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Infect Dis Ther ; 10(3): 1779-1792, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309094


INTRODUCTION: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is an emerging complication among intensive care unit (ICU) patients with COVID-19 (CAPA). In the present study, all CAPA cases during the first year of the pandemic were reviewed in critically ill patients at a 650-bed tertiary Greek COVID-19 reference hospital. METHODS: Data regarding patients admitted to the ICU of Attikon Hospital in Athens, Greece, between 22 March 2020 and 28 February 2021 with a positive PCR for SARS-CoV-2 infection were reviewed. Clinical and microbiological records were analysed including demographic, clinical, laboratory and radiological features, treatment and outcomes. CAPA was determined according to the recent 2020 ECMM/ISHAM definitions. RESULTS: A total of 179 patients were admitted in the ICU and 6 (3.3%) patients were diagnosed with CAPA (4 probable and 2 possible CAPA) with 5/6 with co-infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-negative pathogens. No patient had a history of immunosuppression. All suffered from acute respiratory distress syndrome. The median (range) time from intubation to diagnosis was 6 (1-14) days. Five patients had positive Aspergillus cultures in bronchial secretions (1 A. fumigatus, 1 A. flavus, 1 A. fumigatus + A. flavus, 1 A. fumigatus + A. terreus and 1 A. terreus) while culture was negative in one patient. All isolates were susceptible to antifungal drugs. Serum galactomannan (GM), pan-Aspergillus PCR and (1,3)-ß-D-glucan (BDG) were positive in 4/6 (67%), 5/6 (83%, 3/5 in two consecutive samples) and 4/6 (67%, in consecutive samples) patients, respectively. GM and PCR positive bronchial secretions had GM indices > 9.95 and PCR Ct < 34. All were treated with antifungal drugs with 5 out of 6 receiving isavuconazole. Mortality was 67% (4/6) with 1/4 attributed to CAPA (two died as a result of bacterial septic shock and one as a result of multiorgan failure). CONCLUSION: The incidence of CAPA in ICU patients was 3.3% and it was associated with approximately a 17% attributable mortality in the setting of MDR gram-negative pathogen co-infections.

Infect Dis Ther ; 9(4): 707-713, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-713844


The severe respiratory insufficiency observed during COVID-19 infection may not be directly related to a cytopathogenic effect induced by the virus itself, but to an exaggerated and inappropriate immune response. In an effort to reduce the severity of organ dysfunction, including respiratory insufficiency, monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) that block the interleukin-6 receptor, such as tocilizumab, sarilumab, and siltuximab, are under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19. However, blocking of just one of the many cytokines involved in the inflammatory reaction may not slow down the magnitude of the process. Since timing is important, the immune deficiency induced by IL6 blockade at the late immunodeficiency phase of sepsis that follows the initial inflammatory response may be detrimental. Finally, monitoring the degree and duration of IL6 blockade may be challenging because of the long half-life of Mabs (2-3 weeks). Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines act through a common JAK-STAT signaling pathway, which can be inhibited by JAK-STAT inhibitors. Ruxolitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor selective for JAK1, 2, blocks many pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines including IL6. Ruxolitinib has favorable pharmacodynamics and an acceptable safety profile. The short half-life (4-6 h) of the drug offers the opportunity for ideal monitoring of the degree and duration of cytokine blocking, simply by the adjusting dose and duration of therapy. From a theoretical point of view, the balanced control of cytokine blockade throughout the course of the septic process should be the cornerstone of modern management. According to this hypothesis, maximization of blocking should be attempted at the phase of hyper-inflammation for preventing severe organ damage, while pro-inflammatory blockade should be minimized at the late phase of immunoparalysis for prevention of secondary infections. Based on the above considerations, we consider that the efficacy and safety of this drug deserves testing in the context of a controlled randomized trial.