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Lancet Microbe ; 1(7): e290-e299, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087376


BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) targets multiple organs and causes severe coagulopathy. Histopathological organ changes might not only be attributable to a direct virus-induced effect, but also the immune response. The aims of this study were to assess the duration of viral presence, identify the extent of inflammatory response, and investigate the underlying cause of coagulopathy. METHODS: This prospective autopsy cohort study was done at Amsterdam University Medical Centers (UMC), the Netherlands. With informed consent from relatives, full body autopsy was done on 21 patients with COVID-19 for whom autopsy was requested between March 9 and May 18, 2020. In addition to histopathological evaluation of organ damage, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and the composition of the immune infiltrate and thrombi were assessed, and all were linked to disease course. FINDINGS: Our cohort (n=21) included 16 (76%) men, and median age was 68 years (range 41-78). Median disease course (time from onset of symptoms to death) was 22 days (range 5-44 days). In 11 patients tested for SARS-CoV-2 tropism, SARS-CoV-2 infected cells were present in multiple organs, most abundantly in the lungs, but presence in the lungs became sporadic with increased disease course. Other SARS-CoV-2-positive organs included the upper respiratory tract, heart, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract. In histological analyses of organs (sampled from nine to 21 patients per organ), an extensive inflammatory response was present in the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and brain. In the brain, extensive inflammation was seen in the olfactory bulbs and medulla oblongata. Thrombi and neutrophilic plugs were present in the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, and brain and were most frequently observed late in the disease course (15 patients with thrombi, median disease course 22 days [5-44]; ten patients with neutrophilic plugs, 21 days [5-44]). Neutrophilic plugs were observed in two forms: solely composed of neutrophils with neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), or as aggregates of NETs and platelets.. INTERPRETATION: In patients with lethal COVID-19, an extensive systemic inflammatory response was present, with a continued presence of neutrophils and NETs. However, SARS-CoV-2-infected cells were only sporadically present at late stages of COVID-19. This suggests a maladaptive immune response and substantiates the evidence for immunomodulation as a target in the treatment of severe COVID-19. FUNDING: Amsterdam UMC Corona Research Fund.

Blood Coagulation Disorders , COVID-19 , Thrombosis , Adult , Aged , Autopsy , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
Lancet Rheumatol ; 2(12): e764-e773, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003183


BACKGROUND: Severe COVID-19 is characterised by inflammation and coagulation in the presence of complement system activation. We aimed to explore the potential benefit and safety of selectively blocking the anaphylatoxin and complement protein C5a with the monoclonal antibody IFX-1 (vilobelimab), in patients with severe COVID-19. METHODS: We did an exploratory, open-label, randomised phase 2 trial (part of the adaptive phase 2/3 PANAMO trial) of intravenous IFX-1 in adults with severe COVID-19 at three academic hospitals in the Netherlands. Eligibility criteria were age 18 years or older; severe pneumonia with pulmonary infiltrates consistent with pneumonia, a clinical history of severe shortness of breath within the past 14 days, or a need for non-invasive or invasive ventilation; severe disease defined as a ratio of partial pressure of arterial oxygen to fractional concentration of oxygen in inspired air (PaO2/FiO2) between 100 mm Hg and 250 mm Hg in the supine position; and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive IFX-1 (up to seven doses of 800 mg intravenously) plus best supportive care (IFX-1 group) or best supportive care only (control group). The primary outcome was the percentage change in PaO2/FiO2 in the supine position between baseline and day 5. Mortality at 28 days and treatment-emergent and serious adverse events were key secondary outcomes. The primary analysis was done in the intention-to-treat population and safety analyses were done in all patients according to treatment received. This trial is registered at (NCT04333420). FINDINGS: Between March 31 and April 24, 2020, 30 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to the IFX-1 group (n=15) or the control group (n=15). During the study it became clear that several patients could not be assessed regularly in the supine position because of severe hypoxaemia. It was therefore decided to focus on all PaO2/FiO2 assessments (irrespective of position). At day 5 after randomisation, the mean PaO2/FiO2 (irrespective of position) was 158 mm Hg (SD 63; range 84-265) in the IFX-1 group and 189 mm Hg (89; 71-329) in the control group. Analyses of the least squares mean relative change in PaO2/FiO2 at day 5 showed no differences between treatment groups (17% change in the IFX-1 group vs 41% in the control group; difference -24% [95% CI -58 to 9], p=0·15. Kaplan-Meier estimates of mortality by 28 days were 13% (95% CI 0-31) for the IFX-1 group and 27% (4-49) for the control group (adjusted hazard ratio for death 0·65 [95% CI 0·10-4·14]). The frequency of serious adverse events were similar between groups (nine [60%] in the IFX-1 group vs seven [47%] in the control group) and no deaths were considered related to treatment assignment. However, a smaller proportion of patients had pulmonary embolisms classed as serious in the IFX-1 group (two [13%]) than in the control group (six [40%]). Infections classed as serious were reported in three (20%) patients in the IFX-1 group versus five (33%) patients in the control group. INTERPRETATION: In this small exploratory phase 2 part of the PANAMO trial, C5a inhibition with IFX-1 appears to be safe in patients with severe COVID-19. The secondary outcome results in favour of IFX-1 are preliminary because the study was not powered on these endpoints, but they support the investigation of C5a inhibition with IFX-1 in a phase 3 trial using 28-day mortality as the primary endpoint. FUNDING: InflaRx.