Publications by authors named "Marie-Pierre Hayette"

54 Publications

Correction to: Epidemiology of Dermatophytes in Belgium: A 5 Years' Survey.

Mycopathologia 2021 Sep 17. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Belgian National Reference Center, University Hospital of Liege, Liège, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11046-021-00590-wDOI Listing
September 2021

Exploiting genomic surveillance to map the spatio-temporal dispersal of SARS-CoV-2 spike mutations in Belgium across 2020.

Sci Rep 2021 09 17;11(1):18580. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

At the end of 2020, several new variants of SARS-CoV-2-designated variants of concern-were detected and quickly suspected to be associated with a higher transmissibility and possible escape of vaccine-induced immunity. In Belgium, this discovery has motivated the initiation of a more ambitious genomic surveillance program, which is drastically increasing the number of SARS-CoV-2 genomes to analyse for monitoring the circulation of viral lineages and variants of concern. In order to efficiently analyse the massive collection of genomic data that are the result of such increased sequencing efforts, streamlined analytical strategies are crucial. In this study, we illustrate how to efficiently map the spatio-temporal dispersal of target mutations at a regional level. As a proof of concept, we focus on the Belgian province of Liège that has been consistently sampled throughout 2020, but was also one of the main epicenters of the second European epidemic wave. Specifically, we employ a recently developed phylogeographic workflow to infer the regional dispersal history of viral lineages associated with three specific mutations on the spike protein (S98F, A222V and S477N) and to quantify their relative importance through time. Our analytical pipeline enables analysing large data sets and has the potential to be quickly applied and updated to track target mutations in space and time throughout the course of an epidemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-97667-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8448849PMC
September 2021

Isolated pelvic bone involvement as a presentation of alveolar echinococcosis.

Lancet Infect Dis 2021 08;21(8):1192

ECHINO-LIEGE, CHU de Liège, Liège, Belgium; Department of General Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, CHU de Liège, Liège, Belgium.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(21)00254-1DOI Listing
August 2021

Evaluation of the usefulness of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine in a context with increased resistance of Plasmodium falciparum in Kingasani Hospital, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Infect Genet Evol 2021 Oct 18;94:105009. Epub 2021 Jul 18.

Research Institute of Health and Society, Catholic University of Louvain, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.

Background: Increasing resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) threatens its usefulness for intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp-SP). The prophylactic effects of IPTp-SP on maternal malaria and adverse pregnancy outcomes were evaluated in Kingasani Hospital, Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Methods: Laboring women (n = 844) and respective newborns were investigated. Blood samples collected from women were tested for malaria using rapid diagnostic test (RDT), blood smears examination, and real-time PCR. The hemoglobin level was measured by HemoCue© analyzer. A PCR-RFLP method was applied for detecting N51I, C59R, and S108N mutations on dhfr along with A437G and K540E mutations on dhps in P. falciparum positive samples. Logistic regression models assessed relationships between IPTp-SP uptake and pregnancy outcomes.

Results: P. falciparum malaria was detected at delivery in 10.8% of women and was statistically associated with fever during the pregnancy (OR = 2.9 [1.5; 6.3]; p = 0.004) and maternal anemia (OR = 3.9 [2.4; 6.3]; p < 0.001). One out of five parasites was a quintuple mutant encoding dhfr mutations 51I, 59R, and 108 N along with dhps mutations 437G and 540E. The molecular profile of parasites (i.e., 32.6% of parasites carrying dhps K540E) was suitable with continued use of SP for IPTp. IPTp-SP uptake was not associated with reduced maternal malaria, fever reported in pregnancy, or fetal deaths (p > 0.05). Conversely, three or more doses of SP were associated with reduced maternal anemia at delivery (OR = 0.4 [0.2; 0.9]; p = 0.024), shortened gestation (OR = 0.4 [0.2; 0.8]; p = 0.009), and low-birth weights (OR = 0.2 [0.1; 0.5]; p < 0.001).

Conclusion: IPTp-SP was not associated with reduced maternal malaria in our study, but evidence was found of a prophylactic effect against adverse pregnancy outcomes. To counteract further loss of clinical effects of IPTp-SP in the study population, alternative strategies able to improve its anti-malarial efficacy such as combination of SP with partner molecules should be implemented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meegid.2021.105009DOI Listing
October 2021

Evaluation of Two Rapid Antigenic Tests for the Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Nasopharyngeal Swabs.

J Clin Med 2021 Jun 24;10(13). Epub 2021 Jun 24.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Medicines (CIRM), University of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

(1) Background: In the current context of the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need for fast, easy-to-use, and sensitive diagnostic tools in addition to molecular methods. We have therefore decided to evaluate the performance of newly available antigen detection kits in "real-life" laboratory conditions. (2) Methods: The sensitivity and specificity of two rapid diagnostic tests (RDT)-the COVID-19 Ag Respi-Strip from Coris Bioconcept, Belgium (CoRDT), and the coronavirus antigen rapid test cassette from Healgen Scientific, LLC, USA (HeRDT)-were evaluated on 193 nasopharyngeal samples using RT-PCR as the gold standard. (3) Results: The sensitivity obtained for HeRDT was 88% for all collected samples and 91.1% for samples with Ct ≤ 31. For the CoRDT test, the sensitivity obtained was 62% for all collected samples and 68.9% for samples with Ct ≤ 31. (4) Conclusions: Despite the excellent specificity obtained for both kits, the poor sensitivity of the CoRDT did not allow for its use in the rapid diagnosis of COVID-19. HeRDT satisfied the World Health Organization's performance criteria for rapid antigen detection tests. Its high sensitivity, quick response, and ease of use allowed for the implementation of HeRDT at the laboratory of the University Hospital of Liège.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132774DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8267731PMC
June 2021

Care-seeking behaviour and socio-economic burden associated with uncomplicated malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Malar J 2021 Jun 9;20(1):260. Epub 2021 Jun 9.

Research Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université Catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium.

Background: This study aimed to estimate the socio-economic costs of uncomplicated malaria and to explore health care-seeking behaviours that are likely to influence these costs in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a country ranked worldwide as the second most affected by malaria.

Methods: In 2017, a cross-sectional survey included patients with uncomplicated malaria in 64 healthcare facilities from 10 sentinel sites of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in the DRC. A standard questionnaire was used to assess health care-seeking behaviours of patients. Health-related quality of life (HRQL) and disutility weights (DW) of illness were evaluated by using the EuroQol Group's descriptive system (EQ-5D-3L) and its visual analogue scale (EQ VAS). Malaria costs were estimated from a patient's perspective. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses (PSA) evaluated the uncertainty around the cost estimates. Generalized regression models were fitted to assess the effect of potential predictive factors on the time lost and the DW during illness.

Results: In total, 1080 patients (age: 13.1 ± 14 years; M/F ratio: 1.1) were included. The average total costs amounted to US$ 36.3 [95% CI 35.5-37.2] per malaria episode, including US$ 16.7 [95% CI 16.3-17.1] as direct costs and US$ 19.6 [95% CI 18.9-20.3] indirect costs. During care seeking, economically active patients and their relatives lost respectively 3.3 ± 1.8 and 3.4 ± 2.1 working days. This time loss occurred mostly at the pre-hospital stage and was the parameter associated the most with the uncertainty around malaria cost estimates. Patients self-rated an average 0.36 ± 0.2 DW and an average 0.62 ± 0.3 EQ-5D index score per episode. A lack of health insurance coverage (896 out of 1080; 82.9%) incurred substantially higher costs, lower quality of life, and heavier DW while leading to longer time lost during illness. Residing in rural areas incurred a disproportionally higher socioeconomic burden of uncomplicated malaria with longer time lost due to illness and limited access to health insurance mechanisms.

Conclusion: Uncomplicated malaria is associated with high economic costs of care in the DRC. Efforts to reduce the cost-of-illness should target time lost at the pre-hospital stage and social disparities in the population, while reinforcing measures for malaria control in the country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-021-03789-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191196PMC
June 2021

Development of a multiplex RT-qPCR using the drop out strategy to screen the SARS-CoV-2 South African 501Y.V2 variant.

J Infect 2021 Jul 3;83(1):e19-e21. Epub 2021 May 3.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Centre for interdisciplinary research medecines (CIRM), University Hospital of Liège, Liège, Belgium. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.04.035DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8091731PMC
July 2021

Epidemiology of Dermatophytes in Belgium: A 5 Years' Survey.

Mycopathologia 2021 Jun 26;186(3):399-409. Epub 2021 Apr 26.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Belgian National Reference Center, University Hospital of Liege, Liège, Belgium.

Dermatophytes are among the most common fungal agents causing superficial skin infections worldwide. Epidemiology of these infections is evolving and variable in every country. This report presents the Belgian epidemiological data regarding the distribution of dermatophytes species isolated by the two national reference centers for mycosis during a period of 5 years (2012-2016). Trichophyton rubrum was the most frequently isolated species, considering all sampling sites (60.3% on average between 2012 and 2016). More precisely, this dermatophyte was the major agent of Tinea unguium and Tinea corporis during this period, followed by species of the Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex. Moreover, Microsporum audouinii was the main etiological agent of Tinea capitis (TC) with a frequency of 52.5% on average between 2012 and 2016. Other African dermatophytes species such as Trichophyton soudanense and Trichophyton violaceum were also agents of TC with a respective prevalence of 11.6% and 11.5% on average. This study highlights a different dermatophyte distribution in Belgium in comparison with other European countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11046-021-00542-4DOI Listing
June 2021

Self-testing for HIV, HBV, and HCV using finger-stick whole-blood multiplex immunochromatographic rapid test: A pilot feasibility study in sub-Saharan Africa.

PLoS One 2021 9;16(4):e0249701. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Laboratoire de virologie médicale et oncologique, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.

Background: The burden of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections remains disproportionately high in sub-Saharan Africa, with high rates of co-infections. Multiplex rapid diagnostic tests for HIV, HBV and HCV serological testing with high analytical performances may improve the "cascade of screening" and quite possibly the linkage-to-care with reduced cost. Based on our previous field experience of HIV self-testing, we herein aimed at evaluating the practicability and acceptability of a prototype finger-stick whole-blood Triplex HIV/HCV/HBsAg self-test as a simultaneous serological screening tool for HIV, HBV, and HCV in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Methods: A cross-sectional multicentric study consisting of face-to-face, paper-based, and semi-structured questionnaires with a home-based and facility-based recruitment of untrained adult volunteers at risk of HIV, HBV, and HCV infections recruited from the general public was conducted in 2020 in urban and rural areas in the DRC. The practicability of the Triplex self-test was assessed by 3 substudies on the observation of self-test manipulation including the understanding of the instructions for use (IFU), on the interpretation of Triplex self-test results and on its acceptability.

Results: A total of 251 volunteers (mean age, 28 years; range, 18-49; 154 males) were included, from urban [160 (63.7%)] and rural [91 (36.3%)] areas. Overall, 242 (96.4%) participants performed the Triplex self-test and succeeded in obtaining a valid test result with an overall usability index of 89.2%. The correct use of the Triplex self-test was higher in urban areas than rural areas (51.2% versus 16.5%; aOR: 6.9). The use of video IFU in addition to paper-based IFU increased the correct manipulation and interpretation of the Triplex self-test. A total of 197 (78.5%) participants correctly interpreted the Triplex self-test results, whereas 54 (21.5%) misinterpreted their results, mainly the positive test results harboring low-intensity band (30/251; 12.0%), and preferentially the HBsAg band (12/44; 27.3%). The rates of acceptability of reuse, distribution of the Triplex self-test to third parties (partner, friend, or family member), linkage to the health care facility for confirmation of results and treatment, and confidence in the self-test results were very high, especially among participants from urban areas.

Conclusions: This pilot study shows evidence for the first time in sub-Saharan Africa on good practicability and high acceptability of a prototype Triplex HIV/HCV/HBsAg self-test for simultaneous diagnosis of three highly prevalent chronic viral infections, providing the rational basis of using self-test harboring four bands of interest, i.e. the control, HIV, HCV, and HBsAg bands. The relatively frequent misinterpretation of the Triplex self-test points however the necessity to improve the delivery of this prototype Triplex self-test probably in a supervised setting. Finally, these observations lay the foundations for the potential large-scale use of the Triplex self-test in populations living in sub-Saharan Africa at high risk for HIV, HBV, and HCV infections.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249701PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8034751PMC
April 2021

Assessment of Plasmodium falciparum anti-malarial drug resistance markers in pfk13-propeller, pfcrt and pfmdr1 genes in isolates from treatment failure patients in Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018-2019.

Malar J 2021 Mar 11;20(1):144. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, University of Liège, 4000, Liège, Belgium.

Background: The national policy for malaria treatment of the Democratic Republic of Congo recommends two first-line artemisinin-based combinations for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria: artesunate-amodiaquine and artemether-lumefantrine. This study investigated the presence of markers associated with resistance to the current first-line artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) in isolates of Plasmodium falciparum from treatment failure patients in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Methods: From November 2018 to November 2019, dried blood spots were taken from patients returning to health centres for fever within 28 days after an initial malaria treatment in six sentinel sites of the National Malaria Control Programme across Democratic Republic of Congo. The new episode of malaria was first detected by a rapid diagnostic test and then confirmed by a real-time PCR assay to define treatment failure. Fragments of interest in pfk13 and pfcrt genes were amplified by conventional PCR before sequencing and the Pfmdr1 gene copy number was determined by a TaqMan real-time PCR assay.

Results: Out of 474 enrolled patients, 364 (76.8%) were confirmed positive by PCR for a new episode of P. falciparum malaria, thus considered as treatment failure. Of the 325 P. falciparum isolates obtained from 364 P. falciparum-positive patients and successfully sequenced in the pfk13-propeller gene, 7 (2.2%) isolates carried non-synonymous mutations, among which 3 have been previously reported (N498I, N554K and A557S) and 4 had not yet been reported (F506L, E507V, D516E and G538S). Of the 335 isolates successfully sequenced in the pfcrt gene, 139 (41.5%) harboured the K76T mutation known to be associated with chloroquine resistance. The SVMNT haplotype associated with resistance to amodiaquine was not found. None of the isolates carried an increased copy number of the pfmdr1 gene among the 322 P. falciparum isolates successfully analysed.

Conclusion: No molecular markers currently known to be associated with resistance to the first-line ACT in use were detected in isolates of P. falciparum from treatment failure patients. Regular monitoring through in vivo drug efficacy and molecular studies must continue to ensure the effectiveness of malaria treatment in Democratic Republic of Congo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-021-03636-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7953712PMC
March 2021

Clinical decision support tool for diagnosis of COVID-19 in hospitals.

PLoS One 2021 11;16(3):e0247773. Epub 2021 Mar 11.

Emergency Department, University Hospital Center of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

Background: The coronavirus infectious disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in significant morbidities, severe acute respiratory failures and subsequently emergency departments' (EDs) overcrowding in a context of insufficient laboratory testing capacities. The development of decision support tools for real-time clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 is of prime importance to assist patients' triage and allocate resources for patients at risk.

Methods And Principal Findings: From March 2 to June 15, 2020, clinical patterns of COVID-19 suspected patients at admission to the EDs of Liège University Hospital, consisting in the recording of eleven symptoms (i.e. dyspnoea, chest pain, rhinorrhoea, sore throat, dry cough, wet cough, diarrhoea, headache, myalgia, fever and anosmia) plus age and gender, were investigated during the first COVID-19 pandemic wave. Indeed, 573 SARS-CoV-2 cases confirmed by qRT-PCR before mid-June 2020, and 1579 suspected cases that were subsequently determined to be qRT-PCR negative for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 were enrolled in this study. Using multivariate binary logistic regression, two most relevant symptoms of COVID-19 were identified in addition of the age of the patient, i.e. fever (odds ratio [OR] = 3.66; 95% CI: 2.97-4.50), dry cough (OR = 1.71; 95% CI: 1.39-2.12), and patients older than 56.5 y (OR = 2.07; 95% CI: 1.67-2.58). Two additional symptoms (chest pain and sore throat) appeared significantly less associated to the confirmed COVID-19 cases with the same OR = 0.73 (95% CI: 0.56-0.94). An overall pondered (by OR) score (OPS) was calculated using all significant predictors. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was generated and the area under the ROC curve was 0.71 (95% CI: 0.68-0.73) rendering the use of the OPS to discriminate COVID-19 confirmed and unconfirmed patients. The main predictors were confirmed using both sensitivity analysis and classification tree analysis. Interestingly, a significant negative correlation was observed between the OPS and the cycle threshold (Ct values) of the qRT-PCR.

Conclusion And Main Significance: The proposed approach allows for the use of an interactive and adaptive clinical decision support tool. Using the clinical algorithm developed, a web-based user-interface was created to help nurses and clinicians from EDs with the triage of patients during the second COVID-19 wave.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0247773PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7951867PMC
March 2021

Epidemiological, clinical and biological profile of neuromeningeal cryptococcosis among people living with HIV in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Pan Afr Med J 2020 2;37:302. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Service of Molecular Biology, Department of Clinical Microbiology, University of Liege, Liege, Belgium.

Neuromeningeal cryptococcosis (NMC) is one of the most frequent opportunistic infections (OI) in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. In Kinshasa, the latest data on cryptococcosis were published in 1996. The objective was to describe the epidemiological, clinical and biological profiles of NMC in HIV-infected people living in Kinshasa. This is a descriptive study based on the medical records of patients who attended three clinics in Kinshasa between January 1 2011 and December 31 2014. Only the medical records of HIV-infected people presenting the NMC were reviewed. During the 4 year-period of the study, 261 HIV-positive patients presented to the clinics for neuromeningeal syndrome, including 23 with NMC. The global prevalence of NMC was 8.8% for the three clinics. The mean age was 42.8 ± 9.5 years, with male predominance (65.2%). The main symptoms were headache (73.9%), neck stiffness (60.9%), fever (47.8%), and coma (47.8%). Biological records were as follows: median CD4 cell count was 79 cells/mm; cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was clear for 56.5% of the cases with predominance of neutrophils in 73.9%. The outcome was fatal in 34.8% of cases. The prevalence and therapeutic outcome of NMC show that it constitutes a non-negligible OI in Kinshasa, especially in HIV-infected people at the AIDS stage. As HIV-infected people with severe immunosuppression are the most affected by NMC, active preventive measures should benefit this vulnerable category of people.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.11604/pamj.2020.37.302.20521DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7896526PMC
March 2021

Clinical course and challenging management of early COVID-19 infection after heart transplantation: case report of two patients.

BMC Infect Dis 2021 Jan 20;21(1):89. Epub 2021 Jan 20.

Department of Cardiology, CHU Liege, Liege, Belgium.

Background: There are limited data on Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in solid organ transplant patients, especially in heart transplant recipients, with only a few case reports and case series described so far. Heart transplant recipients may be at particular high risk due to their comorbidities and immunosuppressed state.

Case Presentation: This report describes the clinical course and the challenging management of early COVID-19 infection in two heart transplant recipients who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the perioperative period of the transplant procedure. The two patients developed a severe form of the disease and ultimately died despite the initiation of an antiviral monotherapy with hydroxychloroquine coupled with the interruption of mycophenolate mofetil.

Conclusions: These two cases illustrate the severity and poor prognosis of COVID-19 in the perioperative period of a heart transplant. Thorough screening of donors and recipients is mandatory, and the issue of asymptomatic carriers needs to be addressed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-05793-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7816134PMC
January 2021

A Phylodynamic Workflow to Rapidly Gain Insights into the Dispersal History and Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Lineages.

Mol Biol Evol 2021 04;38(4):1608-1613

Laboratory of Clinical and Epidemiological Virology, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, Rega Institute for Medical Research, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented number of genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 have been generated and shared with the scientific community. The unparalleled volume of available genetic data presents a unique opportunity to gain real-time insights into the virus transmission during the pandemic, but also a daunting computational hurdle if analyzed with gold-standard phylogeographic approaches. To tackle this practical limitation, we here describe and apply a rapid analytical pipeline to analyze the spatiotemporal dispersal history and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 lineages. As a proof of concept, we focus on the Belgian epidemic, which has had one of the highest spatial densities of available SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Our pipeline has the potential to be quickly applied to other countries or regions, with key benefits in complementing epidemiological analyses in assessing the impact of intervention measures or their progressive easement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa284DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665608PMC
April 2021

Comparison of practicability and effectiveness between unassisted HIV self-testing and directly assisted HIV self-testing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: a randomized feasibility trial.

BMC Infect Dis 2020 Nov 11;20(1):830. Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Laboratory of virology, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, and University of Paris Descartes, Paris Sorbonne Cité, Paris, France.

Background: HIV self-testing (HIVST) can be performed using directly assisted and unassisted approaches in facilities or communities to reach different populations. The aim of this study was to compare the practicability and effectiveness of the two delivery approaches for HIVST, unassisted HIVST (UH) and directly assisted HIVST (DAH), in the field setting of Kisangani, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Methods: A randomized (1:1), non-blinded, non-inferiority trial using a blood-based and facility-based HIVST method was carried out in four facilities in Kisangani, the DRC, targeting populations at high risk for HIV infection. The primary outcome was the difference in the practicability of the HIV self-test between the two arms. Practicability was defined as successfully performing the test and correctly interpreting the result. Requests for assistance, positivity rate, linkage to care, and willingness to buy an HIV self-test kit constituted the secondary outcomes for HIVST effectiveness. The adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) were calculated using Poisson regression.

Results: The rate of successfully performing the test was same (93.2%) in the UH and DAH arms. The rate of correctly interpreting the results was 86.9% in the UH arm versus 93.2% in the DAH arm, for a difference of - 6.3%. After the follow-up 72 h later, participants in the UH arm had a significantly lower chance of correctly interpreting the test results than those in the DAH arm (aRR: 0.60; P = 0.019). Although the positivity rate was 3.4% among the participants in the DAH arm and 1.7% among those in the UH arm, no significant differences were found between the two arms in the positivity rate, requests for assistance, and linkage to care. Willingness to buy an HIV self-test was higher in the UH arm than in the DAH arm (92.3% versus 74.1%; aRR: 4.20; P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that UH is as practicable and effective as DAH among individuals at high risk for HIV infection in Kisangani, the DRC. However, additional support tools need to be assessed to improve the interpretation of the self-test results when using the UH approach.

Trial Registration: PACTR201904546865585. Registered 03 April 2019 - Retrospectively registered, https://pactr.samrc.ac.za/TrialDisplay.aspx?TrialID=6032.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12879-020-05554-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7656730PMC
November 2020

Spatial and molecular mapping of Pfkelch13 gene polymorphism in Africa in the era of emerging Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinin: a systematic review.

Lancet Infect Dis 2021 04 27;21(4):e82-e92. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

Institute of Health and Society, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium. Electronic address:

The spread of Plasmodium falciparum isolates carrying mutations in the kelch13 (Pfkelch13) gene associated with artemisinin resistance (PfART-R) in southeast Asia threatens malaria control and elimination efforts. Emergence of PfART-R in Africa would result in a major public health problem. In this systematic review, we investigate the frequency and spatial distribution of Pfkelch13 mutants in Africa, including mutants linked to PfART-R in southeast Asia. Seven databases were searched (PubMed, Embase, Scopus, African Journal Online, African Index Medicus, Bioline, and Web of Science) for relevant articles about polymorphisms of the Pfkelch13 gene in Africa before January, 2019. Following PRISMA guidelines, 53 studies that sequenced the Pfkelch13 gene of 23 100 sample isolates in 41 sub-Saharan African countries were included. The Pfkelch13 sequence was highly polymorphic (292 alleles, including 255 in the Pfkelch13-propeller domain) but with mutations occurring at very low relative frequencies. Non-synonymous mutations were found in only 626 isolates (2·7%) from west, central, and east Africa. According to WHO, nine different mutations linked to PfART-R in southeast Asia (Phe446Ile, Cys469Tyr, Met476Ile, Arg515Lys, Ser522Cys, Pro553Leu, Val568Gly, Pro574Leu, and Ala675Val) were detected, mainly in east Africa. Several other Pfkelch13 mutations, such as those structurally similar to southeast Asia PfART-R mutations, were also identified, but their relevance for drug resistance is still unknown. This systematic review shows that Africa, thought to not have established PfART-R, reported resistance-related mutants in the past 5 years. Surveillance using PfART-R molecular markers can provide valuable decision-making information to sustain the effectiveness of artemisinin in Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(20)30493-XDOI Listing
April 2021

Capillary whole-blood IgG-IgM COVID-19 self-test as a serological screening tool for SARS-CoV-2 infection adapted to the general public.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(10):e0240779. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Laboratoire de Virologie, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France.

The practicability of a prototype capillary whole-blood IgG-IgM COVID-19 self-test (Exacto® COVID-19 self-test, Biosynex Swiss SA, Freiburg, Switzerland) as a serological screening tool for SARS-CoV-2 infection adapted to the general public was evaluated in a cross-sectional, general adult population study performed between April and May 2020 in Strasbourg, France, consisting of face-to-face, paper-based, semi-structured, and self-administrated questionnaires. Practicability was defined as the correct use of the self-test and the correct interpretation of the result. The correct use of self-test was conditioned by the presence of the control band after 15-min of migration. The correct interpretation of the tests was defined by the percent agreement between the tests results read and interpret by the participants compared to the expected results coded by the numbers and verified by trained observers. A total of 167 participants (52.7% female; median age, 35.8 years; 82% with post-graduate level) were enrolled, including 83 and 84 for usability and test results interpretation substudies, respectively. All participants (100%; 95% CI: 95.6-100) correctly used the self-test. However, 12 (14.5%; 95% CI: 8.5-23.6) asked for verbal help. The percent agreement between the tests results read and interpret by the participants compared to the expected results was 98.5% (95% CI: 96.5-99.4). However, misinterpretation occurred in only 2.3% of positive and 1.2% of invalid test results. Finally, all (100%) participants found that performing the COVID-19 self-test was easy; and 98.8% found the interpretation of the self-test results easy. Taken together, these pilot observations demonstrated for the first-time, high practicability and satisfaction of COVID-19 self-testing for serological IgG and IgM immune status, indicating its potential for use by the general public to complete the arsenal of available SARS-CoV-2 serological assays in the urgent context of the COVID-19 epidemic.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0240779PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7561138PMC
October 2020

[Management of a global health crisis: first COVID-19 disease feedback from Overseas and French-speaking countries medical biologists].

Ann Biol Clin (Paris) 2020 10;78(5):499-518

CHU Treichville, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.

The French society of clinical biology "Biochemical markers of COVID-19" has set up a working group with the primary aim of reviewing, analyzing and monitoring the evolution of biological prescriptions according to the patient's care path and to look for markers of progression and severity of the disease. This study covers all public and private sectors of medical biology located in metropolitan and overseas France and also extends to the French-speaking world. This article presents the testimonies and data obtained for the "Overseas and French-speaking countries" sub-working group made up of 45 volunteer correspondents, located in 20 regions of the world. In view of the delayed spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the overseas regions and the French-speaking regions have benefited from feedback from the first territories confronted with COVID-19. Thus, the entry of the virus or its spread in epidemic form could be avoided, thanks to the rapid closure of borders. The overseas territories depend very strongly on air and/or sea links with the metropolis or with the neighboring continent. The isolation of these countries is responsible for reagent supply difficulties and has necessitated emergency orders and the establishment of stocks lasting several months, in order to avoid shortages and maintain adequate patient care. In addition, in countries located in tropical or intertropical zones, the diagnosis of COVID-19 is complicated by the presence of various zoonoses (dengue, Zika, malaria, leptospirosis, etc.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1684/abc.2020.1586DOI Listing
October 2020

Belgian National Survey on Tinea Capitis: Epidemiological Considerations and Highlight of Terbinafine-Resistant with a Mutation on SQLE Gene.

J Fungi (Basel) 2020 Sep 29;6(4). Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Belgian National Reference Center for Mycoses, University Hospital of Liege, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

Background: In this last decade, a huge increase in African anthropophilic strains causing tinea capitis has been observed in Europe. The Belgian National Reference Center for Mycosis (NRC) conducted a surveillance study on tinea capitis in 2018 to learn the profile of circulating dermatophytes.

Methods: Belgian laboratories were invited to send all dermatophyte strains isolated from the scalp with epidemiological information. Strain identification was confirmed by ITS (Internal Transcribed Spacer) sequencing. Mutation in the squalene epoxidase (SQLE) gene was screened by PCR.

Results: The main population affected by tinea capitis was children from 5-9 years. Males were more affected than females. The majority of the strains were collected in the Brussels area followed by the Liege area. Among known ethnic origins, African people were more affected by tinea capitis than European people. The major aetiological agent was , followed by . One strain of has been characterized to have a mutation on the squalene epoxidase gene and to be resistant to terbinafine.

Conclusions: African anthropophilic dermatophytes are mainly responsible for tinea capitis in Belgium. People of African origin are most affected by tinea capitis. The monitoring of terbinafine resistance among dermatophytes seems necessary as we have demonstrated the emergence of resistance in .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof6040195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7712443PMC
September 2020

The lack of K13-propeller mutations associated with artemisinin resistance in Plasmodium falciparum in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

PLoS One 2020 21;15(8):e0237791. Epub 2020 Aug 21.

Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium.

Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) have been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) as first-line treatment of uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) malaria since 2005 in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and a regular surveillance of the ACT efficacy is required to ensure the treatment effectiveness. Mutations in the propeller domain of the pfk13 gene were identified as molecular markers of artemisinin resistance (ART-R). This study investigated the pfk13-propeller gene polymorphism in clinical isolates of P. falciparum collected in the DRC. In 2017, ten geographical sites across DRC were selected for a cross-sectional study that was conducted first in Kinshasa from January to March, then in the nine other sites from September to December. Dried blood samples were collected from patients attending health centers for fever where diagnosis of Malaria was first made by rapid diagnostic test (RDT) available on site (SD Bioline malaria Ag Pf or CareStart Malaria Pf) or by thick blood smear and then confirmed by a P. falciparum real-time PCR assay. A pfk13-propeller segment containing a fragment that codes for amino acids at positions 427-595 was amplified by conventional PCR before sequencing. In total, 1070 patients were enrolled in the study. Real-time PCR performed confirmed the initial diagnosis of P. falciparum infection in 806 samples (75.3%; 95% CI: 72.6%- 77.9%). Of the 717 successfully sequenced P. falciparum isolates, 710 (99.0%; 95% CI: 97.9% - 99.6) were wild-type genotypes and 7 (1.0%; 95% CI: 0.4% - 2.1%) carried non-synonymous (NS) mutations in pfk13-propeller including 2 mutations (A578S and V534A) previously detected and 2 other (M472I and A569T) not yet detected in the DRC. Mutations associated with ART-R in Southeast Asia were not observed in DRC. However, the presence of other mutations in pfk13-propeller gene calls for further investigations to assess their implication in drug resistance.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0237791PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7446852PMC
October 2020

Evaluation of the new Id-Fungi plates from Conidia for MALDI-TOF MS identification of filamentous fungi and comparison with conventional methods as identification tool for dermatophytes from nails, hair and skin samples.

Mycoses 2020 Oct 4;63(10):1115-1127. Epub 2020 Sep 4.

Department of Clinical Microbiology, National Reference Center for Mycosis, Center for Interdisciplinary research on Medicines (CIRM), University Hospital of Liege, Liege, Belgium.

Objectives: We first compare the efficiency of mould/dermatophyte identification by MALDI-TOF MS using a new medium called Id-Fungi plates (IDFP) from Conidia and two different databases. For the second purpose, we evaluated a new version of the medium supplemented with cycloheximide, Id-Fungi plates Plus (IDFPC) for the direct inoculation of nails, hair and skin samples and compared the efficiency of MALDI-TOF MS identification of dermatophytes to classical methods based on culture and microscopy.

Methods: A total of 71 strains have been cultured IDFP and Sabouraud gentamicin plates (SGC2) and were identified by MALDI-TOF MS. For the evaluation of the combination IDFPC/ MALDI-TOF MS as a method of identification for dermatophytes, 428 samples of hair nails and skin were cultivated in parallel on IDFPC and Sabouraud + cycloheximide medium (SAB-ACTI).

Results: For Aspergillus sp and non-Aspergillus moulds, the best performances were obtained on IDFP after maximum 48-h growth, following protein extraction. For dermatophytes, the best condition was using the IDFP at 72 hours, after extended direct deposit. Regarding the direct inoculation of nails, hair skin on IDFPC, 129/428 (30.1%) showed a positive culture against 150/428 (35%) on SAB-ACTI medium. Among the 129 positive strains, the identification by MALDI-TOF MS was correct for 92/129 (71.4%).

Conclusion: The IDFP allows the generation of better spectra by MALDI-TOF MS compared to SGC2. It facilitates sampling and deposit. Regarding the use of IDFPC, this medium seems less sensitive than SAB-ACTI but among positive strains, the rate of correct identification by MALDI-TOF MS is satisfactory.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/myc.13156DOI Listing
October 2020

A Recurrent Mutation at Position 26340 of SARS-CoV-2 Is Associated with Failure of the E Gene Quantitative Reverse Transcription-PCR Utilized in a Commercial Dual-Target Diagnostic Assay.

J Clin Microbiol 2020 09 22;58(10). Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Laboratory of Human Genetics, GIGA Research Institute, Liège, Belgium

Control of the ongoing severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic requires accurate laboratory testing to identify infected individuals while also clearing essential staff to continue to work. At the current time, a number of quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) assays have been developed to identify SARS-CoV-2, targeting multiple positions in the viral genome. While the mutation rate of SARS-CoV-2 is moderate, given the large number of transmission chains, it is prudent to monitor circulating viruses for variants that might compromise these assays. Here, we report the identification of a C-to-U transition at position 26340 of the SARS-CoV-2 genome that is associated with failure of the cobas SARS-CoV-2 E gene qRT-PCR in eight patients. As the cobas SARS-CoV-2 assay targets two positions in the genome, the individuals carrying this variant were still called SARS-CoV-2 positive. Whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 showed all to carry closely related viruses. Examination of viral genomes deposited on GISAID showed this mutation has arisen independently at least four times. This work highlights the necessity of monitoring SARS-CoV-2 for the emergence of single-nucleotide polymorphisms that might adversely affect RT-PCRs used in diagnostics. Additionally, it argues that two regions in SARS-CoV-2 should be targeted to avoid false negatives.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/JCM.01598-20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7512182PMC
September 2020

Economic costs analysis of uncomplicated malaria case management in the Peruvian Amazon.

Malar J 2020 Apr 21;19(1):161. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Centre for Health Economics Research and Modelling Infectious Diseases, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Institute, University of Antwerp, 2000, Antwerp, Belgium.

Background: Case management is one of the principal strategies for malaria control. This study aimed to estimate the economic costs of uncomplicated malaria case management and explore the influence of health-seeking behaviours on those costs.

Methods: A knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) survey was applied to 680 households of fifteen communities in Mazan-Loreto in March 2017, then a socio-economic survey was conducted in September 2017 among 161 individuals with confirmed uncomplicated malaria in the past 3 months. Total costs per episode were estimated from both provider (Ministry of Health, MoH) and patient perspectives. Direct costs were estimated using a standard costing estimation procedure, while the indirect costs considered the loss of incomes among patients, substitute labourers and companions due to illness in terms of the monthly minimum wage. Sensitivity analysis evaluated the uncertainty of the average cost per episode.

Results: The KAP survey showed that most individuals (79.3%) that had malaria went to a health facility for a diagnosis and treatment, 2.7% received those services from community health workers, and 8% went to a drugstore or were self-treated at home. The average total cost per episode in the Mazan district was US$ 161. The cost from the provider's perspective was US$ 30.85 per episode while from the patient's perspective the estimated cost was US$ 131 per episode. The average costs per Plasmodium falciparum episode (US$ 180) were higher than those per Plasmodium vivax episode (US$ 156) due to longer time lost from work by patients with P. falciparum infections (22.2 days) than by patients with P. vivax infections (17.0 days). The delayed malaria diagnosis (after 48 h of the onset of symptoms) was associated with the time lost from work due to illness (adjusted mean ratio 1.8; 95% CI 1.3, 2.6). The average cost per malaria episode was most sensitive to the uncertainty around the lost productivity cost due to malaria.

Conclusions: Despite the provision of free malaria case management by MoH, there is delay in seeking care and the costs of uncomplicated malaria are mainly borne by the families. These costs are not well perceived by the society and the substantial financial impact of the disease can be frequently undervalued in public policy planning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03233-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7175533PMC
April 2020

Multicentre validation of a EUCAST method for the antifungal susceptibility testing of microconidia-forming dermatophytes.

J Antimicrob Chemother 2020 07;75(7):1807-1819

Clinical Microbiology Laboratory, Attikon University Hospital, Medical School, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece.

Objectives: Terbinafine resistance is increasingly reported in Trichophyton, rendering susceptibility testing particularly important in non-responding cases. We performed a multicentre evaluation of six EUCAST-based methods.

Methods: Ten laboratories susceptibility tested terbinafine, itraconazole, voriconazole and amorolfine against a blinded panel of 38 terbinafine WT and target gene mutant isolates. E.Def 9.3.1 modifications included: medium with/without addition of chloramphenicol and cycloheximide (CC), incubation at 25°C to 28°C for 5-7 days and three MIC endpoints [visually and spectrophotometrically (90%/50% inhibition)], generating 7829 MICs. Quality control (QC) strains were Aspergillus flavus ATCC 204304 and CNM-CM1813. Eyeball, ECOFFinder (where ECOFF stands for epidemiological cut-off) and derivatization WT upper limits (WT-ULs), very major errors (VMEs; mutants with MICs ≤WT-ULs) and major errors (MEs; WT isolates with MICs >WT-ULs) were determined.

Results: MICs fell within the QC ranges for ATCC 204304/CNM-CM1813 for 100%/96% (voriconazole) and 84%/84% (itraconazole), respectively. Terbinafine MICs fell within 0.25-1 mg/L for 96%/92%, suggesting high reproducibility. Across the six methods, the number of terbinafine MEs varied from 2 to 4 (2.6%-5.2%) for Trichophyton rubrum and from 0 to 2 (0%-2.0%) for Trichophyton interdigitale. Modes for WT and mutant populations were at least seven 2-fold dilutions apart in all cases. Excluding one I121M/V237I T. rubrum mutant and two mixed WT/mutant T. interdigitale specimens, the numbers of VMEs were as follows: T. rubrum: CC visual, 1/67 (1.5%); CC spectrophotometric 90% inhibition, 3/59 (5.1%); and CC spectrophotometric 50% inhibition, 1/67 (1.5%); and T. interdigitale: none. Voriconazole and amorolfine MICs were quite uniform, but trailing growth complicated determination of itraconazole visual and spectrophotometric 90% inhibition MIC.

Conclusions: Although none of the laboratories was experienced in dermatophyte testing, error rates were low. We recommend the CC spectrophotometric 50% inhibition method and provide QC ranges and WT-ULs for WT/non-WT classification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkaa111DOI Listing
July 2020

Molecular surveillance of anti-malarial drug resistance in Democratic Republic of Congo: high variability of chloroquinoresistance and lack of amodiaquinoresistance.

Malar J 2020 Mar 20;19(1):121. Epub 2020 Mar 20.

Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, University of Liège, 4000, Liège, Belgium.

Background: The loss of chloroquine (CQ) effectiveness has led to its withdrawal from national policies as a first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in several endemic countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The K76T mutation on the pfcrt gene has been identified as a marker of CQ resistance and the SVMNT haplotype in codons 72-76 on the same gene has been associated with resistance to amodiaquine (AQ). In the DRC, the prevalence of K76T has decreased from 100% in 2000 to 63.9% in 2014. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of K76T mutations in circulating strains of Plasmodium falciparum, 16 years after CQ withdrawal in the DRC and to investigate the presence of the SVMNT haplotype.

Methods: In 2017, ten geographical sites across the DRC were selected. Dried blood samples were collected from patients attending health centres. Malaria was first detected by a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) available on site (SD Bioline Malaria Ag Pf or CareStart Malaria Pf) or thick blood smear and then confirmed by a P. falciparum species-specific real-time PCR assay. A pfcrt gene segment containing a fragment that encodes amino acids at positions 72-76 was amplified by conventional PCR before sequencing.

Results: A total of 1070 patients were enrolled. Of the 806 PCR-confirmed P. falciparum positive samples, 764 were successfully sequenced. The K76T mutation was detected in 218 samples (28.5%; 95% CI 25.4%-31.9%), mainly (96%) with the CVIET haplotype. Prevalence of CQ resistance marker was unequally distributed across the country, ranging from 1.5% in Fungurume to 89.5% in Katana. The SVMNT haplotype, related to AQ resistance, was not detected.

Conclusion: Overall, the frequency of the P. falciparum CQ resistance marker has decreased significantly and no resistance marker to AQ was detected in the DRC in 2017. However, the between regions variability of CQ resistance remains high in the country. Further studies are needed for continuous monitoring of the CQ resistance level for its prospective re-use in malaria management. The absence of the AQ resistance marker is in line with the use of this drug in the current DRC malaria treatment policy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-020-03192-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7085146PMC
March 2020

Malaria risk assessment and mapping using satellite imagery and boosted regression trees in the Peruvian Amazon.

Sci Rep 2019 10 23;9(1):15173. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Research Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université catholique de Louvain, 1200, Brussels, Belgium.

This is the first study to assess the risk of co-endemic Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum transmission in the Peruvian Amazon using boosted regression tree (BRT) models based on social and environmental predictors derived from satellite imagery and data. Yearly cross-validated BRT models were created to discriminate high-risk (annual parasite index API > 10 cases/1000 people) and very-high-risk for malaria (API > 50 cases/1000 people) in 2766 georeferenced villages of Loreto department, between 2010-2017 as other parts in the article (graphs, tables, and texts). Predictors were cumulative annual rainfall, forest coverage, annual forest loss, annual mean land surface temperature, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference water index (NDWI), shortest distance to rivers, time to populated villages, and population density. BRT models built with predictor data of a given year efficiently discriminated the malaria risk for that year in villages (area under the ROC curve (AUC) > 0.80), and most models also effectively predicted malaria risk in the following year. Cumulative rainfall, population density and time to populated villages were consistently the top three predictors for both P. vivax and P. falciparum incidence. Maps created using the BRT models characterize the spatial distribution of the malaria incidence in Loreto and should contribute to malaria-related decision making in the area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-51564-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6811674PMC
October 2019

Hospital Laboratory Survey for Identification of in Belgium.

J Fungi (Basel) 2019 Sep 5;5(3). Epub 2019 Sep 5.

Quality of Laboratories, Sciensano, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.

is a difficult-to-identify, emerging yeast and a cause of sustained nosocomial outbreaks. Presently, not much data exist on laboratory preparedness in Europe. To assess the ability of laboratories in Belgium and Luxembourg to detect this species, a blinded strain was included in the regular proficiency testing rounds organized by the Belgian public health institute, Sciensano. Laboratories were asked to identify and report the isolate as they would in routine clinical practice, as if grown from a blood culture. Of 142 respondents, 82 (57.7%) obtained a correct identification of . Of 142 respondents, 27 (19.0%) identified the strain as . The remaining labs that did not obtain a correct identification (33/142, 23.2%), reported other yeast species (4/33) or failed to obtain a species identification (29/33). To assess awareness about the infection-control implications of the identification, participants were requested to indicate whether referral of this isolate to a reference laboratory was desirable in a clinical context. Over one-third of all respondents (54/142, 38.0%) stated that they would not send the isolate to a reference laboratory, neither for epidemiological reasons nor for identification confirmation or antifungal susceptibility testing. This comprised 41.5% of the laboratories that submitted an identification of (34/82). Awareness among Belgian microbiologists, therefore, remains inadequate more than two years after ' emergence in European clinics. Our data confirm high rates of misidentifications with commonly used identification methods. Programs for raising awareness in European hospitals may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof5030084DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6787608PMC
September 2019

Evaluation of the Abbott RealTime quantitative CMV and EBV assays using the maxCycle protocol in a laboratory automation context.

J Virol Methods 2019 08 20;270:137-145. Epub 2019 May 20.

Laboratory of Clinical Microbiology, Unilab-Lg, CHU of Liege, 1 avenue de l'hopital, 4000 Liege, Belgium. Electronic address:

Real-time PCR are often used for the diagnosis and monitoring of Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections in susceptible populations. In this context, we evaluated the analytical performances of the Abbott RealTime CMV/EBV maxCycle protocol automated on the m2000 platform (Abbott). It was compared to our routinely-used procedure consisting of a NucleoMag® DNA extraction automated on a STARlet platform followed by manually processed CMV and EBV quantitative real-time PCR (Diagenode). In this study, we showed that both EBV assays exhibited a similar sensitivity but with a better precision for the EBV Abbott RealTime assay. For the CMV performances, the Abbott assay was more sensitive and more precise than our routine method. The use of WHO International Standards also indicated a slight underestimation of the viral loads (-0.25 log IU/mL and -0.21 log IU/mL for CMV and EBV assays respectively) while these were rather overestimated with the Starlet/Diagenode method (0.48 log IU/mL and 0.19 log IU/mL for CMV and EBV assays respectively). These trends were confirmed using relevant whole-blood clinical samples and external quality controls. The workflows were also compared and we highlighted a significant technician hands-on time reduction (-63%) using the Abbott CMV/EBV maxCycle automated protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2019.05.007DOI Listing
August 2019

Effectiveness of a Malaria Surveillance Strategy Based on Active Case Detection during High Transmission Season in the Peruvian Amazon.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 11 27;15(12). Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Research Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université catholique de Louvain, 1200 Brussels, Belgium.

Faced with the resurgence of malaria, malaria surveillance in the Peruvian Amazon incorporated consecutive active case detection (ACD) interventions using light microscopy (LM) as reactive measure in communities with an unusual high number of cases during high transmission season (HTS). We assessed the effectiveness in malaria detection of this local ACD-based strategy. A cohort study was conducted in June⁻July 2015 in Mazan, Loreto. Four consecutive ACD interventions at intervals of 10 days were conducted in four riverine communities (Gamitanacocha, Primero de Enero, Libertad and Urco Miraño). In each intervention, all inhabitants were visited at home, and finger-prick blood samples collected for immediate diagnosis by LM and on filter paper for later analysis by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Effectiveness was calculated by dividing the number of malaria infections detected using LM by the number of malaria infections detected by delayed qPCR. : Most community inhabitants (88.1%, 822/933) were present in at least one of the four ACD interventions. A total of 451 infections were detected by qPCR in 446 participants (54.3% of total participants); five individuals had two infections. was the predominant species (79.8%), followed by (15.3%) and - co-infections (4.9%). Most qPCR-positive infections were asymptomatic (255/448, 56.9%). The ACD-strategy using LM had an effectiveness of 22.8% (detection of 103 of the total qPCR-positive infections). Children aged 5⁻14 years, and farming as main economic activity were associated with infections. Although the ACD-strategy using LM increased the opportunity of detecting and treating malaria infections during HTS, the number of detected infections was considerably lower than the real burden of infections (those detected by qPCR).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15122670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6314008PMC
November 2018

Clinical evaluation of the DermaGenius® Nail real-time PCR assay for the detection of dermatophytes and Candida albicans in nails.

Med Mycol 2019 Apr;57(3):277-283

Department of Dermatopathology, University Hospital of Liège, Belgium.

Onychomycosis represents one of the most frequent mycoses in the world. Causative agents are mainly dermatophytes, but yeasts and nondermatophyte moulds can also be involved. Conventional diagnostic methods include direct microscopy (or histology) and culturing. However, molecular methods are becoming increasingly popular in this field. The DermaGenius® (DG) Nail multiplex assay (PathoNostics, The Netherlands) is a new commercial real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit, which can detect Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton interdigitale and Candida albicans directly in nails. The present study is a retrospective evaluation of the kit applied to 138 finger and toenail clippings in comparison to histology and culture methods. The sensitivity and specificity of the PCR assay are 80% (76/95) and 74.4% (32/43), respectively, when histology and culture are used as reference to define onychomycosis. DG performance is not different from histology combined with culture (P = .11) but the best diagnostic efficacy (88.4%, 122/138) is obtained by the combination of histology and DG. In conclusion, this study emphasizes the clinical usefulness of the DG in diagnostics. The high specificity of this test guarantees a better identification compared to culture that can lead to dermatophyte misidentifications. It is a reliable PCR assay that shortens the time to diagnosis and can unmask the presence of nongrowing fungal pathogens in nails.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mmy/myy020DOI Listing
April 2019
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