaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ralph Joseph Diclemente PhD Behavoral Sciences & Health School Of Public Health Emory University Atlanta Georgia   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?  Dr. DiClemente: In our study of 701 African American girls we observed significant and durable reductions in laboratory-confirmed sexually transmitted infections (50% reduction in chlamydial infections and a 60% reduction in gonorrhea) among girls in our intervention group relative to the comparison condition over a 36-month follow-up period.  In addition, we observed significant increases in condom use during sex and reductions in sex while using drugs or alcohol.  The key finding is the durability of the results - 3 years in the life of an adolescent is a long period.