Viral Serology

An example of the threat emerging and reemerging viruses can pose is the recent chikungunya virus (CHIKV) outbreak that swept through the Americas. CHIKV, an alphavirus spread by mosquito vectors, causes acute infections often followed by chronic complications, including long-term joint pain. To assess the threat that CHIKV poses to the blood supply, we conducted viral nucleic acid and serological surveys of blood donors in Puerto Rico. Blood donors with detectable CHIKV RNA were detected during the 2014 epidemic in Puerto Rico, demonstrating the rapidity and explosiveness of such epidemics. Indeed, serosurveys flanking the epidemic demonstrated that in one short season, 25% of blood donors in Puerto Rico acquired CHIKV. A number of the CHIKV positive donations had high viral loads and were IgM and IgG negative, suggesting they were in the peak phase of acute infection - highlighting the risk of blood transfusion transmission. Using this data we were able to calculate the approximate length of different stages of acute infection.

Selected Publications:

Williamson PC, Linnen JM, Kessler DA, Shaz B, Kamel H, Vassallo R, Winkelman V, Gao K, Thomas S, Holmberg JA, Bakkour S, Stone M, Lu K, Simmons G, Busch MP. First cases of Zika virus infected US blood donors outside States with areas of active transmission. Transfusion (2017).

Busch MP, Sabino EC, Brambilla D, Lopes M, Capuani L, Chowdhury D, McClure C, Linnen JM, Prince H, Simmons G, Lee TH, Kleinman S, Custer B. Duration of dengue viremia in blood donors and relationships between donor viremia, infection incidence and clinical case reports during a large epidemic. J Infect Dis. (2016). 214:49-54. PMCID: PMC4907419

Simmons G, Bres V, Lu K, Liss NM, Brambilla DJ, Ryff KR, Bruhn R, Velez E, Ocampo D, Linnen JM, Latoni G, Petersen LR, Williamson PC, Busch MP. High chikungunya virus incidence and frequency of viremic blood donations in Puerto Rico during 2014 epidemic. Emerg Infect Dis. (2016). 22(7):1221-8. PMCID:PMC4918147

Glynn SA, Busch MP, Dodd RY, Katz LM, Stramer SL, Klein HG, Simmons G, Kleinman SH, Shurin SB; NHLBI Emerging Infectious Disease Task Force. Emerging infectious agents and the nation's blood supply: responding to potential threats in the 21st century. Transfusion (2013) 53(2):438-54. PMCID: PMC3644861.

Grard G, Fair JN, Lee D, Slikas E, Steffen I, Muyembe J-J, Sittler T, Veeraraghavan N, Ruby G, Wang C, Makuwa M, Mukendi EB, Mulembakani P, Geisbert TW, Tesh RB, Mazet J, Rimoin A, Taylor T, Schneider BS, Simmons G, Delwart E, Wolfe ND, Chiu CY, Leroy EM. A Novel Rhabdovirus Associated with Acute Hemorrhagic Fever in Central Africa. PLoS Path (2012). E1002934. PMCID: PMC3460624.

Lee D, Das Gupta J, Gaughan C, Steffen I, Tang N, Luk KC, Qiu X, Urisman A, Fischer N, Molinaro R, Broz M, Schochetman G, Klein EA, Ganem D, Derisi JL, Simmons G, Hackett J Jr, Silverman RH, Chiu CY. In-depth investigation of archival and prospectively collected samples reveals no evidence for XMRV infection in prostate cancer. PLoS One (2012) e44954. PMCID: PMC3445615.

Zhou Y, Steffen I, Montalvo L, Lee TH, Zemel R, Switzer WM, Tang S, Jia H, Heneine W, Winkelman V, Tailor CS, Ikeda Y, Simmons G. Development and application of a high-throughput microneutralization assay: lack of xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus and/or murine leukemia virus detection in blood donors. Transfusion (2012) 52:332-342. PMCID: PMC3299481.

Knox K, Carrigan D, Simmons G, Teque F, Zhou Y, Hackett J Jr, Qiu X, Luk KC, Schochetman G, Knox A, Kogelnik AM, Levy JA. No evidence of murine-like gammaretroviruses in CFS patients previously identified as XMRV-infected. Science (2011) 333:94-97. PMID: 21628393

Simmons G, Glynn SA, Komaroff AL, Mikovits JA, Tobler LH, Hackett J Jr, Tang N, Switzer WM, Heneine W, Hewlett IK, Zhao J, Lo S-C, Alter HJ, Linnen JM, Gao K, Coffin JM, Kearney MF, Ruscetti FW, Pfost MA, Bethel J, Kleinman S, Holmberg JA, Busch MP. Failure to Confirm XMRV/MLVs in the Blood of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Multi-laboratory Study. Science (2011). 334:814-817. PMCID: PMC3299483.

Steffen I, Tyrrell DL, Stein E, Montalvo L, Lee TH, Zhou Y, Lu K, Switzer WM, Tang S, Jia H, Hockman D, Santer DM, Logan M, Landi A, Law J, Houghton M, Simmons G. No evidence for XMRV nucleic acids, infectious virus or anti-XMRV antibodies in Canadian patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. PLoS One (2011). 6:e27870. PMCID: PMC3219700.

Switzer WM, Zheng H, Simmons G, Zhou Y, Tang S, Shanker A, Kapusinszky B, Delwart EL, Heneine W. No Evidence of Murine Leukemia Virus-Related Viruses in Live Attenuated Human Vaccines. PLoS One (2011). 6: e29223. PMCID: PMC3245253.

Simmons G, Glynn SA, Holmberg JA, Coffin JM, Hewlett IK, Lo S-C, Mikovits JA, Switzer WM, Linnen JM, Busch MP for the Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group (SRWG). The Blood XMRV Scientific Research Working Group: Mission, Progress and Plans. Transfusion (2011). 51:643-653. PMCID: PMC3071162.

Switzer WM, Jia H, Hohn O, Zheng HQ, Tang S, Shankar A, Bannert N, Simmons G, Hendry RM, Falkenberg VR, Reeves WC, Heneine W. Absence of Evidence of Xenotropic Murine Leukemia Virus related Virus Infection in Persons with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Healthy Controls in the United States. Retrovirology (2010) 7:57. PMCID: PMC2908559.

Temperton NJ, Chan PK, Simmons G, Zambon MC, Tedder RS, Takeuchi Y, Weiss RA. Longitudinally profiling neutralizing antibody response to SARS Coronavirus with pseudotypes. Emerg Infect Dis. (2005) 11:411-416. PMCID: PMC3298259.