Major Research Projects

Major Research Projects

Pneumonia in Children (2013)
GHESKIO is currently conducting a study looking at the etiology of pneumonia in children 2-59 months of age in the community as part of an international multi-center study through the GABRIEL network of laboratories affiliated with the Merieux Foundation in France. This important study, the first of its kind in Haiti, is using state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques to diagnose pneumonia in children followed at GHESKIO and living in the neighboring slum communities.  The multiplex real-time PCR panel used allows us to look at the most common agents (21 viruses and 5 bacteria) known to be linked with pneumonia.  Information gathered from this study will help better characterize the causes of the leading killer of Haitian children under five.

Diarrheal agents using xTAG GPP/Luminex (2013)
Since the emergence of the cholera epidemic in Haiti in October 2010, there have been 658,563 cases and 8,111 deaths according to the June 2013 report of the Ministry of Health. Given the extent of the epidemic, a rapid PCR-based assay was implemented at GHESKIO to investigate outbreaks of acute diarrheal illness in urban areas. The xTAG GPP (Luminex) is a multiplex PCR assay designed to allow simultaneous detection and identification of 15 enteric pathogens including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. This assay was used to determine the etiology of acute diarrhea in patients visiting the GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center (CTC) in Port-au-Prince. This is the first study from Haiti using the xTAG GPP assay to evaluate causes of acute diarrheal illness in patients admitted to an urban cholera treatment center. The xTAG GPP showed that only 47% of the patients had cholera and infection with two or more enteric pathogens is common. The xTAG GPP assay shows promise as an important tool in the rapid evaluation of outbreaks of acute diarrheal illness in Haiti.

The Natural History of HIV Infection in Haiti (1983 – 2002)
The goal of this project is to define the natural history of HIV and its effects on the Haitian family.  The project has lead to developments in treatment strategies for coccidial diarrheal infections, tuberculosis prophylaxis in HIV infected adults, and voluntary HIV counseling and testing.  Support was from a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health.

A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial of Early vs. Deferred Antiretroviral Therapy for AIDS Patients (CIPRA) (2003 – 2008)
Research is focused on finding the optimal time to start antiretroviral therapy in patients with CD4 counts between 200 and 350 cells/ml.  Funding is from the National Institutes of Health.

HIV Vaccine Trials Network (2001-present)                                                   GHESKIO is a member of this international collaboration of scientists and educators searching for an effective and safe HIV vaccine.  Support is from the National Institutes of Health.  GHESKIO Director Dr. Jean Pape is the Principle Investigator in the HIV Vaccine Trials Network in Haiti and GHESKIO investigators conduct clinical trials of promising new HIV vaccine candidates.  GHESKIO researchers, the Haitian Ministry of Health, and the Haitian Medical Association worked together for ten years to prepare for the conduct of HIV vaccine trials in Haiti.

AIDS Clinical Trials Group (2002 – present)
GHESKIO is a member of an international group of scientists dedicated to developing treatment strategies for HIV and related disorders.  GHESKIO conducts clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy of antiretroviral treatment for HIV infected individuals in resource limited countries.  The collaboration is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Evaluation of Rapid Syphilis Diagnostics for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis in Haiti (2002 – 2004)
The goal of this project is to improve syphilis screening throughout the country to reduce deaths due to congenital syphilis.  Support is from the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Disease.

Targeted Evaluation of AIDS Treatment in Haiti (2003 – 2008)
GHESKIO investigators conducted the largest study of treatment outcomes for AIDS patients in a developing country, following 1,000 AIDS patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. Research continues to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of other AIDS prevention and treatment programs. The studies are funded by the United Nation Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the United States Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

National Seroprevalence Studies (2003 – present)
The aim of the project is to conduct sentinel HIV surveillance across Haiti.  GHESKIO conducts all HIV testing and was responsible for the training of study site lab personnel in sample collection.  This nationwide project is supported by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Haitian Ministry of Health.

AIDS Diarrhea and Antiretroviral Therapy (2004 – 2007)
The goal of this project is to determine the effect of tropical AIDS diarrhea on absorption of antiretroviral drugs, virologic response to therapy, and the development of HIV genomic drug resistance.  GHESKIO investigators also seek to identify other co-factors that may relate to the response to antiretroviral therapy in AIDS patients with tropical diarrhea, including the etiologic agents of diarrhea, nutritional status, drug toxicity, and adherence.  Support is from the National Institutes of Health.

Cost effectiveness of HIV Prevention and Care Services (2003 – 2007)
GHESKIO investigators are evaluating the cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention and care services to maximize efficiency and demonstrate the feasibility of treatment programs in developing countries.  This research is funded by the National Institutes of Health.