Infectious Disease

Infectious Disease Publications

Haque M, Lei F, Xiong X, Ren Y, Peng H-Y, Wang L, Kumar A, Das JK, Song J. Stem Cell-Derived Viral Antigen-Specific T Cells Suppress HIV Replication and PD-1 Expression on CD4+ T Cells. Viruses 2021;13(5)Abstract
The viral antigen (Ag)-specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), i.e., PSC-CTLs, have the ability to suppress the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. After adoptive transfer, PSC-CTLs can infiltrate into the local tissues to suppress HIV replication. Nevertheless, the mechanisms by which the viral Ag-specific PSC-CTLs elicit the antiviral response remain to be fully elucidated. In this study, we generated the functional HIV-1 Gag epitope SL9-specific CTLs from the induced PSC (iPSCs), i.e., iPSC-CTLs, and investigated the suppression of SL9-specific iPSC-CTLs on viral replication and the protection of CD4+ T cells. A chimeric HIV-1, i.e., EcoHIV, was used to produce HIV replication in mice. We show that adoptive transfer of SL9-specific iPSC-CTLs greatly suppressed EcoHIV replication in the peritoneal macrophages and spleen in the animal model. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the adoptive transfer significantly reduced expression of PD-1 on CD4+ T cells in the spleen and generated persistent anti-HIV memory T cells. These results indicate that stem cell-derived viral Ag-specific CTLs can robustly accumulate in the local tissues to suppress HIV replication and prevent CD4+ T cell exhaustion through reduction of PD-1 expression.
Succar T, Beaver HA, Lee AG. Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Ophthalmology Medical Student Teaching: Educational Innovations, Challenges, and Future Directions. Surv Ophthalmol 2021;Abstract
Graduate medical education (GME) in ophthalmology has faced and overcome many challenges over the past years and 2020 has been a game-changing year. Although the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) pandemic disrupted medical education globally, ophthalmic educators rapidly transformed their curricula to novel and effective virtual learning formats. Thus, while the COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the most significant challenges faced in the history of medical education, it has also provided an impetus to develop innovative teaching practices, bringing with it unprecedented success in allowing medical students to continue their education in ophthalmology despite these challenges. We review and appraise novel educational interventions implemented by various institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting their effectiveness, challenges and proposing future directions beyond the pandemic. Many of these innovations will persist even after the end of the pandemic because they have proven that face-to-face learning is not required for all aspects of the ophthalmic GME curriculum. As ophthalmic educators harness the power of educational technology it is critical that their novel educational initiatives are incorporated into competency-based curricula with assessments mapped to the competencies. Future research should focus on evaluating the impact of this transformation to virtual learning environments on student performances as well as implementing longitudinal assessment strategies for clinical competence in workplace-based practice.
O'Hare M, Amarnani D, Whitmore HAB, An M, Marino C, Ramos L, Delgado-Tirado S, Hu X, Chmielewska N, Chandrahas A, Fitzek A, Heinrich F, Steurer S, Ondruschka B, Glatzel M, Krasemann S, Sepulveda-Falla D, Lagares D, Pedron J, Bushweller JH, Liu P, Arboleda-Velasquez JF, Kim LA. Targeting RUNX1 prevents pulmonary fibrosis and reduces expression of SARS-CoV-2 host mediators. Am J Pathol 2021;Abstract
Pulmonary fibrosis (PF) can arise from unknown causes as in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), or as a consequence of infections including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Current treatments for PF slow, but do not stop disease progression. We report that treatment with a RUNX1 inhibitor (Ro24-7429), previously found to be safe, though ineffective, as a Tat inhibitor in patients with HIV, robustly ameliorates lung fibrosis and inflammation in the bleomycin-induced PF mouse model. RUNX1 inhibition blunted fundamental mechanisms downstream pathological mediators of fibrosis and inflammation including TGF-β1 and TNF-α in cultured lung epithelial cells, fibroblasts, and vascular endothelial cells indicating pleiotropic effects. RUNX1 inhibition also reduced the expression of ACE2 and FURIN, host proteins critical for SARS-CoV-2 infection, in mice and in vitro. A subset of human lungs with SARS-CoV-2 infection overexpress RUNX1. These data suggest that RUNX1 inhibition via repurposing of Ro24-7429 may be beneficial for PF and to battle SARS-CoV-2, by reducing expression of viral mediators and by preventing respiratory complications.
Muus C, Luecken MD, Eraslan G, Sikkema L, Waghray A, Heimberg G, Kobayashi Y, Vaishnav ED, Subramanian A, Smillie C, Jagadeesh KA, Duong ET, Fiskin E, Triglia ET, Ansari M, Cai P, Lin B, Buchanan J, Chen S, Shu J, Haber AL, Chung H, Montoro DT, Adams T, Aliee H, Allon SJ, Andrusivova Z, Angelidis I, Ashenberg O, Bassler K, Bécavin C, Benhar I, Bergenstråhle J, Bergenstråhle L, Bolt L, Braun E, Bui LT, Callori S, Chaffin M, Chichelnitskiy E, Chiou J, Conlon TM, Cuoco MS, Cuomo ASE, Deprez M, Duclos G, Fine D, Fischer DS, Ghazanfar S, Gillich A, Giotti B, Gould J, Guo M, Gutierrez AJ, Habermann AC, Harvey T, He P, Hou X, Hu L, Hu Y, Jaiswal A, Ji L, Jiang P, Kapellos TS, Kuo CS, Larsson L, Leney-Greene MA, Lim K, Litviňuková M, Ludwig LS, Lukassen S, Luo W, Maatz H, Madissoon E, Mamanova L, Manakongtreecheep K, Leroy S, Mayr CH, Mbano IM, McAdams AM, Nabhan AN, Nyquist SK, Penland L, Poirion OB, Poli S, Qi CC, Queen R, Reichart D, Rosas I, Schupp JC, Shea CV, Shi X, Sinha R, Sit RV, Slowikowski K, Slyper M, Smith NP, Sountoulidis A, Strunz M, Sullivan TB, Sun D, Talavera-López C, Tan P, Tantivit J, Travaglini KJ, Tucker NR, Vernon KA, Wadsworth MH, Waldman J, Wang X, Xu K, Yan W, Zhao W, Ziegler CGK, Ziegler CGK, Ziegler CGK. Single-cell meta-analysis of SARS-CoV-2 entry genes across tissues and demographics. Nat Med 2021;27(3):546-559.Abstract
Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and accessory proteases (TMPRSS2 and CTSL) are needed for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) cellular entry, and their expression may shed light on viral tropism and impact across the body. We assessed the cell-type-specific expression of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and CTSL across 107 single-cell RNA-sequencing studies from different tissues. ACE2, TMPRSS2 and CTSL are coexpressed in specific subsets of respiratory epithelial cells in the nasal passages, airways and alveoli, and in cells from other organs associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission or pathology. We performed a meta-analysis of 31 lung single-cell RNA-sequencing studies with 1,320,896 cells from 377 nasal, airway and lung parenchyma samples from 228 individuals. This revealed cell-type-specific associations of age, sex and smoking with expression levels of ACE2, TMPRSS2 and CTSL. Expression of entry factors increased with age and in males, including in airway secretory cells and alveolar type 2 cells. Expression programs shared by ACE2TMPRSS2 cells in nasal, lung and gut tissues included genes that may mediate viral entry, key immune functions and epithelial-macrophage cross-talk, such as genes involved in the interleukin-6, interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor and complement pathways. Cell-type-specific expression patterns may contribute to the pathogenesis of COVID-19, and our work highlights putative molecular pathways for therapeutic intervention.
Szczotka-Flynn LB, Shovlin JP, Schnider CM, Caffery BE, Alfonso EC, Carnt NA, Chalmers RL, Collier S, Jacobs DS, Joslin CE, Kroken AR, Lakkis C, Pearlman E, Schein OD, Stapleton F, Tu E, Willcox MDP. American Academy of Optometry Microbial Keratitis Think Tank. Optom Vis Sci 2021;98(3):182-198.Abstract
SIGNIFICANCE: Think Tank 2019 affirmed that the rate of infection associated with contact lenses has not changed in several decades. Also, there is a trend toward more serious infections associated with Acanthamoeba and fungi. The growing use of contact lenses in children demands our attention with surveillance and case-control studies. PURPOSE: The American Academy of Optometry (AAO) gathered researchers and key opinion leaders from around the world to discuss contact lens-associated microbial keratitis at the 2019 AAO Annual Meeting. METHODS: Experts presented within four sessions. Session 1 covered the epidemiology of microbial keratitis, pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and the role of lens care systems and storage cases in corneal disease. Session 2 covered nonbacterial forms of keratitis in contact lens wearers. Session 3 covered future needs, challenges, and research questions in relation to microbial keratitis in youth and myopia control, microbiome, antimicrobial surfaces, and genetic susceptibility. Session 4 covered compliance and communication imperatives. RESULTS: The absolute rate of microbial keratitis has remained very consistent for three decades despite new technologies, and extended wear significantly increases the risk. Improved oxygen delivery afforded by silicone hydrogel lenses has not impacted the rates, and although the introduction of daily disposable lenses has minimized the risk of severe disease, there is no consistent evidence that they have altered the overall rate of microbial keratitis. Overnight orthokeratology lenses may increase the risk of microbial keratitis, especially secondary to Acanthamoeba, in children. Compliance remains a concern and a significant risk factor for disease. New insights into host microbiome and genetic susceptibility may uncover new theories. More studies such as case-control designs suited for rare diseases and registries are needed. CONCLUSIONS: The first annual AAO Think Tank acknowledged that the risk of microbial keratitis has not decreased over decades, despite innovation. Important questions and research directions remain.
Braithwaite T, Adderley NJ, Subramanian A, Galloway J, Kempen JH, Gokhale K, Cope AP, Dick AD, Nirantharakumar K, Denniston AK. Epidemiology of scleritis in the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2018: Population-based analysis of 11 million patients and association between scleritis and infectious and immune-mediated inflammatory disease. Arthritis Rheumatol 2021;Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To estimate 22-year trends in scleritis prevalence and incidence and associations with infectious/immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (I-IMIDs) in the United Kingdom (UK). METHODS: Retrospective cross-sectional and population cohort study (1997-2018) included 10,939,823 patients (n=2946 incident scleritis cases) in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a nationally-representative primary care records database. Case-control and cohort study (1995-2019) included 3005 incident scleritis cases and 12,020 control patients matched by age, sex, region and Townsend Deprivation Index (TDI). We adjusted Poisson, Logistic and Cox proportional hazard multivariable models by age, sex, TDI, race/ethnicity, smoking, nation and body mass index category. Estimates include 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: Scleritis incidence rates declined from 4·23(2·16-6·31) to 2·79(2·19-3·39) per 100,000 person-years between 1997 and 2018. Prevalence was 93·62(90·17-97·07)/100,000 people in 2018 (61,650 UK patients). Amongst 2946 incident scleritis patients, 62·2%(n=1831) were female, mean age was 44·9(SD17·6, range 1-93) years and 88·8%(n=1257) were White. Higher risk of incident scleritis was associated with female sex (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR]=1·54, 1·43-1·66,p<0.001), Black (aIRR=1·52, 1·14-2·01,p=0.004) or South Asian race/ethnicity (aIRR=1·50, 1·19-1·90,p<0.001) versus White, and older age (peak aIRR=4·95, 3·99-6·14,p<0.001 for ages 51-60 years versus ≤10 years). Compared to controls, scleritis patients had 2-fold increased risk of prior I-IMID diagnosis (p<0.001, 17 I-IMIDs) and significantly increased risk of subsequent diagnosis of 13 I-IMIDs. Strongest associations included granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Behçet's disease, and Sjögren's syndrome. CONCLUSION: Over 1997-2018 the UK incidence of scleritis declined from 4·23 to 2·79/100,000 persons/year. Incident scleritis was associated with 19 I-IMIDs, providing data for rational investigation and cross-specialty engagement.
André C, Durand ML, Buckley T, Cadorette J, Gilmore MS, Ciolino JB, Bispo PJM. A Cluster of Corneal Donor Rim Cultures Positive for Achromobacter Species Associated With Contaminated Eye Solution. Cornea 2021;40(2):223-227.Abstract
PURPOSE: To investigate a cluster of corneoscleral rim cultures positive for Achromobacter species over a 6-month period at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. METHODS: An increased rate of positive corneal donor rim cultures was noted at Massachusetts Eye and Ear between July and December 2017. Positive cultures were subjected to identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing by phenotypic (MicroScan WalkAway) and genotypic (16S rDNA sequencing) methods. Samples of the eye wash solution (GeriCare) used in the eye bank were also evaluated. Antimicrobial activity of Optical-GS against Achromobacter spp. at 4°C and 37°C was assessed by time-kill kinetics assay. RESULTS: Of 99 donor rims cultured, 14 (14.1%) grew bacteria with 11 (78.6%) due to uncommon nonfermenting Gram-negative bacilli. These had been identified by standard automated methods as Achromobacter (n = 3), Alcaligenes (n = 3), Ralstonia (n = 2), Pseudomonas (n = 2), and Stenotrophomonas (n = 1). Eight of these 11 isolates were subsequently available for molecular identification, and all were identified as Achromobacter spp. Six bottles of eyewash solution were evaluated and were positive for abundant Achromobacter spp. (3.4 × 105 ± 1.1 CFU/mL). Optisol-GS had no bactericidal activity against Achromobacter spp. at 4°C after 24-hour incubation but was bactericidal at 37°C. None of the patients who had received the contaminated corneas developed postoperative infection. CONCLUSIONS: An eyewash solution arising from a single lot was implicated in the contamination of donor rims by Achromobacter spp. The isolates were able to survive in the Optisol-GS medium at the recommended storage temperature. This highlights the need to continue improving protocols for tissue preparation and storage.
Leme RCP, Martins Bispo PJ, Salles MJ. Community-genotype methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue infections in Latin America: a systematic review. Braz J Infect Dis 2021;:101539.Abstract
BACKGROUND: Community-genotype methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CG-MRSA) emerged in the 1990s as a global community pathogen primarily involved in skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) and pneumonia. To date, the CG-MRSA SSTI burden in Latin America (LA) has not been assessed. OBJECTIVE: The main objective of this study was to report the rate and genotypes of community-genotype methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CG-MRSA) causing community-onset skin and soft tissue infections (CO-SSTIs) in LA over the last two decades. In addition, this research determined relevant data related to SSTIs due to CG-MRSA, including risk factors, other invasive diseases, and mortality. DATA SOURCES: Relevant literature was searched and extracted from five major databases: Embase, PubMed, LILACS, SciELO, and Web of Science. METHODS: A systematic review was performed, and a narrative review was constructed. RESULTS: An analysis of 11 studies identified epidemiological data across LA, with Argentina presenting the highest percentage of SSTIs caused by CG-MRSA (88%). Other countries had rates of CG-MRSA infection ranging from 0 to 51%. Brazil had one of the lowest rates of CG-MRSA SSTI (4.5-25%). In Argentina, being younger than 50 years of age and having purulent lesions were predictive factors for CG-MRSA CO-SSTIs. In addition, the predominant genetic lineages in LA belonged to sequence types 8, 30, and 5 (ST8, ST30, and ST5). CONCLUSION: There are significant regional differences in the rates of CG-MRSA causing CO-SSTIs. It is not possible to conclude whether or not CG-MRSA CO-SSTIs resulted in more severe SSTI presentations or in a higher mortality rate.
Baker TL, Greiner JV, Vesonder M. SARS-CoV-2 safety: Guidelines for shielding frontline nurses. Nursing 2021;51(3):32-42.Abstract
ABSTRACT: Protecting nurses in healthcare facilities from SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential for maintaining an adequate nursing force. Foundational guidelines, consistently utilized, protect the nursing staff from infection. This article describes guidelines designed to reduce acute infection and associated morbidity and mortality among nursing staff and improve compliance with infection prevention protocols.
Ung L, Jonas JB, Lietman TM, Chodosh J. COVID-19 and the Unfinished Agenda of VISION 2020. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;224:30-35.Abstract
PURPOSE: To critically evaluate the potential impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on global ophthalmology and VISION 2020. DESIGN: Perspective supplemented with epidemiologic insights from available online databases. METHODS: We extracted data from the Global Vision Database (2017) and Global Burden of Disease Study (2017) to highlight temporal trends in global blindness since 1990, and provide a narrative overview of how COVID-19 may derail progress toward the goals of VISION 2020. RESULTS: Over 2 decades of VISION 2020 advocacy and program implementation have culminated in a universal reduction of combined age-standardized prevalence of moderate-to-severe vision impairment (MSVI) across all world regions since 1990. Between 1990 and 2017, low-income countries observed large reductions in the age-standardized prevalence per 100,000 persons of vitamin A deficiency (25,155 to 19,187), undercorrected refractive disorders (2,286 to 2,040), cataract (1,846 to 1,690), onchocerciasis (5,577 to 2,871), trachoma (506 to 159), and leprosy (36 to 26). Despite these reductions, crude projections suggest that more than 700 million persons will experience MSVI or blindness by 2050, principally owing to our growing and ageing global population. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the many resounding successes of VISION 2020, the burden of global blindness and vision impairment is set to reach historic levels in the coming years. The impact of COVID-19, while yet to be fully determined, now threatens the hard-fought gains of global ophthalmology. The postpandemic years will require renewed effort and focus on vision advocacy and expanding eye care services worldwide.
Keilty M, Houston KE, Collins C, Trehan R, Chen Y-T, Merabet L, Watts A, Pundlik S, Luo G. Inpatient Virtual Vision Clinic Improves Access to Vision Rehabilitation Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Arch Rehabil Res Clin Transl 2021;3(1):100100.Abstract
Objective: To describe and evaluate a secure video call system combined with a suite of iPad vision testing apps to improve access to vision rehabilitation assessment for inpatients. Design: Retrospective. Setting: Two acute care inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and 1 long-term acute care (LTAC) hospital. Participants: Records of inpatients seen by the vision service. Interventions: Records from a 1-year telemedicine pilot performed at acute rehabilitation (AR) hospital 1 and then expanded to AR hospital 2 and LTAC hospital during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were reviewed. In the virtual visits, an occupational therapist measured the patients' vision with the iPad applications and forwarded results to the off-site Doctor of Optometry (OD) for review prior to a video visit. The OD provided diagnosis and education, press-on prism application supervision, strategies and modifications, and follow-up recommendations. Providers completed the telehealth usability questionnaire (10-point scale). Main Outcome Measures: Vision examinations per month at AR hospital 1 before and with telemedicine. Results: With telemedicine at AR hospital 1, mean visits per month significantly increased from 10.7±5 to 14.9±5 (=.002). Prism was trialed in 40% of cases of which 83% were successful, similar to previously reported in-person success rates. COVID-19 caused only a marginal decrease in visits per month (=.08) at AR1, whereas the site without an established program (AR hospital 2) had a 3-4 week gap in care while the program was initiated. Cases at the LTAC hospital tended to be more complex and difficult to manage virtually. The telehealth usability questionnaire median category scores were 7 for , 8 for , 6 for , and 9 for . Conclusions: The virtual vision clinic process improved inpatient access to eye and visual neurorehabilitation assessment before and during the COVID-19 quarantine and was well accepted by providers and patients.
Thulasi P, Saeed HN, Rapuano CJ, Hou JH, Appenheimer AB, Chodosh J, Kang JJ, Morrill AM, Vyas N, Zegans ME, Zuckerman R, Tu EY. Oral Miltefosine as Salvage Therapy for Refractory Acanthamoeba Keratitis. Am J Ophthalmol 2021;223:75-82.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report a case series of patients with treatment-resistant Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) using oral miltefosine, often as salvage therapy. DESIGN: Descriptive, retrospective multicenter case series. METHODS: We reviewed 15 patients with AK unresponsive to therapy who were subsequently given adjuvant systemic miltefosine between 2011 and 2017. The main outcome measures were resolution of infection, final visual acuity, tolerance of miltefosine, and clinical course of disease. RESULTS: All patients were treated with biguanides and/or diamidines or azoles without resolution of disease before starting miltefosine. Eleven of 15 patients retained count fingers or better vision, and all were considered disease free at last follow-up. Eleven of 15 patients had worsening inflammation with miltefosine, with 10 of them improving with steroids. Six patients received multiple courses of miltefosine. Most tolerated oral miltefosine well, with mild gastrointestinal symptoms as the most common systemic side effect. CONCLUSIONS: Oral miltefosine is a generally well-tolerated treatment adjuvant in patients with refractory AK. The clinician should be prepared for a steroid-responsive inflammatory response frequently encountered during the treatment course.
Ma KK, Kinde B, Doan T, Jacobs DS, Ong Tone S. Dual Molecular Diagnosis of Microsporidia (Encephalitozoon hellem) Keratoconjunctivitis in an Immunocompetent Adult. Cornea 2021;40(2):242-244.Abstract
PURPOSE: To report a case of microsporidia (Encephalitozoon hellem) keratoconjunctivitis acquired through avian transmission in an immunocompetent adult, diagnosed by metagenomic deep sequencing (MDS), and confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. METHODS: A case report. RESULTS: An 18-year-old woman was referred with unilateral keratoconjunctivitis unresponsive to topical and systemic therapy after exposure to birdcage debris. Slit-lamp examination of the left eye revealed a follicular papillary reaction of the palpebral conjunctiva and multiple corneal punctate epithelial opacities that stained minimally with fluorescein. In vivo confocal microscopy revealed bright double-walled structures and smaller bright round structures in the superficial epithelial debris and epithelium. Molecular diagnosis with MDS of E. hellem was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. Clinical resolution and normalization of in vivo confocal microscopy was observed after a 6-week course of topical azithromycin. The patient elected a 3-week course of topical voriconazole 1% for definitive antimicrosporidial treatment, with no evidence of persistent infection 1 month later. CONCLUSIONS: Microsporidial (E. hellem) keratoconjunctivitis can occur through avian transmission in immunocompetent hosts. Topical azithromycin may be effective against this pathogen. MDS has utility in the diagnosis of atypical keratoconjunctivitis.
Rahimkhoei V, Jabbari N, Nourani A, Sharifi S, Akbari A. Potential small-molecule drugs as available weapons to fight novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): A review. Cell Biochem Funct 2021;39(1):4-9.Abstract
Since the new coronavirus known as 2019-nCoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) has widely spread in Wuhan, China, with severe pneumonia, scientists and physicians have made remarkable efforts to use various options such as monoclonal antibodies, peptides, vaccines, small-molecule drugs and interferon therapies to control, prevent or treatment infections of 2019-nCoV. However, no vaccine or drug has yet been confirmed to completely treat 2019-nCoV. In this review, we focus on the use of potential available small-molecule drug candidates for treating infections caused by 2019-nCoV.

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