Camille Mba, MD, MSc, PhD

Nominated From: University of Hawai’i

Research Site: Univeristy of Yaounde I, Cameroon

Research Area: HIV, nutrition, infections, pediatrics

Primary Mentor: Dr. Rodolfo Begue, Dr. Diane Taylor

Research Project

Impact of common childhood infections on growth and nutritional markers in HIV-exposed uninfected infants in Cameroon

In Cameroon, a growing population of newborns is HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU). They appear to have a higher risk of severe infections, hospitalizations, stunting, and death compared to HIV-unexposed uninfected (HUU) infants. Studies document they are more likely to have cytomegalovirus (CMV) from mother-to-child transmission; become infected with malaria, rotavirus, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) early in life; and develop stunting through the metabolic and nutritional mechanisms. However, the real burden of these infections in HEU infants is unknown. A gap in our knowledge exists in how increased susceptibility to infections in this population is associated with poor nutritional status and altered growth. We hypothesize that: HEU children will be more susceptible to 4 childhood diseases (malaria, RSV, CMV, and rotavirus) than HUU and these diseases will be associated with stunting, either due to i) poor nutritional status or ii) an increase in cytokines that help to suppress growth.

Research Significance

This study is innovative because it seeks to link infections in HIV Exposed Uninfected (HEU)mchildren with mechanisms of reduced growth. This research will have a positive impact because the immediate results will give us a better understanding of the growth pattern in HEU and how it is affected by common childhood diseases. In the near future, we would like to perform a more comprehensive assessment of metabolic and nutritional markers in HEU and HIV Unexposed Uninfected (HUU) infants using high-throughput technologies. Our Long-term goal is to design and test interventions that would prevent stunting and lead to providing guidelines for the management of HEU and improve the health of this growing population


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