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Vanessa Rivera-Amill

Vanessa Rivera-Amill
Ponce Health Sciences University/ Ponce Research Institute · Basic Sciences, School of Medicine

PhD

About

77
Publications
8,804
Reads
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1,589
Citations
Citations since 2017
44 Research Items
690 Citations
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2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction
My research interests are focused on how chronic inflammation leads to the development of depression and its effects in HIV antiretroviral therapy adherence and immune system functions. I am also interested in understanding the risks, development, and progression of malignancies observed in individuals with an underlying HIV/AIDS. Specifically examining unique features of HIV-associated inflammation and how it may contribute to microbiome dysbiosis and the development of metabolic syndrome.
Additional affiliations
July 2005 - present
Ponce Health Sciences University/ Ponce Research Institute
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (77)
Article
Background We evaluated dengue presentation by age, the performance of the 2015 PAHO case criteria in identifying dengue cases, and variables to improve specificity. Methods Patients with fever ≤7 days (n = 10,408) were recruited from two emergency departments from May 2012–December 2015. Serum samples were tested for dengue, chikungunya, and naso...
Article
Full-text available
Limited dengue virus (DENV) seroprevalence estimates are available for Puerto Rico, which are needed to inform the potential use and cost-effectiveness of DENV vaccines. The Communities Organized to Prevent Arboviruses (COPA) is a cohort study initiated in 2018 in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to assess arboviral disease risk and provide a platform to evalua...
Poster
Full-text available
Gobies of the Sicydium complex are abundant in the Caribbean islands. Three species of Sicydium (buscki, plumieri and punctatum) have been identified in Puerto Rico. The most important characteristic is that they migrate between freshwater and saltwater ecosystems (amphidrome). Collecting samples with as little disturbance as possible is important...
Article
Full-text available
Dengue is a growing public health threat, causing approximately 400 million infections annually. In June 2021, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the first dengue vaccine (CYD-TDV) for children aged 9-16 years with a previous dengue infection, living in endemic areas, such as Puerto Rico (PR). As the COVID-19 pandemic affe...
Article
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This study characterizes community perceptions on a large-scale project seeking to reduce the population of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and prevent arboviral disease transmission in Ponce, Puerto Rico; and to leverage on these perceptions to make modifications to ensure effective project implementation. In 2017-2018 the team conducted informal intervi...
Article
Full-text available
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an RNA virus that evolves over time, leading to new variants. In the current study, we assessed the genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in the Dominican Republic. A total of 1149 SARS-CoV-2 complete genome nucleotide sequences from samples collected between March 2020 and mid-February 2...
Article
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Infections with Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne alphavirus, cause an acute febrile syndrome often followed by chronic arthritis that persists for months to years post infection. Neutralizing antibodies are the primary immune correlate of protection elicited by infection, and the major goal of vaccinations in development. Using convalescent bloo...
Article
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We reconstructed the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic caused by Omicron variant in Puerto Rico by sampling genomes collected during October 2021-May 2022. Our study revealed that Omicron BA.1 emerged and replaced Delta as the predominant variant in December 2021. Increased transmission rates and a dynamic landscape of Omicron sublineage infections followed.
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), placed health systems worldwide under immense pressure, and healthcare workers (HCWs) were at the front lines. The Puerto Rico Department of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in March 2020. We aimed to assess whether COVID-19 preventive measures implemen...
Preprint
Dengue is a growing public health threat, causing approximately 400 million infections annually. In June 2021, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended the first dengue vaccine (CYD-TDV) for children aged 9–16 years with a previous dengue infection, living in endemic areas, such as Puerto Rico (PR). As the COVID-19 pandemic affe...
Article
Full-text available
Dengue and influenza are pathogens of global concern and cause febrile illness similar to COVID-19. We analyzed data from an enhanced surveillance system operating from three emergency departments and an urgent care clinic in Puerto Rico to identify clinical features predictive of influenza or dengue compared with COVID-19. Participants with fever...
Article
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We performed whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from prospectively identified cases in three longitudinal household cohorts. In a majority of multi-infection households, SARS-CoV-2 consensus sequences were indistinguishable, and they differed by 1 to 2 mutations in the rest.
Article
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Background Puerto Rico has experienced the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first detected on the island in March of 2020, it spread rapidly though the island’s population and became a critical threat to public health. Methods We conducted a genomic surveillance study through a partnership...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The reliability of sequence-based inference of SARS-CoV-2 transmission is not clear. Sequence data from infections among household members can define the expected genomic diversity of a virus along a defined transmission chain. Methods SARS-CoV-2 cases were identified prospectively among 2,369 participants in 706 households. Specimens w...
Article
Full-text available
Mosquito-borne arboviruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses have each caused large outbreaks during 2010–2022. To date, the majority of control measures to prevent these diseases focus on mosquito control and many require community participation. In 2018, the U...
Article
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As of January 20, 2022, > 247,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,400 deaths were reported in Puerto Rico (PR). We interviewed participants aged ≥ 14 years in the Communities Organized to Prevent Arboviruses (COPA) study, a community-based cohort in PR, about COVID-19 vaccine intention from November 12, 2020, to June 25, 2021. We used univariate and...
Article
Full-text available
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) caused a large outbreak in Puerto Rico in 2014, followed by a Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak in 2016. Communities Organized for the Prevention of Arboviruses (COPA) is a cohort study in southern Puerto Rico, initiated in 2018 to measure arboviral disease risk and provide a platform to evaluate interventions. To identify risk f...
Poster
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This poster presents preliminary results of using a portable MiniPCR bio thermocycler, as a field method, to molecularly determine the sex of monomorphic wild native and migratory Caribbean birds.
Article
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Introduction: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic revealed a worldwide lack of effective molecular surveillance networks at local, state, and national levels, which are essential to identify, monitor, and limit viral community spread. SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) such as Alpha and Omicron, which show...
Article
Objective To describe anthropometric, sensory, and neurodevelopmental outcomes of Zika virus exposed children from birth to 36 months. Study design The cohort includes 114 children born to mothers with confirmed and probable ZIKV pregnancy infection, from 2016-2017. Children attending study visits from May 2017 through February 2020 underwent phys...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mosquito-borne arboviruses are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico, chikungunya, dengue, and Zika viruses have each caused large outbreaks during 2010–2022. To date, the majority of control measures to prevent these diseases focus on mosquito control and many require community participation. In 2018, the U...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures on seasonal respiratory viruses is unknown in sub-tropical climates. Methods: We compared weekly testing and test-positivity of respiratory infections in the 2019-2020 respiratory season to the 2012-2018 seasons in southern Puerto Rico using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Results: Compared to...
Article
Full-text available
The diagnosis of dengue disease, caused by the dengue virus (DENV) (a flavivirus), often requires serologic testing during acute and early convalescent phases of the disease. Some symptoms of DENV infection, such as nonspecific fever, are similar to those caused by infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In studies with few COVID...
Preprint
Full-text available
Puerto Rico has experienced the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was first detected on the island in March of 2020, it spread rapidly though the island’s population and became a critical threat to public health. We conducted a genomic surveillance study through a partnership with health agencie...
Article
Full-text available
Serological cross-reactivity has proved to be a challenge to diagnose Zika virus (ZIKV) infections in dengue virus (DENV) endemic countries. Confirmatory testing of ZIKV IgM positive results by plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNTs) provides clarification in only a minority of cases because most individuals infected with ZIKV were previously...
Article
Full-text available
Arboviral diseases transmitted by Aedes species mosquitoes pose an increasing public health challenge in tropical regions. Wolbachia- mediated population suppression ( Wolbachia suppression) is a vector control method used to reduce Aedes mosquito populations by introducing male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia , a naturally occurring endosymbiot...
Article
Full-text available
Hispanics are the majority ethnic population in Puerto Rico where we reviewed charts of 109 hospitalized COVID-19 patients to better understand demographic and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 and determine risk factors for poor outcomes. Eligible medical records of hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 illnesses were reviewed at four p...
Article
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HIV-1 genetic diversity and resistance profile might change according to the risky sexual behavior of the host. To show this, we recruited 134 individuals between the years 2015 to 2017 identified as Transgender Women Sex Workers (TWSW, n = 73) and Heterosexual Military Officers (HET-MO, n = 61). After obtaining informed consent, we collected a blo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Several genomic epidemiology tools have been developed to track the public and population health impact of SARS-CoV-2 community spread worldwide. A SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7, known as 501Y.V1, which shows increased transmissibility, has rapidly become the dominant VOC in the United States (US). Our objective was to develop an evid...
Article
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The HIV-1 integrase viral protein is responsible for incorporating the viral DNA into the genomic DNA. The inhibition of viral integration into host cell DNA is part of recent therapeutic procedures. Combination therapy with protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors has demonstrated good synergistic results in reducing viral replication. The pu...
Article
Full-text available
Background Influenza is one of the most common viral respiratory diseases in the United States with 9–45 million cases per year. In Puerto Rico, more than 18,000 cases of influenza were reported during the 2019/20 season. The Sentinel Enhanced Dengue Surveillance System (SEDSS) conducts acute febrile illness surveillance for inpatient and outpatien...
Article
Full-text available
Background Dengue, the most prevalent arboviral infection disease worldwide affects more than 2.5 billion people. Puerto Rico has endemic transmission of dengue virus (DENV). Chronic diseases like diabetes mellitus (DM) tend to increase susceptibility to infectious diseases. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is also one of the chronic diseases with higher pre...
Article
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Many applications have been developed for electronic data collection. However, offline field navigation tools incorporating secure electronic data capture and field visit tracking are currently scarce. We created an R-Shiny application, HTrack (Household Tracking), for use on encrypted Android devices in the field. The application was implemented i...
Article
Full-text available
Background After Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Americas, laboratory-based surveillance for arboviral diseases in Puerto Rico was adapted to include ZIKV disease.Methods and findingsSuspected cases of arboviral disease reported to Puerto Rico Department of Health were tested for evidence of infection with Zika, dengue, and chikungunya viruses by...
Article
Full-text available
Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is increasingly used for HIV-1 drug resistance genotyping. NGS methods have the potential for a more sensitive detection of low-abundance variants (LAV) compared to standard Sanger sequencing (SS) methods. A standardized threshold for reporting LAV that generates data comparable to those derived from SS is needed to...
Article
Full-text available
Alcohol-related disorders (ARD) are highly prevalent among Latin American-Caribbean countries. Mental disorders are common comorbidities in individuals with ARD. However, the etiology of the association between ARD and mental disorders remains unclear. We examined the association of inflammatory cytokines, microbiome, and other biomakers with measu...
Article
Full-text available
Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral, acute febrile illness (AFI) is associated with polyarthralgia and polyarthritis. Differentiation from other AFI is difficult due to the non-specific presentation and limited availability of diagnostics. This 3-year study identified independent clinical predictors by day post-illness onset (DPO) at presentation a...
Poster
Full-text available
Validating the procedure of molecular sex identification by characterizing the gene of chromium helicase DNA binding (CHDW/CHDZ) by using 2250F/2718R and P2/P8 primer sets, for eventually determine sex in monomorphic birds in birds of Puerto Rico. *Preliminary data indicates that the PCR method using the primer sets 2550/2716 and P2/P8 needs to be...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne Alphavirus transmitted to humans, primarily via Aedes mosquitoes. In Puerto Rico, the first locally transmitted infections were reported in May 2014. Although the virus strain in Puerto Rico is related to the Asian/American lineage, many autochthonous cases have emerged recently in the...
Article
Full-text available
Tobacco use has been implicated as an immunomodulator in the oral cavity and contributes to the development of oral cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on bacterial diversity and host responses compared to healthy nonsmoking controls. Saliva samples were collected from eighteen smokers and sixteen nonsmoki...
Article
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The implementation of antiretroviral treatment combined with the monitoring of drug resistance mutations improves the quality of life of HIV-1 positive patients. The drug resistance mutation patterns and viral genotypes are currently analyzed by DNA sequencing of the virus in the plasma of patients. However, the virus compartmentalizes, and differe...
Article
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Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) subtype B virus is the most prevalent subtype in Puerto Rico (PR), accounting for about 90% of infection in the island. Recently, other subtypes and circulating recombinant forms (CRF) including F (12_BF), A (01_BF), and CRF-39 BF-like have been identified. The purpose of this study is to assess the distributi...
Article
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HIV-1 epidemics in Caribbean countries, including Puerto Rico, have been reported to be almost exclusively associated with the subtype B virus (HIV-1B). However, while HIV infections associated with other clades have been only sporadically reported, no organized data exist to accurately assess the prevalence of non-subtype B HIV-1 infection. We ana...
Article
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Objective: HIV-1 variants with different tropisms are associated with various neuropathologies. This study intends to determine if this correlation is determined by unique viral env sequences. We hypothesize that HIV-1 envelope gene sequence changes are associated with cognition status. Methods: Viral RNA was extracted from peripheral blood mono...
Article
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In the era of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) account for 40 to 56% of all HIV(+) cases. During the acute stage of HIV-1 infection (<6 months), the virus invades and replicates within the central nervous system (CNS). Compared to peripheral tissues, the local CNS cell population expresses disti...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: Combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) has changed the clinical presentation of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) to that of the milder forms of the disease. Asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment (ANI) is now more prevalent and is associated with increased morbidity and mortality risk in HIV-1-infected people. HIV-1 enve...
Article
Full-text available
The Caribbean region has the world second highest incidence rate of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The island of Hispaniola is composed of 2 sovereign nations: the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Together, they account for more than 85% of HIV/AIDS cases in the Caribbean; and the Dominican Republic alone has approximately 46,000 (33,000-59,000)...
Article
Full-text available
Depression is the most common psychiatric diagnosis in the HIV/AIDS population and represents a risk factor for disease progression. Since HIV-1 infection is characterized by immunologic and metabolic disturbances, we want to study the effects of depression on different components related to pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress markers. We hypothe...
Article
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Background: Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), most commonly Crohn's disease (CD) or ulcerative colitis (UC), suffer from chronic intestinal inflammation of unknown etiology. Increased proinflammatory macrophages (M1) have been documented in tissue from patients with CD. Anti-inflammatory macrophages (M2) may play a role in UC given t...
Article
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HIV-1 infection can lead to neurocognitive impairment collectively known as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Although combined antiretroviral treatment (cART) has significantly ameliorated HIV's morbidity and mortality, persistent neuroinflammation and neurocognitive dysfunction continue. This review focuses on the current clinical a...
Article
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Neurocognitive impairments remain prevalent in HIV-1 infected individuals despite current antiretroviral therapies. It is increasingly becoming evident that astrocytes play a critical role in HIV-1 neuropathogenesis through the production of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines. HIV-1 viral protein R (Vpr) plays an important role in neuronal dysfun...
Article
Viral protein R (Vpr) is an accessory protein of HIV and SIV involved in the pathogenesis of viral infection. In this study, we monitored SIV evolution in the central nervous system and other organs from morphine-dependent and control animals by sequencing vpr in an attempt to understand the relationship between drug abuse, disease progression, and...
Article
Despite the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy that effectively limits viral replication, memory impairment remains a dilemma for HIV infected people. In the CNS, HIV infection of astrocytes leads to the production of the HIV-1 Nef protein without viral replication. Post mortem studies have found Nef expression in hippocampal astrocytes of pe...
Article
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In addition to its role in virus entry, HIV-1 gp120 has also been implicated in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. However, the mechanism(s) responsible for gp120-mediated neuroinflammation remain undefined. In view of increased levels of IL-6 in HIV-positive individuals with neurological manifestations, we sought to address whether gp120 is...
Article
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Our previous studies have shown two distinct disease patterns (rapid and normal onset of clinical symptoms) in morphine-dependent SHIV/SIV-inoculated rhesus macaques. We have also shown that control as well as 50% of morphine-dependent macaques (normal progressor) developed humoral and cellular immune responses whereas the other half of the morphin...
Article
Full-text available
Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have been shown to compartmentalize within various tissues, including the brain. However, the evolution of viral quasispecies in the setting of drug abuse has not been characterized. The goal of this study was to examine viral evolution in the cerebral compartment of mor...
Article
Full-text available
HIV and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have a formidable capacity for mutation and adaptation, a characteristic that has contributed to the extensive genetic variability. Evolutionary pressures imposed within the host and the viral capacity to mutate lead to the generation of such variants. To date, very little information is available regardi...