Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 97
  • Organizational Unit
    Abdominal and Paediatric Surgery
    Antwerp Surgical Training, Anatomy and Research Centre (ASTARC) is a multidisciplinary research team that incorporates the fundamental, clinical and translational research activities of 11 research laboratories of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Antwerp.
  • Organizational Unit
    Aim of the laboratory : diagnosis of Malignant Hyperthermia (MH) susceptibility by means of in vitro contracture testing according to the protocol of the European MH Group (; detection of associated structural myopathies; clinical counselling concerning MH-susceptibility; genetic counselling.
  • Publication
    Clinical evaluation of dengue and identification of risk factors for severe disease: protocol for a multicentre study in 8 countries
    (2016-03-11) Simmons, Cameron
    BACKGROUND: The burden of dengue continues to increase globally, with an estimated 100 million clinically apparent infections occurring each year. Although most dengue infections are asymptomatic, patients can present with a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms ranging from mild febrile illness through to severe manifestations of bleeding, organ impairment, and hypovolaemic shock due to a systemic vascular leak syndrome. Clinical diagnosis of dengue and identification of which patients are likely to develop severe disease remain challenging. This study aims to improve diagnosis and clinical management through approaches designed a) to differentiate between dengue and other common febrile illness within 72 h of fever onset, and b) among patients with dengue to identify markers that are predictive of the likelihood of evolving to a more severe disease course. METHOD/DESIGN: This is a prospective multi-centre observational study aiming to enrol 7-8000 participants aged ≥ 5 years presenting with a febrile illness consistent with dengue to outpatient health facilities in 8 countries across Asia and Latin America. Patients presenting within 72 h of fever onset who do not exhibit signs of severe disease are eligible for the study. A broad range of clinical and laboratory parameters are assessed daily for up to 6 days during the acute illness, and also at a follow up visit 1 week later. DISCUSSION: Data from this large cohort of patients, enrolled early with undifferentiated fever, will be used to develop a practical diagnostic algorithm and a robust clinical case definition for dengue. Additionally, among patients with confirmed dengue we aim to identify simple clinical and laboratory parameters associated with progression to a more severe disease course. We will also investigate early virological and serological correlates of severe disease, and examine genetic associations in this large heterogeneous cohort. In addition the results will be used to assess the new World Health Organization classification scheme for dengue in practice, and to update the guidelines for "Integrated Management of Childhood Illness" used in dengue-endemic countries. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01550016. Registration Date: March 7, 2012.
  • Publication
    Establishment of a Wolbachia Superinfection in Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes as a Potential Approach for Future Resistance Management
    (2016-02-01) Simmons, Cameron
    Wolbachia pipientis is an endosymbiotic bacterium estimated to chronically infect between 40-75% of all arthropod species. Aedes aegypti, the principle mosquito vector of dengue virus (DENV), is not a natural host of Wolbachia. The transinfection of Wolbachia strains such as wAlbB, wMel and wMelPop-CLA into Ae. aegypti has been shown to significantly reduce the vector competence of this mosquito for a range of human pathogens in the laboratory. This has led to wMel-transinfected Ae. aegypti currently being released in five countries to evaluate its effectiveness to control dengue disease in human populations. Here we describe the generation of a superinfected Ae. aegypti mosquito line simultaneously infected with two avirulent Wolbachia strains, wMel and wAlbB. The line carries a high overall Wolbachia density and tissue localisation of the individual strains is very similar to each respective single infected parental line. The superinfected line induces unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) when crossed to each single infected parental line, suggesting that the superinfection would have the capacity to replace either of the single constituent infections already present in a mosquito population. No significant differences in fitness parameters were observed between the superinfected line and the parental lines under the experimental conditions tested. Finally, the superinfected line blocks DENV replication more efficiently than the single wMel strain when challenged with blood meals from viremic dengue patients. These results suggest that the deployment of superinfections could be used to replace single infections and may represent an effective strategy to help manage potential resistance by DENV to field deployments of single infected strains.
  • Publication
    Lovastatin for the Treatment of Adult Patients With Dengue: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
    (2016-02-15) Simmons, Cameron
    BACKGROUND: Dengue endangers billions of people in the tropical world, yet no therapeutic is currently available. In part, the severe manifestations of dengue reflect inflammatory processes affecting the vascular endothelium. In addition to lipid lowering, statins have pleiotropic effects that improve endothelial function, and epidemiological studies suggest that outcomes from a range of acute inflammatory syndromes are improved in patients already on statin therapy. METHODS: Following satisfactory review of a short pilot phase (40 mg lovastatin vs placebo in 30 cases), we performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 5 days of 80 mg lovastatin vs placebo in 300 Vietnamese adults with a positive dengue NS1 rapid test presenting within 72 hours of fever onset. The primary outcome was safety. Secondary outcomes included comparisons of disease progression rates, fever clearance times, and measures of plasma viremia and quality of life between the treatment arms. RESULTS: Adverse events occurred with similar frequency in both groups (97/151 [64%] placebo vs 82/149 [55%] lovastatin; P = .13), and were in keeping with the characteristic clinical and laboratory features of acute dengue. We also observed no difference in serious adverse events or any of the secondary outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: We found lovastatin to be safe and well tolerated in adults with dengue. However, although the study was not powered to address efficacy, we found no evidence of a beneficial effect on any of the clinical manifestations or on dengue viremia. Continuing established statin therapy in patients who develop dengue is safe.Chinese Clinical Trials Registration. ISRCTN03147572.
  • Publication
    Endothelial Nitric Oxide Pathways in the Pathophysiology of Dengue: A Prospective Observational Study
    (2017-11-01) Simmons, Cameron
    Background: Dengue can cause increased vascular permeability that may lead to hypovolemic shock. Endothelial dysfunction may underlie this; however, the association of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) pathways with disease severity is unknown. Methods: We performed a prospective observational study in 2 Vietnamese hospitals, assessing patients presenting early (<72 hours of fever) and patients hospitalized with warning signs or severe dengue. The reactive hyperemic index (RHI), which measures endothelium-dependent vasodilation and is a surrogate marker of endothelial function and NO bioavailability, was evaluated using peripheral artery tonometry (EndoPAT), and plasma levels of l-arginine, arginase-1, and asymmetric dimethylarginine were measured at serial time-points. The main outcome of interest was plasma leakage severity. Results: Three hundred fourteen patients were enrolled; median age of the participants was 21(interquartile range, 13-30) years. No difference was found in the endothelial parameters between dengue and other febrile illness. Considering dengue patients, the RHI was significantly lower for patients with severe plasma leakage compared to those with no leakage (1.46 vs 2.00; P < .001), over acute time-points, apparent already in the early febrile phase (1.29 vs 1.75; P = .012). RHI correlated negatively with arginase-1 and positively with l-arginine (P = .001). Conclusions: Endothelial dysfunction/NO bioavailability is associated with worse plasma leakage, occurs early in dengue illness and correlates with hypoargininemia and high arginase-1 levels.
  • Publication
    Characterising private and shared signatures of positive selection in 37 Asian populations
    (2017-04-01) Simmons, Cameron
    The Asian Diversity Project (ADP) assembled 37 cosmopolitan and ethnic minority populations in Asia that have been densely genotyped across over half a million markers to study patterns of genetic diversity and positive natural selection. We performed population structure analyses of the ADP populations and divided these populations into four major groups based on their genographic information. By applying a highly sensitive algorithm haploPS to locate genomic signatures of positive selection, 140 distinct genomic regions exhibiting evidence of positive selection in at least one population were identified. We examined the extent of signal sharing for regions that were selected in multiple populations and observed that populations clustered in a similar fashion to that of how the ancestry clades were phylogenetically defined. In particular, populations predominantly located in South Asia underwent considerably different adaptation as compared with populations from the other geographical regions. Signatures of positive selection present in multiple geographical regions were predicted to be older and have emerged prior to the separation of the populations in the different regions. In contrast, selection signals present in a single population group tended to be of lower frequencies and thus can be attributed to recent evolutionary events.