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medrxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.03.06.23286834


The immunopathogenesis of severe COVID-19 is incompletely understood. In contradistinction to the upper respiratory tract where replicating (culturable) SARS-CoV-2 is recoverable approximately ~ 4 to 8 days after symptom onset, there is paucity of data about the frequency or duration of replicating virus in the lower respiratory tract (the human lung). We undertook lung tissue sampling (needle biopsy), within ~2 hours of death, in 42 mechanically ventilated decedents during the Beta and Delta waves. Lung biopsy cores underwent viral culture, histopathological analysis, electron microscopy, transcriptomic profiling, immunohistochemistry and cell-based flow cytometry of deconstructed tissue. 38% (16/42) of patients had culturable virus in the lung (persisting for up to 4 weeks after symptom onset). This, hitherto, undescribed bio-phenotype of lung-specific persisting viral replication was associated with an enhanced pulmonary pro-inflammatory response and variant-specific increased rates of bacterial bronchopneumonia and accelerated death. These findings question existing paradigms and suggest that in a subset of patients, concurrent, rather than sequential active viral replication continues to drive a heightened pro-inflammatory response. Our findings have potential implications for the design of therapeutic interventional strategies and clinical management of severe COVID-19 disease.

Death , Bronchopneumonia , COVID-19
AIDS Behav ; 2022 Jun 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2237106


Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is highly effective for HIV prevention, yet PrEP delivery to women in periconception and pregnancy has lagged. We report qualitative research from a study evaluating PrEP use as part of safer conception care for 330 South African women. Fifty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 study participants to identify influences on PrEP adherence. Influences were: (1) changing proximity to male partners; (2) COVID-19 lockdown; (3) mobile lifestyle; (4) PrEP-related stigma; (5) disclosure of PrEP use; and (6) pregnancy and motherhood. Data also revealed important contextual information shaping adherence influences for women, including: (a) not living with partners, (b) partners as drivers of pregnancy intention, and (c) feeling at high risk for HIV. Disclosure of PrEP use, addressing stigma, strategies for traveling with pills, and counseling on prevention effective adherence are promising components of PrEP-inclusive HIV prevention interventions for South African women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy.

Infect Dis Health ; 26(2): 152-155, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-938185