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2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311512

ABSTRACT

Background: Some recipients of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca develop antibody-mediated vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), associated with cerebral venous and other unusual thrombosis resembling autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. A prothrombotic predisposition is also observed in Covid-19. We explored whether antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein induced by Covid-19 cross-react with platelet factor 4 (PF4/CXLC4), the protein targeted in both VITT and autoimmune heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. Methods: Immunogenic epitopes of PF4 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were compared via prediction tools and 3D modelling software (IMED, SIM, MacMYPOL). Sera from 222 PCR-confirmed Covid-19 patients from five European centers were tested by PF4/heparin ELISA, heparin-dependent and PF4-dependent platelet activation assays. Immunogenic reactivity of purified anti-PF4 and anti-PF4/heparin antibodies from patients with VITT were tested against recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Results: Three motifs within the spike protein sequence share a potential immunogenic epitope with PF4. Nineteen of 222 (8.6%) Covid-19 patient sera tested positive in the IgG-specific PF4/heparin ELISA, none of which showed platelet activation in the heparin-dependent activation assay, including 10 (4.5%) of the 222 Covid-19 patients who developed thromboembolic complications. Purified anti-PF4 and anti-PF4/heparin antibodies from two VITT patients did not show cross-reactivity to recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Conclusions: The antibody responses to PF4 in SARS-CoV-2 infection and after vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca differ. Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein do not cross-react with PF4 or PF4/heparin complexes through molecular mimicry. These findings make it very unlikely that the intended vaccine-induced immune response against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein would itself induce VITT.

3.
J Thromb Thrombolysis ; 2021 Dec 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568387

ABSTRACT

The complement system (CS) plays a pivotal role in Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathophysiology. The objective of this study was to provide a comparative, prospective data analysis of CS components in an all-comers cohort and COVID-19 patients. Patients with suspected COVID-19 infection admitted to the Emergency department were grouped for definite diagnosis of COVID-19 and no COVID-19 accordingly. Clinical presentation, routine laboratory and von Willebrand factor (vWF) antigen as well as CS components 3, 4 and activated 5 (C5a) were assessed. Also, total complement activity via the classical pathway (CH50) was determined. Levels of calprotectin in serum were measured using an automated quantitative lateral flow assay. We included 80 patients in this prospective trial. Of those 19 (23.7%) were tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Patients with COVID-19 had higher levels of CS components 5a and 4 (54.79 [24.14-88.79] ng/ml vs. 35 [23.15-46.1] ng/ml; p = 0.0433 and 0.3772 [± 0.1056] g/L vs. 0.286 [0.2375-0.3748] g/L; p = 0.0168). COVID-19 patients had significantly higher levels of vWF antigen when compared to the control group (288.3 [± 80.26] % vs. 212 [151-320] %; p = 0.0469). There was a significant correlation between CS C3 and 5a with vWF antigen (rs = 0.5957 [p = 0.0131] and rs = 0.5015 [p = 0.042]) in COVID-19 patients. There was no difference in calprotectin plasma levels (4.786 [± 2.397] µg/ml vs. 4.233 [± 2.142] µg/ml; p = 0.4175) between both groups. This prospective data from a single centre all-comers cohort accentuates altered levels of CS components as a distinct feature of COVID-19 disease. Deregulation of CS component 3 and C5a are associated with increased vWF antigen possibly linking vascular damage to alternative CS activation in COVID-19.

4.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294108

ABSTRACT

A dysregulated immune response with high levels of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG antibodies characterizes patients with severe or critical COVID-19. Although a robust IgG response is traditionally considered to be protective, excessive triggering of activating Fc-gamma-receptors (FcγRs) could be detrimental and cause immunopathology. Here, we document that patients who develop soluble circulating IgG immune complexes (sICs) during infection are subject to enhanced immunopathology driven by FcγR activation. Utilizing cell-based reporter systems we provide evidence that sICs are predominantly formed prior to a specific humoral response against SARS-CoV-2. sIC formation, together with increased afucosylation of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG eventually leads to an enhanced CD16 (FcγRIII) activation of immune cells reaching activation levels comparable active systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) disease. Our data suggest a vicious cycle of escalating immunopathology driven by an early formation of sICs in predisposed patients. These findings reconcile the seemingly paradoxical findings of high antiviral IgG responses and systemic immune dysregulation in severe COVID-19. Clinical implications The identification of sICs as drivers of an escalating immunopathology in predisposed patients opens new avenues regarding intervention strategies to alleviate critical COVID-19 progression. Graphical abstract A vicious cycle of immunopathology in COVID-19 patients is driven by soluble multimeric immune complexes (sICs) . SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers sIC formation in prone individuals. Activation of FcγRIII/CD16 expressing immune cells by sICs precedes a humoral response to SARS-CoV2 infection. sICs and infection add to IgG afucosylation, further enhancing FcγRIII/CD16 activation by opsonized targets. High inflammation induces further sIC mediated immune cell activation ultimately leading to an escalating immunopathology.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292822

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Six-19% of critically ill COVID-19 patients display circulating auto-antibodies against type I interferons (IFN-AABs). Here, we establish a clinically applicable strategy for early identification of IFN-AAB-positive patients for potential subsequent clinical interventions. Methods We analysed sera of 430 COVID-19 patients with severe and critical disease from four hospitals for presence of IFN-AABs by ELISA. Binding specificity and neutralizing activity were evaluated via competition assay and virus-infection-based neutralization assay. We defined clinical parameters associated with IFN-AAB positivity. In a subgroup of critically ill patients, we analyzed effects of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) on the levels of IFN-AABs, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and clinical outcome. Results The prevalence of neutralizing AABs to IFN-α and IFN-ω in COVID-19 patients was 4.2% (18/430), while being undetectable in an uninfected control cohort. Neutralizing IFN-AABs were detectable exclusively in critically affected, predominantly male (83%) patients (7.6% IFN-α and 4.6% IFN-ω in 207 patients with critical COVID-19). IFN-AABs were present early post-symptom onset and at the peak of disease. Fever and oxygen requirement at hospital admission co-presented with neutralizing IFN-AAB positivity. IFN-AABs were associated with higher mortality (92.3% versus 19.1 % in patients without IFN-AABs). TPE reduced levels of IFN-AABs in three of five patients and may increase survival of IFN-AAB-positive patients compared to those not undergoing TPE. Conclusion IFN-AABs may serve as early biomarker for development of severe COVID-19. We propose to implement routine screening of hospitalized COVID-19 patients according to our algorithm for rapid identification of patients with IFN-AABs who most likely benefit from specific therapies.

6.
J Infect Dis ; 224(2): 367-368, 2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1413536
7.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(7): 755-762, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337041

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We sought to clarify the benefit of cytokine adsorption in patients with COVID-19 supported with venovenous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). METHODS: We did a single-centre, open-label, randomised, controlled trial to investigate cytokine adsorption in adult patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia requiring ECMO. Patients with COVID-19 selected for ECMO at the Freiburg University Medical Center (Freiburg, Germany) were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive cytokine adsorption using the CytoSorb device or not. Randomisation was computer-generated, allocation was concealed by opaque, sequentially numbered sealed envelopes. The CytoSorb device was incorporated into the ECMO circuit before connection to the patient circuit, replaced every 24 h, and removed after 72 h. The primary endpoint was serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) concentration 72 h after initiation of ECMO analysed by intention to treat. Secondary endpoints included 30-day survival. The trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04324528) and the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00021300) and is closed. FINDINGS: From March 29, 2020, to Dec 29, 2020, of 34 patients assessed for eligibility, 17 (50%) were treated with cytokine adsorption and 17 (50%) without. Median IL-6 decreased from 357·0 pg/mL to 98·6 pg/mL in patients randomly assigned to cytokine adsorption and from 289·0 pg/mL to 112·0 pg/mL in the control group after 72 h. One patient in each group died before 72 h. Adjusted mean log IL-6 concentrations after 72 h were 0·30 higher in the cytokine adsorption group (95% CI -0·70 to 1·30, p=0·54). Survival after 30 days was three (18%) of 17 with cytokine adsorption and 13 (76%) of 17 without cytokine adsorption (p=0·0016). INTERPRETATION: Early initiation of cytokine adsorption in patients with severe COVID-19 and venovenous ECMO did not reduce serum IL-6 and had a negative effect on survival. Cytokine adsorption should not be used during the first days of ECMO support in COVID-19. FUNDING: None.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Cytokines , Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation , Adsorption , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
8.
Blood ; 138(14): 1269-1277, 2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317119

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is a severe adverse effect of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 COVID-19 vaccine (Vaxzevria) and Janssen Ad26.COV2.S COVID-19 vaccine, and it is associated with unusual thrombosis. VITT is caused by anti-platelet factor 4 (PF4) antibodies activating platelets through their FcγRIIa receptors. Antibodies that activate platelets through FcγRIIa receptors have also been identified in patients with COVID-19. These findings raise concern that vaccination-induced antibodies against anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein cause thrombosis by cross-reacting with PF4. Immunogenic epitopes of PF4 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein were compared using in silico prediction tools and 3D modeling. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and PF4 share at least 1 similar epitope. Reactivity of purified anti-PF4 antibodies from patients with VITT was tested against recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. However, none of the affinity-purified anti-PF4 antibodies from 14 patients with VITT cross-reacted with SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Sera from 222 polymerase chain reaction-confirmed patients with COVID-19 from 5 European centers were tested by PF4-heparin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and PF4-dependent platelet activation assays. We found anti-PF4 antibodies in sera from 19 (8.6%) of 222 patients with COVID-19. However, only 4 showed weak to moderate platelet activation in the presence of PF4, and none of those patients developed thrombotic complications. Among 10 (4.5%) of 222 patients who had COVID-19 with thrombosis, none showed PF4-dependent platelet-activating antibodies. In conclusion, antibodies against PF4 induced by vaccination do not cross-react with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, indicating that the intended vaccine-induced immune response against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is not the trigger of VITT. PF4-reactive antibodies found in patients with COVID-19 in this study were not associated with thrombotic complications.


Subject(s)
Antibodies/adverse effects , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Cross Reactions/immunology , Platelet Factor 4/immunology , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/etiology , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Blood Platelets/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Cohort Studies , Epitopes/immunology , Female , Heparin/metabolism , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Protein Binding , Protein Domains , Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Young Adult
9.
J Infect Dis ; 224(2): 367-368, 2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217857
10.
Am J Hypertens ; 34(3): 278-281, 2021 04 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1169620

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is controversially discussed. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) enters host cells by binding to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and activity of the RAAS may affect susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcome of patients with COVID-19. METHODS: In this prospective single-center study, we determined the serum levels of ACE2, angiotensin II, and aldosterone in patients with COVID-19 compared with control patients presenting with similar symptoms in the emergency unit. RESULTS: We analyzed serum samples from 24 SARS-CoV-2 positive and 61 SARS-CoV-2 negative patients. SARS-CoV-2 positive and control patients did not differ in baseline patients characteristics, symptoms, and clinical presentation. Mean serum concentrations of ACE2, angiotensin II, and aldosterone did not differ between the SARS-CoV-2 positive and the control group. In line with this, serum potassium as surrogate parameter for RAAS activity and blood pressure were similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: In summary, we did not find evidence for altered RAAS activity including angiotensin II, aldosterone, or potassium levels, and blood pressure in patients with COVID-19. CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION: Trial Number DRKS00021206.


Subject(s)
Aldosterone/blood , Angiotensin II/blood , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/blood , COVID-19 , Hypertension , Potassium/blood , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Blood Pressure Determination/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Hypertension/blood , Hypertension/drug therapy , Hypertension/epidemiology , Hypertension/physiopathology , Male , Middle Aged , Outcome Assessment, Health Care , Prospective Studies , Renin-Angiotensin System/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
11.
Pharmacol Res Perspect ; 9(2): e00743, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1130677

ABSTRACT

Both antiviral treatment with remdesivir and hemoadsorption using a CytoSorb® adsorption device are applied in the treatment of severe COVID-19. The CytoSorb® adsorber consists of porous polymer beads that adsorb a broad range of molecules, including cytokines but also several therapeutic drugs. In this study, we evaluated whether remdesivir and its main active metabolite GS-441524 would be adsorbed by CytoSorb® . Serum containing remdesivir or GS-441524 was circulated in a custom-made system containing a CytoSorb® device. Concentrations of remdesivir and GS-441524 before and after the adsorber were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Measurements of remdesivir in the outgoing tube after the adsorber indicated almost complete removal of remdesivir by the device. In the reservoir, concentration of remdesivir showed an exponential decay and was not longer detectable after 60 mins. GS-441524 showed a similar exponential decay but, unlike remdesivir, it reached an adsorption-desorption equilibrium at ~48 µg/L. Remdesivir and its main active metabolite GS-441524 are rapidly eliminated from the perfusate by the CytoSorb® adsorber device in vitro. This should be considered in patients for whom both therapies are indicated, and simultaneous application should be avoided. In general, plasma levels of therapeutic drugs should be closely monitored under concurrent CytoSorb® therapy.


Subject(s)
Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , COVID-19/therapy , Hemoperfusion/instrumentation , Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/blood , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacokinetics , Alanine/blood , Alanine/pharmacokinetics , Blood Chemical Analysis , COVID-19/blood , Chromatography, Liquid , Combined Modality Therapy , Furans/blood , Furans/pharmacokinetics , Hemoperfusion/adverse effects , Humans , Pyrroles/blood , Pyrroles/pharmacokinetics , Tandem Mass Spectrometry , Triazines/blood , Triazines/pharmacokinetics
12.
J Infect Dis ; 223(5): 775-784, 2021 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1117038

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe courses of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are associated with elevated levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6). However, there is a growing body of evidence pointing to a broad and more complex disorder of proinflammatory and antiviral responses with disturbed interferon signaling in COVID-19. METHODS: In this prospective, single-center registry, we included severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-positive patients and patients with similar symptoms and severity of disease but negative for SARS-CoV-2 admitted to the emergency department and compared their serum protein expression profiles. RESULTS: IL-6 abundance was similar in SARS-CoV-2-positive patients (n = 24) compared with SARS-CoV-2-negative controls (n = 61). In contrast, we observed a specific upregulation of the immunomodulatory protein progranulin (GRN). High GRN abundance was associated with adverse outcomes and increased expression of IL-6 in COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The data from this registry reveal that GRN is specifically upregulated in SARS-CoV-2-positive patients while IL-6 may serve as marker for disease severity. The potential of GRN as a biomarker and a possible impact of increased GRN expression on interferon signaling, virus elimination, and virus-induced lung tissue damage in COVID-19 should be further explored.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Progranulins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Up-Regulation , Aged , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Interleukin-6/blood , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Progranulins/blood , Prospective Studies , Registries , Severity of Illness Index
16.
J Thromb Thrombolysis ; 50(3): 558-566, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-621522

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is associated with a variety of clinical complications including coagulopathy, which frequently results in venous thromboembolism (VTE). Retrospective analyses reported a markedly increased rate of VTEs in COVID-19. However, most recent studies on coagulopathy in COVID-19 were only focused on critically ill patients, and without suitable control groups. We aimed to evaluate the rate of VTEs in an all-comers cohort with suspected COVID-19 during a 30-days follow-up period. We also studied the level of D-dimers and their association with the course of disease. In our prospective single-center study (DRKS00021206, 03/30/2020), we analyzed 190 patients with suspected COVID-19 admitted to the emergency department between March and April 2020. Forty-nine patients were SARS-CoV-2 positive (25.8%). The 141 SARS-CoV-2-negative patients served as control group. After completion of a 30-days follow-up, VTE was diagnosed in 3 patients of the SARS-CoV-2-positive group (6.1%, amongst these 2 ICU cases) versus 5 patients in the SARS-CoV-2-negative group (3.5%), however the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.427). 30-days mortality was similar in both groups (6.1% vs. 5%, p = 0.720). Disease severity correlated with the maximum level of D-dimers during follow-up in COVID-19. The rate of VTE was numerically higher in SARS-CoV-2 positive all-comers presenting with suspected COVID-19 as compared to well-matched controls suffering from similar symptoms. VTEs in the COVID-19 group predominantly occurred in ICU courses. The maximum level of D-dimers during follow-up was associated with disease severity in COVID-19, whereas the level of D-dimers at admission was not.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pulmonary Embolism/epidemiology , Venous Thromboembolism/epidemiology , Venous Thrombosis/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19 , Case-Control Studies , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products/metabolism , Germany/epidemiology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Prospective Studies , Pulmonary Embolism/blood , Pulmonary Embolism/diagnosis , Pulmonary Embolism/virology , Registries , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Time Factors , Venous Thromboembolism/blood , Venous Thromboembolism/diagnosis , Venous Thromboembolism/virology , Venous Thrombosis/blood , Venous Thrombosis/diagnosis , Venous Thrombosis/virology
17.
Am J Transplant ; 20(11): 3239-3245, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-592123

ABSTRACT

In the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, organ transplant recipients are considered to be at high risk for an unfavorable outcome. However, in particular the role of immunosuppression in patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains undetermined. Here, we present a 62-year-old male COVID-19 patient with recent heart transplantation who developed only mild symptoms, but had prolonged virus shedding, and summarize the available data on COVID-19 in cardiac allograft recipients. Initially the patient presented with a transient episode of fever and sore throat but no other symptoms, in particular no cough or dyspnea at rest. After diagnosis, immunosuppression was continued unchanged. On day 7, his temperature increased again with concurrent mild rise of C-reactive protein, IL-6, and pro-B-type natriuretic peptide levels. Hydroxychloroquine was started and continued for 7 days. While the patient no longer had clinical symptoms 20 days after initial presentation, virus culture of throat swabs on days 18 and 21 confirmed active virus replication and SARS-CoV-2 PCR remained positive on day 35 with copy numbers similar to the onset of infection. In conclusion, the immunosuppression regimen in transplant recipients with mild COVID-19-associated symptoms may be continued unchanged. However, it may contribute to delayed virus polymerase chain reaction conversion and thus possible prolonged infectivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Heart Failure/surgery , Heart Transplantation/methods , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Shedding , Aged , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Comorbidity , Heart Failure/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Transplant Recipients
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