Feasibility of Xpert Ebola Assay in Medecins Sans Frontieres Ebola Program, Guinea.
ABSTRACT: Rapid diagnostic methods are essential in control of Ebola outbreaks and lead to timely isolation of cases and improved epidemiologic surveillance. Diagnosis during Ebola outbreaks in West Africa has relied on PCR performed in laboratories outside this region. Because time between sampling and PCR results can be considerable, we assessed the feasibility and added value of using the Xpert Ebola Assay in an Ebola control program in Guinea. A total of 218 samples were collected during diagnosis, treatment, and convalescence of patients. Median time for obtaining results was reduced from 334 min to 165 min. Twenty-six samples were positive for Ebola virus. Xpert cycle thresholds were consistently lower, and 8 (31%) samples were negative by routine PCR. Several logistic and safety issues were identified. We suggest that implementation of the Xpert Ebola Assay under programmatic conditions is feasible and represents a major advance in diagnosis of Ebola virus disease without apparent loss of assay sensitivity.
Project description:The recently developed Xpert® Ebola Assay is a novel nucleic acid amplification test for simplified detection of Ebola virus (EBOV) in whole blood and buccal swab samples. The assay targets sequences in two EBOV genes, lowering the risk for new variants to escape detection in the test. The objective of this report is to present analytical characteristics of the Xpert® Ebola Assay on whole blood samples.This study evaluated the assay's analytical sensitivity, analytical specificity, inclusivity and exclusivity performance in whole blood specimens. EBOV RNA, inactivated EBOV, and infectious EBOV were used as targets. The dynamic range of the assay, the inactivation of virus, and specimen stability were also evaluated. The lower limit of detection (LoD) for the assay using inactivated virus was estimated to be 73 copies/mL (95% CI: 51-97 copies/mL). The LoD for infectious virus was estimated to be 1 plaque-forming unit/mL, and for RNA to be 232 copies/mL (95% CI 163-302 copies/mL). The assay correctly identified five different Ebola viruses, Yambuku-Mayinga, Makona-C07, Yambuku-Ecran, Gabon-Ilembe, and Kikwit-956210, and correctly excluded all non-EBOV isolates tested. The conditions used by Xpert® Ebola for inactivation of infectious virus reduced EBOV titer by ?6 logs.In summary, we found the Xpert® Ebola Assay to have high analytical sensitivity and specificity for the detection of EBOV in whole blood. It offers ease of use, fast turnaround time, and remote monitoring. The test has an efficient viral inactivation protocol, fulfills inclusivity and exclusivity criteria, and has specimen stability characteristics consistent with the need for decentralized testing. The simplicity of the assay should enable testing in a wide variety of laboratory settings, including remote laboratories that are not capable of performing highly complex nucleic acid amplification tests, and during outbreaks where time to detection is critical.
Project description:This paper describes patient characteristics, including Ebola viral load, associated with mortality in a Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola case management centre (CMC).Out of 780 admissions between June and October 2014, 525 (67%) were positive for Ebola with a known outcome. The crude mortality rate was 51% (270/525). Ebola viral load (whole-blood sample) data were available on 76% (397/525) of patients. Univariate analysis indicated viral load at admission, age, symptom duration prior to admission, and distance traveled to the CMC were associated with mortality (P < .05). The multivariable model predicted mortality in those with a viral load at admission greater than 10 million copies per milliliter (P < .05, odds ratio >10), aged ? 50 years (P = .08, odds ratio = 2) and symptom duration prior to admission less than 5 days (P = .14). The presence of confusion, diarrhea, and conjunctivitis were significantly higher (P < .05) in Ebola patients who died.These findings highlight the importance viral load at admission has on mortality outcomes and could be used to cohort cases with viral loads greater than 10 million copies into dedicated wards with more intensive medical support to further reduce mortality.
Project description:Throughout the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in West Africa, field laboratory testing for EVD has relied on complex, multi-step real-time reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) assays; an accurate sample-to-answer RT-PCR test would reduce time to results and potentially increase access to testing. We evaluated the performance of the Cepheid GeneXpert Ebola assay on clinical venipuncture whole blood (WB) and buccal swab (BS) specimens submitted to a field biocontainment laboratory in Sierra Leone for routine EVD testing by RT-PCR ("Trombley assay").This study was conducted in the Public Health England EVD diagnostic laboratory in Port Loko, Sierra Leone, using residual diagnostic specimens remaining after clinical testing. EDTA-WB specimens (n = 218) were collected from suspected or confirmed EVD patients between April 1 and July 20, 2015. BS specimens (n = 71) were collected as part of a national postmortem screening program between March 7 and July 20, 2015. EDTA-WB and BS specimens were tested with Xpert (targets: glycoprotein [GP] and nucleoprotein [NP] genes) and Trombley (target: NP gene) assays in parallel. All WB specimens were fresh; 84/218 were tested in duplicate on Xpert to compare WB sampling methods (pipette versus swab); 43/71 BS specimens had been previously frozen. In all, 7/218 (3.2%) WB and 7/71 (9.9%) BS samples had Xpert results that were reported as "invalid" or "error" and were excluded, leaving 211 WB and 64 BS samples with valid Trombley and Xpert results. For WB, 22/22 Trombley-positive samples were Xpert-positive (sensitivity 100%, 95% CI 84.6%-100%), and 181/189 Trombley-negative samples were Xpert-negative (specificity 95.8%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 91.8%-98.2%). Seven of the eight Trombley-negative, Xpert-positive (Xpert cycle threshold [Ct] range 37.7-43.4) WB samples were confirmed to be follow-up submissions from previously Trombley-positive EVD patients, suggesting a revised Xpert specificity of 99.5% (95% CI 97.0%-100%). For Xpert-positive WB samples (n = 22), Xpert NP Ct values were consistently lower than GP Ct values (mean difference -4.06, 95% limits of agreement -6.09, -2.03); Trombley (NP) Ct values closely matched Xpert NP Ct values (mean difference -0.04, 95% limits of agreement -2.93, 2.84). Xpert results (positive/negative) for WB sampled by pipette versus swab were concordant for 78/79 (98.7%) WB samples, with comparable Ct values for positive results. For BS specimens, 20/20 Trombley-positive samples were Xpert-positive (sensitivity 100%, 95% CI 83.2%-100%), and 44/44 Trombley-negative samples were Xpert-negative (specificity 100%, 95% CI 92.0%-100%). This study was limited to testing residual diagnostic samples, some of which had been frozen before use; it was not possible to test the performance of the Xpert Ebola assay at point of care.The Xpert Ebola assay had excellent performance compared to an established RT-PCR benchmark on WB and BS samples in a field laboratory setting. Future studies should evaluate feasibility and performance outside of a biocontainment laboratory setting to facilitate expanded access to testing.
Project description:Recent studies have suggested that Ebola virus (EBOV) ribonucleic acid (RNA) potentially present in the semen of a large number of survivors of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Western Africa may contribute to sexual transmission of EVD and generate new clusters of cases in regions previously declared EVD-free. These findings drive the immediate need for a reliable, rapid, user-friendly assay for detection of EBOV RNA in semen that is deployable to multiple sites across Western Africa. In this study, we optimized the Xpert EBOV assay for semen samples by adding dithiothreitol. Compared to the assays currently in use in Liberia (including Ebola Zaire Target 1, major groove binder real-time-polymerase chain reaction assays, and original Xpert EBOV assay), the modified Xpert EBOV assay demonstrated greater sensitivity than the comparator assays. Thus, the modified Xpert EBOV assay is optimal for large-scale monitoring of EBOV RNA persistence in male survivors.
Project description:The ability to rapidly recognize Ebola virus infections is critical to quickly limit further spread of the disease. A rapid, sensitive, and specific laboratory diagnostic test is needed to confirm outbreaks of Ebola virus infection and to distinguish it from other diseases that can cause similar clinical symptoms. A one-tube reverse transcription-PCR assay for the identification of Ebola virus subtype Zaire (Ebola Zaire) and Ebola virus subtype Sudan (Ebola Sudan) was developed and evaluated by using the ABI PRISM 7700 sequence detection system. This assay uses one common primer set and two differentially labeled fluorescent probes to simultaneously detect and differentiate these two subtypes of Ebola virus. The sensitivity of the primer set was comparable to that of previously designed primer sets, as determined by limit-of-detection experiments. This assay is unique in its ability to simultaneously detect and differentiate Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan. In addition, this assay is compatible with emerging rapid nucleic acid analysis platforms and therefore may prove to be a very useful diagnostic tool for the control and management of future outbreaks.
Project description:To analyse the results from the first 3 years of implementation of a medical error reporting system in Médecins Sans Frontières-Operational Centre Amsterdam (MSF) programs.A medical error reporting policy was developed with input from frontline workers and introduced to the organisation in June 2010. The definition of medical error used was "the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended or the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim." All confirmed error reports were entered into a database without the use of personal identifiers.179 errors were reported from 38 projects in 18 countries over the period of June 2010 to May 2013. The rate of reporting was 31, 42, and 106 incidents/year for reporting year 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The majority of errors were categorized as dispensing errors (62 cases or 34.6%), errors or delays in diagnosis (24 cases or 13.4%) and inappropriate treatment (19 cases or 10.6%). The impact of the error was categorized as no harm (58, 32.4%), harm (70, 39.1%), death (42, 23.5%) and unknown in 9 (5.0%) reports. Disclosure to the patient took place in 34 cases (19.0%), did not take place in 46 (25.7%), was not applicable for 5 (2.8%) cases and not reported for 94 (52.5%). Remedial actions introduced at headquarters level included guideline revisions and changes to medical supply procedures. At field level improvements included increased training and supervision, adjustments in staffing levels, and adaptations to the organization of the pharmacy.It was feasible to implement a voluntary reporting system for medical errors despite the complex contexts in which MSF intervenes. The reporting policy led to system changes that improved patient safety and accountability to patients. Challenges remain in achieving widespread acceptance of the policy as evidenced by the low reporting and disclosure rates.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Many countries ravaged by conflict have substantial morbidity and mortality attributed to HIV/AIDS yet HIV treatment is uncommonly available. Universal access to HIV care cannot be achieved unless the needs of populations in conflict-affected areas are addressed. METHODS: From 2003 Médecins Sans Frontières introduced HIV care, including antiretroviral therapy, into 24 programmes in conflict or post-conflict settings, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV care and treatment activities were usually integrated within other medical activities. Project data collected in the Fuchia software system were analysed and outcomes compared with ART-LINC data. Programme reports and other relevant documents and interviews with local and headquarters staff were used to develop lessons learned. RESULTS: In the 22 programmes where ART was initiated, more than 10,500 people were diagnosed with HIV and received medical care, and 4555 commenced antiretroviral therapy, including 348 children. Complete data were available for adults in 20 programmes (n = 4145). At analysis, 2645 (64%) remained on ART, 422 (10%) had died, 466 (11%) lost to follow-up, 417 (10%) transferred to another programme, and 195 (5%) had an unclear outcome. Median 12-month mortality and loss to follow-up were 9% and 11% respectively, and median 6-month CD4 gain was 129 cells/mm 3.Patient outcomes on treatment were comparable to those in stable resource-limited settings, and individuals and communities obtained significant benefits from access to HIV treatment. Programme disruption through instability was uncommon with only one program experiencing interruption to services, and programs were adapted to allow for disruption and population movements. Integration of HIV activities strengthened other health activities contributing to health benefits for all victims of conflict and increasing the potential sustainability for implemented activities. CONCLUSIONS: With commitment, simplified treatment and monitoring, and adaptations for potential instability, HIV treatment can be feasibly and effectively provided in conflict or post-conflict settings.
Project description:The 2014-16 Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa highlighted the necessity for readily available, accurate and rapid diagnostics. The magnitude of the outbreak and the re-emergence of clusters of EVD cases following the declaration of interrupted transmission in Liberia, reinforced the need for sustained diagnostics to support surveillance and emergency preparedness. We describe implementation of the Xpert Ebola Assay, a rapid molecular diagnostic test run on the GeneXpert platform, at a mobile laboratory in Liberia and the subsequent impact on EVD outbreak response, case management and laboratory system strengthening. During the period of operation, site coordination, management and operational capacity was supported through a successful collaboration between Ministry of Health (MoH), World Health Organization (WHO) and international partners. A team of Liberian laboratory technicians were trained to conduct EVD diagnostics and the laboratory had capacity to test 64-100 blood specimens per day. Establishment of the laboratory significantly increased the daily testing capacity for EVD in Liberia, from 180 to 250 specimens at a time when the effectiveness of the surveillance system was threatened by insufficient diagnostic capacity. During the 18 months of operation, the laboratory tested a total of 9,063 blood specimens, including 21 EVD positives from six confirmed cases during two outbreaks. Following clearance of the significant backlog of untested EVD specimens in November 2015, a new cluster of EVD cases was detected at the laboratory. Collaboration between surveillance and laboratory coordination teams during this and a later outbreak in March 2016, facilitated timely and targeted response interventions. Specimens taken from cases during both outbreaks were analysed at the laboratory with results informing clinical management of patients and discharge decisions. The GeneXpert platform is easy to use, has relatively low running costs and can be integrated into other national diagnostic algorithms. The technology has on average a 2-hour sample-to-result time and allows for single specimen testing to overcome potential delays of batching. This model of a mobile laboratory equipped with Xpert Ebola test, staffed by local laboratory technicians, could serve to strengthen outbreak preparedness and response for future outbreaks of EVD in Liberia and the region.
Project description:Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe and frequently lethal disease caused by Ebola virus (EBOV). EVD outbreaks typically start from a single case of probable zoonotic transmission, followed by human-to-human transmission via direct contact or contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated fomites. EVD has a high case-fatality rate; it is characterized by fever, gastrointestinal signs and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome. Diagnosis requires a combination of case definition and laboratory tests, typically real-time reverse transcription PCR to detect viral RNA or rapid diagnostic tests based on immunoassays to detect EBOV antigens. Recent advances in medical countermeasure research resulted in the recent approval of an EBOV-targeted vaccine by European and US regulatory agencies. The results of a randomized clinical trial of investigational therapeutics for EVD demonstrated survival benefits from two monoclonal antibody products targeting the EBOV membrane glycoprotein. New observations emerging from the unprecedented 2013-2016 Western African EVD outbreak (the largest in history) and the ongoing EVD outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have substantially improved the understanding of EVD and viral persistence in survivors of EVD, resulting in new strategies toward prevention of infection and optimization of clinical management, acute illness outcomes and attendance to the clinical care needs of patients.
Project description:Ebola is one of the deadliest infectious disease of the modern era. Over 50% of those infected die. Prior to 1976, the disease was unknown. No one knows exactly where it came from, but it is postulated that a mutation in an animal virus allowed it to jump species and infect humans. In 1976 simultaneous outbreaks of Ebola occurred in what is now South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). For 20 years, only sporadic cases were seen, but in 1995 a new outbreak occurred killing hundreds in the DRC. Since that time the frequency of these outbreaks has been increasing. It is uncertain why this is occurring, but many associate it with increasing human encroachment into forested areas bringing people and animals into more intimate contact and increased mobility of previously remote population. This chapter will navigate Ebola in the context of global health and security. There are multiple objectives of this chapter. First is to provide a basic understanding of Ebola disease processes and outbreak patterns. Second, is to explore the interplay between social determinants of health and Ebola. The role of technology in spreading Ebola outbreaks will be explained as will Ebola’s potential as a bioweapon. Readers will gain understanding of the link between environmental degradation and Ebola outbreaks. This chapter will be divided into five main sections. These are (1) a case study; (2) Ebola Disease process; (3) Social determinants of health and Ebola; (4) Ebola in the modern era, and (5) the link between Ebola and environmental degradation.