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Int J Infect Dis ; 108: 274-281, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253010


OBJECTIVES: Studies on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) usually focus on middle-aged and older adults. However, younger patients may present with severe COVID-19 with potentially fatal outcomes. For optimized, more specialized therapeutic regimens in this particular patient group, a better understanding of the underlying pathomechanisms is of utmost importance. METHODS: Our study investigated relevant, pre-existing medical conditions, clinical histories, and autopsy findings, together with SARS-CoV-2-RNA, determined by qPCR, and laboratory data in six COVID-19 decedents aged 50 years or younger, who were autopsied at the Charité University Hospital. RESULTS: From a total of 76 COVID-19 patients who underwent an autopsy at our institution, six (7.9%) were 50 years old or younger. Most of these younger COVID-19 decedents presented with pre-existing medical conditions prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection. These included overweight and obesity, arterial hypertension, asthma, and obstructive sleep apnea, as well as graft-versus-host disease following cancer and bone marrow transplantation. Furthermore, clinical histories and autopsy results revealed a disproportionally high prevalence of thromboembolism and ischemic organ damage in this patient cohort. Histopathology and laboratory results indicated coagulopathies, signs of immune dysregulation, and liver damage. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, pre-existing health conditions may increase the risk of severe and fatal COVID-19 in younger patients, who may be especially prone to developing thromboembolic complications, immune dysregulation, and liver damage.

COVID-19 , Hypertension , Aged , Autopsy , Humans , Middle Aged , Overweight , SARS-CoV-2
J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv ; 34(1): 11-19, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066216


Background: Many countries have introduced a compulsory use of community masks for certain public areas during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Different manufacturers offer reusable community masks in large quantities. The efficacy of these masks, however, is unknown. Method: We tested available community masks of major manufactures and determined the filtration efficacy using radioactive aerosol particles as well as air resistance with a vacuum measurement. Results: Filtration efficacy of the tested reusable community masks ranged from 34.9% ± 1.25% to 88.7% ± 1.18%. Air resistance ranged from 4.3 ± 0.06 to 122.4 ± 0.12 Pa/cm2. There was a good correlation between filtration efficacy and air resistance (Pearson correlation 0.938, p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Filtration efficacy and air resistance differ significantly between the different community masks, but the two measurements correlate well with each other within the entire test series. For optimal protection, one should select a rather airtight mask. When selecting a mask, the highest level of tolerable air resistance can be used as a selection criterion.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , SARS-CoV-2 , Aerosols , Filtration , Humans
J Occup Environ Hyg ; 18(3): 118-127, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066172


During the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, there was a shortage of masks and respirators for the protection of health care professionals. Masks for noninvasive ventilation (NIV) in combination with viral-proof filters, worn by healthcare workers, could serve as an alternative protection measure. We determined the simulated protection factor (SPF) of such devices in comparison to conventional surgical masks, N95, and FFP3 respirators. Masks and respirators were mounted on a ventilated mannequin head in a test-chamber. Isotonic saline containing 150 MBq 99mTC-DTPA (99mTc-diethylenetriamine pentaacetate (DTPA) was nebulized inside the box. The aerosol had a mass median aerodynamic diameter of 0.6 ± 0.4 µm. SPFs were measured using radioactive DTPA particles in the mannequin test system by calculating the ratio of unfiltered particles (Pu) and filtered particles (Pf) for each tested device (SPF = Pu/Pf). Simulated protection factors were 15.6 ± 3.6 for a ResMed AcuCare mask plus filter, 3.5 ± 0.2 for a ResMed Mirage Quattro FX mask plus filter, 9.5 ± 0.8 for a Loewenstein JOYCEclinc FF mask plus filter, 1.9 ± 0.2 for a surgical mask with a rubber band, 2.7 ± 0.7 for a surgical mask with ribbons, 2.3 ± 0.3 for an FFP3 respirator, and 3.6 ± 1.3 for an N95 respirator. The ResMed AcuCare and the Loewenstein JOYCEclinic FF mask were more effective than any other of the tested devices (p < 0.001). In conclusion, masks normally used for NIV with viral-proof filters can effectively filter respirable particles.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks , Respiratory Protective Devices , Filtration/instrumentation , Manikins , N95 Respirators , Noninvasive Ventilation/instrumentation , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Technetium Tc 99m Pentetate