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1.
Blood ; 2022 Apr 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817159

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are based on a range of novel platforms, with adenovirus-based approaches (like ChAdOx1 nCov-19) being one of them. Recently a novel complication of SARS-CoV-2 targeted adenovirus vaccines has emerged: immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), either isolated, or accompanied by thrombosis (then termed VITT). This complication is characterized by low platelet counts, and in the case of VITT also by platelet-activating platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies reminiscent of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia leading to a prothrombotic state with clot formation at unusual anatomic sites. Here, we detected anti-platelet antibodies targeting platelet glycoprotein receptors in 30% of patients with proven VITT (n=27), as well as 42% of patients with isolated thrombocytopenia after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccination (n=26), indicating broad antiplatelet autoimmunity in these clinical entities. We employ in vitro and in vivo models to characterize possible mechanisms of these platelet-targeted autoimmune responses leading to thrombocytopenia. We show that intravenous but not intramuscular injection of ChAdOx1 nCov-19 triggers platelet-adenovirus aggregate formation and platelet activation. After intravenous injection, these aggregates are phagocytosed by macrophages in the spleen and platelet remnants are found in the marginal zone and follicles. This is followed by a pronounced B-cell response with the emergence of circulating antibodies binding to platelets. Our work contributes to the understanding of platelet associated complications after ChAdOx1 nCov-19 administration and highlights accidental intravenous injection as a potential mechanism of platelet targeted autoimmunity. Hence, preventing intravenous injection when administering adenovirus-based vaccines could be a potential measure against platelet associated pathologies following the vaccination.

2.
Haematologica ; 2022 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779916

ABSTRACT

To improve the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, there is an urgent need to unravel the pathogenesis of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), a severe complication of recombinant adenoviral vector vaccines used to prevent COVID-19, and likely due to anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) IgG antibodies. In this study, we demonstrated that 1E12, a chimeric anti-PF4 antibody with a human Fc fragment, fully mimics the effects of human VITT antibodies, as it activates platelets to a similar level in the presence of platelet factor 4 (PF4). Incubated with neutrophils, platelets and PF4, 1E12 also strongly induces NETosis, and in a microfluidic model of whole blood thrombosis, it triggers the formation of large platelet/leukocyte thrombi containing fibrin(ogen). In addition, a deglycosylated form of 1E12 (DG-1E12), which still binds PF4 but no longer interacts with Fcy receptors, inhibits platelet, granulocyte and clotting activation induced by human anti-PF4 VITT antibodies. This strongly supports that 1E12 and VITT antibodies recognize overlapping epitopes on PF4. In conclusion, 1E12 is a potentially important tool to study the pathophysiology of VITT, and for establishing mouse models. On the other hand, DG-1E12 may help the development of a new drug that specifically neutralizes the pathogenic effect of autoimmune anti-PF4 antibodies, such as those associated with VITT.

3.
Semin Hematol ; 59(2): 108-114, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778659

ABSTRACT

In hundreds of patients worldwide, vaccination against COVID-19 with adenovirus vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; Ad26.COV2.S) triggered platelet-activating anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies inducing vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). In most VITT patients, platelet-activating anti-PF4-antibodies are transient and the disorder is discrete and non-recurring. However, in some patients platelet-activating antibodies persist, associated with recurrent thrombocytopenia and sometimes with relapse of thrombosis despite therapeutic-dose anticoagulation. Anti-PF4 IgG antibodies measured by enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) are usually detectable for longer than platelet-activating antibodies in functional assays, but duration of detectability is highly assay-dependent. As more than 1 vaccination dose against COVID-19 is required to achieve sufficient protection, at least 69 VITT patients have undergone subsequent vaccination with an mRNA vaccine, with no relevant subsequent increase in anti-PF4 antibody titers, thrombocytopenia, or thrombotic complications. Also, re-exposure to adenoviral vector-based vaccines in 5 VITT patients was not associated with adverse reactions. Although data are limited, vaccination against influenza also appears to be safe. SARS-CoV-2 infection reported in 1 patient with preceding VITT did not influence anti-PF4 antibody levels. We discuss how these temporal characteristics of VITT provide insights into pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic , Thrombosis , /adverse effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Humans , Platelet Factor 4/adverse effects , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/chemically induced , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis/chemically induced , Thrombosis/complications
4.
Semin Hematol ; 59(2): 97-107, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768934

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT; synonym, thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, is associated with high-titer immunoglobulin G antibodies directed against platelet factor 4 (PF4). These antibodies activate platelets via platelet FcγIIa receptors, with platelet activation greatly enhanced by PF4. Here we summarize the current concepts in the pathogenesis of VITT. We first address parallels between heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and VITT, and provide recent findings on binding of PF4 to adenovirus particles and non-assembled adenovirus proteins in the 2 adenovirus vector-based COVID-19 vaccines, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and Ad26.COV2.S. Further, we discuss the potential role of vaccine constituents such as glycosaminoglycans, EDTA, polysorbate 80, human cell-line proteins and nucleotides as potential binding partners of PF4. The immune response towards PF4 in VITT is likely triggered by a proinflammatory milieu. Human cell-line proteins, non-assembled virus proteins, and potentially EDTA may contribute to the proinflammatory state. The transient nature of the immune response towards PF4 in VITT makes it likely that-as in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia -marginal zone B cells are key for antibody production. Once high-titer anti-PF4 antibodies have been formed 5 to 20 days after vaccination, they activate platelets and granulocytes. Activated granulocytes undergo NETosis and the released DNA also forms complexes with PF4, which fuels the Fcγ receptor-dependent cell activation process, ultimately leading to massive thrombin generation. Finally, we summarize our initial observations indicating that VITT-like antibodies might also be present in rare patients with recurrent venous and arterial thrombotic complications, independent of vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic , Thrombosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Edetic Acid/adverse effects , Humans , Platelet Factor 4 , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/chemically induced , Thrombosis/chemically induced
5.
Seminars in hematology ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1728458

ABSTRACT

In hundreds of patients worldwide, vaccination against COVID-19 with adenovirus vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19;Ad26.COV2.S) triggered platelet-activating anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies inducing vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). In most VITT patients, platelet-activating anti-PF4-antibodies are transient and the disorder is discrete and non-recurring. However, in some patients platelet-activating antibodies persist, associated with recurrent thrombocytopenia and sometimes with relapse of thrombosis despite therapeutic-dose anticoagulation. Anti-PF4 IgG antibodies measured by enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) are usually detectable for longer than platelet-activating antibodies in functional assays, but duration of detectability is highly assay-dependent. As more than one vaccination dose against COVID-19 is required to achieve sufficient protection, at least 69 VITT patients have undergone subsequent vaccination with an mRNA vaccine, with no relevant subsequent increase in anti-PF4 antibody titers, thrombocytopenia, or thrombotic complications. Also, re-exposure to adenoviral vector-based vaccines in five VITT patients was not associated with adverse reactions. Although data are limited, vaccination against influenza also appears to be safe. SARS-CoV-2 infection reported in one patient with preceding VITT did not influence anti-PF4 antibody levels. We discuss how these temporal characteristics of VITT provide insights into pathogenesis.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317008

ABSTRACT

Vector-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been associated with vaccine-induced thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (VITT/TTS), but the causative factors are still unresolved. We comprehensively analyzed ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (AstraZeneca) and Ad26.COV2.S (Johnson & Johnson). ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 contains significant amounts of host cell protein impurities, including functionally active proteasomes, and adenoviral proteins. In Ad26.COV2.S much less impurities were found. Platelet-factor 4 (PF4) formed complexes with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 constituents, but not with purified virions from ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or with Ad26.COV2.S. Vascular hyperpermeability was induced by ChAdOx nCoV-19 but not by Ad26.COV2.S.These differences in impurities together with EDTA-induced capillary leakage might contribute to the higher incidence rate of VITT associated with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 compared to Ad26.COV2.S.

7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311514

ABSTRACT

Background: . Vaccines are important for managing the COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. However, following widespread vaccination using a recombinant adenoviral vector encoding the spike protein antigen of SARS-CoV-2 (AZD1222, AstraZeneca), reports have emerged of some vaccine recipients developing unusual thrombotic events and thrombocytopenia. We investigated whether such patients could have a prothrombotic disorder caused by platelet-activating antibodies directed against platelet factor 4 (PF4), as is known to be caused by heparin and sometimes other environmental triggers. Methods: . We summarized the clinical and laboratory features of 9 patients in Germany and Austria who developed thrombosis and thrombocytopenia events following AZD1222 vaccination. Serum from four patients was used to test for anti-PF4/heparin antibodies, both by immunoassay and by platelet activation assays performed in the presence of heparin, PF4, or both. Results: . The 9 patients (8 female;median age, 36 [range, 22—49) presented with thrombosis beginning 4 to 16 days post-vaccination: 7 patients had cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT), 1 had pulmonary embolism, and 1 had splanchnic vein thrombosis and CVT;4 patients died. None had received heparin prior to symptom onset. All four patients tested strongly positive for anti-PF4/heparin antibodies by immunoassay;all 4 patients tested strongly positive in the platelet activation assay in the presence of PF4 independently of heparin. Platelet activation was inhibited by high concentrations of heparin, Fc receptor-blocking monoclonal antibody, and intravenous immunoglobulin. Conclusions: . The AZD1222 vaccine is associated with development of a prothrombotic disorder that clinically resembles heparin-induced thrombocytopenia but which shows a different serological profile.

8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311513

ABSTRACT

Background: SARS-CoV-2 vaccine ChAdOx1 nCov-19 rarely causes vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) that—like autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia—is mediated by platelet-activating anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies. Methods: We investigated vaccine, PF4, and VITT patient-derived anti-PF4 antibody interactions using dynamic light scattering, 3D-super-resolution microscopy, and electron microscopy. Mass spectrometry was used to analyze vaccine composition. We investigated the mechanism for early post-vaccine inflammatory reactions as potential co-stimulant for anti-PF4 immune response. Finally, we evaluated VITT antibodies for inducing release of procoagulant DNA-containing neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), and measured DNase activity in VITT patient serum. Results: Biophysical analyses showed formation of complexes between PF4 and vaccine constituents, including virus proteins that were recognized by VITT antibodies. EDTA, a vaccine constituent, increased microvascular leakage in mice allowing for circulation of virus- and virus-producing cell culture-derived proteins. Antibodies in normal sera cross-reacted with human proteins in the vaccine and likely contribute to commonly observed acute ChAdOx1 nCov-19 post-vaccination inflammatory reactions. Polyphosphates and DNA enhanced PF4-dependent platelet activation by VITT antibodies. In the presence of platelets, PF4 enhanced VITT antibody-driven procoagulant NETs formation, while DNase activity was reduced in VITT sera, with granulocyte-rich cerebral vein thrombosis observed in a VITT patient. Conclusions: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine constituents (i) form antigenic complexes with PF4, (ii) EDTA increases microvascular permeability, and (iii) vaccine components cause acute inflammatory reactions. Antigen formation in a proinflammatory milieu offers an explanation for anti-PF4 antibody production. High-titer anti-PF4 antibodies activate platelets and induce neutrophil activation and NETs formation, fueling the VITT prothrombotic response.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311512

ABSTRACT

Background: Some recipients of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca develop antibody-mediated vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), associated with cerebral venous and other unusual thrombosis resembling autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. A prothrombotic predisposition is also observed in Covid-19. We explored whether antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein induced by Covid-19 cross-react with platelet factor 4 (PF4/CXLC4), the protein targeted in both VITT and autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Methods: Immunogenic epitopes of PF4 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were compared via prediction tools and 3D modelling software (IMED, SIM, MacMYPOL). Sera from 222 PCR-confirmed Covid-19 patients from five European centers were tested by PF4/heparin ELISA, heparin-dependent and PF4-dependent platelet activation assays. Immunogenic reactivity of purified anti-PF4 and anti-PF4/heparin antibodies from patients with VITT were tested against recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Results: Three motifs within the spike protein sequence share a potential immunogenic epitope with PF4. Nineteen of 222 (8.6%) Covid-19 patient sera tested positive in the IgG-specific PF4/heparin ELISA, none of which showed platelet activation in the heparin-dependent activation assay, including 10 (4.5%) of the 222 Covid-19 patients who developed thromboembolic complications. Purified anti-PF4 and anti-PF4/heparin antibodies from two VITT patients did not show cross-reactivity to recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Conclusions: The antibody responses to PF4 in SARS-CoV-2 infection and after vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca differ. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein do not cross-react with PF4 or PF4/heparin complexes through molecular mimicry. These findings make it very unlikely that the intended vaccine-induced immune response against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein would itself induce VITT.

10.
Blood ; 139(12): 1903-1907, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673896

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is triggered by vaccination against COVID-19 with adenovirus vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; Ad26.COV2-S). In this observational study, we followed VITT patients for changes in their reactivity of platelet-activating antiplatelet factor 4 (PF4) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies by an anti-PF4/heparin IgG enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a functional test for PF4-dependent, platelet-activating antibodies, and new thrombotic complications. Sixty-five VITT patients (41 females; median, 51 years; range, 18-80 years) were followed for a median of 25 weeks (range, 3-36 weeks). In 48/65 patients (73.8%; CI, 62.0% to 83.0%) the functional assay became negative. The median time to negative functional test result was 15.5 weeks (range, 5-28 weeks). In parallel, EIA optical density (OD) values decreased from median 3.12 to 1.52 (P < .0001), but seroreversion to a negative result was seen in only 14 (21.5%) patients. Five (7.5%) patients showed persistent platelet-activating antibodies and high EIA ODs for >11 weeks. None of the 29 VITT patients who received a second vaccination dose with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine developed new thromboses or relevant increase in anti-PF4/heparin IgG EIA OD, regardless of whether PF4-dependent platelet-activating antibodies were still present. PF4-dependent platelet-activating antibodies are transient in most patients with VITT. VITT patients can safely receive a second COVID-19 mRNA-vaccine shot.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Thrombocytopenia , Thrombosis , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Heparin/adverse effects , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Platelet Factor 4 , Thrombocytopenia/chemically induced , Vaccines/adverse effects
11.
Haematologica ; 107(4): 947-957, 2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635447

ABSTRACT

Vector-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have been associated with vaccine- induced thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (VITT/TTS), but the causative factors are still unresolved. We comprehensively analyzed the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca) and Ad26.COV2.S (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines. ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 contains significant amounts of host cell protein impurities, including functionally active proteasomes, and adenoviral proteins. A much smaller amount of impurities was found in Ad26.COV2.S. Platelet factor 4 formed complexes with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 constituents, but not with purified virions from ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or with Ad26.COV2.S. Vascular hyperpermeability was induced by ChAdOx nCoV-19 but not by Ad26.COV2.S. These differences in impurities together with EDTAinduced capillary leakage might contribute to the higher incidence rate of VITT associated with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 compared to Ad26.COV2.S.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
13.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295947

ABSTRACT

Objective Reports of cerebral sinus and venous thrombosis (CVT) after ChAdOx1 vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 have raised safety concerns. We aimed to estimate the incidence of CVT within one month from first dose administration and the frequency of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) as the underlying mechanism after vaccination with BNT162b2, ChAdOx1, and mRNA-1273, in Germany. Methods A web-based questionnaire was e-mailed to all Departments of Neurology. We asked to report cases of CVT within one month of a COVID-19 vaccination. Other cerebral events could also be reported. Incidence rates of CVT were calculated by using official statistics of nine German States. Results A total of 45 CVT cases were reported. In addition, 9 primary ischemic strokes, 4 primary intracerebral hemorrhages, and 4 other neurological events were recorded. Of the CVT patients, 35 (77.8%) were female, and 36 (80.0%) were below the age of 60 years. Fifty-three events were observed after vaccination with ChAdOx1 (85.5%), 9 after BNT162b2 (14.5%), and none after mRNA-1273 vaccination. After 7,126,434 first vaccine doses, the incidence rate of CVT within one month from first dose administration was 6.5 (95% CI, 4.4-9.2) per 100,000 person-years for all vaccines and 17.9 (11.8-26.1) for ChAdOx1 (after 2,320,535 ChAdOx1 first doses). The adjusted incidence rate ratio was 9.68 (3.46-34.98) for ChAdOx1 compared to mRNA-based vaccines and 3.14 (1.22-10.65) for women compared to non-women. In 26/45 patients with CVT (57.8%), VITT was graded highly probable. Conclusions Given an incidence of 0.22–1.75 per 100,000 person-years for CVT in the general population, these findings point towards a higher risk for CVT after ChAdOx1 vaccination, especially for women.

14.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 12: 100270, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1549971

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is a severe adverse event of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. We describe the characteristics of patients reported in Germany based on the Brighton Collaboration (BC) case definition criteria for Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) and focus on patients with complete anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4)-antibody laboratory work up. METHODS: The adverse drug reaction database of the Paul-Ehrlich Institute was queried for TTS cases following ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccination from February 1, until May 21, 2021. Cases with reports from the Greifswald laboratory were analysed in detail. FINDINGS: PF4 antibody tests were available for 69 suspected TTS cases reported to the Paul-Ehrlich Institute, of whom 52 patients fulfilled the BC case definition; 37 (71%) women, 15 (29%) men, median age 46·0 years (interquartile range 31·0-60·3 years). Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis was confirmed in 37 (71%), (additional) multiple thromboses in 19 (37%) patients. Twelve patients died. Non-survivors showed lower platelet counts compared to survivors (median nadir 15,000/µL vs 49,000/µL; p<0·0001). Combined anti-PF4/heparin IgG ELISA and PF4-dependent platelet activation testing yielded sensitivity of 96% (95% confidence interval 87-100%) and specificity of 77% (50-93%) for TTS. Four patients with thrombocytopenia but without thrombosis presented with severe headache or cerebral bleeding, explaining the lower specificity. INTERPRETATION: VITT has high mortality and can present with isolated thrombocytopenia, severe headache, and bleeding. Demonstration of platelet activating anti-PF4 IgG has high sensitivity for TTS and captures a wider spectrum of clinically relevant VITT than the current BC case definition. FUNDING: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: 374031971-TRR240; Domagk-Programm Universitätsmedizin Greifswald.

17.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524221

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Vaccine induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) may occur after COVID-19 vaccination with recombinant adenoviral vector-based vaccines. VITT can present as cerebral sinus and venous thrombosis (CSVT), often complicated by intracranial hemorrhage. Today it is unclear, how long symptomatic VITT can persist. Here, we report the complicated long-term course of a VITT patient with extremely high titers of pathogenic anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4)-IgG antibodies. METHODS: Clinical and laboratory findings are presented, including the course of platelet counts, D-Dimer levels, clinical presentation, imaging, SARS-CoV-2-serological and immunological, platelet activating anti-PF4-IgG, as well as autopsy findings. RESULTS: The patient presented with extended superior sagittal sinus thrombosis with accompanying bifrontal intracerebral hemorrhage. Repeated treatment with intravenous immune globuline (IVIG) resolved recurrent episodes of thrombocytopenia. Moreover, the patient's serum remained strongly positive for platelet-activating anti-PF4-IgG over three months. After a period of clinical stabilization, the patient suffered a recurrent and fatal intracranial hemorrhage. CONCLUSIONS: Complicated VITT with extremely high anti-PF4-IgG titers over three months can induce recurrent thrombocytopenia despite treatment with IVIG and anticoagulation. Plasma exchange, immunoadsorption, and /or immunosuppressive treatment may be considered in complicated VITT to reduce extraordinarily high levels of anti-PF4-IgG. Long-term therapy in such cases must take the individual bleeding risk and CSVT risk into account.

18.
J Thromb Haemost ; 20(1): 149-156, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483925

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is a rare but severe immunological reaction to the non-replicable adenoviral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines. Extreme activation of platelets and the coagulation system leads to a high risk of death from venous or arterial thrombosis or secondary hemorrhage. Public and clinician awareness has reduced mortality of VITT by nearly 90%. The World Health Organization provided a guideline in July 2021 on diagnosis and management of VITT (also called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS). Since July 2021, new, clinically relevant information has become available. This update has been summarized by the authors in an informal process with recommendations for low resource environments. We provide new available evidence on VITT to empower clinicians to recognize VITT early, then effectively diagnose and treat the disorder to reduce morbidity and mortality. We strongly encourage production of clear management pathways for primary care settings and hospital settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Thrombocytopenia , Thrombosis , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombocytopenia/chemically induced , Thrombocytopenia/diagnosis , Thrombocytopenia/therapy
19.
Int J Legal Med ; 135(6): 2335-2345, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442101

ABSTRACT

Thorough postmortem investigations of fatalities following vaccination with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are of great social significance. From 11.03.2021 to 09.06.2021, postmortem investigations of 18 deceased persons who recently received a vaccination against COVID-19 were performed. Vaxzevria was vaccinated in nine, Comirnaty in five, Spikevax in three, and Janssen in one person. In all cases, full autopsies, histopathological examinations, and virological analyses for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 were carried out. Depending on the case, additional laboratory tests (anaphylaxis diagnostics, VITT [vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia] diagnostics, glucose metabolism diagnostics) and neuropathological examinations were conducted. In 13 deceased, the cause of death was attributed to preexisting diseases while postmortem investigations did not indicate a causal relationship to the vaccination. In one case after vaccination with Comirnaty, myocarditis was found to be the cause of death. A causal relationship to vaccination was considered possible, but could not be proven beyond doubt. VITT was found in three deceased persons following vaccination with Vaxzevria and one deceased following vaccination with Janssen. Of those four cases with VITT, only one was diagnosed before death. The synopsis of the anamnestic data, the autopsy results, laboratory diagnostic examinations, and histopathological and neuropathological examinations revealed that VITT was the very likely cause of death in only two of the four cases. In the other two cases, no neuropathological correlate of VITT explaining death was found, while possible causes of death emerged that were not necessarily attributable to VITT. The results of our study demonstrate the necessity of postmortem investigations on all fatalities following vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines. In order to identify a possible causal relationship between vaccination and death, in most cases an autopsy and histopathological examinations have to be combined with additional investigations, such as laboratory tests and neuropathological examinations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , Forensic Medicine , Vaccination/adverse effects , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Anaphylaxis/mortality , Autopsy , Causality , Cause of Death , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/mortality , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/mortality
20.
Blood ; 138(22): 2256-2268, 2021 12 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443788

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 vaccine ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca) causes a thromboembolic complication termed vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). Using biophysical techniques, mouse models, and analysis of VITT patient samples, we identified determinants of this vaccine-induced adverse reaction. Super-resolution microscopy visualized vaccine components forming antigenic complexes with platelet factor 4 (PF4) on platelet surfaces to which anti-PF4 antibodies obtained from VITT patients bound. PF4/vaccine complex formation was charge-driven and increased by addition of DNA. Proteomics identified substantial amounts of virus production-derived T-REx HEK293 proteins in the ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)-containing vaccine. Injected vaccine increased vascular leakage in mice, leading to systemic dissemination of vaccine components known to stimulate immune responses. Together, PF4/vaccine complex formation and the vaccine-stimulated proinflammatory milieu trigger a pronounced B-cell response that results in the formation of high-avidity anti-PF4 antibodies in VITT patients. The resulting high-titer anti-PF4 antibodies potently activated platelets in the presence of PF4 or DNA and polyphosphate polyanions. Anti-PF4 VITT patient antibodies also stimulated neutrophils to release neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in a platelet PF4-dependent manner. Biomarkers of procoagulant NETs were elevated in VITT patient serum, and NETs were visualized in abundance by immunohistochemistry in cerebral vein thrombi obtained from VITT patients. Together, vaccine-induced PF4/adenovirus aggregates and proinflammatory reactions stimulate pathologic anti-PF4 antibody production that drives thrombosis in VITT. The data support a 2-step mechanism underlying VITT that resembles the pathogenesis of (autoimmune) heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.


Subject(s)
Antigen-Antibody Complex/immunology , Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Capsid Proteins/adverse effects , Drug Contamination , Genetic Vectors/adverse effects , HEK293 Cells/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Platelet Factor 4/immunology , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/etiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/adverse effects , Adenoviridae/immunology , Animals , Antigen-Antibody Complex/ultrastructure , Autoantibodies/biosynthesis , Capillary Leak Syndrome/etiology , Capsid Proteins/immunology , Cell Line, Transformed , /immunology , Dynamic Light Scattering , Epitopes/chemistry , Epitopes/immunology , Extracellular Traps/immunology , Extravasation of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Materials/etiology , Genetic Vectors/immunology , HEK293 Cells/chemistry , Humans , Imaging, Three-Dimensional , Immunoglobulin G/biosynthesis , Inflammation , Mice , Microscopy/methods , Platelet Activation , Proteomics , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/blood , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/immunology , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/diagnostic imaging , Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Virus Cultivation
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