Publications by authors named "Gary Maartens"

259 Publications

The effect of the COVID-19 lockdown on mental health care use in South Africa: an interrupted time-series analysis.

Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci 2022 Jun 15;31:e43. Epub 2022 Jun 15.

Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.

Aims: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and ensuing restrictions have negatively affected the mental health and well-being of the general population, and there is increasing evidence suggesting that lockdowns have led to a disruption of health services. In March 2020, South Africa introduced a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, entailing the suspension of all non-essential activities and a complete ban of tobacco and alcohol sales. We studied the effect of the lockdown on mental health care utilisation rates in private-sector care in South Africa.

Methods: We conducted an interrupted time-series analysis using insurance claims from 1 January 2017 to 1 June 2020 of beneficiaries 18 years or older from a large private sector medical insurance scheme. We calculated weekly outpatient consultation and hospital admission rates for organic mental disorders, substance use disorders, serious mental disorders, depression, anxiety, other mental disorders, any mental disorder and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. We calculated adjusted odds ratios (OR) for the effect of the lockdown on weekly outpatient consultation and hospital admission rates and the weekly change in rates during the lockdown until 1 June 2020.

Results: 710 367 persons were followed up for a median of 153 weeks. Hospital admission rates (OR 0.38; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.33-0.44) and outpatient consultation rates (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.63-0.87) for any mental disorder decreased substantially after the introduction of the lockdown and did not recover to pre-lockdown levels by 1 June 2020. Health care utilisation rates for alcohol withdrawal syndrome doubled after the introduction of the lockdown, but the statistical uncertainty around the estimates was large (OR 2.24; 95% CI 0.69-7.24).

Conclusions: Mental health care utilisation rates for inpatient and outpatient services decreased substantially after the introduction of the lockdown. Hospital admissions and outpatient consultations for alcohol withdrawal syndrome increased after the introduction of the lockdown, but statistical uncertainty precludes strong conclusions about a potential unintended effect of the alcohol sales ban. Governments should integrate strategies for ensuring access and continuity of essential mental health services during lockdowns in pandemic preparedness planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2045796022000270DOI Listing
June 2022

Assessing the QTcF prolongation of bedaquiline and delamanid coadministration to predict the cardiac safety of simplified dosing regimens.

Clin Pharmacol Ther 2022 Jun 10. Epub 2022 Jun 10.

Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Delamanid and bedaquiline are two drugs approved to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, and each have been associated with QTc prolongation. We aimed to investigate the relationships between the drugs' plasma concentrations and observed QTcF prolongation and to evaluate their combined effects on QTcF, using a model-based population approach. Furthermore, we predicted the safety profiles of once daily regimens. Data were obtained from a trial where participants were randomized 1:1:1 to receive delamanid, bedaquiline or delamanid+bedaquiline. The effect on QTcF of delamanid and/or its metabolite (DM-6705) and the pharmacodynamic interactions under co-administration, were explored based on a published model between bedaquiline's metabolite (M2) and QTcF. The metabolites of each drug were found to be responsible for the drug-related QTcF prolongation. The final drug-effect model included a competitive interaction between M2 and DM-6705 acting on the same cardiac receptor and thereby reducing each other's apparent potency, by 28% (95CI 22%-40%) for M2 and 33% (95CI 24%-54%) for DM-6705. The generated combined effect was not greater but close to "additivity" in the analysed concentration range. Predictions with the final model suggested a similar QT prolonging potential with simplified, once daily dosing regimens compared to the approved regimens, with a maximum median change from baseline QTcF increase of 20 ms in both regimens. The concentrations-QTcF relationship of the combination of bedaquiline and delamanid was best described by a competitive binding model involving the two main metabolites. Model predictions demonstrated that QTcF prolongation with simplified once daily regimens would be comparable to currently used dosing regimens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cpt.2685DOI Listing
June 2022

Population Pharmacokinetics of Delamanid and its Main Metabolite DM-6705 in Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Patients Receiving Delamanid Alone or Coadministered with Bedaquiline.

Clin Pharmacokinet 2022 Jun 7. Epub 2022 Jun 7.

Department of Pharmacy, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.

Background And Objective: Delamanid is a nitroimidazole, a novel class of drug for treating tuberculosis, and is primarily metabolized by albumin into the metabolite DM-6705. The aims of this analysis were to develop a population pharmacokinetic (PK) model to characterize the concentration-time course of delamanid and DM-6705 in adults with drug-resistant tuberculosis and to explore a potential drug-drug interaction with bedaquiline when coadministered.

Methods: Delamanid and DM-6705 concentrations after oral administration, from 52 participants (of whom 26 took bedaquiline concurrently and 20 were HIV-1 positive) enrolled in the DELIBERATE trial were analyzed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling.

Results: Delamanid PK were described by a one-compartment disposition model with transit compartment absorption (mean absorption time of 1.45 h [95% confidence interval 0.501-2.20]) and linear elimination, while the PK of DM-6705 metabolite were described by a one-compartment disposition model with delamanid clearance as input and linear elimination. Predicted terminal half-life values for delamanid and DM-6705 were 15.1 h and 7.8 days, respectively. The impact of plasma albumin concentrations on delamanid metabolism was not significant. Bedaquiline coadministration did not affect delamanid PK. Other than allometric scaling with body weight, no patients' demographics were significant (including HIV).

Conclusions: This is the first joint PK model of delamanid and its DM-6705 metabolite. As such, it can be utilized in future exposure-response or exposure-safety analyses. Importantly, albumin concentrations, bedaquiline coadministration, and HIV co-infection (dolutegravir coadministration) did not have an effect on delamanid and DM-6705 PK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40262-022-01133-2DOI Listing
June 2022

Determining antenatal medicine exposures in South African women: a comparison of three methods of ascertainment.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2022 Jun 3;22(1):466. Epub 2022 Jun 3.

Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology & Research, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: In the absence of clinical trials, data on the safety of medicine exposures in pregnancy are dependent on observational studies conducted after the agent has been licensed for use. This requires an accurate history of antenatal medicine use to determine potential risks. Medication use is commonly determined by self-report, clinician records, and electronic pharmacy data; different data sources may be more informative for different types of medication and resources may differ by setting. We compared three methods to determine antenatal medicine use (self-report, clinician records and electronic pharmacy dispensing records [EDR]) in women attending antenatal care at a primary care facility in Cape Town, South Africa in a setting with high HIV prevalence.

Methods: Structured, interview-administered questionnaires recorded self-reported medicine use. Data were collected from clinician records and EDR on the same participants. We determined agreement between these data sources using Cohen's kappa and, lacking a gold standard, used Latent Class Analysis to estimate sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) for each data source.

Results: Between 55% and 89% of 967 women had any medicine use documented depending on the data source (median number of medicines/participant = 5 [IQR 3-6]). Agreement between the datasets was poor regardless of class except for antiretroviral therapy (ART; kappa 0.6-0.71). Overall, agreement was better between the EDR and self-report than with either dataset and the clinician records. Sensitivity and PPV were higher for self-report and the EDR and were similar for the two. Self-report was the best source for over-the-counter, traditional and complementary medicines; clinician records for vaccines and supplements; and EDR for chronic medicines.

Conclusions: Medicine use in pregnancy was common and no single data source included all the medicines used. ART was the most consistently reported across all three datasets but otherwise agreement between them was poor and dependent on class. Using a single data collection method will under-estimate medicine use in pregnancy and the choice of data source should be guided by the class of the agents being investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-022-04765-1DOI Listing
June 2022

Xpert Ultra testing of blood in severe HIV-associated tuberculosis to detect and measure Mycobacterium tuberculosis blood stream infection: a diagnostic and disease biomarker cohort study.

Lancet Microbe 2022 Jul 26;3(7):e521-e532. Epub 2022 May 26.

Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Background: Mycobacterium tuberculosis bloodstream infection is a leading cause of death in people living with HIV and disseminated bacillary load might be a key driver of disease severity. We aimed to assess Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra (Xpert Ultra) testing of blood as a diagnostic for M tuberculosis bloodstream infection and investigate cycle threshold as a quantitative disease biomarker.

Methods: In this cohort study, we obtained biobanked blood samples from a large and well characterised cohort of adult patients admitted to hospital in Western Cape, South Africa with suspected HIV-associated tuberculosis and a CD4 count less than 350 cells per μL. Patients already receiving antituberculosis therapy were excluded. Samples were obtained on recruitment within 72 h of admission to hospital, and patients were followed up for 12 weeks to determine survival. We tested the biobanked blood samples using the Xpert Ultra platform after lysis and wash processing of the blood. We assessed diagnostic yield (proportion of cases detected, with unavailable test results coded as negative) against a microbiological reference, both as a function of markers of critical-illness and compared with other rapid diagnostics (urine lipoarabinomannan and sputum Xpert). Quantitative blood Xpert Ultra results were evaluated as a disease biomarker by assessing association with disease phenotype defined by principal component analysis of 32 host-response markers. Prognostic value compared to other tuberculosis biomarkers was assessed using likelihood ratio testing of nested models predicting 12-week mortality.

Findings: Between Jan 16, 2014, and Oct 19, 2016, of the 659 participants recruited to the parent study, 582 had an available biobanked blood sample. 447 (77%) of 582 met the microbiological reference standard for tuberculosis diagnosis. Median CD4 count was 62 (IQR 221-33) cells per μL, and 123 (21%) of participants died by 12-weeks follow-up. Blood Xpert Ultra was positive in 165 (37%) of 447 participants with confirmed tuberculosis by the microbiological reference standard, with a diagnostic yield of 0·37 (95% CI 0·32-0·42). Diagnostic yield increased with lower CD4 count or haemoglobin, and outperformed urine lipoarabinomannan testing in participants with elevated venous lactate. Quantitative blood Xpert Ultra results were more closely associated with mortality than other tuberculosis biomarkers including blood culture, and urine lipoarabinomannan, or urine Xpert (all p<0·05). A principal component of clinical phenotype capturing markers of inflammation, tissue damage, and organ dysfunction was strongly associated with both blood Xpert-Ultra positivity (associated with a SD increase of 1·1 in PC score, p<0·0001) and cycle threshold (r= -0·5; p<0·0001).

Interpretation: Xpert Ultra testing of pre-processed blood could be used as a rapid diagnostic test in critically ill patients with suspected HIV-associated tuberculosis, while also giving additional prognostic information compared with other available markers. A dose-response relationship between quantitative blood Xpert Ultra results, host-response phenotype, and mortality risk adds to evidence that suggests M tuberculosis bloodstream infection bacillary load is causally related to outcomes.

Funding: Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Fogarty International Center, South African MRC, UK National Institute of Health Research, National Research Foundation of South Africa.

Translations: For the Xhosa and Afrikaans translations of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2666-5247(22)00062-3DOI Listing
July 2022

Population Pharmacokinetic Model and Alternative Dosing Regimens for Dolutegravir Coadministered with Rifampicin.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2022 06 23;66(6):e0021522. Epub 2022 May 23.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Towngrid.7836.a, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dolutegravir-based regimens are recommended as first-line therapy for HIV in low- and middle-income countries where tuberculosis is the most common opportunistic infection. Concurrent HIV/tuberculosis treatment is challenging because of drug-drug interactions. Our analysis aimed to characterize dolutegravir's population pharmacokinetics when coadministered with rifampicin and assess alternative dolutegravir dosing regimens. We developed a population pharmacokinetic model of dolutegravir in NONMEM with data from two healthy-volunteer studies (RADIO and ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT01231542) and validated it with data from the INSPIRING study, which consisted of participants living with HIV. The model was developed with 817 dolutegravir plasma concentrations from 41 participants. A 2-compartment model with first-order elimination and lagged absorption best described dolutegravir's pharmacokinetics. For a typical 70-kg individual, we estimated a clearance, absorption rate constant, central volume, and peripheral volume of 1.03 L/h, 1.61 h, 12.7 L, and 3.85 L, respectively. Rifampicin coadministration increased dolutegravir clearance by 144% (95% confidence interval [CI], 126 to 161%). Simulations showed that when 50 or 100 mg once-daily dolutegravir is coadministered with rifampicin in 70-kg individuals, 71.7% and 91.5% attain trough concentrations above 0.064 mg/L, the protein-adjusted 90% inhibitory concentration (PA-IC), respectively. The model developed from healthy-volunteer data describes patient data reasonably well but underpredicts trough concentrations. Although 50 mg of dolutegravir given twice daily achieves target concentrations in more than 99% of individuals cotreated with rifampicin, 100 mg of dolutegravir, once daily, in the same population is predicted to achieve satisfactory pharmacokinetic target attainment. The efficacy of this regimen should be investigated since it presents an opportunity for treatment simplification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/aac.00215-22DOI Listing
June 2022

Diagnostic accuracy of WHO screening criteria to guide lateral-flow lipoarabinomannan testing among HIV-positive inpatients: A systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.

J Infect 2022 Jul 16;85(1):40-48. Epub 2022 May 16.

Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa (CIDRI-Africa), Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: WHO recommends urine lateral-flow lipoarabinomannan (LF-LAM) testing with AlereLAM in HIV-positive inpatients only if screening criteria are met. We assessed the performance of WHO screening criteria and alternative screening tests/strategies to guide LF-LAM testing and compared diagnostic accuracy of the WHO AlereLAM algorithm (WHO screening criteria followed by AlereLAM if screen positive) with AlereLAM and FujiLAM (a novel LF-LAM test) testing in all HIV-positive inpatients.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Library from Jan 1, 2011 to March 1, 2020 for studies among adult/adolescent HIV-positive inpatients regardless of tuberculosis signs and symptoms. The reference standards were (1) AlereLAM or FujiLAM for screening tests/strategies and (2) culture or Xpert for AlereLAM/FujiLAM. We determined proportion of inpatients eligible for AlereLAM using WHO screening criteria; assessed accuracy of WHO criteria and alternative screening tests/strategies to guide LF-LAM testing; compared accuracy of WHO AlereLAM algorithm with AlereLAM/FujiLAM testing in all; and determined diagnostic yield of AlereLAM, FujiLAM, and Xpert MTB/RIF (Xpert). We estimated pooled proportions with a random-effects model, assessed diagnostic accuracy using random-effects bivariate models, and assessed diagnostic yield descriptively.

Findings: We obtained data from all 5 identified studies (n = 3,504). The pooled proportion of inpatients eligible for AlereLAM using WHO criteria was 93% (95%CI 91, 95). Among screening tests/strategies to guide LF-LAM testing, WHO criteria, C-reactive protein (≥5 mg/L), and CD4 count (<200 cells/μL) had high sensitivities but low specificities; cough (≥2 weeks), hemoglobin (<8 g/dL), body mass index (<18.5 kg/m), lymphadenopathy, and WHO-defined danger signs had higher specificities but suboptimal sensitivities. AlereLAM in all had the same sensitivity (62%) and specificity (88%) as WHO AlereLAM algorithm. Sensitivity of FujiLAM and AlereLAM was 69% and 48%, while specificity was 88% and 96%, respectively. In 2 studies that collected sputum and non-sputum samples for Xpert and/or culture, diagnostic yield of sputum Xpert was 40-41%, AlereLAM was 39-76%, and urine Xpert was 35-62%. In one study, FujiLAM diagnosed 80% of tuberculosis cases (vs 39% for AlereLAM), and sputum Xpert combined with AlereLAM, urine Xpert, or FujiLAM diagnosed 61%, 81%, and 92% of all cases, respectively.

Interpretation: WHO criteria and alternative screening tests/strategies have limited utility in guiding LF-LAM testing, suggesting that AlereLAM testing in all HIV-positive medical inpatients be implemented. Routine FujiLAM may improve tuberculosis diagnosis.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2022.05.010DOI Listing
July 2022

The Effect of Rifampicin on Darunavir, Ritonavir, and Dolutegravir Exposure within Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells: a Dose Escalation Study.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2022 06 18;66(6):e0013622. Epub 2022 May 18.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Towngrid.7836.a, Cape Town, South Africa.

Ritonavir-boosted darunavir (DRV/r) and dolutegravir (DTG) are affected by induction of metabolizing enzymes and efflux transporters caused by rifampicin (RIF). This complicates the treatment of people living with HIV (PLWH) diagnosed with tuberculosis. Recent data showed that doubling DRV/r dose did not compensate for this effect, and hepatic safety was unsatisfactory. We aimed to evaluate the pharmacokinetics of DRV, ritonavir (RTV), and DTG in the presence and absence of RIF in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PLWH were enrolled in a dose-escalation crossover study with 6 treatment periods of 7 days. Participants started with DRV/r 800/100 mg once daily (QD), RIF and DTG were added before the RTV dose was doubled, and then they received DRV/r 800/100 twice daily (BD) and then 1,600/200 QD or vice versa. Finally, RIF was withdrawn. Plasma and intra-PBMC drug concentrations were measured through validated liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods. Seventeen participants were enrolled but only 4 completed all study phases due to high incidence of liver toxicity. Intra-PBMC DRV trough serum concentration () after the addition of RIF dropped from a median (interquartile range [IQR]) starting value of 261 ng/mL (158 to 577) to 112 ng/mL (18 to 820) and 31 ng/mL (12 to 331) for 800/100 BD and 1,600/200 QD DRV/r doses, respectively. The DRV intra-PBMC/plasma ratio increased significantly ( = 0.003). DTG and RIF intra-PBMC concentrations were in accordance with previous reports in the absence of RIF or DRV/r. This study showed a differential impact of enzyme and/or transporter induction on DRV/r concentrations in plasma and PBMCs, highlighting the usefulness of studying intra-PBMC pharmacokinetics with drug-drug interactions. (This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov under registration no. NCT03892161.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/aac.00136-22DOI Listing
June 2022

Bedaquiline exposure in pregnancy and breastfeeding in women with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2022 May 8. Epub 2022 May 8.

HIV Prevention Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Aims: We aimed to explore the effect of pregnancy on bedaquiline pharmacokinetics (PK) and describe bedaquiline exposure in the breast milk of mothers treated for rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (TB), where there are no human data available.

Methods: We performed a longitudinal PK study in pregnant women treated for rifampicin-resistant TB to explore the effect of pregnancy on bedaquiline exposure. Pharmacokinetic sampling was performed at 4 time-points over 6 hours in the third trimester, and again at approximately 6 weeks postpartum. We obtained serial breast milk samples from breastfeeding mothers, and a single plasma sample taken from breastfed and nonbreastfed infants to assess bedaquiline exposure. We used liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to perform the breast milk and plasma bedaquiline assays, and population PK modelling to interpret the bedaquiline concentrations.

Results: We recruited 13 women, 6 of whom completed the ante- and postpartum PK sampling. All participants were HIV-positive on antiretroviral therapy. We observed lower ante- and postpartum bedaquiline exposures than reported in nonpregnant controls. Bedaquiline concentrations in breast milk were higher than maternal plasma (milk to maternal plasma ratio: 14:1). A single random plasma bedaquiline and M2 concentration was available in 4 infants (median age: 6.5 wk): concentrations in the 1 breastfed infant were similar to maternal plasma concentrations; concentrations in the 3 nonbreastfed infants were detectable but lower than maternal plasma concentrations.

Conclusion: We report low exposure of bedaquiline in pregnant women treated for rifampicin-resistant TB. Bedaquiline significantly accumulates in breast milk; breastfed infants receive mg/kg doses of bedaquiline equivalent to maternal doses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcp.15380DOI Listing
May 2022

Treatment outcomes 24 months after initiating short, all-oral bedaquiline-containing or injectable-containing rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis treatment regimens in South Africa: a retrospective cohort study.

Lancet Infect Dis 2022 Jul 2;22(7):1042-1051. Epub 2022 May 2.

Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health and the McGill International TB Centre, McGill University, and The Montreal Chest Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Background: There is a need for short and safe all-oral treatment of rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis. We compared outcomes up to 24 months after treatment initiation for patients with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa treated with a short, all-oral bedaquiline-containing regimen (bedaquiline group), or a short, injectable-containing regimen (injectable group).

Methods: Patients with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis, aged 18 years or older, eligible for a short regimen starting treatment between Jan 1 and Dec 31, 2017, with a bedaquiline-containing or WHO recommended injectable-containing treatment regimen of 9-12 months, registered in the drug-resistant tuberculosis database (EDRWeb), and with known age, sex, HIV status, and national identification number were eligible for study inclusion; patients receiving linezolid, carbapenems, terizidone or cycloserine, delamanid, or para-aminosalicylic acid were excluded. Bedaquiline was given at a dose of 400 mg once daily for two weeks followed by 200 mg three times a week for 22 weeks. To compare regimens, patients were exactly matched on HIV and ART status, previous tuberculosis treatment history, and baseline acid-fast bacilli smear and culture result, while propensity score matched on age, sex, province of treatment, and isoniazid-susceptibility status. We did binomial linear regression to estimate adjusted risk differences (aRD) and 95% CIs for 24-month outcomes, which included: treatment success (ie, cure or treatment completion without evidence of recurrence) versus all other outcomes, survival versus death, disease free survival versus survival with treatment failure or recurrence, and loss to follow-up versus all other outcomes.

Findings: Overall, 1387 (14%) of 10152 patients with rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis treated during 2017 met inclusion criteria; 688 in the bedaquiline group and 699 in the injectable group. Four patients (1%) had treatment failure or recurrence, 44 (6%) were lost to follow-up, and 162 (24%) died in the bedaquiline group, compared with 17 (2%), 87 (12%), and 199 (28%), respectively, in the injectable group. In adjusted analyses, treatment success was 14% (95% CI 8-20) higher in the bedaquiline group than in the injectable group (70% vs 57%); loss to follow-up was 4% (1-8) lower in the bedaquiline group (6% vs 12%); and disease-free survival was 2% (0-5) higher in the bedaquiline group (99% vs 97%). The bedaquiline group had 8% (4-11) lower risk of mortality during treatment (17·0% vs 22·4%), but there was no difference in mortality post-treatment.

Interpretation: Patients in the bedaquiline group experienced significantly higher rates of treatment success at 24 months. This finding supports the use of short bedaquiline-containing regimens in eligible patients.

Funding: WHO Global TB Programme.

Translation: For the French translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00811-2DOI Listing
July 2022

Pharmacogenetics of dolutegravir plasma exposure among Southern Africans living with HIV.

J Infect Dis 2022 May 4. Epub 2022 May 4.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Dolutegravir is a component of preferred antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens. We characterised the pharmacogenetics of dolutegravir exposure following ART initiation in the ADVANCE trial in South Africa.

Methods: Genome-wide genotyping followed by imputation was performed. We developed a population pharmacokinetic model for dolutegravir using non-linear mixed-effects modelling. Linear regression models examined associations with unexplained variability in dolutegravir area under the concentration-time curve (AUCVAR).

Results: Genetic associations were evaluable in 284 individuals. Of nine polymorphisms previously associated with dolutegravir pharmacokinetics, the lowest P-value with AUCVAR was UGT1A1 rs887829 (P = 1.8 × 10-4), which was also associated with log10 bilirubin (P = 8.6 × 10-13). After adjusting for rs887829, AUCVAR was independently associated with rs28899168 in the UGT1A locus (P = 0.02), as were bilirubin concentrations (P = 7.7 × 10-8). In the population pharmacokinetic model, rs887829 T/T and C/T were associated with 25.9% and 10.8% decreases in dolutegravir clearance, respectively, compared to C/C. The lowest P-value for AUCVAR genome-wide was CAMKMT rs343942 (P = 2.4 × 10-7).

Conclusions: In South Africa, rs887829 and rs28899168 in the UGT1A locus were independently associated with dolutegravir AUCVAR. The novel rs28899168 association warrants replication. This study enhances understanding of dolutegravir pharmacogenetics in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiac174DOI Listing
May 2022

Tuberculosis screening among HIV-positive inpatients: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.

Lancet HIV 2022 04 23;9(4):e233-e241. Epub 2022 Mar 23.

Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa; Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Electronic address:

Background: Since 2011, WHO has recommended that HIV-positive inpatients be routinely screened for tuberculosis with the WHO four-symptom screen (W4SS) and, if screened positive, receive a molecular WHO-recommended rapid diagnostic test (eg, Xpert MTB/RIF [Xpert] assay). To inform updated WHO tuberculosis screening guidelines, we conducted a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis to assess the performance of W4SS and alternative screening tests to guide Xpert testing and compare the diagnostic accuracy of the WHO Xpert algorithm (ie, W4SS followed by Xpert) with Xpert for all HIV-positive inpatients.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane Library from Jan 1, 2011, to March 1, 2020, for studies of adult and adolescent HIV-positive inpatients enrolled regardless of tuberculosis signs and symptoms. The separate reference standards were culture and Xpert. Xpert was selected since it is most likely to be the confirmatory test used in practice. We assessed the proportion of inpatients eligible for Xpert testing using the WHO algorithm; assessed the accuracy of W4SS and alternative screening tests or strategies to guide diagnostic testing; and compared the accuracy of the WHO Xpert algorithm (W4SS followed by Xpert) with Xpert for all. We obtained pooled proportion estimates with a random-effects model, assessed diagnostic accuracy by fitting random-effects bivariate models, and assessed diagnostic yield descriptively. This systematic review has been registered on PROSPERO (CRD42020155895).

Findings: Of 6162 potentially eligible publications, six were eligible and we obtained data for all of the six publications (n=3660 participants). The pooled proportion of inpatients eligible for an Xpert was 90% (95% CI 89-91; n=3658). Among screening tests to guide diagnostic testing, W4SS and C-reactive protein (≥5 mg/L) had highest sensitivities (≥96%) but low specificities (≤12%); cough (≥2 weeks), haemoglobin concentration (<8 g/dL), body-mass index (<18·5 kg/m), and lymphadenopathy had higher specificities (61-90%) but suboptimal sensitivities (12-57%). The WHO Xpert algorithm (W4SS followed by Xpert) had a sensitivity of 76% (95% CI 67-84) and specificity of 93% (88-96; n=637). Xpert for all had similar accuracy to the WHO Xpert algorithm: sensitivity was 78% (95% CI 69-85) and specificity was 93% (87-96; n=639). In two cohorts that had sputum and non-sputum samples collected for culture or Xpert, diagnostic yield of sputum Xpert was 41-70% and 61-64% for urine Xpert.

Interpretation: The W4SS and other potential screening tests to guide Xpert testing have suboptimal accuracy in HIV-positive inpatients. On the basis of these findings, WHO now strongly recommends molecular rapid diagnostic testing in all medical HIV-positive inpatients in settings where tuberculosis prevalence is higher than 10%.

Funding: World Health Organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2352-3018(22)00002-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8964502PMC
April 2022

Effect of dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine for malaria intermittent preventive treatment on dolutegravir exposure in pregnant women living with HIV.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2022 05;77(6):1733-1737

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: In sub-Saharan Africa, the burdens of malaria and HIV infections overlap. In settings with moderate-to-high malaria transmission intensity, pregnant women living with HIV (PLWH) require both ART and malaria intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp). Dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine has been identified as a promising alternative to sulfadoxine/pyrimethamine for IPTp. However, another antimalarial drug, artesunate/amodiaquine, similar to dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine, was previously shown to reduce dolutegravir exposure in non-pregnant adults.

Objectives: To investigate the effect of dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine on dolutegravir plasma exposure in pregnant women on dolutegravir-based ART.

Methods: We conducted an open-label, non-randomized, fixed-sequence, pharmacokinetic study in PLWH in Malawi. Dolutegravir concentrations were measured over a 24 h period, before and after the recommended 3 day treatment dose of dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine in 12 pregnant women in their second or third trimester. Non-compartmental analysis was performed, and geometric mean ratios (GMRs) and 90% CIs were generated to compare dolutegravir pharmacokinetic parameters between the two treatment periods.

Results: Co-administration of dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine and dolutegravir increased dolutegravir's overall exposure (AUC0-24) and Cmax by 30% (GMR 1.30; 90% CI 1.11-1.52) and 31% (GMR 1.31; 90% CI 1.13-1.51), respectively. The dolutegravir trough (C24) concentration increased by 42% (GMR 1.42; 90% CI 1.09-1.85). The combined treatments were well tolerated with no serious adverse events observed.

Conclusions: Dihydroartemisinin/piperaquine may be administered with dolutegravir-based ART in pregnant women as the modest increase in dolutegravir exposure, similar to pharmacokinetic parameter values published previously, ensures its efficacy without any clinically significant adverse events observed in this small study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkac081DOI Listing
May 2022

Pharmacokinetics of bedaquiline in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).

J Antimicrob Chemother 2022 05;77(6):1720-1724

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: With current treatment options most patients with CNS TB develop severe disability or die. Drug-resistant tuberculous meningitis is nearly uniformly fatal. Novel treatment strategies are needed. Bedaquiline, a potent anti-TB drug, has been reported to be absent from CSF in a single report.

Objectives: To explore the pharmacokinetics of bedaquiline and its M2 metabolite in the CSF of patients with pulmonary TB.

Patients And Methods: Individuals with rifampicin-resistant pulmonary TB established on a 24 week course of treatment with bedaquiline underwent a lumbar puncture along with multiple blood sample collections over 24 h for CSF and plasma pharmacokinetic assessment, respectively. To capture the expected low bedaquiline and M2 concentrations (due to high protein binding in plasma) we optimized CSF collection and storage methods in vitro before concentrations were quantified via liquid chromatography with tandem MS.

Results: Seven male participants were enrolled, two with HIV coinfection. Using LoBind® tubes lined with a 5% BSA solution, bedaquiline and M2 could be accurately measured in CSF. Bedaquiline and M2 were present in all patients at all timepoints at concentrations similar to the estimated unbound fractions in plasma.

Conclusions: Bedaquiline and M2 penetrate freely into the CSF of pulmonary TB patients with a presumably intact blood-brain barrier. Clinical studies are urgently needed to determine whether bedaquiline can contribute meaningfully to the treatment of CNS TB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkac067DOI Listing
May 2022

A treatment recommender clinical decision support system for personalized medicine: method development and proof-of-concept for drug resistant tuberculosis.

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 2022 03 2;22(1):56. Epub 2022 Mar 2.

Torch Consortium FAMPOP Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: Personalized medicine tailors care based on the patient's or pathogen's genotypic and phenotypic characteristics. An automated Clinical Decision Support System (CDSS) could help translate the genotypic and phenotypic characteristics into optimal treatment and thus facilitate implementation of individualized treatment by less experienced physicians.

Methods: We developed a hybrid knowledge- and data-driven treatment recommender CDSS. Stakeholders and experts first define the knowledge base by identifying and quantifying drug and regimen features for the prototype model input. In an iterative manner, feedback from experts is harvested to generate model training datasets, machine learning methods are applied to identify complex relations and patterns in the data, and model performance is assessed by estimating the precision at one, mean reciprocal rank and mean average precision. Once the model performance no longer iteratively increases, a validation dataset is used to assess model overfitting.

Results: We applied the novel methodology to develop a treatment recommender CDSS for individualized treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis as a proof of concept. Using input from stakeholders and three rounds of expert feedback on a dataset of 355 patients with 129 unique drug resistance profiles, the model had a 95% precision at 1 indicating that the highest ranked treatment regimen was considered appropriate by the experts in 95% of cases. Use of a validation data set however suggested substantial model overfitting, with a reduction in precision at 1 to 78%.

Conclusion: Our novel and flexible hybrid knowledge- and data-driven treatment recommender CDSS is a first step towards the automation of individualized treatment for personalized medicine. Further research should assess its value in fields other than drug resistant tuberculosis, develop solid statistical approaches to assess model performance, and evaluate their accuracy in real-life clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12911-022-01790-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8892778PMC
March 2022

Risk of Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome With Integrase Inhibitors Versus Other Classes of Antiretrovirals: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Trials.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2022 Jun;90(2):232-239

Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Integrase strand transfer inhibitors (InSTIs) decrease HIV plasma viral load faster than other antiretroviral classes. More rapid viral load decline has been associated with higher risk of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). There are conflicting reports on the association between InSTI and IRIS. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the risk of IRIS among treatment-naive HIV-positive patients starting InSTI versus non-InSTI regimens.

Methods: We searched PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Africa-Wide, and Cochrane databases from earliest available date to 26 November 2021, for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) having intervention arms with InSTI versus control arms without InSTI in patients initiating first-line antiretroviral therapy. The primary outcome was relative risk (RR) of IRIS, whereas the secondary outcome was RR of paradoxical tuberculosis-associated IRIS (TB-IRIS). Data were combined by random-effects meta-analysis according to the Mantel-Haenszel method. The protocol for this study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020213976.

Results: We included 14 RCTs comprising 8696 participants from 6 continents for the primary outcome of IRIS and a subset of 674 participants (from 3 RCTs) for the secondary outcome of paradoxical TB-IRIS. Risk of IRIS was similar between InSTI and non-InSTI regimens (RR, 0.93; 95% confidence interval: 0.75 to 1.14). There was a trend towards a lower risk of paradoxical TB-IRIS with InSTI versus efavirenz regimens that was not statistically significant (RR, 0.64; 95% confidence interval: 0.34 to 1.19).

Conclusions: In this meta-analysis among treatment-naive patients commencing first-line antiretroviral therapy, InSTI regimens were not associated with higher risk of IRIS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002937DOI Listing
June 2022

An All-Oral 6-Month Regimen for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis: A Multicenter, Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial (the NExT Study).

Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2022 May;205(10):1214-1227

Division of Pulmonology, Department of Medicine, Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Cape Town, South Africa.

Improving treatment outcomes while reducing drug toxicity and shortening the treatment duration to ∼6 months remains an aspirational goal for the treatment of multidrug-resistant/rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (MDR/RR-TB). To conduct a multicenter randomized controlled trial in adults with MDR/RR-TB (i.e., without resistance to fluoroquinolones or aminoglycosides). Participants were randomly assigned (1:1 ratio) to a ∼6-month all-oral regimen that included levofloxacin, bedaquiline, and linezolid, or the standard-of-care (SOC) ⩾9-month World Health Organization (WHO)-approved injectable-based regimen. The primary endpoint was a favorable WHO-defined treatment outcome (which mandates that prespecified drug substitution is counted as an unfavorable outcome) 24 months after treatment initiation. The trial was stopped prematurely when bedaquiline-based therapy became the standard of care in South Africa. In total, 93 of 111 randomized participants (44 in the comparator arm and 49 in the interventional arm) were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis; 51 (55%) were HIV coinfected (median CD4 count, 158 cells/ml). Participants in the intervention arm were 2.2 times more likely to experience a favorable 24-month outcome than participants in the SOC arm (51% [25 of 49] vs. 22.7% [10 of 44]; risk ratio, 2.2 [1.2-4.1];  = 0.006). Toxicity-related drug substitution occurred more frequently in the SOC arm (65.9% [29 of 44] vs. 34.7% [17 of 49];  = 0.001)], 82.8% (24 of 29) owing to kanamycin (mainly hearing loss; replaced by bedaquiline) in the SOC arm, and 64.7% (11 of 17) owing to linezolid (mainly anemia) in the interventional arm. Adverse event-related treatment discontinuation in the safety population was more common in the SOC arm (56.4% [31 of 55] vs. 32.1% [17 of 56];  = 0.007). However, grade 3 adverse events were more common in the interventional arm (55.4% [31 of 56] vs. 32.7 [18 of 55];  = 0.022). Culture conversion was significantly better in the intervention arm (hazard ratio, 2.6 [1.4-4.9];  = 0.003) after censoring those with bedaquiline replacement in the SOC arm (and this pattern remained consistent after censoring for drug replacement in both arms;  = 0.01). Compared with traditional injectable-containing regimens, an all-oral 6-month levofloxacin, bedaquiline, and linezolid-containing MDR/RR-TB regimen was associated with a significantly improved 24-month WHO-defined treatment outcome (predominantly owing to toxicity-related drug substitution). However, drug toxicity occurred frequently in both arms. These findings inform strategies to develop future regimens for MDR/RR-TB.Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02454205).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1164/rccm.202107-1779OCDOI Listing
May 2022

Linezolid toxicity in patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis: a prospective cohort study.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2022 03;77(4):1146-1154

Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa, Institute for Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Linezolid is recommended for treating drug-resistant TB. Adverse events are a concern to prescribers but have not been systematically studied at the standard dose, and the relationship between linezolid exposure and clinical toxicity is not completely elucidated.

Patients And Methods: We conducted an observational cohort study to describe the incidence and determinants of linezolid toxicity, and to determine a drug exposure threshold for toxicity, among patients with rifampicin-resistant TB in South Africa. Linezolid exposures were estimated from a population pharmacokinetic model. Mixed-effects modelling was used to analyse toxicity outcomes.

Results: One hundred and fifty-one participants, 63% HIV positive, were enrolled and followed for a median of 86 weeks. Linezolid was permanently discontinued for toxicity in 32 (21%) participants. Grade 3 or 4 linezolid-associated adverse events occurred in 21 (14%) participants. Mean haemoglobin concentrations increased with time on treatment (0.03 g/dL per week; 95% CI 0.02-0.03). Linezolid trough concentration, male sex and age (but not HIV positivity) were independently associated with a decrease in haemoglobin >2 g/dL. Trough linezolid concentration of 2.5 mg/L or higher resulted in optimal model performance to describe changing haemoglobin and treatment-emergent anaemia (adjusted OR 2.9; 95% CI 1.3-6.8). SNPs 2706A > G and 3010G > A in mitochondrial DNA were not associated with linezolid toxicity.

Conclusions: Permanent discontinuation of linezolid was common, but linezolid-containing therapy was associated with average improvement in toxicity measures. HIV co-infection was not independently associated with linezolid toxicity. Linezolid trough concentration of 2.5 mg/L should be evaluated as a target for therapeutic drug monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkac019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7612559PMC
March 2022

Pharmacogenetics of Between-Individual Variability in Plasma Clearance of Bedaquiline and Clofazimine in South Africa.

J Infect Dis 2022 Jan 29. Epub 2022 Jan 29.

Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, USA.

Objective: Plasma bedaquiline clearance is reportedly more rapid with African ancestry. We examined whether genetic polymorphisms explained between-individual variability in plasma clearance of bedaquiline, its M2 metabolite, and clofazimine in a cohort of patients treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa.

Methods: Plasma clearance was estimated with non-linear mixed-effects modelling. Associations between pharmacogenetic polymorphisms, genome-wide polymorphisms, and variability in clearance were examined using linear regression models.

Results: Of 195 cohort participants, 140 were evaluable for genetic associations. Among 21 polymorphisms selected based on prior genome-wide significant associations with any drug, rs776746 (CYP3A5*3) was associated with slower clearance of bedaquiline (p = 0.0017) but not M2 (p = 0.25). CYP3A5*3 heterozygosity and homozygosity were associated with 15% and 30% slower bedaquiline clearance, respectively. The lowest P-value for clofazimine clearance was VKORC1 rs9923231 (p = 0.13). In genome-wide analyses, the lowest P-values for clearance of bedaquiline and clofazimine were RFX4 rs76345012 (p = 6.4x10 -7) and CNTN5 rs75285763 (p = 2.9x10 -8), respectively.

Conclusions: Among South Africans treated for drug-resistant tuberculosis, CYP3A5*3 was associated with slower bedaquiline clearance. Different CYP3A5*3 frequencies among populations may help explain the more rapid bedaquiline clearance reported in Africans. Associations with RFX4 and CNTN5 are likely by chance alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiac024DOI Listing
January 2022

Optimized Loading Dose Strategies for Bedaquiline When Restarting Interrupted Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2022 03 10;66(3):e0174921. Epub 2022 Jan 10.

Department of Pharmacy, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Interruption of treatment is common in drug-resistant tuberculosis patients. Bedaquiline has a long terminal half-life; therefore, restarting after an interruption without a loading dose could increase the risk of suboptimal treatment outcome and resistance development. We aimed to identify the most suitable loading dose strategies for bedaquiline restart after an interruption. A model-based simulation study was performed. Pharmacokinetic profiles of bedaquiline and its metabolite M2 (associated with QT prolongation) were simulated for 5,000 virtual patients for different durations and starting points of treatment interruption. Weekly bedaquiline area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and M2 maximum concentration () deviation before interruption and after reloading were assessed to evaluate the efficacy and safety, respectively, of the reloading strategies. Bedaquiline weekly AUC and M2 deviation were mainly driven by the duration of interruption and only marginally by the starting point of interruption. For interruptions with a duration shorter than 2 weeks, no new loading dose is needed. For interruptions with durations between 2 weeks and 1 month, 1 month and 1 year, and longer than 1 year, reloading periods of 3 days, 1 week, and 2 weeks, respectively, are recommended. This reloading strategy results in an average bedaquiline AUC deviation of 1.88% to 5.98% compared with -16.4% to -59.8% without reloading for interruptions of 2 weeks and 1 year, respectively, without increasing M2 . This study presents easy-to-implement reloading strategies for restarting a patient on bedaquiline treatment after an interruption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.01749-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8923200PMC
March 2022

Concentration-response relationships of dolutegravir and efavirenz with weight change after starting antiretroviral therapy.

Br J Clin Pharmacol 2022 03 26;88(3):883-893. Epub 2022 Jan 26.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dolutegravir is associated with more weight gain than efavirenz in people starting antiretroviral therapy (ART). We investigated the concentration-response relationships of efavirenz and dolutegravir with weight gain. We determined concentration-response relationships of dolutegravir and efavirenz (both combined with tenofovir disoproxil fumarate and emtricitabine) with changes in weight and fat distribution, derived from dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scans, in a nested study of ART-naïve participants from a randomised controlled trial. Pharmacokinetic parameters used in analyses were efavirenz mid-dosing interval concentrations and estimated dolutegravir area under the concentration-time curve using a population pharmacokinetic model developed in the study population. Study outcomes were percentage changes from baseline to week 48 in weight, and visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass. Pharmacokinetic data were available for 158 and 233 participants in the efavirenz arm and dolutegravir arms respectively; 57.0% were women. On multivariable linear regression there were independent negative associations between efavirenz concentrations and changes in both weight (P < .001) and subcutaneous adipose tissue mass (P = .002). Estimated dolutegravir area under the concentration-time curve up to 24 hours was not associated with change in weight (P = .109) but was negatively associated with change in visceral adipose tissue mass (P = .025). We found an independent negative concentration-response relationship between efavirenz concentrations and weight change in ART-naïve participants. Dolutegravir concentrations were not independently associated with weight change. These findings suggest that weight gain differences between efavirenz and dolutegravir are driven by efavirenz toxicity impairing weight gain rather than by off-target effects of dolutegravir causing weight gain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bcp.15177DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7612404PMC
March 2022

Tuberculosis screening among ambulatory people living with HIV: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis.

Lancet Infect Dis 2022 04 17;22(4):507-518. Epub 2021 Nov 17.

Johns Hopkins University Center for Tuberculosis Research, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Background: The WHO-recommended tuberculosis screening and diagnostic algorithm in ambulatory people living with HIV is a four-symptom screen (known as the WHO-recommended four symptom screen [W4SS]) followed by a WHO-recommended molecular rapid diagnostic test (eg Xpert MTB/RIF [hereafter referred to as Xpert]) if W4SS is positive. To inform updated WHO guidelines, we aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of alternative screening tests and strategies for tuberculosis in this population.

Methods: In this systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis, we updated a search of PubMed (MEDLINE), Embase, the Cochrane Library, and conference abstracts for publications from Jan 1, 2011, to March 12, 2018, done in a previous systematic review to include the period up to Aug 2, 2019. We screened the reference lists of identified pieces and contacted experts in the field. We included prospective cross-sectional, observational studies and randomised trials among adult and adolescent (age ≥10 years) ambulatory people living with HIV, irrespective of signs and symptoms of tuberculosis. We extracted study-level data using a standardised data extraction form, and we requested individual participant data from study authors. We aimed to compare the W4SS with alternative screening tests and strategies and the WHO-recommended algorithm (ie, W4SS followed by Xpert) with Xpert for all in terms of diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity and specificity), overall and in key subgroups (eg, by antiretroviral therapy [ART] status). The reference standard was culture. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020155895.

Findings: We identified 25 studies, and obtained data from 22 studies (including 15 666 participants; 4347 [27·7%] of 15 663 participants with data were on ART). W4SS sensitivity was 82% (95% CI 72-89) and specificity was 42% (29-57). C-reactive protein (≥10 mg/L) had similar sensitivity to (77% [61-88]), but higher specificity (74% [61-83]; n=3571) than, W4SS. Cough (lasting ≥2 weeks), haemoglobin (<10 g/dL), body-mass index (<18·5 kg/m), and lymphadenopathy had high specificities (80-90%) but low sensitivities (29-43%). The WHO-recommended algorithm had a sensitivity of 58% (50-66) and a specificity of 99% (98-100); Xpert for all had a sensitivity of 68% (57-76) and a specificity of 99% (98-99). In the one study that assessed both, the sensitivity of sputum Xpert Ultra was higher than sputum Xpert (73% [62-81] vs 57% [47-67]) and specificities were similar (98% [96-98] vs 99% [98-100]). Among outpatients on ART (4309 [99·1%] of 4347 people on ART), W4SS sensitivity was 53% (35-71) and specificity was 71% (51-85). In this population, a parallel strategy (two tests done at the same time) of W4SS with any chest x-ray abnormality had higher sensitivity (89% [70-97]) and lower specificity (33% [17-54]; n=2670) than W4SS alone; at a tuberculosis prevalence of 5%, this strategy would require 379 more rapid diagnostic tests per 1000 people living with HIV than W4SS but detect 18 more tuberculosis cases. Among outpatients not on ART (11 160 [71·8%] of 15 541 outpatients), W4SS sensitivity was 85% (76-91) and specificity was 37% (25-51). C-reactive protein (≥10 mg/L) alone had a similar sensitivity to (83% [79-86]), but higher specificity (67% [60-73]; n=3187) than, W4SS and a sequential strategy (both test positive) of W4SS then C-reactive protein (≥5 mg/L) had a similar sensitivity to (84% [75-90]), but higher specificity than (64% [57-71]; n=3187), W4SS alone; at 10% tuberculosis prevalence, these strategies would require 272 and 244 fewer rapid diagnostic tests per 1000 people living with HIV than W4SS but miss two and one more tuberculosis cases, respectively.

Interpretation: C-reactive protein reduces the need for further rapid diagnostic tests without compromising sensitivity and has been included in the updated WHO tuberculosis screening guidelines. However, C-reactive protein data were scarce for outpatients on ART, necessitating future research regarding the utility of C-reactive protein in this group. Chest x-ray can be useful in outpatients on ART when combined with W4SS. The WHO-recommended algorithm has suboptimal sensitivity; Xpert for all offers slight sensitivity gains and would have major resource implications.

Funding: World Health Organization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00387-XDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8942858PMC
April 2022

Assessment of epidemiological and genetic characteristics and clinical outcomes of resistance to bedaquiline in patients treated for rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis: a cross-sectional and longitudinal study.

Lancet Infect Dis 2022 04 12;22(4):496-506. Epub 2021 Nov 12.

Drug-resistant Tuberculosis Directorate, National Department of Health, Pretoria, South Africa.

Background: Bedaquiline improves outcomes of patients with rifampicin-resistant and multidrug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis; however, emerging resistance threatens this success. We did a cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis evaluating the epidemiology, genetic basis, and treatment outcomes associated with bedaquiline resistance, using data from South Africa (2015-19).

Methods: Patients with drug-resistant tuberculosis starting bedaquiline-based treatment had surveillance samples submitted at baseline, month 2, and month 6, along with demographic information. Culture-positive baseline and post-baseline isolates had phenotypic resistance determined. Eligible patients were aged 12 years or older with a positive culture sample at baseline or, if the sample was invalid or negative, a sample within 30 days of the baseline sample submitted for bedaquiline drug susceptibility testing. For the longitudinal study, the first surveillance sample had to be phenotypically susceptible to bedaquiline for inclusion. Whole-genome sequencing was done on bedaquiline-resistant isolates and a subset of bedaquiline-susceptible isolates. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases tuberculosis reference laboratory, and national tuberculosis surveillance databases were matched to the Electronic Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis Register. We assessed baseline resistance prevalence, mutations, transmission, cumulative resistance incidence, and odds ratios (ORs) associating risk factors for resistance with patient outcomes.

Findings: Between Jan 1, 2015, and July 31, 2019, 8041 patients had surveillance samples submitted, of whom 2023 were included in the cross-sectional analysis and 695 in the longitudinal analysis. Baseline bedaquiline resistance prevalence was 3·8% (76 of 2023 patients; 95% CI 2·9-4·6), and it was associated with previous exposure to bedaquiline or clofazimine (OR 7·1, 95% CI 2·3-21·9) and with rifampicin-resistant or MDR tuberculosis with additional resistance to either fluoroquinolones or injectable drugs (pre-extensively-drug resistant [XDR] tuberculosis: 4·2, 1·7-10·5) or to both (XDR tuberculosis: 4·8, 2·0-11·7). Rv0678 mutations were the sole genetic basis of phenotypic resistance. Baseline resistance could be attributed to previous bedaquiline or clofazimine exposure in four (5·3%) of 76 patients and to primary transmission in six (7·9%). Odds of successful treatment outcomes were lower in patients with baseline bedaquiline resistance (0·5, 0·3-1). Resistance during treatment developed in 16 (2·3%) of 695 patients, at a median of 90 days (IQR 62-195), with 12 of these 16 having pre-XDR or XDR.

Interpretation: Bedaquiline resistance was associated with poorer treatment outcomes. Rapid assessment of bedaquiline resistance, especially when patients were previously exposed to bedaquiline or clofazimine, should be prioritised at baseline or if patients remain culture-positive after 2 months of treatment. Preventing resistance by use of novel combination therapies, current treatment optimisation, and patient support is essential.

Funding: National Institute for Communicable Diseases of South Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00470-9DOI Listing
April 2022

Linezolid Population Pharmacokinetics in South African Adults with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2021 11 20;65(12):e0138121. Epub 2021 Sep 20.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Towngrid.7836.a, Cape Town, South Africa.

Linezolid is widely used for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) but has a narrow therapeutic index. To inform dose optimization, we aimed to characterize the population pharmacokinetics of linezolid in South African participants with DR-TB and explore the effect of covariates, including HIV coinfection, on drug exposure. Data were obtained from pharmacokinetic substudies in a randomized controlled trial and an observational cohort study, both of which enrolled adults with drug-resistant pulmonary tuberculosis. Participants underwent intensive and sparse plasma sampling. We analyzed linezolid concentration data using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling and performed simulations to estimate attainment of putative efficacy and toxicity targets. A total of 124 participants provided 444 plasma samples; 116 were on the standard daily dose of 600 mg, while 19 had dose reduction to 300 mg due to adverse events. Sixty-one participants were female, 71 were HIV-positive, and their median weight was 56 kg (interquartile range [IQR], 50 to 63). In the final model, typical values for clearance and central volume were 3.57 liters/h and 40.2 liters, respectively. HIV coinfection had no significant effect on linezolid exposure. Simulations showed that 600-mg dosing achieved the efficacy target (area under the concentration-time curve for the free, unbound fraction of the drug [[Formula: see text] at a MIC level of 0.5 mg/liter) with 96% probability but had 56% probability of exceeding safety target ([Formula: see text]. The 300-mg dose did not achieve adequate efficacy exposures. Our model characterized population pharmacokinetics of linezolid in South African patients with DR-TB and supports the 600-mg daily dose with safety monitoring.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.01381-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8597769PMC
November 2021

Relationship between Plasma and Intracellular Concentrations of Bedaquiline and Its M2 Metabolite in South African Patients with Rifampin-Resistant Tuberculosis.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2021 10 9;65(11):e0239920. Epub 2021 Aug 9.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Towngrid.7836.a, Cape Town, South Africa.

Bedaquiline is recommended for the treatment of all patients with rifampin-resistant tuberculosis (RR-TB). Bedaquiline accumulates within cells, but its intracellular pharmacokinetics have not been characterized, which may have implications for dose optimization. We developed a novel assay using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to measure the intracellular concentrations of bedaquiline and its primary metabolite M2 in patients with RR-TB in South Africa. Twenty-one participants were enrolled and underwent sparse sampling of plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) at months 1, 2, and 6 of treatment and at 3 and 6 months after bedaquiline treatment completion. Intensive sampling was performed at month 2. We used noncompartmental analysis to describe plasma and intracellular exposures and a population pharmacokinetic model to explore the relationship between plasma and intracellular pharmacokinetics and the effects of key covariates. Bedaquiline concentrations from month 1 to month 6 of treatment ranged from 94.7 to 2,540 ng/ml in plasma and 16.2 to 5,478 ng/ml in PBMCs, and concentrations of M2 over the 6-month treatment period ranged from 34.3 to 496 ng/ml in plasma and 109.2 to 16,764 ng/ml in PBMCs. Plasma concentrations of bedaquiline were higher than those of M2, but intracellular concentrations of M2 were considerably higher than those of bedaquiline. In the pharmacokinetic modeling, we estimated a linear increase in the intracellular-plasma accumulation ratio for bedaquiline and M2, reaching maximum effect after 2 months of treatment. The typical intracellular-plasma ratios 1 and 2 months after start of treatment were 0.61 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.42 to 0.92) and 1.10 (95% CI: 0.74 to 1.63) for bedaquiline and 12.4 (95% CI: 8.8 to 17.8) and 22.2 (95% CI: 15.6 to 32.3) for M2. The intracellular-plasma ratios for both bedaquiline and M2 were decreased by 54% (95% CI: 24 to 72%) in HIV-positive patients compared to HIV-negative patients. Bedaquiline and M2 were detectable in PBMCs 6 months after treatment discontinuation. M2 accumulated at higher concentrations intracellularly than bedaquiline, supporting evidence that M2 is the main inducer of phospholipidosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02399-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8522761PMC
October 2021

Effect of Isoniazid Intake on Ethionamide Pharmacokinetics and Target Attainment in Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis Patients.

Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2021 09 26;65(10):e0027821. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Towngrid.7836.a, Cape Town, South Africa.

Ethionamide is recommended as part of regimens to treat multidrug-resistant and rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis. This study was conducted to (i) describe the distribution of ethionamide MICs, (ii) describe the pharmacokinetics of ethionamide, and (iii) determine the probability of attaining target area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h (AUC)/MIC values associated with suppression of resistant subpopulation and microbial kill. Participants received 15 to 20 mg of drug/kg of body weight of ethionamide daily (in 500- or 750-mg doses) as part of a multidrug regimen. Pretreatment MICs of ethionamide for Mycobacterium tuberculosis sputum isolates were determined using Sensititre MYCOTB MIC plates. Plasma concentrations of ethionamide (measured predose and at 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 h postdose) were available for 84 patients. A one-compartment disposition model, including a liver compartment capturing hepatic extraction, best described ethionamide pharmacokinetics. Clearance and volume were allometrically scaled using fat-free mass. Isoniazid coadministration reduced ethionamide clearance by 31%, resulting in a 44% increase in AUC. The median (range) MIC ( = 111) was 2.5 mg/liter (<0.3 to >40 mg/liter). Simulations showed increased daily doses of ethionamide (1,250 mg, 1,500 mg, and 1,750 mg for patients weighing ≤45 kg, 46 to 70 kg, and >70 kg, respectively) resulted in the probability of attaining an area under the concentration-time curve from 0 to 24 h for the free, unbound fraction of a drug (AUC)/MIC ratio of ≥42 in more than 90% of patients only at the lowest MIC of 0.3 mg/liter. The WHO-recommended doses of ethionamide do not achieve target concentrations even for the lowest MIC measured in the cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AAC.00278-21DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8448124PMC
September 2021

Study protocol for a phase 2A trial of the safety and tolerability of increased dose rifampicin and adjunctive linezolid, with or without aspirin, for HIV-associated tuberculous meningitis [LASER-TBM].

Wellcome Open Res 2021 1;6:136. Epub 2021 Jun 1.

Department of Neuroradiology, Imaging Department, Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, E1 1BB, UK.

Tuberculous meningitis (TBM) is the most lethal form of tuberculosis with a mortality of ~50% in those co-infected with HIV-1. Current antibiotic regimens are based on those known to be effective in pulmonary TB and do not account for the differing ability of the drugs to penetrate the central nervous system (CNS). The host immune response drives pathology in TBM, yet effective host-directed therapies are scarce. There is sufficient data to suggest that higher doses of rifampicin (RIF), additional linezolid (LZD) and adjunctive aspirin (ASA) will be beneficial in TBM yet rigorous investigation of the safety of these interventions in the context of HIV associated TBM is required. We hypothesise that increased dose RIF, LZD and ASA used in combination and in addition to standard of care for the first 56 days of treatment with be safe and tolerated in HIV-1 infected people with TBM. In an open-label randomised parallel study, up to 100 participants will receive either; i) standard of care (n=40, control arm), ii) standard of care plus increased dose RIF (35mg/kg) and LZD (1200mg OD for 28 days, 600mg OD for 28 days) (n=30, experimental arm 1), or iii) as per experimental arm 1 plus additional ASA 1000mg OD (n=30, experimental arm 2). After 56 days participants will continue standard treatment as per national guidelines. The primary endpoint is death and the occurrence of solicited treatment-related adverse events at 56 days. In a planned pharmacokinetic (PK) sub-study we aim to assess PK/pharmacodynamic (PD) of oral vs IV rifampicin, describe LZD and RIF PK and cerebrospinal fluid concentrations, explore PK/PD relationships, and investigate drug-drug interactions between LZD and RIF. Safety and pharmacokinetic data from this study will inform a planned phase III study of intensified therapy in TBM. NCT03927313 (25/04/2019).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16783.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8283551PMC
June 2021

Undisclosed HIV status and antiretroviral therapy use among South African blood donors.

Transfusion 2021 08 5;61(8):2392-2400. Epub 2021 Jul 5.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Undisclosed antiretroviral drug (ARV) use among blood donors who tested HIV antibody positive, but RNA negative, was previously described by our group. Undisclosed ARV use represents a risk to blood transfusion safety. We assessed the prevalence of and associations with undisclosed ARV use among HIV-positive donors who donated during 2017.

Study Design And Methods: South African National Blood Service (SANBS) blood donors are screened by self-administered questionnaire, semi-structured interview, and individual donation nucleic acid amplification testing for HIV. Stored samples from HIV-positive donations were tested for ARV and characterized as recent/longstanding using lag avidity testing.

Results: Of the 1462 HIV-positive donations in 2017, 1250 had plasma availability for testing of which 122 (9.8%) tested positive for ARV. Undisclosed ARV use did not differ by gender (p = .205) or ethnicity (p = .505) but did differ by age category (p < .0001), donor (p < .0001), clinic type (p = .012), home province (p = .01), and recency (p < .0001). Multivariable logistic regression found older age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 3.73, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.98-7.04 for donors >40 compared with those <21), first-time donation (aOR 5.24; 95% CI 2.48-11.11), and donation in a high HIV-prevalence province (aOR 9.10; 95% CI 2.70-30.72) compared with Northern Rural provinces to be independently associated with undisclosed ARV use.

Discussion: Almost 1 in 10 HIV-positive blood donors neglected to disclose their HIV status and ARV use. Demographic characteristics of donors with undisclosed ARV use differed from those noted in other study. Underlying motivations for nondisclosure among blood donors remain unclear and may differ from those in other populations with significant undisclosed ARV use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/trf.16571DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8355170PMC
August 2021

Pharmacogenetics of tenofovir and emtricitabine penetration into cerebrospinal fluid.

South Afr J HIV Med 2021 28;22(1):1206. Epub 2021 Apr 28.

Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Background: Blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier transporters affect the influx and efflux of drugs. The antiretrovirals tenofovir and emtricitabine may be substrates of blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-CSF barrier transporters, but data are limited regarding the pharmacogenetics and pharmacokinetics of their central nervous system (CNS) penetration.

Objectives: We investigated genetic polymorphisms associated with CSF disposition of tenofovir and emtricitabine.

Method: We collected paired plasma and CSF samples from 47 HIV-positive black South African adults who were virologically suppressed on efavirenz, tenofovir and emtricitabine. We considered 1846 single-nucleotide polymorphisms from seven relevant transporter genes ( and ) and 782 met a linkage disequilibrium (LD)-pruning threshold.

Results: The geometric mean (95% confidence interval [CI]) values for tenofovir and emtricitabine CSF-to-plasma concentration ratios were 0.023 (0.021-0.026) and 0.528 (0.460-0.605), respectively. In linear regression models, the lowest -value for association with the tenofovir CSF-to-plasma ratio was rs1989830 ( = 1.2 × 10) and for emtricitabine, it was rs11921035 ( = 1.4 × 10). None withstood correction for multiple testing.

Conclusion: No genetic polymorphisms were associated with plasma, CSF concentrations or CSF-to-plasma ratios for either tenofovir or emtricitabine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v22i1.1206DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8111650PMC
April 2021
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