[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are now used widely in non-laboratory settings by non-laboratory-trained operators. Quality assurance programmes are essential in ensuring the quality of HIV RDT outcomes. However, there is no cost-effective means of supplying the many operators of RDTs with suitable quality assurance schemes. Therefore, it was examined whether photograph-based RDT results could be used and correctly interpreted in the non-laboratory setting. Further it was investigated if a single training session improved the interpretation skills of RDT operators. The photographs were interpreted, a 10-minute tutorial given and then a second interpretation session was held. It was established that the results could be read with accuracy. The participants (n=75) with a range of skills interpreted results (>80% concordance with reference results) from a panel of 10 samples (three negative and seven positive) using four RDTs. Differences in accuracy of interpretation before and after the tutorial were marked in some cases. Training was more effective for improving the accurate interpretation of more complex results, e.g. results with faint test lines or for multiple test lines, and especially for improving interpretation skills of inexperienced participants. It was demonstrated that interpretation of RDTs was improved using photographed results allied to a 10-minute training session. It is anticipated that this method could be used for training but also for quality assessment of RDT operators without access to conventional quality assurance or training schemes requiring wet samples.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(3):e18294. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe immunodeficiency during primary human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is unusual. Here, we characterized viral and immunological parameters in a subject presenting with Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia in the setting of prolonged primary HIV illness and delayed seroconversion. HIV antibody was only detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay 12 months after presentation, and Western blot profiles remain indeterminate. Isolated virus was of R5 phenotype, exhibited poor viral fitness, but was otherwise unremarkable. Analysis of HIV antibody isotypes showed failure to mount a detectable HIV IgG response over nearly 2 years of infection, in particular IgG(1)- and IgG(3)-specific responses, despite normal responses to common infections and vaccines. Genetic analysis demonstrated homozygosity for part of an MHC haplotype containing susceptibility genes for common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) syndrome and other antibody deficiency disorders. Thus, a primary disorder of specific antibody production may explain exceptionally slow antibody development in an otherwise severe seroconversion illness. This highlights the need for multiparameter testing, in particular use of a fourth generation HIV test, for confirming HIV infection and underscores the importance of host factors in HIV pathogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several clinical studies have shown that, relative to disease progression, HIV-1 isolates that are less fit are also less pathogenic. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between viral fitness and control of viral load (VL) in acute and early HIV-1 infection. Samples were obtained from subjects participating in two clinical studies. In the PULSE study, antiretroviral therapy (ART) was initiated before, or no later than six months following seroconversion. Subjects then underwent multiple structured treatment interruptions (STIs). The PHAEDRA study enrolled and monitored a cohort of individuals with documented evidence of primary infection. The subset chosen were individuals identified no later than 12 months following seroconversion to HIV-1, who were not receiving ART. The relative fitness of primary isolates obtained from study participants was investigated ex vivo. Viral DNA production was quantified using a novel real time PCR assay. Following intermittent ART, the fitness of isolates obtained from 5 of 6 PULSE subjects decreased over time. In contrast, in the absence of ART the fitness of paired isolates obtained from 7 of 9 PHAEDRA subjects increased over time. However, viral fitness did not correlate with plasma VL. Most unexpected was the high relative fitness of isolates obtained at Baseline from PULSE subjects, before initiating ART. It is widely thought that the fitness of strains present during the acute phase is low relative to strains present during chronic HIV-1 infection, due to the bottleneck imposed upon transmission. The results of this study provide evidence that the relative fitness of strains present during acute HIV-1 infection may be higher than previously thought. Furthermore, that viral fitness may represent an important clinical parameter to be considered when deciding whether to initiate ART during early HIV-1 infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elite non-progressors (plasma viral load < 50 copies/ml while antiretroviral naive) constitute a tiny fraction of HIV-infected individuals. After 12 years follow-up of a cohort of 13 long-term non-progressors (LTNP) identified from 135 individuals with transfusion-acquired HIV infection, 5 remained LTNP after 23 to 26 years infection, but only 3 retained elite LTNP status. We examined the mechanisms that differentiated delayed progressors from LTNP in this cohort.
A survival advantage was conferred on 12 of 13 subjects, who had at least one host genetic factor (HLA, chemokine receptor or TLR polymorphisms) or viral attenuating factor (defective nef) associated with slow progression. However, antiviral immune responses differentiated the course of disease into and beyond the second decade of infection. A stable p24-specific proliferative response was associated with control of viraemia and retention of non-progressor status, but this p24 response was absent or declined in viraemic subjects. Strong Gag-dominant cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses were identified in most LTNP, or Pol dominant-CTL in those with nef-defective HIV infection. CTL were associated with control of viraemia when combined with p24 proliferative responses. However, CTL did not prevent late disease progression. Individuals with sustained viral suppression had CTL recognising numerous Gag epitopes, while strong but restricted responses to one or two immunodominant epitopes was effective for some time, but failed to contain viraemia over the course of this study. Viral escape mutants at a HLA B27-restricted Gag-p24 epitope were detected in only 1 of 3 individuals, whereas declining or negative p24 proliferative responses occurred in all 3 concurrent with an increase in viraemia.
Detectable viraemia at study entry was predictive of loss of LTNP status and/or disease progression in 6 of 8, and differentiated slow progressors from elite LTNP who retained potent virological control. Sustained immunological suppression of viraemia was independently associated with preserved p24 proliferative responses, regardless of the strength and breadth of the CTL response. A decline in this protective p24 response preceded or correlated with loss of non-progressor status and/or signs of disease progression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rapid antibody tests for the detection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) offer an effective means of providing a timely result of HIV serostatus to individuals. The increased use of rapid HIV antibody tests outside the laboratory has highlighted the need for new, cost-effective quality assurance methods to be developed for use in nonlaboratory-based and resource-limited settings. Photographed rapid HIV test results were used in a modified external quality assessment scheme to assess the interpretation proficiency and, therefore, to assess the feasibility of using this method as a basis for a quality assessment program for nonlaboratory-based testing. Participants (n = 148), both experienced and inexperienced in the performance and interpretation of rapid HIV testing, interpreted the photographed results of five rapid HIV assays. These were scored according to the degree of technical discordance. Error scores were grouped according to each participant's technical experience. The accuracy of interpretation for four of the five assays was between 80 and 97%, indicating that the photographed results of samples, including those difficult to read or borderline difficult to read, can be used to assess the proficiency of test operators in interpreting results. Participants had greater difficulty in interpreting samples of weak reactivity; this was consistent across the five assays. Experience played an important role in accurate interpretation, with experienced laboratory participants exhibiting greater proficiency (P < 0.05) in interpreting the results of three of the five rapid HIV assays. It was established that photographed results of rapid HIV assays could be interpreted with accuracy and demonstrated that prior experience resulted in a more accurate interpretation performance.
Journal of clinical microbiology 05/2008; 46(5):1692-7. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sydney Blood Bank Cohort (SBBC) consists of eight blood transfusion recipients infected with nef-attenuated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) acquired from a single donor. Here, we show that viral phenotypes and antibody responses differ considerably between individual cohort members, despite the single source of infection. Replication of isolated virus varied from barely detectable to similar to that of the wild-type virus, and virus isolated from five SBBC members showed coreceptor usage signatures unique to each individual. Higher viral loads and stronger neutralizing antibody responses were associated with better-replicating viral strains, and detectable viral replication was essential for the development of strong and sustained humoral immune responses. Despite the presence of strong neutralizing antibodies in a number of SBBC members, disease progression was not prevented, and each cohort member studied displayed a unique outcome of infection with nef-attenuated HIV-1.
Journal of Virology 10/2007; 81(17):9268-78. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In efforts to develop an effective vaccine, sterilizing immunity to primate lentiviruses has only been achieved by the use of live attenuated viruses carrying major deletions in nef and other accessory genes. Although live attenuated HIV vaccines are unlikely to be developed due to a myriad of safety concerns, opportunities exist to better understand the correlates of immune protection against HIV infection by studying rare cohorts of long-term survivors infected with attenuated, nef-deleted HIV strains such as the Sydney blood bank cohort (SBBC). Here, we review studies of viral evolution, pathogenicity, and immune responses to HIV infection in SBBC members. The studies show that potent, broadly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies and robust CD8+ T-cell responses to HIV infection were not necessary for long-term control of HIV infection in a subset of SBBC members, and were not sufficient to prevent HIV sequence evolution, augmentation of pathogenicity and eventual progression of HIV infection in another subset. However, a persistent T-helper proliferative response to HIV p24 antigen was associated with long-term control of infection. Together, these results underscore the importance of the host in the eventual outcome of infection. Thus, whilst generating an effective antibody and CD8+ T-cell response are an essential component of vaccines aimed at preventing primary HIV infection, T-helper responses may be important in the generation of an effective therapeutic vaccine aimed at blunting chronic HIV infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-term survival of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection has been noted in rare cohorts of individuals infected with nef-deleted virus. Enhanced macrophage tropism and cytopathicity contribute to pathogenicity of wild type HIV-1. To better understand the pathogenesis of nef-deleted HIV-1, we analyzed the replication capacity and macrophage cytopathicity of nef-deleted HIV-1 isolated sequentially from a long-term survivor during progression to AIDS (n=6 isolates). Compared with controls, all nef-deleted viruses replicated to low levels in peripheral blood mononu-clear cells and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM). One nef-deleted virus that was isolated on the development of AIDS caused high levels of syncytia in MDM similar to control viruses, but five viruses isolated from earlier times prior to AIDS onset caused only minimal cytopathicity. Together, these results suggest that enhanced cytopathicity of nef-deleted HIV-1 for MDM can occur independently of replication capacity, and may contribute to the pathogenesis of nef-deleted HIV-1 infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sydney blood bank cohort (SBBC) of long-term survivors consists of multiple individuals infected with attenuated, nef-deleted variants of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) acquired from a single source. Long-term prospective studies have demonstrated that the SBBC now comprises slow progressors (SP) as well as long-term nonprogressors (LTNP). Convergent evolution of nef sequences in SBBC SP and LTNP indicates the in vivo pathogenicity of HIV-1 in SBBC members is dictated by factors other than nef. To better understand mechanisms underlying the pathogenicity of nef-deleted HIV-1, we examined the phenotype and env sequence diversity of sequentially isolated viruses (n = 2) from 3 SBBC members.
The viruses characterized here were isolated from two SP spanning a three or six year period during progressive HIV-1 infection (subjects D36 and C98, respectively) and from a LTNP spanning a two year period during asymptomatic, nonprogressive infection (subject C18). Both isolates from D36 were R5X4 phenotype and, compared to control HIV-1 strains, replicated to low levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). In contrast, both isolates from C98 and C18 were CCR5-restricted. Both viruses isolated from C98 replicated to barely detectable levels in PBMC, whereas both viruses isolated from C18 replicated to low levels, similar to those isolated from D36. Analysis of env by V1V2 and V3 heteroduplex tracking assay, V1V2 length polymorphisms, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis showed distinct intra- and inter-patient env evolution.
Independent evolution of env despite convergent evolution of nef may contribute to the in vivo pathogenicity of nef-deleted HIV-1 in SBBC members, which may not necessarily be associated with changes in replication capacity or viral coreceptor specificity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The authors studied the transcriptional activity of blood-and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-derived nef/long-terminal repeat (LTR) sequences isolated from a slow progressor infected with nef-deleted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) who developed HIV-associated dementia (HIVD). The transcriptional activity of CSF-derived nef/LTR clones isolated during HIVD was up to 4.5-fold higher than blood-derived clones isolated before and during HIVD when tested under basal, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-(PMA-), and Tat-activated conditions, and was associated with the presence of duplicated nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB and specificity factor-1 (Sp-1) binding sites coupled with a truncated nef sequence, increased replication capacity, and high CSF viral load. Thus, nef and LTR mutations that augment transcription may contribute to neuropathogenesis of nef-deleted HIV-1.
Journal of NeuroVirology 07/2006; 12(3):219-28. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the potency, breadth of action, and mechanism of action of the polyclonal goat anti-HIV antibody, PEHRG214.
Typical human antibody responses to HIV-1 infection are unable to neutralize virus efficiently, clear the infection, or prevent disease progression. However, more potent neutralizing antibodies may be capable of playing a pivotal role in controlling HIV replication in vivo. PEHRG214 is a polyclonal caprine antibody raised against purified HIV-associated proteins, such that epitopes that are immunologically silent in humans may potentially be recognized in another species. It has been administered safely to HIV-infected individuals in Phase I clinical trials.
The anti-HIV activity of PEHRG214 was assessed using neutralization and virion lysis assays. The target proteins for PEHRG214 activity were investigated using flow cytometry and by adsorption of anti-cell antibodies from the antibody cocktail.
PEHRG214 strongly neutralized a diverse range of primary HIV-1 isolates, encompassing subtypes A to E and both CCR5 and CXCR4 phenotypes. Neutralization was enhanced by the presence of complement. PEHRG214 also induced complement-mediated lysis of all HIV-1 isolates tested, and recognized or cross-reacted with a number of host cell proteins. Lysis was abrogated by adsorption with T and/or B cells expressing GPI-linked proteins, but not by GPI-deficient B cells or red blood cells.
PEHRG214 was found to potently neutralize and lyse HIV-1 particles. By targeting host cell proteins present in the viral envelope, which are conserved among all strains tested, PEHRG214 potentially opens up a highly novel means of eliminating circulating virus in infected individuals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We studied the evolution and compartmentalization of nef/long terminal repeat (nef/LTR)-deleted human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) from a long-term survivor who developed HIV-associated dementia (HIVD). Analysis of sequential blood-derived HIV-1 isolated before and during HIVD revealed a persistent R5X4 phenotype and a progressive loss of nef/LTR sequence; in contrast, HIV-1 present in cerebrospinal fluid during HIVD had an R5 phenotype, distinct nef/LTR sequence of unique deletions and additional nuclear factor- kappa B sites and specificity factor-1 sites, and enhanced transcriptional activity, compared with the blood-derived isolates. Thus, nef/LTR-deleted HIV-1 strains may undergo compartmentalized evolution in long-term survivors and cause neurologic disease.
The Journal of Infectious Diseases 01/2005; 190(12):2181-6. · 5.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disease progression in human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals is frequently accompanied by declining CD4 cell numbers and the acquisition of a T-tropic (X4) or dual tropic (R5X4) phenotype. Understanding the mechanism of CD4 cell loss in HIV-1 infection is essential for the development of effective therapeutic strategies. In this study, donor populations of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were selected for their ability to support an equivalent acute infection by both R5 and X4 virus phenotypes. This demonstrated that CD4+ T-lymphocyte loss was due to the gp120 region of Env and was replication independent. Furthermore, apoptosis was only detected in cells infected with an X4 virus after the majority of CD4+ T-lymphocyte loss had occurred. These observations indicate that the CD4+ T-lymphocyte loss in an X4 HIV-1 infection is not directly mediated by apoptosis, although apoptosis may be induced in the remaining cell population as a consequence of this CD4+ T-lymphocyte loss.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To establish the pharmacokinetics and safety of single-dose polyclonal caprine anti-HIV antibodies ((PE)HRG214)in HIV-1-infected individuals.
A phase 1, open-label, nonrandomized, dose-escalating study.
HIV-1-infected patients with CD4+ T-cell counts of < or =200 cells/microL and plasma HIV viral load (VL)of > or =5,000 copies/mL received a single intravenous dose of HRG. Dosing began at 6,000 U/kg HRG with proposed step-wise escalation to 96,000 U/kg.
Eleven males were enrolled; median CD4+T-cell count and VL were 96 cells/microL and 126,200 copies/mL, respectively. HRG exhibited linear pharmacokinetics across the dosing range studied. The mean terminal elimination half-life (t(1/2)) was 136.6 +/- 44.6 hours (range, 52.6-198 h). Serum sickness occurred in one 48,000 U/kg HRG recipient. One 6,000 U/kg and two 24,000 U/kg HRG recipients developed a mild rash. Between baseline and day 60, VL remained unchanged (n = 6), increased by 0.67 log(10) copies/mL (n = 1), or declined by 0.34-1.55 log(10) copies/mL (n = 4).
Single-dose HRG exhibited linear kinetics and a long half-life. Although numbers in each dosing group were very small (n = 3), HRG was generally well tolerated in doses below 48,000 U/kg. Multiple dosing with HRG in the HIV-salvage setting may be complicated by immune-complex formation.
HIV Clinical Trials 01/2004; 5(2):91-8. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Vpr protein is known to arrest the cell cycle in G(2)/M and induce apoptosis following arrest. The functions of Vpr relative to its location in the cell remain unresolved. We now demonstrate that the location and function of Vpr are dependent on the makeup of fusion proteins and that the functions of G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis are separable. Using green fluorescence protein mutants (EGFP or EYFP), we found that fusion at either the N- or C-terminus compromised the ability of Vpr to arrest cell cycling, relative to that of His-Vpr or wild-type protein. Additionally, utilizing the ability to specifically identify cells expressing the fusion proteins, we confirm that Vpr can induce apoptosis, but appears to be independent of cell-cycle arrest in G(2)/M. Both N- and C-terminal Vpr/EYFP fusion proteins induced apoptosis but caused minimal G(2)/M arrest. These studies with Vpr fusion proteins indicate that the functions of Vpr leading to G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis are separable and that fusion of Vpr to EGFP or EYFP affected the localization of the protein. Our findings suggest that nuclear membrane localization and nuclear import and export are strongly governed by modification of the N-terminus of Vpr.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 has at its disposal numerous proteins encoded by its genome which provide the required arsenal to establish and maintain infection in its host for a considerable number of years. One of the most important and enigmatic of these proteins is Nef. The Nef protein of HIV-1 plays a fundamental role in the virus life cycle. This small protein of approximately 27 kDa is required for maximal virus replication and disease progression. The mechanisms by which it is able to act as a positive factor during virus replication is an area of intense research and although some controversy surrounds Nef much has been gauged as to how it functions. Its ability to modulate the expression of key cellular receptors important for cell activation and control signal transduction elements and events by interacting with numerous cellular kinases and signalling molecules, including members of the Src family kinases, leading to an effect on host cell function is likely to explain at least in part its role during infection and represents a finely tuned mechanism where this protein assists HIV-1 to control its host.
Journal of Biosciences 05/2003; 28(3):323-35. · 1.76 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary HIV-1 infection (PHI) is associated with a period of viremia, the resolution of which generally coincides with the development of both humoral and cellular immune responses. In this study replication-competent quasispecies were derived from virus isolated from an individual before and after seroconversion. Virus was also isolated from the presumed donor. Phenotypic and genotypic analysis of biological clones identified transmission of an R5/M-tropic phenotype. However, the ability of clones derived from the recipient to replicate in primary macrophages and PBMCs was restricted after transmission. This apparent selection process was supported by analysis of molecular clones derived from the isolated virus. Analysis of the ratio of synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions predicted the existence of selective pressure soon after transmission, coincident with the development of HIV-1-specific antibodies. An Env trans-complementation assay demonstrated that the infectivity of a clone derived from the recipient after seroconversion was enhanced in the presence of a selected neutralizing antibody, indicating that the developing humoral immune response may have at least in part contributed to the selective pressure identified.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses 06/2002; 18(8):545-56. · 2.71 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nef gene product of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is important for the induction of AIDS, and key to its function is its ability to manipulate T-cell function by targeting cellular signal transduction proteins. We reported that Nef coprecipitates a multiprotein complex from cells which contains tumor suppressor protein p53. We now show that Nef interacts directly with p53. Binding assays showed that an N-terminal, 57-residue fragment of Nef (Nef 1-57) contains the p53-binding domain. Nef also interacted with p53 during HIV-1 infection in vitro. As p53 plays a critical role in the regulation of apoptosis, we hypothesized that Nef may alter this process. Nef inhibited UV light-induced, p53-dependent apoptosis in MOLT-4 cells, with Nef 1-57 being as effective as its full-length counterpart. The inhibition by Nef of p53 apoptotic function is most likely due its observed ability to decrease p53 protein half-life and, consequently, p53 DNA binding activity and transcriptional activation. These data show that HIV-1 Nef may augment HIV replication by prolonging the viability of infected cells by blocking p53-mediated apoptosis.
Journal of Virology 04/2002; 76(6):2692-702. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Two Australian HIV-1 isolates, derived from patient blood (HIV(MBC200)) and cerebrospinal fluid (HIV(MBC925)), were characterized after in vitro culture in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Although virus replication was similar, as measured by cell-free reverse transcriptase activity, only one of the two isolates (HIV-1(MCB200)) consistently induced cell syncytia and depleted the PBMC population of CD4+ cells by cell killing. A novel technique, devised for rapidly obtaining high-quality viral sequence data and the full-length genomic sequence of these two isolates, is presented. Analysis of the predicted sequence of the viral Env proteins provides correlates of the observed phenotypes. Phylogenetic analysis derived using near full-length sequence of these and other HIV-1 subtype B genomic sequences (including two other Australian isolates) shows a star-shaped phylogeny with each member having a similar genetic diversity. These data expand the database of genomic sequence available from well-characterized primary clinical isolates of HIV-1 using a novel rapid technique.
Journal of Biomedical Science 01/2000; 7(2):128-35. · 2.46 Impact Factor