Recent publication by the Road Map project featured in eLife Insight
In August 2022, the H-TEAM’s Road Map project and colleagues – including Alexandra Blenkinsop as first author – published the project’s first article in eLife, titled “Estimating the potential to prevent locally acquired HIV infections in a UNAIDS Fast-Track City, Amsterdam”.
The article describes the use of phylogenetic trees in combination with other patient data such as postcode data (PC4) to observe Amsterdam HIV transmission chains and its characteristics. The results include that among both Amsterdam MSM (men who have sex with men) and Amsterdam heterosexuals the majority of infections in 2014-2018 had an Amsterdam resident as source. Of these locally acquired infections, most were found in foreign-born MSM, followed by Dutch-born MSM.
The insights help us understand that there is still considerable potential for local city-level interventions among Amsterdam residents to tackle the HIV epidemic, with a suggested emphasis on both foreign- and Dutch-born MSM.
In eLife Magazine’s Insight story on “Transmission Histories: Traversing missing links in the spread of HIV: Combining clinical and genetic data can improve the effectiveness of virus tracking with the aim of reducing the number of HIV cases by 2030” Blenkinsop et al.’s publication was applauded for its extension of the standard approach of reconstructing transmission histories from HIV-1 sequences by incorporating additional information from clinical biomarkers and other patient data. The authors also found that Blenkinsop et al.’s methods may be seen as a critical step for other cities in the FastTrack initiative. The full article can be found here.