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Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 1664-1671, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1978179


To reach the WHO target of hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination by 2025, Taiwan started to implement free-of-charge direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment programme in 2017. Evaluating the progress of HCV microelimination among people living with HIV (PLWH) is a critical step to identify the barriers to HCV elimination. PLWH seeking care at a major hospital designated for HIV care in Taiwan between January 2011 and December 2021 were retrospectively included. For PLWH with HCV-seropositive or HCV seroconversion during the study period, serial HCV RNA testing was performed using archived samples to confirm the presence of HCV viremia and estimate the prevalence and incidence of HCV viremia. Overall, 4199 PLWH contributed to a total of 27,258.75 person-years of follow-up (PYFU). With the reimbursement of DAAs and improvement of access to treatments, the prevalence of HCV viremia has declined from its peak of 6.21% (95% CI, 5.39-7.12%) in 2018 to 2.09% (95% CI, 1.60-2.77%) in 2021 (decline by 66.4% [95% CI, 55.4-74.7%]); the incidence has declined from 25.94 per 1000 PYFU (95% CI, 20.44-32.47) in 2019 to 12.15% per 1000 PYFU (95% CI, 8.14-17.44) (decline by 53.2% [95% CI, 27.3-70.6%]). However, the proportion of HCV reinfections continued to increase and accounted for 82.8% of incident HCV infections in 2021. We observed significant declines of HCV viremia among PLWH with the expansion of the DAA treatment programme in Taiwan. Further improvement of the access to DAA retreatments is warranted to achieve the goal of HCV microelimination.

HIV Infections , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hepacivirus/genetics , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Humans , Retrospective Studies , Taiwan/epidemiology , Viremia/drug therapy , Viremia/epidemiology
Tzu Chi Med J ; 33(2): 146-153, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1187094


OBJECTIVE: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus continues to pose a serious threat to public health worldwide. The development of rapid diagnostic kits can assist the Tzu Chi Foundation in supporting global volunteers working to provide relief during the current pandemic. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, nucleotide sequences derived from publicly available viral genome data for several domains of the SARS-CoV2 spike and nucleocapsid (N) proteins were chemically synthesized, with codon optimization for Escherichia coli protein expression. No actual viral particles were involved in these experiments. The synthesized sequences were cloned into an E. coli expression system based on pQE80L, and expressed viral proteins were subsequently purified using Ni-affinity chromatography. Western blotting was conducted using human antiviral sera to assess the response of codon-modified viral proteins to COVID-19 patient sera. RESULTS: N protein was expressed in amounts large enough to support large-scale production. The N-terminal domain, receptor-binding domain (RBD), Region 3, and the S2 domain were expressed in small but sufficient amounts for experiments. Immunoblotting results showed that anti-N IgG and anti-N IgM antibodies were detected in most patient sera, but only 60% of samples reacted with the recombinant RBD and S2 domain expressed by E. coli. CONCLUSION: The results indicated that codon-optimized SARS-CoV2 viral proteins can be expressed in E. coli and purified for rapid antibody detection kit preparation, with the codon-optimized N protein, RBD, and S2 protein demonstrating the most potential.