UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Infections Group

Our research is focussed on understanding infections in pregnancy and childhood, with an emphasis on prevention of vertical (mother-to-child) transmission, delineating risks for adverse outcomes and addressing key questions central to clinical practice and public health. We have active research programmes on established and re-emerging infections including HIV, viral hepatitis, syphilis, Zika virus and other arboviruses, conducted in diverse settings, including the UK and Ireland, elsewhere in Western Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Jamaica, Haiti, Ecuador, Brazil and South Africa.

PhD Research Projects

Health and Survival of Children HIV-exposed and Uninfected in the UK 

Laurette Bukasa (student), Prof. Claire Thorne (primary supervisor), Dr Pia Hardelid (subsidiary supervisor), Prof. Mario Cortina-Borja (subsidiary supervisor)

Summary: Treating a woman living with HIV in pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of her transmitting the infection to her baby as well as preventing disease progression. The success of prevention of vertical (mother-to-child) transmission programmes worldwide has been driven by antenatal HIV screening and widespread distribution of antiretroviral drugs in pregnancy. Whilst the number of children who are vertically infected during pregnancy is dramatically decreasing, the population of children who are HIV-exposed and uninfected (CHEU) is increasing.

There is evidence to suggest that CHEU have poorer growth, morbidity and mortality outcomes than children who are HIV-unexposed. The evidence base on the effect of exposures (e.g. to HIV and antiretrovirals) during gestation and in the period following birth is growing, but remains relatively limited with respect to high-income countries.

This project uses data from UK-based surveillance of HIV in pregnancy (ISOSS), specifically data on the pregnancies of women with a known diagnosis of HIV and their children. This population-based data will be used to explore in utero exposures, maternal characteristics and birth outcomes of CHEU over time. The project will also describe and evaluate cancer and death incidence in this population using ongoing data linkage between ISOSS and NHS Digital.

The project will be the first to evaluate the long-term safety of antiretroviral use in pregnancy for CHEU in the UK and provide an evidence base for CHEU health inequalities as they pertain to birth, cancer and mortality outcomes in the UK. Further details about this project can be found on PHE data release register

Useful links

Staff list

Claire ThorneAssociate Professorclaire.thorne@ucl.ac.uk
Helen Peters   Surveillance Managerhelen.peters@ucl.ac.uk
Thomas ByrneResearch Assistantt.byrne@ucl.ac.uk
Rebecca Sconza   Surveillance Assistant r.sconza@ucl.ac.uk
Laurette BukasaSurveillance Assistant l.bukasa@ucl.ac.uk
Kate FrancisSurveillance Coordinatork.francis@ucl.ac.uk
Corinne Hill Surveillance Administratorcorinne.hill@ucl.ac.uk
Farihah MalikPHD Studentn/a
Virginia RasiPHD Student    n/a