2,647 research outputs found

    Risks of requiring a dedicated molecular specimen for HIV diagnosis and a potential strategy for mitigation

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    BACKGROUND: HIV screening (i.e. antigen/antibody) tests are followed by a supplemental (i.e. antibody-only) if the screen is positive. Discrepant results can result from two scenarios: a false-positive screening test or acute HIV infection. These scenarios can be distinguished by a molecular HIV test, but due to contamination concerns, our laboratory recently implemented a policy requiring a second specimen dedicated for molecular HIV testing. Our objective was to (1) characterize the effect of this policy on the time-to-diagnosis for patients with discrepant screening and supplemental test results, and (2) explore strength of positivity as an interim predictor of screening test accuracy while awaiting confirmatory test results. METHODS: Data from our laboratory information system, electronic health record, and instrument logs were used to collate data for all HIV testing performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital (BJH) between January 1, 2014 and October 18, 2017. RESULTS: Requiring a dedicated specimen for molecular testing significantly increased the time-to-diagnosis for patients with discrepant screening and supplemental HIV tests (p = 0.0084). This policy also contributed to loss-to-followup, with 0/35 discrepant cases lost-to-followup prior to policy implementation compared to 2/10 after implementation. However, by optimizing the signal-to-cutoff (S/CO) ratio of the screening test, we were able to more accurately distinguish false-positives from acute-HIV prior to molecular testing (sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 89%). CONCLUSIONS: We propose utilizing quantitative fourth-generation assay results (S/CO) ratios as a predictor of infection true positivity in situations where the screening assay is reactive but the supplemental test is negative and confirmatory molecular results are not immediately available

    Microsatellite markers for the biogeographically enigmatic sandmyrtle (Kalmia buxifolia, Phyllodoceae: Ericaceae)

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    Premise: Microsatellite markers were developed for sandmyrtle, Kalmia buxifolia (Ericaceae), to facilitate phylogeographic studies in this taxon and possibly many of its close relatives. Methods and Results: Forty‐eight primer pairs designed from paired‐end Illumina MiSeq data were screened for robust amplification. Sixteen pairs were amplified again, but with fluorescently labeled primers to facilitate genotyping. Resulting chromatograms were evaluated for variability using three populations from Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Jersey, USA. Eleven primer pairs were reliable and polymorphic (mean 3.92 alleles), one was reliable but monomorphic, and four were not reliable. The markers exhibited lower heterozygosity (mean 0.246) than expected (mean 0.464). Cross‐amplification in the remaining nine Kalmia species exhibited a phylogenetic pattern, suggesting broad applicability of the markers across the genus. Conclusions: These microsatellite markers will be useful in population genetics and species boundaries studies of K. buxifolia, K. procumbens, and likely all other Kalmia species.publishedVersio

    Microsatellite markers for the biogeographically enigmatic sandmyrtle (Kalmia buxifolia, Phyllodoceae: Ericaceae)

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    Premise: Microsatellite markers were developed for sandmyrtle, Kalmia buxifolia (Ericaceae), to facilitate phylogeographic studies in this taxon and possibly many of its close relatives. Methods and Results: Forty‐eight primer pairs designed from paired‐end Illumina MiSeq data were screened for robust amplification. Sixteen pairs were amplified again, but with fluorescently labeled primers to facilitate genotyping. Resulting chromatograms were evaluated for variability using three populations from Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Jersey, USA. Eleven primer pairs were reliable and polymorphic (mean 3.92 alleles), one was reliable but monomorphic, and four were not reliable. The markers exhibited lower heterozygosity (mean 0.246) than expected (mean 0.464). Cross‐amplification in the remaining nine Kalmia species exhibited a phylogenetic pattern, suggesting broad applicability of the markers across the genus. Conclusions: These microsatellite markers will be useful in population genetics and species boundaries studies of K. buxifolia, K. procumbens, and likely all other Kalmia species.publishedVersio

    Revision of Madagascar's Dwarf Lemurs (Cheirogaleidae:Cheirogaleus): Designation of Species, Candidate Species Status and Geographic Boundaries Based on Molecular and Morphological Data

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    The genus Cheirogaleus, the dwarf lemurs, is a radiation of strepsirrhine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. The dwarf lemurs are taxonomically grouped in the family Cheirogaleidae (Infraorder: Lemuriformes) along with the genera Microcebus, Mirza, Allocebus, and Phaner. The taxonomic history of the genus Cheirogaleus has been controversial since its inception due to a paucity of evidence in support of some proposed species. In this study, we addressed this issue by expanding the geographic breadth of samples by 91 individuals and built upon existing mitochondrial (cytb and COII) and nuclear (FIBA and vWF) DNA datasets to better resolve the phylogeny of Cheirogaleus. The mitochondrial gene fragments D-loop and PAST as well as the CFTR-PAIRB nuclear loci were also sequenced. In agreement with previous genetic studies, numerous deep divergences were resolved in the C. major, C. minor and C. medius lineages. Four of these lineages were segregated as new species, seven were identified as confirmed candidate species, and four were designated as unconfirmed candidate species based on comparative mitochondrial DNA sequence data gleaned from the literature or this study. Additionally, C. thomasi was resurrected. Given the widespread distribution of the genus Cheirogaleus throughout Madagascar, the methodology employed in this study combined all available lines of evidence to standardize investigative procedures in a genus with limited access to type material and a lack of comprehensive sampling across its total distribution. Our results highlighted lineages that likely represent new species and identified localities that may harbor an as-yet undescribed cryptic species diversity pending further field and laboratory work.We are most grateful to the Ahmanson Foundation, the Theodore F. and Claire M. Hubbard Family Foundation, the Primate Action Fund / Conservation International, the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, and the National Geographic Society, for financial assistance

    Growth, detection, quantification, and inactivation of SARS-CoV-2

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    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 is the agent responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to SARS-CoV, which caused the 2003 SARS outbreak. Although numerous reagents were developed to study SARS-CoV infections, few have been applicable to evaluating SARS-CoV-2 infection and immunity. Current limitations in studying SARS-CoV-2 include few validated assays with fully replication-competent wild-type virus. We have developed protocols to propagate, quantify, and work with infectious SARS-CoV-2. Here, we describe: (1) virus stock generation, (2) RT-qPCR quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA; (3) detection of SARS-CoV-2 antigen by flow cytometry, (4) quantification of infectious SARS-CoV-2 by focus-forming and plaque assays; and (5) validated protocols for virus inactivation. Collectively, these methods can be adapted to a variety of experimental designs, which should accelerate our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology and the development of effective countermeasures against COVID-19

    Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae: A cross-sectional study of isolates recovered from routine urine cultures in a high-incidence setting

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    ABSTRACT The objectives of this study were to perform genomic and phenotypic characterization of antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae isolates recovered from urine samples from patients in St. Louis, MO, USA. Sixty-four clinical isolates were banked over a 2-year period and subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) by Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion (penicillin, tetracycline, cefuroxime, and ciprofloxacin) and gradient diffusion (tetracycline, doxycycline, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, cefixime, ciprofloxacin, gemifloxacin, and delafloxacin). The medical records for the patients were evaluated to determine the demographics, location, and prescribed treatment regimen. Isolate draft genomes were assembled from Illumina shotgun sequencing data, and resistance determinants were identified by ResFinder and PointFinder. Of the 64 isolates, 97% were nonsusceptible to penicillin, with resistant isolates all containing the blaTEM-1b gene; 78 and 81% of isolates were nonsusceptible to tetracycline and doxycycline, respectively, with resistant isolates all containing the tet(M) gene. One isolate was classified as non-wild-type to azithromycin, and all isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone; 89% of patients received this combination of drugs as first-line therapy. Six percent of isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, with most resistant isolates containing multiple gyrA and parC mutations. Correlation between disk and gradient diffusion AST devices was high for tetracycline and ciprofloxacin (R2 > 99% for both). The rates of N. gonorrhoeae antibiotic resistance in St. Louis are comparable to current rates reported nationally, except ciprofloxacin resistance was less common in our cohort. Strong associations between specific genetic markers and phenotypic susceptibility testing hold promise for the utility of genotype-based diagnostic assays to guide directed antibiotic therapy. IMPORTANCE Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhea, which is most commonly diagnosed using a DNA-based detection method that does not require growth and isolation of N. gonorrhoeae in the laboratory. This is problematic because the rates of antibiotic resistance in N. gonorrhoeae are increasing, but without isolating the organism in the clinical laboratory, antibiotic susceptibility testing cannot be performed on strains recovered from clinical specimens. We observed an increase in the frequency of urine cultures growing N. gonorrhoeae after we implemented a total laboratory automation system for culture in our clinical laboratory. Here, we report on the rates of resistance to multiple historically used, first-line, and potential future-use antibiotics for 64 N. gonorrhoeae isolates. We found that the rates of antibiotic resistance in our isolates were comparable to national rates. Additionally, resistance to specific antibiotics correlated closely with the presence of genetic resistance genes, suggesting that DNA-based tests could also be designed to guide antibiotic therapy for treating gonorrhea

    Subclinical infection of macaques and baboons with a baboon simarterivirus

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    Simarteriviruses (Arteriviridae: Simarterivirinae) are commonly found at high titers in the blood of African monkeys but do not cause overt disease in these hosts. In contrast, simarteriviruses cause severe disease in Asian macaques upon accidental or experimental transmission. Here, we sought to better understand the host-dependent drivers of simarterivirus pathogenesis by infecting olive baboons (n = 4) and rhesus monkeys (n = 4) with the simarterivirus Southwest baboon virus 1 (SWBV-1). Surprisingly, none of the animals in our study showed signs of disease following SWBV-1 inoculation. Three animals (two rhesus monkeys and one olive baboon) became infected and sustained high levels of SWBV-1 viremia for the duration of the study. The course of SWBV-1 infection was highly predictable: plasma viremia peaked between 1 × 107 and 1 × 108 vRNA copies/mL at 3–10 days post-inoculation, which was followed by a relative nadir and then establishment of a stable set-point between 1 × 106 and 1 × 107 vRNA copies/mL for the remainder of the study (56 days). We characterized cellular and antibody responses to SWBV-1 infection in these animals, demonstrating that macaques and baboons mount similar responses to SWBV-1 infection, yet these responses are ineffective at clearing SWBV-1 infection. SWBV-1 sequencing revealed the accumulation of non-synonymous mutations in a region of the genome that corresponds to an immunodominant epitope in the simarterivirus major envelope glycoprotein GP5, which likely contribute to viral persistence by enabling escape from host antibodies

    Seroprevalence of Zika virus in wild African green monkeys and baboons

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    ABSTRACT Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently spread through the Americas and has been associated with a range of health effects, including birth defects in children born to women infected during pregnancy. Although the natural reservoir of ZIKV remains poorly defined, the virus was first identified in a captive “sentinel” macaque monkey in Africa in 1947. However, the virus has not been reported in humans or nonhuman primates (NHPs) in Africa outside Gabon in over a decade. Here, we examine ZIKV infection in 239 wild baboons and African green monkeys from South Africa, the Gambia, Tanzania, and Zambia using combinations of unbiased deep sequencing, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR), and an antibody capture assay that we optimized using serum collected from captive macaque monkeys exposed to ZIKV, dengue virus, and yellow fever virus. While we did not find evidence of active ZIKV infection in wild NHPs in Africa, we found variable ZIKV seropositivity of up to 16% in some of the NHP populations sampled. We anticipate that these results and the methodology described within will help in continued efforts to determine the prevalence, natural reservoir, and transmission dynamics of ZIKV in Africa and elsewhere. IMPORTANCE Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus originally discovered in a captive monkey living in the Zika Forest of Uganda, Africa, in 1947. Recently, an outbreak in South America has shown that ZIKV infection can cause myriad health effects, including birth defects in the children of women infected during pregnancy. Here, we sought to investigate ZIKV infection in wild African primates to better understand its emergence and spread, looking for evidence of active or prior infection. Our results suggest that up to 16% of some populations of nonhuman primate were, at some point, exposed to ZIKV. We anticipate that this study will be useful for future studies that examine the spread of infections from wild animals to humans in general and those studying ZIKV in primates in particular. Podcast: A podcast concerning this article is available
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