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Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327108


After the implementation of broad vaccination programs, there is an urgent need to understand how the population immunity affects the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic in presence of the protection waning and of the emergence of new variants of concern. In the current Omicron wave that is propagating across Europe, assessing the risk of saturation of the healthcare systems is crucial for pandemic management, as it allows us to support the transition towards the endemic course of SARS-CoV-2 and implement more refined mitigation strategies that shield the most vulnerable groups and protect the healthcare systems. We investigated the current pandemic dynamics by means of compartmental models that describe the age-stratified social-mixing, and consider vaccination status, vaccine types, and their waning efficacy. Our goal is to provide insight into the plausible scenarios that are likely to be seen in Switzerland and Germany in the coming weeks and help take informed decisions. Despite the huge numbers of new positive cases, our results suggest that the current wave is unlikely to create an overwhelming healthcare demand: owing to the lower hospitalization rate of the novel variant and the effectiveness of the vaccines. Our findings are robust with respect to the plausible variability of the main parameters that govern the severity and the progression of the Omicron infection. In a broader context, our framework can be applied also to future endemic scenarios, offering quantitative support for refined public health interventions in response to recurring COVID-19 waves.

Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5417, 2021 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410404


COVID-19 is associated with a wide range of clinical manifestations, including autoimmune features and autoantibody production. Here we develop three protein arrays to measure IgG autoantibodies associated with connective tissue diseases, anti-cytokine antibodies, and anti-viral antibody responses in serum from 147 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Autoantibodies are identified in approximately 50% of patients but in less than 15% of healthy controls. When present, autoantibodies largely target autoantigens associated with rare disorders such as myositis, systemic sclerosis and overlap syndromes. A subset of autoantibodies targeting traditional autoantigens or cytokines develop de novo following SARS-CoV-2 infection. Autoantibodies track with longitudinal development of IgG antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins and a subset of non-structural proteins, but not proteins from influenza, seasonal coronaviruses or other pathogenic viruses. We conclude that SARS-CoV-2 causes development of new-onset IgG autoantibodies in a significant proportion of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and are positively correlated with immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 proteins.

Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Antinuclear/blood , Antibodies, Antinuclear/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Autoantibodies/blood , Autoantigens/immunology , Connective Tissue Diseases/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Proteins/immunology