Imperial College London

ProfessorMichaelLevin

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Infectious Disease

Chair in Paediatrics & International Child Health
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 3760m.levin Website

 
 
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Location

 

233Medical SchoolSt Mary's Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

329 results found

Hagedoorn NN, Boeddha NP, Kohlfuerst DS, Anderson S, Carrol ED, Agapow P, van der Flier M, Hazelzet J, Herberg J, Kuijpers T, Levin M, Martinon-Torres F, van Rijswijk A, Schlapbach LJ, Vermont C, Zenz W, Dik WA, Driessen G, Emonts M, EUCLIDS Consortiumet al., 2022, Hemostasis proteins in invasive meningococcal and nonmeningococcal infections: a prospective multicenter study., Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, Vol: 23, Pages: e543-e554, ISSN: 1529-7535

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to describe the variation of hemostasis proteins in children with bacterial infections due to different pathogens (Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and group A streptococcus [GAS]) and to study hemostasis proteins in relation to mortality. DESIGN: Preplanned analysis in prospective cohort study. SETTING: Hospitals in five European countries (Austria, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom). PATIENTS: Admitted children (2012-2016) with community-acquired infections due to meningococci (n = 83), pneumococci (n = 64), S. aureus (n = 50), and GAS (n = 44) with available serum samples collected less than 48 hours after admission. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Fibronectin, plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1), thrombomodulin, and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13 (ADAMTS-13) were measured in serum in 2019-2020. Additionally, von Willebrand factor, protein C, protein S, and factor IX were measured in citrate plasma available from a subset of patients. Outcome measures included in-hospital mortality and disease severity (need for ventilation/inotropes, Pediatric Index of Mortality score). Of 241 children, 21 (8.7%) died and 177 (73.5%) were admitted to PICU. Mortality rate was similar for the pathogen groups. Levels of fibronectin and thrombomodulin differed for the different pathogens (p < 0.05). Fibronectin levels were lower in GAS infections than in S. pneumoniae and S. aureus infections but did not differ from meningococcal infections. Thrombomodulin levels in meningococcal infections were higher than in S. aureus and pneumococcal infections. Overall, the area under the curve for mortality was 0.81 (95% CI, 0.70-0.92) for thrombomodulin and 0.78 (95% CI, 0.69-0.88) for ADAMTS-13. The association of each hemostasis protein did not vary across pathogens for any of the outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: Hemostatic

Journal article

Boeddha NP, Atkins L, de Groot R, Driessen G, Hazelzet J, Zenz W, Carrol ED, Anderson ST, Martinon-Torres F, Agyeman PKA, Galassini R, Herberg J, Levin M, Schlapbach LJ, Emonts Met al., 2022, Group A streptococcal disease in paediatric inpatients: a European perspective., Eur J Pediatr, Pages: 1-10

UNLABELLED: Group A streptococcal (GAS) disease shows increasing incidence worldwide. We characterised children admitted with GAS infection to European hospitals and studied risk factors for severity and disability. This is a prospective, multicentre, cohort study (embedded in EUCLIDS and the Swiss Pediatric Sepsis Study) including 320 children, aged 1 month to 18 years, admitted with GAS infection to 41 hospitals in 6 European countries from 2012 to 2016. Demographic, clinical, microbiological and outcome data were collected. A total of 195 (61%) patients had sepsis. Two hundred thirty-six (74%) patients had GAS detected from a normally sterile site. The most common infection sites were the lower respiratory tract (LRTI) (22%), skin and soft tissue (SSTI) (23%) and bone and joint (19%). Compared to patients not admitted to PICU, patients admitted to PICU more commonly had LRTI (39 vs 8%), infection without a focus (22 vs 8%) and intracranial infection (9 vs 3%); less commonly had SSTI and bone and joint infections (p < 0.001); and were younger (median 40 (IQR 21-83) vs 56 (IQR 36-85) months, p = 0.01). Six PICU patients (2%) died. Sequelae at discharge from hospital were largely limited to patients admitted to PICU (29 vs 3%, p < 0.001; 12% overall) and included neurodisability, amputation, skin grafts, hearing loss and need for surgery. More patients were recruited in winter and spring (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: In an era of observed marked reduction in vaccine-preventable infections, GAS infection requiring hospital admission is still associated with significant severe disease in younger children, and short- and long-term morbidity. Further advances are required in the prevention and early recognition of GAS disease. WHAT IS KNOWN: • Despite temporal and geographical variability, there is an increase of incidence of infection with group A streptococci. However, data on the epidemio

Journal article

Pennisi I, Moniri A, Miscourides N, Miglietta L, Moser N, Habgood-Coote D, Herberg JA, Levin M, Kaforou M, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Georgiou Pet al., 2022, Discrimination of bacterial and viral infection using host-RNA signatures integrated in a lab-on-chip platform, BIOSENSORS & BIOELECTRONICS, Vol: 216, ISSN: 0956-5663

Journal article

Bachanová P, Cheyne A, Broderick C, Newton SM, Levin M, Kaforou Met al., 2022, Comparative transcriptomic analysis of whole blood mycobacterial growth assays and tuberculosis patients’ blood RNA profiles, Scientific Reports, Vol: 12

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>In vitro whole blood infection models are used for elucidating the immune response to <jats:italic>Mycobacterium tuberculosis</jats:italic> (<jats:italic>Mtb</jats:italic>). They exhibit commonalities but also differences, to the in vivo blood transcriptional response during natural human <jats:italic>Mtb</jats:italic> disease. Here, we present a description of concordant and discordant components of the immune response in blood, quantified through transcriptional profiling in an in vitro whole blood infection model compared to whole blood from patients with tuberculosis disease. We identified concordantly and discordantly expressed gene modules and performed in silico cell deconvolution. A high degree of concordance of gene expression between both adult and paediatric in vivo<jats:italic>–</jats:italic>in vitro tuberculosis infection was identified. Concordance in paediatric in vivo vs in vitro comparison is largely characterised by immune suppression, while in adults the comparison is marked by concordant immune activation, particularly that of inflammation, chemokine, and interferon signalling. Discordance between in vitro and in vivo increases over time and is driven by T-cell regulation and monocyte-related gene expression, likely due to apoptotic depletion of monocytes and increasing relative fraction of longer-lived cell types, such as T and B cells. Our approach facilitates a more informed use of the whole blood in vitro model, while also accounting for its limitations.</jats:p>

Journal article

Tan CD, van der Walle EEPL, Vermont CL, von Both U, Carrol ED, Eleftheriou I, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie IK, Martinon-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, Yeung S, Zenz W, Zavadska D, Moll HAet al., 2022, Correction to: Guideline adherence in febrile children below 3 months visiting European Emergency Departments: an observational multicenter study, European Journal of Pediatrics, Vol: 181, Pages: 4211-4214, ISSN: 0340-6199

Journal article

Bachanová P, Cheyne A, Broderick C, Newton SM, Levin M, Kaforou Met al., 2022, Comparative transcriptomic analysis of whole blood mycobacterial growth assays and tuberculosis patients’ blood RNA profiles, Scientific Reports, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2045-2322

In vitro whole blood infection models are used for elucidating the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). They exhibit commonalities but also differences, to the in vivo blood transcriptional response during natural human Mtb disease. Here, we present a description of concordant and discordant components of the immune response in blood, quantified through transcriptional profiling in an in vitro whole blood infection model compared to whole blood from patients with tuberculosis disease. We identified concordantly and discordantly expressed gene modules and performed in silico cell deconvolution. A high degree of concordance of gene expression between both adult and paediatric in vivo-in vitro tuberculosis infection was identified. Concordance in paediatric in vivo vs in vitro comparison is largely characterised by immune suppression, while in adults the comparison is marked by concordant immune activation, particularly that of inflammation, chemokine, and interferon signalling. Discordance between in vitro and in vivo increases over time and is driven by T-cell regulation and monocyte-related gene expression, likely due to apoptotic depletion of monocytes and increasing relative fraction of longer-lived cell types, such as T and B cells. Our approach facilitates a more informed use of the whole blood in vitro model, while also accounting for its limitations.

Journal article

van der Velden FJS, de Vries G, Martin A, Lim E, von Both U, Kolberg L, Carrol ED, Khanijau A, Herberg JA, De T, Galassini R, Kuijpers TW, Martinon-Torres F, Rivero-Calle I, Vermont CL, Hagedoorn NN, Pokorn M, Pollard AJ, Schlapbach LJ, Tsolia M, Elefhteriou I, Yeung S, Zavadska D, Fink C, Voice M, Zenz W, Kohlmaier B, Agyeman PKA, Usuf E, Secka F, de Groot R, Levin M, van der Flier M, Emonts Met al., 2022, Febrile illness in high-risk children: a prospective, international observational study, EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS, ISSN: 0340-6199

Journal article

Tan CD, van der Walle EEPL, Vermont CL, von Both U, Carrol ED, Eleftheriou I, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie IK, Martinon-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, Yeung S, Zenz W, Zavadska D, Moll HA, PERFORM consortium Personalised Risk assessment in febrile children to optimize Real-life Management across the European Unionet al., 2022, Guideline adherence in febrile children below 3 months visiting European Emergency Departments: an observational multicenter study, European Journal of Pediatrics, Vol: 181, Pages: 4199-4209, ISSN: 0340-6199

Febrile children below 3 months have a higher risk of serious bacterial infections, which often leads to extensive diagnostics and treatment. There is practice variation in management due to differences in guidelines and their usage and adherence. We aimed to assess whether management in febrile children below 3 months attending European Emergency Departments (EDs) was according to the guidelines for fever. This study is part of the MOFICHE study, which is an observational multicenter study including routine data of febrile children (0-18 years) attending twelve EDs in eight European countries. In febrile children below 3 months (excluding bronchiolitis), we analyzed actual management compared to the guidelines for fever. Ten EDs applied the (adapted) NICE guideline, and two EDs applied local guidelines. Management included diagnostic tests, antibiotic treatment, and admission. We included 913 children with a median age of 1.7 months (IQR 1.0-2.3). Management per ED varied as follows: use of diagnostic tests 14-83%, antibiotic treatment 23-54%, admission 34-86%. Adherence to the guideline was 43% (374/868) for blood cultures, 29% (144/491) for lumbar punctures, 55% (270/492) for antibiotic prescriptions, and 67% (573/859) for admission. Full adherence to these four management components occurred in 15% (132/868, range 0-38%), partial adherence occurred in 56% (484/868, range 35-77%). CONCLUSION: There is large practice variation in management. The guideline adherence was limited, but highest for admission which implies a cautious approach. Future studies should focus on guideline revision including new biomarkers in order to optimize management in young febrile children. WHAT IS KNOWN: • Febrile children below 3 months have a higher risk of serious bacterial infections, which often leads to extensive diagnostics and treatment. • There is practice variation in management of young febrile children due to differences in guideline

Journal article

Kumar V, Pouw RB, Autio M, Sagmeister MG, Phua ZY, Borghini L, Wright VJ, Hoggart C, Pan B, Tan AKY, Binder A, Brouwer MC, Pinnock E, De Groot R, Hazelzet J, Emonts M, van der Flier M, Reiter K, Nothen MM, Hoffmann P, Schlapbach LJ, Bellos E, Anderson S, Secka F, Martinon-Torres F, Salas A, Fink C, Carrol ED, Pollard AJ, Coin LJ, Zenz W, Wouters D, Ang LT, Hibberd ML, Levin M, Kuijpers TW, Davila Set al., 2022, Variation in CFHR3 determines susceptibility to meningococcal disease by controlling factor H concentrations, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS, Vol: 109, Pages: 1680-1691, ISSN: 0002-9297

Journal article

Tan CD, El Ouasghiri S, von Both U, Carrol ED, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie IK, Martinon-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, Vermont CL, Zenz W, Zavadska D, Moll HA, Zachariasse JM, PERFORM consortium Personalised Risk assessment in febrile children to optimise Real-life Management across the European Unionet al., 2022, Sex differences in febrile children with respiratory symptoms attending European emergency departments: An observational multicenter study., PLoS One, Vol: 17, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1932-6203

OBJECTIVE: To assess sex differences in presentation and management of febrile children with respiratory symptoms attending European Emergency Departments. DESIGN AND SETTING: An observational study in twelve Emergency Departments in eight European countries. PATIENTS: Previously healthy children aged 0-<18 years with fever (≥ 38°C) at the Emergency Department or in the consecutive three days before Emergency Department visit and respiratory symptoms were included. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The main outcomes were patient characteristics and management defined as diagnostic tests, treatment and admission. Descriptive statistics were used for patient characteristics and management stratified by sex. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed for the association between sex and management with adjustment for age, disease severity and Emergency Department. Additionally, subgroup analyses were performed in children with upper and lower respiratory tract infections and in children below five years. RESULTS: We included 19,781 febrile children with respiratory symptoms. The majority were boys (54%), aged 1-5 years (58%) and triaged as low urgent (67%). Girls presented less frequently with tachypnea (15% vs 16%, p = 0.002) and increased work of breathing (8% vs 12%, p<0.001) compared with boys. Girls received less inhalation medication than boys (aOR 0.82, 95% CI 0.74-0.90), but received antibiotic treatment more frequently than boys (aOR 1.09, 95% CI 1.02-1.15), which is associated with a higher prevalence of urinary tract infections. Amongst children with a lower respiratory tract infection and children below five years girls received less inhalation medication than boys (aOR 0.77, 95% CI 0.66-0.89; aOR 0.80, 95% CI 0.72-0.90). CONCLUSIONS: Sex differences concerning presentation and management are present in previously healthy febrile children with respiratory symptoms presenting to the Emergency Department. Future research should focus on whethe

Journal article

Pennisi I, Moniri A, Miscourides N, Miglietta L, Moser N, Habgood-Coote D, Herberg J, Levin M, Kaforou M, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Georgiou Pet al., 2022, Discrimination of bacterial and viral infection using host-RNA signatures integrated in a lab-on-a-chip technology, Publisher: MedRxiv

<h4>ABSTRACT</h4> The unmet clinical need for accurate point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests able to discriminate bacterial from viral infection demands a solution that can be used both within healthcare settings and in the field and that can also stem the tide of antimicrobial resistance. Our approach to solve this problem is to combine the use of Host-gene signatures with our Lab-on-a-chip (LoC) technology enabling low-cost LoC expression analysis to detect Infectious Disease.Host-gene expression signatures have been extensively study as a potential tool to be implemented in the diagnosis of infectious disease. On the other hand LoC technologies using Ion-sensitive field-effect transistor (ISFET) arrays, in conjunction with isothermal chemistries, are offering a promising alternative to conventional lab-based nucleic acid amplification instruments, owing to their portable and affordable nature. Currently, the data analysis of ISFET arrays are restricted to established methods by averaging the output of every sensor to give a single time-series. This simple approach makes unrealistic assumptions, leading to insufficient performance for applications that require accurate quantification such as RNA host transcriptomics. In order to reliably quantify host-gene expression on our LoC platform enabling the classification of bacterial and viral infection on chip, we propose a novel data-driven algorithm for extracting time-to-positive values from ISFET arrays. The algorithm proposed is based on modelling sensor drift with adaptive signal processing and clustering sensors based on their behaviour with unsupervised learning methods. Results show that the approach correctly outputs a time-to-positive for all the reactions, with a high correlation to RT-qLAMP (0.85, R2 = 0.98, p < 0.01), resulting in a classification accuracy of 100 % (CI, 95 - 100). By leveraging more advanced data processing methods for ISFET arrays, this work aims to bridge the gap between tr

Working paper

Jackson H, Calle IR, Broderick C, Habgood-Coote D, dSouza G, Nichols S, Gómez-Rial J, Rivero-Velasco C, Rodríguez-Núñez N, Barbeito-Castiñeiras G, Pérez-Freixo H, Acosta MB-D, Cunnington AJ, Herberg JA, Wright VJ, Gómez-Carballa A, Salas A, Levin M, Martinon-Torres F, Kaforou Met al., 2022, Characterisation of the blood RNA host response underpinning severity in COVID-19 patients, Scientific Reports, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2045-2322

Infection with SARS-CoV-2 has highly variable clinical manifestations, ranging from asymptomatic infection through to life-threatening disease. Host whole blood transcriptomics can offer unique insights into the biological processes underpinning infection and disease, as well as severity. We performed whole blood RNA Sequencing of individuals with varying degrees of COVID-19 severity. We used differential expression analysis and pathway enrichment analysis to explore how the blood transcriptome differs between individuals with mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19, performing pairwise comparisons between groups. Increasing COVID-19 severity was characterised by an abundance of inflammatory immune response genes and pathways, including many related to neutrophils and macrophages, in addition to an upregulation of immunoglobulin genes. Our insights into COVID-19 severity reveal the role of immune dysregulation in the progression to severe disease and highlight the need for further research exploring the interplay between SARS-CoV-2 and the inflammatory immune response.

Journal article

Kaforou M, Broderick C, Vito O, Levin M, Scriba T, Seddon Jet al., 2022, Transcriptomics for child and adolescent tuberculosis, Immunological Reviews, Vol: 309, ISSN: 0105-2896

Tuberculosis (TB) in humans is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). It is estimated that 70 million children (<15 years) are currently infected with Mtb, with 1.2 million each year progressing to disease. Of these, a quarter die. The risk of progression from Mtb infection to disease and from disease to death is dependent on multiple pathogen and host factors. Age is a central component in all these transitions. The natural history of TB in children and adolescents is different to adults, leading to unique challenges in the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines. The quantification of RNA transcripts, encoded in the genome in specific cells or in the peripheral blood, using high-throughput methods, such as microarray analysis or RNA sequencing, are emerging technologies. RNA sequencing can shed light into the host immune response to Mtb during infection and disease, as well as understanding treatment response, disease severity and vaccination, in a global hypothesis-free manner. Additionally, gene expression profiling can be used for biomarker discovery, to diagnose disease, predict future disease progression and to monitor response to treatment. Here, we review the role of transcriptomics in children and adolescents, focussed mainly on work done in blood, to understand disease biology and to discriminate disease states to assist clinical decision-making. In recent years, studies with a specific paediatric and adolescent focus have identified blood gene expression markers with diagnostic or prognostic potential that meet or exceed the current sensitivity and specificity targets for diagnostic tools. Diagnostic and prognostic gene expression signatures identified through high-throughput methods are currently being translated into diagnostic tests.

Journal article

Borensztajn DM, Hagedoorn NN, Carrol ED, von Both U, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie IK, Martinon-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, van der Velden FJS, Vermont C, Zavadska D, Zenz W, Zachariasse JM, Moll HAet al., 2022, Febrile children with comorbidities at the emergency department - a multicentre observational study, European Journal of Pediatrics, Vol: 181, Pages: 3491-3500, ISSN: 0340-6199

We aimed to describe characteristics and management of children with comorbidities attending European emergency departments (EDs) with fever. MOFICHE (Management and Outcome of Fever in children in Europe) is a prospective multicentre study (12 European EDs, 8 countries). Febrile children with comorbidities were compared to those without in terms of patient characteristics, markers of disease severity, management, and diagnosis. Comorbidity was defined as a chronic underlying condition that is expected to last > 1 year. We performed multivariable logistic regression analysis, displaying adjusted odds ratios (aOR), adjusting for patient characteristics. We included 38,110 patients, of whom 5906 (16%) had comorbidities. Most common comorbidities were pulmonary, neurologic, or prematurity. Patients with comorbidities more often were ill appearing (20 versus 16%, p < 0.001), had an ED-Paediatric Early Warning Score of > 15 (22 versus 12%, p < 0.001), or a C-reactive protein > 60 mg/l (aOR 1.4 (95%CI 1.3–1.6)). They more often required life-saving interventions (aOR 2.7, 95% CI 2.2–3.3), were treated with intravenous antibiotics (aOR 2.3, 95%CI 2.1–2.5), and were admitted to the ward (aOR 2.2, 95%CI 2.1–2.4) or paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) (aOR 5.5, 95% CI 3.8–7.9). They were more often diagnosed with serious bacterial infections (aOR 1.8, 95%CI 1.7–2.0), including sepsis/meningitis (aOR 4.6, 95%CI 3.2–6.7). Children most at risk for sepsis/meningitis were children with malignancy/immunodeficiency (aOR 14.5, 8.5–24.8), while children with psychomotor delay/neurological disease were most at risk for life-saving interventions (aOR 5.3, 4.1–6.9) or PICU admission (aOR 9.7, 6.1–15.5).

Journal article

Levin M, Whittaker E, 2022, Balancing risk and benefit of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in children Comment, LANCET REGIONAL HEALTH-EUROPE, Vol: 18, ISSN: 2666-7762

Journal article

Melgar M, Seaby EG, McArdle AJ, Young CC, Campbell AP, Murray NL, Patel MM, Levin M, Randolph AG, Son MBFet al., 2022, Treatment of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children: Understanding Differences in Results of Comparative Effectiveness Studies, ACR OPEN RHEUMATOLOGY, Vol: 4, Pages: 804-810

Journal article

Kuiper R, Wright VJ, Habgood-Coote D, Shimizu C, Huigh D, Tremoulet AH, van Keulen D, Hoggart CJ, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Herberg JA, Kaforou M, Tempel D, Burns JC, Levin Met al., 2022, Bridging a diagnostic Kawasaki disease classifier from a microarray platform to a qRT-PCR assay, Pediatric Research, ISSN: 0031-3998

BACKGROUND: Kawasaki disease (KD) is a systemic vasculitis that mainly affects children under 5 years of age. Up to 30% of patients develop coronary artery abnormalities, which are reduced with early treatment. Timely diagnosis of KD is challenging but may become more straightforward with the recent discovery of a whole-blood host response classifier that discriminates KD patients from patients with other febrile conditions. Here, we bridged this microarray-based classifier to a clinically applicable quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assay: the Kawasaki Disease Gene Expression Profiling (KiDs-GEP) classifier. METHODS: We designed and optimized a qRT-PCR assay and applied it to a subset of samples previously used for the classifier discovery to reweight the original classifier. RESULTS: The performance of the KiDs-GEP classifier was comparable to the original classifier with a cross-validated area under the ROC curve of 0.964 [95% CI: 0.924-1.00] vs 0.992 [95% CI: 0.978-1.00], respectively. Both classifiers demonstrated similar trends over various disease conditions, with the clearest distinction between individuals diagnosed with KD vs viral infections. CONCLUSION: We successfully bridged the microarray-based classifier into the KiDs-GEP classifier, a more rapid and more cost-efficient qRT-PCR assay, bringing a diagnostic test for KD closer to the hospital clinical laboratory. IMPACT: A diagnostic test is needed for Kawasaki disease and is currently not available. We describe the development of a One-Step multiplex qRT-PCR assay and the subsequent modification (i.e., bridging) of the microarray-based host response classifier previously described by Wright et al. The bridged KiDs-GEP classifier performs well in discriminating Kawasaki disease patients from febrile controls. This host response clinical test for Kawasaki disease can be adapted to the hospital clinical laboratory.

Journal article

Takele Y, Adem E, Franssen SU, Womersley RL, Kaforou MC, Levin ML, Mueller IC, Cotton JAL, Kropf PCet al., 2022, Impaired in vitro Interferon-gamma production in patients with visceral leishmaniasis is improved by inhibition of PD1/PDL-1 ligation, PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1935-2735

Journal article

Broderick C, Calle IR, Gómez Carballa A, Gómez-Rial J, Li HK, Mehta R, Jackson H, Salas A, Martinón-Torres F, Sriskandan S, Levin M, Kaforou Met al., 2022, Pseudotemporal whole blood transcriptional profiling of COVID-19 patients stratified by clinical severity reveals differences in immune responses and possible role of monoamine oxidase B

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is associated with highly variable clinical outcomes. Studying the temporal dynamics of host whole blood gene expression during SARS-CoV-2 infection can elucidate the biological processes that underlie these diverse clinical phenotypes. We employed a novel pseudotemporal approach using MaSigPro to model and compare the trajectories of whole blood transcriptomic responses in patients with mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 disease. We identified 5,267 genes significantly differentially expressed (SDE) over pseudotime and between severity groups and clustered these genes together based on pseudotemporal trends. Pathway analysis of these gene clusters revealed upregulation of multiple immune, coagulation, platelet and senescence pathways with increasing disease severity and downregulation of T cell, transcriptional and cellular metabolic pathways. The gene clusters exhibited differing pseudotemporal trends. Monoamine oxidase B was the top SDE gene, upregulated in severe&gt;moderate&gt;mild COVID-19 disease. This work provides new insights into the diversity of the host response to SARS-CoV-2 and disease severity and highlights the utility of pseudotemporal approaches in studying evolving immune responses to infectious diseases.</jats:p>

Journal article

van Beek AE, Pouw RB, Wright VJ, Sallah N, Inwald D, Hoggart C, Brouwer MC, Galassini R, Thomas J, Calvo-Bado L, Fink CG, Jongerius I, Hibberd M, Wouters D, Levin M, Kuijpers TWet al., 2022, Low levels of factor H family proteins during meningococcal disease indicate systemic processes rather than specific depletion by neisseria meningitidis, Frontiers in Immunology, Vol: 13, ISSN: 1664-3224

Neisseria meningitidis, the causative agent of meningococcal disease (MD), evades complement-mediated clearance upon infection by ‘hijacking’ the human complement regulator factor H (FH). The FH protein family also comprises the homologous FH-related (FHR) proteins, hypothesized to act as antagonists of FH, and FHR-3 has recently been implicated to play a major role in MD susceptibility. Here, we show that the circulating levels of all FH family proteins, not only FH and FHR-3, are equally decreased during the acute illness. We did neither observe specific consumption of FH or FHR-3 by N. meningitidis, nor of any of the other FH family proteins, suggesting that the globally reduced levels are due to systemic processes including dilution by fluid administration upon admission and vascular leakage. MD severity associated predominantly with a loss of FH rather than FHRs. Additionally, low FH levels associated with renal failure, suggesting insufficient protection of host tissue by the active protection by the FH protein family, which is reminiscent of reduced FH activity in hemolytic uremic syndrome. Retaining higher levels of FH may thus limit tissue injury during MD.

Journal article

Trobisch A, Schweintzger NA, Kohlfurst DS, Sagmeister MG, Sperl M, Grisold AJ, Feierl G, Herberg JA, Carrol ED, Paulus SC, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Cebey-Lopez M, Rivero-Calle I, Boeddha NP, Agapow P-M, Secka F, Anderson ST, Behrends U, Wintergerst U, Reiter K, Martinon-Torres F, Levin M, Zenz Wet al., 2022, Osteoarticular infections in pediatric hospitals in Europe: a prospective cohort study from the EUCLIDS consortium, Frontiers in Pediatrics, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2296-2360

Background: Pediatric osteoarticular infections (POAIs) are serious diseases requiring early diagnosis and treatment.Methods: In this prospective multicenter cohort study, children with POAIs were selected from the European Union Childhood Life-threatening Infectious Diseases Study (EUCLIDS) database to analyze their demographic, clinical, and microbiological data.Results: A cohort of 380 patients with POAIs, 203 with osteomyelitis (OM), 158 with septic arthritis (SA), and 19 with both OM and SA, was analyzed. Thirty-five patients were admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit; out of these, six suffered from shock, one needed an amputation of the right foot and of four left toes, and two had skin transplantation. According to the Pediatric Overall Performance Score, 36 (10.5%) showed a mild overall disability, 3 (0.8%) a moderate, and 1 (0.2%) a severe overall disability at discharge. A causative organism was detected in 65% (247/380) of patients. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) was identified in 57.1% (141/247) of microbiological confirmed cases, including 1 (0.7%) methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and 6 (4.2%) Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-producing S. aureus, followed by Group A Streptococcus (18.2%) and Kingella kingae (8.9%). K. kingae and PVL production in S. aureus were less frequently reported than expected from the literature.Conclusion: POAIs are associated with a substantial morbidity in European children, with S. aureus being the major detected pathogen. In one-third of patients, no causative organism is identified. Our observations show an urgent need for the development of a vaccine against S. aureus and for the development of new microbiologic diagnostic guidelines for POAIs in European pediatric hospitals.

Journal article

Hagedoorn NN, Zachariasse JM, Borensztajn D, Adriaansens E, von Both U, Carrol ED, Eleftheriou I, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg JA, Kohlmaier B, Lim E, Maconochie I, Martinón-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, Zavadska D, Zenz W, Levin M, Vermont C, Moll HA, PERFORM consortiumet al., 2022, Shock Index in the early assessment of febrile children at the emergency department: a prospective multicentre study, Archives of Disease in Childhood, Vol: 107, Pages: 116-122, ISSN: 0003-9888

OBJECTIVE: (1) To derive reference values for the Shock Index (heart rate/systolic blood pressure) based on a large emergency department (ED) population of febrile children and (2) to determine the diagnostic value of the Shock Index for serious illness in febrile children. DESIGN/SETTING: Observational study in 11 European EDs (2017-2018). PATIENTS: Febrile children with measured blood pressure. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serious bacterial infection (SBI), invasive bacterial infection (IBI), immediate life-saving interventions (ILSIs) and intensive care unit (ICU) admission. The association between high Shock Index (>95th centile) and each outcome was determined by logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, referral, comorbidity and temperature. Additionally, we calculated sensitivity, specificity and negative/positive likelihood ratios (LRs). RESULTS: Of 5622 children, 461 (8.2%) had SBI, 46 (0.8%) had IBI, 203 (3.6%) were treated with ILSI and 69 (1.2%) were ICU admitted. High Shock Index was associated with SBI (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.6 (95% CI 1.3 to 1.9)), ILSI (aOR 2.5 (95% CI 2.0 to 2.9)), ICU admission (aOR 2.2 (95% CI 1.4 to 2.9)) but not with IBI (aOR: 1.5 (95% CI 0.6 to 2.4)). For the different outcomes, sensitivity for high Shock Index ranged from 0.10 to 0.15, specificity ranged from 0.95 to 0.95, negative LRs ranged from 0.90 to 0.95 and positive LRs ranged from 1.8 to 2.8. CONCLUSIONS: High Shock Index is associated with serious illness in febrile children. However, its rule-out value is insufficient which suggests that the Shock Index is not valuable as a screening tool for all febrile children at the ED.

Journal article

Takele Y, Mulaw, Adem, Shaw E, Franssen, Womersley R, Kaforou M, Taylor G, Levin M, Muller I, Cotton, Kropf Pet al., 2022, Immunological factors, but not clinical features, predict visceral leishmaniasis relapse in patients co-infected with HIV, Cell Reports Medicine, Vol: 3, ISSN: 2666-3791

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has emerged as a clinically important opportunistic infection in HIV patients, as VL/HIV co-infected patients suffer from frequent VL relapse. Here, we follow cohorts of VL patients with or without HIV in Ethiopia. By the end of the study 78.1% of VL/HIV, but none of the VL patients, experience VL relapse. Despite clinically defined cure, VL/HIV patients maintain higher parasite loads, lower BMI, hepatosplenomegaly and pancytopenia. We identify three immunological markers associated with VL relapse in VL/HIV patients: i) failure to restore antigen-specific production of IFNg, ii) persistently lower CD4+ T cell counts, and iii) higher expression of PD1 on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. We show that these three markers, that can be measured in primary hospital settings in Ethiopia, combine well in predicting VL relapse. The use of our prediction model has the potential to improve disease management and patient care.

Journal article

Borensztajn D, Hagedoorn NN, Carrol E, von Both U, Dewez JE, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie I, Martinon Torres F, Nijman R, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Tsolia M, Vermont C, Zavadska D, Zenz W, Zachariasse J, Moll HAet al., 2022, Characteristics and management of adolescents attending the ED with fever: a prospective multicentre study, BMJ Open, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2044-6055

Objective Most studies on febrile children have focused on infants and young children with serious bacterial infection (SBI). Although population studies have described an increased risk of sepsis in adolescents, little is known about febrile adolescents attending the emergency department (ED). We aimed to describe patient characteristics and management of febrile adolescents attending the ED.Design and setting The MOFICHE/PERFORM study (Management and Outcome of Febrile Children in Europe/Personalised Risk assessment in Febrile illness to Optimise Real-life Management across the European Union), a prospective multicentre study, took place at 12 European EDs. Descriptive and multivariable regression analyses were performed, comparing febrile adolescents (12–18 years) with younger children in terms of patient characteristics, markers of disease severity (vital signs, clinical alarming signs), management (diagnostic tests, therapy, admission) and diagnosis (focus, viral/bacterial infection).Results 37 420 encounters were included, of which 2577 (6.9%) were adolescents. Adolescents were more often triaged as highly urgent (38.9% vs 34.5%) and described as ill appearing (23.1% vs 15.6%) than younger children. Increased work of breathing and a non-blanching rash were present less often in adolescents, while neurological signs were present more often (1% vs 0%). C reactive protein tests were performed more frequently in adolescents and were more often abnormal (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 1.9). Adolescents were more often diagnosed with SBI (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.6 to 2.0) and sepsis/meningitis (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.1 to 5.0) and were more frequently admitted (aOR 1.3, 95% CI 1.2 to 1.4) and treated with intravenous antibiotics (aOR 1.7, 95% CI 1.5 to 2.0).Conclusions Although younger children presented to the ED more frequently, adolescents were more often diagnosed with SBI and sepsis/meningitis. Our data emphasise the importance of awareness of severe infections

Journal article

Tan CD, Hagedoorn NN, Dewez JE, Borensztajn DM, von Both U, Carrol ED, Emonts M, van der Flier M, de Groot R, Herberg J, Kohlmaier B, Levin M, Lim E, Maconochie IK, Martinon-Torres F, Nijman RG, Pokorn M, Rivero-Calle I, Strle F, Tsolia M, Vermont CL, Yeung S, Zachariasse JM, Zenz W, Zavadska D, Moll HA, Consortium Pet al., 2022, Rapid Viral Testing and Antibiotic Prescription in Febrile Children With Respiratory Symptoms Visiting Emergency Departments in Europe, PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE JOURNAL, Vol: 41, Pages: 39-44, ISSN: 0891-3668

Journal article

Patel H, McArdle A, Seaby E, Levin M, Whittaker Eet al., 2022, The immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children: diagnostics, treatment and prevention, CLINICAL & TRANSLATIONAL IMMUNOLOGY, Vol: 11

Journal article

Takele Y, Mulaw T, Adem E, Womersley R, Kaforou M, Franssen SU, Levin M, Taylor GP, Müller I, Cotton JA, Kropf Pet al., 2021, Previous visceral leishmaniasis relapses outperform immunological or clinical signs as predictors of further relapses in patients co-infected with HIV-1

<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title><jats:p>Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and HIV co-infection (VL/HIV) has emerged as a significant public health problem in Ethiopia, with up to 30% of VL patients co-infected with HIV. These patients suffer from recurrent VL relapses and increased mortality. Our aim was to assess whether VL/HIV co-infected patients with a previous history of VL relapses (recurrent VL/HIV) have a poorer prognosis as compared to HIV patients presenting with their first episode of VL (primary VL/HIV). Our results show that recurrent VL/HIV patients have a higher parasite load, higher mortality and that their relapse-free survival is significantly shorter. The poorer prognosis of recurrent VL/HIV patients is accompanied by lower weight gain and lower recovery of all blood cell lineages, as well as lower production of IFNγ, lower CD4<jats:sup>+</jats:sup> T cell counts and higher expression levels of PD1 on T cells. Furthermore, our results show that prior history of VL relapse is an important risk factor for future relapse. Both CD4<jats:sup>+</jats:sup> T cell count and parasite load were also associated with a higher risk of VL relapse, but neither of these was independently associated with relapse risk after adjustment for previous VL relapse history.</jats:p><jats:p>We propose that in addition to the current treatments, novel interventions should be considered at the time of VL diagnosis in VL/HIV patients; and suggest that improved anti-leishmanial and antiretroviral treatments, as well as immune therapy, through PD1/PDL-1 blockade and/or through IFNγ administration, could result in more efficient parasite killing and thereby reduce the relapse rate and improve survival.</jats:p>

Journal article

Hoggart C, Shimizu C, Galassini R, Wright VJ, Shailes H, Bellos E, Herberg JA, Pollard AJ, O'Connor D, Choi SW, Seaby EG, Menikou S, Hibberd M, Sallah N, Burgner D, Brogan P, Patel H, Kim J, Tremoulet AH, Salo E, van Stijn D, Kuijpers T, Burns JC, Levin Met al., 2021, Identification of novel locus associated with coronary artery aneurysms and validation of loci for susceptibility to Kawasaki disease, European Journal of Human Genetics, Vol: 29, Pages: 1734-1744, ISSN: 1018-4813

Kawasaki disease (KD) is a paediatric vasculitis associated with coronary artery aneurysms (CAA). Genetic variants influencing susceptibility to KD have been previously identified, but no risk alleles have been validated that influence CAA formation. We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for CAA in KD patients of European descent with 200 cases and 276 controls. A second GWAS for susceptibility pooled KD cases with healthy paediatric controls from vaccine trials in the UK (n = 1609). Logistic regression mixed models were used for both GWASs. The susceptibility GWAS was meta-analysed with 400 KD cases and 6101 controls from a previous European GWAS, these results were further meta-analysed with Japanese GWASs at two putative loci. The CAA GWAS identified an intergenic region of chromosome 20q13 with multiple SNVs showing genome-wide significance. The risk allele of the most associated SNV (rs6017006) was present in 13% of cases and 4% of controls; in East Asian 1000 Genomes data, the allele was absent or rare. Susceptibility GWAS with meta-analysis with previously published European data identified two previously associated loci (ITPKC and FCGR2A). Further meta-analysis with Japanese GWAS summary data from the CASP3 and FAM167A genomic regions validated these loci in Europeans showing consistent effects of the top SNVs in both populations. We identified a novel locus for CAA in KD patients of European descent. The results suggest that different genes determine susceptibility to KD and development of CAA and future work should focus on the function of the intergenic region on chromosome 20q13.

Journal article

Takele Y, Adem E, Franssen SU, Womersley R, Kaforou M, Levin M, Müller I, Cotton JA, Kropf Pet al., 2021, Impaired <i>in vitro</i> Interferon-γ production in patients with visceral leishmaniasis is improved by inhibition of PD1/PDL-1 ligation

<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title><jats:p>Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease that causes substantial morbidity and mortality and is a growing health problem in Ethiopia, where this study took place. Most individuals infected with <jats:italic>Leishmania donovani</jats:italic> parasites will stay asymptomatic, but some develop VL that, if left untreated, is almost always fatal. This stage of the disease is associated with a profound immunosuppression, characterised by impaired production of Interferonγ (IFNγ), a cytokine that plays a key role in the control of <jats:italic>Leishmania</jats:italic> parasites, and high expression levels of an inhibitory receptor, programmed cell death 1 (PD1) on CD4<jats:sup>+</jats:sup> T cells. Here, we tested the contribution of the interaction between the immune checkpoint PD1 and its ligand PDL-1 on the impaired production of IFNγ in VL patients. Our results show that in the blood of VL patients, not only CD4<jats:sup>+</jats:sup>, but also CD8<jats:sup>+</jats:sup> T cells express high levels of PD1 at the time of VL diagnosis. Next, we identified PDL-1 expression on different monocyte subsets and neutrophils and show that PDL-1 levels were significantly increased in VL patients. PD1/PDL-1 inhibition resulted in significantly increased production of IFNγ, suggesting that therapy using immune checkpoint inhibitors might improve disease control in these patients.</jats:p>

Journal article

Li HK, Kaforou M, Rodriguez-Manzano J, Channon-Wells S, Monir A, Habgood-Coote D, Gupta RK, Mills EA, Lin J, Chiu Y-H, Pennisi I, Miglietta L, Mehta R, Obaray N, Herberg JA, Wright VJ, Georgiou P, Shallcross LJ, Mentzer AJ, Levin M, Cooke GS, Noursadeghi M, Sriskandan Set al., 2021, Discovery and validation of a 3-gene signature to distinguish COVID-19 and other viral infections in emergency infectious disease presentations; a case-control then observational cohort study, The Lancet Microbe, Vol: 2, Pages: 594-603, ISSN: 2666-5247

Background: Emergency admissions for infection often lack initial diagnostic certainty. COVID-19 has highlighted a need for novel diagnostic approaches to indicate likelihood of viral infection in a pandemic setting. We sought to derive and validate a blood transcriptional signature to detect viral infections including COVID-19 among adults with suspected infection presenting to the Emergency Department (ED).Methods: Blood RNA sequencing was performed on a discovery cohort of adults attending the ED with suspected infection who had subsequently-confirmed viral, bacterial, or no infection diagnoses. Differentially expressed host genes were subjected to feature selection to derive the most parsimonious discriminating signature. RT-qPCR validation of the signature was then performed in a prospective cohort of ED patients presenting with undifferentiated fever, and a second case-control cohort of ED patients with COVID-19 or bacterial infection. Signature performance was assessed by calculating area under receiver-operating characteristic curves (AUC-ROCs), sensitivities, and specificities.Findings: A 3-gene transcript signature was derived from the discovery cohort of 56 bacterial and 27 viral infection cases. In the validation cohort of 200 cases, the signature differentiated bacterial from viral infections with an AUC-ROC of 0.976 (95% CI: 0.919-1.000), sensitivity 97.3% and specificity of 100%. The AUC-ROC for C-reactive protein (CRP) and leucocyte count (WCC) was 0.833 (95% CI: 0.694-0.944) and 0.938 (95% CI: 0.840-0.986) respectively. The signature achieved higher net benefit in decision curve analysis than either CRP or WCC for discriminating viral infections from all other cases. In the second validation analysis the signature discriminated 35 bacterial infections from 34 SARS-CoV-2 positive COVID-19 infections with AUC-ROC of 0.953 (95% CI: 0.893-0.992), sensitivity 88.6% and specificity of 94.1%.Interpretation: This novel 3-gene signature discriminates viral i

Journal article

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