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2.
Front Immunol ; 13: 838132, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809394

ABSTRACT

The majority of COVID-19 patients experience mild to moderate disease course and recover within a few weeks. An increasing number of studies characterized the long-term changes in the specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune responses, but how COVID-19 shapes the innate and heterologous adaptive immune system after recovery is less well known. To comprehensively investigate the post-SARS-CoV-2 infection sequelae on the immune system, we performed a multi-omics study by integrating single-cell RNA-sequencing, single-cell ATAC-sequencing, genome-wide DNA methylation profiling, and functional validation experiments in 14 convalescent COVID-19 and 15 healthy individuals. We showed that immune responses generally recover without major sequelae after COVID-19. However, subtle differences persist at the transcriptomic level in monocytes, with downregulation of the interferon pathway, while DNA methylation also displays minor changes in convalescent COVID-19 individuals. However, these differences did not affect the cytokine production capacity of PBMCs upon different bacterial, viral, and fungal stimuli, although baseline release of IL-1Ra and IFN-γ was higher in convalescent individuals. In conclusion, we propose that despite minor differences in epigenetic and transcriptional programs, the immune system of convalescent COVID-19 patients largely recovers to the homeostatic level of healthy individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Convalescence , Disease Progression , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Front Immunol ; 13: 863039, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775685

ABSTRACT

Evaluating long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in convalescing individuals is of high clinical relevance. In this prospective study of a cohort of 46 SARS-CoV-2 patients infected with the Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2 we longitudinally analyzed changes in humoral and cellular immunity upon early and late convalescence. Antibody neutralization capacity was measured by surrogate virus neutralization test and cellular responses were investigated with 31-colour spectral flow cytometry. Spike-specific, isotype-switched B cells developed already during the disease phase, showed a memory phenotype and did not decrease in numbers even during late convalescence. Otherwise, no long-lasting perturbations of the immune compartment following COVID-19 clearance were observed. During convalescence anti-Spike (S1) IgG antibodies strongly decreased in all patients. We detected neutralizing antibodies against the Wuhan strain as well as the Alpha and Delta but not against the Beta, Gamma or Omicron variants for up to 7 months post COVID-19. Furthermore, correlation analysis revealed a strong association between sera anti-S1 IgG titers and their neutralization capacity against the Wuhan strain as well as Alpha and Delta. Overall, our data suggest that even 7 month after the clearance of COVID-19 many patients possess a protective layer of immunity, indicated by the persistence of Spike-specific memory B cells and by the presence of neutralizing antibodies against the Alpha and Delta variants. However, lack of neutralizing antibodies against the Beta, Gamma and Omicron variants even during the peak response is of major concern as this indicates viral evasion of the humoral immune response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Convalescence , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Immunoglobulin G , Prospective Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
J Viral Hepat ; 29(7): 536-542, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1769744

ABSTRACT

In 2014, an analysis was conducted to evaluate the hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemiology and disease burden in Germany. Since then, there have been considerable developments in HCV management such as the implementation of direct acting antivirals. The aim of this analysis was to assess the recent data available for Germany, establish an updated 2020 HCV prevalence and cascade of care and evaluate the impact of what-if scenarios on the future burden of disease using modelling analysis. A dynamic Markov model was used to forecast the HCV disease burden in Germany. Model inputs were retrieved through literature review, unpublished sources and expert input. Next, three "what-if" scenarios were developed to evaluate the status quo, COVID-19 pandemic, and steps needed to achieve the WHO targets for elimination. At the beginning of 2020, there were 189,000 (95% UI: 76,700-295,000) viremic infections in Germany, a decline of more than 85,000 viremic infections since 2012. Annual treatment starts went down since 2015. Compared with 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a further 11% decline in 2020. If this continues for two years, it could result in 110 excess HCC cases and 200 excess liver related deaths by 2030. To achieve the WHO targets, 81,200 people need to be diagnosed, with 118,600 initiated on treatment by 2030. This could also avert 1,020 deaths and 720 HCC cases between 2021 and 2030. Germany has made strides towards HCV elimination, but more efforts are needed to achieve the WHO targets by 2030.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Liver Neoplasms , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/epidemiology , Disease Eradication , Germany/epidemiology , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology , Humans , Liver Neoplasms/epidemiology , Pandemics
5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-307118

ABSTRACT

To investigate the role of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific T-cell immunity and its relationship with antibody levels and pre-existing immunity against endemic human coronaviruses (huCoV) during disease and beyond, we analyzed patients with recovered (RC, n=178) and active Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19;AC, n=10) and healthy donors (HD, n=58). Overall, ACs had highest SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels against nucleocapsid (N) and spike (S) proteins but reduced antiviral T-cell immunity, whereas in RCs, antibody levels partially correlated with SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell frequencies. Interestingly, humoral responses declined throughout convalescence, whereas T-cell immunity remained stable. RCs exhibited polyfunctional, mainly IFN-γ-secreting CD4 + effector memory T-cell responses. Humoral and cellular response towards huCoV strains in RCs with strong SARS-CoV-2 T-cell immunity implies a protective role of pre-existing immunity against huCoV. This study provides essential evidence-based data about stable protective T-cell immunity during disease and recovery which is essential to guide diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.

6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 418, 2021 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565706

ABSTRACT

The systemic processes involved in the manifestation of life-threatening COVID-19 and in disease recovery are still incompletely understood, despite investigations focusing on the dysregulation of immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection. To define hallmarks of severe COVID-19 in acute disease (n = 58) and in disease recovery in convalescent patients (n = 28) from Hannover Medical School, we used flow cytometry and proteomics data with unsupervised clustering analyses. In our observational study, we combined analyses of immune cells and cytokine/chemokine networks with endothelial activation and injury. ICU patients displayed an altered immune signature with prolonged lymphopenia but the expansion of granulocytes and plasmablasts along with activated and terminally differentiated T and NK cells and high levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. The core signature of seven plasma proteins revealed a highly inflammatory microenvironment in addition to endothelial injury in severe COVID-19. Changes within this signature were associated with either disease progression or recovery. In summary, our data suggest that besides a strong inflammatory response, severe COVID-19 is driven by endothelial activation and barrier disruption, whereby recovery depends on the regeneration of the endothelial integrity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cytokine Release Syndrome/diagnosis , Endothelium, Vascular/virology , Lymphopenia/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Biomarkers/blood , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Chemokine CXCL10/blood , Chemokine CXCL9/blood , Cluster Analysis , Convalescence , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/mortality , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Disease Progression , Endothelium, Vascular/immunology , Granulocytes/immunology , Granulocytes/virology , Hematopoietic Cell Growth Factors/blood , Hepatocyte Growth Factor/blood , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Interleukin-12 Subunit p40/blood , Interleukin-6/blood , Interleukin-8/blood , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/virology , Lectins, C-Type/blood , Lymphopenia/immunology , Lymphopenia/mortality , Lymphopenia/virology , Plasma Cells/immunology , Plasma Cells/virology , Survival Analysis , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/virology
7.
Z Gastroenterol ; 59(9): 954-960, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1402151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant impact on the medical care of many diseases and has led to reduced presentations to the emergency department. Reduced presentations may be due to overwhelmed capacities of hospitals or collateral damage from fear of infection, lockdown regulations, or other reasons. The effect on patients with liver cirrhosis is not established. OBJECTIVE: We aim to assess the impact on the care of patients with liver cirrhosis in a tertiary center in Northern Germany. METHODS: All patients presenting to the emergency department with a diagnosis of cirrhosis between March 1 and May 31 from 2015-2020 were included. Reasons for presentation, duration of symptoms, the severity of liver disease, and 30-day mortality were assessed and compared between patients presenting during the COVID-19 pandemic and pre-COVID-19. RESULTS: Overall, 235 patients were included. Despite an overall decline in presentations to the emergency department by 11.7%, the frequency of patients presenting with liver cirrhosis has remained stable (non-significant increase by 19.5%). No significant difference could be detected for the MELD score, the CLIF-organ failure subscores, and the 30-day mortality before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 75% of patients with liver cirrhosis had symptoms >24 h before presenting to the emergency department. CONCLUSION: Despite the overall trend of reduced emergency presentations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of presentations of patients with liver cirrhosis did not decline. Morbidity and mortality were not affected in a setting of disposable healthcare resources. The late presentation to the emergency department in many cirrhotic patients may open opportunities for interventions (i.e., with early telemedicine intervention).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Liver Cirrhosis/diagnosis , Liver Cirrhosis/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Front Immunol ; 12: 721738, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1378191

ABSTRACT

Here, we described the case of a B cell-deficient patient after CD19 CAR-T cell therapy for refractory B cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with protracted coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For weeks, this patient only inefficiently contained the virus while convalescent plasma transfusion correlated with virus clearance. Interestingly, following convalescent plasma therapy natural killer cells matured and virus-specific T cells expanded, presumably allowing virus clearance and recovery from the disease. Our findings, thus, suggest that convalescent plasma therapy can activate cellular immune responses to clear SARS-CoV-2 infections. If confirmed in larger clinical studies, these data could be of general importance for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
B-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes/immunology , Immunotherapy, Adoptive , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , B-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/complications , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulins, Intravenous , Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes/complications , Lymphocyte Activation , Lymphopoiesis , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
9.
Curr Opin Infect Dis ; 34(4): 275-287, 2021 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1254941

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination is considered one of the most promising and socioeconomically sustainable strategy to help control the pandemic and several vaccines are currently being distributed in nationwide mass immunization campaigns. Very limited data are available on benefits and risks of COVID-19 vaccination in immunocompromised patients and in particular in solid organ or hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients as they were excluded from phase III trials. This review summarizes current knowledge, international guidelines and controversies regarding COVID-19 vaccination in these vulnerable populations. RECENT FINDINGS: Various COVID-19 vaccine platforms showed good efficacy in phase III trials in the immunocompetent and there are data arising on the safety and immunogenicity of these vaccines in the immunocompromised population. SUMMARY: Transplant recipients could benefit significantly from COVID-19 vaccination, both through active immunization provided they elicit protective vaccine responses, and probably through cocooning by immunization of caregivers and healthcare personnel and thus reducing the risk of SARS-coronavirus-2 exposure. Although awaiting more data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines to inform potential adaptations of vaccine regimens, we strongly recommend prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination of solid and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients to decrease COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transplant Recipients , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/classification , Clinical Decision-Making , Disease Management , Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation/adverse effects , Humans , Immunocompromised Host , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Organ Transplantation/adverse effects , Organ Transplantation/methods , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Vaccination
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1152, 2021 02 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1091492

ABSTRACT

The humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is a benchmark for immunity and detailed analysis is required to understand the manifestation and progression of COVID-19, monitor seroconversion within the general population, and support vaccine development. The majority of currently available commercial serological assays only quantify the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response against individual antigens, limiting our understanding of the immune response. To overcome this, we have developed a multiplex immunoassay (MultiCoV-Ab) including spike and nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and the endemic human coronaviruses. Compared to three broadly used commercial in vitro diagnostic tests, our MultiCoV-Ab achieves a higher sensitivity and specificity when analyzing a well-characterized sample set of SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected individuals. We find a high response against endemic coronaviruses in our sample set, but no consistent cross-reactive IgG response patterns against SARS-CoV-2. Here we show a robust, high-content-enabled, antigen-saving multiplex assay suited to both monitoring vaccination studies and facilitating epidemiologic screenings for humoral immunity towards pandemic and endemic coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Immunity, Humoral , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Humans , Immunoassay , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Phosphoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
13.
Immunity ; 54(2): 340-354.e6, 2021 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1071479

ABSTRACT

Cellular and humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is critical to control primary infection and correlates with severity of disease. The role of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity, its relationship to antibodies, and pre-existing immunity against endemic coronaviruses (huCoV), which has been hypothesized to be protective, were investigated in 82 healthy donors (HDs), 204 recovered (RCs), and 92 active COVID-19 patients (ACs). ACs had high amounts of anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid and spike IgG but lymphopenia and overall reduced antiviral T cell responses due to the inflammatory milieu, expression of inhibitory molecules (PD-1, Tim-3) as well as effector caspase-3, -7, and -8 activity in T cells. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity conferred by polyfunctional, mainly interferon-γ-secreting CD4+ T cells remained stable throughout convalescence, whereas humoral responses declined. Immune responses toward huCoV in RCs with mild disease and strong cellular SARS-CoV-2 T cell reactivity imply a protective role of pre-existing immunity against huCoV.


Subject(s)
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Young Adult
14.
J Hepatol ; 74(4): 944-951, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065333

ABSTRACT

According to a recent World Health Organization estimate, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, which originated in China in 2019, has spread globally, infecting nearly 100 million people worldwide by January 2021. Patients with chronic liver diseases (CLD), particularly cirrhosis, hepatobiliary malignancies, candidates for liver transplantation, and immunosuppressed individuals after liver transplantation appear to be at increased risk of infections in general, which in turn translates into increased mortality. This is also the case for SARS-CoV-2 infection, where patients with cirrhosis, in particular, are at high risk of a severe COVID-19 course. Therefore, vaccination against various pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, administered as early as possible in patients with CLD, is an important protective measure. However, due to impaired immune responses in these patients, the immediate and long-term protective response through immunisation may be incomplete. The current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to the exceptionally fast development of several vaccine candidates. A small number of these SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates have already undergone phase III, placebo-controlled, clinical trials in healthy individuals with proof of short-term safety, immunogenicity and efficacy. However, although regulatory agencies in the US and Europe have already approved some of these vaccines for clinical use, information on immunogenicity, duration of protection and long-term safety in patients with CLD, cirrhosis, hepatobiliary cancer and liver transplant recipients has yet to be generated. This review summarises the data on vaccine safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy in this patient population in general and discusses the implications of this knowledge on the introduction of the new SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.


Subject(s)
Biliary Tract Neoplasms , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , COVID-19 , Liver Diseases , Liver Transplantation , Biliary Tract Neoplasms/epidemiology , Biliary Tract Neoplasms/therapy , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunocompromised Host , Liver Diseases/epidemiology , Liver Diseases/immunology , Liver Diseases/therapy , Liver Transplantation/methods , Liver Transplantation/statistics & numerical data , Risk Adjustment , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination/methods
15.
JHEP Rep ; 2(5): 100169, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-692979

ABSTRACT

During the early stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, EASL and ESCMID published a position paper to provide guidance for physicians involved in the care of patients with chronic liver disease. While some healthcare systems are returning to a more normal routine, many countries and healthcare systems have been, or still are, overwhelmed by the pandemic, which is significantly impacting on the care of these patients. In addition, many studies have been published focusing on how COVID-19 may affect the liver and how pre-existing liver diseases might influence the clinical course of COVID-19. While many aspects remain poorly understood, it has become increasingly evident that pre-existing liver diseases and liver injury during the disease course must be kept in mind when caring for patients with COVID-19. This review should serve as an update on the previous position paper, summarising the evidence for liver disease involvement during COVID-19 and providing recommendations on how to return to routine care wherever possible.

16.
EBioMedicine ; 57: 102885, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-633885

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Elucidating the role of T cell responses in COVID-19 is of utmost importance to understand the clearance of SARS-CoV-2 infection. METHODS: 30 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 60 age- and gender-matched healthy controls (HC) participated in this study. We used two comprehensive 11-colour flow cytometric panels conforming to Good Laboratory Practice and approved for clinical diagnostics. FINDINGS: Absolute numbers of lymphocyte subsets were differentially decreased in COVID-19 patients according to clinical severity. In severe disease (SD) patients, all lymphocyte subsets were reduced, whilst in mild disease (MD) NK, NKT and γδ T cells were at the level of HC. Additionally, we provide evidence of T cell activation in MD but not SD, when compared to HC. Follow up samples revealed a marked increase in effector T cells and memory subsets in convalescing but not in non-convalescing patients. INTERPRETATION: Our data suggest that activation and expansion of innate and adaptive lymphocytes play a major role in COVID-19. Additionally, recovery is associated with formation of T cell memory as suggested by the missing formation of effector and central memory T cells in SD but not in MD. Understanding T cell-responses in the context of clinical severity might serve as foundation to overcome the lack of effective anti-viral immune response in severely affected COVID-19 patients and can offer prognostic value as biomarker for disease outcome and control. FUNDING: Funded by State of Lower Saxony grant 14-76,103-184CORONA-11/20 and German Research Foundation, Excellence Strategy - EXC2155"RESIST"-Project ID39087428, and DFG-SFB900/3-Project ID158989968, grants SFB900-B3, SFB900-B8.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Lymphocyte Activation/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/cytology , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory/immunology , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
17.
JHEP Rep ; 2(3): 100113, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-27267

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic poses an enormous challenge to healthcare systems in affected communities. Older patients and those with pre-existing medical conditions have been identified as populations at risk of a severe disease course. It remains unclear at this point to what extent chronic liver diseases should be considered as risk factors, due to a shortage of appropriate studies. However, patients with advanced liver disease and those after liver transplantation represent vulnerable patient cohorts with an increased risk of infection and/or a severe course of COVID-19. In addition, the current pandemic requires unusual allocation of healthcare resources which may negatively impact the care of patients with chronic liver disease that continue to require medical attention. Thus, the challenge hepatologists are facing is to promote telemedicine in the outpatient setting, prioritise outpatient contacts, avoid nosocomial dissemination of the virus to patients and healthcare providers, and at the same time maintain standard care for patients who require immediate medical attention.

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