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1.
Infect Dis (Lond) ; : 1-6, 2021 Nov 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517764

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Italy experienced SARS-CoV-2 spread during the second wave and the southern regions were severely affected. In this prospective study, we assessed the changes in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence rates in non-vaccinated blood donors to evaluate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among healthy individuals in our geographical area. METHODS: 8,183 healthy blood donors visiting the Transfusion Centre at the University Hospital "Riuniti" of Foggia (Italy) to donate blood from May 2020 to March 2021 were tested twice for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by Ortho Clinical Diagnostics VITROS® 3600 through anti-SARS-CoV-2 Total and IgG reagent kit. None of the subjects had diagnosed symptomatic COVID-19 infection, and none had received vaccination. RESULTS: Overall, 516 out of 8,183 had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (total and IgG antibodies) (6.3%, 95% CI: 0.03-0.15%), 387 were male and 129 female. There was a significant increase of seropositive donors from May 2020 to March 2021 (p < .001). The difference in seroprevalence was significantly associated with age but not sex (2-sided p < .05 for age; 2-sided p ≥ .05 for sex) in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed a significant increase in SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in blood donors and suggests that asymptomatic individuals might contribute to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. These results may contribute to revised containment measures, priorities in vaccine campaigns and monitoring of seroprevalence in public places like Transfusion Centres. Serologic testing of blood donors may be relevant to monitor SARS-CoV-2 circulation in the general population.

2.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e051506, 2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462964

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The present study aimed to explore differences in COVID-19 outcomes between male and female cases in the Apulian District of Foggia, Italy. DESIGN AND SETTING: We performed a retrospective epidemiological study among all COVID-19 confirmed cases that occurred in the Apulian District of Foggia from 29 February to 30 June 2020. The surveillance data from a regional registry (GIAVA-COVID) were used. MAIN OUTCOMES: The main outcome measures were the proportion of hospitalisations, virus clearance and the case fatality rate. RESULTS: A total of 1175 cases (50.7% female; median age: 55 years) were identified among 55 131 tests performed. The proportion of hospitalisation with COVID-19 diagnosis was 45.4% in men versus 37.9% in women (p<0.01), while the average length of stay in hospitals was 31.3±14.6 days in women versus 26.8±14.4 days in men (p<0.01). The proportion of cases who achieved virus clearance was higher in women (84.2%; days to clearance: 28.0±12.1) than in men (79.3%; days to clearance: 29.4±12.9; p<0.05). Men were associated with a significantly higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than women (case fatality rate 16.1% vs 10.4%; p<0.01). The mean time, from diagnosis to death, was 14.5±14.4 days in women compared with 10.6±10.7 days in men (p<0.01). The male sex, age ≥55 years and presence of at least one underlying comorbidity significantly raised the risk of hospitalisation, persistent infection and death (p<0.05). CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that more attention should be paid to sex as a variable for the interpretation of COVID-19 data. Sex-disaggregated data will help clinicians to make appropriate patient-tailored medical decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Factors
3.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(19)2021 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438628

ABSTRACT

The reason behind the high inter-individual variability in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and patient's outcome is poorly understood. The present study targets the sphingolipid profile of twenty-four healthy controls and fifty-nine COVID-19 patients with different disease severity. Sera were analyzed by untargeted and targeted mass spectrometry and ELISA. Results indicated a progressive increase in dihydrosphingosine, dihydroceramides, ceramides, sphingosine, and a decrease in sphingosine-1-phosphate. These changes are associated with a serine palmitoyltransferase long chain base subunit 1 (SPTLC1) increase in relation to COVID-19 severity. Severe patients showed a decrease in sphingomyelins and a high level of acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) that influences monosialodihexosyl ganglioside (GM3) C16:0 levels. Critical patients are characterized by high levels of dihydrosphingosine and dihydroceramide but not of glycosphingolipids. In severe and critical patients, unbalanced lipid metabolism induces lipid raft remodeling, leads to cell apoptosis and immunoescape, suggesting active sphingolipid participation in viral infection. Furthermore, results indicated that the sphingolipid and glycosphingolipid metabolic rewiring promoted by aSMase and GM3 is age-dependent but also characteristic of severe and critical patients influencing prognosis and increasing viral load. AUCs calculated from ROC curves indicated ceramides C16:0, C18:0, C24:1, sphingosine and SPTLC1 as putative biomarkers of disease evolution.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , Sphingolipids/blood , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Lipidomics , Male , Middle Aged , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Sphingolipids/analysis , Sphingomyelins/analysis , Sphingomyelins/blood , Young Adult
4.
Int J Infect Dis ; 112: 254-257, 2021 Sep 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1415455

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Limited data are available regarding the occurrence and the extent of cardiac rhythm disturbances in patients with COVID-19 treated with Remdesivir. METHODS: We present a case series of 52 patients who underwent daily electrocardiogram (ECG) examination after Remdesivir administration. RESULTS: Compared to baseline, a significant heart rate reduction was observed after initiation of Remdesivir; however, no case of severe bradycardia or arrhythmias leading to significant clinical complications or Remdesivir discontinuation occurred. Heart rate reduction was proportional to baseline heart rate values (r=0.75, p<0.001). By multivariate analysis, a less severe clinical presentation of Covid-19 (beta=0.47, p<0.01) was related to lower heart rate levels observed after Remdesivir administration. CONCLUSIONS: Despite a significant reduction in heart rate observed after Remdesivir administration, no severe cardiovascular toxicity was observed in Covid-19 patients, even in the case of cardiovascular comorbidities.

5.
Clin Neurol Neurosurg ; 207: 106775, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338371

ABSTRACT

Post-infectious/immune mediated effects of COVID-19 infection include descriptions of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in patients usually with respiratory failure and after 1-2 weeks from the onset of viral illness. Asymptomatic cases for COVID-19 infection were rarely described. Herein, we studied a 62-year-old patient with progressive weakness of lower extremities, rapidly evolving to a severe, flaccid tetraplegia and dysphagia. Neurological symptoms weren't preceded by fever or pulmonary symptoms. Because of laboratory test abnormalities (thrombocytopenia, lymphocytopenia, high inflammation indexes), the patient underwent to nasopharyngeal swab, resulted positive for SARS-CoV-2 on RT-PCR assay; cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was negative for SARS-CoV-2. The clinical (severe symmetric distal upper and lower limbs weakness, grade 0/5; decreased proprioceptive sensitivity and hypoesthesia involving the four limbs; loss of deep tendon reflexes), electrophysiological (prevailing axonal polyradiculoneuritis) and CSF features (albumino-cytological dissociation) disclosed the GBS diagnosis (level 1 of diagnostic certainty according to the Brighton criteria). The patient received plasma exchange and immunoglobulin, and, at 4 weeks after treatment and physical therapy, the patient had moderate improvement (weakness at lower and upper extremities was grade 2/5 and 3/5, respectively). Neurologists and clinicians should be aware of the possible link between neurological symptoms and COVID-19 infection, not only after viral prodrome and pulmonary symptoms, but also without COVID-19 symptoms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/diagnostic imaging , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/etiology , COVID-19/therapy , Guillain-Barre Syndrome/therapy , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Plasma Exchange/methods
6.
PLoS One ; 16(7): e0254404, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1304473

ABSTRACT

Is it possible to achieve a collaboration between Infectious Diseases (ID) Specialists and General Practitioners (GPs) in the management of chronic HIV infection? A cross sectional survey was conducted among People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) attending the outpatient services of four Italian Infectious Diseases Centers to understand to which extent patients trust their GPs and involve them in the management of their chronic condition. Information about level of communication with GPs, subjective perception of the disease, and presence of co-medications were collected and matched with socio-demographic data using χ2statistics. A p<0.05 was considered statistically significant. From December 2019 to February 2020, 672 patients completed the survey, 59% males and 56% >50 years. Overall, 508 patients (76%) had informed GPs about HIV-positivity. Communication of diagnosis was significantly associated with age >50years, lower education level, history of disease >10 years and residency in Northern Italy. The "Undetectable = Untrasmittable" (U = U) concept was investigated as an indirect measure of perceived stigma. 23% of subjects was unaware of its meaning. Despite undetectable status, 50% of PLWHIV found difficult to communicate their condition to GPs, especially married (52% vs 48% of unmarried, p = 0.003), well-educated patients (51% vs 48, p = 0.007), living in Southern vs Northern Italy (52% vs 46%, p< 0.001). More than 75% of the participants consulted the ID specialist for co-medications and DDIs management, often complaining a lack of communication of the former with GPs. Overall, a good level of communication between PLWHIV and GPs was outlined, even if a wider involvement of the latter in HIV care is desirable.


Subject(s)
General Practitioners , HIV Infections , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
7.
J Med Virol ; 93(3): 1739-1742, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206811

ABSTRACT

Here we present results from a survey on anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence in healthy blood donors from a low incidence coronavirus disease 2019 area (Apulia region, South Eastern Italy). Among 904 subjects tested, only in nine cases (0.99%) antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were demonstrated. All the nine seropositive patients were negative for the research of viral RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in nasopharyngeal swabs. These data, along with those recently reported from other countries, clearly show that we are very far from herd immunity and that the containment measures are at the moment the only realistic instrument we have to slow the spread of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Herd/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Blood Donors , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/immunology , Young Adult
8.
Acta Haematol ; 144(5): 580-584, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194384

ABSTRACT

Recently, a significant cluster of pneumonia caused by a novel betacoronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) was described initially in China and then spread throughout the world. Like other coronaviridae, the viral transmission occurs mainly through droplets. In addition, the virus has been detected in different clinical specimens, suggesting a potential transmission by other routes, including blood transfusion. However, the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via blood products is still unclear. The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among blood donors from South-Eastern Italy. Moreover, in the seropositive donors, we searched for the presence of the virus in nasopharyngeal swabs and in plasma samples. Overall, 1,797 blood donors from the Apulia region were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using a commercially available assay. Only 18/1,797 donors (1.0%) tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies; in none of them SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal swabs and in plasma samples. Our results indicate that most of the blood donors in Apulia remained uninfected during this wave of the pandemic; further, none had detectable virus both in nasopharyngeal swabs and in blood samples. The risk to carry and transmit the virus by healthy and asymptomatic blood donors is probably very low.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Donors , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Young Adult
9.
J Clin Med ; 10(2)2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1031141

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The highly variable manifestation of the COVID-19 disease, from completely asymptomatic to fatal, is both a clinical and a public health issue. The criteria for discharge of hospitalized patients have been based so far on the negative result of Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests, but the persistence of viral fragments may exceed that of the integral virus by weeks. The aim of our study was to verify the clearance of the virus at viral culture in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that have clinically recovered but are still positive on nasopharyngeal swab. METHODS: The study was conducted in hospitalized patients with positive RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swab. Patients included were from asymptomatic to severe cases and performed nasopharyngeal control swabbing on day 14 for asymptomatic patient or at least three days after remission of symptoms. RT-PCR positive specimens were sent to a biosafety level 3 laboratory for viral culture. RESULTS: We performed a combined analysis of RT-PCR and a highly sensitive in vitro culture from 84 samples of hospitalized patients. The average age was 46 ± 20.29, and 40.5% of the subjects had radiologically confirmed pneumonia, with average PaO2 of 72.35 ± 12.12and P/F ratio of 315 ± 83.15. Ct values for the N gene were lower in the first swab than in the control one (p < 0.001). The samples from 83 patients were negative at viral culture, and RT-PCR on the respective supernatants always confirmed the absence of viral growth. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results demonstrate that patients clinically recovered for at least three days show the viral clearance at viral culture, and presumably they continued to not be contagious.

10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(24)2020 12 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-970982

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the first coronavirus that has caused a pandemic. Assessing the prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare worker groups offers a unique opportunity to study the correlation between seroconversion and immunization because of their occupational exposure and a higher risk of contagion. The study enrolled 3242 asymptomatic employees of "Policlinico Riuniti", Foggia. After the first screening, we collected sequential serum samples for up to 23 weeks from the same subjects. In order to perform a longitudinal follow-up study and get information about the titration of IgG levels, we analyzed data from subjects (33) with at least two consecutive serological IgG-positive tests; 62 (1.9%; 95% CI: 1.4-2.3) tested positive for at least one anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody. The seroprevalence was lower in the high-risk group 1.4% (6/428; 95% CI: 0.5-2.6) vs. the intermediate-risk group 2.0% (55/2736; 95% CI: 1.5-2.5). Overall, within eight weeks, we detected a mean reduction of -17% in IgG levels. Our data suggest a reduction of about 9.27 AU/mL every week (R2 = 0.35, p = 0.0003). This study revealed the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among Foggia's hospital healthcare staff (1.9%). Moreover, the IgG level reduction suggests that the serological response fades fast in asymptomatic infections.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Health Personnel , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Adult , COVID-19/blood , Delivery of Health Care , Follow-Up Studies , Hospitals , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Italy/epidemiology , Middle Aged
12.
Open Neurol. J. ; 1(14): 4-5, 2020.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-143156
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