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1.
J Clin Med ; 11(7)2022 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776265

ABSTRACT

Patients with severe COVID-19 belong to a population at high risk of invasive fungal infections (IFIs), with a reported incidence of IFIs in critically ill COVID-19 patients ranging between 5% and 26.7%. Common factors in these patients, such as multiple organ failure, immunomodulating/immunocompromising treatments, the longer time on mechanical ventilation, renal replacement therapy or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, make them vulnerable candidates for fungal infections. In addition to that, SARS-CoV2 itself is associated with significant dysfunction in the patient's immune system involving both innate and acquired immunity, with reduction in both CD4+ T and CD8+ T lymphocyte counts and cytokine storm. The emerging question is whether SARS-CoV-2 inherently predisposes critically ill patients to fungal infections or the immunosuppressive therapy constitutes the igniting factor for invasive mycoses. To approach the dilemma, one must consider the unique pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 with the deranged immune response it provokes, review the well-known effects of immunosuppressants and finally refer to current literature to probe possible causal relationships, synergistic effects or independent risk factors. In this review, we aimed to identify the prevalence, risk factors and mortality associated with IFIs in mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-309520

ABSTRACT

Dysregulation of inflammation is hypothesized to play a crucial role for inducing the severe complications of Covid-19, with IL-1/IL-6 pathway being central in these events. Eight patients with severe Covid-19 pneumonia treated with the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist anakinra are reported;seven patients hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs) in Greece and one non-ICU patient in the Netherlands. Patients scored positive for the hemophagocytosis score and they were diagnosed with secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistocytosis (sHLH). At the end-of-treatment with anakinra, ICU patients had less demands on vasopressors;they also had lower C-reactive protein, procalcitonin, troponin I, D-dimers, and ferritin - the hallmark marker of sHLH. All patients improved their respiratory function. Only two patients died. These data argue that the administration of anakinra may be a viable treatment in severe Covid-19 with sHLH, supporting for larger clinical studies to validate this concept.

3.
J Fungi (Basel) ; 7(12)2021 Dec 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572540

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19)-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA) is a severe fungal infection complicating critically ill COVID-19 patients. Numerous retrospective and prospective studies have been performed to get a better grasp on this lethal co-infection. We performed a qualitative review and summarized data from 48 studies in which 7047 patients had been included, of whom 820 had CAPA. The pooled incidence of proven, probable or putative CAPA was 15.1% among 2953 ICU-admitted COVID-19 patients included in 18 prospective studies. Incidences showed great variability due to multiple factors such as discrepancies in the rate and depth of the fungal work-up. The pathophysiology and risk factors for CAPA are ill-defined, but therapy with corticosteroids and anti-interleukin-6 therapy potentially confer the biggest risk. Sampling for mycological work-up using bronchoscopy is the cornerstone for diagnosis, as imaging is often aspecific. CAPA is associated with an increased mortality, but we do not have conclusive data whether therapy contributes to an increased survival in these patients. We conclude our review with a comparison between influenza-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (IAPA) and CAPA.

4.
J Innate Immun ; : 1-11, 2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546612

ABSTRACT

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.

5.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(3): e74-e87, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510480

ABSTRACT

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, health-care workers and uninfected patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are at risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 as a result of transmission from infected patients and health-care workers. In the absence of high-quality evidence on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, clinical practice of infection control and prevention in ICUs varies widely. Using a Delphi process, international experts in intensive care, infectious diseases, and infection control developed consensus statements on infection control for SARS-CoV-2 in an ICU. Consensus was achieved for 31 (94%) of 33 statements, from which 25 clinical practice statements were issued. These statements include guidance on ICU design and engineering, health-care worker safety, visiting policy, personal protective equipment, patients and procedures, disinfection, and sterilisation. Consensus was not reached on optimal return to work criteria for health-care workers who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 or the acceptable disinfection strategy for heat-sensitive instruments used for airway management of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Well designed studies are needed to assess the effects of these practice statements and address the remaining uncertainties.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Consensus , Infection Control/standards , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Intensive Care Units/standards , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Delphi Technique , Health Personnel/standards , Humans , Personal Protective Equipment/standards
6.
Journal of Intensive Medicine ; 2021.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1347723

ABSTRACT

Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) has been recognized as a possible secondary infection complicating Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and increasing mortality. The aim of this review was to report and summarize the available data in the literature concerning the incidence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA). Currently, the incidence of CAPA is unclear due to different definitions and diagnostic criteria used among the studies. It was estimated that approximately 8.6% (206/2383) of mechanically ventilated patients were diagnosed with either proven, probable, or putative CAPA. Classical host factors of invasive aspergillosis are rarely recognized in patients with CAPA, who are mainly immunocompetent presenting with comorbidities, while the role of steroids warrants further investigation. Direct epithelial injury and diffuse pulmonary microthrombi in combination with immune dysregulation, hyperinflammatory response, and immunosuppressive treatment may be implicated. Discrimination between two forms of CAPA (i.e., tracheobronchial and parenchymal) is required, whereas radiological signs of aspergillosis are not typically evident in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. In previous studies, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer/Mycoses Study Group (EORTC/MSG) criteria, a clinical algorithm to diagnose Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis in intensive care unit patients (AspICU algorithm), and influenza-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (IAPA) criteria were used for the diagnosis of proven/probable and putative CAPA, as well as the differentiation from colonization, which can be challenging. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly isolated pathogen in respiratory cultures. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and serum galactomannan (GM), beta-d-glucan (with limited specificity), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Aspergillus-specific lateral-flow device test can be included in the diagnostic work-up;however, these approaches are characterized by low sensitivity. Early treatment of CAPA is necessary, and 71.4% (135/189) of patients received antifungal therapy, mainly with voriconazole (VRC), isavuconazole (ISV), and liposomal amphotericin B (L-AMB). Given the high mortality rate among patients with Aspergillus infection, the administration of prophylactic treatment is debated. In conclusion, different diagnostic strategies are necessary to differentiate colonization from bronchial or parenchymal infection in intubated COVID-19 patients with Aspergillus spp. in their respiratory specimens vs. those not infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Following confirmation, VRC or ISV should be used for the treatment of CAPA.

7.
Infect Dis Ther ; 10(3): 1779-1792, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309094

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is an emerging complication among intensive care unit (ICU) patients with COVID-19 (CAPA). In the present study, all CAPA cases during the first year of the pandemic were reviewed in critically ill patients at a 650-bed tertiary Greek COVID-19 reference hospital. METHODS: Data regarding patients admitted to the ICU of Attikon Hospital in Athens, Greece, between 22 March 2020 and 28 February 2021 with a positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2 infection were reviewed. Clinical and microbiological records were analysed including demographic, clinical, laboratory and radiological features, treatment and outcomes. CAPA was determined according to the recent 2020 ECMM/ISHAM definitions. RESULTS: A total of 179 patients were admitted in the ICU and 6 (3.3%) patients were diagnosed with CAPA (4 probable and 2 possible CAPA) with 5/6 with co-infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative pathogens. No patient had a history of immunosuppression. All suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome. The median (range) time from intubation to diagnosis was 6 (1-14) days. Five patients had positive Aspergillus cultures in bronchial secretions (1 A. fumigatus, 1 A. flavus, 1 A. fumigatus + A. flavus, 1 A. fumigatus + A. terreus and 1 A. terreus) while culture was negative in one patient. All isolates were susceptible to antifungal drugs. Serum galactomannan (GM), pan-Aspergillus PCR and (1,3)-ß-D-glucan (BDG) were positive in 4/6 (67%), 5/6 (83%, 3/5 in two consecutive samples) and 4/6 (67%, in consecutive samples) patients, respectively. GM and PCR positive bronchial secretions had GM indices > 9.95 and PCR Ct < 34. All were treated with antifungal drugs with 5 out of 6 receiving isavuconazole. Mortality was 67% (4/6) with 1/4 attributed to CAPA (two died as a result of bacterial septic shock and one as a result of multiorgan failure). CONCLUSION: The incidence of CAPA in ICU patients was 3.3% and it was associated with approximately a 17% attributable mortality in the setting of MDR gram-negative pathogen co-infections.

8.
Anaesth Crit Care Pain Med ; 39(6): 723-730, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1060315

ABSTRACT

The 2020 International Web Scientific Event in COVID-19 pandemic in critically ill patients aimed at updating the information and knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic in the intensive care unit. Experts reviewed the latest literature relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in critically ill patients, such as epidemiology, pathophysiology, phenotypes of infection, COVID-19 as a systematic infection, molecular diagnosis, mechanical ventilation, thromboprophylaxis, COVID-19 associated co-infections, immunotherapy, plasma treatment, catheter-related bloodstream infections, artificial intelligence for COVID-19, and vaccination. Antiviral therapy and co-infections are out of the scope of this review. In this review, each of these issues is discussed with key messages regarding management and further research being presented after a brief review of available evidence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Congresses as Topic , Intensive Care Units , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19 Vaccines , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Immunotherapy/methods , Pandemics , Phenotype , Symptom Assessment , Thromboembolism/prevention & control , Videoconferencing , Virus Internalization
9.
Medicine (Baltimore) ; 99(47): e23365, 2020 Nov 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939609

ABSTRACT

Hypercoagulability and thrombosis remain a challenge in severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infections. Our aim is to investigate the hemostatic profile of critically ill COVID-19 patients on therapeutic anticoagulant treatment.Forty one patients were enrolled into the study. We recruited 11 consecutive, COVID-19, patients who received therapeutic anticoagulant treatment on intensive care unit (ICU) admission. Disease severity indexes, biochemical, hematological and haemostatic parameters, endogenous thrombin potential (ETP), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) activity and extrinsically activated rotational thromboelastometry assay (EXTEM) were recorded on days 1, 3, 7. We also enrolled 9 ICU non-COVID-19, 21 non-ICU COVID-19 patients and 20 healthy blood donors as control populations.Critically ill COVID-19 patients demonstrated a more hypercoagulable and hypofibrinolytic profile related to those with COVID-19 mild illness, based on EXTEM amplitude at 10 min (A10), maximum clot firmness (MCF) and lysis index at 60 min (LI60) variables (p = 0.020, 0.046 and 0.001, respectively). Similarly, a more hypercoagulable state was detected in COVID-19 ICU patients related to non-COVID-19 ICU patients based on A10 and MCF parameters (p = 0.03 and 0.04, respectively). On the contrary, ETP and EXTEM (clotting time) CT values were similar between patients with severe and mild form of the COVID-19 infection, probably due to anticoagulant treatment given.Critically ill COVID-19 patients showed a hypercoagulable profile despite the therapeutic anticoagulant doses given. Due to the small sample size and the study design, the prognostic role of the hypercoagulability in this clinical setting remains unknown and further research is required in order to be assessed.


Subject(s)
Anticoagulants/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Hemostasis/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Thrombophilia/drug therapy , Thrombosis/drug therapy , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus , Blood Coagulation Tests , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombelastography , Thrombophilia/blood , Thrombophilia/virology , Thrombosis/blood , Thrombosis/virology , Treatment Outcome
10.
Shock ; 54(5): 633-637, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889642

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The pneumonia of COVID-19 illness has often a subtle initial presentation making mandatory the use of biomarkers for evaluation of severity and prediction of final patient disposition. We evaluated the use of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) for the outcome of COVID-19 pneumonia. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied 74 patients with COVID-19. Clinical data were collected, and survival predictors were calculated. Blood was collected within 24 h after admission (day 1) and on day 7. H2S was measured in sera by monobromobimane derivation followed by high-performance liquid chromatography and correlated to other markers like procalcitonin and C-reactive protein (CRP). Tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin (IL)-6 were also measured in serum. RESULTS: Survivors had significantly higher H2S levels on days 1 and 7 after admission. A cut-off point of 150.44 µM could discriminate survivors from non-survivors with 80% sensitivity, 73.4% specificity, and negative predictive value 95.9%. Mortality after 28 days was 32% with admission levels lower than or equal to 150.44 µM and 4.1% with levels above 150.44 µM (P: 0.0008). Mortality was significantly greater among patients with a decrease of H2S levels from day 1 to day 7 greater than or equal to 36% (p: 0.0005). Serum H2S on day 1 was negatively correlated with IL-6 and CRP and positively correlated with the absolute lymphocyte count in peripheral blood. CONCLUSION: It is concluded that H2S is a potential marker for severity and final outcome of pneumonia by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Its correlation with IL-6 suggests anti-inflammatory properties.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/blood , Hydrogen Sulfide/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Aged , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Biomarkers/blood , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Greece , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Interleukin-6/blood , Lymphocyte Count , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Patient Admission , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Predictive Value of Tests , Prognosis , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Up-Regulation
11.
Am J Case Rep ; 21: e926915, 2020 Sep 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-789900

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND Recent studies demonstrated evidence of coagulation dysfunction in hospitalized patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to excessive inflammation, hypoxia, platelet activation, endothelial dysfunction, and stasis. Effective anticoagulation therapy may play a dominant role in the management of severe COVID-19 cases. CASE REPORT A 73-year-old man with a 6-day history of fever up to 38.5°C, dyspnea, cough, and fatigue was diagnosed with COVID-19. He had a past medical history significant for hypertension and coronary artery bypass grafting. Two days after hospital admission, the patient developed acute respiratory failure, requiring intubation, mechanical ventilation, and transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU). He received treatment including antibiotics, hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab, vasopressors, prone positioning, and anticoagulation with enoxaparin at a prophylactic dose. After a 15-day ICU stay, the patient was hemodynamically stable but still hypoxemic; a transthoracic echocardiogram at that time, followed by a transesophageal echocardiogram for better evaluation, revealed the presence of a right atrium thrombus without signs of acute right ventricular dilatation and impaired systolic function. Since the patient was hemodynamically stable, we decided to treat him with conventional anticoagulation under close monitoring for signs of hemodynamic deterioration; thus, the prophylactic dose of enoxaparin was replaced by therapeutic dosing, which was a key component of the patient's successful outcome. Over the next few days he showed significant clinical improvement. The follow-up transesophageal echocardiogram 3 weeks after effective therapeutic anticoagulation revealed no signs of right heart thrombus. CONCLUSIONS The presented COVID-19 case, one of the first reported cases with evidence of right heart thrombus by transesophageal echocardiography, highlights the central role of diagnostic imaging strategies and the importance of adequate anticoagulation therapy in the management of severe COVID-19 cases in the ICU.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/complications , Echocardiography, Transesophageal/methods , Heart Atria/diagnostic imaging , Heart Diseases/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/complications , Thrombosis/therapy , Aged , COVID-19 , Combined Modality Therapy , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Cough/diagnosis , Cough/etiology , Critical Care/methods , Disease Progression , Emergency Service, Hospital , Fever/diagnosis , Fever/etiology , Follow-Up Studies , Greece , Heart Atria/pathology , Heart Diseases/diagnostic imaging , Heart Diseases/etiology , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Length of Stay , Male , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/diagnosis , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/therapy , Severity of Illness Index , Thrombosis/diagnostic imaging , Thrombosis/etiology , Treatment Outcome
12.
Cell Host Microbe ; 27(6): 992-1000.e3, 2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-735030

ABSTRACT

Proper management of COVID-19 mandates better understanding of disease pathogenesis. The sudden clinical deterioration 7-8 days after initial symptom onset suggests that severe respiratory failure (SRF) in COVID-19 is driven by a unique pattern of immune dysfunction. We studied immune responses of 54 COVID-19 patients, 28 of whom had SRF. All patients with SRF displayed either macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) or very low human leukocyte antigen D related (HLA-DR) expression accompanied by profound depletion of CD4 lymphocytes, CD19 lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) production by circulating monocytes was sustained, a pattern distinct from bacterial sepsis or influenza. SARS-CoV-2 patient plasma inhibited HLA-DR expression, and this was partially restored by the IL-6 blocker Tocilizumab; off-label Tocilizumab treatment of patients was accompanied by increase in circulating lymphocytes. Thus, the unique pattern of immune dysregulation in severe COVID-19 is characterized by IL-6-mediated low HLA-DR expression and lymphopenia, associated with sustained cytokine production and hyper-inflammation.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Respiratory Insufficiency/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Interleukin-6/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , Lymphopenia/pathology , Macrophage Activation , Male , Monocytes/pathology , Pandemics
13.
Cell Host Microbe ; 28(1): 117-123.e1, 2020 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-260325

ABSTRACT

Dysregulation of inflammation is hypothesized to play a crucial role in the severe complications of COVID-19, with the IL-1/IL-6 pathway being central. Here, we report on the treatment of eight severe COVID-19 pneumonia patients-seven hospitalized in intensive care units (ICUs) in Greece and one non-ICU patient in the Netherlands-with the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist Anakinra. All patients scored positive for the hemophagocytosis score (HScore) and were diagnosed with secondary hemophagocytic lymphohistocytosis (sHLH) characterized by pancytopenia, hyper-coagulation, acute kidney injury, and hepatobiliary dysfunction. At the end of treatment, ICU patients had less need for vasopressors, significantly improved respiratory function, and lower HScore. Although three patients died, the mortality was lower than historical series of patients with sHLH in sepsis. These data suggest that administration of Anakinra may be beneficial for treating severe COVID-19 patients with sHLH as determined by the HScore, and they support the need for larger clinical studies to validate this concept.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein/therapeutic use , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Female , Humans , Lymphohistiocytosis, Hemophagocytic/etiology , Male , Middle Aged , Off-Label Use , Oxygen/blood , Pandemics , Respiratory Insufficiency/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Cell Press ; 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-47314

ABSTRACT

Proper management of COVID-19 mandates better understanding of disease pathogenesis. The sudden clinical deterioration 7-8 days after initial symptom onset suggests that severe respiratory failure (SRF) in COVID-19 is driven by a unique pattern of immune dysfunction. We studied immune responses of 54 COVID-19 patients, 28 of whom had SRF. All SRF patients displayed either macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) or very low human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR expression accompanied by profound depletion of CD4-lymphocytes, CD19- lymphocytes and natural killer cells. TNFα and IL-6 production by circulating monocytes was sustained, a pattern distinct from bacterial sepsis or influenza. SARS-CoV-2 patient plasma inhibited HLA-DR expression, and this was partially restored by the IL-6 blocker Tocilizumab;off-label Tocilizumab treatment of patients was accompanied by increase in circulating lymphocytes. Thus, the unique pattern of immune dysregulation in severe COVID-19 is characterized by IL-6-mediated low HLA-DR expression and lymphopenia, associated with sustained cytokine production and hyper-inflammation.

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