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Infect Dis (Lond) ; 53(9): 713-718, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1172620


BACKGROUND: Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) infects and establishes latency in neurons in the ganglia of the cranial nerve, dorsal root and enteric ganglia. VZV reactivation in enteric neurons (enteric zoster) can cause non-specific abdominal pain and/or serious gastrointestinal dysfunction without cutaneous manifestations. Detection of VZV DNA in saliva may be useful for identifying enteric zoster. We evaluated the frequency of putative enteric zoster based on the presence of salivary VZV DNA in patients with acute abdominal pain. METHODS: Adult patients who visited the emergency room due to moderate to severe acute abdominal pain were prospectively enrolled at a tertiary hospital between May 2019 and November 2019. Abdominopelvic computed tomography (APCT) was performed in all patients. We also evaluated the presence of salivary VZV DNA in patients with confirmed coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) who were under stressful conditions. Saliva samples were collected from all studied patients. Enteric zoster was suspected based on the presence of salivary VZV DNA, detected using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). RESULTS: Fifty patients with moderate to severe abdominal pain were enrolled. Five of 50 patients exhibited positive VZV-DNA PCR results. APCT revealed that among these five patients, two had pancreatic head cancer, two had small bowel obstruction after intra-abdominal surgery, and one had no remarkable findings. However, all 14 patients with COVID-19 showed negative salivary VZV-DNA PCR results. CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 10% of patients with moderate to severe acute abdominal pain showed positivity for salivary VZV DNA. Further studies are warranted on whether antiviral therapy based on salivary VZV-DNA PCR results may relieve abdominal pain in the studied patient population. TRIAL REGISTRATION:, number NCT03862092.

COVID-19 , Herpes Zoster , Abdominal Pain , Adult , DNA, Viral/genetics , Herpes Zoster/diagnosis , Herpesvirus 3, Human/genetics , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva
J Korean Med Sci ; 36(11): e83, 2021 Mar 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146214


BACKGROUND: Remdesivir is widely used for the treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but controversies regarding its efficacy still remain. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted to evaluate the effect of remdesivir on clinical and virologic outcomes of severe COVID-19 patients from June to July 2020. Primary clinical endpoints included clinical recovery, additional mechanical ventilator (MV) support, and duration of oxygen or MV support. Viral load reduction by hospital day (HD) 15 was evaluated by calculating changes in cycle threshold (Ct) values. RESULTS: A total of 86 severe COVID-19 patients were evaluated including 48 remdesivir-treated patients. Baseline characteristics were not significantly different between the two groups. Remdesivir was administered an average of 7.42 days from symptom onset. The proportions of clinical recovery of the remdesivir and supportive care group at HD 14 (56.3% and 39.5%) and HD 28 (87.5% and 78.9%) were not statistically different. The proportion of patients requiring MV support by HD 28 was significantly lower in the remdesivir group than in the supportive care group (22.9% vs. 44.7%, P = 0.032), and MV duration was significantly shorter in the remdesivir group (average, 1.97 vs. 5.37 days; P = 0.017). Analysis of upper respiratory tract specimens demonstrated that increases of Ct value from HD 1-5 to 11-15 were significantly greater in the remdesivir group than the supportive care group (average, 10.19 vs. 5.36; P = 0.007), and the slope of the Ct value increase was also significantly steeper in the remdesivir group (average, 5.10 vs. 2.68; P = 0.007). CONCLUSION: The remdesivir group showed clinical and virologic benefit in terms of MV requirement and viral load reduction, supporting remdesivir treatment for severe COVID-19.

Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Drug Treatment , SARS-CoV-2 , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alanine/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Respiration, Artificial , Retrospective Studies , Viral Load
Thorax ; 76(1): 61-63, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066940


BACKGROUND: Asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection have viable viral loads and have been linked to several transmission cases. However, data on the viral loads in such individuals are lacking. We assessed the viral loads in asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection in comparison with those in symptomatic patients with COVID-19. METHODS: Study participants were recruited from a community facility designated for the isolation of patients with mild COVID-19 in South Korea. The presence of symptoms was evaluated with a questionnaire-based survey. Viral loads in the upper respiratory tract were measured with real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) targeting the E, RdRp and N genes of SARS-CoV-2, with a cycle threshold (Ct) value of 40 for determining positivity. RESULTS: In 213 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 41 (19%) had remained asymptomatic from potential exposure to laboratory confirmation and admission; of them, 39 (95%) underwent follow-up RT-PCR testing after a median 13 days. In 172 symptomatic patients, 144 (84%) underwent follow-up RT-PCR testing. Twenty-one (54%) asymptomatic individuals and 92 (64%) symptomatic patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at follow-up. Asymptomatic individuals and symptomatic patients did not show any significant differences in the mean Ct values of the E (31.15 vs 31.43; p>0.99), RdRp (32.26 vs 32.93; p=0.92) and N (33.05 vs 33.28; p>0.99) genes. CONCLUSION: Approximately one-fifth of the individuals without severe symptoms were asymptomatic, and their viral loads were comparable to those in symptomatic patients. A large proportion of mildly symptomatic patients with COVID-19 or asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 showed persistent positive upper respiratory RT-PCR results at follow-up.

COVID-19/virology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Republic of Korea/epidemiology , Young Adult