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European Respiratory Journal Conference: European Respiratory Society International Congress, ERS ; 60(Supplement 66), 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2285029


The SARS-CoV-2 is the betacoronavirus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Severe COVID-19 affects approximately 10-15% of patients and results in prolonged morbidity and mortality. Little is known about the immunophenotypic changes of the lung parenchyma driven by the viral infection in patients who die of severe COVID-19. Ultrasound-guided lung biopsies (LB) were collected (IRB approval#1561/21) within few hours from death in 15 severe COVID-19 patients between November 2020 and January 2021, in two patients who underwent lung transplantation after COVID-19 and in one patient who had surgery for bacterial superinfection during COVID-19 disease. All samples underwent histologic and immunohistochemistry evaluation and molecular profiling using the nCounter Host Response and Coronavirus Panel plus. As controls, lungs from end-stage usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP;n=9) and from lobectomy for lung cancer (Norm;n=5) were used. Eleven lungs (61%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Signs of diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) were observed in 6 patients (30%). COVID-19 lungs showed a marked macrophage infiltration with M2 polarization compared with controls. Globally, COVID-19 lungs showed distinct molecular profiles from UIP or Norm lungs. Specifically, a marked upregulation of interferon-genes that was directly correlated with SARS-CoV-2 genes was seen in COVID-19 lungs. COVID-19-specific genes signatures (Log2FC >1.5;adj p<0.05) obtained using VENN diagram showed impairment of the STAT3-pathway accompanied by the upregulation of the NFkB signaling. Results herein provide new insights into lung alterations induced by severe COVID-19 and suggest novel potential targets for therapeutic intervention.