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Plasma virome and the risk of blood-borne infection in persons with substance use disorder


There is an urgent need for innovative methods to reduce transmission of bloodborne pathogens like HIV and HCV among people who inject drugs (PWID). We investigate if PWID who acquire non-pathogenic bloodborne viruses like anelloviruses and pegiviruses might be at greater risk of acquiring a bloodborne pathogen. PWID who later acquire HCV accumulate more non-pathogenic viruses in plasma than matched controls who do not acquire HCV infection. Additionally, phylogenetic analysis of those non-pathogenic virus sequences reveals drug use networks. Here we find first in Baltimore and confirm in San Francisco that the accumulation of non-pathogenic viruses in PWID is a harbinger for subsequent acquisition of pathogenic viruses, knowledge that may guide the prioritization of the public health resources to combat HIV and HCV.

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