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1.
J Pers Med ; 12(5)2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875655

ABSTRACT

Allergic diseases are particularly suitable for personalized medicine, because they meet the needs for therapeutic success, which include a known molecular mechanism of the disease, a diagnostic tool for that disease and a treatment that blocks this mechanism. A range of tools is available for personalized allergy diagnosis, including molecular diagnostics, treatable traits and omics (i.e., proteomics, epigenomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics and breathomics), to predict patient response to therapies, detect biomarkers and mediators and assess disease control status. Such tools enhance allergen immunotherapy. Higher diagnostic accuracy results in a significant increase (based on a greater performance achieved with personalized treatment) in efficacy, further increasing the known and unique characteristics of a treatment designed to work on allergy causes.

2.
ERJ Open Res ; 8(2)2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854770

ABSTRACT

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has put pressure on healthcare services, forcing the reorganisation of traditional care pathways. We investigated how physicians taking care of severe asthma patients in Europe reorganised care, and how these changes affected patient satisfaction, asthma control and future care. Methods: In this European-wide cross-sectional study, patient surveys were sent to patients with a physician-diagnosis of severe asthma, and physician surveys to severe asthma specialists between November 2020 and May 2021. Results: 1101 patients and 268 physicians from 16 European countries contributed to the study. Common physician-reported changes in severe asthma care included use of video/phone consultations (46%), reduced availability of physicians (43%) and change to home-administered biologics (38%). Change to phone/video consultations was reported in 45% of patients, of whom 79% were satisfied or very satisfied with this change. Of 709 patients on biologics, 24% experienced changes in biologic care, of whom 92% were changed to home-administered biologics and of these 62% were satisfied or very satisfied with this change. Only 2% reported worsening asthma symptoms associated with changes in biologic care. Many physicians expect continued implementation of video/phone consultations (41%) and home administration of biologics (52%). Conclusions: Change to video/phone consultations and home administration of biologics was common in severe asthma care during the COVID-19 pandemic and was associated with high satisfaction levels in most but not all cases. Many physicians expect these changes to continue in future severe asthma care, though satisfaction levels may change after the pandemic.

3.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(5)2022 May 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820449

ABSTRACT

Anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are safe and effective, also in individuals with allergic and immune-mediated diseases (IMDs). There are reports suggesting that vaccines may be able to trigger de-novo or exacerbate pre-existing IMDs in predisposed individuals. Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) is a small-vessel vasculitis characterized by asthma, eosinophilia, and eosinophil-rich granulomatous inflammation in various tissues. We describe the case of a 63-year-old man who experienced cardiac, pulmonary, and neurological involvement one day after the administration of the booster dose of anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (mRNA-1273). A diagnosis of EGPA was made and the patient was treated with high-dose steroids and cyclophosphamide, with a good clinical response. Interestingly, our patient had experienced a significant worsening of his pre-existing asthma six months earlier, just after the first two vaccine shots with the ChAdOx1 anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. It is impossible to know whether our patient would have had developed EGPA following natural SARS-CoV-2 infection or at some point in his life regardless of infectious stimuli. Nevertheless, our report may suggest that caution should be paid during the administration of additional vaccine doses in individuals who experienced an increase in IMD severity that persisted over time following previous vaccine shots.

4.
Clin Transl Allergy ; 12(1): e12097, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626109

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected health care systems unexpectedly. However, data focusing on practical considerations experienced by health care professionals (HCPs) providing care to allergic patients is scarce. METHODS: Under the framework of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI), a panel of experts in the field of immunotherapy developed a 42-question online survey, to evaluate real-life consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in allergy practice. RESULTS: The respondents in the survey were 618. About 80% of HCPs indicated being significantly affected in their allergy practice. A face-to-face visit reduction was reported by 93% of HCPs and about a quarter completely interrupted diagnostic challenges. Patients with severe uncontrolled asthma (59%) and anaphylaxis (47%) were prioritized for in-person care. About 81% maintained an unaltered prescription of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in asthmatics. About 90% did not modify intranasal corticosteroids (INCS) in patients with allergic rhinitis. Nearly half of respondents kept biological prescriptions unmodified for asthma. About 50% of respondents kept their allergen immunotherapy (AIT) prescription patterns unchanged for respiratory allergies; 60% for insect venom allergies. Oral immunotherapy (OIT) for food allergies was initiated by 27%. About 20% kept carrying out up-dosing without modifications and 14% changed to more prolonged intervals. Telemedicine practice was increased. CONCLUSIONS: HCPs providing care to allergic patients were affected during the pandemic in diagnostic, management, and therapeutic approaches, including AIT for respiratory, insect-venom, and food allergies. Most HCPs maintained controller treatments for both asthma, and allergic rhinitis consistent with international recommendations, as well as biological agents in asthma. Remote tools are valuable in delivering allergy care.

5.
Ann Intensive Care ; 11(1): 91, 2021 Jun 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255967

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Survivors of severe COVID-19 are at risk of impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and persistent physical and psychological disability after ICU and hospital discharge. The subsequent social burden is a major concern. We aimed to assess the short-term HRQoL, physical function and prevalence of post-traumatic stress symptoms of invasively mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients treated in our ICU. METHODS: Prospective, observational cohort study in a follow-up clinic. Patients completed a 6-min walking test (6MWT) to assess their cardio-pulmonary function around 2 months (early follow-up) from hospital discharge, the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire for quality of life assessment around 2 months and at 6 months from hospital discharge and an anonymous web-based Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) questionnaire for Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms at 2 months. RESULTS: 47 patients attended our follow-up program, mean age 59 ± 10 years, median pre-morbid Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) 2 [2-3]. The median distance walked in 6 min was 470 [406-516] m, 83 [67-99]% of the predicted value. Overall 1 out 3 patients and 4/18 (22%) among those with a good functional baseline prior to COVID-19 (CFS of 1 or 2) had lower (84%) than predicted 6MWT. EQ-5D-5L quality of life VAS was 80 [70-90] out of 100 at early follow-up with a slight improvement to 85 [77.5-90] at 6 months. Mobility, self-care and usual activities improved between the two timepoints, while pain/discomfort and depression/anxiety did not improve or got worse. The IES-R total score was greater than the threshold for concern of 1.6 in 27/41(66%) respondents. CONCLUSIONS: Patients recovering from severe COVID-19 requiring invasive mechanical ventilation surviving hospital discharge present with early mild to moderate functional impairment, mildly reduced quality of life from hospital discharge with an overall improvement of mobility, self-care and the ability of performing usual activities, while a worsening of pain and depression/anxiety symptoms at 6 months and a large proportion of symptoms of post-traumatic distress soon after hospital discharge.

6.
Expert Rev Respir Med ; 15(8): 1057-1060, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202112

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has deeply revolutionized our lives and consequently the management of patients, specifically ones with severe asthma.Objective: A survey was conducted to evaluate the effects on adherence, exacerbations and quality of life in patients with severe asthma during the COVID-19 pandemic period.Methods: 100 severe asthma patients, who accepted to participate to the survey, were asked to respond to different questionnaires in order to assess asthma symptoms (Asthma Control Test - ACT, and Asthma Control Quality - ACQ) and rino-sinusal ones (Sino-nasal outcome test - SNOT-22).Results: 31 out of 100 patients reported worsening of respiratory symptoms requiring a step-up in therapy dosage or frequency during the observational period; however, exacerbation rate was very low. Only 17 (17%) of the 100 participants experienced a severe asthma exacerbation. Moreover, there was no confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in this population.Conclusion: Patients with severe asthma did not show higher rates of exacerbations during the pandemic outbreak as well as no increased risk of contracting COVID-19 infection or developing the disease. Self-administration of biological drugs could be useful to maintain high rates of adherence to therapy, and, at the same time, to decrease the risk of exacerbations or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) room access.


Subject(s)
Asthma , COVID-19 , Asthma/diagnosis , Asthma/drug therapy , Asthma/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
7.
World Allergy Organ J ; 14(5): 100541, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174529

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Novel Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines have been approved recently, and public concern regarding the risk of anaphylactic reactions arose after a few cases during the first days of mass vaccination. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been suggested as the most probable culprit agent for allergic reactions. OBJECTIVE: We describe the allergy work-up protocol implemented for the vaccination campaign in our Center, aiming to allow the greatest number of people to be vaccinated safely. METHODS: The protocol included the self-report of a history of suspected drug or vaccine allergies, and subsequent teleconsultation and allergometric tests for PEG and Polysorbate 80 (PS80). A desensitizing protocol of vaccine administration was applied to patients sensitized only to PS80, and to those with a suspect allergic reaction after the first vaccine dose. RESULTS: 10.2% (414 out of 4042) of the entire vaccine population have been screened: only one patient resulted allergic to PEG and therefore excluded from the vaccination. Another patient was sensitized to PS80 only and safely vaccinated applying the desensitizing protocol. Seven subjects without a previous history of allergic disease experienced suspect hypersensitivity reactions to the first administered dose: one of them resulted allergic to PEG and was excluded from the second dose, while the others safely completed the vaccination with the desensitizing protocol. CONCLUSION: A careful allergological risk-assessment protocol significantly reduces the number of patients who would have avoided SARS-CoV-2 vaccination for their allergies and to effectively identify and manage those rare patients with sensitization to PEGs and/or PS80.

9.
Allergy ; 76(11): 3504-3516, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1114987

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As in many fields of medical care, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted in an increased uncertainty regarding the safety of allergen immunotherapy (AIT). Therefore, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) aimed to analyze the situation in different countries and to systematically collect all information available regarding tolerability and possible amendments in daily practice of sublingual AIT (SLIT), subcutaneous AIT (SCIT) for inhalant allergies and venom AIT. METHODS: Under the framework of the EAACI, a panel of experts in the field of AIT coordinated by the Immunotherapy Interest Group set-up a web-based retrospective survey (SurveyMonkey® ) including 27 standardized questions on practical and safety aspects on AIT in worldwide clinical routine. RESULTS: 417 respondents providing AIT to their patients in daily routine answered the survey. For patients (without any current symptoms to suspect COVID-19), 60% of the respondents informed of not having initiated SCIT (40% venom AIT, 35% SLIT) whereas for the maintenance phase of AIT, SCIT was performed by 75% of the respondents (74% venom AIT, 89% SLIT). No tolerability concern arises from this preliminary analysis. 16 physicians reported having performed AIT despite (early) symptoms of COVID-19 and/or a positive test result for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CONCLUSIONS: This first international retrospective survey in atopic diseases investigated practical aspects and tolerability of AIT during the COVID-19 pandemic and gave no concerns regarding reduced tolerability under real-life circumstances. However, the data indicate an undertreatment of AIT, which may be temporary, but could have a long-lasting negative impact on the clinical care of allergic patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Desensitization, Immunologic , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
10.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 232, 2021 Feb 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105699

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although there are reports of otolaryngological symptoms and manifestations of CoronaVirus Disease 19 (COVID-19), there have been no documented cases of sudden neck swelling with rash in patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection described in literature. CASE PRESENTATION: We report a case of a sudden neck swelling and rash likely due to late SARS-CoV-2 in a 64-year-old woman. The patient reported COVID-19 symptoms over the previous three weeks. Computed Tomography (CT) revealed a diffuse soft-tissue swelling and edema of subcutaneous tissue, hypodermis, and muscular and deep fascial planes. All the differential diagnoses were ruled out. Both the anamnestic history of the patient's husband who had died of COVID-19 with and the collateral findings of pneumonia and esophageal wall edema suggested the association with COVID-19. This was confirmed by nasopharyngeal swab polymerase chain reaction. The patient was treated with lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine and piperacillin/tazobactam for 7 days. The neck swelling resolved in less than 24 h, while the erythema was still present up to two days later. The patient was discharged after seven days in good clinical condition and with a negative swab. CONCLUSION: Sudden neck swelling with rash may be a coincidental presentation, but, in the pandemic context, it is most likely a direct or indirect complication of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Exanthema/etiology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/drug therapy , Edema/etiology , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Neck/pathology , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
11.
Int J Clin Pharm ; 43(3): 708-715, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064566

ABSTRACT

Background Italy has been the first non-Asian country affected by Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. Community pharmacies are essential services authorized to continue their activity during the emergency. To date, a clear image is lacking of the critical issues Italian community pharmacists had to face and of how they responded in their daily work.. Objective To describe procedures and critical logistical-organizational issues encountered by Italian community pharmacists and to collect the main requests reported by patients to pharmacists. Setting A national survey on Italian community pharmacists. Method A cross-sectional survey using a reasoned questionnaire was sent during the pandemic peak to Italian pharmacies, divided in two groups according to the incidence of COVID-19: "Red Zones" and "non-Red Zones". Main outcome measure Exploring the most frequently adopted measures by the pharmacists. Results 169 community Pharmacists answered the questionnaire. The most frequently adopted measures were the use of gloves, surgical masks and protective barriers at the drug counter. Most implemented services for customers were: booking of prescriptions, delivery of medications and implementation of phone consultations. Overall, the questionnaire highlighted an increase in the number of health-related consultations and requests by customers. In Red Zones, there was a higher use of FFP2 and FFP3 masks by pharmacists, where customers were mainly interested in gaining information about specific classes of medications. Conclusion Community pharmacists adapted to lockdown measures by implementing a number of measures. There was an overall increase in pharmacists' personal protective equipment in Red Zones possibly linked to increased risk perception.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pharmacists/organization & administration , COVID-19/prevention & control , Community Pharmacy Services/organization & administration , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergencies , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment/statistics & numerical data , Pharmacists/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires
12.
Clin Transl Allergy ; 10(1): 47, 2020 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-901925

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: An increase in online searches on health topics may either mirror epidemiological changes or reflect media coverage. In the context of COVID-19, this is particularly relevant, as COVID-19 symptoms may be mistaken for those of respiratory disease exacerbations. Therefore, we aimed to assess Internet search patterns on asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the context of COVID-19, as compared to searches on other chronic diseases. METHODS: We retrieved Google Trends (GTs) data on two respiratory (asthma and COPD) and three non-respiratory (diabetes, hypertension, and Crohn's disease) chronic diseases over the past 5 years (up to May 31, 2020). For 54 countries, and for each disease, we built autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models to predict GTs for 2020 based on 2015-2019 search patterns. In addition, we estimated the proportion of searches in which COVID-19-related terms were used. To assess the potential impact of media coverage on online searches, we assessed whether weekly "asthma" GTs correlated with the number of Google News items on asthma. RESULTS: Over the past 5 years, worldwide search volumes for asthma and COPD reached their maximum values in March 2020. Such was not observed for diabetes, hypertension and Crohn's disease. In 38 (70%) countries, GTs on asthma were higher in March 2020 than the respective maximum predicted values. This compares to 19 countries for COPD, 23 for hypertension, 11 for Crohn's disease, and 9 for diabetes. Queries with COVID-19-related terms represented up to 47.8% of the monthly searches on asthma, and up to 21.3% of COPD searches. In most of the assessed countries, moderate-strong correlations were observed between "asthma" GTs and the number of news items on asthma. CONCLUSIONS: During March 2020, there was a peak in searches on asthma and COPD, which was probably mostly driven by media coverage, as suggested by their simultaneity in several countries with different epidemiological situations.

15.
Clin Transl Allergy ; 10: 23, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-602114

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Almost the entire World is experiencing the Coronavirus-Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, responsible, at the end of May 2020, of more than five million people infected worldwide and about 350,000 deaths. In this context, a deep reorganization of allergy clinics, in order to ensure proper diagnosis and care despite of social distancing measures expose, is needed. MAIN TEXT: The reorganization of allergy clinics should include programmed checks for severe and poorly controlled patients, application of digital medicine service for mild-to-moderate disease in well-controlled ones, postponement of non urgent diagnostic work-ups and domiciliation of therapies, whenever possible. As far as therapies, allergen immunotherapy (AIT) should not be stopped and sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) fits perfectly for this purpose, since a drug home-delivery service can be activated for the entire pandemic duration. Moreover, biologic agents for severe asthma, chronic spontaneous urticaria and atopic dermatitis should be particularly encouraged to achieve best control possible of severe disease in times of COVID-19 and, whenever possible, home-delivery and self-administration should be the preferred choice. CONCLUSION: During COVID-19 pandemic, allergists have the responsibility of balancing individual patients' needs with public health issues, and innovative tools, such as telemedicine and digital medicine services, can be helpful to reduce the risk of viral spreading while delivering up-to-date personalized care.

16.
World Allergy Organ J ; 13(5): 100125, 2020 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-260643

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed many medical practices in order to provide additional protection to both our patients and healthcare providers. In many cases this includes seeing patients through electronic means such as telehealth or telephone rather than seeing them in person. Asthma exacerbations cannot always be treated in this way. PROBLEM: Current emergency unit asthma guidelines recommend bronchodilators be administered by metered dose inhaler (MDI) and spacer for mild-moderate asthma and include it as a choice even in severe asthma, but many emergency units continue to prefer nebulised therapy for patients who urgently require beta-agonists. The utilization of nebulised therapy potentially increases the risk of aerosolization of the coronavirus. Since nosocomial transmission of respiratory pathogens is a major threat in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, use of nebulised therapy is of even greater concern due to the potential increased risk of infection spread to nearby patients and healthcare workers. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: We propose a risk stratification plan that aims to avoid nebulised therapy, when possible, by providing an algorithm to help better delineate those who require nebulised therapy. Protocols that include strategies to allow flexibility in using MDIs rather than nebulisers in all but the most severe patients should help mitigate this risk of aerosolised infection transmission to patients and health care providers. Furthermore, expedient treatment of patients with high dose MDI therapy augmented with more rapid initiation of systemic therapy may help ensure patients are less likely to deteriorate to the stage where nebulisers are required.

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