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Protocol Details

Studies of Human Pneumocystis Infection

This study is currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Recruitment Detail

Type: Participants currently recruited/enrolled
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 3 Years
Max Age: 99 Years

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)



Oral Wash;
Drug Resistance;
Natural History

Recruitment Keyword(s)



Pneumocystis Infection;
Pneumonia, Pneumocystis;
Lung Disease, Fungal;

Investigational Drug(s)


Investigational Device(s)




Supporting Site

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNIH Clinical Center

This study will examine the effectiveness of a new laboratory method for detecting pneumocystis organisms in a salt-water (saline) oral wash. Pneumocystis infection in people with weakened immunity especially patients with HIV infection or cancer, organ transplant recipients and people receiving immune suppressing therapy can cause life-threatening pneumonia. Currently, pneumocystis infection is diagnosed by sputum analysis or bronchoalveolar lavage. For the sputum analysis, patients are induced to produce a sputum sample (liquid discharge from the lung) using a saline mist; however, many hospitals lack the expertise to perform this procedure. The second method, bronchoalveolar lavage, involves inserting a flexible tube into the lung and injecting saline to produce a specimen for diagnosis. This method, however, is time-consuming and can be uncomfortable. New techniques may allow the use of an oral wash to diagnose pneumocystis, even though an oral sample contains far fewer organisms than are obtained with the current methods. This study will examine whether new techniques, such as nucleic acid amplification, may enable a simple oral wash to be used effectively for diagnosis of pneumocystis infection.

Patients 3 years of age and older with weakened immunity who have acute pneumonia may be eligible for this study. In addition, people at increased risk of infection with pneumocystis, including health care professionals, family members of patients, and other patients in health care facilities, may participate.

Participants will have a medical history and review of medical records to determine their health status and determine if they have had recent respiratory problems or documented PCP. They will then provide an oral wash sample. For this procedure, subjects first rinse their mouth well. Then, they vigorously swish 50 milliliters of saline for 5 to 10 seconds and immediately repeat the procedure to provide two specimens. Washes may be requested daily, weekly, monthly, or for a period of time to be specified. Participants will also have two tubes of blood drawn (total of 20 milliliters, or 4 teaspoons) to test for evidence of pneumocystis.

Although no other tests are required for this protocol, participants may be asked to provide optional add'l samples, as follows:

If a sputum or bronchoalveolar lavage sample is required in the course of the patient s clinical mgmt, enough material will be obtained, if possible, for research purposes as well as what is needed for routine care.

An induced sputum sample may be requested just for this protocol. For this procedure, a mask with a saline mist is placed over the face, inducing a cough that, it is hoped, will produce sputum from the lungs.

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A. Patients (male or female) who are immunosuppressed with acute pneumonia and are undergoing or have undergone a clinically indicated procedure, such as bronchoscopy or sputum induction, to obtain a respiratory sample for diagnostic purposes.


B. Patients (male or female) who are immunosuppressed with acute pneumonia or individuals likely to be exposed to environmental or person-to-person sources of organisms, including healthy volunteers (with or without respiratory disease), health care professionals, patient families, or other patients in health care facilities who are willing to provide oral washes, nasal samples or blood samples and to consider providing an induced sputum sample.

All ages greater than or equal to 3 years.

Ability of individual or guardian to give informed consent.


For enrollment under category B, any individual who cannot safely provide an oral wash or nasal samples (nasopharyngeal swabs, or nasal washes) as determined by the health care provider.

Pregnancy and age are not exclusion factors.

Nasal specimens will not be collected from children.

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Kovacs JA, Masur H. Evolving health effects of Pneumocystis: one hundred years of progress in diagnosis and treatment. JAMA. 2009 Jun 24;301(24):2578-85. doi: 10.1001/jama.2009.880.

Larsen HH, Huang L, Kovacs JA, Crothers K, Silcott VA, Morris A, Turner JR, Beard CB, Masur H, Fischer SH. A prospective, blinded study of quantitative touch-down polymerase chain reaction using oral-wash samples for diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia in HIV-infected patients. J Infect Dis. 2004 May 1;189(9):1679-83. Epub 2004 Apr 16.

Larsen HH, Kovacs JA, Stock F, Vestereng VH, Lundgren B, Fischer SH, Gill VJ. Development of a rapid real-time PCR assay for quantitation of Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. carinii. J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Aug;40(8):2989-93.

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Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Joseph A. Kovacs, M.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
(301) 496-9907

Cheryl L. Pauls
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Institutes of Health
Building 10
Room 9N214
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(301) 496-3840

Office of Patient Recruitment
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Building 61, 10 Cloister Court
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Toll Free: 1-800-411-1222
Local Phone: 301-451-4383
TTY: TTY Users Dial 7-1-1

Clinical Trials Number:


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