Although at least 30 novel hantaviruses have been recently discovered in novel hosts such as shrews, moles and even bats, hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are primarily known as rodent-borne human pathogens. Here we report on identification of a novel hantavirus variant associated with a rodent host, Major's pine vole (Microtus majori). Altogether 36 hantavirus PCR-positive Major's pine voles were identified in the Krasnodar region of southern European Russia within the years 2008-2011. Initial partial L-segment sequence analysis revealed novel hantavirus sequences. Moreover, we found a single common vole (Microtusarvalis) infected with Tula virus (TULV). Complete S- and M-segment coding sequences were determined from 11 Major's pine voles originating from 8 trapping sites and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. The data obtained show that Major's pine vole is a newly recognized hantavirus reservoir host. The newfound virus, provisionally called Adler hantavirus (ADLV), is closely related to TULV. Based on amino acid differences to TULV (5.6-8.2% for nucleocapsid protein, 9.4-9.5% for glycoprotein precursor) we propose to consider ADLV as a genotype of TULV. Occurrence of ADLV and TULV in the same region suggests that ADLV is not only a geographical variant of TULV but a host-specific genotype. High intra-cluster nucleotide sequence variability (up to 18%) and geographic clustering indicate long-term presence of the virus in this region.
Aichi virus has been proposed as a novel causative agent of acute gastroenteritis. In addition to several Asian countries, South America and Africa, Aichi virus has also recently been found in Europe. Our objective was to study the causative role of Aichi virus in children with acute gastroenteritis in Finland. We analysed 595 stool specimens from infants in an efficacy trial of rotavirus vaccine and 468 stool specimens from children in a hospital-based epidemiological and aetiological study of acute gastroenteritis. The screening was done by nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction amplifying a 519-bp segment and a 223-bp segment in the 3CD junction region of non-structural proteins. Aichi virus was detected in five stool samples (0.5%), of which four were co-infections with other gastroenteritis viruses. Two Aichi virus genotypes, A and B, were found. Aichi virus appears to be rare in children with acute gastroenteritis in Finland.
In order to identify patients at risk for developing post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD), a sensitive nested RT-PCR method for detection of EBNA1 gene expression in peripheral blood cells was used. EBNA1 expression in peripheral blood samples from 60 organ recipients was analyzed and compared with 24 healthy controls in a retrospective study. Overall, EBNA1-positive samples were detected at least once in 43% of the transplant patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, in 18% of the other transplant patients and in none of the healthy controls. The odds ratio for EBNA1 expression in patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease was 3.42 (95% CI=1.02-11.54) compared to other transplant recipients. Together with normal EBV Q promoter initiated EBNA1 transcripts, an alternatively spliced form was expressed in peripheral blood cells in the above-mentioned transplant patients. This transcript lacks the U leader exon in the 5'-untranslated region (UTR). We have previously identified and characterized a functional internal ribosome entry site, the EBNA IRES, in the untranslated U leader exon of EBNA1. Transfection experiments with EBNA1 coding plasmids followed by Western blot showed that the EBNA IRES promotes cap-independent translation and increases the EBNA1 protein level. The alternative EBNA1 transcript lacking this function is expressed in the majority of the investigated EBNA1-positive patient samples as well as in some EBV-positive B-cell lines. Alternative splicing in this form gives EBV potential to regulate the translation of EBNA1 by modifying the 5' UTR. These findings indicate a new mechanism for EBNA1 expression in vivo.
HIV-1 viral load quantitation is now recognized as a useful tool to monitor the efficiency of antiviral treatment and a powerful predictor of disease outcome. Three HIV-1 viral load quantitation methods have been currently available as commercial kits in Canada since 1996.
To evaluate the ability to quantify HIV-1 RNA in plasma of the Amplicor HIV Monitor Test, the NASBA HIV-1 RNA QT Assay and the Quantiplex HIV RNA Assay, version 2.0, at comparable lower detection limits.
Blood was collected from 50 HIV-1-infected patients at various stages of infection and therapy. CD4+ cell count were estimated by flow cytometry. Plasma was isolated and tested in duplicate on four occasions using viral load kits from a single lot. HIV RNA data, performance, sensitivity and intra- and inter-assay variability were compared.
RNA could be quantified in 33 patients by each technique. An inverse correlation was observed between viral load level and CD4+ cell counts in patients with counts below 200. Monitor could detect RNA in 94% of patients, but it showed the greatest variability and failure rate. Quantiplex 2.0 could detect HIV-1 RNA in 78%, and NASBA in 88% of the patients at theoretically equivalent lower detection limits, suggesting that the detection limit of Quantiplex 2.0 may be higher than 500 HIV-1 RNA copies per ml. NASBA had the fewest invalid tests and good reproducibility, comparable to that of Quantiplex 2.0. The mean values from NASBA and Monitor were the most similar but the best correlation was observed between Monitor and Quantiplex 2.0 results.
Monitor, NASBA and Quantiplex results were comparable, although those obtained by Quantiplex were significantly lower. Performing this study at comparable detection limits showed that the detection limit of Quantiplex 2.0 may be higher than stated by the manufacturer.
Transfusion-transmitted West Nile virus (WNV) infections were first reported in 2002, which led to rapid development of investigational nucleic acid amplification tests (NAT). A study was conducted to evaluate sensitivities of WNV screening and supplemental NAT assays first employed in 2003.
Twenty-five member-coded panels were distributed to NAT assay manufacturers. Panels included five pedigreed WNV standards (1, 3, 10, 30, and 100 copies/mL), 15 or 16 donor units with very-low-level viremia identified through 2003 screening, and four or five negative control samples. Samples were tested neat in 10 replicates by all assays; for NAT screening assays, 10 replicates were also performed on dilutions consistent with minipool (MP)-NAT. The viral load distribution for 142 MP-NAT yield donations was characterized, relative to the analytical sensitivity of MP-NAT systems.
Analytical sensitivities (50% limits of detection [LoD] based on Poisson model of detection of WNV standards) for screening NAT assays ranged from 3.4 to 29 copies per mL; when diluted consistent with MP pool sizes, the 50 percent LoD of screening NAT assays was reduced to 43 to 309 copies per mL. Analytical sensitivity of supplemental assays ranged from 1.5 to 7.7 copies per mL (50% LoD). Detection of RNA in donor units varied consistent with analytical LoD of assays. Detection of low-level viremia after MP dilutions was particularly compromised for seropositive units, probably reflecting lower viral loads in the postseroconversion phase. Based on the viral load distribution of MP-NAT yield donations (median, 3519 copies/mL; range,
Noroviruses (NoVs) are the leading cause of infectious gastroenteritis worldwide. Real-time reverse transcription PCR (real-time RT-PCR) is the preferred method of NoV detection for the majority of testing laboratories. Although the accepted target region for molecular detection assays is the conserved ORF1/ORF2 junction, multiple variations have been published with differences in primers, probes, reagents, multiplexing, etc.
We assessed the detection limit for GII.4 NoV real-time RT-PCR assays as well as the ability to detect the non-GII.4 NoV genotypes in each participating laboratory.
A panel of 25 RNA samples was circulated to 18 testing laboratories for comparison of their real-time RT-PCR procedures for NoV detection.
Multiple protocols with slight differences in reagents or conditions successfully detected 10 genome equivalents or fewer of NoV per reaction. Multiplex procedures were significantly associated (p=0.04) with false negative results, particularly for a GI.2 strain. Sensitive detection was associated with false positive results (p=0.03).
Overall, the data indicate that comparable results are produced under slightly different assay conditions.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic disproportionately involves socially vulnerable populations. Since 2001, the proportion of foreign-born patients served by the Northern Alberta HIV Program has increased. Our study aimed to evaluate antiretroviral therapy (ART) outcomes among HIV-infected foreign-born patients in northern Alberta, Canada, prescribed once-daily ART.
We utilized a two-part retrospective cohort study to compare ART outcomes of foreign-born and Canadian-born Aboriginal patients compared to Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients. Part 1 utilized logistic regression to compare the odds of experiencing initial virological suppression of foreign-born (40%) and Canadian-born Aboriginal patients (27%) compared with Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients (33%). Part 2 used survival analysis to compare the rate of ART failure by country of origin among patients who achieved initial virological suppression in Part 1.
Our study sample included 322 treatment-naïve patients (122 foreign-born). For Part 1, 261 patients achieved initial virological suppression within six months of initiating ART. After controlling for age, treatment regimen, HIV risk exposure, and calendar year compared to Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients, the odds of achieving initial virological suppression were significantly lower for Canadian-born Aboriginal patients (OR=0.44, 95%?CI: 0.20-0.96); and similar for foreign-born patients (OR=0.76, 95% CI: 0.33-1.73). Part 2 included 261 patients who were followed for 635.1?person-years. Adjusting for age, sex, baseline CD4 cell count, and drug regimen, compared to Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients, Canadian-born Aboriginal and foreign-born patients had similar rates of virological failure after achieving initial virological suppression (HR=1.54, 95%?CI: 0.38-6.18; HR=0.49, 95% CI: 0.11-2.20, respectively).
Our study indicated that ART outcomes among Alberta-based foreign-born patients are similar to those among Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients. Our results, however, suggested that Canadian-born Aboriginal patients had poorer treatment outcomes compared to Canadian-born non-Aboriginal patients. It is imperative, therefore, that clinicians, researchers and community members better understand reasons for poor ART outcomes among Canadian-born Aboriginal patients in northern Alberta.
BACKGROUND: Great progress has been made in antiviral treatment of HIV disease over the last few years. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The paper is based on relevant literature and our own experience in the largest HIV clinic in Norway. RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION: Generally speaking, therapy with at least three active drugs is necessary in order to obtain maximum viral suppression. It is not established what constitutes the best starting-point for therapy, or what combination of drugs is the most efficacious. Treatment should be initiated before clinical immunodeficiency develops. All patients with CD4 counts