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Transl Res ; 236: 147-159, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243239


We aimed to examine the circulating microRNA (miRNA) profile of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and evaluate its potential as a source of biomarkers for the management of the disease. This was an observational and multicenter study that included 84 patients with a positive nasopharyngeal swab Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2 recruited during the first pandemic wave in Spain (March-June 2020). Patients were stratified according to disease severity: hospitalized patients admitted to the clinical wards without requiring critical care and patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). An additional study was completed including ICU nonsurvivors and survivors. Plasma miRNA profiling was performed using reverse transcription polymerase quantitative chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Predictive models were constructed using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) regression. Ten circulating miRNAs were dysregulated in ICU patients compared to ward patients. LASSO analysis identified a signature of three miRNAs (miR-148a-3p, miR-451a and miR-486-5p) that distinguishes between ICU and ward patients [AUC (95% CI) = 0.89 (0.81-0.97)]. Among critically ill patients, six miRNAs were downregulated between nonsurvivors and survivors. A signature based on two miRNAs (miR-192-5p and miR-323a-3p) differentiated ICU nonsurvivors from survivors [AUC (95% CI) = 0.80 (0.64-0.96)]. The discriminatory potential of the signature was higher than that observed for laboratory parameters such as leukocyte counts, C-reactive protein (CRP) or D-dimer [maximum AUC (95% CI) for these variables = 0.73 (0.55-0.92)]. miRNA levels were correlated with the duration of ICU stay. Specific circulating miRNA profiles are associated with the severity of COVID-19. Plasma miRNA signatures emerge as a novel tool to assist in the early prediction of vital status deterioration among ICU patients.

COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/genetics , Circulating MicroRNA/blood , Hospitalization , Severity of Illness Index , Aged , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/virology , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
Eur J Clin Invest ; 51(6): e13501, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054522


BACKGROUND: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma has been linked to disease severity and mortality. We compared RT-qPCR to droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma from COVID-19 patients (mild, moderate, and critical disease). METHODS: The presence/concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma was compared in three groups of COVID-19 patients (30 outpatients, 30 ward patients and 30 ICU patients) using both RT-qPCR and ddPCR. Plasma was obtained in the first 24h following admission, and RNA was extracted using eMAG. ddPCR was performed using Bio-Rad SARS-CoV-2 detection kit, and RT-qPCR was performed using GeneFinder™ COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit. Statistical analysis was performed using Statistical Package for the Social Science. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected, using ddPCR and RT-qPCR, in 91% and 87% of ICU patients, 27% and 23% of ward patients and 3% and 3% of outpatients. The concordance of the results obtained by both methods was excellent (Cohen's kappa index = 0.953). RT-qPCR was able to detect 34/36 (94.4%) patients positive for viral RNA in plasma by ddPCR. Viral RNA load was higher in ICU patients compared with the other groups (P < .001), by both ddPCR and RT-qPCR. AUC analysis revealed Ct values (RT-qPCR) and viral RNA load values (ddPCR) can similarly differentiate between patients admitted to wards and to the ICU (AUC of 0.90 and 0.89, respectively). CONCLUSION: Both methods yielded similar prevalence of RNAemia between groups, with ICU patients showing the highest (>85%). RT-qPCR was as useful as ddPCR to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia in plasma.

COVID-19/blood , RNA, Viral/blood , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Aged , Ambulatory Care , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Patients' Rooms , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
Crit Care ; 24(1): 691, 2020 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977684


BACKGROUND: COVID-19 can course with respiratory and extrapulmonary disease. SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected in respiratory samples but also in blood, stool and urine. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by a dysregulated host response to this virus. We studied whether viral RNAemia or viral RNA load in plasma is associated with severe COVID-19 and also to this dysregulated response. METHODS: A total of 250 patients with COVID-19 were recruited (50 outpatients, 100 hospitalized ward patients and 100 critically ill). Viral RNA detection and quantification in plasma was performed using droplet digital PCR, targeting the N1 and N2 regions of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein gene. The association between SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma with severity was evaluated by multivariate logistic regression. Correlations between viral RNA load and biomarkers evidencing dysregulation of host response were evaluated by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficients. RESULTS: The frequency of viral RNAemia was higher in the critically ill patients (78%) compared to ward patients (27%) and outpatients (2%) (p < 0.001). Critical patients had higher viral RNA loads in plasma than non-critically ill patients, with non-survivors showing the highest values. When outpatients and ward patients were compared, viral RNAemia did not show significant associations in the multivariate analysis. In contrast, when ward patients were compared with ICU patients, both viral RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma were associated with critical illness (OR [CI 95%], p): RNAemia (3.92 [1.183-12.968], 0.025), viral RNA load (N1) (1.962 [1.244-3.096], 0.004); viral RNA load (N2) (2.229 [1.382-3.595], 0.001). Viral RNA load in plasma correlated with higher levels of chemokines (CXCL10, CCL2), biomarkers indicative of a systemic inflammatory response (IL-6, CRP, ferritin), activation of NK cells (IL-15), endothelial dysfunction (VCAM-1, angiopoietin-2, ICAM-1), coagulation activation (D-Dimer and INR), tissue damage (LDH, GPT), neutrophil response (neutrophils counts, myeloperoxidase, GM-CSF) and immunodepression (PD-L1, IL-10, lymphopenia and monocytopenia). CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma are associated with critical illness in COVID-19. Viral RNA load in plasma correlates with key signatures of dysregulated host responses, suggesting a major role of uncontrolled viral replication in the pathogenesis of this disease.

COVID-19/complications , RNA, Viral/analysis , Viral Load/immunology , Adult , Aged , Biomarkers/analysis , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , Chi-Square Distribution , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Multivariate Analysis , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , RNA, Viral/blood , Statistics, Nonparametric