Steve M Taylor

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (32)227.35 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum parasites that are resistant to artemisinins have been detected in Southeast Asia. Resistance is associated with several polymorphisms in the parasite's K13-propeller gene. The molecular epidemiology of these artemisinin-resistant genotypes in African parasite populations is unknown. We developed an assay to quantify rare polymorphisms in parasite populations using a pooled deep-sequencing approach to score allele frequencies, validated it using mixtures of laboratory parasite strains, and then employed it to screen over 1,100 African P. falciparum infections collected since 2002 from 14 sites across sub-Saharan Africa. We found no mutations in African parasite populations that are associated with artemisinin resistance in Southeast Asian parasites. However, we observed 15 coding mutations, including 12 novel mutations, and limited allele sharing between parasite populations, consistent with a large reservoir of naturally-occurring K13-propeller variation. Though polymorphisms associated with artemisinin resistance in P. falciparum in Southeast Asia are not prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, numerous K13-propeller coding polymorphisms circulate in Africa. Although their distributions do not support a widespread selective sweep for an artemisinin resistant phenotype, the impact of these mutations on artemisinin susceptibility is unknown and will require further characterization. Rapid, scalable molecular surveillance offers a useful adjunct in tracking and containing artemisinin resistance.
    The Journal of infectious diseases. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Sulfadoxine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum undermines malaria prevention with sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine. Parasites with a highly resistant mutant dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) haplotype have recently emerged in eastern Africa; they negated preventive benefits of sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine, and might exacerbate placental malaria. We explored emerging lineages of dhps mutant haplotypes in Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Tanzania by using analyses of genetic microsatellites flanking the dhps locus. In Malawi, a triple-mutant dhps SGEG (mutant amino acids are underlined) haplotype emerged in 2010 that was closely related to pre-existing double-mutant SGEA haplotypes, suggesting local origination in Malawi. When we compared mutant strains with parasites from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania by multiple independent analyses, we found that SGEG parasites were partitioned into separate lineages by country. These findings support a model of local origination of SGEG dhps haplotypes, rather than geographic diffusion, and have implications for investigations of emergence and effects of parasite drug resistance.
    Emerging infectious diseases. 07/2014; 20(7):1140-1148.
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    ABSTRACT: Intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) decreases adverse effects of malaria during pregnancy. Zambia implemented its IPTp-SP programme in 2003. Emergence of SP-resistant Plasmodium falciparum threatens this strategy. The quintuple mutant haplotype (substitutions in N51I, C59R, S108N in dhfr and A437G and K540E in dhps genes), is associated with SP treatment failure in non-pregnant patients with malaria. This study examined efficacy of IPTp-SP and presence of the quintuple mutant among pregnant women in Mansa, Zambia.
    Malaria Journal 06/2014; 13(1):227. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Imported malaria threatens control and elimination efforts in countries that have low rates of transmission. In 2010, an outbreak of Plasmodium falciparum malaria was reported among United Nations peacekeeping soldiers from Guatemala who had recently returned from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Epidemiologic evidence suggested that the soldiers were infected in the DRC, but local transmission could not be ruled out in all cases. We used population genetic analyses of neutral microsatellites to determine the outbreak source. Genetic relatedness was compared among parasites found in samples from the soldiers and parasite populations collected in the DRC and Guatemala; parasites identified in the soldiers were more closely related to those from the DRC. A phylogenetic clustering analysis confirms this identification with >99.9% confidence. Thus, results support the hypothesis that the soldiers likely imported malaria from the DRC. This study demonstrates the utility of molecular genotyping in outbreak investigations.
    Emerging infectious diseases. 06/2014; 20(6):932-40.
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    ABSTRACT: Malaria parasite infections that are only detectable by molecular methods are highly prevalent and represent a potential transmission reservoir. The methods used to detect these infections are not standardized and their operating characteristics are often unknown. We designed a proficiency panel of Plasmodium spp. in order to compare the accuracy of parasite detection of molecular protocols used by labs in a clinical trial consortium. Ten dried blood spots (DBS) were assembled containing P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, and P. ovale; DBS contained either a single species or a species mixed with P. falciparum. DBS panels were tested in 9 participating laboratories in masked fashion. Of 90 tests, 68 (75.6%) were correct; there were 20 false-negative results and 2 false-positives. The detection rate was 77.8% (49/63) for P. falciparum, 91.7% (11/12) for P. vivax, 83.3% (10/12) for P. malariae, and 70% (7/10) for P. ovale. Most false-negative P. falciparum results were from samples with estimated ≤ 5 parasites per μL blood. Between labs, accuracy ranged from 100% to 50%. In one lab, the inability to detect species in mixed-species infections prompted a re-design and improvement of the assay. Most PCR-based protocols were able to detect P. falciparum and P. vivax at higher densities but these assays may not reliably detect parasites in samples with low P. falciparum densities. Accordingly, formal quality assurance for PCR should be employed whenever this method is used for diagnosis or surveillance. Such efforts will be important if PCR is to be widely employed to assist malaria elimination efforts.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 04/2014; · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), artesunate-amodiaquine is first-line therapy for falciparum malaria; little is known about the prevalence of molecular markers of parasite drug resistance. Across the DRC, we genotyped 166 parasites in Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing. Of these parasites, 73 (44%) parasites were pure wild-type CVMNK, 55 (31%) parasites were chloroquine-resistant CVIET, 35 (21.1%) parasites were mixed CVMNK and CVIET, and 3 parasites were other genotypes. Ninety-two infections (55.4%) harbored the pfcrt K76T substitution that is highly correlated with chloroquine failure. The amodiaquine-resistant SVMNT haplotype was absent. Geographically, pfcrt haplotypes were not clearly clustered. Chloroquine accounted for 19.4% of antimalarial use, and amodiaquine accounted for 15.3% of antimalarial use; there were no associations between drug use and mutant haplotype prevalence. In the DRC, our molecular survey indicates that resistance to chloroquine is substantial but that resistance to amodiaquine is absent. These contrasting findings highlight the need for molecular surveillance of drug resistance to inform malaria control policies.
    The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 04/2014; · 2.53 Impact Factor
  • Steve M Taylor, Rick M Fairhurst
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    ABSTRACT: Multiple red cell variants are known to confer protection from malaria. Here, we review advances in identifying new variants that modulate malaria risk and in defining molecular mechanisms that mediate malaria protection. New red cell variants, including an innate variant in the red cell's major Ca pump and the acquired state of iron deficiency, have been associated with protection from clinical falciparum malaria. The polymorphisms hemoglobin C (HbC) and hemoglobin S (HbS) - known to protect carriers from severe falciparum malaria - enhance parasite passage to mosquitoes and may promote malaria transmission. At the molecular level, substantial advances have been made in understanding the impact of HbS and HbC upon the interactions between host microRNAs and Plasmodium falciparum protein translation; remodeling of red cell cytoskeletal components and transport of parasite proteins to the red cell surface; and chronic activation of the human innate immune system, which induces tolerance to blood-stage parasites. Several polymorphisms have now been associated with protection from clinical vivax malaria or reduced Plasmodium vivax density, including Southeast Asian ovalocytosis and two common forms of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Red cell variants that modulate malaria risk can serve as models to identify clinically relevant mechanisms of pathogenesis, and thus define parasite and host targets for next-generation therapies.
    Current opinion in hematology 03/2014; · 5.19 Impact Factor
  • Steve M Taylor, Jonathan J Juliano
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 03/2014; · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pneumocystis jirovecii is a symbiotic respiratory fungus that causes pneumonia (PcP) in immunosuppressed patients. Because P. jirovecii cannot be reliably cultured in vitro, it has proven difficult to study and gaps in our understanding of the organism persist. The release of a draft genome for the organism opens the door for the development of new genotyping approaches for studying its molecular epidemiology and global population structure. We identified and validated 8 putatively neutral microsatellite markers and 1 microsatellite marker linked to the dihydropteroate synthase gene (dhps), the enzymatic target of sulfa drugs used for PcP prevention and treatment. Using these tools, we analyzed P. jirovecii isolates from HIV-infected patients from three geographically distant populations: Uganda, the United States, and Spain. Among the 8 neutral markers, we observed high levels of allelic heterozygosity (average He = 0.586 - 0.842). Consistent with past reports, we observed limited global population structuring, with only Ugandan isolates showing minor differentiation from the other two populations. In Ugandan isolates that harbored mutations in dhps, the microsatellite locus linked to dhps demonstrated a depressed He, consistent with positive directional selection for sulfa-resistance mutations. Using a subset of these microsatellites, analyses of individual and paired samples from infections in San Francisco showed reliable typeability within a single infection and high discriminatory power between infections. These features suggest this novel microsatellite typing approach will be an effective tool for molecular-epidemiological investigations into P. jirovecii population structure, transmission, and drug resistance.
    Journal of clinical microbiology 02/2014; · 4.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iron deficiency and malaria have similar global distributions, and frequently co-exist in pregnant women and young children. Where both conditions are prevalent, iron supplementation is complicated by observations that iron deficiency anaemia protects against falciparum malaria, and that iron supplements increase susceptibility to clinically significant malaria, but the mechanisms remain obscure. Here, using an in vitro parasite culture system with erythrocytes from iron-deficient and replete human donors, we demonstrate that Plasmodium falciparum infects iron-deficient erythrocytes less efficiently. In addition, owing to merozoite preference for young erythrocytes, iron supplementation of iron-deficient individuals reverses the protective effects of iron deficiency. Our results provide experimental validation of field observations reporting protective effects of iron deficiency and harmful effects of iron administration on human malaria susceptibility. Because recovery from anaemia requires transient reticulocytosis, our findings imply that in malarious regions iron supplementation should be accompanied by effective measures to prevent falciparum malaria.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:4446. · 10.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Anemia is common in women of child-bearing age in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As part of the 2007 DRC Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 4638 women of childbearing age (including 526 pregnant women) were tested for HIV and had the hemoglobin content of their blood recorded. We used the leftover dried blood spots to assess malaria prevalence using PCR assays. The DHS provided extensive information on individuals, as well as the geographic coordinates of household clusters which enabled us to derive several variables that characterize the spatial context of these clusters. Multilevel analyses were conducted to determine individual and contextual risk factors for anemia. Prevalence varied geographically; the odds of anemia were associated with both one's ethnic group and the amount and type of nearby agriculture. The odds were not affected by HIV or malaria status.
    Health & Place 08/2013; 24C:54-64. · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular surveillance for drug-resistant malaria parasites requires reliable, timely, and scalable methods. These data may be efficiently produced by genotyping parasite populations using second-generation sequencing (SGS). We designed and validated a SGS protocol to quantify mutant allele frequencies in the Plasmodium falciparum genes dhfr and dhps in mixed isolates. We applied this new protocol to field isolates from children and compared it to standard genotyping using Sanger sequencing. The SGS protocol accurately quantified dhfr and dhps allele frequencies in a mixture of parasite strains. SGS of DNA that was extracted and then pooled from individual isolates estimated mutant allele frequencies that were closely correlated to those estimated by Sanger sequencing (correlations>0.98). SGS obviated most molecular steps in traditional methods, and is cost-saving for parasite populations larger than 50. This SGS genotyping method efficiently and reproducibly estimates parasite allele frequencies within populations of P. falciparum for molecular epidemiologic studies.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 08/2013; · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    Steve M Taylor, Carla Cerami, Rick M Fairhurst
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    ABSTRACT: Plasmodium falciparum malaria kills over 500,000 children every year and has been a scourge of humans for millennia. Owing to the co-evolution of humans and P. falciparum parasites, the human genome is imprinted with polymorphisms that not only confer innate resistance to falciparum malaria, but also cause hemoglobinopathies. These genetic traits-including hemoglobin S (HbS), hemoglobin C (HbC), and α-thalassemia-are the most common monogenic human disorders and can confer remarkable degrees of protection from severe, life-threatening falciparum malaria in African children: the risk is reduced 70% by homozygous HbC and 90% by heterozygous HbS (sickle-cell trait). Importantly, this protection is principally present for severe disease and largely absent for P. falciparum infection, suggesting that these hemoglobinopathies specifically neutralize the parasite's in vivo mechanisms of pathogenesis. These hemoglobin variants thus represent a "natural experiment" to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which P. falciparum produces clinical morbidity, which remain partially obscured due to the complexity of interactions between this parasite and its human host. Multiple lines of evidence support a restriction of parasite growth by various hemoglobinopathies, and recent data suggest this phenomenon may result from host microRNA interference with parasite metabolism. Multiple hemoglobinopathies mitigate the pathogenic potential of parasites by interfering with the export of P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) to the surface of the host red blood cell. Few studies have investigated their effects upon the activation of the innate and adaptive immune systems, although recent murine studies suggest a role for heme oxygenase-1 in protection. Ultimately, the identification of mechanisms of protection and pathogenesis can inform future therapeutics and preventive measures. Hemoglobinopathies slice the "Gordian knot" of host and parasite interactions to confer malaria protection, and offer a translational model to identify the most critical mechanisms of P. falciparum pathogenesis.
    PLoS Pathogens 05/2013; 9(5):e1003327. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pneumocystis jirovecii dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) gene mutations are well-reported. Although sulfa prophylaxis generally is associated with DHPS mutant infection, whether mutant infection is associated with poorer clinical outcomes is less clear. The differing definitions of sulfa prophylaxis and the different mortality endpoints used in these studies may be one explanation for the conflicting study results. Applying different definitions of prophylaxis, mortality endpoints and DHPS mutant to 301 HIV-infected patients with Pneumocystis pneumonia, we demonstrate that prophylaxis, irrespective of definition, increased the risk of infection with pure mutant (any prophylaxis: AOR 4.00, 95% CI: 1.83-8.76, P < 0.001) but not mixed genotypes (any prophylaxis: AOR 0.78, 95% CI: 0.26-2.36, P = 0.65). However, infection with mutant DHPS, irrespective of definition, was not associated with increased mortality (all-cause or PCP death) at the three time-intervals examined (all P > 0.05). Future studies should standardize key variables associated with DHPS mutant infection as well as examine DHPS mutant subtypes (pure mutant vs. mixed infections) - perhaps even individual DHPS mutant genotypes - so that data can be pooled to better address this issue.
    Medical mycology: official publication of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology 03/2013; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the spatial clustering of Plasmodium falciparum populations can assist efforts to contain drug-resistant parasites and maintain the efficacy of future drugs. We sequenced single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the dihydropteroate synthase gene (dhps) associated with sulfadoxine resistance and 5 microsatellite loci flanking dhps in order to investigate the genetic backgrounds, genetic relatedness, and geographic clustering of falciparum parasites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Resistant haplotypes were clustered into subpopulations: one in the northeast DRC, and the other in the balance of the DRC. Network and clonal lineage analyses of the flanking microsatellites indicate that geographically-distinct mutant dhps haplotypes derive from separate lineages. The DRC is therefore a watershed for haplotypes associated with sulfadoxine resistance. Given the importance of central Africa as a corridor for the spread of antimalarial resistance, the identification of the mechanisms of this transit can inform future policies to contain drug-resistant parasite strains.
    Scientific Reports 01/2013; 3:1165. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the context of an Intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) trial for pregnant women in Malawi, Plasmodium falciparum samples from 85 women at enrolment and 35 women at delivery were genotyped for mutations associated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine resistance. The prevalence of the highly resistant haplotype with mutations at codons 51 and 108 of dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr) and codons 437 and 540 of dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) increased from 81% at enrolment to 100% at delivery (P = 0.01). Pregnant women who were smear-positive at enrolment were more likely to have P. falciparum parasitemia at delivery. These results lend support to concerns that IPTp use may lead to increased drug resistance in pregnant women during pregnancy and emphasise the importance of screening pregnant women for malaria parasites in areas with prevalent SP resistance even when they are already on IPTp.
    Tropical Medicine & International Health 11/2012; · 2.94 Impact Factor
  • Clinical Infectious Diseases 06/2012; 55(7):1026-7. · 9.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Antenatal intermittent preventive therapy with 2 doses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (IPTp-SP) is the mainstay of efforts in sub-Saharan Africa to prevent pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM). Recent studies report that drug resistance may cause IPTp-SP to exacerbate PAM morbidity, raising fears that current policies will cause harm as resistance spreads. We conducted a serial, cross-sectional analysis of the relationships between IPTp-SP receipt, SP-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, and PAM morbidity in delivering women during a period of 9 years at a single site in Malawi. PAM morbidity was assessed by parasite densities, placental histology, and birth outcomes. The prevalence of parasites with highly SP-resistant haplotypes increased from 17% to 100% (P < .001), and the proportion of women receiving full IPTp (≥2 doses) increased from 25% to 82% (P < .001). Women who received full IPTp with SP had lower peripheral (P = .018) and placental (P < .001) parasite densities than women who received suboptimal IPTp (<2 doses). This effect was not significantly modified by the presence of highly SP-resistant haplotypes. After adjustment for covariates, the receipt of SP in the presence of SP-resistant P. falciparum did not exacerbate any parasitologic, histologic, or clinical measures of PAM morbidity. In this longitudinal study of malaria at delivery, the receipt of SP as IPTp did not potentiate PAM morbidity despite the increasing prevalence and fixation of SP-resistant P. falciparum haplotypes. Even when there is substantial resistance, SP may be used in modified IPTp regimens as a component of comprehensive antenatal care.
    Clinical Infectious Diseases 03/2012; 55(1):42-50. · 9.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haemoglobinopathies can reduce the risk of malaria syndromes. We aimed to quantify the relation between different haemoglobin mutations and malaria protection to strengthen the foundation for translational studies of malaria pathogenesis and immunity. We systematically searched the Medline and Embase databases for studies that estimated the risk of malaria in patients with and without haemoglobinopathies up to Sept 9, 2011, and identified additional studies from reference lists. We included studies that enrolled mainly children or pregnant women and had the following outcomes: Plasmodium falciparum severe malaria, uncomplicated malaria, asymptomatic parasitaemia, or pregnancy-associated malaria, and Plasmodium vivax malaria. Two reviewers identified studies independently, assessed quality of the studies, and extracted data. We produced odds ratios (ORs; 95% CIs) for case-control studies and incidence rate ratios (IRRs; 95% CIs) for prospective studies. We did the meta-analysis with a random-effects model when equivalent outcomes were reported in more than one study. Of 62 identified studies, 44 reported data for haemoglobin AS, 19 for haemoglobin AC and CC, and 18 for α-thalassaemia. Meta-analysis of case-control studies showed a decreased risk of severe P. falciparum malaria in individuals with haemoglobin AS (OR 0·09, 95% CI 0·06-0·12), haemoglobin CC (0·27, 0·11-0·63), haemoglobin AC (0·83, 0·67-0·96), homozygous α-thalassaemia (0·63, 0·48-0·83), and heterozygous α-thalassaemia (0·83, 0·74-0·92). In meta-analysis of prospective trials only haemoglobin AS was consistently associated with protection from uncomplicated malaria (IRR 0·69, 95% CI 0·61-0·79); no haemoglobinopathies led to consistent protection from asymptomatic parasitaemia. Few clinical studies have investigated β-thalassaemia, haemoglobin E, P. vivax malaria, or pregnancy-associated malaria. Haemoglobin AS, CC, and AC genotypes and homozygous and heterozygous α-thalassaemia provide significant protection from severe malaria syndromes, but these haemoglobinopathies differ substantially in the degree of protection provided and confer mild or no protection against uncomplicated malaria and asymptomatic parasitaemia. Through attenuation of severity of malaria, haemoglobinopathies could serve as a model for investigation of the mechanisms of malaria pathogenesis and immunity. US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases 03/2012; 12(6):457-68. · 19.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP) is an important opportunistic infection in patients infected with HIV, but its burden is incompletely characterized in those areas of sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is prevalent. We explored the prevalence of both PCP in HIV-infected adults admitted with pneumonia to a tertiary-care hospital in Uganda and of putative P. jirovecii drug resistance by mutations in fungal dihydropteroate synthase (dhps) and dihydrofolate reductase (dhfr). In 129 consecutive patients with sputum smears negative for mycobacteria, 5 (3.9%) were diagnosed with PCP by microscopic examination of Giemsa-stained bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Concordance was 100% between Giemsa stain and PCR (dhps and dhfr). PCP was more prevalent in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV (11.4%) than in patients with known HIV (1.1%; p = 0.007). Mortality at 2 months after discharge was 29% overall: 28% among PCP-negative patients, and 60% (3 of 5) among PCP-positive patients. In these 5 fungal isolates and an additional 8 from consecutive cases of PCP, all strains harbored mutant dhps haplotypes; all 13 isolates harbored the P57S mutation in dhps, and 3 (23%) also harbored the T55A mutation. No non-synonymous dhfr mutations were detected. PCP is an important cause of pneumonia in patients newly-diagnosed with HIV in Uganda, is associated with high mortality, and putative molecular evidence of drug resistance is prevalent. Given the reliability of field diagnosis in our cohort, future studies in sub-Saharan Africa can investigate the clinical impact of these genotypes.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49991. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

312 Citations
227.35 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2009–2014
    • Duke University Medical Center
      • Division of Infectious Diseases
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
    • Duke University
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2013
    • University of California, San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States
    • University of Oxford
      • Department of Zoology
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2009–2013
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Department of Epidemiology
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  • 2010
    • University of Tampere
      • Department of International Health
      Tampere, Western Finland, Finland