Imperial College London

DrCarolinaHerrera

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Advanced Research Fellow
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 2545carolina.herrera

 
 
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Location

 

460 (Shattock Group)Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

110 results found

Herrera C, Harman S, Aldon Y, Rogers P, Armanasco N, Ziprin P, Stieh D, Nuttall J, Shattock RJet al., 2021, The entry inhibitor DS003 (BMS-599793): a BMS-806 analogue, provides superior activity as a pre-exposure prophylaxis candidate., AIDS, Vol: 35, Pages: 1907-1917

OBJECTIVE: Small molecule inhibitors able to bind to gp120 and prevent CD4+-induced HIV-1 envelope conformational change provide an important class of inhibitors. Currently, only Fostemsavir is approved for HAART, which makes this class of inhibitors attractive candidates for prevention. We assessed the activity of DS003 (BMS-599793), an analogue of BMS-378806, in different mucosal tissues and elucidated its mechanism of action. DESIGN: Preclinical analysis was performed with human mucosal tissue models as surrogates of in-vivo activity. METHODS: Antiviral efficacy of DS003 was assessed in mucosal tissue explants (ecto-cervical, penile and colorectal) and in trans-infection models (co-cultures of dendritic or mucosal migratory cells with CD4+ T cells) with several dosing times (2, 24 h and sustained) and in combination with a fusion inhibitor. Binding of DS003 to gp120 was assessed by flow cytometry and bio-layer interferometry and further probed in competitive studies using soluble CD4+ (sCD4+) and an anti-CD4+ induced antibody, 17b. RESULTS: In all models, the inhibitory activity of DS003 was increased with longer periods of exposure and by combination with a fusion inhibitor. Pre-exposure to sCD4+ impeded DS003 binding to viral envelope. In contrast, DS003 did not impact subsequent binding of sCD4+. Furthermore, sCD4+-induced epitope exposure as assessed by 17b binding was significantly reduced in the presence of DS003. CONCLUSION: DS003 inhibits HIV-1 infection by binding to or near the CD4+ binding site of gp120, preventing CD4+-induced conformational change essential for viral fusion. These data highlight the potential of DS003 for development as a pre-exposure prophylaxis candidate.

Journal article

Rowan AG, May P, Badhan A, Herrera C, Watber P, Penn R, Crone MA, Storch M, Garson JA, McClure M, Freemont PS, Madona P, Randell P, Taylor GPet al., 2021, Optimized protocol for a quantitative SARS-CoV-2 duplex RT-qPCR assay with internal human sample sufficiency control., Journal of Virological Methods, Vol: 294, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0166-0934

There is growing evidence that measurement of SARS-CoV-2 viral copy number can inform clinical and public health management of SARS-CoV-2 carriers and COVID-19 patients. Here we show that quantification of SARS-CoV-2 is feasible in a clinical setting, using a duplex RT-qPCR assay which targets both the E gene (Charité assay) and a human RNA transcript, RNase P (CDC assay) as an internal sample sufficiency control. Samples in which RNase P is not amplified indicate that sample degradation has occurred, PCR inhibitors are present, RNA extraction has failed or swabbing technique was insufficient. This important internal control reveals that 2.4% of nasopharyngeal swabs (15/618 samples) are inadequate for SARS-CoV-2 testing which, if not identified, could result in false negative results. We show that our assay is linear across at least 7 logs and is highly reproducible, enabling the conversion of Cq values to viral copy numbers using a standard curve. Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2 copy number was independent of the RNase P copy number indicating that the per-swab viral copy number is not dependent on sampling- further allowing comparisons between samples. The ability to quantify SARS-CoV-2 viral copy number will provide an important opportunity for viral burden-guided public health and clinical decision making.

Journal article

Gómara MJ, Pons R, Herrera C, Ziprin P, Haro Iet al., 2021, Peptide Amphiphilic-Based Supramolecular Structures with Anti-HIV-1 Activity., Bioconjug Chem

In a previous work, we defined a novel HIV-1 fusion inhibitor peptide (E1P47) with a broad spectrum of activity against viruses from different clades, subtypes, and tropisms. With the aim to enhance its efficacy, in the present work we address the design and synthesis of several peptide amphiphiles (PAs) based on the E1P47 peptide sequence to target the lipid rafts of the cell membrane where the cell-cell fusion process takes place. We report the synthesis of novel PAs having a hydrophobic moiety covalently attached to the peptide sequence through a hydrophilic spacer of polyethylene glycol. Characterization of self-assembly in condensed phase and aqueous solution as well as their interaction with model membranes was analyzed by several biophysical methods. Our results demonstrated that the length of the spacer of polyethylene glycol, the position of the peptide conjugation as well as the type of the hydrophobic residue determine the antiviral activity of the construct. Peptide amphiphiles with one alkyl tail either in C-terminus (C-PAmonoalkyl) or in N-terminus (N-PAmonoalkyl) showed the highest anti-HIV-1 activities in the cellular model of TZM-bl cells or in a preclinical model of the human mucosal tissue explants.

Journal article

Herrera C, Lwanga J, Lee M, Mantori S, Amara A, Else L, Penchala SD, Egan D, Challenger E, Dickinson L, Boffito M, Shattock R, Khoo S, Fox Jet al., 2021, Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic investigation of raltegravir with or without lamivudine in the context of HIV-1 pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Vol: 76, Pages: 2129-2136, ISSN: 0305-7453

Background:To characterize their potential use in pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) we compared the pharmacokinetics of raltegravir and lamivudine in genital tissue against ex vivo tissue infection with HIV-1.Methods:Open-label trial of 36 HIV-negative females and males randomized to 7 days raltegravir 400 mg twice daily and 7 days raltegravir 400 mg+lamivudine 150 mg twice daily (after washout), or vice versa. Blood, saliva, rectal fluid, rectal tissue, vaginal fluid and vaginal tissue were sampled at baseline and on and off PrEP during a total of 12 days, for pharmacokinetics and antiviral activity via ex vivo HIV-1BaL challenge. Ex vivo infectivity was compared with baseline. The trial has been registered in https://clinicaltrials.gov/ with the identifier NCT03205566.Results:Steady state for both drugs was reached by day 4. Dosing with raltegravir alone provided modest ex vivo HIV protection with higher drug levels in rectal tissue and vaginal tissue than in plasma on and off PrEP. Off PrEP, plasma and vaginal concentrations declined rapidly, while persisting in the rectum. On PrEP, the highest lamivudine concentrations were in the rectum, followed by vaginal tissue then plasma. Lamivudine washout was rapid in plasma, while persisting in the rectum and vagina. Raltegravir/lamivudine increased ex vivo protection on and off PrEP compared with raltegravir alone, reaching maximum protection at day 2 in rectal tissue and at day 8 in vaginal tissue.Conclusions:Raltegravir 400 mg+lamivudine 150 mg showed high levels of ex vivo HIV protection, associated with high drug concentrations persisting after discontinuation in vaginal and rectal compartments, supporting further investigation of these agents for PrEP.

Journal article

Herrera C, McRaven MD, Laing KG, Dennis J, Hope TJ, Shattock RJet al., 2021, Early colorectal responses to HIV-1 and modulation by antiretroviral drugs, Vaccines, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 2076-393X

Innate responses during acute HIV infection correlate with disease progression and pathogenesis. However, limited information is available about the events occurring during the first hours of infection in the mucosal sites of transmission. With an ex vivo HIV-1 challenge model of human colorectal tissue we assessed the mucosal responses induced by R5- and X4-tropic HIV-1 isolates in the first 24 h of exposure. Microscopy studies demonstrated virus penetration of up to 39 μm into the lamina propia within 6 h of inoculation. A rapid, 6 h post-challenge, increase in the level of secretion of inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, interferon- γ (IFN-γ), and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) was observed following exposure to R5- or X4-tropic isolates. This profile persisted at the later time point measured of 24 h. However, exposure to the X4-tropic isolate tested induced greater changes at the proteomic and transcriptomic levels than the R5-tropic. The X4-isolate induced greater levels of CCR5 ligands (RANTES, MIP-1α and MIP-1β) secretion than R5-HIV-1. Potential drugs candidates for colorectal microbicides, including entry, fusion or reverse transcriptase inhibitors demonstrated differential capacity to modulate these responses. Our findings indicate that in colorectal tissue, inflammatory responses and a Th1 cytokine profile are induced in the first 24 h following viral exposure.

Journal article

Herrera C, Gallagher A, Ferguson D, Fen Y, Stein M, Ham C, Giotis ES, Skinner MA, Kempster S, Hall J, Giles E, Almond N, Diez J, Berry Net al., 2021, Mucosal responses to HIV-1 co-infection with an emerging pathogen, Zika virus, Publisher: JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD

Conference paper

LiWang P, Crakes K, Herrera C, Morgan J, Lopez A, Rasajan MP, Dandekar S, Burke Net al., 2021, Silk fibroin as a mucosal delivery vehicle for Griffithsin and antiviral compounds: effective protection of macaques and high acceptance among user groups, Publisher: JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD

Conference paper

Herrera C, Else L, Penchala SD, Pillay A-DA, Seiphetlo TB, Lebina L, Callebaut C, Martinson N, Fox J, Khoo Set al., 2021, Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study of tenofovir and tenofovir alafenamide for PrEP in foreskin tissue, Publisher: JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD

Conference paper

Gibani MM, Toumazou C, Sohbati M, Sahoo R, Karvela M, Hon T-K, De Mateo S, Burdett A, Leung KYF, Barnett J, Orbeladze A, Luan S, Pournias S, Sun J, Flower B, Bedzo-Nutakor J, Amran M, Quinlan R, Skolimowska K, Herrera C, Rowan A, Badhan A, Klaber R, Davies G, Muir D, Randell P, Crook D, Taylor GP, Barclay W, Mughal N, Moore LSP, Jeffery K, Cooke GSet al., 2020, Assessing a novel, lab-free, point-of-care test for SARS-CoV-2 (CovidNudge): a diagnostic accuracy study., The Lancet Microbe, Vol: 1, Pages: e300-e307, ISSN: 2666-5247

Background: Access to rapid diagnosis is key to the control and management of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Laboratory RT-PCR testing is the current standard of care but usually requires a centralised laboratory and significant infrastructure. We describe our diagnostic accuracy assessment of a novel, rapid point-of-care real time RT-PCR CovidNudge test, which requires no laboratory handling or sample pre-processing. Methods: Between April and May, 2020, we obtained two nasopharyngeal swab samples from individuals in three hospitals in London and Oxford (UK). Samples were collected from three groups: self-referred health-care workers with suspected COVID-19; patients attending emergency departments with suspected COVID-19; and hospital inpatient admissions with or without suspected COVID-19. For the CovidNudge test, nasopharyngeal swabs were inserted directly into a cartridge which contains all reagents and components required for RT-PCR reactions, including multiple technical replicates of seven SARS-CoV-2 gene targets (rdrp1, rdrp2, e-gene, n-gene, n1, n2 and n3) and human ribonuclease P (RNaseP) as sample adequacy control. Swab samples were tested in parallel using the CovidNudge platform, and with standard laboratory RT-PCR using swabs in viral transport medium for processing in a central laboratory. The primary analysis was to compare the sensitivity and specificity of the point-of-care CovidNudge test with laboratory-based testing. Findings: We obtained 386 paired samples: 280 (73%) from self-referred health-care workers, 15 (4%) from patients in the emergency department, and 91 (23%) hospital inpatient admissions. Of the 386 paired samples, 67 tested positive on the CovidNudge point-of-care platform and 71 with standard laboratory RT-PCR. The overall sensitivity of the point-of-care test compared with laboratory-based testing was 94% (95% CI 86-98) with an overall specificity of 100% (99-100). The sensitivity of the test varied

Journal article

Nash S, Dietrich J, Ssemata AS, Herrera C, O'Hagan K, Else L, Chiodi F, Kelly C, Shattock R, Chirenje M, Lebina L, Khoo S, Bekker L-G, Weiss HA, Gray C, Stranix-Chibanda L, Kaleebu P, Seeley J, Martinson N, Fox J, CHAPS teamet al., 2020, Combined HIV Adolescent Prevention Study (CHAPS): comparison of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis regimens for adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa-study protocol for a mixed-methods study including a randomised controlled trial., Trials, Vol: 21, ISSN: 1745-6215

BACKGROUND: HIV remains a major public health issue, especially in Eastern and Southern Africa. Pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly effective when adhered to, but its effectiveness is limited by cost, user acceptability and uptake. The cost of a non-inferiority phase III trial is likely to be prohibitive, and thus, it is essential to select the best possible drug, dose and schedule in advance. The aim of this study, the Combined HIV Adolescent PrEP and Prevention Study (CHAPS), is to investigate the drug, dose and schedule of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) required for the protection against HIV and the acceptability of PrEP amongst young people in sub-Saharan Africa, and hence to inform the choice of intervention for future phase III PrEP studies and to improve strategies for PrEP implementation. METHODS: We propose a mixed-methods study amongst young people aged 13-24 years. The first component consists of qualitative research to identify the barriers and motivators towards the uptake of PrEP amongst young people in South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The second component is a randomised clinical trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03986970, June 2019) using a novel ex vivo HIV challenge method to investigate the optimal PrEP treatment (FTC-TDF vs FTC-TAF), dose and schedule. We will recruit 144 amongst HIV-negative uncircumcised men aged 13-24 years from voluntary male medical circumcision clinics in two sites (South Africa and Uganda) and randomise them into one of nine arms. One group will receive no PrEP prior to surgery; the other arms will receive either FTC-TDF or FTC-TAF, over 1 or 2 days, and with the final dose given either 6 or 20 h prior to surgery. We will conduct an ex vivo HIV challenge on their resected foreskin tissue. DISCUSSION: This study will provide both qualitative and quantitative results to help decide the optimum drug, dose and schedule for a future phase III trial of PrEP. The study will also provide crucial information

Journal article

Crakes KR, Herrera C, Morgan JL, Olstad K, Hessell AJ, Ziprin P, LiWang PJ, Dandekar Set al., 2020, Efficacy of silk fibroin biomaterial vehicle for in vivo mucosal delivery of Griffithsin and protection against HIV and SHIV infection ex vivo, Journal of the International AIDS Society, Vol: 23, ISSN: 1758-2652

INTRODUCTION: The majority of new HIV infections occur through mucosal transmission. The availability of readily applicable and accessible platforms for anti-retroviral (ARV) delivery is critical for the prevention of HIV acquisition through sexual transmission in both women and men. There is a compelling need for developing new topical delivery systems that have advantages over the pills, gels and rings, which currently fail to guarantee protection against mucosal viral transmission in vulnerable populations due to lack of user compliance. The silk fibroin (SF) platform offers another option that may be better suited to individual circumstances and preferences to increase efficacy through user compliance. The objective of this study was to test safety and efficacy of SF for anti-HIV drug delivery to mucosal sites and for viral prevention. METHODS: We formulated a potent HIV inhibitor Griffithsin (Grft) in a mucoadhesive silk fibroin (SF) drug delivery platform and tested the application in a non-human primate model in vivo and a pre-clinical human cervical and colorectal tissue explant model. Both vaginal and rectal compartments were assessed in rhesus macaques (Mucaca mulatta) that received SF (n = 4), no SF (n = 7) and SF-Grft (n = 11). In this study, we evaluated the composition of local microbiota, inflammatory cytokine production, histopathological changes in the vaginal and rectal compartments and mucosal protection after ex vivo SHIV challenge. RESULTS: Effective Grft release and retention in mucosal tissues from the SF-Grft platform resulted in protection against HIV in human cervical and colorectal tissue as well as against SHIV challenge in both rhesus macaque vaginal and rectal tissues. Mucoadhesion of SF-Grft inserts did not cause any inflammatory responses or changes in local microbiota. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated that in vivo delivery of SF-Grft in rhesus macaques fully protects against SHIV challenge ex vivo after two

Journal article

Gomara MJ, Perez Y, Gomez-Gutierrez P, Herrera C, Ziprin P, Martinez JP, Meyerhans A, Perez JJ, Haro Iet al., 2020, Importance of structure-based studies for the design of a novel HIV-1 inhibitor peptide, Scientific Reports, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2045-2322

Based on the structure of an HIV-1 entry inhibitor peptide two stapled- and a retro-enantio peptides have been designed to provide novel prevention interventions against HIV transmission. The three peptides show greater inhibitory potencies in cellular and mucosal tissue pre-clinical models than the parent sequence and the retro-enantio shows a strengthened proteolytic stability. Since HIV-1 fusion inhibitor peptides need to be embedded in the membrane to properly interact with their viral target, the structural features were determined by NMR spectroscopy in micelles and solved by using restrained molecular dynamics calculations. Both parent and retro-enantio peptides demonstrate a topology compatible with a shared helix–turn–helix conformation and assemble similarly in the membrane maintaining the active conformation needed for its interaction with the viral target site. This study represents a straightforward approach to design new targeted peptides as HIV-1 fusion inhibitors and lead us to define a retro-enantio peptide as a good candidate for pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV-1.

Journal article

Aanensen DM, Abudahab K, Adams A, Afifi S, Alam MT, Alderton A, Alikhan N-F, Allan J, Almsaud M, Alrezaihi A, Alruwaili M, Amato R, Andersson M, Angyal A, Aranday-Cortes E, Ariani C, Armstrong SD, Asamaphan P, Attwood S, Aydin A, Badhan A, Baker D, Baker P, Balcazar CE, Ball J, Barton AE, Bashton M, Baxter L, Beale M, Beaver C, Beckett A, Beer R, Beggs A, Bell A, Bellis KL, Bentley EG, Berriman M, Betteridge E, Bibby D, Bicknell K, Birchley A, Black G, Blane B, Bloomfield S, Bolt F, Bonsall DG, Bosworth A, Bourgeois Y, Boyd O, Bradshaw D, Breuer J, Bridgewater H, Brooks T, Broos A, Brown JR, Brown RL, Brunker K, Bucca G, Buck D, Bull M, Butcher E, Caddy SL, Caller LG, Cambell S, Carlile M, Carmichael S, Carrilero L, Castellano S, Chaloner J, Chand M, Chapman MR, Chappell J, Charles I, Chauhan AJ, Chawla A, Cheng E, Churcher CM, Clark G, Clark JJ, Collins J, Colquhoun R, Connor TR, Constantinidou C, Coombes J, Corden S, Cottrell S, Cowell A, Curran MD, Curran T, Dabrera G, Danesh J, Darby AC, de Cesare M, Martins LDO, de Silva TI, Debebe B, Dervisevic S, Dewar RA, Dia M, Dorman M, Dougan G, Dover L, Downing F, Drury E, du Plessis L, Dyal PL, Eccles R, Edwards S, Ellaby N, Elliott S, Eltringham G, Elumogo N, Essex S, Evans CM, Evans J, Nascimento FF, Fairley DJ, Farr B, Feltwell T, Ferguson N, Filipe ADS, Findlay J, Forrest LM, Forrest S, Foulser L, Francois S, Fraser C, Frost L, Gallagher E, Gallagher MD, Garcia-Dorival I, Gaskin A, Gatica-Wilcox B, Gavriil A, Geidelberg L, Gemmell M, Gerada A, Gifford L, Gilbert L, Gilmore P, Gilroy R, Girgis S, Glaysher S, Golubchik T, Goncalves S, Goodfellow I, Goodwin S, Graham C, Graham L, Grammatopoulos D, Green A, Green LR, Greenaway J, Gregory R, Groves DC, Groves N, Guest M, Gunson R, Haldenby S, Hall G, Hamilton WL, Han X, Harris KA, Harrison EM, Hartley C, Herrera C, Hesketh A, Heyburn D, Hill V, Hiscox JA, Holden M, Holmes A, Holmes N, Holt GS, Hopes R, Hosmillo M, Houldcroft CJ, Howson-Wells H, Hubb J, Hughe J, Hughes Met al., 2020, An integrated national scale SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance network, The Lancet Microbe, Vol: 1, Pages: E99-E100, ISSN: 2666-5247

Journal article

Thornhill J, Pace M, Genevieve M, Hoare J, Peake S, Herrera C, Phetsouphanh C, Meyerowitz J, Hopkins E, Brown H, Dunn P, Olejniczak N, Wilberg C, Klenerman P, Goldin R, Fox J, Fidler S, Frater Jet al., 2019, CD32 expressing doublets in HIV infected gut-associated lymphoid are associated with a T follicular helper cell phenotype, Mucosal Immunology, Vol: 12, Pages: 1212-1219, ISSN: 1933-0219

Gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is a key location for the HIV reservoir. The observation that B-cell–T-cell doublets are enriched for CD32a (a low-affinity IgG receptor) in peripheral blood raises interesting questions, especially as these cells have been associated with HIV DNA in some studies. We sought to determine if similar doublets were present in GALT, the significance of these doublets, and their implications for the HIV reservoir. Given the importance of GALT as a reservoir for HIV, we looked for expression of CD32 on gut CD4 T cells and for evidence of doublets, and any relationship with HIV DNA in HIV + individuals initiated on antiretroviral therapy (ART) during primary HIV infection (PHI). Tonsil tissue was also available for one individual. As previously shown for blood, CD32high CD4 cells were mainly doublets of CD4 T cells and B cells, with T-cell expression of ICOS in tonsil and gut tissue. CD4 T cells associated with CD32 (compared with ‘CD32−' CD4 cells) had higher expression of follicular markers CXCR5, PD-1, ICOS, and Bcl-6 consistent with a T follicular helper (TFH) phenotype. There was a significant correlation between rectal HIV DNA levels and CD32 expression on TFH cells. Together, these data suggest that CD32high doublets are primarily composed of TFH cells, a subset known to be preferentially infected by HIV.

Journal article

Shacklett BL, Blanco J, Hightow-Weidman L, Mgodi N, Alcami J, Buchbinder S, Chirenje M, Dabee S, Diallo M, Dumchev K, Herrera C, Levy ME, Martin-Gayo E, Makoah NA, Mitchell KM, Mugwanya K, Reddy K, Rodríguez ML, Rodriguez-Garcia M, Shover CL, Shrivastava T, Tomaras GD, Van Diepen M, Walia M, Warren M, Manrique A, Thyagarajan B, Torri Tet al., 2019, HIV Research for Prevention 2018: From research to impact: Conference summary and highlights, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, Vol: 35, Pages: 598-607, ISSN: 0889-2229

The HIV Research for Prevention (HIVR4P) conference is dedicated to advancing HIV prevention research, responding to a growing consensus that effective and durable prevention will require a combination of approaches as well as unprecedented collaboration among scientists, practitioners, and community workers from different fields and geographic areas. The conference theme in 2018, “From Research to Impact,” acknowledged an increasing focus on translation of promising research findings into practical, accessible, and affordable HIV prevention options for those who need them worldwide. HIVR4P 2018 was held in Madrid, Spain, on 21–25 October, with >1,400 participants from 52 countries around the globe, representing all aspects of HIV prevention research and implementation. The program included 137 oral and 610 poster presentations. This article presents a brief summary of highlights from the conference. More detailed information, complete abstracts as well as webcasts and daily Rapporteur summaries may be found on the conference website.

Journal article

Herrera C, 2019, The pre-clinical toolbox of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics: in vitro and ex vivo models, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1663-9812

Prevention strategies against sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are essential to curb the rate of new infections. In the absence of a correlate of protection against HIV infection, pre-clinical evaluation is fundamental to facilitate and accelerate prioritization of prevention candidates and their formulations in a rapidly evolving clinical landscape. Characterization of pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) properties for candidate inhibitors is the main objective of pre-clinical evaluation. in vitro and ex vivo systems for pharmacological assessment allow experimental flexibility and adaptability at a relatively low cost without raising as significant ethical concerns as in vivo models. Applications and limitations of pre-clinical PK/PD models and future alternatives are reviewed in the context of HIV prevention.

Journal article

Yavuz B, Morgan JL, Herrera C, Harrington K, Perez-Ramirez B, LiWang PJ, Kaplan DLet al., 2019, Sustained release silk fibroin discs: Antibody and protein delivery for HIV prevention, Journal of Controlled Release, Vol: 301, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 0168-3659

With almost 2 million new HIV infections worldwide each year, the prevention of HIV infection is critical for stopping the pandemic. The only approved form of pre-exposure prophylaxis is a costly daily pill, and it is recognized that several options will be needed to provide protection to the various affected communities around the world. In particular, many at-risk people would benefit from a prevention method that is simple to use and does not require medical intervention or a strict daily regimen. We show that silk fibroin protein can be formulated into insertable discs that encapsulate either an antibody (IgG) or the potent HIV inhibitor 5P12-RANTES. Several formulations were studied, including silk layering, water vapor annealing and methanol treatment to stabilize the protein cargo and impact the release kinetics over weeks. In the case of IgG, high concentrations were released over a short time using methanol treatment, with more sustained results with the use of water vapor annealing and layering during device fabrication. For 5P12-RANTES, sustained release was obtained for 31 days using water vapor annealing. Further, we show that the released inhibitor 5P12-RANTES was functional both in vitro and in ex vivo colorectal tissue. This work shows that silk fibroin discs can be developed into formidable tools to prevent HIV infection.

Journal article

Thornhill J, Pace M, Martin G, Herrera C, Hoare J, Peake S, Brown H, Nwokolo N, Fox J, Fidler S, Frater Jet al., 2019, CD32 expression identifies B cell-T cell doublets in gut-associated lymphoid tissue that are enriched for T follicular helper cells but not for HIV DNA, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 24-25, ISSN: 1464-2662

Conference paper

Thornhill J, Herrera C, Hoare J, Peake S, Brown H, Nwokolo N, Fox J, Hanke T, Frater J, Fidler Set al., 2019, The impact of vorinostat and therapeutic vaccine on gut HIV DNA: the RIVER gut study, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 7-7, ISSN: 1464-2662

Conference paper

Fox J, Herrera C, Lwanga J, Lee M, Else L, Amara A, Egan D, Boffito M, Shattock R, Khoo S, Dickenson Let al., 2019, The role of raltegravir alone or combined with lamivudine as PrEP: a phase 2 randomised controlled clinical trial, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 5-6, ISSN: 1464-2662

Conference paper

Herrera C, Gil Ordonez A, Ortega-Gutierrez S, Lopez-Rodriguez MLet al., 2018, Reversible Modulation of the Endocannabinoid System as an Anti-HIV-1 Prevention Strategy, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 356-356, ISSN: 0889-2229

Conference paper

Herrera C, Veazey R, Lemke M, Olejniczak N, Arnold K, Kim JH, Shattock RJet al., 2018, Vaccination with ALVAC-HIV/AIDSVAX (R) B/E of Non-human Primates (NHPs) Elicits Distinct Mucosal and Systemic Responses, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 306-306, ISSN: 0889-2229

Conference paper

Nash S, Herrera C, Serwanga J, Ruzagira E, O'Hagan K, Kelly C, Else L, Hornschuh S, Khoo S, Shattock R, Chiodi F, Dietrich J, Hansen C, Gray C, Seeley J, Bekker L-G, Kaleebu P, Weiss H, Martinson N, Fox Jet al., 2018, Novel Protocol to Compare PrEP Drugs, Dosing and Schedule Using Ex Vivo Challenge on Resected Foreskin Tissue: Protocol for the CHAPS RCT, HIV Research for Prevention Meeting (HIVR4P) - AIDS Vaccine, Microbicide and ARV-Based Prevention Science, Publisher: MARY ANN LIEBERT, INC, Pages: 364-364, ISSN: 0889-2229

Conference paper

Yavuz B, Morgan JL, Showalter L, Horng KR, Dandekar S, Herrera C, LiWang P, Kaplan DLet al., 2018, Pharmaceutical Approaches to HIV Treatment and Prevention, ADVANCED THERAPEUTICS, Vol: 1

Journal article

Thornhill JP, Martin GE, Hoare J, Peake S, Pace M, Meyerowitz J, Lwanga J, Lewis H, Solano T, Herrera C, Fox J, Fidler S, Frater Jet al., 2018, Follicular CD8+T-cells in gut-associated lymphoid tissue are associated with lower HIV-1 reservoir in the terminal ileum after ART initiated during primary HIV infection, Publisher: JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD, Pages: 96-96

Conference paper

Chenine A-L, Merbah M, Wieczorek L, Molnar S, Mann B, Lee J, O'Sullivan AM, Bose M, Sanders-Buell E, Kijak GH, Herrera C, McLinden R, O'Connell RJ, Michael NL, Robb ML, Kim JH, Polonis VR, Tovanabutra Set al., 2018, Neutralization sensitivity of a novel HIV-1 CRF01_AE panel of infectious molecular clones, Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, Vol: 78, Pages: 348-355, ISSN: 1525-4135

BACKGROUND: HIV-1 CRF01_AE is dominant in Thailand where RV144 vaccine trial was conducted. To study immune correlates of protection in ongoing trials, CRF01_AE derived reagents are essential. Here we present a panel of 14 HIV-1 infectious molecular clones (IMC) identified from different stages of infection, and characterization of their neutralization sensitivity using two standard assays. METHODS: One full-length IMC was constructed using a transmitted-founder virus to express Renilla luciferase (LucR) reporter gene and full-length envelopes (envs) of exogenous HIV-1. A panel of IMCs was generated, expressing envs of viruses from acute (Fiebig stages I/II and I-IV) and chronic (>Febig VI) infection. Neutralization assays were performed using TZM-bl or A3R5 cell lines, and sera or monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). Wilcoxon matched-paired test was used to assess neutralization differences between assays and reagents; correlation coefficients were evaluated by linear regression. RESULTS: Neutralization potency observed was significantly higher in the A3R5 assay when testing mAbs and serum pools (p<0.0001); the stage of infection from which env was derived did not associate with IMC neutralization sensitivity. Neutralization values from A3R5 and TZM-bl assays were strongly correlated when mAbs were tested (R=0.7, p<0.0001), but a weaker association was seen with serum pools (R=0.17, p=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: This novel panel of CRF01_AE reporter-IMC is useful for assessing vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies in multiple assays, including those utilizing primary cell targets. The significant differences in TZM-bl and A3R5 neutralization sensitivity, as well as the poor association when using polyclonal sera indicates the need for caution in choosing one specific platform.

Journal article

Sibeko S, Herrera C, Andrews S, Ekeruche-Makinde J, Olejniczak N, Aldonn Y, Evans A, James K, Moore R, Dhar S, Rai V, Dennis M, Sharpe S, Jones C, Berry N, Rowland-Jones S, Shattock Ret al., 2018, MIP-3 alpha does not appear to play an important role in amplifying human infection with HIV-1 in the female genital tract, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: S40-S40, ISSN: 1464-2662

Conference paper

Zhang L, Herrera C, Coburn J, Olejniczak N, Ziprin P, Kaplan DL, LiWang PJet al., 2017, Stabilization and Sustained Release of HIV Inhibitors by Encapsulation in Silk Fibroin Disks, ACS BIOMATERIALS SCIENCE & ENGINEERING, Vol: 3, Pages: 1654-1665, ISSN: 2373-9878

Topical microbicides have the potential to provide effective protection against sexual transmission of HIV. Challenges in developing microbicides include their application in resource-poor settings with high temperatures and a lack of refrigeration, and low user adherence to a rigorous daily regimen. Several protein-based HIV inhibitors show great promise as microbicides, being highly specific and not expected to lead to resistance that would affect the efficacy of current antiretroviral treatments. We show that four potent protein HIV inhibitors, 5P12-RANTES, 5P12-RANTES-L-C37, Grft, and Grft-L-C37 can be formulated into silk fibroin (SF) disks and remain functional for 14 months at 25, 37, and 50 °C. These HIV inhibitor-encapsulated SF disks show excellent inhibition properties in PBMC and in human colorectal and cervical tissue explants, and do not induce inflammatory cytokine secretion. Further, the SF provides a mechanically robust matrix with versatile material formats for this type of application. Finally, a formulation was developed to allow sustained release of functional Grft for 4 weeks at levels sufficient to inhibit HIV transmission. This work establishes the suitability of HIV inhibitor-encapsulated SF disks as topical HIV microbicides that can be further developed to allow easy insertion for extended protection.

Journal article

Koutsoudakis G, Paris de Leon A, Herrera C, Dorner M, Perez-Vilaro G, Lyonnais S, Grijalvo S, Eritja R, Meyerhans A, Mirambeau G, Diez Jet al., 2017, Oligonucleotide-Lipid Conjugates Forming G-Quadruplex Structures Are Potent and Pangenotypic Hepatitis C Virus Entry Inhibitors In Vitro and Ex Vivo, ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS AND CHEMOTHERAPY, Vol: 61, ISSN: 0066-4804

A hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemic affecting HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) is expanding worldwide. In spite of the improved cure rates obtained with the new direct-acting antiviral drug (DAA) combinations, the high rate of reinfection within this population calls urgently for novel preventive interventions. In this study, we determined in cell culture and ex vivo experiments with human colorectal tissue that lipoquads, G-quadruplex DNA structures fused to cholesterol, are efficient HCV pangenotypic entry and cell-to-cell transmission inhibitors. Thus, lipoquads may be promising candidates for the development of rectally applied gels to prevent HCV transmission.

Journal article

Thornhill J, Herrera C, Olejniczak N, Fidler S, Frater J, Martin G, Hopkins Eet al., 2017, Impact of ART in primary HIV infection on T cell immune exhaustion in gut-associated lymphoid tissue: implications for HIV persistence, Publisher: WILEY, Pages: 6-6, ISSN: 1464-2662

Conference paper

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