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Annu Rev Med ; 2022 Jul 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1950320


Billions of individuals worldwide have benefited from the unprecedented large-scale rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. Given the sheer number of people that have received these vaccines, it is not surprising that rare side effects are reported that were not previously detected in the phase III vaccine trials. This review addresses one rare complication called SARS-CoV-2 vaccination-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). It occurs in approximately 1/50,000 to 1/100,000 recipients of the adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccines made by AstraZeneca-Oxford or Johnson & Johnson. Information on VITT syndrome was disseminated quickly via social media and publications after it was first discovered. Initial observations associating VITT with specific patient populations, thrombus locations, and outcomes associated with heparin therapy have since been refined with additional clinical experience. In this review, we discuss what is currently known about the incidence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of VITT. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Medicine, Volume 74 is January 2023. Please see for revised estimates.

Front Immunol ; 13: 834988, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817941


Patients with COVID-19 present with a wide variety of clinical manifestations. Thromboembolic events constitute a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. Severe COVID-19 has been associated with hyperinflammation and pre-existing cardiovascular disease. Platelets are important mediators and sensors of inflammation and are directly affected by cardiovascular stressors. In this report, we found that platelets from severely ill, hospitalized COVID-19 patients exhibited higher basal levels of activation measured by P-selectin surface expression and had poor functional reserve upon in vitro stimulation. To investigate this question in more detail, we developed an assay to assess the capacity of plasma from COVID-19 patients to activate platelets from healthy donors. Platelet activation was a common feature of plasma from COVID-19 patients and correlated with key measures of clinical outcome including kidney and liver injury, and APACHEIII scores. Further, we identified ferritin as a pivotal clinical marker associated with platelet hyperactivation. The COVID-19 plasma-mediated effect on control platelets was highest for patients that subsequently developed inpatient thrombotic events. Proteomic analysis of plasma from COVID-19 patients identified key mediators of inflammation and cardiovascular disease that positively correlated with in vitro platelet activation. Mechanistically, blocking the signaling of the FcγRIIa-Syk and C5a-C5aR pathways on platelets, using antibody-mediated neutralization, IgG depletion or the Syk inhibitor fostamatinib, reversed this hyperactivity driven by COVID-19 plasma and prevented platelet aggregation in endothelial microfluidic chamber conditions. These data identified these potentially actionable pathways as central for platelet activation and/or vascular complications and clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients. In conclusion, we reveal a key role of platelet-mediated immunothrombosis in COVID-19 and identify distinct, clinically relevant, targetable signaling pathways that mediate this effect.

Blood Platelets/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Complement C5a/metabolism , Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a/metabolism , Receptors, IgG/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Thromboembolism/immunology , Adult , Aminopyridines/pharmacology , Cells, Cultured , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Morpholines/pharmacology , Platelet Activation , Pyrimidines/pharmacology , Severity of Illness Index , Signal Transduction , Syk Kinase/antagonists & inhibitors