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1.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz ; 65(5): 567-576, 2022 May.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1813628

ABSTRACT

Active communication of authorities, such as the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), including maintenance of contacts with health care professionals, as well as press and public relations work, are essential prerequisites for ensuring that information on the risks of using medicinal products reaches both affected patients and healthcare professionals quickly and in a targeted manner. The various instruments of targeted communication describe possible risks and also contain recommendations that help to reduce the risk of using a medicinal product. The supplementary public relations work aims to make the tasks and objectives of the authority known to the public and to experts with the goal of creating and expanding trust in the actions of the authorities. To this end, appropriate communication platforms must be established and accepted so that they are used by both experts and the general public and the authority is perceived and appreciated as a reliable source of risk information. The currently available instruments of targeted risk communication, such as Dear Health Care Professional Communication (DHPC), risk management plans, and educational materials are described in this paper as well as broader communication on official websites or towards the media. Finally, PEI's risk communication is highlighted with particular reference to COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Academies and Institutes , Communication , Germany , Humans
2.
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.

3.
Allergy ; 2021 Oct 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462724

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People suffering from COVID-19 are typically considered non-infectious 14 days after diagnosis if symptoms have disappeared for at least 48 h. We describe three patients who independently acquired their infection. These three patients experienced mild COVID-19 and completely recovered symptomatically within 10 days, but remained PCR-positive in deep pharyngeal samples for at least 38 days. We attempted to isolate virus from pharyngeal swabs to investigate whether these patients still carried infectious virus. METHODS: Infectious virus was amplified in Vero E6 cells and characterized by electron microscopy and WGS. The immune response was investigated by ELISA and peptide arrays. RESULTS: In all three cases, infectious and replication-competent virus was isolated and amplified in Vero E6 cells. Virus replication was detected by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence microscopy. Electron microscopy confirmed the formation of intact SARS-CoV-2 particles. For a more detailed analysis, all three isolates were characterized by whole-genome sequencing (WGS). The sequence data revealed that the isolates belonged to the 20A or 20C clade, and two mutations in ORF8 were identified among other mutations that could be relevant for establishing a long-term infection. Characterization of the humoral immune response in comparison to patients that had fully recovered from mild COVID-19 revealed a lack of antibodies binding to sequential epitopes of the receptor-binding domain (RBD) for the long-term infected patients. CONCLUSION: Thus, a small portion of COVID-19 patients displays long-term infectivity and termination of quarantine periods after 14 days, without PCR-based testing, should be reconsidered critically.

4.
Transfusion ; 60(6): 1119-1122, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388414

ABSTRACT

Oral swabs, sputum, and blood samples from 18 asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection were examined using RT-PCR testing in order to assess the risk of transfusion-related transmission. In asymptomatic patients as well as patients with flu-like symptoms and fever, no SARS-CoV-2 RNA could be detected in the blood or serum despite a clearly positive result in all throat swabs. As patients with symptoms of infectious disease will not be admitted to blood donation, the risk for transfusion transmission of SARS-CoV-2 seems to be negligible.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Blood Donors , Blood Safety , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Donor Selection , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Transfusion Reaction/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Germany , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Transfusion Reaction/virology , Young Adult
5.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(7)2021 Jul 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295957

ABSTRACT

Multiple preventive COVID-19 vaccines have been developed during the ongoing SARS coronavirus (CoV) 2 pandemic, utilizing a variety of technology platforms, which have different properties, advantages, and disadvantages. The acceleration in vaccine development required to combat the current pandemic is not at the expense of the necessary regulatory requirements, including robust and comprehensive data collection along with clinical product safety and efficacy evaluation. Due to the previous development of vaccine candidates against the related highly pathogenic coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, the antigen that elicits immune protection is known: the surface spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 or specific domains encoded in that protein, e.g., the receptor binding domain. From a scientific point of view and in accordance with legal frameworks and regulatory practices, for the approval of a clinic trial, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut requires preclinical testing of vaccine candidates, including general pharmacology and toxicology as well as immunogenicity. For COVID-19 vaccine candidates, based on existing platform technologies with a sufficiently broad data base, pharmacological-toxicological testing in the case of repeated administration, quantifying systemic distribution, and proof of vaccination protection in animal models can be carried out in parallel to phase 1 or 1/2 clinical trials. To reduce the theoretical risk of an increased respiratory illness through infection-enhancing antibodies or as a result of Th2 polarization and altered cytokine profiles of the immune response following vaccination, which are of specific concern for COVID-19 vaccines, appropriate investigative testing is imperative. In general, phase 1 (vaccine safety) and 2 (dose finding, vaccination schedule) clinical trials can be combined, and combined phase 2/3 trials are recommended to determine safety and efficacy. By applying these fundamental requirements not only for the approval and analysis of clinical trials but also for the regulatory evaluation during the assessment of marketing authorization applications, several efficacious and safe COVID-19 vaccines have been licensed in the EU by unprecedentedly fast and flexible procedures. Procedural and regulatory-scientific aspects of the COVID-19 licensing processes are described in this review.

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