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1.
J Clin Med ; 11(7)2022 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776265

ABSTRACT

Patients with severe COVID-19 belong to a population at high risk of invasive fungal infections (IFIs), with a reported incidence of IFIs in critically ill COVID-19 patients ranging between 5% and 26.7%. Common factors in these patients, such as multiple organ failure, immunomodulating/immunocompromising treatments, the longer time on mechanical ventilation, renal replacement therapy or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, make them vulnerable candidates for fungal infections. In addition to that, SARS-CoV2 itself is associated with significant dysfunction in the patient's immune system involving both innate and acquired immunity, with reduction in both CD4+ T and CD8+ T lymphocyte counts and cytokine storm. The emerging question is whether SARS-CoV-2 inherently predisposes critically ill patients to fungal infections or the immunosuppressive therapy constitutes the igniting factor for invasive mycoses. To approach the dilemma, one must consider the unique pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 with the deranged immune response it provokes, review the well-known effects of immunosuppressants and finally refer to current literature to probe possible causal relationships, synergistic effects or independent risk factors. In this review, we aimed to identify the prevalence, risk factors and mortality associated with IFIs in mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19.

2.
In Vivo ; 36(2): 954-960, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732570

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/AIM: Multiple reports from all over the world link COVID-19 with endothelial/coagulation disorders as well as a dysregulated immune response. This study tested the hypothesis that immunostimulation will be greater in COVID-19 patients than in patients with H1N1 infection or bacterial sepsis. Also, whether an increase in immune stimulation will be accompanied by a more severely affected endothelium/coagulation system was examined. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-three septic patients, admitted in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), were enrolled (9 with SARS-CoV-2, 5 with H1N1 pneumonia, 9 with bacterial sepsis). Myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity along with certain endothelial/coagulation factors were assessed on admission (time point 1) and at either improvement or deterioration (time point 2). RESULTS: MPO levels were significantly higher in COVID-19 patients compared to both other groups. Furthermore, in patients with COVID-19, vWF levels did not differ significantly, fVIII levels were lower while ADAMTS-13 activity was higher compared to patients with H1N1 pneumonia and bacterial sepsis (a trend in the latter). CONCLUSION: Increased immunostimulation was noted in COVID-19 patients compared to other septic patients; however, this was not accompanied by greater disturbance of the clotting system and/or more severe endothelial injury.


Subject(s)
Blood Coagulation Disorders , COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Sepsis , Blood Coagulation Disorders/etiology , COVID-19/complications , Humans , Immunization , SARS-CoV-2 , Sepsis/complications
3.
Cell Rep Med ; 3(3): 100560, 2022 Mar 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706398

ABSTRACT

Most patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) experience mild, non-specific symptoms, but many develop severe symptoms associated with an excessive inflammatory response. Elevated plasma concentrations of soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) provide early warning of progression to severe respiratory failure (SRF) or death, but access to suPAR testing may be limited. The Severe COvid Prediction Estimate (SCOPE) score, derived from circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein, D- dimers, interleukin-6, and ferritin among patients not receiving non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation during the SAVE-MORE study, offers predictive accuracy for progression to SRF or death within 14 days comparable to that of a suPAR concentration of ≥6 ng/mL (area under receiver operator characteristic curve 0.81 for both). The SCOPE score is validated in two similar independent cohorts. A SCOPE score of 6 or more is an alternative to suPAR for predicting progression to SRF or death within 14 days of hospital admission for pneumonia, and it can be used to guide treatment decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Insufficiency , Biomarkers , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Prognosis , Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator , Respiratory Insufficiency/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 12(1)2021 Dec 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580950

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although several studies have been launched towards the prediction of risk factors for mortality and admission in the intensive care unit (ICU) in COVID-19, none of them focuses on the development of explainable AI models to define an ICU scoring index using dynamically associated biological markers. METHODS: We propose a multimodal approach which combines explainable AI models with dynamic modeling methods to shed light into the clinical features of COVID-19. Dynamic Bayesian networks were used to seek associations among cytokines across four time intervals after hospitalization. Explainable gradient boosting trees were trained to predict the risk for ICU admission and mortality towards the development of an ICU scoring index. RESULTS: Our results highlight LDH, IL-6, IL-8, Cr, number of monocytes, lymphocyte count, TNF as risk predictors for ICU admission and survival along with LDH, age, CRP, Cr, WBC, lymphocyte count for mortality in the ICU, with prediction accuracy 0.79 and 0.81, respectively. These risk factors were combined with dynamically associated biological markers to develop an ICU scoring index with accuracy 0.9. CONCLUSIONS: to our knowledge, this is the first multimodal and explainable AI model which quantifies the risk of intensive care with accuracy up to 0.9 across multiple timepoints.

5.
J Pers Med ; 11(12)2021 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580617

ABSTRACT

Viral infections are one of the main causes of asthma exacerbations. During the COVID-19 era, concerns regarding the relationship of SARS-CoV2 with asthma have been raised. The concerns are both for COVID severity and asthma exacerbations. Many studies on COVID-19 epidemiology and comorbidities have assessed whether asthma represents a risk factor for SARS-CoV2 infection and/or more severe course of the disease. This review covers the current evidence on the prevalence of asthma in COVID-19 and its association with susceptibility to and severity of SARS-CoV2 infection. It will examine the possible role of underlying asthma severity in COVID-19 related outcomes as well as the molecular mechanisms involved in the co-existence of these entities. The possible role of asthma inflammatory phenotypes will also be evaluated. Finally, the impact of asthma comorbidities and the implications of asthma medication on COVID-19 will be addressed.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-294791

ABSTRACT

Most patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) experience mild, non-specific symptoms, but several develop severe symptoms associated with an excessive inflammatory response. Elevated plasma concentrations of soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) provide early warning of progression to severe respiratory failure (SRF) or death, but access to suPAR testing may be limited. The Severe COvid Prediction Estimate (SCOPE) score, derived from C-reactive protein, D-dimer, interleukin-6, and ferritin circulating concentrations at hospitalization during the SAVE-MORE study, offers comparable predictive accuracy for progression to SRF or death within 14 days as suPAR ≥6 ng/ml (area under receiver operator characteristic curve, 0.81 for both). SCOPE score was validated against an independent dataset from the SAVE study. The SCOPE score is an alternative to suPAR for predicting progression to SRF or death within 14 days of hospital admission for pneumonia, and it can be used to guide treatment decisions.<br><br>Funding: The study was funded in part by the Hellenic Institute for the Study of Sepsis and by Swedish Orphan Biovitrum. The Hellenic Institute for the Study of Sepsis is the Sponsor of the SAVE and SAVE-MORE studies.<br><br>Declaration of Interests:E. J. Giamarellos-Bourboulis has received honoraria from Abbott CH, bioMérieux, Brahms GmbH, GSK, InflaRx GmbH, Sobi and XBiotech Inc;independent educational grants from Abbott CH, AxisShield, bioMérieux Inc, InflaRx GmbH, Johnson & Johnson, MSD, Sobi and XBiotech Inc.;and funding from the Horizon2020 Marie-Curie Project European Sepsis Academy (granted to the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), and the Horizon 2020 European Grants ImmunoSep and RISKinCOVID (granted to the Hellenic Institute for the Study of Sepsis). G. Poulakou has received independent educational grants from Pfizer, MSD, Angelini, and Biorad. H. Milionis reports receiving honoraria, consulting fees and non-financial support from healthcare companies, including Amgen, Angelini, Bayer, Mylan, MSD, Pfizer, and Servier. L. Dagna had received consultation honoraria from SOBI. M. Bassetti has received funds for research grants and/or advisor/consultant and/or speaker/chairman from Angelini, Astellas, Bayer, Biomerieux, Cidara, Cipla, Gilead, Menarini, MSD, Pfizer, Roche, Shionogi and Nabriva. P. Panagopoulos has received honoraria from GILEAD Sciences, Janssen, and MSD. G. N. Dalekos is an advisor or lecturer for Ipsen, Pfizer, Genkyotex, Novartis, Sobi, received research grants from Abbvie, Gilead and has served as PI in studies for Abbvie, Novartis, Gilead, Novo Nordisk, Genkyotex, Regulus Therapeutics Inc, Tiziana Life Sciences, Bayer, Astellas, Pfizer, Amyndas Pharmaceuticals, CymaBay Therapeutics Inc., Sobi and Intercept Pharmaceuticals. M. G. Netea is supported by an ERC Advanced Grant (#833247) and a Spinoza grant of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Hes is a scientific founder of TTxD and he has received independent educational grants from TTxD, GSK, Ono Pharma and ViiV HealthCare. The other authors do not have any competing interest to declare.<br><br>Ethics Approval Statement: The SAVE protocol was approved by the National Ethics Committee of Greece (approval 38/20) and National Organization for Medicines approval (ISO 28/20). The SAVE-MORE protocol was approved by the National Ethics Committee of Greece (approval 161/20) and by the Ethics Committee of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases Lazzaro Spallanzani, IRCCS, in Rome (1 February 2021).<br><br>Trial Registration: The SAVE study was prospectively registered prior to enrolling the first patient (EudraCT number 2020-001466-11;ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT04357366). The SAVE-MORE study was prospectively registered (EudraCT no. 2020-005828-11;ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT04680949). Written informed consent was provided by all patients prior to enrollment.

7.
Chemosensors ; 9(12):341, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1554916

ABSTRACT

Antigen screening for the SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein is among the most promising tools for the mass monitoring of asymptomatic carriers of the virus, especially in limited resource environments. Herewith, we report on the possible use of the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the natural receptor and entry point of the virus, as a biorecognition element for the detection of the S1 antigen combined with an established bioelectric biosensor based on membrane-engineered cells. The working principle of our approach is based on the measurable change of the electric potential of membrane-engineered mammalian cells bearing ACE2 after attachment of the respective viral protein. We demonstrate that sensitive and selective detection of the S1 antigen is feasible in just three min, with a limit of detection of 20 fg/mL. In a preliminary clinical application, positive patient-derived samples were identified with a 87.9% score compared to RT-PCR. No cross-reactivity was observed against a wide range of nucleocapsid protein concentrations. The novel biosensor is embedded in a commercially ready-to-use testing platform, complete with the consumable immobilized cell–electrode interface and a portable read-out device operable through smartphone or tablet. In addition, the possible application of the system for the high throughput screening of potential pharmacological inhibitors of the ACE2 receptor-S1 RBD interaction is discussed.

8.
J Innate Immun ; : 1-11, 2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546612

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Macrophage activation-like syndrome (MALS) and complex immune dysregulation (CID) often underlie acute respiratory distress (ARDS) in COVID-19. We aimed to investigate the effect of personalized immunotherapy on clinical improvement of critical COVID-19. METHODS: In this open-label prospective trial, 102 patients with ARDS by SARS-CoV-2 were screened for MALS (ferritin >4,420 ng/mL) and CID (ferritin ≤4,420 ng/mL and low human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR expression on CD14-monocytes). Patients with MALS or CID with increased aminotransferases received intravenous anakinra; those with CID and normal aminotransferases received tocilizumab. The primary outcome was ≥25% decrease in the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score and/or 50% increase in the respiratory ratio by day 8; 28-day mortality, change of SOFA score by day 28, serum biomarkers, and cytokine production by mononuclear cells were secondary endpoints. RESULTS: The primary study endpoint was met in 58.3% of anakinra-treated patients and in 33.3% of tocilizumab-treated patients (p: 0.01). Most patients in both groups received dexamethasone as standard of care. No differences were found in secondary outcomes, mortality, and SOFA score changes. Ferritin decreased among anakinra-treated patients; interleukin-6, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, and HLA-DR expression increased among tocilizumab-treated patients. Survivors by day 28 who received anakinra were distributed to lower severity levels of the WHO clinical progression scale. Greater incidence of secondary infections was found with tocilizumab treatment. CONCLUSION: Immune assessment resulted in favorable anakinra responses among critically ill patients with COVID-19 and features of MALS.

9.
J Pers Med ; 11(11)2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488659

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 disease can cause hypoxemic respiratory failure due to ARDS, requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. Although early studies reported that COVID-19-associated ARDS has distinctive features from ARDS of other causes, recent observational studies have demonstrated that ARDS related to COVID-19 shares common clinical characteristics and respiratory system mechanics with ARDS of other origins. Therefore, mechanical ventilation in these patients should be based on strategies aiming to mitigate ventilator-induced lung injury. Assisted mechanical ventilation should be applied early in the course of mechanical ventilation by considering evaluation and minimizing factors associated with patient-inflicted lung injury. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation should be considered in selected patients with refractory hypoxia not responding to conventional ventilation strategies. This review highlights the current and evolving practice in managing mechanically ventilated patients with ARDS related to COVID-19.

10.
J Pers Med ; 11(6)2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270071

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly spread globally, becoming a huge public health challenge. Even though the vast majority of patients are asymptomatic, some patients present with pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), septic shock, and death. It has been shown in several studies that the severity and clinical outcomes are related to dysregulated antiviral immunity and enhanced and persistent systemic inflammation. Corticosteroids have been used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients, as they are reported to elicit benefits by reducing lung inflammation and inflammation-induced lung injury. Dexamethasone has gained a major role in the therapeutic algorithm of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia requiring supplemental oxygen or on mechanical ventilation. Its wide anti-inflammatory action seems to form the basis for its beneficial action, taming the overwhelming "cytokine storm". Amid a plethora of scientific research on therapeutic options for COVID-19, there are still unanswered questions about the right timing, right dosing, and right duration of the corticosteroid treatment. The aim of this review article was to summarize the data on the dexamethasone treatment in COVID-19 and outline the clinical considerations of corticosteroid therapy in these patients.

11.
Nat Immunol ; 22(1): 32-40, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065907

ABSTRACT

A central paradigm of immunity is that interferon (IFN)-mediated antiviral responses precede pro-inflammatory ones, optimizing host protection and minimizing collateral damage1,2. Here, we report that for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) this paradigm does not apply. By investigating temporal IFN and inflammatory cytokine patterns in 32 moderate-to-severe patients with COVID-19 hospitalized for pneumonia and longitudinally followed for the development of respiratory failure and death, we reveal that IFN-λ and type I IFN production were both diminished and delayed, induced only in a fraction of patients as they became critically ill. On the contrary, pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 were produced before IFNs in all patients and persisted for a prolonged time. This condition was reflected in blood transcriptomes wherein prominent IFN signatures were only seen in critically ill patients who also exhibited augmented inflammation. By comparison, in 16 patients with influenza (flu) hospitalized for pneumonia with similar clinicopathological characteristics to those of COVID-19 and 24 nonhospitalized patients with flu with milder symptoms, IFN-λ and type I IFN were robustly induced earlier, at higher levels and independently of disease severity, whereas pro-inflammatory cytokines were only acutely produced. Notably, higher IFN-λ concentrations in patients with COVID-19 correlated with lower viral load in bronchial aspirates and faster viral clearance and a higher IFN-λ to type I IFN ratio correlated with improved outcome for critically ill patients. Moreover, altered cytokine patterns in patients with COVID-19 correlated with longer hospitalization and higher incidence of critical disease and mortality compared to flu. These data point to an untuned antiviral response in COVID-19, contributing to persistent viral presence, hyperinflammation and respiratory failure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity/immunology , Influenza, Human/immunology , Interferon Type I/immunology , Interferons/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antiviral Agents/immunology , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Progression , Gene Expression/genetics , Gene Expression/immunology , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Humans , Immunity/genetics , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/immunology , Influenza, Human/genetics , Interferon Type I/genetics , Interferons/genetics , Length of Stay , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load/genetics , Viral Load/immunology
12.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 7, 2021 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1027902

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is currently leading to increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients all over the world. Clinical presentations range from asymptomatic, mild respiratory tract infection, to severe cases with acute respiratory distress syndrome, respiratory failure, and death. Reports on a dysregulated immune system in the severe cases call for a better characterization and understanding of the changes in the immune system. METHODS: In order to dissect COVID-19-driven immune host responses, we performed RNA-seq of whole blood cell transcriptomes and granulocyte preparations from mild and severe COVID-19 patients and analyzed the data using a combination of conventional and data-driven co-expression analysis. Additionally, publicly available data was used to show the distinction from COVID-19 to other diseases. Reverse drug target prediction was used to identify known or novel drug candidates based on finding from data-driven findings. RESULTS: Here, we profiled whole blood transcriptomes of 39 COVID-19 patients and 10 control donors enabling a data-driven stratification based on molecular phenotype. Neutrophil activation-associated signatures were prominently enriched in severe patient groups, which was corroborated in whole blood transcriptomes from an independent second cohort of 30 as well as in granulocyte samples from a third cohort of 16 COVID-19 patients (44 samples). Comparison of COVID-19 blood transcriptomes with those of a collection of over 3100 samples derived from 12 different viral infections, inflammatory diseases, and independent control samples revealed highly specific transcriptome signatures for COVID-19. Further, stratified transcriptomes predicted patient subgroup-specific drug candidates targeting the dysregulated systemic immune response of the host. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides novel insights in the distinct molecular subgroups or phenotypes that are not simply explained by clinical parameters. We show that whole blood transcriptomes are extremely informative for COVID-19 since they capture granulocytes which are major drivers of disease severity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Neutrophils/metabolism , Transcriptome , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Down-Regulation , Drug Repositioning , Humans , Neutrophils/cytology , Neutrophils/immunology , Phenotype , Principal Component Analysis , RNA/blood , RNA/chemistry , RNA/metabolism , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Severity of Illness Index , Up-Regulation
13.
Cell Host Microbe ; 27(6): 992-1000.e3, 2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-735030

ABSTRACT

Proper management of COVID-19 mandates better understanding of disease pathogenesis. The sudden clinical deterioration 7-8 days after initial symptom onset suggests that severe respiratory failure (SRF) in COVID-19 is driven by a unique pattern of immune dysfunction. We studied immune responses of 54 COVID-19 patients, 28 of whom had SRF. All patients with SRF displayed either macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) or very low human leukocyte antigen D related (HLA-DR) expression accompanied by profound depletion of CD4 lymphocytes, CD19 lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) production by circulating monocytes was sustained, a pattern distinct from bacterial sepsis or influenza. SARS-CoV-2 patient plasma inhibited HLA-DR expression, and this was partially restored by the IL-6 blocker Tocilizumab; off-label Tocilizumab treatment of patients was accompanied by increase in circulating lymphocytes. Thus, the unique pattern of immune dysregulation in severe COVID-19 is characterized by IL-6-mediated low HLA-DR expression and lymphopenia, associated with sustained cytokine production and hyper-inflammation.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Respiratory Insufficiency/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized/administration & dosage , COVID-19 , Female , HLA-DR Antigens/immunology , Humans , Inflammation/pathology , Interleukin-6/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , Lymphopenia/pathology , Macrophage Activation , Male , Monocytes/pathology , Pandemics
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