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1.
Crit Care ; 25(1): 281, 2021 08 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770564

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Procalcitonin (PCT) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were previously shown to have value for the detection of secondary infections in critically ill COVID-19 patients. However, since the introduction of immunomodulatory therapy, the value of these biomarkers is unclear. We investigated PCT and CRP kinetics in critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with dexamethasone with or without tocilizumab, and assessed the value of these biomarkers to detect secondary bacterial infections. METHODS: In this prospective study, 190 critically ill COVID-19 patients were divided into three treatment groups: no dexamethasone, no tocilizumab (D-T-), dexamethasone, no tocilizumab (D+T-), and dexamethasone and tocilizumab (D+T+). Serial data of PCT and CRP were aligned on the last day of dexamethasone treatment, and kinetics of these biomarkers were analyzed between 6 days prior to cessation of dexamethasone and 10 days afterwards. Furthermore, the D+T- and D+T+ groups were subdivided into secondary infection and no-secondary infection groups to analyze differences in PCT and CRP kinetics and calculate detection accuracy of these biomarkers for the occurrence of a secondary infection. RESULTS: Following cessation of dexamethasone, there was a rebound in PCT and CRP levels, most pronounced in the D+T- group. Upon occurrence of a secondary infection, no significant increase in PCT and CRP levels was observed in the D+T- group (p = 0.052 and p = 0.08, respectively). Although PCT levels increased significantly in patients of the D+T+ group who developed a secondary infection (p = 0.0003), this rise was only apparent from day 2 post-infection onwards. CRP levels remained suppressed in the D+T+ group. Receiver operating curve analysis of PCT and CRP levels yielded area under the curves of 0.52 and 0.55, respectively, which are both markedly lower than those found in the group of COVID-19 patients not treated with immunomodulatory drugs (0.80 and 0.76, respectively, with p values for differences between groups of 0.001 and 0.02, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Cessation of dexamethasone in critically ill COVID-19 patients results in a rebound increase in PCT and CRP levels unrelated to the occurrence of secondary bacterial infections. Furthermore, immunomodulatory treatment with dexamethasone and tocilizumab considerably reduces the value of PCT and CRP for detection of secondary infections in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/therapeutic use , Bacterial Infections/diagnosis , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coinfection/diagnosis , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use , Aged , C-Reactive Protein/analysis , COVID-19/complications , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Netherlands , Procalcitonin/analysis , Prospective Studies
2.
Lancet Rheumatol ; 3(10): e690-e697, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486375

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Anakinra might improve the prognosis of patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 (ie, patients requiring oxygen supplementation but not yet receiving organ support). We aimed to assess the effect of anakinra treatment on mortality in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. METHODS: For this systematic review and individual patient-level meta-analysis, a systematic literature search was done on Dec 28, 2020, in Medline (PubMed), Cochrane, medRxiv, bioRxiv, and the ClinicalTrials.gov databases for randomised trials, comparative studies, and observational studies of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, comparing administration of anakinra with standard of care, or placebo, or both. The search was repeated on Jan 22, 2021. Individual patient-level data were requested from investigators and corresponding authors of eligible studies; if individual patient-level data were not available, published data were extracted from the original reports. The primary endpoint was mortality after 28 days and the secondary endpoint was safety (eg, the risk of secondary infections). This study is registered on PROSPERO (CRD42020221491). FINDINGS: 209 articles were identified, of which 178 full-text articles fulfilled screening criteria and were assessed. Aggregate data on 1185 patients from nine studies were analysed, and individual patient-level data on 895 patients were provided from six of these studies. Eight studies were observational and one was a randomised controlled trial. Most studies used historical controls. In the individual patient-level meta-analysis, after adjusting for age, comorbidities, baseline ratio of the arterial partial oxygen pressure divided by the fraction of inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2), C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations, and lymphopenia, mortality was significantly lower in patients treated with anakinra (38 [11%] of 342) than in those receiving standard of care with or without placebo (137 [25%] of 553; adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0·32 [95% CI 0·20-0·51]). The mortality benefit was similar across subgroups regardless of comorbidities (ie, diabetes), ferritin concentrations, or the baseline PaO2/FiO2. In a subgroup analysis, anakinra was more effective in lowering mortality in patients with CRP concentrations higher than 100 mg/L (OR 0·28 [95% CI 0·17-0·47]). Anakinra showed a significant survival benefit when given without dexamethasone (OR 0·23 [95% CI 0·12-0·43]), but not with dexamethasone co-administration (0·72 [95% CI 0·37-1·41]). Anakinra was not associated with a significantly increased risk of secondary infections when compared with standard of care (OR 1·35 [95% CI 0·59-3·10]). INTERPRETATION: Anakinra could be a safe, anti-inflammatory treatment option to reduce the mortality risk in patients admitted to hospital with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia, especially in the presence of signs of hyperinflammation such as CRP concentrations higher than 100 mg/L. FUNDING: Sobi.

3.
Med (N Y) ; 2(10): 1163-1170.e2, 2021 10 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433668

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Prolonged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) shedding has been described in immunocompromised coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients, resulting in protracted disease and poor outcome. Specific therapy to improve viral clearance and outcome for this group of patients is currently unavailable. METHODS: Five critically ill COVID-19 patients with severe defects in cellular immune responses, high SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA loads, and no respiratory improvement were treated with interferon gamma, 100 µg subcutaneously, thrice weekly. Bronchial secretion was collected every 48 h for routine diagnostic SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and viral culture. FINDINGS: Interferon gamma administration was followed by a rapid decline in SARS-CoV-2 load and a positive-to-negative viral culture conversion. Four patients recovered, and no signs of hyperinflammation were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Interferon gamma may be considered as adjuvant immunotherapy in a subset of immunocompromised COVID-19 patients. FUNDING: A.v.L. and R.v.C. are supported by National Institutes of Health (R01AI145781). G.J.O. and R.P.v.R. are supported by a VICI grant (016.VICI.170.090) from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). W.F.A. is supported by a clinical fellowship grant (9071561) of Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development. M.G.N. is supported by an ERC advanced grant (833247) and a Spinoza grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Critical Illness/therapy , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunotherapy , Interferon-gamma , Research , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
4.
Crit Care Med ; 50(1): e1-e10, 2022 01 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349805

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Obesity is a risk factor for severe coronavirus disease 2019 and might play a role in its pathophysiology. It is unknown whether body mass index is related to clinical outcome following ICU admission, as observed in various other categories of critically ill patients. We investigated the relationship between body mass index and inhospital mortality in critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients and in cohorts of ICU patients with non-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple trauma. DESIGN: Multicenter observational cohort study. SETTING: Eighty-two Dutch ICUs participating in the Dutch National Intensive Care Evaluation quality registry. PATIENTS: Thirty-five-thousand five-hundred six critically ill patients. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Patient characteristics and clinical outcomes were compared between four cohorts (coronavirus disease 2019, nonsevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, and multiple trauma patients) and between body mass index categories within cohorts. Adjusted analyses of the relationship between body mass index and inhospital mortality within each cohort were performed using multivariable logistic regression. Coronavirus disease 2019 patients were more likely male, had a higher body mass index, lower Pao2/Fio2 ratio, and were more likely mechanically ventilated during the first 24 hours in the ICU compared with the other cohorts. Coronavirus disease 2019 patients had longer ICU and hospital length of stay, and higher inhospital mortality. Odds ratios for inhospital mortality for patients with body mass index greater than or equal to 35 kg/m2 compared with normal weight in the coronavirus disease 2019, nonsevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 viral pneumonia, bacterial pneumonia, and trauma cohorts were 1.15 (0.79-1.67), 0.64 (0.43-0.95), 0.73 (0.61-0.87), and 0.81 (0.57-1.15), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The obesity paradox, which is the inverse association between body mass index and mortality in critically ill patients, is not present in ICU patients with coronavirus disease 2019-related respiratory failure, in contrast to nonsevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 viral and bacterial respiratory infections.


Subject(s)
Body Mass Index , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospital Mortality/trends , Obesity/epidemiology , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Multiple Trauma/epidemiology , Netherlands/epidemiology , Patient Acuity , Pneumonia, Bacterial/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 674079, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305644

ABSTRACT

At homeostasis the vast majority of neutrophils in the circulation expresses CD16 and CD62L within a narrow expression range, but this quickly changes in disease. Little is known regarding the changes in kinetics of neutrophils phenotypes in inflammatory conditions. During acute inflammation more heterogeneity was found, characterized by an increase in CD16dim banded neutrophils. These cells were probably released from the bone marrow (left shift). Acute inflammation induced by human experimental endotoxemia (LPS model) was additionally accompanied by an immediate increase in a CD62Llow neutrophil population, which was not as explicit after injury/trauma induced acute inflammation. The situation in sub-acute inflammation was more complex. CD62Llow neutrophils appeared in the peripheral blood several days (>3 days) after trauma with a peak after 10 days. A similar situation was found in the blood of COVID-19 patients returning from the ICU. Sorted CD16low and CD62Llow subsets from trauma and COVID-19 patients displayed the same nuclear characteristics as found after experimental endotoxemia. In diseases associated with chronic inflammation (stable COPD and treatment naive HIV) no increases in CD16low or CD62Llow neutrophils were found in the peripheral blood. All neutrophil subsets were present in the bone marrow during homeostasis. After LPS rechallenge, these subsets failed to appear in the circulation, but continued to be present in the bone marrow, suggesting the absence of recruitment signals. Because the subsets were reported to have different functionalities, these results on the kinetics of neutrophil subsets in a range of inflammatory conditions contribute to our understanding on the role of neutrophils in health and disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Endotoxemia/immunology , Inflammation/immunology , Neutrophils/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Wounds and Injuries/immunology , Acute Disease , Adult , Aged , Cell Movement , Cells, Cultured , Chronic Disease , Female , Humans , L-Selectin/metabolism , Lipopolysaccharides/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Receptors, IgG/metabolism , Young Adult
7.
Biosci Rep ; 41(7)2021 07 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290282

ABSTRACT

Patients with sepsis display increased concentrations of sTREM-1 (soluble Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 1), and a phase II clinical trial focusing on TREM-1 modulation is ongoing. We investigated whether sTREM-1 circulating concentrations are associated with the outcome of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to assess the role of this pathway in COVID-19. This observational study was performed in two independent cohorts of patients with COVID-19. Plasma concentrations of sTREM-1 were assessed after ICU admission (pilot cohort) or after COVID-19 diagnosis (validation cohort). Routine laboratory and clinical parameters were collected from electronic patient files. Results showed sTREM-1 plasma concentrations were significantly elevated in patients with COVID-19 (161 [129-196] pg/ml) compared to healthy controls (104 [75-124] pg/ml; P<0.001). Patients with severe COVID-19 needing ICU admission displayed even higher sTREM-1 concentrations compared to less severely ill COVID-19 patients receiving clinical ward-based care (235 [176-319] pg/ml and 195 [139-283] pg/ml, respectively, P = 0.017). In addition, higher sTREM-1 plasma concentrations were observed in patients who did not survive the infection (326 [207-445] pg/ml) compared to survivors (199 [142-278] pg/ml, P<0.001). Survival analyses indicated that patients with higher sTREM-1 concentrations are at higher risk for death (hazard ratio = 3.3, 95%CI: 1.4-7.8). In conclusion, plasma sTREM-1 concentrations are elevated in patients with COVID-19, relate to disease severity, and discriminate between survivors and non-survivors. This suggests that the TREM-1 pathway is involved in the inflammatory reaction and the disease course of COVID-19, and therefore may be considered as a therapeutic target in severely ill patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells-1/blood , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Risk Assessment/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Survival Analysis
8.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(6): 622-642, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219780

ABSTRACT

The zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, with devastating consequences. While the medical community has gained insight into the epidemiology of COVID-19, important questions remain about the clinical complexities and underlying mechanisms of disease phenotypes. Severe COVID-19 most commonly involves respiratory manifestations, although other systems are also affected, and acute disease is often followed by protracted complications. Such complex manifestations suggest that SARS-CoV-2 dysregulates the host response, triggering wide-ranging immuno-inflammatory, thrombotic, and parenchymal derangements. We review the intricacies of COVID-19 pathophysiology, its various phenotypes, and the anti-SARS-CoV-2 host response at the humoral and cellular levels. Some similarities exist between COVID-19 and respiratory failure of other origins, but evidence for many distinctive mechanistic features indicates that COVID-19 constitutes a new disease entity, with emerging data suggesting involvement of an endotheliopathy-centred pathophysiology. Further research, combining basic and clinical studies, is needed to advance understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms and to characterise immuno-inflammatory derangements across the range of phenotypes to enable optimum care for patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Organ Failure , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Endothelium/physiopathology , Humans , Immunity , Multiple Organ Failure/etiology , Multiple Organ Failure/physiopathology , Patient Acuity , Severity of Illness Index
9.
EBioMedicine ; 66: 103291, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163667

ABSTRACT

Many milestones in medical history rest on animal modeling of human diseases. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has evoked a tremendous investigative effort primarily centered on clinical studies. However, several animal SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 models have been developed and pre-clinical findings aimed at supporting clinical evidence rapidly emerge. In this review, we characterize the existing animal models exposing their relevance and limitations as well as outline their utility in COVID-19 drug and vaccine development. Concurrently, we summarize the status of clinical trial research and discuss the novel tactics utilized in the largest multi-center trials aiming to accelerate generation of reliable results that may subsequently shape COVID-19 clinical treatment practices. We also highlight areas of improvement for animal studies in order to elevate their translational utility. In pandemics, to optimize the use of strained resources in a short time-frame, optimizing and strengthening the synergy between the preclinical and clinical domains is pivotal.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/etiology , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Age Factors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Clinical Trials as Topic , Cricetinae , Ferrets , Humans , Mice , Mutation , Primates
10.
ERJ Open Res ; 7(1)2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143170

ABSTRACT

Critically ill #COVID19 patients display markedly increased alternative angiotensin pathway activity compared to healthy controls, reflected by increased blood ACE2 levels as well as decreased angiotensin-II and enhanced angiotensin-1-7 formation https://bit.ly/2MU1z4z.

11.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab ; 106(7): 1994-2009, 2021 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133638

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: Lymphopenia is a key feature of immune dysfunction in patients with bacterial sepsis and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is associated with poor clinical outcomes, but the cause is largely unknown. Severely ill patients may present with thyroid function abnormalities, so-called nonthyroidal illness syndrome, and several studies have linked thyrotropin (thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH) and the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (T3) to homeostatic regulation and function of lymphocyte populations. OBJECTIVE: This work aimed to test the hypothesis that abnormal thyroid function correlates with lymphopenia in patients with severe infections. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of absolute lymphocyte counts, circulating TSH, T4, free T4 (FT4), T3, albumin, and inflammatory biomarkers was performed in 2 independent hospitalized study populations: bacterial sepsis (n = 224) and COVID-19 patients (n = 161). A subgroup analysis was performed in patients with severe lymphopenia and normal lymphocyte counts. RESULTS: Only T3 significantly correlated (ρ = 0.252) with lymphocyte counts in patients with bacterial sepsis, and lower concentrations were found in severe lymphopenic compared to nonlymphopenic patients (n = 56 per group). Severe lymphopenic COVID-19 patients (n = 17) showed significantly lower plasma concentrations of TSH, T4, FT4, and T3 compared to patients without lymphopenia (n = 18), and demonstrated significantly increased values of the inflammatory markers interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and ferritin. Remarkably, after 1 week of follow-up, the majority (12 of 15) of COVID-19 patients showed quantitative recovery of their lymphocyte numbers, whereas TSH and thyroid hormones remained mainly disturbed. CONCLUSION: Abnormal thyroid function correlates with lymphopenia in patients with severe infections, like bacterial sepsis and COVID-19, but future studies need to establish whether a causal relationship is involved.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Euthyroid Sick Syndromes/diagnosis , Lymphopenia/immunology , Sepsis/complications , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Euthyroid Sick Syndromes/blood , Euthyroid Sick Syndromes/immunology , Female , Greece , Humans , Lymphocyte Count , Lymphopenia/blood , Lymphopenia/diagnosis , Male , Netherlands , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sepsis/blood , Sepsis/immunology , Thyroid Hormones/blood , Thyroid Hormones/immunology , Thyrotropin/blood , Thyrotropin/immunology
12.
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
13.
Int J Obes (Lond) ; 45(3): 687-694, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1047947

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Obesity appears to be an independent risk factor for ICU admission and a severe disease course in COVID-19 patients. An aberrant inflammatory response and impaired respiratory function have been suggested as underlying mechanisms. We investigated whether obesity is associated with differences in inflammatory, respiratory, and clinical outcome parameters in critically ill COVID-19 patients. SUBJECTS/METHODS: Sixty-seven COVID-19 ICU patients were divided into obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2, n = 18, 72% class I obesity, 28% class II obesity) and non-obese (BMI < 30 kg/m2, n = 49) groups. Concentrations of circulating interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, and IL-1 receptor antagonist (RA) were determined from ICU admission until 10 days afterward, and routine laboratory and clinical parameters were collected. RESULTS: BMI was 32.6 [31.2-34.5] and 26.0 [24.4-27.7] kg/m2 in the obese and non-obese group, respectively. Apart from temperature, which was significantly lower in obese patients (38.1 [36.9-38.9] vs. 38.7 [38.0 -39.5] °C, p = 0.02), there were no between-group differences on ICU admission. Plasma cytokine concentrations declined over time (p < 0.05 for all), but no differences between obese and non-obese patients were observed. Also, BMI did not correlate with the cytokine response (IL-6 r = 0.09, p = 0.61, TNF-α r = 0.03, p = 0.99, IP-10 r = 0.28, p = 0.11). The kinetics of clinical inflammatory parameters and respiratory mechanics were also similar in both groups. Finally, no differences in time on ventilator, ICU length of stay or 40-day mortality between obese and non-obese patients were apparent. CONCLUSIONS: In COVID-19 patients requiring mechanical ventilation in the ICU, a higher BMI is not related to a different immunological response, unfavorable respiratory mechanics, or impaired outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Obesity/complications , Aged , Body Mass Index , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , Critical Illness , Cytokines/blood , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies
14.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 7, 2021 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1027902

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is currently leading to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients all over the world. Clinical presentations range from asymptomatic, mild respiratory tract infection, to severe cases with acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, and death. Reports on a dysregulated immune system in the severe cases call for a better characterization and understanding of the changes in the immune system. METHODS: In order to dissect COVID-19-driven immune host responses, we performed RNA-seq of whole blood cell transcriptomes and granulocyte preparations from mild and severe COVID-19 patients and analyzed the data using a combination of conventional and data-driven co-expression analysis. Additionally, publicly available data was used to show the distinction from COVID-19 to other diseases. Reverse drug target prediction was used to identify known or novel drug candidates based on finding from data-driven findings. RESULTS: Here, we profiled whole blood transcriptomes of 39 COVID-19 patients and 10 control donors enabling a data-driven stratification based on molecular phenotype. Neutrophil activation-associated signatures were prominently enriched in severe patient groups, which was corroborated in whole blood transcriptomes from an independent second cohort of 30 as well as in granulocyte samples from a third cohort of 16 COVID-19 patients (44 samples). Comparison of COVID-19 blood transcriptomes with those of a collection of over 3100 samples derived from 12 different viral infections, inflammatory diseases, and independent control samples revealed highly specific transcriptome signatures for COVID-19. Further, stratified transcriptomes predicted patient subgroup-specific drug candidates targeting the dysregulated systemic immune response of the host. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides novel insights in the distinct molecular subgroups or phenotypes that are not simply explained by clinical parameters. We show that whole blood transcriptomes are extremely informative for COVID-19 since they capture granulocytes which are major drivers of disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Transcriptome , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Down-Regulation , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/immunology , Phenotype , Principal Component Analysis , RNA/blood , RNA/chemistry , RNA/metabolism , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Severity of Illness Index , Up-Regulation
15.
Crit Care ; 24(1): 688, 2020 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-967530

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A subset of critically ill COVID-19 patients develop a hyperinflammatory state. Anakinra, a recombinant interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, is known to be effective in several hyperinflammatory diseases. We investigated the effects of anakinra on inflammatory parameters and clinical outcomes in critically ill, mechanically ventilated COVID-19 patients with clinical features of hyperinflammation. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study, 21 critically ill COVID-19 patients treated with anakinra were compared to a group of standard care. Serial data of clinical inflammatory parameters and concentrations of multiple circulating cytokines were determined and aligned on start day of anakinra in the treatment group, and median start day of anakinra in the control group. Analysis was performed for day - 10 to + 10 relative to alignment day. Clinical outcomes were analyzed during 28 days. Additionally, three sensitivity analyses were performed: (1) using propensity score-matched groups, (2) selecting patients who did not receive corticosteroids, and (3) using a subset of the control group aimed to match the criteria (fever, elevated ferritin) for starting anakinra treatment. RESULTS: Baseline patient characteristics and clinical parameters on ICU admission were similar between groups. As a consequence of bias by indication, plasma levels of aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT) (p = 0.0002), ferritin (p = 0.009), and temperature (p = 0.001) were significantly higher in the anakinra group on alignment day. Following treatment, no relevant differences in kinetics of circulating cytokines were observed between both groups. Decreases of clinical parameters, including temperature (p = 0.03), white blood cell counts (p = 0.02), and plasma levels of ferritin (p = 0.003), procalcitonin (p = 0.001), creatinine (p = 0.01), and bilirubin (p = 0.007), were more pronounced in the anakinra group. No differences in duration of mechanical ventilation or ICU length of stay were observed between groups. Sensitivity analyses confirmed these results. CONCLUSIONS: Anakinra is effective in reducing clinical signs of hyperinflammation in critically ill COVID-19 patients. A randomized controlled trial is warranted to draw conclusion about the effects of anakinra on clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein/therapeutic use , Receptors, Interleukin-1/antagonists & inhibitors , Aged , COVID-19/physiopathology , Cohort Studies , Critical Illness/therapy , Female , Humans , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein/adverse effects , Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein/pharmacology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Prospective Studies , Receptors, Interleukin-1/therapeutic use , Statistics, Nonparametric
18.
Front Immunol ; 11: 575047, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895305

ABSTRACT

Reports suggest a role of endothelial dysfunction and loss of endothelial barrier function in COVID-19. It is well established that the endothelial glycocalyx-degrading enzyme heparanase contributes to vascular leakage and inflammation. Low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) serve as an inhibitor of heparanase. We hypothesize that heparanase contributes to the pathogenesis of COVID-19, and that heparanase may be inhibited by LMWH. To test this hypothesis, heparanase activity and heparan sulfate levels were measured in plasma of healthy controls (n = 10) and COVID-19 patients (n = 48). Plasma heparanase activity and heparan sulfate levels were significantly elevated in COVID-19 patients. Heparanase activity was associated with disease severity including the need for intensive care, lactate dehydrogenase levels, and creatinine levels. Use of prophylactic LMWH in non-ICU patients was associated with a reduced heparanase activity. Since there is no other clinically applied heparanase inhibitor currently available, therapeutic treatment of COVID-19 patients with low molecular weight heparins should be explored.


Subject(s)
Endothelium/pathology , Glucuronidase/antagonists & inhibitors , Glucuronidase/blood , Heparin Antagonists/therapeutic use , Heparin, Low-Molecular-Weight/therapeutic use , Tight Junctions/pathology , Aged , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Creatinine/blood , Critical Care , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Glucuronidase/metabolism , Heparitin Sulfate/blood , Humans , Interleukin-6/blood , L-Lactate Dehydrogenase/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Lancet Rheumatol ; 2(9): e523-e524, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717076
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