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J Innate Immun ; : 1-11, 2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546612


BACKGROUND: Macrophage activation-like syndrome (MALS) and complex immune dysregulation (CID) often underlie acute respiratory distress (ARDS) in COVID-19. We aimed to investigate the effect of personalized immunotherapy on clinical improvement of critical COVID-19. METHODS: In this open-label prospective trial, 102 patients with ARDS by SARS-CoV-2 were screened for MALS (ferritin >4,420 ng/mL) and CID (ferritin ≤4,420 ng/mL and low human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR expression on CD14-monocytes). Patients with MALS or CID with increased aminotransferases received intravenous anakinra; those with CID and normal aminotransferases received tocilizumab. The primary outcome was ≥25% decrease in the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score and/or 50% increase in the respiratory ratio by day 8; 28-day mortality, change of SOFA score by day 28, serum biomarkers, and cytokine production by mononuclear cells were secondary endpoints. RESULTS: The primary study endpoint was met in 58.3% of anakinra-treated patients and in 33.3% of tocilizumab-treated patients (p: 0.01). Most patients in both groups received dexamethasone as standard of care. No differences were found in secondary outcomes, mortality, and SOFA score changes. Ferritin decreased among anakinra-treated patients; interleukin-6, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, and HLA-DR expression increased among tocilizumab-treated patients. Survivors by day 28 who received anakinra were distributed to lower severity levels of the WHO clinical progression scale. Greater incidence of secondary infections was found with tocilizumab treatment. CONCLUSION: Immune assessment resulted in favorable anakinra responses among critically ill patients with COVID-19 and features of MALS.

Hepatol Commun ; 2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487470


Many safe and effective severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccinations dramatically reduce risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) complications and deaths. We aimed to describe cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection among patients with chronic liver disease (CLD) and liver transplant (LT) recipients with at least one prior COVID-19 vaccine dose. The SECURE-Liver and COVID-Hep international reporting registries were used to identify laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in CLD and LT patients who received a COVID-19 vaccination. Of the 342 cases of lab-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections in the era after vaccine licensing, 40 patients (21 with CLD and 19 with LT) had at least one prior COVID-19 vaccination, including 12 who were fully vaccinated (≥2 weeks after second dose). Of the 21 patients with CLD (90% with cirrhosis), 7 (33%) were hospitalized, 1 (5%) was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 0 died. In the LT cohort (n = 19), there were 6 hospitalizations (32%), including 3 (16%) resulting in mechanical ventilation and 2 (11%) resulting in death. All three cases of severe COVID-19 occurred in patients who had a single vaccine dose within the last 1-2 weeks. In contemporary patients with CLD, rates of symptomatic infection, hospitalization, ICU admission, invasive ventilation, and death were numerically higher in unvaccinated individuals. Conclusion: This case series demonstrates the potential for COVID-19 infections among patients with CLD and LT recipients who had received the COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 appears to result in favorable outcomes as attested by the absence of mechanical ventilation, ICU, or death among fully vaccinated patients.

Eur J Intern Med ; 88: 52-62, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157261


Aims Infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) may lead to the development of severe respiratory failure. In hospitalized-patients, prompt interruption of the virus-driven inflammatory process by using combination treatments seems theoretically of outmost importance. Our aim was to investigate the hypothesis of multifaceted management of these patients. Methods A treatment algorithm based on ferritin was applied in 311 patients (67.2% males; median age 63-years; moderate disease, n=101; severe, n=210). Patients with ferritin <500ng/ml received anakinra 2-4mg/kg/day ± corticosteroids (Arm A, n=142) while those with ≥500ng/ml received anakinra 5-8mg/kg/day with corticosteroids and γ-globulins (Arm B, n=169). In case of no improvement a single dose of tocilizumab (8mg/kg; maximum 800mg) was administered with the potential of additional second and/or third pulses. Treatment endpoints were the rate of the development of respiratory failure necessitating intubation and the SARS-CoV-2-related mortality. The proposed algorithm was also validated in matched hospitalized-patients treated with standard-of-care during the same period. Results In overall, intubation and mortality rates were 5.8% and 5.1% (0% in moderate; 8.6% and 7.6% in severe). Low baseline pO2/FiO2 and older age were independent risk factors. Comparators had significantly higher intubation (HR=7.4; 95%CI: 4.1-13.4; p<0.001) and death rates (HR=4.5, 95%CI: 2.1-9.4, p<0.001). Significant adverse events were rare, including severe secondary infections in only 7/311 (2.3%). Conclusions Early administration of personalized combinations of immunomodulatory agents may be life-saving in hospitalized-patients with COVID-19. An immediate intervention (the sooner the better) could be helpful to avoid development of full-blown acute respiratory distress syndrome and improve survival.

COVID-19 , Respiratory Distress Syndrome , Respiratory Insufficiency , Aged , Female , Humans , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Insufficiency/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome
Elife ; 102021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1121691


Background: It was studied if early suPAR-guided anakinra treatment can prevent severe respiratory failure (SRF) of COVID-19. Methods: A total of 130 patients with suPAR ≥6 ng/ml were assigned to subcutaneous anakinra 100 mg once daily for 10 days. Primary outcome was SRF incidence by day 14 defined as any respiratory ratio below 150 mmHg necessitating mechanical or non-invasive ventilation. Main secondary outcomes were 30-day mortality and inflammatory mediators; 28-day WHO-CPS was explored. Propensity-matched standard-of care comparators were studied. Results: 22.3% with anakinra treatment and 59.2% comparators (hazard ratio, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.20-0.46) progressed into SRF; 30-day mortality was 11.5% and 22.3% respectively (hazard ratio 0.49; 95% CI 0.25-0.97). Anakinra was associated with decrease in circulating interleukin (IL)-6, sCD163 and sIL2-R; IL-10/IL-6 ratio on day 7 was inversely associated with SOFA score; patients were allocated to less severe WHO-CPS strata. Conclusions: Early suPAR-guided anakinra decreased SRF and restored the pro-/anti-inflammatory balance. Funding: This study was funded by the Hellenic Institute for the Study of Sepsis, Technomar Shipping Inc, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum, and the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. Clinical trial number: NCT04357366.

People infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, can develop severe respiratory failure and require a ventilator to keep breathing, but this does not happen to every infected individual. Measuring a blood protein called suPAR (soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor) may help identify patients at the greatest risk of developing severe respiratory failure and requiring a ventilator. Previous investigations have suggested that measuring suPAR can identify pneumonia patients at highest risk for developing respiratory failure. The protein can be measured by taking a blood sample, and its levels provide a snapshot of how the body's immune system is reacting to infection, and of how it may respond to treatment. Anakinra is a drug that forms part of a class of medications called interleukin antagonists. It is commonly prescribed alone or in combination with other medications to reduce pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Kyriazopoulou et al. investigated whether treating COVID-19 patients who had developed pneumonia with anakinra could prevent the use of a ventilator and lower the risk of death. The findings show that treating COVID-19 patients with an injection of 100 milligrams of anakinra for ten days may be an effective approach because the drug combats inflammation. Kyriazopoulou et al. examined various markers of the immune response and discovered that anakinra was able to improve immune function, protecting a significant number of patients from going on a ventilator. The drug was also found to be safe and cause no significant adverse side effects. Administering anakinra decreased of the risk of progression into severe respiratory failure by 70%, and reduced death rates significantly. These results suggest that it may be beneficial to use suPAR as an early biomarker for identifying those individuals at highest risk for severe respiratory failure, and then treat them with anakinra. While the findings are promising, they must be validated in larger studies.

Anti-Inflammatory Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/drug therapy , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein/administration & dosage , Respiratory Insufficiency/prevention & control , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antigens, CD/blood , Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic/blood , COVID-19/mortality , Female , Humans , Incidence , Injections, Subcutaneous , Interleukin-10/blood , Interleukin-6/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, Cell Surface/blood , Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator/blood , Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator/metabolism , Respiration, Artificial , Respiratory Insufficiency/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Standard of Care , Treatment Outcome
J Transl Int Med ; 9(1): 43-51, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1094135


Background and Objectives: Distinguishing primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) from other cholestatic diseases at the histological level could be assisted by new methods, such as immunohistochemical staining of specific antigens. Methods: We evaluated whether the detection of promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) can serve as a specific and sensitive marker for PBC diagnosis. Liver biopsies from 26 PBC patients, 20 primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), 37 viral hepatitis, 11 non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and 5 normal patients were investigated after immunostaining with the anti-PML monoclonal PG-M3, IgG1 antibody. Results: Immunoreactivity in bile ducts was expressed by the PML-score (quotient of positive ducts to the total number of portal tracts multiplied by 2). PML-score was higher in PBC as compared to controls (P < 0.001). Using a cutoff of 0.18, PML-score proved highly sensitive (84.6%) and specific (89.7%) for confirming PBC as compared to only 5% of PSC, 9.1% of NASH and 13.5% of viral hepatitis patients (P < 0.001). Irrespective of the underlying disease, patients with PML-score > 0.18 were older (P = 0.007), more often females (P < 0.001) with higher ALP (P < 0.001), γ-GT (P = 0.001) and IgM (P < 0.001) compared to the patients with PML-score < 0.18. Conclusions: We postulate that a simple PML immunohistochemical test could be sufficient for histopathological discrimination of PBC in problematic cases of undefined cholestatic disorders, including small-duct PSC and AMA-negative PBC cases.

iScience ; 24(1): 101947, 2021 Jan 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-974141


The pandemic 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shares certain clinical characteristics with other acute viral infections. We studied the whole-blood transcriptomic host response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) using RNAseq from 24 healthy controls and 62 prospectively enrolled patients with COVID-19. We then compared these data to non-COVID-19 viral infections, curated from 23 independent studies profiling 1,855 blood samples covering six viruses (influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human rhinovirus (HRV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1), Ebola, dengue). We show gene expression changes in COVID-19 versus non-COVID-19 viral infections are highly correlated (r = 0.74, p < 0.001). However, we also found 416 genes specific to COVID-19. Inspection of top genes revealed dynamic immune evasion and counter host responses specific to COVID-19. Statistical deconvolution of cell proportions maps many cell type proportions concordantly shifting. Discordantly increased in COVID-19 were CD56bright natural killer cells and M2 macrophages. The concordant and discordant responses mapped out here provide a window to explore the pathophysiology of the host response to SARS-CoV-2.