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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of July 2, 2017



#5: Health Information Exchange Interventions Beneficial to HIV Care 

Using a quasi-experimental, interrupted time-series design, the researchers examined whether the LHIE intervention improved ART use and viral suppression, as well as if it reduced racial/ethnic disparities in these outcomes among HIV-positive patients from a Southern California HIV/AIDS clinic.  
The primary outcomes were ART pharmacy fill and HIV viral load laboratory data obtained from the medical records over 3 years. Race/ethnicity and an indicator for the intervention were the main predictors. The analysis was made up of a 3-stage, multivariable logistic regression with generalized estimating equations.  
The results of the study showed that the intervention predicted greater odds of ART use and viral suppression in the final models, which included sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical covariates.  
More on health information exchange interventions and HIV care is available, here.

#4: Three Mutations Could Help Bird Flu Spread Among Humans 

To effectively spread among humans, the avian virus thus needs to develop specificity to receptors in the human airway.  
Yet, although avian H7N9 influenza virus is currently unable to effectively spread between humans, scientists remain concerned that the virus might one day mutate into a form that could easily transmit in this way.   Professor Paulson and colleagues therefore conducted a study to investigate which mutations would allow the virus to attach to human cells.   
The researchers analyzed mutations in the H7N9 virus, focusing on a gene that codes for one HA protein known as H7. They investigated changes that would alter the amino acid structure of H7 HA, allowing it to switch to recognize receptors in the human airway.  
The researchers found that three specific amino acid mutations in H7 HA allowed the virus to more easily bind to human airway cells in the laboratory. These subtle changes in the protein’s structure thus produced virus strains that switched their target from bird cells to human cells.
Read more about how the avian influenza virus could mutate to spread among humans, here.

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