• Hershow, Ronald C. (PI)
  • Garcia, Patricia (PI)
  • O'Brien, Mary (PI)
  • Landay, Alan (PI)
  • Rich, Kenneth (PI)

Project: Research projectResearch Project--Cooperative Agreements


WITS is a seminal study of perinatal HIV infection. It has a wide-ranging
agenda seeking in-depth information from a large cohort of HIV infected
women and their infants. The current Chicago WITS-I group includes the
University of Illinois at Chicago, Northwestern University, Children's
Memorial Hospital and Cook county Hospital. Chicago team members have
contributed to the scientific collaborative agenda of the study, the
development of procedures for the execution of the study nationally as
well as locally, and have provided leadership in specific protocols and
dissemination of results. They have also received other grant support for
basic scientific and epidemiologic studies and clinical trials that
interact with WITS and extends its scope. Through December 1992, the Chicago site enrolled 116 pregnant HIV infected
women, 39 non-pregnant HIV infected women, and 79 infants. During the last
year Northwestern University (including Children's Memorial Hospital) and
Cook County Hospital started enrolling participants. For the last 6
months, the average Chicago enrollment has averaged 5.2 per month or 62
per year. Chicago also proposes adding University of Chicago as an
additional site for WITS-II. Therefore, it is conservatively estimated
that enrollment for year 1 of WITS-II will be 75, without taking into
account an increase in seroprevalence. The seroprevalence of HIV infection
in pregnancy by anonymous newborn survey in the State of Illinois
increased 52% 1992 over the preceding year. Although Chicago has been a
moderate seroprevalence area, these figures suggest an important surge in
the epidemic of perinatal HIV infection. The Chicago WITS site will be in
a unique position of monitoring the changing dynamics of the epidemic. The Chicago group will continue to contribute quality data and innovative
ideas. 94% of study visits were completed on time, 91% of participants
originally enrolled have continued in the study, and greater than 92% of
historical, physical examination and demographic forms are complete or
will be competed shortly. More than 90% of indicated laboratory studies
were obtained, including 91% of HIV cultures and 92% of lymphocyte
phenotyping studies. To enhance the scientific value of WITS-II, the
Chicago team proposes several developmental research topics that address
central aims of WITS. These include examination of HLA antigens, TH1/TH2
lymphocyte "balance", apoptosis and syncytium forming viral isolates on
the risk of vertical transmission or rapid disease progression. Other
studies will examine virus in fetal tissue by in situ PcR and compare
maternal-fetal viral envelope sequences to better define the stage of
pregnancy at which infection occurs. In addition, the group proposes
examining the feasibility of doing vaccine studies in pregnant women.
These developmental research topics relate directly to the specific aims
of WITS and make use of data and samples already available or samples that
can be readily incorporated into the WITS-II protocol. The proposed plan will continue the work of the Chicago team in WITS-II.
The innovative characteristics, quality of work and efficiency of the
group will enhance the overall scientific productivity of WITS-II.
Effective start/end date9/1/936/30/07


  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health


HLA Antigens
County Hospitals
Seroepidemiologic Studies
HIV Infections
HIV Seroprevalence
Organized Financing
Giant Cells
Physical Examination
Disease Progression
Pregnant Women
Epidemiologic Studies
Clinical Trials
Newborn Infant


  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)