Publications by authors named "Janneke van de Wijgert"

140 Publications

Reporting guidelines for human microbiome research: the STORMS checklist.

Nat Med 2021 Nov 17;27(11):1885-1892. Epub 2021 Nov 17.

F. Widjaja Foundation Inflammatory Bowel and Immunobiology Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The particularly interdisciplinary nature of human microbiome research makes the organization and reporting of results spanning epidemiology, biology, bioinformatics, translational medicine and statistics a challenge. Commonly used reporting guidelines for observational or genetic epidemiology studies lack key features specific to microbiome studies. Therefore, a multidisciplinary group of microbiome epidemiology researchers adapted guidelines for observational and genetic studies to culture-independent human microbiome studies, and also developed new reporting elements for laboratory, bioinformatics and statistical analyses tailored to microbiome studies. The resulting tool, called 'Strengthening The Organization and Reporting of Microbiome Studies' (STORMS), is composed of a 17-item checklist organized into six sections that correspond to the typical sections of a scientific publication, presented as an editable table for inclusion in supplementary materials. The STORMS checklist provides guidance for concise and complete reporting of microbiome studies that will facilitate manuscript preparation, peer review, and reader comprehension of publications and comparative analysis of published results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41591-021-01552-xDOI Listing
November 2021

The relationship between hormonal contraception and cervical dysplasia/cancer controlling for human papillomavirus infection: a systematic review.

Contraception 2021 Nov 6. Epub 2021 Nov 6.

City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, 55 W. 125th St., New York, NY 10027, USA; CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Public Health, 55 W. 125th St., New York, NY 10027, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Studies on the effect of long-term use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) on cervical dysplasia and/or cancer risk have been inconsistent. Less is known about the effects of other forms of hormonal contraception (HC). We examine whether HC use increases the risk of incident cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 2, 3 and/or cancer after accounting for preexisting human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.

Study Design: Systematic review of prospective studies on HC use as risk factor for cervical dysplasia with HPV infection documented prior to outcome assessment including PubMed and EMBASE records between January 2000 and February 2020 (Prospero #CRD42019130725).

Results: Among 9 eligible studies, seven described recency and type of HC use and therefore comprise the primary analysis; two studies limit comparisons to ever versus never use and are summarized separately. All seven studies explored the relationship between oral contraceptive (OC) use and cervical dysplasia/cancer incidence: two found increased risk (adjusted odds ratio, aOR=1.5-2.7), one found no association but decreased risk when restricted to women with persistent HPV (adjusted hazard ratio=0.5), and four found no association. None of the seven studies differentiated between COC and progestin-only pills (POPs) by use recency or duration. The only study that included injectable progestin-only contraception (DMPA) found increased CIN3 incidence among current versus never users (aOR=1.6). The one study that included Norplant found no association. Two studies included intrauterine device (IUD) use, but did not differentiate between hormonal and copper IUDs, and found no association.

Conclusion: We found no consistent evidence that OC use is associated with increased risk for cervical dysplasia/cancer after controlling for HPV infection. There were too few studies of progestin-only injectables, implants or IUDs to assess their effect on cervical dysplasia/cancer risk.

Implications: Use of single self-reported HC measures and insufficient distinction by hormonal constituent cloud our understanding of whether some HCs increase risk for cervical cancer. Methodologically rigorous studies with distinct HCs measured as time-varying exposures are needed to inform cervical cancer prevention efforts and improve our understanding of cervical cancer etiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2021.10.018DOI Listing
November 2021

A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the Remote Early Detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Oct 11;22(1):694. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but the infectious period starts on average 2 days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: • The algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) • The algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. The study will start with an initial learning phase (maximum of 3 months), followed by period 1 (3 months) and period 2 (3 months). Subjects entering the study at the end of the recruitment period may directly start with period 1 and will not be part of the learning phase. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in either period 1 or period 2 and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk individuals and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. More information on the study can be found in www.covid-red.eu . During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal. After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria: Inclusion criteria: • Resident of the Netherlands • At least 18 years old • Informed consent provided (electronic) • Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol • Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, the study team should be notified) • Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: • Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) • Current suspected (e.g. waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) • Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine or medical device trial (self-reported) • Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) • Pregnant at the time of informed consent (self-reported) • Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's user manual; self-reported) • Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronize it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 h, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess the intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo). Note that both algorithms will also instruct to seek testing when any SARS-CoV-2 symptoms are reported in line with those defined by the Dutch national institute for public health and the environment 'Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu' (RIVM) guidelines.

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional twenty secondary and exploratory objectives which address, among others, infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2-infected participants and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (between month 0 and 3.5 months after the start of subject recruitment), at the end of the learning phase (month 3; note that this sampling moment is skipped if a subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period), period 1 (month 6) and period 2 (month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the learning phase is positive, or if the subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period, and samples collected at the end of period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called COVID-positive mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using the data collected in period 2 (months 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomization: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in approximately equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded to the study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on the data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomized (sample Size): A total of 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 3.0, dated May 3, 2021. Start of recruitment: February 19, 2021. End of recruitment: June 3, 2021. End of follow-up (estimated): November 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05643-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8503725PMC
October 2021

Interventions to control nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2: a modelling study.

BMC Med 2021 08 27;19(1):211. Epub 2021 Aug 27.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 85500, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: Emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants requires more efficient control measures to limit nosocomial transmission and maintain healthcare capacities during pandemic waves. Yet the relative importance of different strategies is unknown.

Methods: We developed an agent-based model and compared the impact of personal protective equipment (PPE), screening of healthcare workers (HCWs), contact tracing of symptomatic HCWs and restricting HCWs from working in multiple units (HCW cohorting) on nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The model was fit on hospital data from the first wave in the Netherlands (February until August 2020) and assumed that HCWs used 90% effective PPE in COVID-19 wards and self-isolated at home for 7 days immediately upon symptom onset. Intervention effects on the effective reproduction number (R), HCW absenteeism and the proportion of infected individuals among tested individuals (positivity rate) were estimated for a more transmissible variant.

Results: Introduction of a variant with 56% higher transmissibility increased - all other variables kept constant - R from 0.4 to 0.65 (+ 63%) and nosocomial transmissions by 303%, mainly because of more transmissions caused by pre-symptomatic patients and HCWs. Compared to baseline, PPE use in all hospital wards (assuming 90% effectiveness) reduced R by 85% and absenteeism by 57%. Screening HCWs every 3 days with perfect test sensitivity reduced R by 67%, yielding a maximum test positivity rate of 5%. Screening HCWs every 3 or 7 days assuming time-varying test sensitivities reduced R by 9% and 3%, respectively. Contact tracing reduced R by at least 32% and achieved higher test positivity rates than screening interventions. HCW cohorting reduced R by 5%. Sensitivity analyses show that our findings do not change significantly for 70% PPE effectiveness. For low PPE effectiveness of 50%, PPE use in all wards is less effective than screening every 3 days with perfect sensitivity but still more effective than all other interventions.

Conclusions: In response to the emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants, PPE use in all hospital wards might still be most effective in preventing nosocomial transmission. Regular screening and contact tracing of HCWs are also effective interventions but critically depend on the sensitivity of the diagnostic test used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-021-02060-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8390112PMC
August 2021

Diagnostic accuracy of rapid antigen tests in asymptomatic and presymptomatic close contacts of individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection: cross sectional study.

BMJ 2021 Jul 27;374:n1676. Epub 2021 Jul 27.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Objective: To assess the diagnostic test accuracy of two rapid antigen tests in asymptomatic and presymptomatic close contacts of people with SARS-CoV-2 infection on day 5 after exposure.

Design: Prospective cross sectional study.

Setting: Four public health service covid-19 test sites in the Netherlands.

Participants: 4274 consecutively included close contacts (identified through test-and-trace programme or contact tracing app) aged 16 years or older and asymptomatic for covid-19 when requesting a test.

Main Outcome Measures: Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of Veritor System (Beckton Dickinson) and Biosensor (Roche Diagnostics) rapid antigen tests, with reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing as reference standard. The viral load cut-off above which 95% of people with a positive RT-PCR test result were virus culture positive was used as a proxy of infectiousness.

Results: Of 2678 participants tested with Veritor, 233 (8.7%) had a RT-PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection of whom 149 were also detected by the rapid antigen test (sensitivity 63.9%, 95% confidence interval 57.4% to 70.1%). Of 1596 participants tested with Biosensor, 132 (8.3%) had a RT-PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection of whom 83 were detected by the rapid antigen test (sensitivity 62.9%, 54.0% to 71.1%). In those who were still asymptomatic at the time of sampling, sensitivity was 58.7% (51.1% to 66.0%) for Veritor (n=2317) and 59.4% (49.2% to 69.1%) for Biosensor (n=1414), and in those who developed symptoms were 84.2% (68.7% to 94.0%; n=219) for Veritor and 73.3% (54.1% to 87.7%; n=158) for Biosensor. When a viral load cut-off was applied for infectiouness (≥5.2 log10 SARS-CoV-2 E gene copies/mL), the overall sensitivity was 90.1% (84.2% to 94.4%) for Veritor and 86.8% (78.1% to 93.0%) for Biosensor, and 88.1% (80.5% to 93.5%) for Veritor and 85.1% (74.3% to 92.6%) for Biosensor, among those who remained asymptomatic throughout. Specificities were >99%, and positive and negative predictive values were >90% and >95%, for both rapid antigen tests in all analyses.

Conclusions: The sensitivities of both rapid antigen tests in asymptomatic and presymptomatic close contacts tested on day 5 onwards after close contact with an index case were more than 60%, increasing to more than 85% after a viral load cut-off was applied as a proxy for infectiousness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n1676DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8314145PMC
July 2021

A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the remote early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Jun 22;22(1):412. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but that the infectious period starts on average two days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. All subjects will participate in an initial Learning Phase (varying from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on enrolment date), followed by two contiguous 3-month test phases, Period 1 and Period 2. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in one of these periods and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or Sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk individuals and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal, and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal ( www.covid-red.eu ). After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion Criteria: Resident of the Netherlands At least 18 years old Informed consent provided (electronic) Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, study team should be notified) Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) Previously received a vaccine developed specifically for COVID-19 or in possession of an appointment for vaccination in the near future (self-reported) Current suspected (e.g., waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine, or medical device trial (self-reported) Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) Pregnant at time of informed consent (self-reported) Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's User Manual; self-reported) Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronise it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 hours, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that: no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo).

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature, and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava Bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data, and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional seventeen secondary outcomes which address infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2 infected participants, and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme, and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (Month 0), and at the end of the Learning Phase (Month 3), Period 1 (Month 6) and Period 2 (Month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the Learning Phase is positive, and samples collected at the end of Period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of Period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called "COVID-positive" mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using data collected in Period 2 (Month 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after Period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomisation: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded as to study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomised (sample Size): 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or Sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 1.2, dated January 22, 2021 Start of recruitment: February 22, 2021 End of recruitment (estimated): April 2021 End of follow-up (estimated): December 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial has been registered at the Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05241-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8218271PMC
June 2021

Treatment Strategies for GLILD in Common Variable Immunodeficiency: A Systematic Review.

Front Immunol 2021 15;12:606099. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Pediatric Immunology and Rheumatology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Introduction: Besides recurrent infections, a proportion of patients with Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disorders (CVID) may suffer from immune dysregulation such as granulomatous-lymphocytic interstitial lung disease (GLILD). The optimal treatment of this complication is currently unknown. Experienced-based expert opinions have been produced, but a systematic review of published treatment studies is lacking.

Goals: To summarize and synthesize the published literature on the efficacy of treatments for GLILD in CVID.

Methods: We performed a systematic review using the PRISMA guidelines. Papers describing treatment and outcomes in CVID patients with radiographic and/or histologic evidence of GLILD were included. Treatment regimens and outcomes of treatment were summarized.

Results: 6124 papers were identified and 42, reporting information about 233 patients in total, were included for review. These papers described case series or small, uncontrolled studies of monotherapy with glucocorticoids or other immunosuppressants, rituximab monotherapy or rituximab plus azathioprine, abatacept, or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Treatment response rates varied widely. Cross-study comparisons were complicated because different treatment regimens, follow-up periods, and outcome measures were used. There was a trend towards more frequent GLILD relapses in patients treated with corticosteroid monotherapy when compared to rituximab-containing treatment regimens based on qualitative endpoints. HSCT is a promising alternative to pharmacological treatment of GLILD, because it has the potential to not only contain symptoms, but also to resolve the underlying pathology. However, mortality, especially among immunocompromised patients, is high.

Conclusions: We could not draw definitive conclusions regarding optimal pharmacological treatment for GLILD in CVID from the current literature since quantitative, well-controlled evidence was lacking. While HSCT might be considered a treatment option for GLILD in CVID, the risks related to the procedure are high. Our findings highlight the need for further research with uniform, objective and quantifiable endpoints. This should include international registries with standardized data collection including regular pulmonary function tests (with carbon monoxide-diffusion), uniform high-resolution chest CT radiographic scoring, and uniform treatment regimens, to facilitate comparison of treatment outcomes and ultimately randomized clinical trials.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.606099DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086379PMC
June 2021

Thoracic imaging tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2021 03 16;3:CD013639. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Background: The respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection continues to present diagnostic challenges. Our 2020 edition of this review showed thoracic (chest) imaging to be sensitive and moderately specific in the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this update, we include new relevant studies, and have removed studies with case-control designs, and those not intended to be diagnostic test accuracy studies.

Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of thoracic imaging (computed tomography (CT), X-ray and ultrasound) in people with suspected COVID-19.

Search Methods: We searched the COVID-19 Living Evidence Database from the University of Bern, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, The Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library, and repositories of COVID-19 publications through to 30 September 2020. We did not apply any language restrictions.

Selection Criteria: We included studies of all designs, except for case-control, that recruited participants of any age group suspected to have COVID-19 and that reported estimates of test accuracy or provided data from which we could compute estimates.

Data Collection And Analysis: The review authors independently and in duplicate screened articles, extracted data and assessed risk of bias and applicability concerns using the QUADAS-2 domain-list. We presented the results of estimated sensitivity and specificity using paired forest plots, and we summarised pooled estimates in tables. We used a bivariate meta-analysis model where appropriate. We presented the uncertainty of accuracy estimates using 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Main Results: We included 51 studies with 19,775 participants suspected of having COVID-19, of whom 10,155 (51%) had a final diagnosis of COVID-19. Forty-seven studies evaluated one imaging modality each, and four studies evaluated two imaging modalities each. All studies used RT-PCR as the reference standard for the diagnosis of COVID-19, with 47 studies using only RT-PCR and four studies using a combination of RT-PCR and other criteria (such as clinical signs, imaging tests, positive contacts, and follow-up phone calls) as the reference standard. Studies were conducted in Europe (33), Asia (13), North America (3) and South America (2); including only adults (26), all ages (21), children only (1), adults over 70 years (1), and unclear (2); in inpatients (2), outpatients (32), and setting unclear (17). Risk of bias was high or unclear in thirty-two (63%) studies with respect to participant selection, 40 (78%) studies with respect to reference standard, 30 (59%) studies with respect to index test, and 24 (47%) studies with respect to participant flow. For chest CT (41 studies, 16,133 participants, 8110 (50%) cases), the sensitivity ranged from 56.3% to 100%, and specificity ranged from 25.4% to 97.4%. The pooled sensitivity of chest CT was 87.9% (95% CI 84.6 to 90.6) and the pooled specificity was 80.0% (95% CI 74.9 to 84.3). There was no statistical evidence indicating that reference standard conduct and definition for index test positivity were sources of heterogeneity for CT studies. Nine chest CT studies (2807 participants, 1139 (41%) cases) used the COVID-19 Reporting and Data System (CO-RADS) scoring system, which has five thresholds to define index test positivity. At a CO-RADS threshold of 5 (7 studies), the sensitivity ranged from 41.5% to 77.9% and the pooled sensitivity was 67.0% (95% CI 56.4 to 76.2); the specificity ranged from 83.5% to 96.2%; and the pooled specificity was 91.3% (95% CI 87.6 to 94.0). At a CO-RADS threshold of 4 (7 studies), the sensitivity ranged from 56.3% to 92.9% and the pooled sensitivity was 83.5% (95% CI 74.4 to 89.7); the specificity ranged from 77.2% to 90.4% and the pooled specificity was 83.6% (95% CI 80.5 to 86.4). For chest X-ray (9 studies, 3694 participants, 2111 (57%) cases) the sensitivity ranged from 51.9% to 94.4% and specificity ranged from 40.4% to 88.9%. The pooled sensitivity of chest X-ray was 80.6% (95% CI 69.1 to 88.6) and the pooled specificity was 71.5% (95% CI 59.8 to 80.8). For ultrasound of the lungs (5 studies, 446 participants, 211 (47%) cases) the sensitivity ranged from 68.2% to 96.8% and specificity ranged from 21.3% to 78.9%. The pooled sensitivity of ultrasound was 86.4% (95% CI 72.7 to 93.9) and the pooled specificity was 54.6% (95% CI 35.3 to 72.6). Based on an indirect comparison using all included studies, chest CT had a higher specificity than ultrasound. For indirect comparisons of chest CT and chest X-ray, or chest X-ray and ultrasound, the data did not show differences in specificity or sensitivity.

Authors' Conclusions: Our findings indicate that chest CT is sensitive and moderately specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Chest X-ray is moderately sensitive and moderately specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Ultrasound is sensitive but not specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Thus, chest CT and ultrasound may have more utility for excluding COVID-19 than for differentiating SARS-CoV-2 infection from other causes of respiratory illness. Future diagnostic accuracy studies should pre-define positive imaging findings, include direct comparisons of the various modalities of interest in the same participant population, and implement improved reporting practices.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8078565PMC
March 2021

Model-based evaluation of school- and non-school-related measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nat Commun 2021 03 12;12(1):1614. Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The role of school-based contacts in the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 is incompletely understood. We use an age-structured transmission model fitted to age-specific seroprevalence and hospital admission data to assess the effects of school-based measures at different time points during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. Our analyses suggest that the impact of measures reducing school-based contacts depends on the remaining opportunities to reduce non-school-based contacts. If opportunities to reduce the effective reproduction number (R) with non-school-based measures are exhausted or undesired and R is still close to 1, the additional benefit of school-based measures may be considerable, particularly among older school children. As two examples, we demonstrate that keeping schools closed after the summer holidays in 2020, in the absence of other measures, would not have prevented the second pandemic wave in autumn 2020 but closing schools in November 2020 could have reduced R below 1, with unchanged non-school-based contacts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21899-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7955041PMC
March 2021

Feasibility and acceptability of frequent vaginal self-sampling at home by Rwandan women at high risk of urogenital tract infections.

Sex Transm Infect 2021 Jan 29. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Objectives: To establish temporal links between vaginal microbiota (VMB) data and incident clinical events, frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling is required. Self-collection of swabs at the participant's home may be useful to avoid overburdening research clinics and participants. One-off vaginal self-sampling for STI or cervical cancer screening programmes has been shown to be feasible and acceptable to women in multiple studies, including in sub-Saharan Africa, but the feasibility and acceptability of frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling in the context of VMB sequencing studies is unknown.

Methods: Twelve participants of a randomised clinical trial in Kigali, Rwanda, self-collected vaginal swabs three times a week for a month. We studied feasibility by comparing DNA concentrations, proportions of samples with >1000 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing reads and VMB composition outcomes of self-collected swabs with clinician-collected swabs. We evaluated the acceptability of self-collection using structured face-to-face interviews and a focus group discussion.

Results: The participants collected vaginal swabs at 131 different time points. One woman stopped self-sampling after one try due to a social harm. All self-sampled swabs generated >1000 rRNA amplicon sequencing reads, and the DNA concentration of self-sampled swabs and clinician-sampled swabs did not differ significantly (Kruskal-Wallis p=0.484). Self-sampled and clinician-sampled swabs generated similar VMB composition data. Participants reported feeling very comfortable during self-sampling (11/12; 91.7%) and that self-sampling had become easier over time (12/12; 100%). They mentioned reduced travel time and travel costs as advantages of self-sampling at home.

Conclusions: Frequent longitudinal vaginal sampling at home is feasible and acceptable to participants, even in the context of a low-resource setting, as long as adequate counselling is provided.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02459665.
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January 2021

Thoracic imaging tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 11 26;11:CD013639. Epub 2020 Nov 26.

NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.

Background: The respiratory illness caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection continues to present diagnostic challenges. Early research showed thoracic (chest) imaging to be sensitive but not specific in the diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, this is a rapidly developing field and these findings need to be re-evaluated in the light of new research. This is the first update of this 'living systematic review'. This update focuses on people suspected of having COVID-19 and excludes studies with only confirmed COVID-19 participants.

Objectives: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of thoracic imaging (computed tomography (CT), X-ray and ultrasound) in people with suspected COVID-19.

Search Methods: We searched the COVID-19 Living Evidence Database from the University of Bern, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, The Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library, and repositories of COVID-19 publications through to 22 June 2020. We did not apply any language restrictions.

Selection Criteria: We included studies of all designs that recruited participants of any age group suspected to have COVID-19, and which reported estimates of test accuracy, or provided data from which estimates could be computed. When studies used a variety of reference standards, we retained the classification of participants as COVID-19 positive or negative as used in the study.

Data Collection And Analysis: We screened studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias and applicability concerns using the QUADAS-2 domain-list independently, in duplicate. We categorised included studies into three groups based on classification of index test results: studies that reported specific criteria for index test positivity (group 1); studies that did not report specific criteria, but had the test reader(s) explicitly classify the imaging test result as either COVID-19 positive or negative (group 2); and studies that reported an overview of index test findings, without explicitly classifying the imaging test as either COVID-19 positive or negative (group 3). We presented the results of estimated sensitivity and specificity using paired forest plots, and summarised in tables. We used a bivariate meta-analysis model where appropriate. We presented uncertainty of the accuracy estimates using 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Main Results: We included 34 studies: 30 were cross-sectional studies with 8491 participants suspected of COVID-19, of which 4575 (54%) had a final diagnosis of COVID-19; four were case-control studies with 848 cases and controls in total, of which 464 (55%) had a final diagnosis of COVID-19. Chest CT was evaluated in 31 studies (8014 participants, 4224 (53%) cases), chest X-ray in three studies (1243 participants, 784 (63%) cases), and ultrasound of the lungs in one study (100 participants, 31 (31%) cases). Twenty-six per cent (9/34) of all studies were available only as preprints. Nineteen studies were conducted in Asia, 10 in Europe, four in North America and one in Australia. Sixteen studies included only adults, 15 studies included both adults and children and one included only children. Two studies did not report the ages of participants. Twenty-four studies included inpatients, four studies included outpatients, while the remaining six studies were conducted in unclear settings. The majority of included studies had a high or unclear risk of bias with respect to participant selection, index test, reference standard, and participant flow. For chest CT in suspected COVID-19 participants (31 studies, 8014 participants, 4224 (53%) cases) the sensitivity ranged from 57.4% to 100%, and specificity ranged from 0% to 96.0%. The pooled sensitivity of chest CT in suspected COVID-19 participants was 89.9% (95% CI 85.7 to 92.9) and the pooled specificity was 61.1% (95% CI 42.3 to 77.1). Sensitivity analyses showed that when the studies from China were excluded, the studies from other countries demonstrated higher specificity compared to the overall included studies. When studies that did not classify index tests as positive or negative for COVID-19 (group 3) were excluded, the remaining studies (groups 1 and 2) demonstrated higher specificity compared to the overall included studies. Sensitivity analyses limited to cross-sectional studies, or studies where at least two reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests were conducted if the first was negative, did not substantively alter the accuracy estimates. We did not identify publication status as a source of heterogeneity. For chest X-ray in suspected COVID-19 participants (3 studies, 1243 participants, 784 (63%) cases) the sensitivity ranged from 56.9% to 89.0% and specificity from 11.1% to 88.9%. The sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound of the lungs in suspected COVID-19 participants (1 study, 100 participants, 31 (31%) cases) were 96.8% and 62.3%, respectively. We could not perform a meta-analysis for chest X-ray or ultrasound due to the limited number of included studies.

Authors' Conclusions: Our findings indicate that chest CT is sensitive and moderately specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in suspected patients, meaning that CT may have limited capability in differentiating SARS-CoV-2 infection from other causes of respiratory illness. However, we are limited in our confidence in these results due to the poor study quality and the heterogeneity of included studies. Because of limited data, accuracy estimates of chest X-ray and ultrasound of the lungs for the diagnosis of suspected COVID-19 cases should be carefully interpreted. Future diagnostic accuracy studies should pre-define positive imaging findings, include direct comparisons of the various modalities of interest on the same participant population, and implement improved reporting practices. Planned updates of this review will aim to: increase precision around the accuracy estimates for chest CT (ideally with low risk of bias studies); obtain further data to inform accuracy of chest X-rays and ultrasound; and obtain data to further fulfil secondary objectives (e.g. 'threshold' effects, comparing accuracy estimates across different imaging modalities) to inform the utility of imaging along different diagnostic pathways.
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November 2020

Thoracic imaging tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 09 30;9:CD013639. Epub 2020 Sep 30.

Department of Radiology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.

Background: The diagnosis of infection by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) presents major challenges. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing is used to diagnose a current infection, but its utility as a reference standard is constrained by sampling errors, limited sensitivity (71% to 98%), and dependence on the timing of specimen collection. Chest imaging tests are being used in the diagnosis of COVID-19 disease, or when RT-PCR testing is unavailable.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic accuracy of chest imaging (computed tomography (CT), X-ray and ultrasound) in people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Search Methods: We searched the COVID-19 Living Evidence Database from the University of Bern, the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, and The Stephen B. Thacker CDC Library. In addition, we checked repositories of COVID-19 publications. We did not apply any language restrictions. We conducted searches for this review iteration up to 5 May 2020.

Selection Criteria: We included studies of all designs that produce estimates of test accuracy or provide data from which estimates can be computed. We included two types of cross-sectional designs: a) where all patients suspected of the target condition enter the study through the same route and b) where it is not clear up front who has and who does not have the target condition, or where the patients with the target condition are recruited in a different way or from a different population from the patients without the target condition. When studies used a variety of reference standards, we included all of them.

Data Collection And Analysis: We screened studies and extracted data independently, in duplicate. We also assessed the risk of bias and applicability concerns independently, in duplicate, using the QUADAS-2 checklist and presented the results of estimated sensitivity and specificity, using paired forest plots, and summarised in tables. We used a hierarchical meta-analysis model where appropriate. We presented uncertainty of the accuracy estimates using 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Main Results: We included 84 studies, falling into two categories: studies with participants with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19 at the time of recruitment (71 studies with 6331 participants) and studies with participants suspected of COVID-19 (13 studies with 1948 participants, including three case-control studies with 549 cases and controls). Chest CT was evaluated in 78 studies (8105 participants), chest X-ray in nine studies (682 COVID-19 cases), and chest ultrasound in two studies (32 COVID-19 cases). All evaluations of chest X-ray and ultrasound were conducted in studies with confirmed diagnoses only. Twenty-five per cent (21/84) of all studies were available only as preprints, 15/71 studies in the confirmed cases group and 6/13 of the studies in the suspected group. Among 71 studies that included confirmed cases, 41 studies had included symptomatic cases only, 25 studies had included cases regardless of their symptoms, five studies had included asymptomatic cases only, three of which included a combination of confirmed and suspected cases. Seventy studies were conducted in Asia, 2 in Europe, 2 in North America and one in South America. Fifty-one studies included inpatients while the remaining 24 studies were conducted in mixed or unclear settings. Risk of bias was high in most studies, mainly due to concerns about selection of participants and applicability. Among the 13 studies that included suspected cases, nine studies were conducted in Asia, and one in Europe. Seven studies included inpatients while the remaining three studies were conducted in mixed or unclear settings. In studies that included confirmed cases the pooled sensitivity of chest CT was 93.1% (95%CI: 90.2 - 95.0 (65 studies, 5759 cases); and for X-ray 82.1% (95%CI: 62.5 to 92.7 (9 studies, 682 cases). Heterogeneity judged by visual assessment of the ROC plots was considerable. Two studies evaluated the diagnostic accuracy of point-of-care ultrasound and both reported zero false negatives (with 10 and 22 participants having undergone ultrasound, respectively). These studies only reported True Positive and False Negative data, therefore it was not possible to pool and derive estimates of specificity. In studies that included suspected cases, the pooled sensitivity of CT was 86.2% (95%CI: 71.9 to 93.8 (13 studies, 2346 participants) and specificity was 18.1% (95%CI: 3.71 to 55.8). Heterogeneity judged by visual assessment of the forest plots was high. Chest CT may give approximately the same proportion of positive results for patients with and without a SARS-CoV-2 infection: the chances of getting a positive CT result are 86% (95% CI: 72 to 94) in patient with a SARS-CoV-2 infection and 82% (95% CI: 44 to 96) in patients without.

Authors' Conclusions: The uncertainty resulting from the poor study quality and the heterogeneity of included studies limit our ability to confidently draw conclusions based on our results. Our findings indicate that chest CT is sensitive but not specific for the diagnosis of COVID-19 in suspected patients, meaning that CT may not be capable of differentiating SARS-CoV-2 infection from other causes of respiratory illness. This low specificity could also be the result of the poor sensitivity of the reference standard (RT-PCR), as CT could potentially be more sensitive than RT-PCR in some cases. Because of limited data, accuracy estimates of chest X-ray and ultrasound of the lungs for the diagnosis of COVID-19 should be carefully interpreted. Future diagnostic accuracy studies should avoid cases-only studies and pre-define positive imaging findings. Planned updates of this review will aim to: increase precision around the accuracy estimates for CT (ideally with low risk of bias studies); obtain further data to inform accuracy of chest X rays and ultrasound; and continue to search for studies that fulfil secondary objectives to inform the utility of imaging along different diagnostic pathways.
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September 2020

Randomized Trial of Lactin-V to Prevent Recurrence of Bacterial Vaginosis.

N Engl J Med 2020 08;383(8):790-791

Canisius Wilhelmina Hospital, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

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August 2020

Impact of delays on effectiveness of contact tracing strategies for COVID-19: a modelling study.

Lancet Public Health 2020 08 16;5(8):e452-e459. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands; Department of Medical Microbiology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.

Background: In countries with declining numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19, lockdown measures are gradually being lifted. However, even if most physical distancing measures are continued, other public health measures will be needed to control the epidemic. Contact tracing via conventional methods or mobile app technology is central to control strategies during de-escalation of physical distancing. We aimed to identify key factors for a contact tracing strategy to be successful.

Methods: We evaluated the impact of timeliness and completeness in various steps of a contact tracing strategy using a stochastic mathematical model with explicit time delays between time of infection and symptom onset, and between symptom onset, diagnosis by testing, and isolation (testing delay). The model also includes tracing of close contacts (eg, household members) and casual contacts, followed by testing regardless of symptoms and isolation if testing positive, with different tracing delays and coverages. We computed effective reproduction numbers of a contact tracing strategy (R) for a population with physical distancing measures and various scenarios for isolation of index cases and tracing and quarantine of their contacts.

Findings: For the most optimistic scenario (testing and tracing delays of 0 days and tracing coverage of 100%), and assuming that around 40% of transmissions occur before symptom onset, the model predicts that the estimated effective reproduction number of 1·2 (with physical distancing only) will be reduced to 0·8 (95% CI 0·7-0·9) by adding contact tracing. The model also shows that a similar reduction can be achieved when testing and tracing coverage is reduced to 80% (R 0·8, 95% CI 0·7-1·0). A testing delay of more than 1 day requires the tracing delay to be at most 1 day or tracing coverage to be at least 80% to keep R below 1. With a testing delay of 3 days or longer, even the most efficient strategy cannot reach R values below 1. The effect of minimising tracing delay (eg, with app-based technology) declines with decreasing coverage of app use, but app-based tracing alone remains more effective than conventional tracing alone even with 20% coverage, reducing the reproduction number by 17·6% compared with 2·5%. The proportion of onward transmissions per index case that can be prevented depends on testing and tracing delays, and given a 0-day tracing delay, ranges from up to 79·9% with a 0-day testing delay to 41·8% with a 3-day testing delay and 4·9% with a 7-day testing delay.

Interpretation: In our model, minimising testing delay had the largest impact on reducing onward transmissions. Optimising testing and tracing coverage and minimising tracing delays, for instance with app-based technology, further enhanced contact tracing effectiveness, with the potential to prevent up to 80% of all transmissions. Access to testing should therefore be optimised, and mobile app technology might reduce delays in the contact tracing process and optimise contact tracing coverage.

Funding: ZonMw, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and EU Horizon 2020 RECOVER.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30157-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7365652PMC
August 2020

Two Randomized Controlled Trials of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin Vaccination to reduce absenteeism among health care workers and hospital admission by elderly persons during the COVID-19 pandemic: A structured summary of the study protocols for two randomised controlled trials.

Trials 2020 Jun 5;21(1):481. Epub 2020 Jun 5.

Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Objectives: The objectives of these two separate trials are: (1) to reduce health care workers (HCWs) absenteeism; and (2) to reduce hospital admission among the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic through BCG vaccination.

Trial Design: Two separate multi-centre placebo-controlled parallel group randomized trials PARTICIPANTS: (1) Health care personnel working in the hospital or ambulance service where they will take care of patients with the COVID-19 infection and (2) elderly ≥60 years. The HCW trial is being undertaken in 9 hospitals. The elderly trial is being undertaken in locations in the community in Nijmegen, Utrecht, and Veghel, in the Netherlands, using senior citizen organisations to facilitate recruitment.

Intervention And Comparator: For both trials the intervention group will be randomized to vaccination with 0.1 ml of the licensed BCG vaccine (Danish strain 1331, SSI, Denmark, equivalent to 0.075 mg attenuated M. bovis). The placebo group consists of 0.1 ml 0.9% NaCl, which is the same amount, and has the same colour and appearance as the suspended BCG vaccine.

Main Outcomes: (1) Number of days of unplanned work absenteeism in HCWs for any reason which can be continuously measured on a bi-weekly basis, and (2) the cumulative incidence of hospital admission due to documented COVID-19.

Randomisation: Participants will be randomized to BCG vaccine or placebo (1;1) centrally using a computer- based system, stratified by study centre.

Blinding (masking): Subjects, investigators, physicians and outcome assessors are blinded for the intervention. Only the pharmacist assistant that prepares- and research personnel that administers- study medicines are unblinded. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): (1) The sample size for the first trial is N=1500 HCWs randomised 1:1 to either BCG vaccine (n=750) and placebo (n=750) and (2) The sample size for the second trial is N=1600 elderly persons randomised to BCG vaccine (n=800) and the placebo group (n=800).

Trial Status: HCW: version 4.0, 24-04-2020. Recruitment began 25-03-2020 and was completed on the 23-04-2020. Elderly: version 3.0, 04-04-2020. Recruitment began 16-04- 2020 and is ongoing.

Trial Registration: The HCWs trial was registered 31-03-2020 at clinicaltrials.gov (identifier: NCT04328441) and registered 20-03-2020 at the Dutch Trial Registry (trialregister.nl, identifier Trial NL8477). The elderly trial was registered 22-04-2020 at the Dutch trial registry with number NL8547.

Full Protocol: The full protocols will be attached as additional files, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7273375PMC
June 2020

Vaginal probiotic adherence and acceptability in Rwandan women with high sexual risk participating in a pilot randomised controlled trial: a mixed-methods approach.

BMJ Open 2020 05 19;10(5):e031819. Epub 2020 May 19.

Department of Clinical Infection, Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK

Objectives: To evaluate adherence and acceptability of intermittent vaginal probiotic or antibiotic use to prevent bacterial vaginosis (BV) recurrence.

Design: Repeated adherence and acceptability assessments using mixed methods within a pilot randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Research clinic in Kigali, Rwanda.

Participants: Rwandan women with high sexual risk.

Interventions: Women diagnosed with BV and/or trichomoniasis were randomised to four groups (n=17 each) after completing metronidazole treatment: behavioural counselling only, or behavioural counselling plus 2-month intermittent use of oral metronidazole, Ecologic Femi+ (EF+) vaginal capsule or Gynophilus LP (GynLP) vaginal tablet.

Outcome Measures: Adherence and acceptability were assessed by structured face-to-face interviews, semi-structured focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, daily diaries and counting of used/unused study products in randomised women (n=68). Vaginal infection knowledge was assessed by structured face-to-face interviews in randomised women and women attending recruitment sessions (n=131).

Results: Most women (93%) were sex workers, 99.2% were unfamiliar with BV and none had ever used probiotics. All probiotic users (n=32) reported that insertion became easier over time. Triangulated adherence data showed that 17/17 EF+ users and 13/16 GynLP users used ≥80% of required doses (Fisher's exact p=0.103). Younger age (p=0.076), asking many questions at enrolment (p=0.116), having menses (p=0.104) and reporting urogenital symptoms (p=0.103) were non-significantly associated with lower perfect adherence. Women believed that the probiotics reduced BV recurrence, but reported that partners were sometimes unsupportive of study participation. Self-reported vaginal washing practices decreased during follow-up, but sexual risk behaviours did not. Most women (12/15) with an uncircumcised steady partner discussed penile hygiene with him, but many women found this difficult, especially with male clients.

Conclusions: High-risk women require education about vaginal infections. Vaginal probiotic acceptability and adherence were high in this cohort. Our results can be used to inform future product development and to fine-tune counselling messages in prevention programmes.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02459665.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7247375PMC
May 2020

Pathobionts in the Vaginal Microbiota: Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis of Three Sequencing Studies.

Front Cell Infect Microbiol 2020 15;10:129. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.

Sequencing studies have shown that optimal vaginal microbiota (VMB) are lactobacilli-dominated and that anaerobes associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV-anaerobes) are commonly present. However, they overlooked a less prevalent but more pathogenic group of vaginal bacteria: the pathobionts that cause maternal and neonatal infections and pelvic inflammatory disease. We conducted an individual participant data meta-analysis of three VMB sequencing studies that included diverse groups of women in Rwanda, South Africa, and the Netherlands (2,044 samples from 1,163 women in total). We identified 40 pathobiont taxa but only six were non-minority taxa (at least 1% relative abundance in at least one sample) in all studies: (54% of pathobionts reads), and . When all pathobionts were combined into one bacterial group, the VMB of 17% of women contained a relative abundance of at least 1%. We found a significant negative correlation between relative abundances (ρ = -0.9234), but not estimated concentrations ( = 0.0031), of lactobacilli and BV-anaerobes; and a significant positive correlation between estimated concentrations of pathobionts and BV-anaerobes ( = 0.1938) but not between pathobionts and lactobacilli ( = 0.0436; although lactobacilli declined non-significantly with increasing pathobionts proportions). VMB sequencing data were also classified into mutually exclusive VMB types. The overall mean bacterial load of the ≥20% pathobionts VMB type (5.85 log cells/μl) was similar to those of the three lactobacilli-dominated VMB types (means 5.13-5.83 log cells/μl) but lower than those of the four anaerobic dysbiosis VMB types (means 6.11-6.87 log cells/μl). These results suggest that pathobionts co-occur with both lactobacilli and BV-anaerobes and do not expand as much as BV-anaerobes do in a dysbiotic situation. Pathobionts detection/levels were increased in samples with a Nugent score of 4-6 in both studies that conducted Nugent-scoring. Having pathobionts was positively associated with young age, non-Dutch origin, hormonal contraceptive use, smoking, antibiotic use in the 14 days prior to sampling, HIV status, and the presence of sexually transmitted pathogens, in at least one but not all studies; inconsistently associated with sexual risk-taking and unusual vaginal discharge reporting; and not associated with vaginal yeasts detection by microscopy. We recommend that future VMB studies quantify common vaginal pathobiont genera.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2020.00129DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7174631PMC
June 2021

Health-related quality of life in patients with immune mediated inflammatory diseases: A cross-sectional, multidisciplinary study.

Clin Immunol 2020 05 26;214:108392. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Immune mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) have similarities in pathophysiology and treatment. Not much is known, however, about health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) in IMIDs. We assessed and compared HR-QoL, using the validated EuroQoL 5-dimensions 5-levels questionnaire, in an observational cohort comprising 530 patients (67.5% female, mean age 49 years (95% CI 35.9-50.9), mean disease duration 31.0 months (95% CI 27.2-34.8)), with the following IMIDs: connective tissue diseases (32.6%), uveitis (20.8%), inflammatory arthritis (17.7%), psoriasis (15.5%), vasculitis (6.2%), primary antiphospholipid syndrome (4.2%), and autoinflammatory diseases (2.8%). Patients used either no anti-inflammatory therapy (31.5%), monotherapy (28.7%), or a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs (39.8%). The mean HR-QoL utility score was 0.75 (95% CI 0.72-0.78). Multinominal logistic regression analysis showed a statistically significant association between a very low HR-QoL (utility score (<0.70)) and female sex, rheumatological IMID or psoriasis, smoking or having smoked in the past, and current biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clim.2020.108392DOI Listing
May 2020

Intermittent Lactobacilli-containing Vaginal Probiotic or Metronidazole Use to Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis Recurrence: A Pilot Study Incorporating Microscopy and Sequencing.

Sci Rep 2020 03 3;10(1):3884. Epub 2020 Mar 3.

Centre for Genomic Research, Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is associated with HIV acquisition and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Recurrence after metronidazole treatment is high. HIV-negative, non-pregnant Rwandan BV patients were randomized to four groups (n = 17/group) after seven-day oral metronidazole treatment: behavioral counseling only (control), or counseling plus intermittent use of oral metronidazole, Ecologic Femi+ vaginal capsule (containing multiple Lactobacillus and one Bifidobacterium species), or Gynophilus LP vaginal tablet (L. rhamnosus 35) for two months. Vaginal microbiota assessments at all visits included Gram stain Nugent scoring and 16S rRNA gene qPCR and HiSeq sequencing. All interventions were safe. BV (Nugent 7-10) incidence was 10.18 per person-year at risk in the control group, and lower in the metronidazole (1.41/person-year; p = 0.004), Ecologic Femi+ (3.58/person-year; p = 0.043), and Gynophilus LP groups (5.36/person-year; p = 0.220). In mixed effects models adjusted for hormonal contraception/pregnancy, sexual risk-taking, and age, metronidazole and Ecologic Femi+ users, each compared to controls, had higher Lactobacillus and lower BV-anaerobes estimated concentrations and/or relative abundances, and were less likely to have a dysbiotic vaginal microbiota type by sequencing. Inter-individual variability was high and effects disappeared soon after intervention cessation. Lactobacilli-based vaginal probiotics warrant further evaluation because, in contrast to antibiotics, they are not expected to negatively affect gut microbiota or cause antimicrobial resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60671-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7054572PMC
March 2020

ECHO: context and limitations.

Lancet 2020 02;395(10222):e25-e26

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)33111-3DOI Listing
February 2020

ECHO: context and limitations.

Lancet 2020 02;395(10222):e24

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)33108-3DOI Listing
February 2020

Human papillomavirus infection and cervical dysplasia in HIV-positive women: potential role of the vaginal microbiota.

AIDS 2020 01;34(1):115-125

Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands Wits Reproductive Health & HIV Institute, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK National Health Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa Pathogenesis and Control of Chronic Infections, INSERM, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France Centre for Genomic Research, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.

Objectives: To assess the associations between microbiological markers of vaginal dysbiosis and incident/cleared/type-swap/persistent high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) infection; and incident/cured/cleared/persistent high-grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN2+) while controlling for persistent hrHPV infection.

Design: Two nested case-control studies (N = 304 and 236) within a prospective cohort of HIV-positive women in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Methods: Participants were examined for hrHPV type (INNO-LiPA), cervical dysplasia (histology), and vaginal microbiota (VMB) composition (V3-V4 Illumina HiSeq 2x300 bp) at baseline and endline, a median of 16 months later.

Results: Women with incident hrHPV compared to those who remained hrHPV-negative were less likely to have an optimal Lactobacillus crispatus or jensenii-dominated VMB type at end-line [relative risk ratio (RRR) 0.125, P = 0.019], but not at baseline. Having different hrHPV types at both visits was associated with multiple anaerobic dysbiosis markers at baseline (e.g. increased bacterial vaginosis-associated anaerobes relative abundance: RRR 3.246, P = 0.026). Compared to women without CIN2+, but with hrHPV at both visits, women with incident CIN2+ had increased Simpson diversity (RRR 7.352, P = 0.028) and nonsignificant trends in other anaerobic dysbiosis markers at end-line but not baseline. These associations persisted after controlling for age, hormonal contraception, and CD4 cell count. Current hormonal contraceptive use (predominantly progestin-only injectables) was associated with increased CIN2+ risk over-and-above persistent hrHPV infection and independent of VMB composition.

Conclusions: hrHPV infection (and/or increased sexual risk-taking) may cause anaerobic vaginal dysbiosis, but a bidirectional relationship is also possible. In this population, dysbiosis did not increase CIN2+ risk, but CIN2+ increased dysbiosis risk. The CIN2+ risk associated with progestin-only injectable use requires further evaluation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000002381DOI Listing
January 2020

Impact of oral metronidazole treatment on the vaginal microbiota and correlates of treatment failure.

Am J Obstet Gynecol 2020 02 9;222(2):157.e1-157.e13. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Metronidazole is the first-line treatment for bacterial vaginosis, but cure rates are suboptimal and recurrence rates high.

Objectives: To evaluate the impact of a standard course of oral metronidazole treatment (500 mg twice per day for 7 days) on the vaginal microbiota of Rwandan bacterial vaginosis patients using microscopy and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and to evaluate correlates of treatment failure.

Study Design: HIV-negative, nonpregnant women aged 18-45 years with bacterial vaginosis and/or Trichomonas vaginalis (N=68) were interviewed and sampled before and after metronidazole treatment. They were also screened, and treated if applicable, for other urogenital infections. The vaginal microbiota was assessed by Gram stain Nugent scoring, Illumina 16S rRNA HiSeq sequencing (relative abundances), and BactQuant 16S gene quantitative polymerase chain reaction (estimated concentrations). Only women with a pretreatment Nugent score of 7-10 and a valid posttreatment Nugent score (N=55) were included in metronidazole treatment failure analyses, with treatment failure defined as a posttreatment Nugent score of 4-10.

Results: The bacterial vaginosis cure rate by Nugent scoring was 54.5%. The mean total vaginal bacterial concentration declined from 6.59 to 5.85 log/μL (P<.001), which was mostly due to a reduction in mean bacterial vaginosis-associated anaerobes concentration (all bacterial vaginosis-associated anaerobe taxa combined) from 6.23 to 4.55 log/μL (P<.001). However, only 16.4% of women had a bacterial vaginosis anaerobes concentration reduction of more than 50%, and only 3 women had complete eradication. The mean concentration of lactobacilli (all species combined) increased from 4.98 to 5.56 log/μL (P=.017), with L. iners being the most common species pre- and posttreatment. The mean concentration of pathobionts (defined as Proteobacteria, streptococci, staphylococci, enterococci, and a few others) did not change significantly: from 1.92 log/μL pretreatment to 2.01 log/μL posttreatment (P=.939). Pretreatment pathobionts concentration, and having a pretreatment vaginal microbiota type containing more than 50% Gardnerella vaginalis (compared with less than 50%), were associated with increased likelihood of treatment failure, but the latter did not reach statistical significance (P=.044 and P=.084, respectively).

Conclusions: Metronidazole alone may not cure women with high G. vaginalis relative abundance, potentially due to biofilm presence, and women with high pathobionts concentration. These women may benefit from additional biofilm-disrupting and/or pathobiont-targeting treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2019.08.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6995998PMC
February 2020

Implementation and evaluation of the Presto combined qualitative real-time assay for and in Rwanda.

Afr J Lab Med 2019 18;8(1):739. Epub 2019 Apr 18.

Institute of Tropical Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, STI Reference Laboratory, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: The Presto combined qualitative real-time assay for and (Presto CT/NG PCR assay) is appealing for developing countries, because it can be used with multiple DNA extraction methods and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) platforms.

Objectives: The objective of the study was to implement and evaluate the Presto CT/NG PCR assay at the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) in Kigali, Rwanda, where no real-time PCR assays for the detection of or were available.

Methods: The Presto CT/NG PCR assay was first evaluated at the Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM) in Antwerp, Belgium. Next, NRL laboratory technicians were trained to use the assay on their ABI PRISM 7500 real-time PCR instrument and their competencies were assessed prior to trial initiation. During the trial, endocervical swabs were tested at the NRL, with bi-monthly external quality control testing monitored by the ITM. The final NRL results were evaluated against extended gold standard testing at the ITM, consisting of the Abbott 2000 RealTie System with confirmation of positive results by an in-house real-time PCR assay for or .

Results: Of the 192 samples analysed using the Presto assay at the NRL, 16 samples tested positive for and 17 tested positive for ; four of these were infected with both. The sensitivity and specificity of the Presto assay were 93.3% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 68.1% - 99.8%) and 99.4% (95% CI: 96.8% - 100%) for and 100% (95% CI: 76.8% - 100%) and 98.8% (95% CI: 95.8% - 99.9%) for .

Conclusion: and testing with the Presto assay was feasible in Kigali, Rwanda, and good performance was achieved.

Keywords: qPCR; ; .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ajlm.v8i1.739DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6489157PMC
April 2019

Targeted point-of-care testing compared with syndromic management of urogenital infections in women (WISH): a cross-sectional screening and diagnostic accuracy study.

Lancet Infect Dis 2019 06 25;19(6):658-669. Epub 2019 Apr 25.

Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK; Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. Electronic address:

Background: Sexually transmitted and urogenital infections are typically managed by WHO-recommended syndromic algorithms in resource-poor countries, and presumptively in Europe. However, algorithms for vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain perform poorly in women. The women's improvement of sexual and reproductive health (WISH) study in Kigali, Rwanda, sought to improve case-finding and infection management in women by introducing point-of-care tests. The main aim was to compare the performance of the WISH algorithms and the WHO vaginal discharge and lower abdominal pain algorithms with gold standard testing.

Methods: This cross-sectional screening and diagnostic accuracy study recruited women aged 18 years or older with or without urogenital symptoms at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections in Kigali, Rwanda. Recruitment activities were implemented by study staff with the help of community mobilisers at health centres, pharmacies, markets, women's organisations, and at "umuganda" community meetings. At the study visit, participants had a face-to-face interview that included questions about current urogenital symptoms. Participants were first asked without prompting (spontaneous reporting), followed by questions about 14 specific symptoms (structural reporting). Next, the WISH algorithms were implemented. All participants had point-of-care tests for bacterial vaginosis (vaginal pH of 5·0 or above) and Trichomonas vaginalis (immunoassay) regardless of symptom reporting. Women with a positive risk score had point-of-care tests for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoea (nucleic acid amplification tests). Vulvovaginal candidiasis was treated presumptively. Nucleic acid amplification tests for C trachomatis, N gonorrhoeae, T vaginalis, bacterial vaginosis, and vulvovaginal candidiasis were the gold standard, and all patients provided swabs for these.

Findings: Participants were recruited between July 5, 2016, and March 14, 2017. 705 participants were enrolled in the study and completed a study visit, and 51 attended 53 additional visits. Prevalence by gold standard testing was 8·5% for C trachomatis, 7·1% for N gonorrhoeae, 16·1% for T vaginalis, 18·1% for bacterial vaginosis, and 8·6% for vulvovaginal candidiasis. The WISH algorithms identified similar numbers of C trachomatis, N gonorrhoeae, and T vaginalis infections, but much higher numbers of bacterial vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis infections. Compared with gold standard testing, the WISH algorithms had a good sensitivity and high specificity for C trachomatis (sensitivity 71·7%, specificity 100%), N gonorrhoeae (sensitivity 76·0%, specificity 100%), and T vaginalis (sensitivity 68·5%, specificity 97·4%), high sensitivity but low specificity for bacterial vaginosis (sensitivity 95·2%, specificity 41·2%), and moderate sensitivity and specificity for vulvovaginal candidiasis (sensitivity 64·4%, specificity 69·4%). The performance of vaginal pH testing for bacterial vaginosis improved by increasing the cutoff to 5·5, followed by confirmatory testing (sensitivity 73·6%, specificity 100%). The WHO algorithms had moderate sensitivity and poor specificity for all infections compared with gold standard testing: C trachomatis sensitivity 58·3%, specificity 44·7%; N gonorrhoeae sensitivity 66·0%, specificity 45·2%; T vaginalis sensitivity 60·4%, specificity 45·6%; bacterial vaginosis sensitivity 61·6%, specificity 46·0%; and vulvovaginal candidiasis sensitivity 74·6%, specificity 50·6%. Two participants attended additional visits because they had a mild allergic reaction to metronidazole. Staff and participants considered point-of-care testing feasible and acceptable.

Interpretation: Point-of-care testing for urogenital infections might improve case-finding and infection management and is feasible in resource-poor settings. Point-of-care tests should be further developed, including those targeting multiple conditions. Additional studies in other populations, including populations with low prevalence of sexually transmitted and urogenital infections, are warranted.

Funding: European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30724-2DOI Listing
June 2019

The Evolving Facets of Bacterial Vaginosis: Implications for HIV Transmission.

AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2019 03;35(3):219-228

30 Disease Elimination Program, Life Sciences Discipline, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common yet poorly understood vaginal condition that has become a major focus of HIV transmission and immunology research. Varied terminologies are used by clinicians and researchers to describe microbial communities that reside in the female reproductive tract (FRT), which is driven, in part, by microbial genetic and metabolic complexity, evolving diagnostic and molecular techniques, and multidisciplinary perspectives of clinicians, epidemiologists, microbiologists, and immunologists who all appreciate the scientific importance of understanding mechanisms that underlie BV. This Perspectives article aims to clarify the varied terms used to describe the cervicovaginal microbiota and its "nonoptimal" state, under the overarching term of BV. The ultimate goal is to move toward language standardization in future literature that facilitates a better understanding of the impact of BV on FRT immunology and risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/AID.2018.0304DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434601PMC
March 2019

Hormonal Contraceptives and the Acquisition of Sexually Transmitted Infections: An Updated Systematic Review.

Sex Transm Dis 2019 05;46(5):290-296

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.

Background: Evidence suggests that some forms of hormonal contraception (HC) increase women's risk of non-human immunodeficiency virus sexually transmitted infections (STIs), yet evidence has not been reviewed since 2008. We conducted an updated systematic review to incorporate studies published between January 2009 and June 2017 to examine the relationship between HCs and incident or recurrent STIs.

Methods: We searched PubMed and EMBASE to identify prospective studies comparing risk of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), Treponema pallidum, or Trichomonas vaginalis, between women using HC versus nonhormonal methods or no methods. We summarize results by type of STI and HC and study quality using an adapted Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale.

Results: Thirty articles met the inclusion criteria. Depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) reduces the risk of trichomoniasis (consistent evidence) and may increase the risk of HSV-2 (strong effect, few studies); inconclusive evidence exists for HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Data on oral contraceptive pills (OCPs; generally not differentiated whether combined or progestin-only pills) suggest that use is associated with a reduced risk of trichomoniasis with inconclusive findings for HSV-2, HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Very few studies included norethisterone enanthate (Net-En) injectable, implants or the levonorgestrel intrauterine device.

Conclusions: Depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate and OCPs reduce the risk of trichomoniasis and DMPA may increase the risk of HSV-2. However, the potential for confounding cannot be ruled out. Future studies should specify the type of injectable or OCP used to increase understanding of biological pathways; more research is needed on implants and hormonal intrauterine devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000975DOI Listing
May 2019
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