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1.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1871222

ABSTRACT

Recent genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of COVID-19 patients of European ancestry have identified genetic loci significantly associated with disease severity. Here, we employed the detailed clinical, immunological and multi-omics dataset of the Human Functional Genomics Project (HFGP) to explore the physiological significance of the host genetic variants that influence susceptibility to severe COVID-19. A genomics investigation intersected with functional characterization of individuals with high genetic risk for severe COVID-19 susceptibility identified several major patterns: i. a large impact of genetically determined innate immune responses in COVID-19, with ii. increased susceptibility for severe disease in individuals with defective cytokine production;iii. genetic susceptibility related to ABO blood groups is probably mediated through the von Willebrand factor (VWF) and endothelial dysfunction. We further validated these identified associations at transcript and protein levels by using independent disease cohorts. These insights allow a physiological understanding of genetic susceptibility to severe COVID-19, and indicate pathways that could be targeted for prevention and therapy.

2.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009928, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484868

ABSTRACT

Non-specific protective effects of certain vaccines have been reported, and long-term boosting of innate immunity, termed trained immunity, has been proposed as one of the mechanisms mediating these effects. Several epidemiological studies suggested cross-protection between influenza vaccination and COVID-19. In a large academic Dutch hospital, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection was less common among employees who had received a previous influenza vaccination: relative risk reductions of 37% and 49% were observed following influenza vaccination during the first and second COVID-19 waves, respectively. The quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine induced a trained immunity program that boosted innate immune responses against various viral stimuli and fine-tuned the anti-SARS-CoV-2 response, which may result in better protection against COVID-19. Influenza vaccination led to transcriptional reprogramming of monocytes and reduced systemic inflammation. These epidemiological and immunological data argue for potential benefits of influenza vaccination against COVID-19, and future randomized trials are warranted to test this possibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cross Protection/physiology , Immunity, Innate/physiology , Influenza Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Down-Regulation , Imidazoles/immunology , Incidence , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Netherlands/epidemiology , Personnel, Hospital , Poly I-C/immunology , Proteomics , Risk Factors , Sequence Analysis, RNA
3.
Front Immunol ; 12: 720090, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374235

ABSTRACT

Male sex and old age are risk factors for COVID-19 severity, but the underlying causes are unknown. A possible explanation for this might be the differences in immunological profiles in males and the elderly before the infection. With this in mind, we analyzed the abundance of circulating proteins and immune populations associated with severe COVID-19 in 2 healthy cohorts. Besides, given the seasonal profile of COVID-19, the seasonal response against SARS-CoV-2 could also be different in the elderly and males. Therefore, PBMCs of female, male, young, and old subjects in different seasons of the year were stimulated with heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 to investigate the season-dependent anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune response. We found that several T cell subsets, which are known to be depleted in severe COVID-19 patients, were intrinsically less abundant in men and older individuals. Plasma proteins increasing with disease severity, including HGF, IL-8, and MCP-1, were more abundant in the elderly and males. Upon in vitro SARS-CoV-2 stimulation, the elderly produced significantly more IL-1RA and had a dysregulated IFNγ response with lower production in the fall compared with young individuals. Our results suggest that the immune characteristics of severe COVID-19, described by a differential abundance of immune cells and circulating inflammatory proteins, are intrinsically present in healthy men and the elderly. This might explain the susceptibility of men and the elderly to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aging/immunology , Blood Proteins/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cohort Studies , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunologic Factors , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Risk Assessment , Seasons , Sex Factors , T-Lymphocyte Subsets/immunology , Young Adult
4.
Sci Adv ; 7(32)2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343937

ABSTRACT

The tuberculosis vaccine BCG may protect against inflammation in the elderly as well as offer an option for protection from SARS-CoV-2 in developing countries.


Subject(s)
BCG Vaccine , COVID-19 , Aged , Humans , Inflammation , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
5.
J Infect Dis ; 223(8): 1322-1333, 2021 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1057852

ABSTRACT

The clinical spectrum of COVID-19 varies and the differences in host response characterizing this variation have not been fully elucidated. COVID-19 disease severity correlates with an excessive proinflammatory immune response and profound lymphopenia. Inflammatory responses according to disease severity were explored by plasma cytokine measurements and proteomics analysis in 147 COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, peripheral blood mononuclear cell cytokine production assays and whole blood flow cytometry were performed. Results confirm a hyperinflammatory innate immune state, while highlighting hepatocyte growth factor and stem cell factor as potential biomarkers for disease severity. Clustering analysis revealed no specific inflammatory endotypes in COVID-19 patients. Functional assays revealed abrogated adaptive cytokine production (interferon-γ, interleukin-17, and interleukin-22) and prominent T-cell exhaustion in critically ill patients, whereas innate immune responses were intact or hyperresponsive. Collectively, this extensive analysis provides a comprehensive insight into the pathobiology of severe to critical COVID-19 and highlights potential biomarkers of disease severity.


Subject(s)
Adaptive Immunity/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/blood , Cytokine Release Syndrome/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome/virology , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Inflammation/blood , Inflammation/immunology , Inflammation/virology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/immunology , Leukocytes, Mononuclear/virology , Lymphopenia/blood , Lymphopenia/immunology , Lymphopenia/virology , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Severity of Illness Index
6.
Cell Rep Med ; 1(5): 100073, 2020 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-694416

ABSTRACT

Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) induces long-term boosting of innate immunity, termed trained immunity, and decreases susceptibility to respiratory tract infections. BCG vaccination trials for reducing SARS-CoV-2 infection are underway, but concerns have been raised regarding the potential harm of strong innate immune responses. To investigate the safety of BCG vaccination, we retrospectively assessed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and related symptoms in three cohorts of healthy volunteers who either received BCG in the last 5 years or did not. BCG vaccination is not associated with increased incidence of symptoms during the COVID-19 outbreak in the Netherlands. Our data suggest that BCG vaccination might be associated with a decrease in the incidence of sickness during the COVID-19 pandemic (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.58, p < 0.05), and lower incidence of extreme fatigue. In conclusion, recent BCG vaccination is safe, and large randomized trials are needed to reveal if BCG reduces the incidence and/or severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
BCG Vaccine/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , BCG Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunologic Memory , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Netherlands/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
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