The University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) was founded in 2006 to enhance clinical and translational research across the five University of Massachusetts campuses and our clinical partners, UMass Memorial Health Care and Baystate Medical Center. The UMCCTS is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant # UL1-TR001453) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

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  • UMCCTS Newsletter, March 2023

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2023-03-01)
    This is the March 2023 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • Performance of Rapid Antigen Tests Based on Symptom Onset and Close Contact Exposure: A secondary analysis from the Test Us At Home prospective cohort study [preprint]

    Herbert, Carly; Wang, Biqi; Lin, Honghuang; Hafer, Nathaniel; Pretz, Caitlin; Stamegna, Pamela; Tarrant, Seanan; Hartin, Paul; Ferranto, Julia; Behar, Stephanie; et al. (2023-02-24)
    Background: The performance of rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 (Ag-RDT) in temporal relation to symptom onset or exposure is unknown, as is the impact of vaccination on this relationship. Objective: To evaluate the performance of Ag-RDT compared with RT-PCR based on day after symptom onset or exposure in order to decide on 'when to test'. Design setting and participants: The Test Us at Home study was a longitudinal cohort study that enrolled participants over 2 years old across the United States between October 18, 2021 and February 4, 2022. All participants were asked to conduct Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing every 48 hours over a 15-day period. Participants with one or more symptoms during the study period were included in the Day Post Symptom Onset (DPSO) analyses, while those who reported a COVID-19 exposure were included in the Day Post Exposure (DPE) analysis. Exposure: Participants were asked to self-report any symptoms or known exposures to SARS-CoV-2 every 48-hours, immediately prior to conducting Ag-RDT and RT-PCR testing. The first day a participant reported one or more symptoms was termed DPSO 0, and the day of exposure was DPE 0. Vaccination status was self-reported. Main outcome and measures: Results of Ag-RDT were self-reported (positive, negative, or invalid) and RT-PCR results were analyzed by a central laboratory. Percent positivity of SARS-CoV-2 and sensitivity of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR by DPSO and DPE were stratified by vaccination status and calculated with 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 7,361 participants enrolled in the study. Among them, 2,086 (28.3%) and 546 (7.4%) participants were eligible for the DPSO and DPE analyses, respectively. Unvaccinated participants were nearly twice as likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than vaccinated participants in event of symptoms (PCR+: 27.6% vs 10.1%) or exposure (PCR+: 43.8% vs. 22.2%). The highest proportion of vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals tested positive on DPSO 2 and DPE 5-8. Performance of RT-PCR and Ag-RDT did not differ by vaccination status. Ag-RDT detected 78.0% (95% Confidence Interval: 72.56-82.61) of PCR-confirmed infections by DPSO 4. For exposed participants, Ag-RDT detected 84.9% (95% CI: 75.0-91.4) of PCR-confirmed infections by day five post-exposure (DPE 5). Conclusions and relevance: Performance of Ag-RDT and RT-PCR was highest on DPSO 0-2 and DPE 5 and did not differ by vaccination status. These data suggests that serial testing remains integral to enhancing the performance of Ag-RDT.
  • Data quality considerations for evaluating COVID-19 treatments using real world data: learnings from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C)

    Sidky, Hythem; Young, Jessica C; Girvin, Andrew T; Lee, Eileen; Shao, Yu Raymond; Hotaling, Nathan; Michael, Sam; Wilkins, Kenneth J; Setoguchi, Soko; Funk, Michele Jonsson (2023-02-17)
    Background: Multi-institution electronic health records (EHR) are a rich source of real world data (RWD) for generating real world evidence (RWE) regarding the utilization, benefits and harms of medical interventions. They provide access to clinical data from large pooled patient populations in addition to laboratory measurements unavailable in insurance claims-based data. However, secondary use of these data for research requires specialized knowledge and careful evaluation of data quality and completeness. We discuss data quality assessments undertaken during the conduct of prep-to-research, focusing on the investigation of treatment safety and effectiveness. Methods: Using the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) enclave, we defined a patient population using criteria typical in non-interventional inpatient drug effectiveness studies. We present the challenges encountered when constructing this dataset, beginning with an examination of data quality across data partners. We then discuss the methods and best practices used to operationalize several important study elements: exposure to treatment, baseline health comorbidities, and key outcomes of interest. Results: We share our experiences and lessons learned when working with heterogeneous EHR data from over 65 healthcare institutions and 4 common data models. We discuss six key areas of data variability and quality. (1) The specific EHR data elements captured from a site can vary depending on source data model and practice. (2) Data missingness remains a significant issue. (3) Drug exposures can be recorded at different levels and may not contain route of administration or dosage information. (4) Reconstruction of continuous drug exposure intervals may not always be possible. (5) EHR discontinuity is a major concern for capturing history of prior treatment and comorbidities. Lastly, (6) access to EHR data alone limits the potential outcomes which can be used in studies. Conclusions: The creation of large scale centralized multi-site EHR databases such as N3C enables a wide range of research aimed at better understanding treatments and health impacts of many conditions including COVID-19. As with all observational research, it is important that research teams engage with appropriate domain experts to understand the data in order to define research questions that are both clinically important and feasible to address using these real world data.
  • Coding long COVID: characterizing a new disease through an ICD-10 lens

    Pfaff, Emily R; Madlock-Brown, Charisse; Baratta, John M; Bhatia, Abhishek; Davis, Hannah; Girvin, Andrew; Hill, Elaine; Kelly, Elizabeth; Kostka, Kristin; Loomba, Johanna; et al. (2023-02-16)
    Background: Naming a newly discovered disease is a difficult process; in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the existence of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), which includes long COVID, it has proven especially challenging. Disease definitions and assignment of a diagnosis code are often asynchronous and iterative. The clinical definition and our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of long COVID are still in flux, and the deployment of an ICD-10-CM code for long COVID in the USA took nearly 2 years after patients had begun to describe their condition. Here, we leverage the largest publicly available HIPAA-limited dataset about patients with COVID-19 in the US to examine the heterogeneity of adoption and use of U09.9, the ICD-10-CM code for "Post COVID-19 condition, unspecified." Methods: We undertook a number of analyses to characterize the N3C population with a U09.9 diagnosis code (n = 33,782), including assessing person-level demographics and a number of area-level social determinants of health; diagnoses commonly co-occurring with U09.9, clustered using the Louvain algorithm; and quantifying medications and procedures recorded within 60 days of U09.9 diagnosis. We stratified all analyses by age group in order to discern differing patterns of care across the lifespan. Results: We established the diagnoses most commonly co-occurring with U09.9 and algorithmically clustered them into four major categories: cardiopulmonary, neurological, gastrointestinal, and comorbid conditions. Importantly, we discovered that the population of patients diagnosed with U09.9 is demographically skewed toward female, White, non-Hispanic individuals, as well as individuals living in areas with low poverty and low unemployment. Our results also include a characterization of common procedures and medications associated with U09.9-coded patients. Conclusions: This work offers insight into potential subtypes and current practice patterns around long COVID and speaks to the existence of disparities in the diagnosis of patients with long COVID. This latter finding in particular requires further research and urgent remediation.
  • CRISPR-induced exon skipping of β-catenin reveals tumorigenic mutants driving distinct subtypes of liver cancer

    Mou, Haiwei; Eskiocak, Onur; Özler, Kadir A; Gorman, Megan; Yue, Junjiayu; Jin, Ying; Wang, Zhikai; Gao, Ya; Janowitz, Tobias; Meyer, Hannah V; et al. (2023-02-08)
    CRISPR/Cas9-driven cancer modeling studies are based on the disruption of tumor suppressor genes by small insertions or deletions (indels) that lead to frame-shift mutations. In addition, CRISPR/Cas9 is widely used to define the significance of cancer oncogenes and genetic dependencies in loss-of-function studies. However, how CRISPR/Cas9 influences gain-of-function oncogenic mutations is elusive. Here, we demonstrate that single guide RNA targeting exon 3 of Ctnnb1 (encoding β-catenin) results in exon skipping and generates gain-of-function isoforms in vivo. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated exon skipping of Ctnnb1 induces liver tumor formation in synergy with YAPS127A in mice. We define two distinct exon skipping-induced tumor subtypes with different histological and transcriptional features. Notably, ectopic expression of two exon-skipped β-catenin transcript isoforms together with YAPS127A phenocopies the two distinct subtypes of liver cancer. Moreover, we identify similar CTNNB1 exon-skipping events in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Collectively, our findings advance our understanding of β-catenin-related tumorigenesis and reveal that CRISPR/Cas9 can be repurposed, in vivo, to study gain-of-function mutations of oncogenes in cancer. © 2023 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, February 2023

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2023-02-01)
    This is the February 2023 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, January 2023

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2023-01-05)
    This is the January 2023 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • Anti-SOD1 Nanobodies That Stabilize Misfolded SOD1 Proteins Also Promote Neurite Outgrowth in Mutant SOD1 Human Neurons

    Kumar, Meenakshi Sundaram; Fowler-Magaw, Megan E; Kulick, Daniel; Boopathy, Sivakumar; Gadd, Del Hayden; Rotunno, Melissa; Douthwright, Catherine; Golebiowski, Diane; Yusuf, Issa; Xu, Zuoshang; et al. (2022-12-16)
    ALS-linked mutations induce aberrant conformations within the SOD1 protein that are thought to underlie the pathogenic mechanism of SOD1-mediated ALS. Although clinical trials are underway for gene silencing of SOD1, these approaches reduce both wild-type and mutated forms of SOD1. Here, we sought to develop anti-SOD1 nanobodies with selectivity for mutant and misfolded forms of human SOD1 over wild-type SOD1. Characterization of two anti-SOD1 nanobodies revealed that these biologics stabilize mutant SOD1 in vitro. Further, SOD1 expression levels were enhanced and the physiological subcellular localization of mutant SOD1 was restored upon co-expression of anti-SOD1 nanobodies in immortalized cells. In human motor neurons harboring the SOD1 A4V mutation, anti-SOD1 nanobody expression promoted neurite outgrowth, demonstrating a protective effect of anti-SOD1 nanobodies in otherwise unhealthy cells. In vitro assays revealed that an anti-SOD1 nanobody exhibited selectivity for human mutant SOD1 over endogenous murine SOD1, thus supporting the preclinical utility of anti-SOD1 nanobodies for testing in animal models of ALS. In sum, the anti-SOD1 nanobodies developed and presented herein represent viable biologics for further preclinical testing in human and mouse models of ALS.
  • Profiling genome-wide recombination in Epstein Barr virus reveals type-specific patterns and associations with endemic-Burkitt lymphoma

    Agwati, Eddy O; Oduor, Cliff I; Ayieko, Cyrus; Ong'echa, John Michael; Moormann, Ann M; Bailey, Jeffrey A (2022-12-08)
    Background: Endemic Burkitt lymphoma (eBL) is potentiated through the interplay of Epstein Barr virus (EBV) and holoendemic Plasmodium falciparum malaria. To better understand EBV's biology and role in eBL, we characterized genome-wide recombination sites and patterns as a source of genetic diversity in EBV genomes in our well-defined population of eBL cases and controls from Western Kenya. Methods: EBV genomes representing 54 eBL cases and 32 healthy children from the same geographic region in Western Kenya that we previously sequenced were analyzed. Whole-genome multiple sequence alignment, recombination analyses, and phylogenetic inference were made using multiple alignment with fast Fourier transform, recombination detection program 4, and molecular evolutionary genetics analysis. Results: We identified 28 different recombination events and 71 (82.6%) of the 86 EBV genomes analyzed contained evidence of one or more recombinant segments. Associated recombination breakpoints were found to occur in a total of 42 different genes, with only 7 (16.67%) being latent genes. Recombination events were major drivers of clustering within genome-wide phylogenetic trees. The occurrence of recombination segments was comparable between genomes from male and female participants and across age groups. More recombinant segments were found in EBV type 1 genomes (p = 6.4e - 06) and the genomes from the eBLs (p = 0.037). Two recombination events were enriched in the eBLs; event 47 (OR = 4.07, p = 0.038) and event 50 (OR = 14.24, p = 0.012). Conclusions: EBV genomes have extensive evidence of recombination likely acquired progressively and cumulatively over time. Recombination patterns display a heterogeneous occurrence rate across the genome with enrichment in lytic genes. Overall, recombination appears to be a major evolutionary force impacting EBV diversity and genome structure with evidence of the association of specific recombinants with eBL.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, December 2022

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2022-12-05)
    This is the December 2022 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • Development and Beta-Testing of the CONFIDENCE Intervention to Increase Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination

    Ryan, Grace W; Goulding, Melissa; Borg, Amy; Minkah, Princilla; Beeler, Angela; Rosal, Milagros C; Lemon, Stephenie C (2022-11-17)
    Introduction: Innovative strategies are needed to improve pediatric COVID-19 vaccination rates. We describe the process for developing a clinic-based intervention, CONFIDENCE, to improve pediatric COVID-19 vaccine uptake and present results of our beta-test for feasibility and acceptability. Method: CONFIDENCE included communication training with providers, a poster campaign, and parent-facing educational materials. We assessed feasibility and acceptability through interviews and measured preliminary vaccine intention outcomes with a pre-post parent survey. Interviews were analyzed using rapid qualitative methods. We generated descriptive statistics for variables on the parent survey and used Fisher's exact test to assess pre-post differences. Results: Participating providers (n = 4) reported high levels of feasibility and acceptability. We observed positive trends in parents' (n = 69) reports of discussing vaccination with their provider and the parental decision to accept COVID-19 vaccination. Discussion: Our next steps will be to use more rigorous methods to establish the efficacy and effectiveness of the CONFIDENCE intervention.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, November 2022

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2022-11-01)
    This is the November 2022 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • Evaluation of mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Children 6 Months to 5 Years of Age

    Anderson, Evan J; Creech, C Buddy; Berthaud, Vladimir; Piramzadian, Arin; Johnson, Kimball A; Zervos, Marcus; Garner, Fredric; Griffin, Carl; Palanpurwala, Khozema; Turner, Mark; et al. (2022-10-19)
    Background: The safety, reactogenicity, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the mRNA-1273 coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) vaccine in young children are unknown. Methods: Part 1 of this ongoing phase 2-3 trial was open label for dose selection; part 2 was an observer-blinded, placebo-controlled evaluation of the selected dose. In part 2, we randomly assigned young children (6 months to 5 years of age) in a 3:1 ratio to receive two 25-μg injections of mRNA-1273 or placebo, administered 28 days apart. The primary objectives were to evaluate the safety and reactogenicity of the vaccine and to determine whether the immune response in these children was noninferior to that in young adults (18 to 25 years of age) in a related phase 3 trial. Secondary objectives were to determine the incidences of Covid-19 and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection after administration of mRNA-1273 or placebo. Results: On the basis of safety and immunogenicity results in part 1 of the trial, the 25-μg dose was evaluated in part 2. In part 2, 3040 children 2 to 5 years of age and 1762 children 6 to 23 months of age were randomly assigned to receive two 25-μg injections of mRNA-1273; 1008 children 2 to 5 years of age and 593 children 6 to 23 months of age were randomly assigned to receive placebo. The median duration of follow-up after the second injection was 71 days in the 2-to-5-year-old cohort and 68 days in the 6-to-23-month-old cohort. Adverse events were mainly low-grade and transient, and no new safety concerns were identified. At day 57, neutralizing antibody geometric mean concentrations were 1410 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1272 to 1563) among 2-to-5-year-olds and 1781 (95% CI, 1616 to 1962) among 6-to-23-month-olds, as compared with 1391 (95% CI, 1263 to 1531) among young adults, who had received 100-μg injections of mRNA-1273, findings that met the noninferiority criteria for immune responses for both age cohorts. The estimated vaccine efficacy against Covid-19 was 36.8% (95% CI, 12.5 to 54.0) among 2-to-5-year-olds and 50.6% (95% CI, 21.4 to 68.6) among 6-to-23-month-olds, at a time when B.1.1.529 (omicron) was the predominant circulating variant. Conclusions: Two 25-μg doses of the mRNA-1273 vaccine were found to be safe in children 6 months to 5 years of age and elicited immune responses that were noninferior to those in young adults. (Funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; KidCOVE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04796896.).
  • COVID-19 in people with neurofibromatosis 1, neurofibromatosis 2, or schwannomatosis

    Banerjee, Jineta; Friedman, Jan M; Klesse, Laura J; Yohay, Kaleb H; Jordan, Justin T; Plotkin, Scott R; Allaway, Robert J; Blakeley, Jaishri O (2022-10-19)
    Purpose: People with pre-existing conditions may be more susceptible to severe COVID-19 when infected by SARS-CoV-2. The relative risk and severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in people with rare diseases such as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2), or schwannomatosis (SWN) is unknown. Methods: We investigated the proportions of people with NF1, NF2, or SWN in the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) electronic health record data set who had a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. Results: The cohort sizes in N3C were 2501 (NF1), 665 (NF2), and 762 (SWN). We compared these with N3C cohorts of patients with other rare diseases (98-9844 individuals) and the general non-NF population of 5.6 million. The site- and age-adjusted proportion of people with NF1, NF2, or SWN who had a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19 (collectively termed positive cases) was not significantly higher than in individuals without NF or other selected rare diseases. There were no severe outcomes reported in the NF2 or SWN cohorts. The proportion of patients experiencing severe outcomes was no greater for people with NF1 than in cohorts with other rare diseases or the general population. Conclusion: Having NF1, NF2, or SWN does not appear to increase the risk of being SARS-CoV-2 positive or of being a patient with COVID-19 or of developing severe complications from SARS-CoV-2.
  • A prospective analysis of red blood cell membrane polyunsaturated fatty acid levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

    Ardisson Korat, Andres V; Chiu, Yu-Han; Bertrand, Kimberly A; Zhang, Shumin; Epstein, Mara M; Rosner, Bernard A; Chiuve, Stephanie; Campos, Hannia; Giovannucci, Edward L; Chavarro, Jorge E; et al. (2022-10-18)
    Published studies report inconsistent associations of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intake with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) risk. We conducted a nested case-control study in Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study participants to evaluate a hypothesis of inverse association of pre-diagnosis red blood cell (RBC) membrane PUFA levels with risk of NHL endpoints. We confirmed 583 NHL cases and matched 583 controls by cohort/sex, age, race and blood draw date/time. We estimated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for risk of NHL endpoints using logistic regression. RBC PUFA levels were not associated with all NHL risk; cis 20:2n-6 was associated with follicular lymphoma risk (OR [95% CI] per one standard deviation increase: 1.35 [1.03-1.77]), and the omega-6/omega-3 PUFA ratio was associated with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma risk (2.33 [1.23-4.43]). Overall, PUFA did not demonstrate a role in NHL etiology; the two unexpected positive associations lack clear biologic explanations.
  • Established Outpatient Care and Follow-Up After Acute Psychiatric Service Use Among Youths and Young Adults

    Hugunin, Julie; Davis, Maryann; Larkin, Celine; Baek, Jonggyu; Skehan, Brian; Lapane, Kate L (2022-10-12)
    Objective: This study explored follow-up after hospitalization and emergency room (ER) use for mental health among youths and young adults with private insurance. Methods: The IBM MarketScan commercial database (2013-2018) was used to identify people ages 12-27 with a mental health hospitalization (N=95,153) or ER use (N=108,576). Factors associated with outpatient mental health follow-up within 7 and 30 days of discharge were determined via logistic models with generalized estimating equations that accounted for state variation. Results: Of those hospitalized, 42.7% received follow-up within 7 days (67.4% within 30 days). Of those with ER use, 28.6% received follow-up within 7 days (46.4% within 30 days). Type of established outpatient care predicted follow-up after hospitalization and ER use. Compared with people with no established care, the likelihood of receiving follow-up within 7 days was highest among those with mental health and primary care (hospitalization, adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.81, 95% confidence interval [CI]=2.68-2.94; ER use, AOR=4.06, 95% CI=3.72-4.42), followed by those with mental health care only (hospitalization, AOR=2.57, 95% CI=2.45-2.70; ER use, AOR=3.48, 95% CI=3.17-3.82) and those with primary care only (hospitalization, AOR=1.20, 95% CI=1.15-1.26; ER use, AOR=1.22, 95% CI=1.16-1.28). Similar trends were observed within 30 days of discharge. Conclusions: Follow-up rates after acute mental health service use among youths and young adults were suboptimal. Having established mental health care more strongly predicted receiving follow-up than did having established primary care. Improving engagement with outpatient mental health care providers may increase follow-up rates.
  • Comparison of Rapid Antigen Tests' Performance Between Delta and Omicron Variants of SARS-CoV-2 : A Secondary Analysis From a Serial Home Self-testing Study

    Soni, Apurv; Herbert, Carly; Filippaios, Andreas; Broach, John; Colubri, Andres; Fahey, Nisha; Woods, Kelsey; Nanavati, Janvi; Wright, Colton; Orwig, Taylor; et al. (2022-10-11)
    Background: It is important to document the performance of rapid antigen tests (Ag-RDTs) in detecting SARS-CoV-2 variants. Objective: To compare the performance of Ag-RDTs in detecting the Delta (B.1.617.2) and Omicron (B.1.1.529) variants of SARS-CoV-2. Design: Secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study that enrolled participants between 18 October 2021 and 24 January 2022. Participants did Ag-RDTs and collected samples for reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing every 48 hours for 15 days. Setting: The parent study enrolled participants throughout the mainland United States through a digital platform. All participants self-collected anterior nasal swabs for rapid antigen testing and RT-PCR testing. All Ag-RDTs were completed at home, whereas nasal swabs for RT-PCR were shipped to a central laboratory. Participants: Of 7349 participants enrolled in the parent study, 5779 asymptomatic persons who tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 on day 1 of the study were eligible for this substudy. Measurements: Sensitivity of Ag-RDTs on the same day as the first positive (index) RT-PCR result and 48 hours after the first positive RT-PCR result. Results: A total of 207 participants were positive on RT-PCR (58 Delta, 149 Omicron). Differences in sensitivity between variants were not statistically significant (same day: Delta, 15.5% [95% CI, 6.2% to 24.8%] vs. Omicron, 22.1% [CI, 15.5% to 28.8%]; at 48 hours: Delta, 44.8% [CI, 32.0% to 57.6%] vs. Omicron, 49.7% [CI, 41.6% to 57.6%]). Among 109 participants who had RT-PCR-positive results for 48 hours, rapid antigen sensitivity did not differ significantly between Delta- and Omicron-infected participants (48-hour sensitivity: Delta, 81.5% [CI, 66.8% to 96.1%] vs. Omicron, 78.0% [CI, 69.1% to 87.0%]). Only 7.2% of the 69 participants with RT-PCR-positive results for shorter than 48 hours tested positive by Ag-RDT within 1 week; those with Delta infections remained consistently negative on Ag-RDTs. Limitation: A testing frequency of 48 hours does not allow a finer temporal resolution of the analysis of test performance, and the results of Ag-RDTs are based on self-report. Conclusion: The performance of Ag-RDTs in persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is not inferior to that in persons with Delta infections. Serial testing improved the sensitivity of Ag-RDTs for both variants. The performance of rapid antigen testing varies on the basis of duration of RT-PCR positivity. Primary funding source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, October 2022

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2022-10-03)
    This is the October 2022 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.
  • Distinct HIV-1 Population Structure across Meningeal and Peripheral T Cells and Macrophage Lineage Cells

    Rose, Rebecca; Gonzalez-Perez, Maria Paz; Nolan, David; Ganta, Krishna Kumar; LaFleur, Tessa; Cross, Sissy; Brody, Robin; Lamers, Susanna L; Luzuriaga, Katherine (2022-09-29)
    HIV-1 sequence population structure among brain and nonbrain cellular compartments is incompletely understood. Here, we compared proviral pol and env high-quality consensus single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequences derived from CD3+ T cells and CD14+ macrophage lineage cells from meningeal or peripheral (spleen, blood) tissues obtained at autopsy from two individuals with viral suppression on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Phylogenetic analyses showed strong evidence of population structure between CD3+ and CD14+ virus populations. Distinct env variable-region characteristics were also found between CD3+ and CD14+ viruses. Furthermore, shared macrophage-tropic amino acid residues (env) and drug resistance mutations (pol) between meningeal and peripheral virus populations were consistent with the meninges playing a role in viral gene flow across the blood-brain barrier. Overall, our results point toward potential functional differences among meningeal and peripheral CD3+ and CD14+ virus populations and a complex evolutionary history driven by distinct selection pressures and/or viral gene flow. IMPORTANCE Different cell types and/or tissues may serve as a reservoir for HIV-1 during ART-induced viral suppression. We compared proviral pol and env sequences from CD3+ T cells and CD14+ macrophage lineage cells from brain and nonbrain tissues from two virally suppressed individuals. We found strong evidence of viral population structure among cells/tissues, which may result from distinct selective pressures across cell types and anatomic sites.
  • UMCCTS Newsletter, September 2022

    UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (2022-09-01)
    This is the September 2022 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.

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