Teaching & Research Virologist, Immunologist & Molecular Epidemiologist (Genomics), Virus & Genomics Research Unit, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science
University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Presently, I am a Senior Lecturer (Teaching & Research Medical Virologist, Immunologist and Molecular Epidemiologist in the Virus Research Unit of the Department of Microbiology, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I specialized in Medical Virology, Immunology, Vaccinology and Molecular Epidemiology. I have 11 active years as a Teaching and Research Virologist in University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I have demonstrated over the recent years my strong impact on Virology research and education through my array of publications and my involvement in teaching of trainees from our resource-limited settings. My primary areas of interest are studies on HIV-1 Genetic Diversity, Viral diversities and evolutions, HIV-1 P24 antigens, coinfections, drug resistance and tropism, all of which are highly understudied in Nigeria. I have successfully supervised several BSc projects, 16 MSc Dissertations, 5 Ph.D. Theses in Virology and currently supervising 16 PhD Theses in Virology.
Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria Ph.D. in Virology 2017
American Association of Immunology (AAI), Boston, United States Certificate in Advanced Immunology 2015
West African Bioethics Training Program (WABTP) in collaboration with Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI), University of Miami, Florida, USA Certificate in Nigerian National Code for Health Research Ethics (NNCHRE) Stage I Course 2012
Triune Biblical University, Brooklyn, United States Ph.D. in Christian Education 2011
Triune Biblical University, Brooklyn, United States Masters in Christian Education 2008
West African Bioethics Training Centre (WABTC) In Collaboration with University of Miami, Florida, United States Certificate in Ethics (Human-Subject Protection) 2008
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria M.Sc. in Virology 2007
University of Ibadan in Collaboration with Institute of Immunology, Luxembourg Certificate in Immunology 2005
HIV-1 Genetic Diversity, Viral diversities and evolutions, HIV-1 P24 antigens, coinfections, drug resistance and tropism
Global emergence of recombinant HIV and its impact on vaccine design
Longitudinal multi-cohort study to compare the global emergence of HIV Non-clade B drug resistance mutations
Our goal here is to obtain sequence patterns that are associated with strong immune responses and beneficial clinical outcome.
We analyze longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sequences, serologic responses (multiplex binding assay, IgG/IgM/IgA subtyping, cell-based Spike binding, cytokine profiles, transcriptomics, and neutralizing anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using single B cell isolations and antibody deep sequencing including structural characterization.
This project is about emerging HIV drug resistance in key global regions. . I am also working on HIV-1 diversity using plasma, which is mostly from Nigerian HIV+ individuals. We are examining HIV-1 viral recombination and the impact on the humoral immune responses. This includes analyses of HIV sequences from the envelope and the polymerase genomic region that are essential for HIV entry and replication. These researches are critical to extending knowledge on HIV/AIDS prevention activities and vaccine trials in West Africa.
Amaka Marian AWANYE, Chidozie Ngozi IBEZIM, Catherine Nonyelum STANLEY, Hannah ONAH, Iheanyi Omezurike OKONKO, and Nkechi Eucharia EGBE Galenos Yayinevi
Objectives Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been globally implicated in healthcare-associated infection. The susceptibility pattern of clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa to anti-pseudomonal antibiotics is reported. Materials and Methods Clinical samples, namely blood, urine, tracheal aspirate, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), wound swabs, high vaginal swabs, eye, and ear exudates were obtained from patients, processed and identified using standard microbiological protocols. Antibiotic susceptibility testing was undertaken using the Kirby Bauer Disc diffusion method. Results were reported following the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines. Results Of 104 P. aeruginosa isolates identified, males (52.88%) had a higher incidence of infection than female (47.11%) patients. The highest prevalence was recorded from wound swabs [46 (44.23%)] followed by ear exudates [23 (22.12%)], urine [22 (21.15%)], while eye exudates and samples from the CSF yielded the least [1 (0.96% each)]. From the antibiogram, imipenem had the highest antibiotic activity (91.3%) followed by polymyxin B (84.6%). The isolates exhibited the highest resistance to ceftazidime (73.1%) and piperacillin-tazobactam (61.5%). The antibiotic susceptibility pattern of P. aeruginosa isolates revealed 7.69% susceptible, 26% resistant, 61% multidrug resistance (MDR), 5% extremely drug resistance (XDR), and an absence (0%) of pandrug-resistant phenotypes. Conclusion The study recorded alarmingly high cases of MDR and some XDR phenotypes of P. aeruginosa in University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. It will help identify existing gaps in antimicrobial resistance surveillance and assist in improving public health policies regarding antibiotic stewardship, initiatives, and interventions.
Ngozi N. Odu, Best Akwasiam, Anwuli U. Osadebe, and Iheanyi O. Okonko Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko, Immaculate Ugochi Ejike, Chioma Innocent-Adiele, and Tochi Ifeoma Cookey Informa UK Limited
ABSTRACT Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Tuberculosis (TB) are two main global public health threats that dent development in low and middle-income countries. This study evaluated the HIV/TB co-infection rate among HIV-1 infected individuals in old Cross River State, Nigeria. A total of 417 HIV-infected individuals participated in this study, 241 (57.8%) from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria and 176 (42.2%) from Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria. The age range of the 417 HIV-1 positive individuals who participated in the study was 4–72 years with an average age of 39.1 years. Plasma samples were analyzed for HIV and TB using fourth-generation Enzyme-Linked immunosorbent Assay. The CD4 count was enumerated using the Partec CyFlow® Counter. Plasma viral loads (PVL) were determined using the Abbott Real-Time HIV-1 assay. Results showed that 230 (55.2%) of the participants were in the 31–45 years age range. The majority (67.4%) of the HIV-1 infected individuals were females and 32.6% were males. An overall prevalence of HIV/TB coinfection in Old Cross River State, Nigeria was 1.4%, with Akwa Ibom State (0.6%) and Cross River State (1.2%). A higher prevalence of HIV/TB coinfection was observed among females (1.8%) than in males (0.7%). Higher prevalences of HIV/TB coinfections was observed in patients above 45 years of age (2.2%), married (2.3%), tertiary education (1.8%) followed by those with secondary education (1.4%), traders and civil servants (3.1%), patients with CD4 counts 200–349 and ≥500 cells/μl (1.9%), and those with viral load <40 copies/mL (2.7%). This study confirmed the presence of HIV/TB co-infection in old Cross River State, Nigeria. Although the prevalence rate of HIV/TB coinfection was low, its presence alone among HIV-1 infected individuals makes it a major source of concern. This finding highlights the need for a well-structured approach to the management of co-infection, and this includes both the social and medical aspects of the problem.
Chiaka Mbakwem-Aniebo, Anwuli Uche Osadebe, Eunice Athanasonny, and Iheanyi Omezurike Okonko African Journals Online (AJOL)
Background: Vaginitis, an infection of the lower genital tract in women, is known to be triggered by the overgrowth of the vagina’s naturally occurring microorganisms.
Objective: This study looked at the prevalence of Candida spp. and age-related disparities amongst women presenting with vag- initis at the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) clinic in a tertiary hospital in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Methods: One hundred high vaginal swabs were collected from pregnant and non-pregnant women and examined microscop- ically and microbiologically.
Results: Age-group 20–29 years had the highest incidence of candidal vaginitis. There was a higher occurrence of yeast cells in pregnant than in non-pregnant participants while the non-pregnant women had a greater level of bacterial cells. Forty (40) of the samples contained yeasts of Candida species representing a 40% prevalence. Three species of Candida were identified with C. albicans dominating. Of the 40 samples positive for Candida spp., 30 (75.0%) were confirmed to be C. albicans. The remaining isolates were C. tropicalis (15.0%) and C. parapsilosis (10.0%).
Conclusion: The findings in this study would play a role in the future management of Candida-induced vaginitis.
Keywords: Candida; epidemiology; prevalence; vaginitis; vulvovaginal candidiasis.
Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko and Eberechukwu Maryann Okoli Informa UK Limited
ABSTRACT The need for a cure against HIV infection and a need to improve HIV screening amongst low risk population such as pregnant women have been an issue since the emergence of HIV. Therefore, a hospital-based cross-sectional study was adopted to determine the prevalence of antibodies to HIV-1/2/O and P24 antigen among pregnant women in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Estimating the HIV seropositivity in pregnant women will offer vital information for monitoring the trend of HIV infection in the general population and assist in prevention from mother-to-child transmission. The occurrence of antibodies to HIV type 1/2/O and P24 antigen among the pregnant women was investigated using fourth-generation ELISA. The influence of the women’s age, marital status, occupation, educational status and gestation period on the prevalence of these antibodies against HIV type 1/2/O and P24 antigen was also considered. Of the 86 pregnant women, 14 were found to be HIV-positive with seropositivity rate of 32.6%. Majority of HIV seropositive women (41.2%) were in the age group of 31–42 years. Higher seropositivity was observed among singles (50.0%), those with secondary education (44.7%), unemployed (47.8%) and in those in their third trimester (40.0%). Additionally, this study observed high seropositivity of antibodies to HIV type 1, 2, O and P24 antigen among pregnant women in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and calls for urgent and concerted efforts aimed at promoting behavioral and socio-cultural practices that could change the current high rate of HIV seropositivity amongst pregnant women in Nigeria. A combination of preventive strategies such as the use of condoms, breaking the chain of transmission within sexual networks by prompt treatment and reducing the amount of unsafe sexual behavior, promoting sexual abstinence and behavioral change from high-risk behavior are advocated.
Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko, Taiwo Salami Makinde, Blessing Jachinma Okonko, and Ogbonnaya Ogbu Informa UK Limited
ABSTRACT Human herpesvirus 4 which is commonly known as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the opportunistic pathogens that affect human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals and it is the leading cause of death and cancer in humans. The study was designed to evaluate the prevalence of EBV among HIV-1 infected individuals in Abakaliki metropolis, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. A total of 91 HIV-1 infected individuals were collected from Mile 4 Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. ELISA was used to determine the Epstein-Barr Nuclear Antigen (EBNA) IgG and IgM antibodies. Full blood count (FBC), white cell count (WBC) and differential counts were also determined using standard hematological methods. Of the 91 serum samples obtained from HIV-1 infected individuals, 87(95.6%) and 20(22.0%) samples were found to be positive for EBVNA IgG and IgM antibody respectively. All the age groups had significant IgG prevalence, but age groups ≤ 20 years, and ≥ 41 had the highest prevalence while age group 21–30 years was found to have a less rate of prevalence. Also, the highest seropositivity for IgM antibodies was observed in the age group 31–40 years (32.4%) while the age groups ≤20 years (0.0%) is the lowest. However, these differences were not statistically associated with PVL and EBVNA IgG (p = .4311) and IgM antibodies (p = .4861).Higher seropositivity of EBVNA IgG occurred among those with PVL 41–10,000 copies/mL (100.0%) and PVL 10,001 copies/mL and above (100.0%) compared to those with PVL less than or equal to 40 copies/mL (95.0%). While regarding EBVNA IgM antibodies, higher seropositivity of EBVNA IgM occurred among those with PVL less than or equal to 40 copies/mL (25.0%) compared to those with PVL 41–10,000 copies/mL (20.0%) and PVL 10,001 copies/mL and above (8.3%). There was a significant difference in Neutrophils p < .026 between the mean of females and males (40.9 ± 11.7 and 36 ± 31.1) infected with EBV IgM in HIV individuals. There was also a significant positive correlation between CD4 counts and the WBC, Lymphocytes, Eosinophils and the neutrophil among the HIV-1 individuals used for this study. The correlations observed between both CD4+ count and neutrophil support the potential use of neutrophils as a marker of EBV in HIV disease progression and as useful markers of immune activation.
Andrew N Banin, Michael Tuen, Jude S Bimela, Marcel Tongo, Paul Zappile, Alireza Khodadadi‐Jamayran, Aubin J Nanfack, Iheanyi O Okonko, Josephine Meli, Xiaohong Wang,et al. Wiley
In Cameroon, a manifold diversity of HIV strains exists with CRF02_AG and unique recombinant forms (URFs) being the predominant strains. In recent years, a steady increase in URFs and clade F2 viruses has been monitored through partial genome sequencing. There is an information gap in the characterization of emerging URFs along the full genome, which is needed to address the challenges URFs pose towards diagnosis, treatment and HIV‐1 vaccine design.
Iheanyi O. Okonko, Amaoge Anyanwu, Anwuli U. Osadebe, and Ngozi N. Odu Informa UK Limited
ABSTRACT Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) are considered as key players in the global health scene. This study sought to determine the prevalence of TB among HIV-positive attendees of the Directly Observed Treatment of Short Course (DOTS) program at the military hospital in Port Harcourt. The association of HIV prevalence with gender and age as risk factors was also determined. A total of 200 patients aged 15–65 years were screened. Re-screening for HIV was done for confirmation. The overall prevalence for anti-TB antibodies amongst HIV-positive individuals was 14.0% (7.5% in males and 6.5% in females) while HIV prevalence following re-screening was 92%. It was observed that based on employment status and level of education, the highest HIV prevalence was seen in unemployed individuals and individuals with no formal education. The result showed that 29.9% of the HIV seropositives were males while 70.1% were females. Sex-related prevalence of HIV–TB coinfection within groups indicated significantly higher co-infection rates (P < 0.05) among males (23.1%) than females (9.6%). Age-related prevalence of HIV–TB coinfection within groups showed that co-infection was significantly greater (P < 0.05) in ages below 30 years (21.2%) than in their counterparts 30 years and above (9.6%). This study confirmed the presence of TB co-infections among HIV-positive individuals in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Considering the role of TB in driving the HIV pandemic, it is imperative that HIV-positive patients are screened for TB infection regularly to reduce the scale of active HIV–TB co-infection.
Oluwatosin Akende, Olusola Anuoluwapo Akanbi, Adeolu Sunday Oluremi, Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko, and Oluyinka Oladele Opaleye Informa UK Limited
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the predominant viral infections that lead to congenital diseases and teratogenic risks during the perinatal stage. There is paucity of seroepidemiological data on anti-CMV IgG antibody in pregnant women in Osogbo, Osun State, Nigeria. This study was aimed at determining the seroprevalence of Cytomegalovirus IgG antibody among pregnant women visiting antenatal clinic, LAUTECH Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, Nigeria. One hundred and seventy-four sera from the pregnant women were screened by Enzyme linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) for cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgG antibody. Data analysis was done using SPSS software. In this study, 105 of the 174 pregnant women were seropositive for CMV IgG antibodies giving an antibody prevalence of 60%. There was no association found between CMV IgG seropositivity and the subjects’ demographic characteristics, however, the 60.0% prevalence of CMV-IgG antibody observed amongst pregnant women in this study demands for vaccines and regular testing for the presence of CMV and its related risk factors in antenatal clinic.
Babatunde Olanrewaju Motayo, Olusola Akingbade, Victor Nwadike, Olabode Shobayo, Joseph Ogiogwa, Akiniyi Akinduti, and Iheanyi Okonko Pan African Medical Journal
The recent introduction of the Heptavalent-pneumococcal vaccine (PCV-7) by private pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria, has generated interest in invasive bacterial diseases particularly IPD. Our objective in this study is to investigate the trend and occurrence rate of IPD in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Suspected IPD cases were assessed from Jan 2010 to Dec 2010 for demographic and Microbiological characteristics. Bacterial isolations and antibiotics susceptibility testing followed standard bacteriological procedure. Overall 471 cases of probable IPD was assessed, with 21(4.5%) cases of suspected pneumonia, 109(23.1%) cases of suspected meningitis, and 341(72.4%) cases of suspected septicaemia. Confirmed IPD cases were 9 with 2 cases of meningitis, 3 cases of septicaemia and 4 cases of pneumonia. Age range distribution showed, high distribution of IPD cases among children >1 with 5(55.6%) there was a statistically significant difference in gender p< 0.05 (X2 test) with females recording a higher occurrence than males. We conclude by advocating for better detection methods against IPD meningitis cases, and continuous surveillance into the serotypes of streptococcus pneumonia as well inclusion of the PCV vaccine into our childhood immunization program.
E. T. Babalola, O. K. Ijaopo, and I. O. Okonko Informa UK Limited
Canine Parvovirus (CPV) is a very contagious and virulent viral disease affecting domestic dogs all over the world causing high morbidity and mortality in dogs, especially puppies. This study aimed at determining the seropositivity of IgG antibodies against CPV in vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs and to evaluate the immune status of dogs presented in Abeokuta. Forty-eight dogs were enrolled in this study. These dogs were presented at random for treatment, routine checkup, and vaccination at the State Veterinary Hospital and Veterinary Teaching Hospital all in Abeokuta. All the dogs were fully maintained under domestic setting. Selection for study was done based on thorough examination of the dogs and their medical records. The clients were informed of the nature of the investigation. Blood samples were collected and analyzed for anti-CPV-IgG. In principle, protective immunity correlates with high antibody titers and this was determined using a commercially available immunocomb® test kit for anti-CPV IgG antibody. Of 48 dogs sampled, 38 (79.2%) had high level of anti-CPV antibody titer and 10 (20.8%) had low level of anti-CPV antibody titer. Twenty six (54.2%) were males while 22 (45.8%) were females. Forty-five (93.75%) dogs were exotic breeds while 3 (6.25%) dogs were mongrels. Thirty (62.5%) of the dogs were less than one year old and the age range of all dogs sampled was between 7 weeks and 7 years. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) between sex and the level of immunity but significant differences (P < 0.05) were observed between ages of dogs, breeds, post-vaccination period, and the level of immunity. In conclusion, this study has further confirmed the presence of IgG antibodies against canine parvovirus among dogs in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Of all variables evaluated, ages of dogs, breeds and post-vaccination period were the main correlates of the level of immunity to CPV. This study also showed agreement with previous studies in the diagnostic value of using the immunoblot ELISA assay for the rapid detection of anti-CPV IgG antibody.
I. O. Okonko and V. Ofoedu Informa UK Limited
Most HPV prevalence studies have been carried out in high-resource countries with few studies focused on low-resource regions where highest HPV prevalence in the world occurs. This study reports on prevalence of IgG antibodies against HPVs among women of childbearing age in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. One hundred and eighty-two consented women (age-range 19–45 years) were consecutively recruited. Demographic/behavioral data and 5 mL blood samples were collected from each woman. Plasma of each sample was assayed for HPV-6/11/16/18 virus-like particles using a HPV IgG ELISA kit. The overall anti-HPV prevalence was 4.9% while 7.7% with itching/wound in the private part tested positive. Most (88.9%) of the seropositive women were sexually active. Group-specific seropositivity was low (0.0–10.0%). It also showed that all the 9(100.0%) who tested positive to the HPV responded “yes” to no information on the source of HPV information. Being younger, married, high educational level, religion, and lack of information on HPV were the main correlates of HPV positivity among these women. None was vaccinated and would have been naturally exposed to at least one of HPV-6/11/16/18. With 4.9% seropositivity and lack of information regarding HPV among these women, this study recommends a statewide enlightenment campaign and vaccination.
OE Newton, OA Oghene, and IO Okonko African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) share common routes of infection and as such, co-infection is expected. Co-infection of the two viruses is of great medical importance as it determines the effect of drugs used for treatment at various stages. OBJECTIVE This interplay between HIV and HCV sets the tone for the objective of this study which is to ascertain the seroprevalence of HCV among newly diagnosed HIV patients in Ughelli, a suburban area of Delta State, Nigeria. METHODS A total of 200 newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients were recruited for this study. Each of the sera was tested for anti-HCV antibody using SWE-life HCV ultra rapid test strip. Appropriate questionnaires were used to ascertain other important information which include social behaviour such as whether the patients were MSM (males), IDU, tattoo and/or have received blood transfusion in the past. RESULTS The prevalence of HCV among the study population was determined to be 15.0%. A higher seroprevalence was observed among females (16.5%) than in males (13.0%). A higher seroprevalence was also observed among age groups >26 years (16.0%) than in age-groups 14-25 years (13.0%) and 2-13 years (0.0%). Of the 7 patients with tattoos, 1(14.3%) tested positive for HCV compared to 29(15.0%) with no tattoos. We found no significant correlation with transfusion, intravenous drug use (IDU), men that have sex with men (MSM), tattooing and the seroprevalence of HCV. However, significant correlation existed with age, sex and HCV prevalence. CONCLUSION This study reports a 15.0% seroprevalence of HCV among newly diagnosed HIV patients and that is alarmingly well above several other studies done in the past in Nigeria and other countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Planned preven tion, screening, and treatment are needed to reduce further transmission and morbidity. Future studies involving HCV-RNA assays are needed.
IO Okonko and LC Nnodim African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND The pandemic of HIV lines amongst the utmost infectious disease menaces in antiquity. HIV remains a problem worldwide and it's a grave health snags in developing nations particularly in Nigeria. OBJECTIVE This study focused on "trends in HIV reporting from 2008 to 2012 among young adults in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. METHODS Secondary data were collected from BMSH, Port Harcourt using a Performa specifically intended for this determination. Socio-demographic data for the subjects were recovered from coded patients' medical records kept at BMSH. The data generated was exposed to Fisher's Exact Test. RESULTS The study showed that a total of 3081 HIV-positive cases were reported between 2008 and 2012. The HIV trend were not well defined, it peaked in 2009(36.6%) and 2008(32.8%) and a decrease in 2011(16.6%), 2012(8.3%) and 2010(5.7%). A 3.8% increase was observed between 2008 and 2009 and 30.9% decrease between 2009 and 2010. However, the prevalence seemed to stabilize between 2009 and 2012. HIV patterns among various age-groups is not well-defined, it rose with increasing age and peaked at 26-30 years (35.7%) after which it declined. Sex differences (P<0.05) in the trend was observed. Males ages 26-30 years showed uniform pattern with an increasing trend while 36-40 years showed decreasing trend except in 2009(34.1%). Females ages 26-30 years showed uniform pattern with an increasing trend from 2008(21.7%) to 2010(41.9%) and decreased from 41.9% (2010) to 36.5%(2012). The low HIV prevalence in 2010 could be attributed to the fact that the proportion of centers giving ART enlarged from 2005 to date. Health care facilities providing HIV/AIDS counselling and testing services also increased. CONCLUSION The long decades fight against HIV especially in Rivers State is making progress, though an unstable one. The observed increase in years with high HIV prevalences calls for an intensified focus of intervention.
SO Ogwu-Richard, DA Ojo, OA Akingbade, and IO Okonko African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND Few studies exist on hospital-based seroprevalence of triple positivity of HIV/HBV/HCV in Nigeria. OBJECTIVES The study aimed at determining the triple positivity of HIV, HBsAg and HCV among HIV-infected individuals in Abeokuta, Nigeria and defining the influence of these triple infections on CD4+ counts of HIV-infected individuals as antiretroviral therapy improves in Nigeria. METHODS Enumeration of CD4+ levels in 183 HIV-infected persons was done with Partec Flow Cytometer. Seropositivity of HBsAg and anti-HCV antibody was detected with rapid kits. RESULTS From the result obtained, significance variance (p<0.05) existed between HIV positive persons and persons who tested positive to HIV/HBV/HCV triple infection before and after the commencement of HAART. Of these infections, 31(16.9%) had HBV/HCV/HIV triple infection, while 152(83.1%) had HIV mono infection only, 56(30.6%) had HBV/HIV dual infection only and 43(23.5%) had HCV/HIV dual infection only. Significant variance (p<0.05) also existed between subjects with CD4 counts of <200 cells/µl, 200-499 cells/µl and >500 cells/µl. Highest seroprevalence of HIV (35.0%) was found in age groups 35-44 years and >65 years had the least (2.7%). Significant variance (p<0.05) also existed in the progression of CD4+ lymphocytes cells between subjects with persistent decrease (32.3%) in CD4+ lymphocytes cells and those with fluctuation in their CD4+ lymphocytes cells (12.9%) after the commencement of ART. CONCLUSION The study further confirms that triple positivity of HIV/HBV/HCV infection is common in Abeokuta, Nigeria. Testing of these triple infections should be a big concern in the best choice and commencement of ART. Also, the study showed that consistent and prolonged use of HAART had a positive impact on the CD4 count of HIV-infected individuals.
IO Okonko and TI Cookey African Journals Online (AJOL)
Background: The basis of apparent resistance to HIV-1 infection by some HIV-1 exposed heterosexual couples is unclear. The nature and functional characteristics of their immune cells could offer insight. Objective: To characterise immune profile in terms of CD8+ CD4+ CD56+/16+ and CD19+ cell number and Th1/Th2 cytokine expression in heterosexual HIV–1 discordant couples. Methods: Thirty-three (33) untreated HIV-1 discordant (index with CD4³250 cells/µL) concordant positive and negative control couples were recruited at MTRH/USAID-AMPATH partnership clinics in Western Kenya. Lymphocyte phenotypes complete blood count viral load (VL) and Th1/Th2 cytokine levels were determined and compared between the study groups. Results: Differences were observed between: HIV-1 discordant index females and concordant positive females CD8+ 711.0 cells/ml vs 1070.8 cells/ml (p = 0.005); %CD8+ 43.0% vs 56.3%;( p = 0.017); CD4+ 28.0% vs 18.3% (p = 0.02); CD56+/16+ 208.0 cells/ml vs 447.5 cells/ml (p = .011); discordant index males and concordant negative males CD4+ 700.7cell/ml vs 1000.4 cells/ml (p = 0.003); CD8+ 554.7 cells/ml vs 1062.4 cells/ml (p = 0.002); CD56+/16+ 290.5 cells/ml vs 450.7 cells/ml (p = 0.027). Uninfected female partners had higher mean cells/µL and percentage CD19+ than index females. In discordant index log10 viral load as negatively correlated with CD4+ (rho = -0.274) and CD56+/16+ (rho = -0.319). No Th1 to Th2 cytokine shift occurred in both index and partners of discordant couples. Conclusion: Lymphocyte subsets counts and cytokine levels correlate with HIV-1 resistance among the studied heterosexual HIV-1 discordant couples. Studies using HIV-1 specific antigens and lymphocytes from similar cohorts are necessary to improve understanding the role of immune response in HIV-1 discordance.
John Adeolu Alli, Bamidele A. Iwalokun, Afolabi Oluwadun, and Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko Informa UK Limited
Yogurt and starter culture producers are still searching strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus to produce healthier yogurt with a longer shelf life and better texture, taste, and quality. This study determined the genotyping of bacteriocin producing Lactobacillus acidophilus strains recovered from Nigerian yogurts. Yogurt samples were collected from four different states of South West regions of Nigeria. Isolates were obtained from MRS Medium and biochemically characterized. This was further confirmed by API50CH. The bacteriocin positivity and activity was determined. Genomic characterization of our Lactobacillus acidophilus strains was done with randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR. All yogurt samples containing Lactobacillus acidophilus strains meet the probiotic requirement of ≥106 cfu/mL. The gel picture revealed 6 RAPD clonal types of Lactobacillus acidophilus strains with RAPD type C observed to be more common. Significant differences existed in the mean growth inhibition zone (t = −7.32, P < 0.05 for E. coli ATCC; t = −6.19, P < 0.05 for E. coli clinical isolates; t = −6.16, P < 0.05 for Enterobacter sp; t = −11.92, P < 0.05 for Salmonella typhi, t = −1.10, P > 0.05 Staphylococcus aureus). No correlation between the bacteriocin production, activity, and their RAPD clonal division (X2 = 7.49, P = 0.1610, df = 5). In conclusion, L. acidophilus isolated in Nigeria samples met the probiotic requirements of ≥106 cfu/mL and produce bacteriocins with good spectrum of activity.
I. O. Okonko, S. J. Horsefall, P. O. Okerentugba, and N. Frank-Peterside Informa UK Limited
HBV is a major public health concern as it afflicts an estimated 350 million people worldwide. Studies are crucial and necessary to give us a better understanding of the epidemiology of the diseases in developing countries. A clearer picture of HBV/HIV prevalence in Africa is important in order to better educate the population and control these epidemics. This study estimated the seroprevalence of HBV/HIV coinfections among intending blood donors in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. In this cohort study, we collected blood samples from 178 intending blood donors who were confirmed to be HIV-seropositive at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) from September 2012 to June 2013. Commercial ELISA was used to assay for the presence of HBsAg among these subjects. The overall prevalence was found to be 6.7%. Sex and education (P < 0.05) were the main correlates in this study. Age was not statistically correlated (P > 0.05) in this study. We also observed a high overall HBV/HIV co-infection seronegativity of 93.3% among these blood donors. Group-specific seronegativity was also high ranging from 86.4–100.0%. Although the age groups (13–20, 21–35, and 36–66 years) insignificantly differed, none of their variables showed statistical association with the seronegativity. Our findings underscore the importance of screening for HBV/HIV among blood donors in developing countries, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the epidemics are still growing and a major public health concern.
I. O. Okonko, T. I. Cookey, P. O. Okerentugba, and N. Frank-Peterside Informa UK Limited
The present study was undertaken for the purpose of finding IgM antibodies against HSV-1 and 2 infections among pregnant women and also to evaluate correlation of Serum HSV-1 and 2 IgM in these pregnant women. A total of 180 pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria were consecutively recruited, after they had given consents to participate in the study. Serum of each sample was assayed for HSV-1&2 IgM antibody using a commercial ELISA. Five (2.8%) of the pregnant women were positive for IgM antibody against HSV-1&2. Marital status mainly correlated (χ2 = 221.5, P < 0.05) with HSV-2 infection and HSV-1/HSV-2 co-infection. Age, educational level, occupation, and gestation were not consistently associated (P>0.05) with HSV-1/HSV-2 infection and co-infection. We also observed a high overall anti-HSV-1&2 IgM seronegativity of 97.2% among these pregnant women. Group-specific seronegativity was also high ranging from 93.3–100%. Although the age-groups significantly differed, none of their variables showed statistical association with the seronegativity. This represents the first analysis of HSV IgM antibody reported in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and has important public health implications, particularly for pregnant women. Consideration of this information would benefit physicians providing primary gynecological and obstetric care to this population of women.
A. Fowotade, I. O. Okonko, C. Nwabuisi, R. A. Bakare, A. Fadeyi, and F. D. Adu Informa UK Limited
This study was designed to assess the seroconversion rate of measles vaccine among infants receiving measles immunization in Ilorin, Nigeria. The pre- and post-measles vaccination sera of the children were tested using the Haemagglutination Inhibition test. The measles vaccines administered at the immunization centre were also tested for their potency using in-vitro titration method. Only 286 (71.5%) of the vacinees returned to give post-vaccination samples. All the infants screened had low pre-vaccination measles antibody titers. Thirty one (8.0%) of the infants had measles prior to vaccination. The seroconversion pattern showed that 196 (68.6%) of the infants developed protective antibody titers. Low seroconversion rate reported in this study was due to low vaccine potency. The titers of vaccines with low potency ranged between log10−1.0–log10−2.25 TCID/per dose. This was beside other non specific antiviral substances exhibited virus neutralizing activity. Only 3 (50%) of the 6 vaccine vials tested had virus titers of log10−3.25 to log10−3.5, which fell above the cut-off point recommended by the World Health Organization for measles vaccines. The sero-conversion rate of 68.6% observed among vaccinees is far lower than the immunity level of 95% required stopping measles transmission in an endemic community. Failure of 31.4% of these infants to sero-convert post vaccination can be attributed partly to administration of sub-potent vaccines. There is need for improvement and maintenance of effective vaccine cold chain system in Nigeria. There is need also for periodic monitoring of post-vaccination antibody titers as well as vaccine potency status in order to ensure development of protective seroconversion rates.
Iheanyi Omezuruike Okonko, Valentina Ofoedu, Phillip O. Okerentugba, and Nnenna Frank-Peterside Informa UK Limited
This study reports the seroepidemiology and high negativity of IgG antibodies against the most common low- and high-risk HPVs among sexually active women of childbearing age in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. A total of 182 consented women (age range 19–45 years) were consecutively recruited to participate in the study. Using a Performa specifically designed for this study, pertinent socio-demographic/behavioral data were collected. Five 5 mL blood samples were also collected (aseptically) from each woman. Plasma of each sample was assayed for HPV-6/11/16/18 virus-like particles using a HPV IgG ELISA kit (Dia.Pro). The study showed a high overall anti-HPV seronegativity of 95.1% among these women. High group-specific seronegativity was also observed which ranged from 90.0 −100.0%. None of the variables evaluated showed statistical association with the HPV seronegativity. This study further confirmed the presence of HPV and susceptibility of a large population of women in their childbearing age to infections with these four HPV genotypes in Nigeria. Our findings therefore advocate for routine and early screening and clinical evaluation of all women of childbearing age for HPV- infection and -related manifestations.
A Fowotade, IO Okonko, OO Agbede, and ST Suleiman African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND Human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a major public health problem in sub-saharan Africa. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been reported to enhance HIV replication and accelerate the progression of HIV infection to AIDS. OBJECTIVE This study reports on the high seropositivity of immunoglobulin (Ig) G and M antibodies against CMV and the risk factors for CMV infection among HIV/AIDS patients in Ilorin, Nigeria. METHOD A total of 180 consented HIV-1 seropositive patients (age-range 16-56 years; 108 females and 72 males) were consecutively recruited. Socio-demographic/behavioral data and 5 ml blood samples were collected from each patient. Plasma of each sample was assayed for anti-CMV IgG/IgM using a CMV IgG and IgM Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA) kit. RESULTS Twenty (11.1%) of the 180 HIV-1 seropositive subjects were positive for anti-CMV IgM antibody while 169(93.9%) were positive for anti-CMV IgG antibody. Age, marital status, number of sexual partners, CD4 cells counts and previous history of blood transfusion were the main correlates of CMV seropositivity among these patients. However, occupation, sex, highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) were not statistically associated with CMV seropositivity in this study. CONCLUSION This study has shown that greater percentages of HIV-1 seropositive patients had active CMV infection. It has further shown that CMV is hyperendemic in HIV-1 seropositive patients in Ilorin, Nigeria.
O Akingbade, S Balogun, D Ojo, P Akinduti, PO Okerentugba, JC Nwanze, and IO Okonko African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND Multi-drug resistant Escherichia coli has become a major threat and cause of many urinary tract infections (UTIs) in Abeokuta, Nigeria. OBJECTIVES This study was carried out to determine the resistant plasmids of multidrug resistant Escherichia coli isolated from (Urinary tract infections)UTIs in Abeokuta. METHODS A total of 120 Escherichia coli isolates were obtained from urine samples collected from patients attending inpatient and outpatient clinics presenting UTI; with their biodata. Antibiotics susceptibility was performed and multi-drug resistant isolates were selected for plasmid profiling. Plasmids were extracted by the alkaline lysis method, electrophoresed on 0.8% agarose gel and profiled using a gel-photo documentation system gel. RESULTS Escherichia coli isolates obtained shows high resistance to cloxacillin (92.5%), amoxicillin (90.8%), ampicillin (90.8%), erythromycin (75.8%), cotrimoxazole (70.0%), streptomycin (70.0%) and tetracycline (68.3%) while 85.8% and 84.2% were susceptible to gentamycin and ceftazidime respectively. Sixteen Escherichia coli strains were observed to be resistant to more than two classes of antibiotics. The resistant plasmid DNA was detectable in 6(37.5%) of the 16 multidrug resistant Escherichia coli having single sized plasmids of the same weight 854bp and were all resistant to erythromycin, cefuroxime, cloxacillin, amoxicillin, ampicillin and cotrimoxazole. CONCLUSION This study has highlighted the emergence of multidrug resistant R-plasmids among Escherichia coli causing urinary tract infections in Abeokuta, Nigeria. There is a high level of resistance to many antimicrobials that are frequently used in Abeokuta, Nigeria.
BO Motayo, PA Akinduti, FA Adeyakinu, PO Okerentugba, JC Nwanze, CC Onoh, HC Innocent-Adiele, and IO Okonko African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND The increased reports of ESBL dissemination from various centres in south western, Nigeria and the recent emergence of carbapenem resistant bacteria prompted the conception of this study. OBJECTIVES To demonstrate the relationship between high molecular weight plasmids and the expression of antibiotic multi-resistance including ESBL and carbapenemase. METHODS We investigated 97 isolates of selected organisms consisting of 67 E. coli and 30 Klebseilla spp for the presence of plasmids expressing ESBL including carbapenem-hydrolysing enzymes. Beta-lactamase was determined using acidometric method, while ESBL and carbapenemase activity was determined using the double-disk diffusion test as well as the Modified Hodge test (MHT). Plasmid profiles of ESBL and carbapenemase positive isolates were determined according to standard protocols. RESULTS An ESBL prevalence rate of 21.6% and carbapenem- resistance rate of 9.3% was recorded. Antibiotic susceptibility profile of ESBL isolates showed 100.0% resistance against Amoxicillin, Cotrimoxazole and Erythromycin. Moderate susceptibility was recorded against the Quinolone class of antibiotics; Meropenem remained the most active antibiotic against ESBL isolates with 62.5% against E. coli and 60% against K. pneumoniae. The plasmid profiles of our study isolates ranged from 11.8kbp to 35.5kbp. CONCLUSION Due to the relationship between high molecular weight plasmids and multi-drug resistance, we hereby recommend regular molecular surveillance of this form in our study setting.
IO Okonko, AA Adebiyi, OS Ogah, and FD Adu African Journals Online (AJOL)
BACKGROUND Human enteroviruses have long been associated with various diseases of man resulting into a wide range of acute symptoms involving the cardiac and skeletal muscles, central nervous system, pancreas, skin and mucous membranes. OBJECTIVE To assess the role of enteroviruses in the etiology of hypertension, DCM and HHF. METHODS We obtained stool specimens from 70 subjects comprising 65 patients and 5 controls and isolation was carried out on RD, L20B, HEp-2C and Vero cell lines and identified by neutralization with standard antisera (RIVM). Thirty-six enteroviruses were isolated and identified to be Coxsackieviruses-B5, A9, Echoviruses 1, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 22, 30 and Poliovirus type 1 and 3. RESULTS Three most frequently occurring enterovirus serotypes which constitute 60.0% of the 30 NPEV typed and 50.0% of all the isolates were Echoviruses, Coxsackie-B5-virus and Coxsackievirus-A9. Echoviruses constituted 50.0% of all the serotypes while Coxsackieviruses-B5 and A9 accounts for the 27.8 % and 5.6% respectively. Enteroviral isolation rate was higher in age groups 51 years and above. The percentage of study subjects who had Coxsackie-B5-viruses and echoviruses was significantly (P<0.05) higher in cases of hypertension, HHF and DCM than in control subjects. Coxackie-B5-virus, Echovirus-6 and Echovirus-11 were found in both study locations. CONCLUSION The findings of this study showed that Enteroviruses may likely be involved in the etiology of hypertension, DCM and HHF. Further studies would therefore be necessary for the prevention and control of these diseases.
Banin, A.N., Tuen, M., Bimela, J.S., Tongo, M., Zappile, P., Khodadadi-Jamayran, A., Nanfack, A., Okonko, I.O., Meli, J., Wang, X., Mbanya, D., Ngogang, J., Gorny, M.K., Heguy, A., Nyambi, P., Fokunang, C. & Duerr, R. (2019). Near Full Genome Characterization of HIV-1 Unique Recombinant Forms in Cameroon reveals dominant CRF02_AG and F2 recombination patterns. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 22(7):e25362.
Okonko, I. O. & Okoli, E. M. (2020). Determination of antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus type 1&2&O and P24 – antigen in pregnant women in Port Harcourt Nigeria. Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry, 41 (2): 208-218
Okonko, I. O., Makinde, T. S., Okonko, B. J. & Ogbu, O. (2020). Immunological and epidemiological evaluation of EBV infections among HIV-1 infected individuals in Abakaliki, Nigeria supports the potential use of neutrophils as a marker of EBV in HIV disease progression and as useful markers of immune activation. Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry, 41 (2): 158-170
Okonko, I.O. & Egbogon, J. (2022). Plasma Immunoglobulin-G (IgG) Against Epstein Barr Virus Nuclear Antigens Among University Students in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Biotechnology, 21:10-19
Okonko, I.O., Okobia, V. C., Cookey, T. I., & Innocent-Adiele, H. C. (2022). Dual Positivity of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) In the Highly Infected Population of Rivers State, Nigeria. Report & Opinion, 14(10):1-9
2021 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Institution-Based Research (IBR) Grant (TETF/UPH/IBR/2019/7/009). A Grant to support my research on “Evaluation and Validation of COVID-19 Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDTs)” under the Year(s) 2014-2019 TETFund Intervention in Research Project (RP) for Institution-Based Research (IBR).
2021 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Institution-Based Research (IBR) Grant (TETF/UPH/IBR/2019/7/006). A Grant to support my research on “Unravelling the genetic diversity of HIV-1 sequence markers that are associated with disease parameters in HIV-1 positive individuals in Port Harcourt, Nigeria” under the Year(s) 2014-2019 TETFund Intervention in Research Project (RP) for Institution-Based Research (IBR).
2021 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Institution-Based Research (IBR) Grant (TETF/UPH/IBR/2019/7/002). A Grant to support my research on “Knowledge, attitude, perception of tetanus toxoid vaccination and assessment of immunity to tetanus among residents of Obio-Akpor LGA, Rivers state, Nigeria” under the Year(s) 2014-2019 TETFund Intervention in Research Project (RP) for Institution-Based Research (IBR).
2016-2018: African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship (ADDRF) HIV Award. by African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Nairobi, Kenya in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.
2016-2017: Fulbright Visiting Research Scholar Fellowship
A Fulbright Visiting Fellowship to the New York University School of Medicine (NYUSoM), New York, United States-A program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs targeted at young and exceptionally promising Faculty members who wish to conduct their doctoral research in the United States and designed primarily to strengthen capacities of African Universities through higher degree training and to develop the potential of their academic staff.