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PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264644, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1793511


INTRODUCTION: Patients with high-consequence infectious diseases (HCID) are rare in Western Europe. However, high-level isolation units (HLIU) must always be prepared for patient admission. Case fatality rates of HCID can be reduced by providing optimal intensive care management. We here describe a single centre's preparation, its embedding in the national context and the challenges we faced during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. METHODS: Ten team leaders organize monthly whole day trainings for a team of doctors and nurses from the HLIU focusing on intensive care medicine. Impact and relevance of training are assessed by a questionnaire and a perception survey, respectively. Furthermore, yearly exercises with several partner institutions are performed to cover different real-life scenarios. Exercises are evaluated by internal and external observers. Both training sessions and exercises are accompanied by intense feedback. RESULTS: From May 2017 monthly training sessions were held with a two-month and a seven-month break due to the first and second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, respectively. Agreement with the statements of the questionnaire was higher after training compared to before training indicating a positive effect of training sessions on competence. Participants rated joint trainings for nurses and doctors at regular intervals as important. Numerous issues with potential for improvement were identified during post processing of exercises. Action plans for their improvement were drafted and as of now mostly implemented. The network of the permanent working group of competence and treatment centres for HCID (Ständiger Arbeitskreis der Kompetenz- und Behandlungszentren für Krankheiten durch hochpathogene Erreger (STAKOB)) at the Robert Koch-Institute (RKI) was strengthened throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. DISCUSSION: Adequate preparation for the admission of patients with HCID is challenging. We show that joint regular trainings of doctors and nurses are appreciated and that training sessions may improve perceived skills. We also show that real-life scenario exercises may reveal additional deficits, which cannot be easily disclosed in training sessions. Although the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic interfered with our activities the enhanced cooperation among German HLIU during the pandemic ensured constant readiness for the admission of HCID patients to our or to collaborating HLIU. This is a single centre's experience, which may not be generalized to other centres. However, we believe that our work may address aspects that should be considered when preparing a unit for the admission of patients with HCID. These may then be adapted to the local situations.

Communicable Diseases/therapy , Critical Care/organization & administration , Intensive Care Units/organization & administration , Patient Isolation/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , Clinical Competence , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Education, Medical, Continuing/methods , Education, Medical, Continuing/organization & administration , Education, Nursing, Continuing/methods , Education, Nursing, Continuing/organization & administration , Environment Design , Germany/epidemiology , History, 21st Century , Humans , Pandemics , Patient Admission , Patient Care Team/organization & administration , Patient Isolation/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Simulation Training/organization & administration , Workflow
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0257016, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484849


BACKGROUND: Activation of the immune system is implicated in the Post-Acute Sequelae after SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) but the mechanisms remain unknown. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) cleaves angiotensin II (Ang II) resulting in decreased activation of the AT1 receptor and decreased immune system activation. We hypothesized that autoantibodies against ACE2 may develop after SARS-CoV-2 infection, as anti-idiotypic antibodies to anti-spike protein antibodies. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We tested plasma or serum for ACE2 antibodies in 67 patients with known SARS-CoV-2 infection and 13 with no history of infection. None of the 13 patients without history of SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1 of the 20 outpatients that had a positive PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 had levels of ACE2 antibodies above the cutoff threshold. In contrast, 26/32 (81%) in the convalescent group and 14/15 (93%) of patients acutely hospitalized had detectable ACE2 antibodies. Plasma from patients with antibodies against ACE2 had less soluble ACE2 activity in plasma but similar amounts of ACE2 protein compared to patients without ACE2 antibodies. We measured the capacity of the samples to inhibit ACE2 enzyme activity. Addition of plasma from patients with ACE2 antibodies led to decreased activity of an exogenous preparation of ACE2 compared to patients that did not have antibodies. CONCLUSIONS: Many patients with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection have antibodies specific for ACE2. Patients with ACE2 antibodies have lower activity of soluble ACE2 in plasma. Plasma from these patients also inhibits exogenous ACE2 activity. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that ACE2 antibodies develop after SARS-CoV-2 infection and decrease ACE2 activity. This could lead to an increase in the abundance of Ang II, which causes a proinflammatory state that triggers symptoms of PASC.

Autoantibodies/blood , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Angiotensin II/blood , Angiotensin II/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Autoantibodies/immunology , Autoantibodies/isolation & purification , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/blood , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/blood , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/genetics , Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1/immunology , Renin-Angiotensin System/genetics , Renin-Angiotensin System/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification
Front Res Metr Anal ; 5: 595299, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221997


Dimensions was built as a platform to allow stakeholders in the research community, including academic bibliometricians, to more easily create and understand the context of different types of research object through the linkages between these objects. Links between objects are created via persistent identifiers and machine learning techniques, while additional context is introduced via data enhancements such as per-object categorisations and person and institution disambiguation. While these features make analytical use cases accessible for end users, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted a different set of needs to analyze trends in scholarship as they occur: Real-time bibliometrics. The combination of full-text search, daily data updates, a broad set of scholarly objects including pre-prints and a wider set of data fields for analysis, broadens opportunities for a different style of analysis. A subset of these emerging capabilities is discussed and three basic analyses are presented as illustrations of the potential for real-time bibliometrics.