Fakultäten » Medizinische Fakultät » Infektionskrankheiten und Spitalhygiene, Klinik für » Prof. Dr. Huldrych Günthard » Kouyos

Completed research project

Title / Titel Combining molecular epidemiology approaches and mathematical models for the spread of HIV and its coinfections
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung Molecular epidemiology characterizes the spread of infectious agents on the basis of their nucleotide sequences. This can be done because the similarity of sequences sampled from different patients correlates with the proximity of those patients in the transmission chain of the pathogen. In other words, the closer two patients are in the transmission chain of a pathogen the more similar are the sequences of the pathogens sampled from these two patients. The power of molecular epidemiology approaches is however often limited because the nucleotide sequences are not linked to the broader epidemiological and clinical context of the pathogen.

The aim of the proposed research is to combine molecular epidemiology approaches with clinical data and mathematical models in order to investigate the transmission of HIV and its co-infections in Switzerland. This research will use the unique data from the Swiss HIV Cohort Study to investigate the following four questions:

1) Is there a hidden HIV epidemic in Switzerland? In particular, we will use HIV sequences to investigate whether there are transmission networks of HIV that are systematically missed by the current disease surveillance.

2) How does the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) interact? A substantial proportion of people infected with HIV are also infected with HCV. We will use mathematical models to describe the current trends of HCV co-infections among the HIV-infected individuals in Switzerland. In addition, we will use phylogenetic trees to identify the transmission routes driving the spread of HCV.

3) How important is the early phase of the HIV infection for the epidemic spread of the virus? Transmission in the early phase of the HIV infection is an important challenge for public health because most patients do not know about their infections in that phase. In order to assess the importance of acute HIV infection in Switzerland we will combine epidemiological data with HIV sequence data and fit these combined data with mathematical models that can capture the role of early infection.

4) How likely is a spread of drug-resistant HIV strains in resource-limited settings and how high is the potential impact of such a spread on Switzerland? This work will use mathematical models that combine the spread and evolution of HIV to assess this potential scenario.
Keywords / Suchbegriffe molecular epidemiology, HCV, HIV, Drug resistance, transmission, viral load
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Dr. Roger Kouyos, PhD (Project Leader)
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung)
In collaboration with /
In Zusammenarbeit mit
Prof. Dr. med. Huldrych Günthard, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland Switzerland
The Swiss HIV cohort Study ( Switzerland
Duration of Project / Projektdauer Oct 2012 to Sep 2015