Open Access Publications

Open Access HIV & TB PublicationsThe Victor Daitz Information Gateway provides financial support to HIV and TB researchers at the University of KwaZulu-Natal wishing to publish papers in Open Access journals. The list of Open Access articles below are papers published with the support of the Victor Daitz Information Gateway.

  • Ikanyeng D Seipone, Ravesh Singh, Vinod B Patel, Avashna Singh, Michelle L Gordon, Daniel M Muema, Keertan Dheda and Thumbi Ndung’u

    PLoS One, Vol 13, Issue 2, 02/2018

    To gain a better understanding of the immunopathogenesis of tuberculous meningitis (TBM) and identify potential diagnostic biomarkers that may discriminate TBM from other HIV-1-associated meningitides, we assessed HIV-1 viral load levels, drug resistance patterns in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-experienced patients with persistent viremia and soluble immunological analytes in peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of HIV-1 infected patients with TBM versus other meningitides. One hundred and three matched blood and CSF samples collected from HIV-1 infected patients with TBM or other meningitides presenting at a hospital in Durban, South Africa, from January 2009 to December 2011 were studied. HIV-1 RNA and 28 soluble immunological potential biomarkers were quantified in blood plasma and CSF. Viremic samples were assessed for HIV-1 drug resistance mutations. There were 16 TBM, 46 probable TBM, 35 non-TBM patients, and six unclassifiable patients. TBM and non-TBM patients did not differ in median plasma viral load but TBM patients had significantly higher median CSF viral load than non-TBM participants (p = 0.0005). No major drug resistance mutations were detected in viremic samples. Interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-17, platelet derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB, granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) and cathelicidin were significantly elevated in the CNS of TBM participants compared to other patients although these associations were lost after correction for false discovery. Our data suggest that TB co-infection of the CNS is associated with enhanced localized HIV-1 viral replication but none of the evaluated soluble immunological potential biomarkers could reliably distinguish TBM from other HIV-associated meningitides.

  • Sinaye Ngcapu, Kristof Theys, Pieter Libin, Vincent C Marconi, Henry Sunpath, Thumbi Ndung’u and Michelle L Gordon

    Viruses, Vol 9, Issue 11, 11/2017

    The South African national treatment programme includes nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) in both first and second line highly active antiretroviral therapy regimens. Mutations in the RNase H domain have been associated with resistance to NRTIs but primarily in HIV-1 subtype B studies. Here, we investigated the prevalence and association of RNase H mutations with NRTI resistance in sequences from HIV-1 subtype C infected individuals. RNase H sequences from 112 NRTI treated but virologically failing individuals and 28 antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive individuals were generated and analysed. In addition, sequences from 359 subtype C ART-naive sequences were downloaded from Los Alamos database to give a total of 387 sequences from ART-naive individuals for the analysis. Fisher's exact test was used to identify mutations and Bayesian network learning was applied to identify novel NRTI resistance mutation pathways in RNase H domain. The mutations A435L, S468A, T470S, L484I, A508S, Q509L, L517I, Q524E and E529D were more prevalent in sequences from treatment-experienced compared to antiretroviral treatment naive individuals, however, only the E529D mutation remained significant after correction for multiple comparison. Our findings suggest a potential interaction between E529D and NRTI-treatment; however, site-directed mutagenesis is needed to understand the impact of this RNase H mutation.

  • Katoba J, Hangulu L, Mashamba-Thompson TP

    BMJ Open, Vol 7, Issue 11, 11/2017

    Point-of-care (POC) testing has been shown to help improve healthcare access in resource-limited settings. However, there is paucity of evidence on accessibility of POC testing for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in resource-limited settings. We propose to conduct a systematic scoping review to map the evidence on POC testing services for PMTCT.

    A scoping review framework, proposed by Arksey and O’Malley, will guide the study. A comprehensive literature search will be performed in the following electronic databases: PubMed, Science Direct, Cochrane Central, Google Scholar and databases within EBSCOhost (Medline and CINAHL). The primary research articles published in peer-reviewed journals and grey articles addressing our question will be included. One reviewer will conduct title screening and the results will be exported to endnote library. Two independent reviewers will perform abstract, then full article screening in parallel. The same process shall be employed to extract data from eligible studies. Data analysis will involve a narrative summary of included studies and thematic content analysis aided by NVIVO software V.11. The mixed methods assessment tool will be used to assess the quality of studies that will be included.

    Ethical approval is not applicable to this study. The study findings will be disseminated through publication in a peer-reviewed journal and presentations at conferences related to syphilis, HIV, PMTCT, bacterial infections and POC diagnostics.

  • Jenniffer M Mabuka, Anne-Sophie Dugast, Daniel M Muema, Tarylee Reddy, Yathisha Ramlakhan, Zelda Euler, Nasreen Ismail, Amber Moodley, Krista L Dong, Lynn Morris, Bruce D Walker, Galit Alter and Thumbi Ndung'u

    Frontiers in Immunology, Vol 8, Issue 8, 09/2017

    Immunological events in acute HIV-1 infection before peak viremia (hyperacute phase) may contribute to the development of broadly cross-neutralizing antibodies. Here, we used pre-infection and acute-infection peripheral blood mononuclear cells and plasma samples from 22 women, including 10 who initiated antiretroviral treatment in Fiebig stages I–V of acute infection to study B cell subsets and B-cell associated cytokines (BAFF and CXCL13) kinetics for up to ~90 days post detection of plasma viremia. Frequencies of B cell subsets were defined by flow cytometry while plasma cytokine levels were measured by ELISA. We observed a rapid but transient increase in exhausted tissue-like memory, activated memory, and plasmablast B cells accompanied by decline in resting memory cells in untreated, but not treated women. B cell subset frequencies in untreated women positively correlated with viral loads but did not predict emergence of cross-neutralizing antibodies measured 12 months post detection of plasma viremia. Plasma BAFF and CXCL13 levels increased only in untreated women, but their levels did not correlate with viral loads. Importantly, early CXCL13 but not BAFF levels predicted the later emergence of detectable cross-neutralizing antibodies at 12 months post detection of plasma viremia. Thus, hyperacute HIV-1 infection is associated with B cell subset changes, which do not predict emergence of cross-neutralizing antibodies. However, plasma CXCL13 levels during hyperacute infection predicted the subsequent emergence of cross-neutralizing antibodies, providing a potential biomarker for the evaluation of vaccines designed to elicit cross-neutralizing activity or for natural infection studies to explore mechanisms underlying development of neutralizing antibodies.

  • Jaya Z, Drain PK, Mashamba-Thompson TP

    PLoS One, Vol 12, Issue 8, 08/2017

    Rapid HIV tests have improved access to HIV diagnosis and treatment by providing quick and convenient testing in rural clinics and resource-limited settings. In this study, we evaluated the quality management system for voluntary and provider-initiated point-of-care HIV testing in primary healthcare (PHC) clinics in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa.

    We conducted a quality assessment audit in eleven PHC clinics that offer voluntary HIV testing and counselling in rural KZN, South Africa from August 2015 to October 2016. All the participating clinics were purposively selected from the province-wide survey of diagnostic services. We completed an on-site monitoring checklist, adopted from the WHO guidelines for assuring accuracy and reliability of HIV rapid tests, to assess the quality management system for HIV rapid testing at each clinic. To determine clinic’s compliance to WHO quality standards for HIV rapid testing the following quality measure was used, a 3-point scale (high, moderate and poor). A high score was defined as a percentage rating of 90 to 100%, moderate was defined as a percentage rating of 70 to 90%, and poor was defined as a percentage rating of less than 70%. Clinic audit scores were summarized and compared. We employed Pearson pair wise correlation coefficient to determine correlations between clinics audit scores and clinic and clinics characteristics. Linear regression model was computed to estimate statistical significance of the correlates. Correlations were reported as significant at p ≤0.05.

    Nine out of 11 audited rural PHC clinics are located outside 20Km of the nearest town and hospital. Majority (18.2%) of the audited rural PHC clinics reported that HIV rapid test was performed by HIV lay counsellors. Overall, ten clinics were rated moderate, in terms of their compliance to the stipulated WHO guidelines. Audit results showed that rural PHC clinics’ average rating score for compliance to the WHO guidelines ranged between 64.4% (CI: 44%– 84%) and 89.2% (CI: 74%– 100%).Ten out of eleven of the clinics were rated as moderate (70–89%). All clinic have scored highest for the following audit component: equipment; process control and specimen management; and facility ad safety, with 100%. Clinics obtained the lowest scores for the assessment audit component followed by process improvement and organisation, with 40.9% (CI: 15.7–66.1%), 45.5% (CI: 10.4–80.5%) and 56.8% (CI: 31.8 81.8%), respectively. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the following: category of staff performing the HIV rapid tests in the audited clinics and service and satisfactory audit component; weekly average number of patients using the audited PHC clinics and service and satisfactory audit component; number of HIV lay counsellors in the audited clinics and quality control audit component with p<0.05.