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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.22.22280247


Background: We investigated whether abatacept, a selective costimulation modulator, provides additional benefit when added to standard-of-care for patients hospitalized with Covid-19. Methods: We conducted a master protocol to investigate immunomodulators for potential benefit treating patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and report results for abatacept. Intravenous abatacept (one-time dose 10 mg/kg, maximum dose 1000 mg) plus standard of care (SOC) was compared with shared placebo plus SOC. Primary outcome was time-to-recovery by day 28. Key secondary endpoints included 28-day mortality. Results: Between October 16, 2020 and December 31, 2021, a total of 1019 participants received study treatment (509 abatacept; 510 shared placebo), constituting the modified intention-to-treat cohort. Participants had a mean age 54.8 (SD 14.6) years, 60.5% were male, 44.2% Hispanic/Latino and 13.7% Black. No statistically significant difference for the primary endpoint of time-to-recovery was found with a recovery-rate-ratio of 1.14 (95% CI 1.00-1.29; p=0.057) compared with placebo. We observed a substantial improvement in 28-day all-cause mortality with abatacept versus placebo (11.0% vs. 15.1%; odds ratio [OR] 0.62 [95% CI 0.41-0.94]), leading to 38% lower odds of dying. Improvement in mortality occurred for participants requiring oxygen/noninvasive ventilation at randomization. Subgroup analysis identified the strongest effect in those with baseline C-reactive protein >75mg/L. We found no statistically significant differences in adverse events, with safety composite index slightly favoring abatacept. Rates of secondary infections were similar (16.1% for abatacept; 14.3% for placebo). Conclusions: Addition of single-dose intravenous abatacept to standard-of-care demonstrated no statistically significant change in time-to-recovery, but improved 28-day mortality. Trial registration: (NCT04593940).

biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.31.474593


Novel pathogenic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to pose an imminent global threat since its initial outbreak in December 2019. A simple in vitro model system using cell lines highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection are critical to facilitate the study of the virus cycle and to discover effective antivirals against the virus. Human lung alveolar A549 cells are regarded as a useful and valuable model for respiratory virus infection. However, SARS-CoV-2 uses the ACE2 as receptor for viral entry and the TMPRSS2 to prime the Spike protein, both of which are negligibly expressed in A549 cells. Here, we report the generation of a robust human lung epithelial cell-based model by transducing ACE2 and TMPRSS2 into A549 cells and show that the ACE2 enriched A549ACE2/TMPRSS2 cells (ACE2plus) and its single-cell-derived subclone (ACE2plusC3) are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. These engineered ACE2plus showed higher ACE2 and TMPRSS2 mRNA expression levels than currently used Calu3 and commercial A549ACE2/TMPRSS2 cells. ACE2 and TMPRSS2 proteins were also highly and ubiquitously expressed in ACE2plusC3 cells. Additionally, antiviral drugs like Camostat mesylate, EIDD-1931, and Remdesivir strongly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication. Notably, multinucleated syncytia, a clinical feature commonly observed in severe COVID-19 patients was induced in ACE2plusC3 cells either by virus infection or by overexpressing the Spike proteins of different variants of SARS-CoV-2. Syncytial process was effectively blocked by the furin protease inhibitor, Decanoyl-RVKR-CMK. Taken together, we have developed a robust human A549 lung epithelial cell-based model that can be applied to probe SARS-CoV-2 replication and to facilitate the discovery of SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors.

Tumor Virus Infections , Anemia, Dyserythropoietic, Congenital , Respiratory Tract Infections , Adenocarcinoma, Bronchiolo-Alveolar , Coronavirus Infections , COVID-19