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Date: 
01/10/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

A total of 221 children from two rural settlements in Northeast Argentina were examined for T. cruzi infection. Blood samples were taken for serology tests and PCR assays. In addition, T. cruzi Discrete Typing Units (DTUs) were determined by hybridization with specific DNA probes of the minicircle hypervariable regions (mHVR). Serological results indicated that 26% (57/215) were reactive against T. cruzi antigens. PCR analyses were performed on seropositive samples showing presence of parasite DNA in 31 out of 53 samples (58.5%). All seropositive children underwent specific chemotherapy with Benznidazole (5mg/kg/day) for a period of two months and were monitored two and five years after treatment. Overall the treatment was well tolerated and low side effects were observed. Serological conversion was observed at two years post -treatment in one child form Pampa Ávila and at five years in two children from Tres Estacas. However, at the end of the follow-up period, T. cruzi DNA could not be detected by PCR in samples from treated children, except in two cases. In addition, the results of hybridizations with specific DNA probes showed that DTU TcV was detected in 68% (21/31), TcVI in 7% (2/31) and TcV/VI in 3% (1/31) of the samples. Altogether, results of the follow-up of treated children showed a low rate of seroconversion; however trend toward seroconversion was evident at five years post-treatment. On the other hand, detection of T. cruzi DNA by PCR significantly decreased after Benznidazole treatment. The existence of data regarding serological and molecular follow-ups from controlled studies in the Chaco Region will be important for future treatment efforts against T. cruzi infection in this region. The results obtained in the present study represent a contribution in this regard.

Date: 
01/01/2013
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In HIV infection, initiation of treatment is associated with improved clinical outcom and reduced rate of sexual transmission. However, difficulty in detecting infection in early stages impairs those benefits. We determined the minimum testing rate that maximizes benefits derived from early diagnosis.

METHODS:

We developed a mathematical model of HIV infection, diagnosis and treatment that allows studying both diagnosed and undiagnosed populations, as well as determining the impact of modifying time to diagnosis and testing rates. The model's external consistency was assessed by estimating time to AIDS and death in absence of treatment as well as by estimating age-dependent mortality rates during treatment, and comparing them with data previously reported from CASCADE and DHCS cohorts.

RESULTS:

In our model, life expectancy of patients diagnosed before 8 years post infection is the same as HIV-negative population. After this time point, age at death is significantly dependent on diagnosis delay but initiation of treatment increases life expectancy to similar levels as HIV-negative population. Early mortality during HAART is dependent on treatment CD4 threshold until 6 years post infection and becomes dependent on diagnosis delay after 6 years post infection. By modifying testing rates, we estimate that an annual testing rate of 20% leads to diagnosis of 90% of infected individuals within the first 8.2 years of infection and that current testing rate in middle-high income settings stands close to 10%. In addition, many differences between low-income and middle-high incomes can be predicted by solely modifying the diagnosis delay.

CONCLUSIONS:

To increase testing rate of undiagnosed HIV population by two-fold in middle-high income settings will minimize early mortality during initiation of treatment and global mortality rate as well as maximize life expectancy. Our results highlight the impact of achieving early diagnosis and the importance of strongly work on improving HIV testing rates.

Date: 
01/09/2012
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

Many developing and threshold countries rely on shallow groundwater wells for their water supply whilst pit latrines are used for sanitation. We employed a unified strategy involving satellite images and environmental monitoring of 16 physico-chemical and microbiological water quality parameters to identify significant land uses that can lead to unacceptable deterioration of source water, in a region with a subtropical climate and seasonally restricted torrential rainfall in Northern Argentina. Agricultural and non-agricultural sources of nitrate were illustrated in satellite images and used to assess the organic load discharged. The estimated human organic load per year was 28.5 BOD(5) tons and the N load was 7.5 tons, while for poultry farms it was 9940-BOD(5) tons and 1037-N tons, respectively. Concentrations of nitrates and organics were significantly different between seasons in well water (p values of 0.026 and 0.039, respectively). The onset of the wet season had an extraordinarily negative impact on well water due in part to the high permeability of soils made up of fine gravels and coarse sand. Discriminant analysis showed that land uses had a pronounced seasonal influence on nitrates and introduced additional microbial contamination, causing nitrification and denitrification in shallow groundwater. P-well was highly impacted by a poultry farm while S-well was affected by anthropogenic pollution and background load, as revealed by Principal Component Analysis. The application of microbial source tracking techniques is recommended to corroborate local sources of human versus animal origin.

Date: 
01/06/2010
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

HAART rollout in Latin America and the Caribbean has increased from approximately 210,000 in 2003 to 390,000 patients in 2007, covering 62% (51%-70%) of eligible patients, with considerable variation among countries. No multi-cohort study has examined rates of and reasons for change of initial HAART in this region.

METHODOLOGY:

Antiretroviral-naïve patients >or= 18 years who started HAART between 1996 and 2007 and had at least one follow-up visit from sites in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Peru were included. Time from HAART initiation to change (stopping or switching any antiretrovirals) was estimated using Kaplan-Meier techniques. Cox proportional hazards modeled the associations between change and demographics, initial regimen, baseline CD4 count, and clinical stage.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Of 5026 HIV-infected patients, 35% were female, median age at HAART initiation was 37 years (interquartile range [IQR], 31-44), and median CD4 count was 105 cells/uL (IQR, 38-200). Estimated probabilities of changing within 3 months and one year of HAART initiation were 16% (95% confidence interval (CI) 15-17%) and 28% (95% CI 27-29%), respectively. Efavirenz-based regimens and no clinical AIDS at HAART initiation were associated with lower risk of change (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.7 (95% CI 1.1-2.6) and 2.1 (95% CI 1.7-2.5) comparing neverapine-based regimens and other regimens to efavirenz, respectively; HR = 1.3 (95% CI 1.1-1.5) for clinical AIDS at HAART initiation). The primary reason for change among HAART initiators were adverse events (14%), death (5.7%) and failure (1.3%) with specific toxicities varying among sites. After change, most patients remained in first line regimens.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adverse events were the leading cause for changing initial HAART. Predictors for change due to any reason were AIDS at baseline and the use of a non-efavirenz containing regimen. Differences between participant sites were observed and require further investigation.

Date: 
01/04/2006
Investigation Line: 

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate clinical, immunologic, and virologic performance of patients with nadir CD4 counts of >350 cells/microL upon treatment interruption.

DESIGN:

Randomized, open-label clinical trial of 48 weeks' duration.

METHODS:

Patients on effective highly active antiretroviral therapy, with nadir CD4 counts of >350 cells/microL and peak viral loads of <50,000 copies/mL were randomized to continue therapy or to interrupt antiretroviral medication. End points for patients with treatment interruption were CD4 counts of <350 cells/microL, viral loads of >1 log above the pretherapy values, or clinical symptoms attributable to HIV, at which point treatment was restarted. In the continuation group, the end points were virologic failure, opportunistic infections, and treatment discontinuation due to toxicities.

RESULTS:

Twenty patients were randomized to stop therapy and 16 patients to continue. Median CD4 counts at baseline were 643 cells/microL for the interruption group and 633 cells/microL for the continuation group. No end points were reached in the interruption group. By week 8, viral load returned to values comparable to those of pretherapy in all patients in the interruption group and remained stable until week 48. CD4 counts dropped in the interruption group (median loss of 156 cells/microL) at week 48. Significant decreases in venous lactate were observed in the interruption group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Treatment interruptions in patients with nadir CD4 counts of >350 cells/microL seem safe for at least 48 weeks. Pretherapy viral load appears as a valuable tool to predict its level at week 48.

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