IDEGTeam

Accomplishments

Scientific work of international acclaim

Our research work is at the forefront of infectious disease research internationally. Some of our research has been published in the world's most prestigious scientific journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PLoS Medicine, Lancet, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Physical Review Letters and Science Translations Medicine. A number of our scientific publications have had high impact in terms of understanding the epidemiology of diseases and assessing the impact of public health interventions. Our research work has been key in the formulation of public health policy at the regional, national as well as international levels. Findings of our research work have received global coverage in regional, national and international mass and print media through numerous articles and news stories discussing our findings.

Specific examples of our research accomplishments in chronological order are:

Estimation of hepatitis C virus infections resulting from vertical transmission in Egypt (2015)

This is the first study, for any country, to estimate the annual number of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections resulting from mother-to-child (vertical) transmission at the national level. The study was published in the high impact journal Hepatology. It highlighted a previously poorly-understood dimension of HCV incidence. It was found out that about five thousand newborns acquire HCV annually though vertical transmission in Egypt. Vertical transmission is a significant source of HCV incidence in this country and the primary route of infection for children less than five years of age. The absolute number of vertical transmissions and the young age at infection highlight a public health concern. These findings also emphasize the need to quantify the relative contributions of other transmission routes to HCV incidence in Egypt. Findings of this study received broad interest in the HCV community as well as coverage in national and international media outlets.

Evidence for emerging HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs in the Middle-East and North Africa (2014)

The study documented, characterized and analyzed the emerging HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs in the Middle East and North Africa. HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs have been emerging and growing mostly during the last decade. At least one-third of countries in this region are already affected by these epidemics. The study was published in the high impact journal PLOS Medicine. Findings of this study received broad interest in the HIV community as well as coverage in national and international media outlets.

Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus: systematic review and meta-analysis (2014)

This study, published in the high impact journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, provided updated estimates for the risk of hepatitis C virus (HCV) vertical transmission thereby establishing a basis for decision making and case management of HCV infected mothers in clinical settings. One in every 20 children delivered by HCV infected women is infected vertically by HCV, and one in every 10 children delivered by HCV and HIV co-infected women is infected vertically by HCV. Findings of this study received broad interest in the HCV community as well as coverage in international media outlets.

Spatial epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in Egypt: Analyses and implications (2014)

This study implemented a novel methodology to localize and characterize the geographical clusters of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and parenteral antischistosomal therapy (PAT) exposures in Egypt. The study constituted a paradigm shift in our understanding of the HCV epidemic in Egypt, the largest worldwide. Published in the high impact journal Hepatology, the study identified clusters of high and low HCV infection and clusters of high and low PAT exposure, and calculated associations between PAT exposure and HCV infection. Findings of this study received broad interest in the HCV community as well as coverage in national and international media outlets. In a commentary in Hepatology on the study, the findings were likened to John Snow’s foundational epidemiologic analysis to trace the source of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854.

Have the explosive HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa been driven by higher community viral load? (2013)

This study assessed indirectly whether the scale of the HIV epidemics in sub-Saharan Africa could be explained by HIV co-infection with multiple other infections which increases HIV viral load, and thereby the efficiency of HIV transmission to others in the population. This work was based on statistical analyses of a database of 71,668 measurements of HIV plasma RNA viral load from 44 cohorts in seven regions of the world, and a mathematical modeling study to assess the epidemiological implications of the regional differences in HIV viral load. The study showed that there is substantial regional heterogeneity in HIV viral load with the highest levels found in sub-Saharan Africa, consistent with the hypothesis of co-infections increasing HIV viral load in this part of the world. The findings also suggested that the elevated viral load in the African continent may be a central driver of the massive HIV epidemics in this region. The study was published in AIDS, the premiere scientific journal in the HIV/AIDS field.

Evidence for emerging HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men in the Middle-East and North Africa (2011).

This study documented the emerging HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men in the Middle East and North Africa and was published in PLoS Medicine. Ghina Mumtaz was the lead author of the study and Dr. Abu-Raddad, the principal investigator. The study was based on the synthesis and analysis of a volume of HIV data collected over nearly eight years and brought together the evidence for the rising HIV epidemics in number of countries in the Middle East and North Africa, starting the year 2003.The study was the first on HIV epidemiology in the Middle East and North Africa to be published in a high-impact journal and was ranked first among the Editor's pick on PLoS Medicine's website. It was also the most viewed research study of the month in PLoS Medicine. The findings of the study received broad interest in the HIV community and ample media coverage by international media outlets and newswires such as Reuters, BBC, National Public Radio (NPR), Bloomberg, The New York Times, Science, Nature, JAMA and others.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

Reuters    PDF 

New York Times    PDF 

Science     PDF 

Nature Middle East       PDF 

Further coverage of our findings:  here

The Middle East and North Africa HIV/AIDS Synthesis Project (2010-2011).

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Synthesis Project is the largest and most comprehensive research project on HIV/AIDS in the history of the MENA region. It is a scientific assessment and data-driven epidemiological synthesis of HIV spread in MENA, based on a literature review and analysis of thousands of widely unrecognized publications, reports and data sources extracted from the scientific literature or collected from sources at the local, regional and national and levels.

The principal investigator of this project is Dr. Abu-Raddad and the project is conducted through a collaborative partnership with the World Bank, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

In its first phase of this project funded by the World Bank/UNAIDS/WHO, the project has produced a public health report titled, Characterizing the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the Middle East and North Africa: Time for Strategic Action that can be found at

Home website

PDF version     

Book purchase

This book is considered the reference of HIV/AIDS epidemiology in MENA and the main source for HIV and sexually transmitted infection data in this region. The major findings of this project were disseminated in two conferences held for this purpose one of which at the level of the ministers of health in MENA that took place in June, 2010 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The other event was a ceremony at the World Bank in Washington, DC, USA in February, 2011 to celebrate the launch of the MENA HIV/AIDS Synthesis Report. This study has received miscellaneous coverage in different media outlets.

In the second phase of the project just funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, we will build on the first phase to generate analytical pieces from the gathered evidence to describe through scientific publications the different aspects of HIV epidemiology in MENA. We will perform careful epidemiologic analyses and conduct novel modeling studies to understand HIV epidemiology and evaluate the HIV epidemic potential in different population groups. Our proposed research will provide foundation and capacity-building for planning future HIV studies and interventions in MENA.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

IRIN News     PDF 

Cornell Chronicle     PDF 

Nature Middle East     PDF 

Al-Rayah   PDF 

Click here for further coverage of our findings in these studies.

Evidence of intense ongoing endemic transmission of hepatitis C virus in Egypt (2010).

In collaboration with Dr. F. DeWolfe Miller, University of Hawaii, Dr. Abu-Raddad conducted a study estimating the incidence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Egypt. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and found that Egypt has the highest incidence of HCV infection in the world. This is in part an unintended consequence of the nationwide campaign of parenteral antischistosomal therapy that led to the largest parenteral transmission epidemic of any infection in human history. The study findings were covered by a number of influential media outlets.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

Aljazeera       PDF 

Los Angeles Times       PDF 

Nature Middle East     PDF 

Click here for further coverage of our findings in these studies.

Evaluating the population-level impact of novel tuberculosis interventions: drugs, diagnostics and vaccines (2009).

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the world�s leading philanthropic foundation, has a pipeline of 900 million dollars for the development of novel tuberculosis (TB) interventions with the aim of eliminating TB by the year 2050. The pipeline includes novel vaccines, drug regimens and diagnostics. In collaboration with the researches at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the University of Washington and the World Health Organization, Dr. Abu-Raddad directed an assessment project of the epidemiological impact of these TB interventions. The findings which were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that each of the novel vaccines, drug regimens and diagnostics currently under development will offer substantial reductions in TB incidence and TB-related mortality compared with current approaches, but that these interventions alone are unlikely to achieve TB elimination by 2050. In order to achieve TB elimination, further interventions needs to be developed that target the large pool of TB latent infection carriers worldwide. The study was funded by the BMGF. Findings of this study were covered by national and international mass and print media through hundreds of articles describing the findings of this study.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

Science Daily     PDF 

Physorg     PDF 

Nature Middle East     PDF 

Coverage in National News Media    PDF 

Click here for further coverage of our findings in these studies.

The role of malaria in fueling the HIV epidemic (2006).

Dr. Abu-Raddad was the lead author of this study which was published in Science and provided the first quantitative assessment of the implications of the interaction between HIV and malaria, and how malaria is fueling the HIV infectious spread. The study is also the first to provide evidence that HIV co-infections that induce heightened levels of HIV viral load may be among the leading causes of the extensive HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. The publication was ranked as the 12th in the list of �Top 100 AIDS and HIV research publications for 2006� among 10,000 research papers and was generously praised by leading HIV scientists and public-health policy makers. The findings received global coverage in international mass and print media through tens of interviews, and thousands of articles and news stories, such as with the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times (including editorial on the findings), Economist, Times, BBC, Aljazeera International, National Public Radio and Voice of America.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

New York Times Editorial     PDF 

Economist     PDF 

Click here for further coverage of our findings in these studies.

The epidemiological determinants and the transmission dynamics of SARS (2003).

Dr. Abu-Raddad was a member of the research group that studied the SARS epidemic at the height of its expansion in collaboration with the Hong Kong authorities. The findings of the research were published in Science and the Lancet. The latter study provided the first major epidemiological findings of the SARS epidemic including the epidemiological distributions and the case fatality rate. The former study provided the first quantitative assessment of the transmission dynamics of SARS and the role of public-health interventions in controlling the spread. The recommendations of these studies played a key role in the efforts that led to the containment of the epidemic and received global coverage in international mass and print media through thousands of articles and news stories such as with the Associated Press, Reuters, New York Times, BBC, PBS, and Sky TV.

Examples of media coverage of our findings:

Science Daily     PDF 

Click here for further coverage of our findings in these studies.