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1.
EBioMedicine ; 83: 104193, 2022 Aug 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1966506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Autopsy studies have provided valuable insights into the pathophysiology of COVID-19. Controversies remain about whether the clinical presentation is due to direct organ damage by SARS-CoV-2 or secondary effects, such as overshooting immune response. SARS-CoV-2 detection in tissues by RT-qPCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) or electron microscopy (EM) can help answer these questions, but a comprehensive evaluation of these applications is missing. METHODS: We assessed publications using IHC and EM for SARS-CoV-2 detection in autopsy tissues. We systematically evaluated commercially available antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 proteins in cultured cell lines and COVID-19 autopsy tissues. In a multicentre study, we evaluated specificity, reproducibility, and inter-observer variability of SARS-CoV-2 IHC. We correlated RT-qPCR viral tissue loads with semiquantitative IHC scoring. We used qualitative and quantitative EM analyses to refine criteria for ultrastructural identification of SARS-CoV-2. FINDINGS: Publications show high variability in detection and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 abundance in autopsy tissues by IHC or EM. We show that IHC using antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid yields the highest sensitivity and specificity. We found a positive correlation between presence of viral proteins by IHC and RT-qPCR-determined SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA load (N= 35; r=-0.83, p-value <0.0001). For EM, we refined criteria for virus identification and provide recommendations for optimized sampling and analysis. 135 of 144 publications misinterpret cellular structures as virus using EM or show only insufficient data. We provide publicly accessible digitized EM sections as a reference and for training purposes. INTERPRETATION: Since detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human autopsy tissues by IHC and EM is difficult and frequently incorrect, we propose criteria for a re-evaluation of available data and guidance for further investigations of direct organ effects by SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: German Federal Ministry of Health, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Berlin University Alliance, German Research Foundation, German Center for Infectious Research.

2.
Frontiers in neurology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1918797

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome-corona virus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of human coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since its identification in late 2019 SARS-CoV-2 has spread rapidly around the world creating a global pandemic. Although considered mainly a respiratory disease, COVID-19 also encompasses a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms. How infection with SARS-CoV-2 leads to brain damage has remained largely elusive so far. In particular, it has remained unclear, whether signs of immune cell and / or innate immune and reactive astrogliosis are due to direct effects of the virus or may be an expression of a non-specific reaction of the brain to a severe life-threatening disease with a considerable proportion of patients requiring intensive care and invasive ventilation activation. Therefore, we designed a case-control-study of ten patients who died of COVID-19 and ten age-matched non-COVID-19-controls to quantitatively assess microglial and astroglial response. To minimize possible effects of severe systemic inflammation and / or invasive therapeutic measures we included only patients without any clinical or pathomorphological indication of sepsis and who had not been subjected to invasive intensive care treatment. Our results show a significantly higher degree of microglia activation in younger COVID-19 patients, while the difference was less and not significant for older COVID-19 patients. The difference in the degree of reactive gliosis increased with age but was not influenced by COVID-19. These preliminary data warrants further investigation of larger patient cohorts using additional immunohistochemical markers for different microglial phenotypes.

3.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792420

ABSTRACT

Critically ill COVID-19 patients are at high risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE), namely deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism (PE), and death. The optimal anticoagulation strategy in critically ill patients with COVID-19 remains unknown. This study investigated the ante mortem incidence as well as postmortem prevalence of VTE, the factors predictive of VTE, and the impact of changed anticoagulation practice on patient survival. We conducted a consecutive retrospective analysis of postmortem COVID-19 (n = 64) and non-COVID-19 (n = 67) patients, as well as ante mortem COVID-19 (n = 170) patients admitted to the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (Hamburg, Germany). Baseline patient characteristics, parameters related to the intensive care unit (ICU) stay, and the clinical and autoptic presence of VTE were evaluated and statistically compared between groups. The occurrence of VTE in critically ill COVID-19 patients is confirmed in both ante mortem (17%) and postmortem (38%) cohorts. Accordingly, comparing the postmortem prevalence of VTE between age- and sex-matched COVID-19 (43%) and non-COVID-19 (0%) cohorts, we found the statistically significant increased prevalence of VTE in critically ill COVID-19 cohorts (p = 0.001). A change in anticoagulation practice was associated with the statistically significant prolongation of survival time (HR: 2.55, [95% CI 1.41-4.61], p = 0.01) and a reduction in VTE occurrence (54% vs. 25%; p = 0.02). In summary, in the autopsy as well as clinical cohort of critically ill patients with COVID-19, we found that VTE was a frequent finding. A change in anticoagulation practice was associated with a statistically significantly prolonged survival time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Venous Thromboembolism , Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , Autopsy , COVID-19/epidemiology , Critical Illness , Humans , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , Venous Thromboembolism/epidemiology , Venous Thromboembolism/etiology
4.
Virchows Arch ; 481(2): 139-159, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787815

ABSTRACT

The use of autopsies in medicine has been declining. The COVID-19 pandemic has documented and rejuvenated the importance of autopsies as a tool of modern medicine. In this review, we discuss the various autopsy techniques, the applicability of modern analytical methods to understand the pathophysiology of COVID-19, the major pathological organ findings, limitations or current studies, and open questions. This article summarizes published literature and the consented experience of the nationwide network of clinical, neuro-, and forensic pathologists from 27 German autopsy centers with more than 1200 COVID-19 autopsies. The autopsy tissues revealed that SARS-CoV-2 can be found in virtually all human organs and tissues, and the majority of cells. Autopsies have revealed the organ and tissue tropism of SARS-CoV-2, and the morphological features of COVID-19. This is characterized by diffuse alveolar damage, combined with angiocentric disease, which in turn is characterized by endothelial dysfunction, vascular inflammation, (micro-) thrombosis, vasoconstriction, and intussusceptive angiogenesis. These findings explained the increased pulmonary resistance in COVID-19 and supported the recommendations for antithrombotic treatment in COVID-19. In contrast, in extra-respiratory organs, pathological changes are often nonspecific and unclear to which extent these changes are due to direct infection vs. indirect/secondary mechanisms of organ injury, or a combination thereof. Ongoing research using autopsies aims at answering questions on disease mechanisms, e.g., focusing on variants of concern, and future challenges, such as post-COVID conditions. Autopsies are an invaluable tool in medicine and national and international interdisciplinary collaborative autopsy-based research initiatives are essential.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Autopsy , Humans , Lung/pathology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Nat Metab ; 4(3): 310-319, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764213

ABSTRACT

Extrapulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 have gained attention due to their links to clinical outcomes and their potential long-term sequelae1. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) displays tropism towards several organs, including the heart and kidney. Whether it also directly affects the liver has been debated2,3. Here we provide clinical, histopathological, molecular and bioinformatic evidence for the hepatic tropism of SARS-CoV-2. We find that liver injury, indicated by a high frequency of abnormal liver function tests, is a common clinical feature of COVID-19 in two independent cohorts of patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. Using autopsy samples obtained from a third patient cohort, we provide multiple levels of evidence for SARS-CoV-2 liver tropism, including viral RNA detection in 69% of autopsy liver specimens, and successful isolation of infectious SARS-CoV-2 from liver tissue postmortem. Furthermore, we identify transcription-, proteomic- and transcription factor-based activity profiles in hepatic autopsy samples, revealing similarities to the signatures associated with multiple other viral infections of the human liver. Together, we provide a comprehensive multimodal analysis of SARS-CoV-2 liver tropism, which increases our understanding of the molecular consequences of severe COVID-19 and could be useful for the identification of organ-specific pharmacological targets.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Liver , Proteomics , Tropism
6.
Stem Cell Reports ; 17(2): 307-320, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712991

ABSTRACT

Neurological complications are common in COVID-19. Although SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in patients' brain tissues, its entry routes and resulting consequences are not well understood. Here, we show a pronounced upregulation of interferon signaling pathways of the neurovascular unit in fatal COVID-19. By investigating the susceptibility of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived brain capillary endothelial-like cells (BCECs) to SARS-CoV-2 infection, we found that BCECs were infected and recapitulated transcriptional changes detected in vivo. While BCECs were not compromised in their paracellular tightness, we found SARS-CoV-2 in the basolateral compartment in transwell assays after apical infection, suggesting active replication and transcellular transport of virus across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro. Moreover, entry of SARS-CoV-2 into BCECs could be reduced by anti-spike-, anti-angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2)-, and anti-neuropilin-1 (NRP1)-specific antibodies or the transmembrane protease serine subtype 2 (TMPRSS2) inhibitor nafamostat. Together, our data provide strong support for SARS-CoV-2 brain entry across the BBB resulting in increased interferon signaling.


Subject(s)
Blood-Brain Barrier/virology , Central Nervous System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Internalization , Antibodies/pharmacology , Benzamidines/pharmacology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Endothelial Cells/cytology , Endothelial Cells/metabolism , Endothelial Cells/virology , Guanidines/pharmacology , Humans , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/cytology , Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/metabolism , Models, Biological , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Virus Internalization/drug effects
7.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-326246

ABSTRACT

In pathology and legal medicine, the histopathological and microbiological analysis of tissue samples from infected deceased is a valuable information for developing treatment strategies during a pandemic such as COVID-19. However, a conventional autopsy carries the risk of disease transmission and may be rejected by relatives. We propose minimally invasive biopsy with robot assistance under CT guidance to minimize the risk of disease transmission during tissue sampling and to improve accuracy. A flexible robotic system for biopsy sampling is presented, which is applied to human corpses placed inside protective body bags. An automatic planning and decision system estimates optimal insertion point. Heat maps projected onto the segmented skin visualize the distance and angle of insertions and estimate the minimum cost of a puncture while avoiding bone collisions. Further, we test multiple insertion paths concerning feasibility and collisions. A custom end effector is designed for inserting needles and extracting tissue samples under robotic guidance. Our robotic post-mortem biopsy (RPMB) system is evaluated in a study during the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 corpses and 10 tissue targets, 5 of them being infected with SARS-CoV-2. The mean planning time including robot path planning is (5.72+-1.67) s. Mean needle placement accuracy is (7.19+-4.22) mm.

8.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314512

ABSTRACT

Neurological complications are common in COVID-19 patients. Although severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been detected in patients’ brain tissues, its entry routes and resulting consequences are not well understood. Here, we report that the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and its microenvironment show pronounced upregulation of interferon signaling pathways in fatal COVID-19. Moreover, human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived brain capillary endothelial-like cells (BCECs) were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and recapitulated the transcriptional changes detected in vivo . While BCECs were not compromised in their paracellular tightness, we found SARS-CoV-2 in the basolateral compartment in transwell assays after apical infection, suggesting active transcytosis of the virus across the BBB in vitro . SARS-CoV-2 entry into BCECs could be reduced by anti-spike-, anti-ACE2- and anti-NRP1-specific antibodies or the TMPRSS2 inhibitor nafamostat. Together, our data provide direct evidence for SARS-CoV-2 brain entry across the BBB resulting in an increase in interferon signaling.

9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310513

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic with significant mortality. Accurate information on the specific circumstances of death and whether patients died from or with SARS-CoV-2 is scarce. Methods: To distinguish COVID-19 from non-COVID-19 deaths, we performed a systematic review of 735 SARS-CoV-2-associated deaths in Hamburg, Germany, from March to December 2020, using conventional autopsy, ultrasound-guided minimally invasive autopsy, postmortem computed tomography and medical records. Statistical analyses including multiple logistic regression were used to compare both cohorts. Findings: 84.1% (n=618) were classified as COVID-19 deaths, 6.4% (n=47) as non-COVID-19 deaths, 9.5% (n=70) remained unclear. Median age of COVID-19 deaths was 83.0 years, 54.4% were male. In the autopsy group (n=283), the majority died of pneumonia and/or diffuse alveolar damage (73.6%;n=187). Thromboses were found in 39.2% (n=62/158 cases), pulmonary embolism in 22.1% (n=56/253 cases). In 2020, annual mortality in Hamburg was about 5.5% higher than in the previous 20 years, of which 3.4% (n=618) represented COVID-19 deaths. Interpretation Our study highlights the need for mortality surveillance and postmortem examinations. The vast majority of individuals who died directly from SARS-CoV-2 infection were of advanced age and had multiple comorbidities.

10.
IEEE Trans Med Robot Bionics ; 4(1): 94-105, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1685153

ABSTRACT

In pathology and legal medicine, the histopathological and microbiological analysis of tissue samples from infected deceased is a valuable information for developing treatment strategies during a pandemic such as COVID-19. However, a conventional autopsy carries the risk of disease transmission and may be rejected by relatives. We propose minimally invasive biopsy with robot assistance under CT guidance to minimize the risk of disease transmission during tissue sampling and to improve accuracy. A flexible robotic system for biopsy sampling is presented, which is applied to human corpses placed inside protective body bags. An automatic planning and decision system estimates optimal insertion point. Heat maps projected onto the segmented skin visualize the distance and angle of insertions and estimate the minimum cost of a puncture while avoiding bone collisions. Further, we test multiple insertion paths concerning feasibility and collisions. A custom end effector is designed for inserting needles and extracting tissue samples under robotic guidance. Our robotic post-mortem biopsy (RPMB) system is evaluated in a study during the COVID-19 pandemic on 20 corpses and 10 tissue targets, 5 of them being infected with SARS-CoV-2. The mean planning time including robot path planning is 5.72±167s. Mean needle placement accuracy is 7.19± 422mm.

11.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(3): 441-447, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1603482

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE: Transient myopericarditis has been recognised as an uncommon and usually mild adverse event predominantly linked to mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. These have mostly occurred in young males after the second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. OBJECTIVES: Fulminant necrotising eosinophilic myocarditis triggered by a variety of drugs or vaccines is an extremely rare hypersensitivity reaction carrying a substantial mortality risk. Early recognition of this medical emergency may facilitate urgent hospital admission for investigation and treatment. Timely intervention can lead to complete cardiac recovery, but the non-specific clinical features and rarity make early diagnosis challenging. FINDINGS: The clinical and pathological observations from a case of fatal fulminant necrotising myocarditis in a 57-year-old woman, following the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, are described. Other causes have been discounted with reasonable certainty. CONCLUSION: These extremely rare vaccine-related adverse events are much less common than the risk of myocarditis and other lethal complications from COVID-19 infection. The benefits of vaccination far exceed the risks of COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hypersensitivity , Leukocyte Disorders , Myocarditis , Vaccines , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Hypersensitivity/complications , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/diagnosis , Myocarditis/etiology , RNA, Messenger
12.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297003

ABSTRACT

Male sex belongs to one of the major risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcome. However, underlying mechanisms that could affect sex dependent disease outcome are yet unknown. Here, we identified the CYP19A1 gene encoding for the testosterone-to-estradiol metabolizing enzyme CYP19A1 (alias aromatase) as a male abundant host factor that contributes to worsened disease outcome in SARS-CoV-2 infected male hamsters. Pulmonary CYP19A1 transcription is further elevated upon viral infection in males correlating with reduced testosterone and increased estradiol levels. Dysregulated circulating sex hormone levels in male golden hamsters are associated with reduced lung function compared to females. Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters with letrozole, a clinically approved CYP19A1 inhibitor, supported recovery of dysregulated plasma sex hormone levels and was associated with improved lung function and health in male but not female animals compared to placebo controls. Whole human exome sequencing data analysis using a Machine Learning approach revealed a CYP19A1 activity increasing mutation being associated with the development of severe COVID-19 for men. In human autopsy-derived lungs CYP19A1 was expressed to higher levels in men who died of COVID-19, at a time point when most viral RNA was cleared. Our findings highlight the role of the lung as a yet unrecognized but critical organ regulating metabolic responses upon respiratory virus infection. Furthermore, inhibition of CYP19A1 by the clinically approved drug letrozole may pose a new therapeutic strategy to reduce poor long-term COVID-19 outcome.

14.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296455

ABSTRACT

Obesity increases the risk for poor outcome in patients with coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). However, the role of adipose tissue for viral propagation and potential metabolic implications are not understood. We detected SARS-CoV-2 in adipose tissue of overweight but not lean male COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2 replicates to high titres in cultured mature adipocytes, a process depending on lipid accumulation and mobilization. After intranasal inoculation, we observed high viral replication in fat depots of Golden Syrian hamsters, demonstrating dissemination from the respiratory tract and subsequent propagation in adipose tissue. Following induction of pro-inflammatory responses, expression of de novo lipogenesis enzymes was suppressed in adipose tissue. This specific down-regulation was reflected by lipidomic alterations in plasma of SARS-CoV-2 infected hamsters as well as in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Overall, our study highlights that adipose tissue is an important site of SARS-CoV-2 replication, contributing to dysregulation of systemic lipid metabolism.<br><br>Funding: This study was supported by a rapid response grant from the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG;ZMV I 1-2520COR501 to GG), by DFG grants SCHE522/4-1 (LS) and SFB1328, project- ID:335447727 (JH). As part of the National Network University Medicine (NUM) funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, Germany), this work was funded within the research consortium DEFEAT PANDEMIcs, grant number 01KX2021 (FH, PL, KP, BO).<br><br>Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.<br><br>Ethics Approval Statement: The Ethics Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians reviewed and approved the studies (PV7311, 2020-10353-BO-ff, WF-051/20, WF-053/20). For the preparation of primary human white adipocytes, biopsies of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues were taken during bariatric surgery at the Department of General, Visceral and Thoracic Surgery, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. All participants signed an informed consent and the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians (PV4889).

15.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(1): 244-247, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496968

ABSTRACT

We investigated the infectivity of 128 severe acute respiratory disease coronavirus 2-associated deaths and evaluated predictive values of standard diagnostic procedures. Maintained infectivity (20%) did not correlate with viral RNA loads but correlated well with anti-S antibody levels. Sensitivity >90% for antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests supports their usefulness for assessment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Autopsy , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Load
16.
Cardiovasc Res ; 118(2): 542-555, 2022 01 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467310

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Cardiac involvement in COVID-19 is associated with adverse outcome. However, it is unclear whether cell-specific consequences are associated with cardiac SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, we investigated heart tissue utilizing in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, and RNA-sequencing in consecutive autopsy cases to quantify virus load and characterize cardiac involvement in COVID-19. METHODS AND RESULTS: In this study, 95 SARS-CoV-2-positive autopsy cases were included. A relevant SARS-CoV-2 virus load in the cardiac tissue was detected in 41/95 deceased (43%). Massive analysis of cDNA ends (MACE)-RNA-sequencing was performed to identify molecular pathomechanisms caused by the infection of the heart. A signature matrix was generated based on the single-cell dataset 'Heart Cell Atlas' and used for digital cytometry on the MACE-RNA-sequencing data. Thus, immune cell fractions were estimated and revealed no difference in immune cell numbers in cases with and without cardiac infection. This result was confirmed by quantitative immunohistological diagnosis. MACE-RNA-sequencing revealed 19 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) with a q-value <0.05 (e.g. up: IFI44L, IFT3, TRIM25; down: NPPB, MB, MYPN). The upregulated DEGs were linked to interferon pathways and originate predominantly from endothelial cells. In contrast, the downregulated DEGs originate predominately from cardiomyocytes. Immunofluorescent staining showed viral protein in cells positive for the endothelial marker ICAM1 but rarely in cardiomyocytes. The Gene Ontology (GO) term analysis revealed that downregulated GO terms were linked to cardiomyocyte structure, whereas upregulated GO terms were linked to anti-virus immune response. CONCLUSION: This study reveals that cardiac infection induced transcriptomic alterations mainly linked to immune response and destruction of cardiomyocytes. While endothelial cells are primarily targeted by the virus, we suggest cardiomyocyte destruction by paracrine effects. Increased pro-inflammatory gene expression was detected in SARS-CoV-2-infected cardiac tissue but no increased SARS-CoV-2 associated immune cell infiltration was observed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , Heart/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Transcriptome , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Autopsy , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Inflammation/complications , Male , Myocardium/metabolism , Myocardium/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication
17.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 19342, 2021 09 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1442803

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic with significant mortality. Accurate information on the specific circumstances of death and whether patients died from or with SARS-CoV-2 is scarce. To distinguish COVID-19 from non-COVID-19 deaths, we performed a systematic review of 735 SARS-CoV-2-associated deaths in Hamburg, Germany, from March to December 2020, using conventional autopsy, ultrasound-guided minimally invasive autopsy, postmortem computed tomography and medical records. Statistical analyses including multiple logistic regression were used to compare both cohorts. 84.1% (n = 618) were classified as COVID-19 deaths, 6.4% (n = 47) as non-COVID-19 deaths, 9.5% (n = 70) remained unclear. Median age of COVID-19 deaths was 83.0 years, 54.4% were male. In the autopsy group (n = 283), the majority died of pneumonia and/or diffuse alveolar damage (73.6%; n = 187). Thromboses were found in 39.2% (n = 62/158 cases), pulmonary embolism in 22.1% (n = 56/253 cases). In 2020, annual mortality in Hamburg was about 5.5% higher than in the previous 20 years, of which 3.4% (n = 618) represented COVID-19 deaths. Our study highlights the need for mortality surveillance and postmortem examinations. The vast majority of individuals who died directly from SARS-CoV-2 infection were of advanced age and had multiple comorbidities.


Subject(s)
Autopsy , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/pathology , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Lung/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Mortality , Pneumonia , Prospective Studies , Pulmonary Embolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Thrombosis
18.
Int J Legal Med ; 135(6): 2347-2349, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1391863

ABSTRACT

Due to the development of novel functionalities, distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants such as B.1.1.7 fuel the current pandemic. B.1.1.7 is not only more transmissible, but may also cause an increased mortality compared to previous SARS-CoV-2 variants. Human tissue analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 is urgently needed, and we here present autopsy data from 7 consecutive SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 cases. The initial RT-qPCR analyses from nasopharyngeal swabs taken post mortem included typing assays for B.1.1.7. We quantitated SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 viral load in autopsy tissue of multiple organs. Highest levels of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 copies normalized to ß-globin were detected in the respiratory system (lung and pharynx), followed by the liver and heart. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 was found in 100% of cases in the lungs and in 85.7% in pharynx tissue. Detection also in the kidney and brain highlighting a pronounced organ tropism. Comparison of the given results to a former cohort of SARS-CoV-2 deaths during the first wave in spring 2020 showed resembling organ tropism. Our results indicate that also SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 has a relevant organ tropism beyond the respiratory tract. We speculate that B.1.1.7 spike protein's affinity to human ACE2 facilitates transmission, organ tropism, and ultimately morbidity and mortality. Further studies and larger cohorts are obligatory to proof this link.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load , Viral Tropism , Aged , Autopsy , Female , Heart/virology , Humans , Kidney/virology , Liver/virology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Pharynx/virology
20.
BMC Health Serv Res ; 21(1): 317, 2021 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388757

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To identify the determinants of health care use among homeless individuals. METHODS: Data were taken from the Hamburg survey of homeless individuals (n = 100 individuals in the here used model, mean age 44.8 years, SD 12.5) focusing on homeless individuals in Hamburg, Germany. The number of physician visits in the past 3 months and hospitalization in the preceding 12 months were used as outcome measures. Drawing on the Andersen model of health care use as a conceptual framework, predisposing characteristics, enabling resources and need factors as well as psychosocial variables were included as correlates. RESULTS: Negative binomial regressions showed that increased physician visits were associated with being female (IRR: 4.02 [95% CI: 1.60-10.11]), absence of chronic alcohol consume (IRR: 0.26 [95% CI: 0.12-0.57]) and lower health-related quality of life (IRR: 0.97 [95% CI: 0.96-0.98]). Furthermore, logistic regressions showed that the likelihood of hospitalization was positively associated with lower age (OR: 0.93 [95% CI: 0.89-0.98]), having health insurance (OR: 8.11 [2.11-30.80]) and lower health-related quality of life (OR: 0.97 [95% CI: 0.94-0.99]). CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed that predisposing characteristics (both age and sex), enabling resources (i.e., health insurance) and need factors in terms of health-related quality of life are main drivers of health care use among homeless individuals. This knowledge may assist in managing health care use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Services Accessibility , Homeless Persons , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/psychology , Adult , Delivery of Health Care , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Homeless Persons/psychology , Humans , Male , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
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