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Parasitic Diseases - Top 30 Publications

HIV Infection Manifesting as Proximal White Onychomycosis.

Predicting local malaria exposure using a Lasso-based two-level cross validation algorithm.

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of local environmental factors to determine the fine-scale heterogeneity of malaria transmission and exposure to the vector. In this work, we compare a classical GLM model with backward selection with different versions of an automatic LASSO-based algorithm with 2-level cross-validation aiming to build a predictive model of the space and time dependent individual exposure to the malaria vector, using entomological and environmental data from a cohort study in Benin. Although the GLM can outperform the LASSO model with appropriate engineering, the best model in terms of predictive power was found to be the LASSO-based model. Our approach can be adapted to different topics and may therefore be helpful to address prediction issues in other health sciences domains.

Systematic review of community-based, school-based, and combined delivery modes for reaching school-aged children in mass drug administration programs for schistosomiasis.

The mainstay of current schistosomiasis control programs is mass preventive chemotherapy of school-aged children with praziquantel. This treatment is delivered through school-based, community-based, or combined school- and community-based systems. Attaining very high coverage rates for children is essential in mass schistosomiasis treatment programs, as is ensuring that there are no persistently untreated subpopulations, a potential challenge for school-based programs in areas with low school enrollment. This review sought to compare the different treatment delivery methods based both on their coverage of school-aged children overall and on their coverage specifically of non-enrolled children. In addition, qualitative community or programmatic factors associated with high or low coverage rates were identified, with suggestions for overall coverage improvement.

Pegivirus avoids immune recognition but does not attenuate acute-phase disease in a macaque model of HIV infection.

Human pegivirus (HPgV) protects HIV+ people from HIV-associated disease, but the mechanism of this protective effect remains poorly understood. We sequentially infected cynomolgus macaques with simian pegivirus (SPgV) and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) to model HIV+HPgV co-infection. SPgV had no effect on acute-phase SIV pathogenesis-as measured by SIV viral load, CD4+ T cell destruction, immune activation, or adaptive immune responses-suggesting that HPgV's protective effect is exerted primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection. We also examined the immune response to SPgV in unprecedented detail, and found that this virus elicits virtually no activation of the immune system despite persistently high titers in the blood over long periods of time. Overall, this study expands our understanding of the pegiviruses-an understudied group of viruses with a high prevalence in the global human population-and suggests that the protective effect observed in HIV+HPgV co-infected people occurs primarily during the chronic phase of HIV infection.

Abomasal dysfunction and cellular and mucin changes during infection of sheep with larval or adult Teladorsagia circumcincta.

This is the first integrated study of the effects on gastric secretion, inflammation and fundic mucins after infection with L3 T. circumcincta and in the very early period following transplantation of adult worms. At 3 months-of-age, 20 Coopworth lambs were infected intraruminally with 35,000 L3; infected animals were killed on Days 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 post-infection and 6 controls on either Day 0 or 30 post-infection. Another 15 Romney cross lambs received 10,000 adult worms at 4-5 months-of-age though surgically-implanted abomasal cannulae and were killed after 6, 12, 24 and 72 hours; uninfected controls were also killed at 72 hours. Blood was collected at regular intervals from all animals for measurement of serum gastrin and pepsinogen and abomasal fluid for pH measurement from cannulated sheep. Tissues collected at necropsy were fixed in Bouin's fluid for light microscopy, immunocytochemistry and mucin staining and in Karnovsky's fluid for electron microscopy. Nodules around glands containing developing larvae were seen on Day 5 p.i., but generalised effects on secretion occurred only after parasite emergence and within hours after transplantation of adult worms. After L3 infection, there were maximum worm burdens on Days 10-15 post-infection, together with peak tissue eosinophilia, inhibition of gastric acid secretion, hypergastrinaemia, hyperpepsinogenaemia, loss of parietal cells, enlarged gastric pits containing less mucin and increased numbers of mucous neck cells. After adult transplantation, serum pepsinogen was significantly increased after 9 hours and serum gastrin after 18 hours. Parallel changes in host tissues and the numbers of parasites in the abomasal lumen suggest that luminal parasites, but not those in the tissues, are key drivers of the pathophysiology and inflammatory response in animals exposed to parasites for the first time. These results are consistent with initiation of the host response by parasite chemicals diffusing across the surface epithelium, possibly aided by components of ES products which increased permeability. Parietal cells appear to be a key target, resulting in secondary increases in serum gastrin, pit elongation, loss of surface mucins and inhibition of chief cell maturation. Inflammation occurs in parallel, and could either cause the pathology or exacerbate the direct effects of ES products.

The socio-economic burden of human African trypanosomiasis and the coping strategies of households in the South Western Kenya foci.

Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), a disease caused by protozoan parasites transmitted by tsetse flies, is an important neglected tropical disease endemic in remote regions of sub-Saharan Africa. Although the determination of the burden of HAT has been based on incidence, mortality and morbidity rates, the true burden of HAT goes beyond these metrics. This study sought to establish the socio-economic burden that households with HAT faced and the coping strategies they employed to deal with the increased burden.

Why reinvent the wheel? Lessons in schistosomiasis control from the past.

Schistosomiasis has been of concern to local health authorities for most of the last century, and in spite of a lack of effective chemotherapy, the disease was dealt with quite effectively in many endemic countries by snail control and environmental management [1]. Much of this work was reported in journals prior to the electronic era but, sadly, seems to have been subsequently ignored. For many years, there followed a global hiatus on schistosomiasis control, and much of the local expertise was lost, but many things have changed more recently, mainly with the advent of generic and affordable praziquantel. With the increased availability of this drug, there has been an increasing interest in readdressing schistosomes as well as other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). The strategic approach for this had been based almost exclusively on chemotherapy. Recently, however, questions arose about this strategy with evidence that chemotherapy alone was not succeeding [2]. Additional strategies were needed, and the "Towards Elimination of Schistosomiasis" (TES) 2017 Conference in Cameroon stressed an integrated PHASE strategy. This was in line with the WHO-NTD and WHO-AFRO 2014-2020 Regional Strategy on NTDs and directed emphasis on transmission control. Subsequently, this emphasis was discussed in a comprehensive review [3] that stressed the importance of such additions to any elimination programme. In reality, this means focusing on the aquatic snail hosts where and when transmission occurs, defining other risk factors such as water contact and latrine design and identifying improved sanitation and health education as essential components for elimination. For schistosomiasis reduction during the mid-20th century, transmission control was used extensively, but these facts are not well reported. Recent reviews have attempted to cover previous research [4,5], but sadly, they have left major knowledge gaps, particularly from Africa. These omissions also occurred in a recent WHO pamphlet on molluscicides [6]. Sadly, search engines used to retrieve information appear to miss much done by 5 African research institutes active from 1950 to 1990. It seems appropriate to take a look back to a time when fieldwork was a focus of research and transmission control was emphasised.

A fresh look at polymicrobial bloodstream infection in cancer patients.

To assess the current incidence, clinical features, risk factors, aetiology, antimicrobial resistance and outcomes of polymicrobial bloodstream infection (PBSI) in patients with cancer.

Identification of immune signatures predictive of clinical protection from malaria.

Antibodies are thought to play an essential role in naturally acquired immunity to malaria. Prospective cohort studies have frequently shown how continuous exposure to the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum cause an accumulation of specific responses against various antigens that correlate with a decreased risk of clinical malaria episodes. However, small effect sizes and the often polymorphic nature of immunogenic parasite proteins make the robust identification of the true targets of protective immunity ambiguous. Furthermore, the degree of individual-level protection conferred by elevated responses to these antigens has not yet been explored. Here we applied a machine learning approach to identify immune signatures predictive of individual-level protection against clinical disease. We find that commonly assumed immune correlates are poor predictors of clinical protection in children. On the other hand, antibody profiles predictive of an individual's malaria protective status can be found in data comprising responses to a large set of diverse parasite proteins. We show that this pattern emerges only after years of continuous exposure to the malaria parasite, whereas susceptibility to clinical episodes in young hosts (< 10 years) cannot be ascertained by measured antibody responses alone.

A Randomized Cohort Study of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Thresholds in Medical Student Clinical Reasoning.

Learning to make decisions under uncertain conditions is a critical component of diagnostic and therapeutic reasoning. This study sought to determine treatment decisions medical students make when presented with different thresholds of diagnostic uncertainty and whether they appropriately adjust diagnostic probabilities with test information.

Translating Research into Reality: Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis from Haiti.

Research provides the essential foundation of disease elimination programs, including the global program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (GPELF). The development and validation of new diagnostic tools and intervention strategies, critical steps in the evolution of GPELF, required a global effort. Lymphatic filariasis research in Haiti involved many partners and was directly linked to the development of the national elimination program and to the success achieved to date. Ongoing research efforts involving many partners will continue to be important in resolving the challenges faced by the program today in its final efforts to achieve elimination.

Haiti's Commitment to Malaria Elimination: Progress in the Face of Challenges, 2010-2016.

Haiti is committed to malaria elimination by 2020. Following a 2010 earthquake and cholera epidemic, Haiti capitalized on investments in its health system to refocus on malaria elimination. Efforts, including expanding diagnostics, ensuring efficacy of standard treatments, building institutional capacity, and strengthening surveillance were undertaken to complement the broad health system strengthening activities. These efforts led to the adoption and scale-up of malaria rapid diagnostic tests as a diagnostic modality. In addition, drug-resistant monitoring has been established in the country, along with the development of molecular testing capacity for the Plasmodium falciparum parasite at the National Public Health Laboratory. The development and piloting of surveillance activities to include an enhanced community-based approach for testing and treatment of patients has increased the ability of the Ministry of Health to map foci of transmission and respond promptly to outbreaks. The reinforcement of evidence-based approaches coupled with strong collaboration among the Ministry of Health and partners has demonstrated that malaria elimination by 2020 is a realistic prospect.

Strongyloides stercoralis is associated with significant morbidity in rural Cambodia, including stunting in children.

Strongyloides stercoralis is a soil-transmitted nematode that can replicate within its host, leading to long-lasting and potentially fatal infections. It is ubiquitous and highly prevalent in Cambodia. The extent of morbidity associated with S. stercoralis infection is difficult to assess due to the broad spectrum of symptoms and, thus, remains uncertain.

Cluster randomized trial comparing school-based mass drug administration schedules in areas of western Kenya with moderate initial prevalence of Schistosoma mansoni infections.

Mass drug administration (MDA) using praziquantel is the WHO-recommended approach for control of schistosomiasis. However, few studies have compared the impact of different schedules of MDA on the resultant infection levels. We wished to evaluate whether annual MDA was more effective than less frequent treatments for reducing community-level prevalence and intensity of Schistosoma mansoni infections.

Lymphatic pathology in asymptomatic and symptomatic children with Wuchereria bancrofti infection in children from Odisha, India and its reversal with DEC and albendazole treatment.

Once interruption of transmission of lymphatic filariasis is achieved, morbidity prevention and management becomes more important. A study in Brugia malayi filariasis from India has shown sub-clinical lymphatic pathology with potential reversibility. We studied a Wuchereria bancrofti infected population, the major contributor to LF globally.

Cost-effectiveness of adding indoor residual spraying to case management in Afghan refugee settlements in Northwest Pakistan during a prolonged malaria epidemic.

Financing of malaria control for displaced populations is limited in scope and duration, making cost-effectiveness analyses relevant but difficult. This study analyses cost-effectiveness of adding prevention through targeted indoor residual spraying (IRS) to case management in Afghan refugee settlements in Pakistan during a prolonged malaria epidemic.

Candidate genes-based investigation of susceptibility to Human African Trypanosomiasis in Côte d'Ivoire.

Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness is a Neglected Tropical Disease. Long regarded as an invariably fatal disease, there is increasing evidence that infection by T. b. gambiense can result in a wide range of clinical outcomes, including latent infections, which are long lasting infections with no parasites detectable by microscopy. The determinants of this clinical diversity are not well understood but could be due in part to parasite or host genetic diversity in multiple genes, or their interactions. A candidate gene association study was conducted in Côte d'Ivoire using a case-control design which included a total of 233 subjects (100 active HAT cases, 100 controls and 33 latent infections). All three possible pairwise comparisons between the three phenotypes were tested using 96 SNPs in16 candidate genes (IL1, IL4, IL4R, IL6, IL8, IL10, IL12, IL12R, TNFA, INFG, MIF, APOL1, HPR, CFH, HLA-A and HLA-G). Data from 77 SNPs passed quality control. There were suggestive associations at three loci in IL6 and TNFA in the comparison between active cases and controls, one SNP in each of APOL1, MIF and IL6 in the comparison between latent infections and active cases and seven SNP in IL4, HLA-G and TNFA between latent infections and controls. No associations remained significant after Bonferroni correction, but the Benjamini Hochberg false discovery rate test indicated that there were strong probabilities that at least some of the associations were genuine. The excess of associations with latent infections despite the small number of samples available suggests that these subjects form a distinct genetic cluster different from active HAT cases and controls, although no clustering by phenotype was observed by principle component analysis. This underlines the complexity of the interactions existing between host genetic polymorphisms and parasite diversity.

Combining epidemiology with basic biology of sand flies, parasites, and hosts to inform leishmaniasis transmission dynamics and control.

Quantitation of the nonlinear heterogeneities in Leishmania parasites, sand fly vectors, and mammalian host relationships provides insights to better understand leishmanial transmission epidemiology towards improving its control. The parasite manipulates the sand fly via production of promastigote secretory gel (PSG), leading to the "blocked sand fly" phenotype, persistent feeding attempts, and feeding on multiple hosts. PSG is injected into the mammalian host with the parasite and promotes the establishment of infection. Animal models demonstrate that sand flies with the highest parasite loads and percent metacyclic promastigotes transmit more parasites with greater frequency, resulting in higher load infections that are more likely to be both symptomatic and efficient reservoirs. The existence of mammalian and sand fly "super-spreaders" provides a biological basis for the spatial and temporal clustering of clinical leishmanial disease. Sand fly blood-feeding behavior will determine the efficacies of indoor residual spraying, topical insecticides, and bed nets. Interventions need to have sufficient coverage to include transmission hot spots, especially in the absence of field tools to assess infectiousness. Interventions that reduce sand fly densities in the absence of elimination could have negative consequences, for example, by interfering with partial immunity conferred by exposure to sand fly saliva. A deeper understanding of both sand fly and host biology and behavior is essential to ensuring effectiveness of vector interventions.

Recurrent multiple-organ involvement of disseminated alveolar echinococcosis in 3 patients: Case report.

Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is a rare but highly malignant form of echinococcosis caused by Echinococcus multilocularis. There have been very few reports on multiple-organ AE, especially AE in bones. Here we report 3 rare cases of disseminated multiple-organ AE from western China and its neighboring areas.

HpARI Protein Secreted by a Helminth Parasite Suppresses Interleukin-33.

Infection by helminth parasites is associated with amelioration of allergic reactivity, but mechanistic insights into this association are lacking. Products secreted by the mouse parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus suppress type 2 (allergic) immune responses through interference in the interleukin-33 (IL-33) pathway. Here, we identified H. polygyrus Alarmin Release Inhibitor (HpARI), an IL-33-suppressive 26-kDa protein, containing three predicted complement control protein (CCP) modules. In vivo, recombinant HpARI abrogated IL-33, group 2 innate lymphoid cell (ILC2) and eosinophilic responses to Alternaria allergen administration, and diminished eosinophilic responses to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis, increasing parasite burden. HpARI bound directly to both mouse and human IL-33 (in the cytokine's activated state) and also to nuclear DNA via its N-terminal CCP module pair (CCP1/2), tethering active IL-33 within necrotic cells, preventing its release, and forestalling initiation of type 2 allergic responses. Thus, HpARI employs a novel molecular strategy to suppress type 2 immunity in both infection and allergy.

Semi-field assessment of the BG-Malaria trap for monitoring the African malaria vector, Anopheles arabiensis.

Odour-baited technologies are increasingly considered for effective monitoring of mosquito populations and for the evaluation of vector control interventions. The BG-Malaria trap (BGM), which is an upside-down variant of the widely used BG-Sentinel trap (BGS), has been demonstrated to be effective to sample the Brazilian malaria vector, Anopheles darlingi. We evaluated the BGM as an improved method for sampling the African malaria vectors, Anopheles arabiensis. Experiments were conducted inside a large semi-field cage to compare trapping efficiencies of BGM and BGS traps, both baited with the synthetic attractant, Ifakara blend, supplemented with CO2. We then compared BGMs baited with either of four synthetic mosquito lures, Ifakara blend, Mbita blend, BG-lure or CO2, and an unbaited BGM. Lastly, we compared BGMs baited with the Ifakara blend dispensed via either nylon strips, BG cartridges (attractant-infused microcapsules encased in cylindrical plastic cartridge) or BG sachets (attractant-infused microcapsules encased in plastic sachets). All tests were conducted between 6P.M. and 7A.M., with 200-600 laboratory-reared An. arabiensis released nightly in the test chamber. The median number of An. arabiensis caught by the BGM per night was 83, IQR:(73.5-97.75), demonstrating clear superiority over BGS (median catch = 32.5 (25.25-37.5)). Compared to unbaited controls, BGMs baited with Mbita blend caught most mosquitoes (45 (29.5-70.25)), followed by BGMs baited with CO2 (42.5 (27.5-64)), Ifakara blend (31 (9.25-41.25)) and BG lure (16 (4-22)). BGM caught 51 (29.5-72.25) mosquitoes/night, when the attractants were dispensed using BG-Cartridges, compared to BG-Sachet (29.5 (24.75-40.5)), and nylon strips (27 (19.25-38.25)), in all cases being significantly superior to unbaited controls (p < 000.1). The findings demonstrate potential of the BGM as a sampling tool for African malaria vectors over the standard BGS trap. Its efficacy can be optimized by selecting appropriate odour baits and odour-dispensing systems.

Interferon-free therapy with direct acting antivirals for HCV/HIV-1 co-infected Japanese patients with inherited bleeding disorders.

Almost 30 years ago, about 30% of Japanese hemophiliacs became infected with HIV-1 and hepatitis C virus (HCV) after receiving contaminated blood products. While several studies have reported the high efficacy and safety of direct acting antivirals (DAA) in HIV-1 co-infected patients, such data are limited in hemophiliacs.

A semi-synthetic glycosaminoglycan analogue inhibits and reverses Plasmodium falciparum cytoadherence.

A feature of mature Plasmodium falciparum parasitized red blood cells is their ability to bind surface molecules of the microvascular endothelium via the parasite-derived surface protein Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1). This ligand is associated with the cytoadherence pathology observed in severe malaria. As pRBC treated with effective anti-malarial drugs are still able to cytoadhere, there is therefore a need to find an adjunct treatment that can inhibit and reverse the adhesion process. One semi-synthetic, sulfated polysaccharide has been identified that is capable of inhibiting and reversing sequestration of pRBC on endothelial cells in vitro under physiological flow conditions. Furthermore, it exhibits low toxicity in the intrinsic (APTT assay) and extrinsic (PT assay) clotting pathways, as well as exhibiting minimal effects on cell (HUVEC) viability (MTT proliferation assay). These findings suggest that carbohydrate-based anti-adhesive candidates may provide potential leads for therapeutics for severe malaria.

The study of trypanosome species circulating in domestic animals in two human African trypanosomiasis foci of Côte d'Ivoire identifies pigs and cattle as potential reservoirs of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense.

Important control efforts have led to a significant reduction of the prevalence of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in Côte d'Ivoire, but the disease is still present in several foci. The existence of an animal reservoir of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense may explain disease persistence in these foci where animal breeding is an important source of income but where the prevalence of animal African trypanosomiasis (AAT) is unknown. The aim of this study was to identify the trypanosome species circulating in domestic animals in both Bonon and Sinfra HAT endemic foci.

Human babesiosis: Indication of a molecular mimicry between thrombospondin domains from a novel Babesia microti BmP53 protein and host platelets molecules.

Human babesiosis is caused by the apicomplexan parasite Babesia microti, which is of major public health concern in the United States and elsewhere, resulting in malaise and fatigue, followed by a fever and hemolytic anemia. In this paper we focus on the characterization of a novel B. microti thrombospondin domain (TSP1)-containing protein (BmP53) from the new annotation of the B. microti genome (locus 'BmR1_04g09041'). This novel protein (BmP53) had a single TSP1 and a transmembrane domain, with a short cytoplasmic tail containing a sub-terminal glutamine residue, but no signal peptide and Von Willebrand factor type A domains (VWA), which are found in classical thrombospondin-related adhesive proteins (TRAP). Co-localization assays of BmP53 and Babesia microti secreted antigen 1 (BmSA1) suggested that BmP53 might be a non-secretory membranous protein. Molecular mimicry between the TSP1 domain from BmP53 and host platelets molecules was indicated through different measures of sequence homology, phylogenetic analysis, 3D structure and shared epitopes. Indeed, hamster isolated platelets cross-reacted with mouse anti-BmP53-TSP1. Molecular mimicry are used to help parasites to escape immune defenses, resulting in immune evasion or autoimmunity. Furthermore, specific host reactivity was also detected against the TSP1-free part of BmP53 in infected hamster sera. In conclusion, the TSP1 domain mimicry might help in studying the mechanisms of parasite-induced thrombocytopenia, with the TSP1-free truncate of the protein representing a potential safe candidate for future vaccine studies.

Schistosoma japonicum transmission risk maps at present and under climate change in mainland China.

The South-to-North Water Diversion (SNWD) project is designed to channel fresh water from the Yangtze River north to more industrialized parts of China. An important question is whether future climate change and dispersal via the SNWD may synergistically favor a northward expansion of species involved in hosting and transmitting schistosomiasis in China, specifically the intermediate host, Oncomelania hupensis.

Protecting cows in small holder farms in East Africa from tsetse flies by mimicking the odor profile of a non-host bovid.

For the first time, differential attraction of pathogen vectors to vertebrate animals is investigated for novel repellents which when applied to preferred host animals turn them into non-hosts thereby providing a new paradigm for innovative vector control. For effectively controlling tsetse flies (Glossina spp.), vectors of African trypanosomosis, causing nagana, repellents more powerful than plant derived, from a non-host animal the waterbuck, Kobus ellipsiprymnus defassa, have recently been identified. Here we investigate these repellents in the field to protect cattle from nagana by making cattle as unattractive as the buck.

Bacteria Caused By Smokeless Tobacco Creates Health Issues.

Substantial population structure of Plasmodium vivax in Thailand facilitates identification of the sources of residual transmission.

Plasmodium vivax transmission in Thailand has been substantially reduced over the past 10 years, yet it remains highly endemic along international borders. Understanding the genetic relationship of residual parasite populations can help track the origins of the parasites that are reintroduced into malaria-free regions within the country.

Quantifying the effects of temperature on mosquito and parasite traits that determine the transmission potential of human malaria.

Malaria transmission is known to be strongly impacted by temperature. The current understanding of how temperature affects mosquito and parasite life history traits derives from a limited number of empirical studies. These studies, some dating back to the early part of last century, are often poorly controlled, have limited replication, explore a narrow range of temperatures, and use a mixture of parasite and mosquito species. Here, we use a single pairing of the Asian mosquito vector, An. stephensi and the human malaria parasite, P. falciparum to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the thermal performance curves of a range of mosquito and parasite traits relevant to transmission. We show that biting rate, adult mortality rate, parasite development rate, and vector competence are temperature sensitive. Importantly, we find qualitative and quantitative differences to the assumed temperature-dependent relationships. To explore the overall implications of temperature for transmission, we first use a standard model of relative vectorial capacity. This approach suggests a temperature optimum for transmission of 29°C, with minimum and maximum temperatures of 12°C and 38°C, respectively. However, the robustness of the vectorial capacity approach is challenged by the fact that the empirical data violate several of the model's simplifying assumptions. Accordingly, we present an alternative model of relative force of infection that better captures the observed biology of the vector-parasite interaction. This model suggests a temperature optimum for transmission of 26°C, with a minimum and maximum of 17°C and 35°C, respectively. The differences between the models lead to potentially divergent predictions for the potential impacts of current and future climate change on malaria transmission. The study provides a framework for more detailed, system-specific studies that are essential to develop an improved understanding on the effects of temperature on malaria transmission.