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iScience ; : 105873, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165428


Summary Diagnostic services for tuberculosis (TB) are not sufficiently accessible in low-resource settings, where most cases occur, which was aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Early diagnosis of pulmonary TB can reduce transmission. Current TB-diagnostics rely on detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in sputum requiring costly, time-consuming methods, and trained staff. In this study, quantitative lateral flow (LF) assays were used to measure levels of seven host proteins in sera from pre-COVID-19 TB-patients diagnosed in Europe and latently Mtb-infected individuals (LTBI), and from COVID-19 patients and healthy controls. Analysis of host proteins showed significantly lower levels in LTBI versus TB (AUC:0·94) and discriminated healthy individuals from COVID-19 patients (0·99) and severe COVID-19 from TB. Importantly, these host proteins allowed treatment monitoring of both respiratory diseases. This study demonstrates the potential of non-sputum LF assays as adjunct diagnostics and treatment monitoring for COVID-19 and TB based on quantitative detection of multiple host biomarkers.

Journal of the American Society of Nephrology ; 33:328-329, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2124585


Background: Immunocompromised patients, including Kidney Transplant Recipients (KTRs) and lupus nephritis (LN) patients, are at increased risk for prolonged SARS-CoV-2 infection and developing COVID-19-related complications. Recently, we reported that voclosporin, a novel calcineurin inhibitor (CNI), demonstrated in vitro a more potent inhibitory effect on SARS-CoV-2 replication than other CNIs (tacrolimus and ciclosporin). Additionally the AURORA-2 study, where 216 LN patients were treated with voclosporin or placebo on top of standard of care, SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected in 12/100 placebo-treated patients (12%) compared to 7/116 voclosporin treated patients (6%) and more patients died due to COVID-19 in the placebo arm versus voclosporin arm (3% vs 0%). In this proof-of-concept study we assessed whether voclosporin demonstrated an added antiviral benefit in SARS-CoV-2 positive immunocompromised patients. Method(s): We performed a prospective, randomised, open-label, single-center, exploratory, proof of concept study in 20 KTRs with mild to moderate symptoms from a COVID-19 infection comparing time to viral clearance of SARS-CoV-2 between patients on standard immunosuppressive therapy with tacrolimus versus voclosporin (the VOCOVID study). Result(s): In the VOCOVID study no difference in time to viral clearance or time to clinical recovery was found between both treatment arms. Pharmacokinetic analysis demonstrated that adequate trough levels of voclosporin were reached from day 4-8 after randomization. Looking at specific timepoint in a post-hoc analysis, indeed a significantly better viral clearance of SARS-CoV-2 was observed in voclosporin treated patients at day 4-8. No safety concerns were raised. Conclusion(s): The present study provides evidence that voclosporin has a favorable benefit-risk profile for immunocompromised kidney disease patients who contract a SARS-CoV-2 infection while requiring the continuation of their immunosuppressants.

Aerosol and Air Quality Research ; 21(3):1-10, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1134342


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic resulted in shortages of production and test capacity of FFP2-respirators. Such facemasks are required to be worn by healthcare professionals when performing aerosol-generating procedures on COVID-19 patients. In response to the high demand and short supply, we designed three models of facemasks that are suitable for local production. As these facemasks should meet the requirements of an FFP2-certified facemask, the newly-designed facemasks were tested on the filtration efficiency of the filter material, inward leakage, and breathing resistance with custom-made experimental setups. In these tests, the facemasks were benchmarked against a commercial FFP2 facemask. The filtration efficiency of the facemask’s filter material was also tested with coronavirus-loaded aerosols under physiologically relevant conditions. This multidisciplinary effort resulted in the design and production of facemasks that meet the FFP2 requirements, and which can be produced at local production facilities. © The Author(s).