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QNRF funds the second phase of the Middle East and North Africa HIV Epidemiology Synthesis Project

The Qatar National Research Fund, through the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), is providing funding of $719,982 in support of the second phase of the project “Characterizing the HIV/AIDS epidemics in the Middle East and North Africa: Systematic reviews and quantitative assessment”. The principal investigator of this research study is Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad.

The first phase of the project resulted in a large number of published studies that generated significant interest in the scientific community and beyond, and which had informed HIV policy and programming at the national and regional levels. The most important findings of this phase were documenting, for the first time, the emerging HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID) in MENA.

The second phase will conduct descriptive studies to characterize the HIV epidemic among population groups not covered in the first phase and describe other relevant aspects of the epidemic, and conduct in-depth analytical and quantitative studies among different population groups to better understand HIV transmission dynamics, predict HIV epidemic potential, and assess the impact of prevention interventions. There will be three main methodologies that will be utilized namely, systematic and narrative reviews and syntheses, mathematical modeling analyses, and statistical analyses, meta-analyses, and meta-regressions. 

High impact publication: Estimation of hepatitis C virus infections resulting from vertical transmission in Egypt

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.

Here is the link to the article and the PDF version.

Example of coverage of our findings

High impact publication: Evidence for emerging HIV epidemics among people who inject drugs in the Middle-East and North Africa

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. Ghina Mumtaz was the lead author of this study that was published in the high impact journal PLOS Medicine and Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad was the principal investigator.

Here is the link to the article and the PDF version.

Examples of coverage of our findings:

High impact publication: Vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus: systematic review and meta-analysis

This study, published in the prestigious journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, provided updated estimates for the risk of 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. The lead author of this study was Dr. Lenka Benova and Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad was the principal investigator.

Here is the link to the article and the PDF version.

Examples of coverage of our findings:

High impact publication: Spatial epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection in Egypt: Analyses and implications

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 country most affected by this infection worldwide.  Published in the high impact journal Hepatology, the lead author of the study was Dr. Diego Caudros and Dr. Laith Abu-Raddad was the principal investigator. 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 significant interest in the HCV community. 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.

Here is the link to the article and the PDF version.

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Example of coverage of our findings:

QNRF funds a research study to quantify the adverse impact of rising diabetes prevalence on tuberculosis global burden, and to estimate the impact of targeted interventions on tuberculosis transmission

The Qatar National Research Fund, through the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), is providing $848,545 in support of the project “Tuberculosis and diabetes: Quantifying the adverse impact of rising diabetes prevalence on tuberculosis global burden, and estimating the impact of targeted interventions on tuberculosis transmission”. The two principal investigators of this study are Dr. Julia Critchley of the University of St. George, University of London and Dr. Abu-Raddad. The study will develop a tuberculosis (TB) model to explore the impact of changes in diabetes mellitus (DM) prevalence on the dynamics of TB infection, and to assess whether screening TB patients for DM and DM patients for active or latent TB could help meet Millennium Development Goals for TB.